How to design a great garden.

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How do you define a great garden? Is by the amount of flowers to greenery? It is by the amount of compliments you get? What truly makes a great garden boils down to the simplest definition, which is, a garden that you can maintain and that you enjoy. Sometimes it can take a lot of preparation, or tedious amounts of upkeep, but in the end if you feel that it is worth it, then it is the right garden for you.

Where to begin designing your garden.

The first step in planning out your garden involves measuring out your available space and determining the quality of your soil and unique climate conditions. All of these things will determine the types of plants you can have in your garden. One mistake a lot of people make is when they look through all these thousands of design ideas out there, such as the ones they see on Pinterest or in gardening magazines, and assume they can get the same results. The best place you can get help with your garden plans is a home improvement store that has a gardening department. They can take your information and help you narrow down selections for plants or even give you ideas of what may work best. One you know what will work in your area, then you can sketch out a plan.

Gardens are not always filled with flowers.

Cacti, sand, and rocks can make very beautiful and peaceful gardens that have the bonus of being one of the easiest to maintain. Sometimes gardens are also about simply creating a peaceful setting to rest in. Using a comfortable bench as the focal point in a garden with minimal or easy to maintain flowers can help create a relaxing outdoor getaway with minimal maintenance and maximum relaxation. For others still, the hard work and effort put into grooming a diverse garden filled with various forms of plant life is ultimately relaxing and very rewarding. Everyone is different, just as everyone’s idea of what makes for a great garden. The path to making your garden begins with planning and education, finding out what your options are and finding inspiration in gardens from around the area or other climates as yours, and then making the best choices in plants whose upkeep can match your available time and energy. There is nothing worse than going through all the trouble of creating the perfect garden, if you are unable to maintain it. Keep it simple, personal, and practical.

A History of Sculpture

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Sculpture is the art of moulding or carving a substance of either hard or soft material into something new and interesting. This can be done of clay or wood, and even ice. It is a unique way for someone to express themselves in an artistic fashion. Our history is rich with the sculptures of long dead artists that created breath taking works of art from marble, stone, and many other materials.

The First Sculpture

Carved from limestone more than 25,000 years ago, we have one of our oldest and most famous early sculptures. Venus of Willendorf is a sculpture that not only captures but also emphasizes the swelling curves of the female body. This sculpture was created with the ephasisation of fertility which was tribes of people depended on for survival of our species. Willendorf Venus was discovered at Willendorf in Austria and only stands about four inches tall. More than 100 sculptures of similar forms and meaning have been found in the area and can be found from France to Southern Russia.

Egyptian Sculptures

Egyptian sculptures have been dated as far back as 3100 BC, the Egyptians are considered to be the first civilization that established a recognizable art style. This can be found in the lightly sculpted figures that scatter the culture. One of the earliest sculptures is a relief on a slab in which pharaoh Narmer commissioned to celebrate a victory. This depiction is of the king holding his defeated enemy by the hair and threatening to strike him while a smaller figure carries the king’s sandals. The Sphinx in 2500 B.C is yet another beautiful example as it guards the pyramids of Giza, and the sculptures of Akhenaten and Nefertiti from 1340 B.C. These beautiful sculptures hold a special place in our history.


Although these are just examples of the earliest sculptures, there have been many others that stand out in our history that scatter the globe like the stars in the sky. These sculptures tell us more than the constant evolution of our skills and tools but also what life was like during that time period and the feelings the artist felt as they molded the piece into being. This can easily be said for the statue of St. Mark by Donatello and Michelangelo’s David or St. Peter. These masterpieces ring out as a symbol of the era and the dedication of the artist

How do Children learn in 2014?

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Things have changed since I was at school in the eighties and nineties. Gone are the old BBC Computers and children now have an array of technology to choose from. Such as:

Tablets for schools

Alongside this classroom revolution, comes a plethora of ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’. What if I choose the wrong school tablets? What if teachers can’t integrate them into lessons? What if they get broken or stolen? Which tablet and why?

First, make a plan of action – Before you decide which tablets are right, it’s worth first considering ‘why’ you’re buying them. By this, we mean what are the educational goals you’re hoping to gain by using tablets? And how to you plan to measure these goals?

