Housing Rabbits: A Hutch Is Not Enough

A while back now I mentioned that I would write more about the enclosure we have for our beautiful pair of bunny furbabies. They are a larger breed and we couldn’t find anything on the market that we felt offered them enough space, but equally we are not DIY minded enough to make anything secure enough ourselves. So we set about having an enclosure custom – made by a highly rated ebay seller, and gave our exact specifications. We found this to be a relatively cheap option, it arrived very easy to assemble and is great quality construction; just what we need! 

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We didn’t want anything to be able to dig in or out of their new home, so we laid down some wire mesh flooring, secured to the enclosure using cable ties, then covered it over with rolls of turf so the bunnies would be none the wiser! Then we added a shelter, plus some tunnels for them to play and hide in as well. They love their enclosure! 

Step By Step Guide

Measure the wire mesh to slightly larger than the enclosure area and cut it to size. Lay it down flat. Overlap any joins and cable tie them securely.

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Put the enclosure frame on top of the wire flooring, making sure there is an overlap around the edges.

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Secure the wire mesh to the bottom of the enclosure using cable ties. Make sure they are very tight so can’t be chewed and cut off the end being careful not to leave sharp edges.

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Lay rolls of turf over the floor to cover over the wire. Take care to ensure there are no exposed edges or sharp bits of wire anywhere. 

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Shelter and Accessories

We then added a dog kennel from Pets at Home and burrow pipes from runaround for shelter and protection too. We also left the extra roll of turf we had spare in the enclosure as a little hill/ mound as well. We will introduce new things over time for further enrichment of course. 

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The wire roof has a fold back panel opening. Once closed it is secured with padlocks and then partially covered over for extra protection. 

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Final Thoughts

Ideally this would be connected to a shed and/ or have extra adjoining sections. We hope that we can build them an extension soon! However, free range access to the garden under supervision for daily exercise is a good alternative too though. 

Do you have pet rabbits? What type of enclosure do they live in?

How To Tackle Cash Flow Issues

We have all been there; despite doing your best to stay on top of the finances, somehow the money doesn’t quite stretch to your next pay check. Maybe an unexpected expense has cropped up that really cannot wait until the end of the month. Or an unpaid invoice messes up your carefully planned budget. Or perhaps it is simply that an error has occured somewhere along the line. Whatever the reason, realising you have a cash flow problem can be very stressful. Here are some top tips on how to tackle it… 

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Nip Issues in the Bud 

First of all, start trying to address the issue as soon as you realise that your money won’t stretch. If you see a shortfall coming and react immediately, you will have more options and less of a problem than if you bury your head in the sand and wait for the inevitable. 

Immediately cut back on any unnecessary spending – and evaluate what you actually consider to be necessary to ensure it truly is absolutely essential. Even small budget cuts to groceries shopping for example, or walking whenever possible to save petrol money, could help to narrow that gap significantly. 

Also check you don’t have any non-essential direct debits coming out and cancel any you don’t actually need to pay; for example, subscriptions. Although do be aware of minimum notice periods for any cancellations, or potential charges as per contracts, when doing this – you don’t want to find yourself in a different type of financial difficulty instead!

Raise Some Cash – Fast

Next up, try to raise the shortfall money. There are several ways to potentially do this, depending on how fast you need to raise the cash how much you need. Here are some suggestions:

  • Have a clear-out. Sell any secondhand items in good condition that you no longer actually use or need. While sites such as ebay are the obvious first choice for many people, I have personally found that it is actually often quicker and easier to sell on local selling sites via facebook, if your area has one. 
  • Get some extra temporary work. I know this can be a very tough task, and it depends on how much time you have, but it is sometimes possible! Take on extra shifts at work, or enquire about overtime. If this is not an option, you could try temp agencies or online sites like fiverr. Or look into casual work, such as at local bars. You could also just generally ask around to find out if anyone needs an extra pair of (paid) hands for one-off jobs; you never know, you might be asking at just the right time for someone to offer an ideal opportunity! (Note: Make sure you disclose paid work of course!) 
  • Exchange gift cards for cash. Do you have any gift cards that you haven’t yet spent? Assuming you can’t spend them on essentials, try selling them on local selling groups, or sites such as Zeek.

