Every day it seems that there are new gadgets and machines to help our lives run a bit smoother — and gardening is no exception. But which new devices can you use to improve your garden throughout 2018 and beyond? Check out this tech guide as we look at the top must-have pieces of technology for gardeners in 2018…

Grow new things

Due to the climate, we’re slightly limited regarding which foods we can grow in the UK. If you want to grow something more exotic, why not invest in a heated propagator? A heated propagator allows seeds to germinate earlier and more successfully (meaning that less goes to waste). This isn’t necessarily a new idea, years ago, it was heated greenhouses and heated benches that were on the market. But, they can add to your energy costs as the heat can quickly dissipate and therefore must be on all the time to be successful. Instead, the propagator has walls and a lid which can retain the warmth.

With a varied temperature of between 5°C to 30°C, you can grow a host of new plants with this device. Some of the more exotic seeds and hot chillies require warmer temperatures and it could be impossible to grow them in cooler climates without this piece of technology. Being able to grow from seed is more cost-effective than buying an already germinated young plant too — saving you some pennies!

Plus, the light and reflector in these products can create and reflect light that diffuses deep into the plant leaves for better growth.

Ask for extra help

Gardening is not immune to the popularity of apps. Try downloading these to help:

  • Garden Compass — lets you upload photos to the website, ask questions to horticultural experts and create a personalised garden-care calendar.
  • GrowIt! — connects with local gardeners for advice. You can also upload photos of your own plants to share your gardening knowledge with others.

Make sure your plants are watered and healthy

A pot watering kit can ensure that your seeds and plants live a long and healthy life. These kits can water up to 25 plants automatically and can sense what time of the day it is to water your plants. You can set up the gadget so that it slowly releases water to the root of the plant which will save you the effort!

Keep an eye on the health of your plants

It’s difficult to tell sometimes just how healthy our plants are as they develop. However, there is one gadget that can help — the Parrot Flower Power plant monitor. With a battery life of half a year and up to 7,000 plants in its database, this device is extremely handy.

Simply place this handy device into the soil next to the plants you’d like to monitor. Then, let it detect: sunlight, temperature and fertilizer. This information then is sent straight to your smartphone, so you know when to water or add more fertilizer to your plants.

Tell the world about your success

If you’re proud of your garden, why not take some snaps? Often the beauty of the plant is in the detail of its leaves or perhaps you enjoy watching the wildlife in the garden. Either way, to take the best photos in the garden you should invest in an Olloclip Pro Lens.

To make the most of this device, just clip it over the lens of your smartphone. From here, your gadget will combine with your phone’s digital zoom — letting you take macro photos with up to 100x magnification. It’s ideal for capturing the details that aren’t visible to the human eye or even monitoring insects as they enjoy your garden. You’re guaranteed to get some wonderful shots without the need for purchasing a professional camera.

 

This article was created by Suttons, a leading provider of hanging baskets in the UK.

 

 

 

Sources

http://www.suttons.co.uk/Gardening/Garden+Equipment/Propagators+and+Propagating+Equipment/Geopod+Heated+Propagators_MH4723.htm

http://fortune.com/2017/03/30/garden-gadgets-green-tech/

http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/house-garden/best-gardening-apps-tech-hozelock-olloclip-ue-megaboom-netatmo-a7013496.html

 

Twin Mummy and Daddy

It’s time for the weekly Best Boot Forward linky and our routine has changed a little. My gorgeous and talented co-host Chloe from Indigo Wilderness is taking a break so I am flying solo for a while so all support gratefully received.

 

Kate on thin ice

How Best Boot Forward is different

There are so many linkies out there for bloggers and we have decided we really do want this one to be a little bit different so each week we will set some question that you can reflect on as you see fit around a particular theme. You can blog about them and link up. You can reflect on them quietly yourself, You can ignore them completely and link up a post that is about you living life in a positive and proactive way.

If any of that is not clear or you have questions or concerns, please do leave a comment or contact me personally.

This week’s theme

ROUTINE

Routine can be a good thing as a tool for helping us get things done.

Routine can be a bad thing in stopping us reaching out for new adventures.

Routine can be an ugly thing when it is imposed by out roles or life’s circumstances and eats away at our mental and physical wellbeing.

That’s my take on routine anyway. How about you?

Questions

What is your current daily or weekly routine?

Does your routine bring you joy or pain?

How do you cope when your routine gets disrupted by unexpected or stressful happenings?

Is it time you changed your routine and what baby steps could you take this week to do that?

