Winter and colder months - Christmas present eventually?
This Ohhio knitted blanket by Anna Mo seems the perfect matching present...
Made of 100 percent merino wool.
Some families seem to step away from the totally brainwashed cities and urban pollution to live a more down to earth life.
It is a chosen lifestyle. Maybe the same way that some individuals decide to become vegetarians or vegans?!
There is no real restriction.
Dog owners are like everyone else, they are after something new in order to have more fun than the usual walk in the park or playing with a ball.
What about running with your dog on a short or long distance? Dog friendly races do exist - check this site http://irondoggy.com/pages/organized-runs for all information and news.
Things can go the other way too; relaxing and yoga classes. Apparently "doga" is about yoga for dogs!
Traveling with your pet is also another option as there are dedicated pet friendly hotels and you can found a list HERE.
Dog friendly holidays are on the rise because no one wants to leave their beloved friend alone or in an expensive kennel for a few days or weeks.
In big cities such as London, dog friendly flats are becoming rare, difficult to find and getting very expensive when available. http://www.letswithpets.org.uk/ specializes in such requests.
...Mayfair-based agents EJ Harris say 10 years ago hardly any of their of their London tenants had dogs but today the figure is around 30%... Source
As landlords want to make sure that potential tenants and their dog(s) are well behaved a "pet CV" can be required (precise description of the pet with key facts regarding behaviour, health and grooming).
There is also the high deposit which can reach £25,000. These are for flats located near Hyde Park and Regent's Park.
So, why suddenly people want to get a dog? It is a bit of a trend linked to celebrities. George Clooney's wife for instance has been seen walking little pooches and automatically, people are after the same kind of things.
Whatever is on television and published in magazines, it will attract the attention. Fans/supporters like to associate themselves with VIP. It gives them a boost and a feeling of confidence maybe?!
Having a dog is fashionable again, which can be rather shocking as an animal shouldn't be considered as an accessory or object. Sadly, the 21st century is all about the look and image.
If you remember a few months back, Prince George was seen wearing Crocs (Crocs Kids's navy blue Crocband shoes) and within no time retailers sold out of that particular model.
It is about being like others who have a comfortable and safe lives. But why can't we be more individualist rather than following what people are doing?
Whenever it is time to go away for a break, people seem to struggle to find an exciting destination.
It is not because you are going far that your holidays will be better than a friend cycling a few miles to live in a tent for ten days or so.
It all depends on what you are after.
Some want the sun, others prefer adventure and breaking that routine which is like a comfort zone for most part of the year.
Going back to your roots is sometimes great fun. Putting away electronic gadgets and connected devices to actually live your life without alerts, notifications, emails and irrelevant tags.
All those can be useful but how many minutes or hours a day are you wasting by just checking what other people are saying about celebrities? Will it affect your life if you don't know that such or such person has a new tattoo, haircut, car or mansion with swimming pool...etc?
Also a budget is necessary if you decide to go abroad. However, by staying in your own country (commonly known as staycation), there is less stress related, because everything is at your doorstep.
Exploring and discovering your own County and/or Country is maybe something to consider. Why going somewhere else when in fact you don't even know the region next to yours. There are various attractions to visit and just enjoy a walk through wonderful landscapes. Nature is something unique but it is taken for granted.
As so many people write on Instagram "outside is free", why not go for it. A day on your bicycle will bring you infinite satisfaction and a lot of memories without spending a Pound!
Holiday parks can be another alternative if you do not wish to spend your nights under a tent.
Whether it is cloudy or rainy you will be well sheltered in those holiday homes. Moreover those private parks have, in general, a full structure such as a local news agent, restaurant/canteen and other amenities.
Renting a luxury lodge or even investing into such holiday accommodation to then let, throughout the year, is becoming more popular.
So much so that from 25th to 27th September 2015 there is an exhibition at Beaulieu Home to National Motor Museum dedicated to Holiday Park & Homes Show!
...The show will feature the latest caravan holiday-homes (static caravans) and lodges from nine British manufacturers, with many other exhibitors ranging from holiday parks in the UK and overseas, to decking manufacturers and insurance firms... Source
And why not visit such estate to enjoy other attractions as well - http://www.beaulieu.co.uk/attractions/ - something worthwhile.
Going away from home for a few days with minimum luggage gives a sense of simplicity and suddenly you realise that everything which is on display in shop windows is not that necessary in our lives.
The way items and goods are on show, can be compared with a sort of subliminal message "you need to purchase this".
For some reasons, there is a need to have... maybe because it looks good. High-tech and electronic gadgets are driving individuals to buy and buy more. Some people are addicted: they own tablet, laptop, desktop, smartphone and all are synchronized and connected.
Imagine living without those devices? Some have issues to cope. Something is missing and there would be a time to "adapt and adjust". A kind of jetlag related to our modern era.
Sometimes it is good to disconnect - reading a real book and getting in touch with nature is so easy, yet so difficult!