And if all else fails… 

If you have tried and failed to resolve the issue using the advice above, and anything else you might have thought of, then you may feel that it is time to consider borrowing. One possibility might be to ask friends or family, whereas for others this may not be an option, or you might simply prefer not to go down this route. A payday loan, using a credit card if you have one, or extending your overdraft are other options to explore. If the cash flow crisis is due to an unexpected item replacement, buying it on finance may be another option. It is important to compare fees and rates if you do borrow, in order to find the solution that is right for you. And remember to pay the money back as quickly as possible, and most definitely on time, so that you don’t fall further into debt. 

Last But Not Least

Once you have resolved the cash flow issue, try to reflect on what went wrong and take stock of your financial situation. Consider if and how you could try to avoid a cash flow problem happening again in the future. Review your budget and make sure you stick to it. Start a savings account if at all possible; try to put 10% of earnings into it if you can. The more prepared you are for any financial scenario, the less likely you are to get caught out again next time something crops up! (I do realise this is often easier said than done of course!)

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.


Love Your Body: Live Your Life by Shopaholic Adventures (Guest Post) 

“The greatest fear in the world is of the opinions of others. And the moment you are unafraid of the crowd, you are no longer a sheep, you become a lion. A great roar arises in your heart, the roar of freedom.”

– Osho

Fashion is something I’ve always been passionate about, but it wasn’t always an easy hobby to have as a chubby girl in school and college, with limited options to wear to hide my fat.  I never had the confidence to fit into the kind of clothes my friends wore, this was the biggest beauty-anxiety and insecurity, I struggled with throughout my adolescent and teen years. 

I tried my best to loose weight, from GM Diet, aerobics, yoga (inspired by weightloss journey of Kareena Kapoor and religiously doing 50 surya namaskars every day), skipping meals, to diets and more diets and I would be lying if I say it dint loose, I did loose but it was a temporary weight loss and I gained back again within 2-3 months.

But the truth is, I know better – we all know better! Happiness is not a number on the scale. Happiness is from inside, its believing in you, self confidence. I learnt it the hard way after years of diets and exercise, I looked in the mirror and asked myself why I spent so much time hating my wide hips, lack of a thigh gap, thunder thighs, cellulite, stretch marks, thick knees? I asked myself, was wasting time focusing on the outside, worth being trapped in a mental prison of unhappiness on the inside?

“You get to be a beautiful, “flawed,” and perfectly imperfect human being. You can choose to go from being a victim to becoming the hero of your own life story. There is no room for failure as YOU become in charge of yourself!!”

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From that moment on, I made an effort to focus on accepting things about myself I once considered flaws. That was the day I got the confidence to pursue my love for fashion and be a fashion blogger, try new looks and styles and wear what I like. I love to dress up and I do it, I love wearing red and hot pink, and no one can tell me to not to wear as it might make me look fat. Well I say, let it be “that’s who I am. I love myself for who and how I am, and will continue to love myself forever.”

“Your body size will fluctuate but the love you have for yourself will forever remain,

Self-love is unconditional, no rules, no criticisms,

Just over whelming LOVE!!”

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This guest post was written by Praghti Malhotra, Co-Founder and Editor of Shopaholic Adventures You can also find her on Facebook Instagram and Pinterest.

An Interview With Jo Huey: Author of Transition (Book Blog Tour)

Jo Huey is an inspirational speaker, coach and author. She is also an adult child of an alcoholic and shares her personal story of living with an alcoholic father for 16 years and how that has impacted her adult life.

Jo shares her story for two reasons, the first is to connect with those that have been affected so they know they aren’t alone and the second to educate and inform others about this very hidden problem. Within the book, Jo shares several techniques you’ll be able to learn and use in your life if you really want the change you seek.

If you are interested in an inspirational and motivational story, then you won’t be disappointed. Her book, Transition, can be purchased through Amazon*.

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Here is my Q&A with Jo…

What process do you follow for your writing? Are you a planner or do you just let it flow? Straight to PC, or pen and paper?

I started typing in Word straight away, no pen to paper for me. I don’t think my hand would cope with that! I’m a much faster typist, so that was never in question.

I did a bit of planning in terms of topics and chapters, but it wasn’t until after I gave it to my friend to review that she suggested a different format. I started making all sorts of notes on post-its and hanging them from string but it just looked overwhelming, so I reverted back to my writing on the PC.

