Archive for the ‘home’ Category

If there is one invention that has been equally good and bad for society it has got to be television.

“All television is educational television. The question is: what is it teaching?” – Nicholas Johnson

Commercial television broadcasting began in earnest in 1946 and it’s success has been nothing short of phenomenal. The only problem with watching TV is that it can do us as much harm as it can do us good.

What’s good about TV?

There are many good things about TV;

# It keeps us informed and brings the world community closer together.

# It’s combination of words and images makes it a valuable and effective learning tool.

# TV helps to promote understanding and acceptance of each other’s cultures and it has done a great deal for our freedom of speech.

# It is the King of family entertainment.

# Knowledge really is power and TV has undoubtedly been a major source of learning for humankind over the last seventy years.

What’s bad about TV?

“Television has changed a child from an irresistible force to an immovable object.” – Author Unknown

“Today, watching television often means fighting, violence and foul language – and that’s just deciding who gets to hold the remote control.” – Donna Gephart

Again, the list of what is bad about TV is also virtually endless, it really is amazing that something can have so many positives and yet so many negatives.

# TV has promoted laziness in ourselves and our children. We now take less exercise because it is a much easier option to simply switch on the TV and veg out on the sofa.

# The power and influence of TV can be exerted negatively as well as positively. we are constantly subjected to unscrupulous advertising and in extreme cases malicious propaganda.

# It is human nature to mimick other people, therefor we are prone to copying things that we see on TV. Because of our obsession with bad news and shocking behaviour the programme makers are increasingly exposing us to more and more of it and this is having a self depricating effect on our own behaviour and lifestyles.

A frightening spin off of this supply and demand mechanism is that the programme content has got to become increasingly shocking in order to retain the same impact and thus we are being exposed to and subsequently copying worse and worse situations and behavioural traits.

# Finally, family interaction has certainly suffered at the hands of TV. Board games and book reading are increasingly becoming things of the past.

Is there a compromise?

Communication will always play a key part in our society and anything that enhances communication will always become popular.

With this thought in mind it would be foolish of anyone to try to prohibit these improved medias. It is wiser to embrace and understand them if only to develop the ability to monitor and regulate them.

Many people throughought history have been credited with promoting an attitude of ‘moderation in all things’ and it is great attitude to embrace.

If we limit the amount of time we spend watching TV to a reasonable level it will do us more good than harm.

“Never go to excess, but let moderation be your guide.” –  Marcus Tullius Cicero

“They say that ninety percent of TV is junk.  But, ninety percent of everything is junk.” – Gene Roddenberry

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

Clutter is one of my pet hates. Fortunately, my wife hates it too therefor most of the time the house tends to remain fairly tidy. However, if either you or your partner has a tendency to horde things then your clutter can soon get out of control.

“Don’t own so much clutter that you will be relieved to see your house catch fire.” – Wendell Berry

It’s a good idea to adopt the habit of never leaving a room without removing something from it that shouldn’t be in there. This makes tidying up much easier.

If you don’t collect it in the first place then you will never have to dispose of it. Think long and hard before making purchases for the home, if it’s not essential then leave it for another day, if you really want or need it you will buy it eventually.

Photographs: We all know what each other looks like so it is totally unnecessary to keep loads of family photographs out on display. Okay, the odd important one is fine but there’s nothing more offputting when visiting someone’s home than being confronted by hundreds of pictures of them and their relatives.

Be brutal: When you are decluttering it’s important that you are ruthless. If you’ve not used or worn something in over a year then bin it. If you really can’t bear to part with it then store it out of the way in the loft.

“The more you have, the more you are occupied. The less you have, the more free you are.” – Mother Teresa

I’m a big believer in breaking problems down into small chunks, so if your clutter is out of control attack it bit by bit, one room at a time, one part of a room at a time even.

Benifits of decluttering:

As well as the obvious benefits of improving your house’s appearance and if it’s up for sale, making it more appealing to potential buyers, there are other hidden benefits of decluttering.