Many schools rush into buying tablets, such as iPads, without thinking how they work with the school’s present vision, values and ethos. This lack of pre-planning can end in wasted money and some very expensive exercise books gathering dust. This is an interesting article to read –

Not all tablets are created equal – Once you have your plan, it’s a case of deciding which tablets might fit it. But all tablets are not the same. There are many different brands on offer (with different operating systems: Apple, Android and Windows); each could be right for different reasons.So:

Test-drive a tablet – Arrange a tablet demonstration or trial so that you can test-drive the before you buy. Some companies will offer this service such as

The A – Z of educational content – A helping hand to cross the growing world of apps and content.
It can be daunting when looking at the infinite range of content available for your school tablets. Plus, with technology changing so fast, it’s hard to keep on top of the best digital resources for your school. So what are your options?

Free teaching apps – Naturally, to reduce costs to the school, you may want to use as many free applications as possible – a wise choice, there are some excellent apps out there covering KS1 – KS4. But which ones are good quality and which should you avoid? And which are compatible with Android, Apple or Windows?

Single subject apps – These are applications developed around a specific subject, such as French or Maths. There are plenty of good ones to choose from – the problem is, what if one app is better than another and you download the wrong one? And what do you do if you can’t find a good Latin app, for example?

DIY apps – It is possible to create your own apps and digital resources for your school to use via tablets and smartphones. By creating your own content, you can make sure it fits with your school’s teaching pedagogy as well as different learners.

Educational websites – The internet has a wealth of content for your pupils to benefit from.  So much so, that it can be overwhelming for them, and for you. What’s more, some sites may be more appropriate than others.

Teaching with tablets – Just because tablets are used at home by teachers, parents and pupils, doesn’t mean this translates into successful use in the classroom. Indeed, effective teaching with tablets takes preparation, practice and on-going support and guidance. Without it, teachers, governor and parents can become jaded about using technology.

•    Identify areas in the curriculum that are a natural fit for interactivity
•    Help you set day-to-day progress benchmarks
•    Coach pupils to make the most of tablets in the classroom
•    Train teachers to become confident tablet facilitators
•    Show you how to monitor tablets when they’re in use
•    Create boundaries for tablet use in lessons
•    Help you mark pupil’s work electronically
•    Enable you to make new projects and activities
•    Show you how to use tablets collaboratively on whiteboards and projectors
•    Help your students store and organise their digital work


Hostel Review – Safestay in Elephant and Castle.

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I stayed at Safestay in December 2014 for five nights and would rank it the best value place I have stayed in London for years. My room was an 8 bedded orm of which about half were occupied and we had a toilet and shower. It worked out that the room was only £16 per night, which for London is pretty amazing. It was easy to book online at the budget London hostel via their portal and I paid 10% with booking. The hostel is huge and was spotlessly clean, with good facilities. It’s been decorated well, using high quality fittings, and I could tell everything was looked after well.

I did look around at various budget London hostels and even searched on hostelworld, but I’m glad I selected this one.

I found the location ideal as it was next to a tube station and so had great connections by rail, underground and also bus around the city. Elephant and Castle isn’t a great place, but is improving with redevelopment.
My room was bigger than I thought it would be and had plenty of storage and felt secure. The bunks didn;t take up the whole room and I didn’t feel like a sardine! We all had a caged locker under our bed, altogether comfy and safe. One morning the en-suite shower was taken so I went down the hall which had loads of spare showers and toilets. Entry into the room was easy via the keycard, which got me into the reception during the daytime and also via the reception at night which was 24 hours I think.

The facilities were decent, food was available and a bar was too, which was a nice palce to relax and have a drink while browsing the web. The Wifi was free too and surprisingly quick. A free breakfast is included in the price and I had mine at around 7.30 each day but I think it was available earlier too. Standard stuff really, but couldn’t complain as it was free! Cereal, toast etc, which you help yourself too.

So in summary the good things were the free wifi, price, decor and space. The bad things were the surroundings aren’t amazing but that’s all I could fault really.

Thanks for a lovely stay Safestay!

Welsh Properties – Carregfelen a lovely spot

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  • 5 star self-catering accommodation
  • 14th century manor house
  • Terraced gardens
  • Private lake
  • 7 luxury bedrooms (incl. 1 en-suite)
  • 3 bathrooms
  • 2 sitting rooms
  • Dining room
  • Modern kitchen

Carregfelen is a beautiful, stone built 14th century Manor House, situated in a private country estate on the edge of Snowdonia National Park. Close by are the renowned sandy beaches of the Llŷn Peninsula in this ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’.

Recently awarded a 5 star grading by the Welsh Tourist Board, Carregfelen offers a perfect countryside retreat from which to explore and enjoy the very best that Wales has to offer.