I broke the chapters down and then added a ‘Time to Reflect’ section after many chapters, which allowed me to explain how I saw the previous chapters in the present. This allowed me to introduce learnings and reflections which would keep the reader engaged.

Do you attend writing/author focused conferences? Which is your favourite?

No I have never attended any writing conferences or any associated events. Recently, I’ve been given details about groups on Facebook which I’ve joined so I can learn and mix with other authors.

How many manuscripts do you have that you never submitted? Will you consider approaching your publisher with them now?

I went through a number of versions with my book and I had a draft printed, but it was never published because my ex boyfriends didn’t agree with the content. I had to redo it before I could self-publish.

What one piece of advice do you wish you received before you started writing? What one piece of intended good advice, wasn’t what it seemed?

I think if someone had suggested getting the right type of person to help with the editing and creation of the book that would have been helpful. I chose someone to edit it who used to be an editor, and was used to taking content out to make it succinct. That didn’t really suit the style of my book – what I needed was someone that knew about storytelling and how to engage with the audience.

Being told to think about the structure was helpful… but also not, at the same time. If you’re new to writing it’s all a mine field and so it’s hard to know what will and won’t work.

What is your favourite thing about the whole writing process?

Once you’ve started writing a book it’s quite addictive and you can see something tangible coming together. For me, because the content was very personal, it allowed me to reflect on things that had happened, which was very interesting.

Was there a particular book that made you sit up and think ‘that’s it, I’m going to be an author too’?

I wouldn’t say a particular book but more a person. I was at a networking event I ran and a lady who attended said to me ‘Jo, you have a story, you should tell it’. That got me thinking into lots of things and that’s basically how I started the book and my business.

Who do you envisage as playing your characters if your book was ever turned into a movie?

There is no doubt in my mind that Reece Witherspoon would play me. She is someone I admire very much. Ever since watching her in ‘Legally Blonde’. I love her attitude and outlook on life and her integrity. She’s a great actress and so clever and I think she’d do a great job as she has done in other real life stories.

What do you consider is your greatest accomplishment?

My greatest accomplishment in my life has to be the transformation I’ve been through. It was one of the hardest and most fantastic things I chose to do. It’s taken courage, strength and determination but it has been worth the investment. My life has changed dramatically and ultimately I’m a more fulfilled, happier and calmer person because of it.

Thank you Jo, for the interview.

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*Amazon affiliate link

10 Reasons To Be Happy

I was tagged by The Mum Diaries to write about ten things that make me happy in celebration of International Day of Happiness. (Yes, I do realise I am very late!) So here goes…

1. My family. Ok, granted, they also drive me crazy and make me want to run away screaming sometimes too. But, you know… balance is everything 😉 They definitely come top of the list! Squiggle in particular needs a special mention here. 💜

2. My furbabies. Also part of the family of course, but they deserve a separate mention. How could I not smile at these little cuties!

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3. Photography. I am by no means an expert, I don’t even have proper equipment, but I really enjoy it as a hobby. It brings out the creative side of me and that makes me happy!

4. Writing/ blogging. I started writing a semi- private blog shortly after Squiggle was born, partly as a journal for those early days as new parent and as a way to share our latest news and developments with family. Over the years, this shifted in focus and naturally evolved; firstly to document our home ed journey then to share our love of nature, before developing it into a family lifestyle blog. I am a self- employed blogger now and am grateful that I can earn a small income from my interests! 

5. Outdoors. I love getting outside in nature, it is so relaxing and helps with my overall wellbeing, and therefore my happiness.

6. Live music. Whether it is at a huge festival or local pub, my favourite band or newbies playing covers, I just LOVE it. Seriously get all the feels!

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7. Nights out. These are fairly rare, like many parents! But having the odd proper night out on the town now and again, catching up with friends (often involving drinking and dancing too!) gives me a chance to let my hair down and socialise. If the night out includes live music, even better!!!

8. My guilty pleasures on TV. Big Brother, Love Island, TOWIE, Made in Chelsea to name but a few…. I can’t help it, I love them!

9. Travel. I want to do more of this. The excitement of new adventures; visiting new countries and exploring new places is something that makes me really happy.