Clutter has a tendency to keep us living in the past. Therefor by spring cleaning from time to time we keep ourselves in a better emotional state.

Good memories are fine but we don’t need constant reminders of them. In order to keep living in the present and for the future it is important to surround ourselves with new things.

“Less is more.” – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

 

“There is nothing so strong or safe in an emergency of life as the simple truth.” – Charles Dickens

Most of us don’t like to contemplate the thought of being involved in an emergency situation, parents tend to concentrate more on teaching their children to avoid such situations rather than how to deal with them.

This is understandable, no parent likes to envisage their children having to cope with an emergency, however a few simple tips could one day help save their lives and possibly the lives of others.

What are the most common emergency situations?

1. Car accidents
2. house fires
3. invasion of home
4. personal attacks
5. severe weather
6. Bomb scares

We would all like to think that we would remain calm in a crisis because we all know that this is the most vital thing we must try to do.

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, and blaming you…The world will be yours and everything in it, what’s more, you’ll be a man, my son.” – Rudyard Kipling

The main thing that gives us confidence and helps us remain calm is knowledge and preperation. In an emergency the most vital commodity is TIME. The more effectively we act the better the outcome will be.

We should always keep important numbers written down and in a place that all the premises’ occupants are aware of. Important documents should be photocopied and kept in a safe place.

Example of simple preperation – Fire:

There are several simple things that we can learn about fire that will prove invaluable if we are ever unfortunate enough to be confronted by it’s wrath.

1. Never throw water on an electrical fire.
2. Pan fires are best dealt with by smothering with a damp towel.
3. Never give fire extra OXYGEN by unnecessarily opening doors/windows.
4. If confronted by smoke keep as low to the floor as possible.
5. Prevenative: Fire extinguishers and smoke alarms are a must.
The GOLDEN rule of emergency situations is:

Safety comes before material goods, we must never, ever risk our welfare or that of others for the sake of our posessions, they can all be replaced. The successfull outcome of any emergency situation is judged solely by the prevention of death or serious injury, anything else is regarded as a bonus.

We must be brave but not wreckless:

As soon as it is safe to do so we must always call the emergency services. They are the experts and it is always best to let them deal with an emergency. All we can do is keep the situation as contolled as possible until they are able to take over.

This may involve acts of courage and bravery but these must be performed with minimal risk to ourselves and others.

“My ideas have undergone a process of emergence by emergency. When they are needed badly enough, they are accepted.” Richard Buckminster Fuller

Andy.

http://wealthnuggets4u.com

Come on admit it, we all love supermarkets?!? Struggling to find a parking space, all the people, negotiating our trolleys up and down the aisles, trainee checkout staff. It’s blissfull.

We’ve not tried doing the food shop on line yet but I don’t like waiting in for people and I’ve never really fancied the idea of someone else deciding on ‘suitable alternatives’ for me. But they say don’t knock something ’till you’ve tried it, so maybe sometime soon we’ll give it a whirl.

Anyway, my wife and I LIKE the struggle and the challenge of doing the foodshop ourselves, it’s extremely satisfying, really, and I want to carry my own shopping over the threshold thank you very much, even if it is persisting it down.

So every weekend, we tootle off down to Tesco’s – the people who insist that they are “helping us save money, every single day”.

Hardly bloody likely, we must put the best part of ten grand into their coffers “every single year” but unfortunately we live in a time when convenience is king. When I think about it though, it would be cheaper to give up work and start growing the stuff ourselves. Now there’s an idea.

So, we arrive at the carpark. In fairness to Tesco’s, it’s large enough, but if you are able-bodied, not a mother with child, toddler, guinea-pig or whatever other restrictions they feel fit to impose on parking then it’s a bit of a struggle.

We’re still calm though, even though we’ve been circling the carpark trying to find a parking space for the last ten minutes. Finally, we catch someone vacating a space, well for the time it takes them, maybe emigrating’s a more appropriate word – Patience is a virtue.

The trolley we choose seems decent enough. Although, after taking on the minutest of payloads ie. one newspaper and a tin of beans it somehow develops a mind of it’s own, and moving it let alone steering it becomes virtually impossible.
 