This quirky and cleverly restored Manor House provides contemporary comfort whilst retaining many original features. There are 7 luxurious bedrooms, including an en-suite master bedroom and 3 other bathrooms, 2 cosy sitting rooms, a large dining room and a modern kitchen. The house is rented on a self catering basis although there is an excellent local cook available for dinner parties.  The cosy inglenook fireplace is the perfect place to retire for drinks for the evening and with Sky TV, DVD player and wireless broadband, not to mention books, toys and games, there is plenty of evening entertainment for everyone!

The house offers stunning views and a wonderful terraced garden designed by the legendary architect and landscape designer, Sir Clough Williams-Ellis, whose famous Italianate village, Portmeirion, is close by. The grounds are surrounded by ancient oak woodland, which is great for walking and wildlife watching. There is even a private trout-stocked lake, where you can arrange to do some fishing.

The local area also provides plenty of activity and is great for hiking, climbing and cycling trips, as well as the excellent sailing and water sports centres of Pwllheli and Abersoch nearby.  Perfectly situated, Carregfelen is close to the busy harbour town of Porthmadog and the rural village of Pentrefelin. It is also only a short drive away from the pretty seaside town of Criccieth, with its splendid castle and sandy beaches.

So why wait? Call today and book the perfect Welsh retreat …


What Should You Look For In A Good Care Home

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There are two reasons as to why you might need a care home for a senior. It’s possible the senior needs a measure of assistance, but not so much that they require a nursing home. Your interest in locating a good care home may also be due to budget limitations. The average costs of a care home facility can range anywhere from fifteen-hundred to three thousand dollars a month. With this thought in mind, you can begin to look for a worthwhile care home in your area. You have two options, either go national from a company such as BUPA or go local from a small provider such as Janes Care Group.

Finding A Care Home

Given that the senior you’re seeking care home assistance for is naturally important to you, finding the right care home comes down to keeping a certain criteria in mind:

  • How large is the facility? A care home is typically a single-home unit that has been converted into a facility capable of caring for several people. The size of a care home can range from the size of a small home that houses four or five people, to a large dwelling that cares for dozens and dozens of individuals. A good care home comes down to understanding what will work best for your senior’s needs and comfort.
  • What is the reputation of the care home? How long have they been in business? Most care homes are privately owned, so do some online research on the facilities in your area that you’re interested in. If you know someone who has a senior in a care home facility, ask them about that particular facility. A good care home will be routinely inspected by government regulatory organizations.
  • What services does the facility offer? Different care homes offer different things. Some care homes will give their residents low-level medical care and medication distribution. Others provide group activities and assistance in daily activities. Others still simply offer companionship. Knowing what your senior is going to require will ensure you find the best care home possible.
  • What is the condition of the facility? You’re obviously going to want to visit the facility yourself. Look for a place that’s clean, offers just the right amount of interaction with the staff, promises the room accommodations you require, features plenty of bathrooms, includes residents who enjoy being around each other, and maintains high standards in how the grounds and overall facility is cared for.

It goes without saying that your senior deserves the highest level of care possible. You shouldn’t settle for anything less than that.

Best UK Places to Visit in a Hired Car

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There are many wonderful places to visit when you go to the United Kingdom and it may be hard to take them all in when you take your vacation there.  However, one way to see as much of the area as you can is to hire a car and hit the open road.  With Scotland, England and Wales all within close proximity to each other, you can easily drive to many of your vacation destinations.

In Wales, you can take the A494 from Wrexham to Bala and see many beautiful sites around the way.  By taking A487, you will pass through Cader Idris, which is the country’s second largest mountain, and you can visit Dolgellau by going on the A470, which is a pretty little market town.  The road curves along lush green valleys and many scenic visits.  Once in Bala, after rejoining with the A494, you will drive along side their three mile lake.  This road trip is about 29 miles.

Take a journey on The Norfolk Coast to see all manner of great scenery during this 70 mile jaunt.  Starting at the cliffs at Hunstanton, take the A149 toward the town of Great Yarmouth.  You can stop at Burnham Market for some shopping and then take a boat trip Blakeney, which will pass through the scenic Norfolk Broads.   You will pass several naturally beautiful spots, such as the medieval bridge crossing over the River Thurne at Potter Heigham.

Taking a trip to the Isle of Man will be will worth the visit when you take the family on a loop around this island.  Driving is the best way to see the unspoiled natural beauty of this small country.  Start at the town of Douglas and drive the loop around the island, stopping at Peel Castle, which is near Peel Harbour.  You can also take a loop around the TT course for those will more adventurous appetites.