10. Myself. Ultimately happiness comes from within. Looking after my own wellbeing, keeping myself balanced and maintaining my sense of inner peace, all leads to truly being happy.

I now tag Clear and InspiredSo This is Adulthood and From Rachael Claire to write about 10 things that make you happy! 

My Breastfeeding Story: From Latching Difficulties, Mastitis and Exploding Boobs To A Beautiful Extended Breastfeeding Relationship

To mark the end of world breastfeeding week, I am taking a look back at my breastfeeding journey. Here is my story…

I was very determined to breastfeed but our journey got off to a rough start after my c-section. (You can read my birth story here). I found it really difficult to begin with; I couldn’t get the latch right, she was unsettled and fidgety, and I was recovering from the birth. She was fractious and had to have blood tests to check her sugar levels. I was warned she would have to be topped up with formula if things didn’t improve, which left me feeling stressed and upset. I felt as a new mum that my very first choices as a parent were being undermined. If I remember rightly, during my two day stay in hospital I was told several times that the lactation consultant would see me but I don’t recall they did.

Once home, we continued to have lots of problems with latching on. The midwife was bolshy and grabbed at my breast heavy handedly, trying to get her to latch. I felt… well maybe violated is too strong a word… but uncomfortable would be an understatement. It didn’t help. I was ridiculously sore everytime I fed her and so I was recommended nipple shields. I think they may have been helpful and necessary in our case but they also interferred with the natural dynamics of breastfeeding and were fiddly.

She was also jaundiced so we were advised by the midwife that we had to feed every 2 hours around the clock, which meant we weren’t feeding on demand and she got into bad habits of having little and often, and waking frequently. I got mastitis twice, plus we rushed to hospital with an ‘exploding’ boob! (This is not as bad as it sounds; it was just a burst blood vessel. But when my daughter looked up at me with a mouthful of blood that I thought was hers, it gave me a fright that’s for sure!) All in all, our breastfeeding relationship was off to a pretty rocky start!

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I don’t think things really clicked and got easier until after 4 months, which felt like forever at the time! By then, I was also incredibly self conscious about breastfeeding in public because I was finding it so tough to get it right even in the privacy of my own home. My answer to this was to express bottles to use whenever I went out anywhere. This was a good temporary solution for me as it meant I felt confident going out and socialising and I think if I hadn’t have done that I probably would have been more likely to just give up breastfeeding completely, but it probably did prolong the issues in the longer run. 

I was close to giving up many times but it did finally get easier. I was glad I perservered, as I eventually got to experience how natural and easy it can be. Looking back, that difficult time seemed such a distant memory and I could see that those few months were such a short period in the scheme of things.

I ended up extended breastfeeding full term. I would call it self-weaning but in reality it wasn’t because my milk dried up after several years. She easily accepted it though so I guess she was ready, even though it technically wasn’t her choice. 

The bottom line is I did what I felt best at the time, and right for our family. And that is exactly what I think others should do too, regardless of what decision that is.

Reality Rehab by Lisa Mary London – Book Blog Tour

The following is a guest post by Lisa Mary London as part of her Reality Rehab blog tour.

Gloria’s Guilty Addictions

Buxom soap legend Gloria Grayson is headline news again, thanks to her starring role on TV’s biggest reality show, ‘Reality Rehab’ where she’s fighting the flab in front of 10 million viewers.  

And her memoirs of the same name are flying off the bookshelves – adding the title of Author to her impressive resume of achievements!  In a world exclusive, Gloria reveals the personalities and pleasures she can’t live without.

Lipstick

When it comes to make-up more is more, and I’ve often been likened to Marilyn – Manson that is, not Monroe.  I didn’t become Britain’s sexiest soap icon without sporting more slap than Ronald McDonald.  Which reminds me, is it lunch time?

I’m currently starring on reality TV, but I’m not a fan of the genre.  When I started out in showbiz, becoming famous required talent and hard graft.  You had to go to stage school, tour the provinces, sleep with TV executives…  These reality oiks walk into a house full of CCTV cameras and walk out megastars!  The world’s gone mad.

As former star of Britain’s top soap ‘Jubilee Road’, I can’t get from one end of the Waitrose confectionary aisle to the other without a dozen selfie requests.  So along with my mobile, keys and emergency macaroon, I’m never without my scarlet lipstick.

