It's A Nice Day For A Green Wedding: How To Make Your Big Day Eco Friendly


There is no escaping it; weddings are renowned for being expensive and wasteful. From travelling to the amount of food that is wasted and the flowers that are ordered months in advance. Confetti and wedding favors that are scattered or left by the guests. We often don’t think about the impact our weddings have on the environment, so if you are trying to live your life more sustainably, is it possible to create a big impact, green wedding? 

It all starts with the location. While getting married on a beach with all of your family there to support you does sound lovely, the emissions spent getting everyone to your location makes the whole affair pretty damaging to the environment! It’s unlikely all of your friends and family are going to live in your local area, but finding a venue which involves the least amount of travel for everyone is an excellent way of reducing the emissions and cutting back on your wedding’s carbon footprint. 

You also need to speak to the venues and find out how they work. Do they recycle? How do they deal with food waste? If they are catering for you - do they source local ingredients? If they don’t already, then you may be able to ask them to make a few changes to your wedding, so the eco-friendly theme continues. If you want to really add some eco points then find out what cleaning products the venue uses too. It’s going to be hard to hold an utterly sustainable wedding, so find out the small details may allow you a little room to move on more tricky supplies. 

Flowers are a huge part of your wedding day, and while most bouquets and table decorations get taken back and used in your home, you still need to consider where your flowers are coming from. Ask your florist if all your wedding arrangements can be made from local flowers that are in season. They will be able to provide you with plenty of options. Wild meadow flowers look stunning in a bouquet, and you could use leaves from shrubs or even trees to fill it out. Another option would be to use potted flowers and herbs for your table arrangements. These can then be reused or planted in your home—a beautiful memory from your big day. 

Most brides will want to buy their own wedding dress. This is so personal to a wedding that often you need to go with a completely new design. However, you could talk to a wedding dress designer about creating something from a vintage dress. Alternatively, after the big day, you could sell your wedding dress. This will mean someone else could share in the beautiful memory of your wedding day and it helps to recycle something instead of holding on to it in a cupboard. If you aren’t keen on the idea of saying goodbye to your beloved dress, why not look at having it made into pillowcases or cushion covers. Decorative pieces that will be a lasting memory but repurpose one of the most significant wedding expenses.

If you are looking to reduce the environmental impact of your wedding, then the meal you serve on the big day, matters. While many would argue that a full vegan menu would be the ultimate eco-friendly offering, some of your guests might feel you’ve gone a step too far. Instead, make all of the ingredients locally sourced and also look at local vineyards for your wine. It may cost you a little more, but if you keep the courses simple and let the food showcase itself, then you could end up with something extraordinary. 

Finally, you need to look at how you decorate the wedding. It was in fashion to let off sky lanterns, but these are terrible for the local wildlife. Balloons being let off are also damaging to the environment. Treat the venue like a set design; you could use old wooden pallets with non-toxic candles and beautiful potted herbs. Adding some colour with eco-friendly throws and rugs. 

Don’t forget the confetti and wedding favours. You can buy seed bombs from your local flower shop. These can be taken home and planted in the garden. Allowing your guests to have a memento of the day and enjoy it for years to come. For confetti you could use birdseed, while this may sound like a strange thing to have thrown at you after you tie the knot, it’s actually a fantastic way of enriching the environment. 

*Photo via Pexels

Tips For Going To University For The First Time

Going to university is an option to consider when you’ve come out of education and want to go into further education. It’s not simply for those who are a lot younger, but many different ages can end up going when they’re looking to learn something new. Here are some tips for going to university for the first time.

Make Sure Your Accommodation Is Sorted
You firstly want to check on your accommodation, if you’re moving away to study at a university. This is one of the most important things to do because you want to get the best options that are available to you. You can click here for student accommodation, for example of the type of accommodation you can come to expect when it comes to university living. There are lots of different options, and it all depends on what the university has to offer. Some merely have the same style of residential halls, but some might offer more private living options. This can be helpful if you’re someone who doesn’t fancy the social aspects of university life and wants somewhere a little more private and perhaps away from the campus. Explore what’s available for the university you’re going to and make it a priority for your list of things to do. 