Why do some people insist on clogging up the aisles?

They bring the whole family, including great aunts and uncles with them, the more the merrier I say. Then they bump into the family from down the road and voila, you’re faced with twenty odd geriatrics, toddlers, pregnant wives and their househusbands blocking of the aisles – joy.

Why do old people insist on doing their weekly shop at the weekend?

They can shop any day of the week, they can shop when it takes half the time to shop, they can divide their shop into five and do it Monday to Friday if they like, but oh no, they wait until the weekend and then descend on the supermarkets in their droves, you can’t move for old dears at the weekend, bless ’em.

No problem though, the aisles are clearing a little, actually, we’re doing quite well for time but hold on a minute, they’ve moved the bread, AND the milk, we don’t mind though, we love a game of hide and seek. When we finally find the new, improved locations (eye-level is buy-level) you’ve guessed it, there out of stock.

The check out experience is just that, an experience. My favourite part is when having just watched you load 115 items onto the conveyor belt the assistant asks “Do you need any bags for those?” I always feel like saying “No thanks, we’re going to carry each item out to the car individually.”

But we always smile and say “Yes please” mainly out of politeness but partly because I honestly believe that if we said we didn’t they would take us at our word.

Supermarkets don’t like us using their bags anymore, it’s another cost saving exercise that they can wave the green banner at but they still feel grudgingly obliged to offer us them, so subsequently they have reduced the quality of the bags to such an extent that they tear if you put anything heavier than a newspaper in one of them.

The assistant looks at you in shock-horror if you ask for a wine carrier, so if you’ve purchased more than one bottle of wine (heaven forbid) then load them into one of their plastic bags at your peril.

Having taken out a remortgage to pay the bill, even though we had 53 BOGOFS, (Buy One Get One Free) 27 discounts and God knows how many special purchases we struggle past all the people who insist on checking their bills right in front of the exits and out to the car.

Finally, ten broken plastic bags later, everythings stowed in the car and we tootle off home again. Having put everything away in it’s rightful place we come to the best part of the day, a well earned drink down the pub, but that’s another story.

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

Man befriended the cat many centuries ago. Initially it was because they were skilled at hunting rodents but down the years the bond between humans and felines has become stronger. They make ideal pets because they are relatively low-maintenance.

“When I play with my cat, how do I know that she is not passing time with me rather than I with her?” – Montaigne

We have two cats, a pedigree Blue Persian called ‘Furby’ and a black and white moggy called ‘Gizmo’ I can’t remember when they first started sleeping on our bed at night but at times it can be a real pain.

In fairness Furby isn’t that much trouble but for a small cat even he takes up a lot of room when he stretches out and my wife refuses to move him an inch insisting that he gets a good nights sleep! (What about me?)

Furthermore, he is prone to snoring. Again the sound he makes is totally disproportionate to his size. If I snore my wife unceremoniously digs me in the ribs until I stop but if Furby snores she just coos and says how cute he is.

Gizmo, the moggy is far bigger and although he is a tad overweight he is a powerful cat and at night time he can be a real handful. As soon as we go to bed he will jump up and lie on my chest. I stroke him and he purrs incessantly.

The problems arise when I stop stroking him, he doesn’t like this and he will paw my face in order to make me start again. His pawing regularly draws  blood! but shouting at Gizzy has little effect, he doesn’t like being told off but still it doesn’t deter him.

“After scolding one’s cat one looks into its face and is seized by the ugly suspicion that it understood every word. And has filed it for future reference.”- Charlotte Gray

After being pushed onto the floor for lacerating my face he will wait a while and then try his luck again. Whenever I wake up his face is always less than six inches away from mine and as soon as he realises I’m awake he starts to purr.

If I get up during the night when I return he kindly vacates my place and goes and stands on the bedside table, he allows me to get back into bed and then comes and lies next to me again.