That said, I’m not keen on sneaky paparazzi shots taken when I’m putting out the bins, have accidentally parked in a disabled space, or set the dog on a Sun reporter.

Baby-Girl

My pedigree Maltipoo Baby-Girl is my constant companion and something of an addiction.  It’s spooky how much we have in common:  Both well-groomed, both glamorous and both capable of eating our own weight in banoffee pie.

Baby-Girl’s in ‘Reality Rehab’ with me, on a strict diet and exercise regime.  Before rehab she’d never eaten dog food and weighed roughly the same as a snow leopard, or pop sensation Justin Bieber.

I spoil my little sausage-gobbler rotten, she has a bigger designer wardrobe than I do, and why not?  Some people bitch my Baby-Girl’s a child substitute but they’ve got it all wrong – children are dog substitutes!

Chocolate

My name’s Gloria and I’m a chocoholic.  I could claim I’m devoted to the posh stuff but where cocoa’s concerned, I’m a total tart.  KitKat, Twix, Crunchie, Mars Bars, Snickers… and that’s before I’ve got out of bed!

An unkind lady journalist recently pointed out my curves are a little more generous these days.  Rather ironic, as the tabloid reporter in question was a 16 stone cake monster with a backside that could fill the O2 Arena!

I knew I’s gained weight when my masseuse asked if she could do the other leg next week, and I couldn’t find a Slanket to fit me.  As the saying goes – Life’s a bitch and then you diet!

Perfume

As two times holder of the ‘Rear of the Year’ title, the public could be forgiven for thinking my love life’s as peachy as my rear end.  

No way!  I endured a hellish marriage to alcoholic love rat actor ‘Mad’ Tommy Mack, which was no picnic (Ooh, Picnic bars, I love those!)  If you’ve ever opened a newspaper, you’ll know my ex-husband’s so bad, he should have a bounty on his head.  But that’s another topic (Bounty… Topic… I’m ravenous and I’ve only just had lunch).

We split acrimoniously, over his affair with a certain dyed redhead actress who shall remain nameless.  Oh alright then, Lianna Lowe. I came home one night and found an unfamiliar, budget brand G-string in our bed (Size 16, since you ask).

When your love life stinks, a spray of Chanel No 5 is like a breath of fresh air.

My Diary

I never travel without my diary, as Oscar Wilde famously said, one should always have something sensational to read on the train. And my memoirs are so juicy, they inspired my fabulous new book, Reality Rehab.  

It’s chock full of celebrity gossip and my glamorous pooch Baby-Girl is the cover star, in red bandana and matching designer shades.  Another of my addictions is animal print, and I designed the fabulous pink leopard cover myself. What better handbag accessory could a girl treat herself to than a copy of Reality Rehab – and all for the price of coffee and a cupcake!  Which reminds me, it’s time for my elevenses – Must dash! X

My Zero Waste Haul (with Eco Friendly Bundle Giveaway)

As part of Plastic Free July, I have been making more effort to find new ways to reduce waste in our home. We have been on a journey to consciously gradually reduce our waste, and especially plastic, for a while now anyway but there will always be more action we can take! So I walked around the house, and looked at our current waste and recycling, to come up with an action plan. Then I did some online shopping for zero waste essentials! Here are some of my purchases:

Bamboo Cloths

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I purchased these Cheeky Wipes reusable cloths through Amazon* for multiple purposes. They come in a pack of 25 in five different colours (£17), which is handy for keeping separate cloths for own their different uses/ remembering who they belong to!

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I was disappointed that they arrived in plastic wrapping! However, aside from that I am pleased with them; they are a nice size and wash well.

Bamboo Toothbrush

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I needed a new toothbrush so it seemed the perfect time to opt for a more sustainable alternative than the usual plastic toothbrush! This lovely bamboo toothbrush (RRP £2.75) was kindly sent to me directly from Save Some Green, along with one to giveaway as part of my mini eco bundle too! (See below to enter). It even comes in eco friendly packaging, very impressed!

Coconut Scrub Pads

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Again, the Safix scrub pad (RRP £2.70) was kindly received from Save Some Green and is a super environmentally friendly alternative to usual versions. It is biodegradable and compostable so zero waste.