Look At Your Funding
Funding is an important part of your university life because if you’re moving away to study, you’re going to need to be able to budget your money wisely. It can be a difficult thing to do if it’s something you’re not used to doing, and there can often be overspending involved which leads to you running out of money too quickly. Have a look at the funding that’s available for your time at university and make considerations for earning extra money before you end up going. The funding you have might not be enough, and therefore, it’s worth looking at your other options.

Make The Most Of Your First Year
The first year of your university is the best year when it comes to doing the standard three or four year course. It’s the year that you can maybe afford to have a little bit more fun with university life and perhaps take advantage of the social life that comes with it. Not only that, but it’s a chance to explore new friendships and to get to learn new hobbies or sports that you might want to do on the side of studying. Keeping yourself busy outside of studying is important. 

Stay Organized With Your Workload
And finally, it’s good to stay organized when it comes to going to university. There’s a lot of independence that you can gain from going to university if you’re young and it can also be a good way of getting back into an organized state if you’re an adult. Make sure you’re keeping yourself in good form when it comes to your workload.

Going to university for the first time is certainly a life-altering experience, so have fun!

*Contributed by Sam Jones. *Photo Image Source

Here's What To Know About Making Deliveries During A Lockdown


Are you currently completing deliveries through the coronavirus pandemic? You might have seen a surge in demand for your business as of late. More people will certainly be staying in and ordering to get products delivered straight to their door. However, it is important that you don’t make any critical mistakes here. You need to ensure that you are able to run your company the right way free from trouble. So, let’s look at some of the possibilities that are going to make the most sense.

Social Distancing 

It is important to make sure that you are social distancing when completing deliveries. You need to work to guarantee that both your customers and your employees remain safe. This could be as simple as ensuring that they know how to complete deliveries the right way. For instance, where possible there should be no reason to make direct contact with customers. Instead, packages can be left outside the door or in a safe place. This should be made clear to the customer before the package is delivered. You will also need to make sure that social distancing is part of proceedings, during every part of the supply chain in your company. 

Don’t Get Caught Out 

You could certainly find that at least a few of your vans are stopped on the road. Now, if you are making deliveries, then you will have a valid reason to be on the road and so will your employees. However, it’s still the worst possible time to be caught out in other areas. This is why you need to make sure that you do have van insurance. You can use something like one sure compare the market services to find the right price here. Your MOT should also be up to date unless it was due after the lockdown was put in place. 

Keep Costs Tight 

You do need to make sure that you are keeping a check on costs when running a company at a time like this. It’s important that your price doesn’t balloon out of control because if this happens, then you could be in a difficult situation after the lockdown ends. 

Don’t Forget Quality 

Finally, you do need to make sure that you are delivering a quality solution to your clients. It’s important that you don’t end up in the wrong position here with a lot of customer complaints and issues. This is going to hurt your brand. While demand may be high right now, your customers could still easily turn towards your competitors to explore whether they are offering a better service. It’s important to make sure that you are showing your clients that they are right to trust you for the deliveries that they need. 

We hope this helps you understand how to run your delivery business the right way during this new health crisis. It is unlikely that the world is going to change that quickly so some of these measures are going to be in place for longer than most people would like to believe.

*Header photo - Pexels Source CCO License

Top Tips For Buying A Property Abroad

Buying a property is stressful enough when you’re buying it in the country you live already. Buying a property abroad is even more of a challenge, whether you’re planning to move abroad, buy a vacation home for yourself, or buy an investment property to rent as a home or a vacation let. If you’re buying a property that is in a country that you aren’t in it's hard, but not impossible. You need to do a lot of research before you buy, to make sure you’re making the right choice. 

