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.
From 6th April 2015, things are changing for anyone aged 55 and over with a pension pot!
Indeed, all the money saved for your old days, can now be released for whatever reason.
This is welcome by many - but can also be dangerous as people could go to an endless shopping spree.
Of course, all depends on the amount available but there is no restriction.
A couple could decide to buy a sports car, go to luxury hotels and get the best meals and stay in expensive hotels throughout the world. Meanwhile, the direction of investment property and the buy-to-let is the popular choice for many. There is no need to rush a transaction whether it is for a car, clothes or travel. The excitement is natural though... because it is something which could change your lifestyle.
A few UK pension companies were ready to receive their clients on Easter Monday - so much so that their offices/branches were open on that particular Bank Holiday!
Surely, when you reach a certain age you are getting wiser but who knows - especially when suddenly you can get something instantly by unlocking this amount of cash, initially destined to cover your life after work.
The great thing is that most sensible people will think, and then decide what is best. Because investing is certainly a great idea - as long as it is worse it and with minimum risks. It would be awful to see all this financial effort reduced to nothing due to an inconsiderate decision.
...The Association of British Insurers, which represents the big pension firms, has warned consumers not to “panic or rush into making decisions” and to be on their guard...
Nowadays, getting a mortgage whether you are first buyer or not can be hectic and stressful. Now, this important announcement may allow parents/grand-parents to invest for themselves but also support their child(ren) and grand-child(ren) as the deposit is usually the main problem.
We all know that landlords are rather pleased when it comes to adjust their rents because the demand is high and consequently there is (almost) not limit. Renting is expensive but it wins over buying an accommodation.
A mortgage monthly payment is generally cheaper than a rent (sometimes it can be half the actual amount required by the proprietor). The credit crunch didn't help the potential buyers because most banks became careful about who to lend money to. It became a chain reaction or a snowball effect - call it whatever you want but families started to struggle to get through their expenses without asking for help and support.
Financial establishments started to reduce allowances and this triggered a situation where UK housing repossession was involved. It is a serious matter with heavy consequences, where a protocol and procedures need to be followed (read HERE).
Will the pension pot new rules/legislation change the UK economy and the way people deal with their finances?
A few years back weekends were dedicated to leaving the urban space for a bit of trekking, walking and even camping on the Moors...or just visiting the countryside.
Of course, if you got to a remote part of the United Kingdom (this could be Cornwall or Lundy Island), there will be no reception on your e-gadget (smartphone or tablet). And THIS is maybe a reason why there is a real concentration of people in the urban landscape. People want and like to browse the internet and social media like it has a become a 21st century addiction.
Nature is unique an d beautiful... but individuals don't seem to appreciate this anymore. You can hear the words "boring" or just "there is nothing to do there". When in fact, there is so much to see and discover or explore.
The main concern is about: overpopulation + overdevelopment = overshoot.
To address this situation Global Situation Speak Out has released a rather interesting book which is worse seeing and buying!
You can follow @GlobalSpeakOut on twitter.
Art and design can take various shapes. It doesn't need to be that expensive and the material can be natural too.
This is what Chinese artist Ren Ri has done. For a few years - a decade to be precise - and a lot of patience Ren Ri came back with fantastic beeswax-based art.
These sculptures are representing clearly the World.
We are living in a digital age and we could question why banks still have branches in our High Street.
Some cities like Bristol and Exeter decide to get their own and unique currency.
Recently, the green light has been given to Exeter to have Exeter Pound! There is even a design competition for the various notes.
To follow the social media channel go to @ExeterPound.
This could change the way people buy and visit shops. Of course, mainly and only independent and local retailers will/can sign for it.
It is surprising that in the 21st century people are still interested in paper money when everything is actually digital.
Also, the bank of the internet is getting more and more popular. It provides quick and easy access with no delay/queue - 24/7 services.
http://www.chartersavingsbank.co.uk/ will be a dedicated online banking service for savings accounts only!
It is important to think of future businesses as being visible and accessible online. Potential customers/clients don't want hassle - they usually want a service straight away with as little questions as possible.
Browsing the internet is nowadays something "natural" for most of us whether you are just looking for something particular/specific or jut bored of what is in the newspapers and on television.
Online updates are live, fast and streamed from around the world: this is what people like about social media, for instance. There are no actual limit as you can even look for interesting vacant property listings from your tablet or smartphone at anytime.
Some are consequently questioning if the Exeter Pound is a viable project or just... a waste of efforts and papers.
...Exeter Pound will be a local currency to support local traders by diverting more of the money currently spent in chains, and then encouraging those traders to spend locally as well... Source
Of course, there always are sceptical individuals when a new idea is submitted, but it might well be worth the investment to put Exeter on a city map with that little thing which can change its profile within the existing community.
London is where everything happens... or almost.
There are already various bridges including the iconic Millennium Bridge.
Now something new is in the pipeline: a new structure which will be located by Battersea Power Station in order to connect between Nine Elms and Pimlico district.
As this is a rather impressive project, over seventy architectural companies have entered a competition with various shapes, colours and ideas to show what kind of work could be done to give the English capital another buzz.
Some results are rather avant-garde and might just be kept as a concept.
As you can see, some of these creations are more than just a path to go over The Thames... a real work of art giving a new dimension to a walk from A to B.
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!
It has been a while since people were comfortable with their savings and consequently with investing too!
With interest rates at their lowest, people are opting to go on a shopping spree. At least they can afford what they are after.
Nowadays, living in London can also be seen as an assault course. Even people earning good money are struggling because it is not just about being able to pay the rent but also everything which goes around it: public transports, food and the eventual social evening involving meal with friends or cinema as well.
There is no point to live in a shoe box, if it is to only survive in the urban jungle. Everyone likes to buy from time to time new shoes, clothes or just relax around a cup of tea/coffee... but this can end up being pricey.
The Independent reported in October 2014 that London is too expensive to live and enjoying such lifestyle is not that simple, because it is constantly crowded.
And London is now even more inaccessible than Hong Kong - read more details HERE.
A question comes up regularly whether talking with Londoners or people living in the UK in general: who can afford to buy an accommodation or decide to go for an investment property with such high prices...even for a garage? (one was sold for £550,000 - article HERE).
Is London a place to invest just for the über wealthy who tick all boxes from private credit cards to luxury homes and cars?
Are we going to spend money on properties this year? Maybe a bit early to tell and decide.
Sometimes when New Year's resolutions come into the equation, people start to dream about the house they are hoping to get sooner rather than later... if only interest rates and prices were slightly lower.
Certainly the best time to invest was before the recent recession - but who could anticipate all these changes bringing misery to some families loosing jobs and roofs?!
Here is a little guide to investment in 2015 by Forbes - every little helps!