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Resuable Water Bottle

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Hubby bought this water bottle from a local store recently, which can also be purchased through Amazon: Brita Fill & Go Water Bottle* (£12.37). However, I also know that the Clean Kanteen water bottle (£30) comes highly recommended and is made from stainless steel, so that would have been even better still! 

Food Wraps and Zip Bag

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I purchased this Planet Wise zip bag (£5.95) and Abeego food wraps (£14.95) from Babipur. They are really easy to wipe clean and a very handy alternative to cling film!

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Babipur have also kindly offered these two fab items as a prize for one lucky winner. You can enter via instagram below:

***GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED. WINNER ANNOUNCED IN COMMENTS. THANKS ALL FOR TAKING PART.*** As part of #PlasticFreeJuly I purchased this Planet Wise zip sandwich bag and Abeego wraps, which are so useful 💚 I have now teamed up with @Babipur for one lucky instagrammer to win their very own awesome reusable eco essentials! 😊👍 Prize: Planet Wise zip sandwich bag (caribou bloom design) and a pack of 2 large Abeego wraps. To enter: All you need to do to enter is like this photo, follow me and @Babipur here on IG then tag a friend in comments! T&Cs: Winner will be drawn at random after the closing date. Ends 11.59pm on 12th August 2017. UK residents only (sorry everyone else!) Prize is kindly offered and dispatched by Babipur. Good luck! (My own items are pictured, but prize is the same).

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Reusable Straws

I have already written about my fab straw purchases from Eco Straws, plus it is not too late to enter my giveaway to win a set of bamboo straws too! 
Last but not least…

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Save Some Green have sent me this awesome mini eco bundle for one lucky winner to win! Enter via rafflecopter below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition closes 20th August 2017. Open to UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply. 

5 Ways Gardens Benefit Your Health 

Although most gardeners have long known it, the science confirms it – gardening is good for your health!

And so with scientific data on our side, the time has come to reveal what an hour or two, or a whole afternoon, does to your health; physical, mental and emotional.

rattan direct garden benefits

Gardening reduces stress and anxiety

It’s probably a combination of fresh air, enjoying the sun when it shines and also caring for tender plants and shrubs that make gardening such a great antidote to modern life. Stressful jobs, full social lives and everything we have to deal with can lead to blood pressure rising and a state of stress settling in.

Whilst a little stress may be a good thing, too much has a negative impact on the body; both our physical and mental health. Depression is also an ailment that society is no longer treating as taboo, and studies have also shown that gardening can be part of the solution to managing depression.

The solution is clear for all to see; spending a little time in the garden; either weeding, planting new plants or simply mowing the lawn, will help to lower stress and anxiety levels and benefit your mental health.

Decreases risk of diabetes and heart disease

Who’d have thought it?! Spending time in the garden being active is part of the solution to keeping heart attacks and diabetes at bay.

Of course, keen gardeners have known for some time that gardening can be heavy work. Just think of all the weight you sometimes shift about; the digging and forking over the allotment, the hoeing, the plants and the weeding. Even a brisk mow of the lawn can work up a sweat once a week. Keeping your cardiac system in great shape and your weight in check is done by a variety of means but the best exercise is one that leaves you slightly out of breath and raises your pulse rate a little – and heaving heavy sacks of compost, mowing the lawn, cutting the hedges and so on can all do that!

This point also ties in with the previous point of lowering stress and anxiety too, which is a common cause of heart attacks. Physical and mental health are linked so taking care of your overall wellbeing is essential.

It makes you happy!

There is increasing evidence that the amount spent outside directly correlates with several health and behavioural problems. This is why many specialist schools and educational settings that deal with emotional and behavioural difficulties in children are spending more time out of the classroom, and enjoying settings such as Forest Schools and the like. Of course, it is not the only answer to dealing with behavioural difficulties, depression and feeling fed up but it goes a long way to lift your mood and spirits.

This doesn’t mean you have to work when you are in the garden, either. Why not take half an hour to sit, listen to the sounds of nature around you, the birds sing, admire the flowers, the buzzing bees and other insects that you probably haven’t noticed until now? You could invest in rattan garden furniture, sit back and spend some time in your own green space, no matter how big or small it is, and disconnect from your busy life. Try it for half an hour and see what it feels like.