  1. Ask a lot of questions about where the property has been built before considering it too seriously. For example, you need to know if the land the property has been built on should have been set aside for land agriculture or a green belt. Does the land have a history of flooding or other problems? Make sure you know about potential problems before you start the process of buying anything. 
  2. Bring in an independent lawyer to help you and to give you advice. Ideally, you want this lawyer to speak both English and the local language of the country you are buying in. If you’re buying real estate in a foreign country, then it will help a lot to have someone locally who can help you to understand local laws and make sure you aren’t being ripped off. A local lawyer can also help you to avoid any potential permit issues that you might miss. 
  3. Research the area. You want to know plenty about the location you’re planning to buy a property in so you aren’t caught out with any nasty surprises later on. You should find out if the area is known to experience earthquakes or volcanic activity. Do some research into what the neighborhood is like to live or stay in too. Is it noisy overnight? Is it considered to be a safe area? Is traffic a problem? All of these things could impact your ability to let the property if you’re buying it as an investment, as well as impacting your own enjoyment of it if you’re buying for you. 
  4. Look into the planning permission requirements in the local area. If you want to make any changes to a condo you’re buying, then you’ll need to know what kind of licenses and permissions you will need in order to do so. Your property may also need proper licenses to allow you to live there. Make sure you do this research thoroughly. If you don’t have the right permissions in place, then you may not be able to live in your property legally or set up things like utilities. 
  5. In some areas, poor construction can be a big problem. To avoid being caught out by bad construction, always get a valuation from a professional surveyor who is informed about the country you’re buying in. Even a new build should be checked over to make sure there aren’t any problems. Have the property checked for poor soil, insufficient foundations, substandard building materials, or questionable building locations like flood areas. 
  6. When you’re buying a property abroad, you will need to have an understanding of what you need to do with contracts. In many areas, you will only get one contract in the local language, which can mean you’re signing things without really understanding what you’re signing. To make sure what you’re signing is clear to you, you should get a professional translation done. If you get a copy in the local language, and the second copy in English, make sure you get the translation checked so you know the two copies actually do match up. 
  7. If you’re planning to buy an investment property in order to rent it out, either as a home or a vacation let, you need to think about how you will manage the property. Make sure you’ve factored in the cost of maintaining the property into your budget as well as the cost of just buying it. Are you going to manage the property yourself or are you going to employ a managing agent to look after it for you? A local managing agent is a good idea if you don’t live in the area, as they will be able to handle things like lost keys or repairs that are needed without you having to travel, saving a lot of time. Make sure that you can earn enough profit from renting your property out to cover the costs of hiring this management agent. 
  8. Think about other costs. If you’re buying the property to rent out, you will need to spend some money on it to make repairs and refresh it as wear and tear begins to show. How often you need to do this will vary on the kind of let you choose. A vacation let is likely to need more attention. As guests will only be staying in it for a short time, they’re less likely to worry about taking care of it. The high turnover of people staying there is likely to cause more wear and tear, so you’ll need more repairs, and therefore, more money spent on it. 

If you’re buying a property abroad, then it is very important to do a lot of research beforehand. Without proper research, it’s easy to accidentally get stung by not understanding the local laws or the permits you need. Don’t attempt to buy a property without bringing in a local lawyer to help you. You need to work with someone who speaks the language, so they can negotiate for you, translate contracts, and help you to understand everything you’re signing, the permits you need, and anything else that is confusing you about the sale. Don’t rush into any decisions. Buying any property should always be taken seriously, but this is especially true of buying a property in another country, as it can be very easy to get confused by local laws, and of course, it’s harder to arrange viewing any properties at all.

*Contributed by Sam Jones. *Image - free for commercial use

5 Ways You Could Be Ruining Your Sleep Pattern (And What To Do Instead)

You will understand the benefits of a good night's sleep, of course. 

By getting the recommended amount of z's (between 8-9 hours), you will benefit your health, be more productive in your day, and be less of a danger to yourself and others because you will be more alert to what is going on around you. 

With the above in mind then, we hope you had a good night's sleep last night! But if you didn't, and if you woke up today feeling less than refreshed, there could be some very good reasons why. And in some cases, it might be that you are (partly) to blame. 