This may or may not sound cute and most of the time I don’t mind but sometimes it’s nice to have a bit of space.

we recently re furbished our bedroom and decided to invest in a king-sized bed. Problem solved we thought. No chance, we still seem to sleep with minimal space and the cats just have an even comfier nights sleep.

Yes we are barking/meowing mad and tired in the mornings.

“I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.” – Hippolyte Taine

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

We buy things for many reasons, we buy lots of things we need and lots of things we don’t need. If you have serious designs on making money it is vital that you understand why people buy.

# Necessity:

We can’t live without things such as food, water, shelter etc, so we have to aquire them. However there is a subtle difference between actual necessities and perceived necessities.

Human beings can be extremely impulsive and exposure to products and services can make us think that we cannot live without them. Furthermore we are very susceptible to the power of peer pressure. ‘The kid next door has got a new bike so our kids have to have one.’

We actually feel guilty or bad if we don’t buy our kids everything their conmtemporaries have. Thus, we as a society leave ourselves wide open to exploitation by the advertising industry.

“An object in possession seldom retains the same charm that it had in pursuit.” –  Pliny the Younger (62 AD – 114 AD)

# Emotions:

Our emotions play a great part in our shopping habits, lots of people comfort-shop, they buy things to give themselves a boost. Our mood is easily manipulated and our senses our susceptible to music, visual displays, enticing smells etc.

We buy for fun, we buy things that give us pleasure, we buy things that make us feel good, we buy to escape reality.

Mementos are also big sellers, there is nothing we like more than something that reminds us of a cherished memory – The power of nostalgia is immense.

We are all capable of greed, we all love a bargain, we all buy bulk items that we will never use.

# Real benefits:

We are fortunate to live at a time of great technological advancement, the labour-saving devices that have become available to us over the last 50 years have been astonishing.

Most of us like to improve ourselves, we will buy something if it will educate us or our children. Education is now available to a large proportion of us whereas less than a hundred years ago it was only available to a priviliged few. Furthermore the internet has made it possible for us to access information like never before.

We also buy things that we hope will make us money, we invest in all manner of things from jewellry to stocks and shares.

“To have little is to possess. To have plenty is to be perplexed.
Lao-tzu.” (604 BC – 531 BC)

# Image:

Everyone loves to look and feel good. image and prestige are both key buying motivators, if something makes us look good in the eyes of other people then we will buy it.

# Health: If we don’t have our health then we have nothing. People will pay to become healthier. Too often though we think we can get a ‘bargain’ a ‘quick fix’. Prevention is always better than the cure, moderation in all things

# Influences:

I started my career in retailing so I know a bit about sales psychology. I think the most important thing you can convey to someone in order to get them ito buy from you is TRUST.

We all like to buy from people we trust, someone that is going to make sure we get value for money, someone who is going to guide us through the minefields of their particular product or service. Trust is a key ingredient of repeat business.

Top advertisers and retailers are extremely adept at influencing our decision making when it comes to buying things, they create the right ambience for their products and services. They appeal to our ego’s, they make us think buying their goods will improve us in all manner of ways.

Personally, apart from life-saving products I think freedom and space are the most important commodities. If we can acheive these things then we owe it to ourselves to find the time to enjoy them.

“Before we set our hearts too much upon anything, let us examine how happy those are who already possess it.” F. Rochefoucauld (1613 – 1680)

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggets4u.com

“Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper.” –  Adelle Davis (1904 – 1974)

Even though we all need food to survive our relationship with food goes much deeper than that, we have developed this amazing love affair with it. All animals need to eat but we have turned eating and drinking into an art form.

# The senses: Eating and drinking is one of the few things that involves using all of our senses, we can see, hear, smell, touch and taste it. A good meal is indeed a truly absorbing experience.

# Provision: Our ancestors prided themselves in hunting down their food. Feasting on the catch was considered a great celebration, a time to be happy and grateful.

# Preparation: Many people love the act of preparing food, and making a delicious meal can be extremely rewarding.

# Dining/eating out: This is a very sociable thing to do, wether it’s in a posh restaurant or at a roadside cafe. Sharing food and conversation is a very important part of our society.