A tool to stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s?

It has been noted that Alzheimer’s and dementia are the two biggest health issues that will impact on our nation in the coming years. Slowly, the science and medical world are peeling back the layers of these people-robbing illnesses, extending our understanding of both issues. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that various physical activities cut the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in half – and one of the activities that was recognised was gardening. For those suffering from dementia, it has been found that garden-centred therapy is one of the most powerful in reaching and connecting with people.

It helps you sleep better

Finally, maybe it is something to do with all the activity, the fresh air and the mental stimulation of being immersed in nature, plus the reduced stress and anxiety, but being proactive in your garden helps you sleep better. And of course good night sleep is essential for health and wellbeing too!

Gardening is not just about pretty flowers and tasty vegetables. It is an opportunity to enjoy being outdoors, switch off from modern life and enjoy everything that nature has to offer. Along with their customers, Rattan Direct have long known that the garden has magical powers to relax and de-stress the human mind, body and soul. And now the science concurs.

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

A Look into The Middle East Water Shortage

Currently, the whole world is facing possible future water shortages. However, the water demand in the Middle East has soared greatly along with the rise in population and urbanisation. The geographic distribution of the water resources across the Middle East is highly uneven, which is also a concern. Over 80% of the region is desert and receives little or no rainfall at all. Recent occurrences of erratic rainfall and then prolonged drought periods have added a whole new dimension to the problem, most likely because of climate change.

The demand for fresh water in the Middle East has continued to increase at a rapid pace. In order to deal with fresh water management challenges in this region, we should try and bring a balance to both water supply and demand.

Middle East, water shortage, our world, global citizen

Ground water supplies

Lots of areas in the Middle East have a higher water demand compared to the natural recharge of groundwater reservoirs. Ground water quality has also deteriorated due to an influx of saline water from laterally surrounding areas, excessive use of fertilisers and local sewage.

With many countries approaching the limit of water resource development and others reeling under severe supply shortages, the problem of water scarcity is turning into a crisis. Industry experts are of the opinion that policy reforms are required to address demand issues, while addressing supply problems require practicing integrated water resource management.

Wastewater recycling

From an economic and environmental standpoint, wastewater reclamation and reuse makes good sense. It can reduce or eliminate health and environmental hazards associated with effluent discharges. At the same time, it generates an alternative resource and thereby prevents immediate investment in costly water supply schemes (storage, transfer or desalination plants).

Many private sector residential projects and townships too have set-up wastewater treatment plants, in some cases even with tertiary treatment. At the same time, to address the issue of low demand for treated wastewater, several alternative uses are being considered. Jordan and Tunisia’s experience in wastewater reuse suggests application of treated sewage effluent (TSE) for agriculture, forestry and ground water recharge.

Besides this, in the last few years the water demand for non drinking applications such as landscaping, golf courses, district cooling, construction work, etc… has gone up significantly, thereby providing alternative avenues for wastewater reuse. Initiatives are required on behalf of the local authorities to bring in the necessary changes in regulation, redraft guidelines and open up these areas for use of reclaimed wastewater.

Middle East, water shortage, our world, global citizen

Supply and demand

Over the last five decades, supply augmentation has been the central approach to deal with water scarcity. Countries with considerable surface water resources, such as Egypt, Lebanon, Syria and Morocco have focused on building water conveyance and storage structures.

Jordan’s Disi water conveyance project involves a 325-km pipeline being built through the Jordanian desert to Abu Alanda and Dabuk reservoirs. While in the present context, the importance of measures for water demand management and wastewater reclamation and reuse cannot be understated, these may not be sufficient to plug the demand-supply gap. Although  Jordan has wastewater reuse rates as high as 80%, they have adopted highly efficient irrigation technologies (drip irrigation). Jordan’s Disi water conveyance project is one such attempt.

Water is the source of life and the most precious of commodities. You can help by giving to a water charity that gives access to water sanitation and saves lives. One of the biggest challenges that face areas suffering from poverty, famine or drought is the lack of access to clean water for drinking and sanitation purposes. Water is fundamental to life yet even today millions of people, particularly those living in third world countries, have little to no access to it.

*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post.