Below are just some of the reasons why you could be responsible for your poor sleeping pattern.

#1: You haven't changed your mattress in a while

According to the National Sleep Foundation, a mattress will last for about 8 years. After that time, the comfort level will be decreased because of sagging lumps, (potentially) bust springs, and a gathering of dust and dirt that can hinder your breathing ability. So, if your asthma has been playing up in the night, or if you have woken up with stiff joints, you now know the possible reason why. 

Tip: Turning your mattress over will help, for a time. Giving it a good vacuum will also help, as this will get rid of the surface layer of dirt (and any dust mites). But if you haven't replaced your mattress in quite a long time, then perhaps now is the time to check out online mattress reviews as research for a replacement.

#2: You eat a large meal before hitting the pillow

How about a lovely bowl of spaghetti? Or how about a large pizza and a plate load of chips? Tasty, right? Sure, but not right before bedtime! Yet many of us do eat large meals before hitting the pillow, perhaps because we are hungry after a night on the town, or because we have come home late from work and need to eat something. But here's the thing. If you're guilty of this, you won't sleep very well. A large meal will sit heavily on your stomach and you might experience heartburn too. The chances of you sleeping well are slim.

Tip: Eat earlier in the evening, as you will then give your food time to digest. But if you do feel hungry at bedtime, eat those foods that will induce sleep instead of those that will disrupt it. There are some ideas in the linked article, so have a read, and add them to your bedtime menu. 

#3: You have one last cup of coffee before going to bed

Just one more cup of coffee won't hurt, right? Wrong! Not only will you be getting up to go to the loo if your bladder is full, but as the caffeine in coffee acts as a stimulant, your mind will be buzzing too. Caffeine can also reduce your quality of sleep, as you are less likely to fall into a deep, relaxing slumber. So, ditch the coffee, and ditch any other kind of caffeinated drink when you're getting ready for bed, as you will have a better night's sleep if you do. 

Tip: If you're not thirsty, don't have a drink at all. You can then cut out an extra trip to the bathroom in the middle of the night. But if you do want something to drink, have a cup of cocoa or warm milk, or any of these other drinks that will help you sleep

#4: You scroll through Facebook when you're in bed

If you're more than a little addicted to screentime, you might be tempted to sit in bed with your phone. After all, you might just miss out on a wonderful post. How else will you know what your best friend is planning to eat for breakfast the next day? How else will you know what she is thinking just before she settles down for the night? These are matters of utmost importance! And away from Facebook, you might also play Candy Crush or whatever else people are playing these days on their phones, and you might be tempted to watch a late-night movie on your phone, tablet, or TV too. By doing any of these things, however, you are disrupting your internal clock, so it will be harder for you to get to sleep. And especially if you are scrolling through social media, you might read something that disrupts your thoughts when you finally hit the pillow.

Tip: Reduce all screentime an hour or more before bed. Use your time to do those things that are guaranteed to rest and relax your body and mind. So, you might read a book, for example, or meditate, or write into a journal to vent any thought that might cause you to dwell on something when you're trying to sleep. 

#5: You sleep during the day

When you're tired during the day, you might be tempted to close your eyes and take a nap. On the one hand, this is okay, as long as you're not at work or driving your car! Some people are able to take naps in the day without facing much of a problem when trying to sleep at night, so fine. However, if you are struggling to sleep, and you have been napping during the day, then you might want to consider your lifestyle. 

Tip: If you can get a good night's sleep, then you will have less need to nap during the day, as you should be less tired. However, if you are tempted to hit the snooze button early on in the day, do something to refresh your energy levels. Take a walk, get some fresh air, exercise at home, and try one the linked methods to combat tiredness. By taking such steps, you should sleep better at night. If you still struggle to sleep, you might want to book an appointment with your doctor in case there are any other issues that could be affecting your energy levels.

Thanks for reading!

*Header photo (Pexels CC0)

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