 

Linky Guidelines
  • The linky runs from Wednesday until the following Tuesday to give you plenty of time to link up your positive blog posts.
  • You can add up to 3 posts per week.
  • You must add the Best Boot Forward badge to your blog post. You can grab the code under the badge in my sidebar.
  • Please act in a sharing and caring way but we only ask you to definitely comment on the post before yours and this one. It Do more than that and great karma will be yours.
  • If you would like to guarantee a retweet of your post please add #BestBootForward and tag @kateonthinice 
  • Please share this post if you can with your social networks so that we build up a community quickly using the hashtag #BestBootForward

I will comment on and promote all posts linked up.

 

When I was at home with my parents, I was very well aware of the term “My Chair” often delivered with an exclamation mark at the end. My mum had a chair just like the others in the room but she always wanted hers to be just for her. I did not understand it at the time and it used to make me quite angry as I hit teenage moods.

Now I am a parent myself, I can empathise. We give our all to our children. Finances tend to be applied to children’s needs and wants over our own. Everything that is really ours becomes that much more precious.

Mum would sit on her chair when watching television, chatting with friends or knitting. These days times have changed and so many mums are now working from home. Yes we like a cosy chair to snuggle up in on colder days but we also probably would like an office area with a chair too.

What chair do I associate myself with?

I had a good browse of the Furniture At Work site and chose the Hoxton high back leather chair because it says so much about who I am. I love leather and always choose it for jackets, sofas and car seats. It is easy to clean for a start which means a lot when life and work also involves children and pets. When it comes to fashion, I have a blouson red leather jacket that is now past its best but I find it so hard to get rid of. It is bright and makes me feel younger than I actually am.

This stylish chair comes in a striking and cheery red. I like to think I am striking and upbeat when at my best.  It is very generously proportioned which is great when you happen to be a fat-bottomed girl.

How does your chair reflect your style?

 

Changing my routine is my big thing at the moment. I don’t like the word routine and am naturally very freedom-loving. That’s not real life though is it? I spent a decade suffering from depression and I came out the other side eventually with a routine that worked well enough. It has become boring and I want to shake things up a bit.

Firstly, the blog which used to be my sanctuary and therapy has changed over the years. It is now work a lot of the time. It is so easy to get sucked into the belief that if you are not working on it 24 hours a day 7 days a week it will die. There are so many blogging gurus out there now who want to berate you if you are not doing it their way.

Secondly now out of depression I want to keep my house nice and clean. This takes time and I want to delegate some tasks. That will take time as the children do nothing and the husband very little on the house front. So I am proving to myself I can keep up with it all but it is time to start educating the children in the realities of keeping the house spick and span.

Thirdly, I am not particularly happy with our home education journey. I veer between doing lots of structured stuff and then losing energy and leaving the children to their own devices. I would like us to have more of the magic that I see in other home education journeys. We are in a beautiful space now and should be making the absolute most of it.

Today, I did blog stuff in the morning and then left it alone. I gave my daughter a colouring sheet and chose one myself so that I could do some of that mindfulness type drawing that people were banging on about years ago.

I got through loads of housework doing bits at a time including some of those jobs I usually put off.

I watched a television programme or two that interested me. I took time out to enjoy the outdoors and glorious sunshine.

These might not seem huge steps to you but they are baby ones in the right direction and actually quite massive ones for me. When I have finished this blog, I am going to do some reading working on my own personal development.

It just feels a lot more balanced today and I know I can build on this. I have collected some tips from other bloggers on shaking up routine which I will be sharing soon but there is sunshine to sit in and it is time to step away from the blog.

The ABTA Holiday Habits report 2017 stated that the number of people travelling abroad on holiday increased from 55% to a high of 57%. As travelling becomes more of a lifestyle necessity than a luxury, we’ve teamed up with TRUE Solicitors LLP, accident at work claims specialists, to investigate whether Brits are taking out insurance before jetting off, what their insurance actually covers and how certain aspects of their behaviors can actually invalidate their claims.

Are people insuring themselves before they board the plane?

According to ABTA, in the 12 months leading up to May 2017, a total of 25% of holidaymakers weren’t insured on their trip, up by 3% on May 2016’s results. However, this differed between age ranges but was commonly problematic among young people travelling abroad.

Results from May 2016 found that 31% of 18-24-year-olds weren’t insured when they went abroad. This figure increased by 9% in the following year. 25-34-year-olds were also guilty of this risky move, with 31% of jet-setters not insured in 2016 — growing to 38% in 2017.

The only age bracket to show a positive decrease from 2016 to 2017 was 35-44-year-olds. However, this drop was marginal, down to 25% from 26%. For people aged 45-54, 20% of travelers weren’t insured for their trip in 2016, a figure that grew by 3% in 2017. Those aged 55 and over remained the same over the two years, with just 14% not taking out insurance before their trip.

For those who travelled without insurance, 36% said that they didn’t think that they needed it. Although refusing to buy insurance will have short-term financial benefits, the savings made don’t compare to the detrimental financial situation you could be in if something was to go wrong abroad. Despite this, 22% said that it was a risk they were willing to take.