Journeying to the Scottish Highlands, you can take the road from Inverness to Durness, which is a 194 mile trip.  You will enjoy the beauty of the scenery as you curve along mountain passes on the A832.  If you pick up the A835 at Dundonnell toward Ullapool, you will enjoy the drive along the scenic coast.  Pass Ledmore Junction to the A894 and see the Kylesku Bridge.  You can carry on to Durness and the northern point of Cape Wrath as the route ends.

Good Chairs for Back Pain

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Back pain can be an inconvenience for anyone. Sometimes it is a reminder that we are getting old and that our bodies aren’t what they used to be. People who have hurt their back or experience regular back pain beg for any type of relief. In order to obtain this relief, you should be knowledgeable about what affects your back pain and what you can do to ease the pain a little. One of these factors to consider is the chair you sit in. The way we sit effects our posture which can either agitate back pain or take some of the pressure off.

We sit in different chairs for different occasions, so if you are in the market for some chairs, you should look into chairs that are good for back pain. Most people enjoy coming home from a long days work and relaxing in their recliner. Recliners have no direct to back pain, however, they do help your body relax. If your body and muscles are relaxed, you are bound to feel less tension in your back. So perhaps it would be wise to invest in a comfortable recliner.

Office chairs for work should be well padded with an adjustable back. When you sit with your chair at a 90-degree angle you are properly supporting your back and avoiding nerve pain from flaring up. Most people assume that soft cushioning is best for a sore back, but that is a common misconception. When choosing the padding for your office chair, you want some firmness that is going to support your back while sitting with good posture. Slouching puts pressure on your back, which can flare up any nerve damage.

There are lines of ergonomic chairs that are designed strictly for restricting back pain. These chairs are designed for every room to assist your body by sitting naturally obtain good posture. Many people have seen vibrating chairs in the mall, but never give them a shot. These chairs are a fantastic relief for back pain. Ergonomic chairs that vibrate give your back the sensation of a good back adjustment from a chiropractor or someone massaging it. For help in finding a comfortable chair for your office contact Apex Office interiors.

When looking for a good chair to help relieve some of your back pain, you may want to look into stores that focus on ergonomics. These stores are going to be staffed with knowledgeable people that will be able to assist you in purchasing the best chair for your type of back pain. There are chairs we sit in for short periods of time that you could consider adding back pieces to such as your kitchen table chairs. Posture is everything, poor posture can cause back pain and can agitate back pain that already exists. When selecting a chair, try it out and keep your posture in mind. Sitting in good posture is uncomfortable at first, but chairs that assist in forming good posture have positive results in the long run that will keep you free from pain.

Building restoration & conservation

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You only have to look at older buildings which have been made of stone to know just how beautiful that they are. The problem is, many of these have slowly begun to deteriorate and are in need of a good restoration, without that then these beautiful buildings will lost be time. Buildings such as this are the perfect building to buy, not only are they beautiful, but they are also cheap. However, you need to have a bit of information first about what types of stone are available for building restoration, so let’s take a little look.

The reason why stone buildings start to deteriorate is down to mosses and other things growing on the stone structure. This will eventually cause the structure to weaken and the stone to become much more brittle. These brittle stones will need replacing with a like for like stone, something which a building restoration company should be able to help you with. For the stones that are not quite so brittle a company will carry out a sterilisation process on them using a special solution that they have made up. This will destroy any organisms that are living on the stone still, which of course will bring the stone back to life. The restoration process may also involve spraying protectants onto the stone in order to protect it for as long as possible. In only a few cases will the stone actually need replacing, more often than not it can be cleaned up pretty well using these cleaning techniques.

Structural integrity will also be increased on the building using a variety of different techniques, the ones used will depend on how ‘damaged’ the building is. For example, they could use wire mesh or anchor bolts to deal with the problem.

Without looking at a building it is difficult to know which stones have been used to build it, after all, in the past it was a case of taking whatever stone was available to build the property. However there are a few stones which appear time and time again for a company that deals with stone building restoration and building conservation.

Igneous Rocks are incredibly coarse and have been formed from crystalized rocks that have been affected by magma. This category of rocks includes granite and diorite.

Sedimentary Rocks are incredibly common for older buildings, and sadly they are quite weak materials. These come from various layers and were formed many millions of years ago underneath the seabed. These types of rock include limestone, sandstone and mudstone.

The final type of rock is metamorphic, although you don’t see this too often in building construction nowadays. This type of rock comes from the previous two categories being changed by intense levels of pressure and heat. This includes marble and slate.

If you have a stone building that at the moment has had no restoration work carried out on it, then you should do it as soon as possible. It is best to sort out a problem before it ends up occurring, if you let the moss eat away at the stone then you are compromising the structural integrity of your building in the future.