Norway is a Country and a Land where there are still a few marvels... its architecture is just wonderful.
The year 872 is when Norway started out as a Kingdom.
Fortunately, some buildings have been saved and are still standing.
To stop the stereotype, it is not just about fjords and vikings... or blonde people!
During the 1970s and 80s, a few if not a lot of clothes had the mention of "acrylic" on the inside label.
Usually pullover and sweatshirts would be not as soft as they are nowadays.
Acrylic was the material of that time - a bit like formica for kitchen tables and chairs. It was durable laminated plastic which could resist shocks and stains. Then furniture fashion and trends changed for wood tops and then stainless steel or glass, without forgetting marble or granite.
Acrylic has not disappeared. In fact, it seems that it is part of the engineers' secret toolbox.
Have you heard of tesa 4965? Indeed tesa, the adhesive tape - "...a tackyfied acrylic adhesive...".
Tesa is now part of the aviation sector - and this is not about toys or models but real full size planes.
Remember a few weeks back (May 2015) when someone spotted something rather odd on an EasyJet passenger plane?
In this case, this is called "speed tape" very resistant too.
...aluminised pressure-sensitive tape used for minor repairs on aircraft and racing cars until a more permanent solution can be found. Resistant to water, solvents, flames, UV light and heat the tape can also be used to repair bullet damage to combat aircraft... Source
Overall, people like to know what is exactly going on and why tape is used to fix the structure of a plane. Questions are emerging: is it safe to fly with a piece of tape to hold things together? Knowing that an airplane has to face pressure and extreme temperature too!
But, it is not normal material... even if it looks basic. Its texture and components are made to last whatever the weather.
When you think that some manufacturers are producing promotional acrylic coasters made to resist the heat of a cup of tea/coffee, it clearly shows that it is a versatile synthetic fibre.
Of course, there might be a difference between high-tech acrylic tape and the one used to make beermats. Meanwhile, it is to show that some "old tricks" can still be used in the 21st century where everyone believe that digital technology is the way forward!
"Never say never" is still applicable!
People are always after new bits of technology and digital devices. What about natural & durable material such as wood and ceramic?
No one wants vintage wood toys! Or if you give this to your child, he/she will look at you as if you are from another planet. When you think that even toddlers get their own tablets to play games or even connect with their grandparents on Skype!
Do we not appreciate simple and beautiful things anymore? Are we ignoring the nature around us?
It is as if receiving a present which is not "connected" or "wearable high-tech" was shameful. Some have been dreaming for that Apple iWatch.
So now, lets look at something like ceramic. Indeed this is what is used by potters to make cups, saucers and other plates. We can also find a few ceramic coasters in offices as promotional gifts. Meanwhile, Formula1 and cycling can also use ceramic for its resistance and durability.
For the F1 it is about the incredible brakes.
Cyclists can have some ceramic bearings by CeramicSpeed.
...Each bearing is individually manufactured for its specific application. CeramicSpeed bearings have a lifetime which is 4-8 times longer than traditional bearings...
Who would have thought so?!
Tom Staniford C3 para-cyclist is using and testing this magical and incredible product.
If you speak about having such accessory on you bicycle next to your smartphone to track your speed and all the Strava App results, people may laugh because... ceramic can be seen and perceived as a rather simple and almost forgotten material.
Nowadays, cycling is mainly associated with kevlar and carbon. Of course, there is a cost for quality and reliable parts. Same goes for helmets. People must understand that headgear is important and something with a price tag of 20 Pounds won't be as good as an item at 75 Pounds. Security and safety is essential when you take your bicycle. There shouldn't be any hesitation to buy a more expensive helmet as there is a guarantee of getting a better protection.
What we all want is something with a seal of approval and manufactured with care. It is understandable that no everyone has the same budget when it comes to invest in a car, motorbike or bicycle. A cheap(er) purchase will - in most cases - not last for long.
Sometimes it is worth either saving for a little longer to reach the correct product or just be patient until the perfect second-hand item is available.
Fashion can be a tricky thing. Whatever is designed for a collection - usually displayed at London Fashion Week - becomes the clothes to wear... in order to be fashionable.
There are various textiles available and sometimes it can be surprising what the fashion designers of haute couture come with.
Some alternative and innovative options can come forward. As an example, Carmen Hijosa is the entrepreneur behind the new textile Pinatex. It feels like leather but it is a material way more natural. To discover and read all details check this article HERE.
Some manufacturers/retailers like Howies® like to sell products made of recycled plastic bottles. It is all about being ethical too. Fashion is not just about making money, but thinking about the environment and The Earth. No need to mention the issues around climate change and carbon foot print that most politicians are aware of... sadly, nothing is actively done to preserve our planet.
Wearing the latest trend is generally pleasing for the buyer. However, it is essential to be comfortable... this is (or should be) the main factor. Unfortunately, it happens that it is all about the look and the colour but the garment is not that great.