‘If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.’ – J R R Tolkien (1892 – 1973)

# Diet: Obviously a balanced diet is vital for us to lead a happy life. Modern-day life has made the availability of food plentiful for many of us. The down side to this is that we tend to over eat and under exercise.

However, too much is made of dieting, the more we think about something the more we want to do it.

Food is part of our lifestyle, and as such if we want to lose weight we need to change that lifestyle. Starving the body is no good for anyone.

Small portins eaten often is the key to a healthy diet.

Modern-day lifestyles do not lend themselves to ‘not eating between meals’. Once we accept this we will also accept that we can and will eat many times a day. Thus the smaller the portions the better.

The three square meals philosophy believed in by our parents and grand parents no longer holds true.

Let’s hope we can maintain our centuries-old love affair with food because at the end of the day we should eat to live not live to eat.

‘Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.’ – Mark Twain (1835 – 1910)

Andy.

http://www.wealthnuggegts4u.com

Most of us like to keep our homes looking clean and fresh and irrespective of differing taste there are simple rules we can follow in order to acheive a quality look.

My wife and I are quite fortunate, she has a very good eye for design and I spent the first five years of my career in retail furniture, so together we usually come up with some pretty good ideas.

These are the steps we take when planning the decor for a room:

# Decide on your budget: If you can afford it bring in the professionals, yes it’s more expensive but you will acheive a much better finish, more quickly and it will last much longer. Even if you want to DIY getting quotes doesn’t cost anything and you will pick up some really good ideas.

# Decide on the look you want to acheive: Utilise what is already there but do not plan round things that can be easily removed or replaced. For example, if the room already has solid-wood flooring you would probably want to keep it but don’t plan round existing wallpaper, furniture etc. I personally like the minimalist, clean-line look.

# Colour scheme: Pick a feature colour(s) but use it sparingly, the bulk of the room-colour should be relatively neutral.

# Walls: Dado’s may be a bit dated but they are great if you have pets, top half wallpaper, bottom half painted lining paper. Hence bottom half is easily and cheaply replaced and also you can keep painting it different colours. You can use feature walls in a similar way, but subtle is best, all four walls painted red? – No.

# Furniture: Again, I prefer modern to traditional, I wouldn’t go for something too trendy though because it will date just as quickly, There is a lot of classical furniture out there both modern and traditional that will look just as good in ten years time.

# Protect it: The biggest harmers of furniture and fabrics are pets and sunlight, fit door handles that prevent your pets from gaining entry to a room when you are out. Likewise, fit blinds to protect your suite and other furniture from fading.

# Storage: We all accumulate clutter so it is vital we have plenty of storage space so we can keep it out of view, don’t have a thousand books on display, either get units to house them in or buy a Kindle.

# Flooring: Personally, I like solid wood flooring, with the exception of the lounge we have it fitted downstairs throughout, we paid a lot of money for it but it will last a lifetime. Dark carpets only so they don’t show the dirt and tiles in the bathroom.

# Tradesmen: If you do decide to use skilled tradesmen for kithen/bathroom fitting then select the tradesman first and then the furniture not the other way around. Use store fitters at your PERIL.

# Fixtures and fittings: Finishing touches and light-fittings make a room so I wouldn’t be tempted to skimp on them. However, not everything that looks expensive is expensive, as long as you have some good peices the rest will simply blend in.

# Pictures and mirrors: Big mirrors obviously make a room look bigger, and a couple of big pitures are preferable to lots of smaller ones. Limit the number of family photos, you know what each other looks like.

# Bringing the outside in: Get as much light into the room as possible and paint and decorate with lighter shades. The room will look better and bigger.

# The overall look: If the overall look of the room is relatively neutral it enables you to go a bit crazy in one area ie a brightly coloured suite or lots of colurful accessories and this will give the room impact. A patterned suite on a patterned carpet with patterned wallpaper – NO!

Even if it’s all the same pattern? – STILL NO!

Happy decorating.

Andy.