Most people selling clothes want their clientèle to be happy with what they are actually buying. Having something returned is never that good, especially when the customer complaint is related to quality and finish.
Organic cotton is without a doubt the winner in most categories. And the good news is; there is a ten percent growth after three years of terrible struggle.
...The organic cotton market is again growing according to the Organic Cotton Market Report, an annual study conducted by Textile Exchange, an international nonprofit organization committed to a more sustainable textile industry... Source
Parents and families are going through the same ups and downs - worries and anxieties when having children.
There is a moment which is unique and difficult to share, because it is a personal event: the birth of a son or daughter. Each time it seems to be the same emotion for both parents.
But once the newborn in this World everyone wants to seem him/her or them if they are twins.
At the moment (April 2015), journalists are kept busy and ready for some exciting news regarding two well known individuals.
Let's start with The Duchess of Cambridge more commonly known as Kate Middleton, wife of Prince William (himself The Duke of Cambridge - son of Lady Diana and Prince Charles).
image Source - The Telegraph
Prince George is almost two (in July). It is April 2015 and Kate is due to give birth anytime now. No one exactly know whether she is expecting a boy or a girl. It will be a surprise for of all us.
For some unknown reasons, there have been guesses about the eventual names of the newborn. It is always surprising that people have nothing better to do than anticipating such decisions. In the end it could be a rather unusual name that wasn't even on the "potential" list. Reporters, journalists and other editors like to create a buzz around the private/secret life of The Royal Family!
The second person in the limelight of parenthood is Keira Knightley! Indeed, the actress who was in many costume dramas is pregnant and has not been shy to show it.
Various newspapers, magazines have published images either when she is casually shopping or during The Oscars.
image Source Elle Fashion Magazine
There is always a kind of rush to get photographs of pregnant celebrities.
Then it is about the first channel, radio station and magazine to announce the birth with as many information as possible with a lot of "if", because nothing is really clear.
The fashion is also something to take into consideration. For the mother to be but also for the future baby. Everything is observed and scanned very closely, because it is always good to know what these women have been wearing during the nine months previous to the birth of their little one.
It is certain that if it is a boy or a girl the outfit for the newborn will be different. Meanwhile, being stylish is always important, even if the all in one babywear will be too small within a few months. It is about looking good whatever the age.
A good example, remember when Victoria Beckham and her daughter Harper started to appear in public: the toddler was wearing haute couture fashion labels.
Is this not slightly too excessive?
Without a doubt, parents want everything good for their future generation including success in life, comfortable and good looking clothes.
Dressing well is a great feeling whatever the age. Look, even Queen Elizabeth II who will celebrate her 89th birthday on 21st April, will wear an immaculate ensemble with the usual assorted hat.
Cold(er) days with strong wind, eventual snow and certainly rain - this is the time of the year when everyone wants to be warm(er).
More layers doesn't always mean better. It all depends on what are the clothes you are wearing made of!
No one likes to go outside in the rain and then come back home totally soaked. Unfortunately, this happens too often.
Taking your bicycle for a ride is usually an enjoyable activity, unless it starts suddenly to rain and this fun day can become a nightmare.
How to go around this? Just one word "Epic".
Epic by Nextec is mainly made of waterproof cotton:
...Epic cotton boasts good breathability and is water- and wind-resistant... Source
Vulpine and Howies are two brands selling such items... because their customers like outdoors and even if the items seem to be a bit pricey, there is nothing better than staying dry and warm when going for a long walk in Dartmoor or a lengthy cycle ride in the beautiful British countryside.
Both of these retailers attract a good number of cyclists because protection from the elements is the main factor. However the latter offers something almost even more exclusive: the retail store located in Exeter Devon is the only physical unit in the United Kingdom.
Of course, not everyone lives in the Southwest of England - thankfully there is an online store too: http://www.howies.co.uk
Epic Trousers or jackets aren't that popular right now, because people are usually after something über thick and warm. But we all know by now that "Less is more".
A thin shell will keep you dry and warm at the same time, because the materials used to design/manufacture the garment are effective and some products - such as plastic bottles - can be upcycled into winter jackets.
It is not about how something looks but how it feels and the actual properties of it.
More and more leading manufacturers are thinking twice about what they are producing: individuals are checking where things come from and components as well. Everything must be resistant/durable or existing customers would go elsewhere!
Renewable and sustainable resources without solvents is the best for our environment without a shadow of a doubt. In others words, being eco-friendly is a good selling point, because our planet needs to be protected for future generations. This is only possible by putting some efforts and working together - respecting basic rules such as walking/cycling more and leaving our cars behind us when it is possible.
Now having decent and comfortable waterproofs available...there are no excuses!
In the 21st century people seem to want bigger and better places to live. However, sometimes small is good too. Less is more can be a real winner.
This is what Heirloom as worked on.