Lots of people wrongly assume that when they’re travelling in Europe, they don’t need insurance because they have an European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). However, this is not the case, as EHIC is only valid for medical necessities within the European Union and the European Economic Area (EEA) in state hospitals. It has been advised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office that all people wishing to travel outside of their country should also have comprehensive travel insurance as this will likely cover repatriation in the case of a medical emergency.

With Britain soon set to leave the European Union after the Brexit vote, it is unclear what will happen in terms of the EHIC. What we do know is that those who are officially living abroad — whether this is to work or study on the day the UK officially leaves the EU — their card will continue to prove eligibility for the same state-funded healthcare as the citizens of the country receive.

What you should know about travel insurance

Insurance is all about covering the unpredictable events that may occur before your holiday or when you finally reach your destination. It’s important that you purchase your insurance as soon as you book your holiday, as it can cover potential cancellations and pre-trip illnesses — it’s a small financial decision that can save you a fortune in the long run.

It’s important that you analyse the policies that come with any travel insurance you purchase, as different companies will offer different levels of coverage. It is unlikely that they will cover high-risk activities. It’s important to consider what type of holiday you’re going on — if it’s active like skiing, you must inform your insurer to get the best cover.

Pay attention to the small print too. For example, if you’ve consumed alcohol and need medical attention some insurance companies will reject your claim — in extreme cases, they could seek out court rulings and will supply the court with medical records that say you had alcohol in your blood. It’s important to remember that in hot countries, your body will absorb alcohol more easily too.

If you have something stolen from you when you’re abroad, you must have substantial evidence that will back your claims. So once reported to the police, you must ensure that you receive a copy of the police report so that can prove your loss — within 24 hours too. Many companies will reject your claim if the items that have been stolen are left unattended in your room and you haven’t used the hotel’s safe.

Another worrying factor that you should be aware of before travelling is that if your travel company was to go out of business, you would not be covered. However, when it comes to the airline going out of business, you may be covered but could be required to pay an extra premium.

Only in exceptional circumstances may insurance companies waiver the decision to cover terrorism or natural disasters such as earthquakes, tsunamis and lightning strikes.

Most common injuries to occur abroad

Research has suggested that 74-80% deaths abroad are caused from natural circumstances like heart attacks. However, the same source found that 18-24% occur due to accidents and 2% from infectious diseases. Two thirds of holidaymakers worry about getting sick when they’re away, but it’s inevitable when results show that one in 20 trips can include sickness or injury.Slips, trips and falls are some of the most common causes of injuries when holidaying abroad and this is sometimes caused by uneven carpets or flooring that has not been properly maintained. Take note of signs to ensure you’re not at risk of injury through slippery or uneven floors.

As we drive on the left here in the UK, facing foreign roads can sometimes be a challenge and leave us confused at times. You might be trying to follow directions or the GPS on your phone — but you must stay alert and not get distracted to avoid any type of road traffic accident.

Of course, you want to have fun when you’re on holiday and you don’t want to miss out on any sport excursions. If you have concerns, you must ask the organisers as high risk activities can invalidate any insurance policies if you’re not properly protected.

The cost of such injuries can be excessive too, with the average medical claim costing £914. However, for 65-74-year olds, this cost increases to £971.63. One example provided by the FCO stated that one stomach bug infection that was treated in a Californian hospital cost £100,000, including return flights back home.

48% of people don’t realise that without travel insurance, they’d have to pay for their own medical bills when they’re abroad. 78% said that they wouldn’t be able to pay just £10,000 to cover the costs that could present themselves.

All in all, it’s vital for people to take out the right insurance policy for their needs when they travel abroad and fully understand what they are and aren’t covered for. With Brexit just around the corner, and the fate of the EHIC unknown, will we see an increase in the number of people taking out insurance?

Sources:

https://www.worldwideinsure.com/travel-blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/Travel_insurance_facts_infographic_9267747559.jpg

https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/news/travel/2017/06/16-things-about-travel-insurance-they-dont-tell-you

https://betravelwise.com/10-interesting-maybe-random-travel-safety-statistics/

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2016/may/15/travel-insurance-holiday-europe

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/advice/alcohol-consumption-invalidate-travel-insurance/

https://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/671569/Skiing-British-skiers-drunk-alcohol-apres-ski-accident-serious-injury-risk

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/leisureandtourism/articles/traveltrends/2016

http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/bills/article-4596054/Could-slash-cost-summer-holiday.html

https://abta.com/about-us/press/two-in-five-millennials-travelling-abroad-uninsured

https://abta.com/assets/uploads/general/Holiday_Habits_Report_2017.pdf

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-41125931

https://www.benenden.co.uk/be-healthy/lifestyle/the-five-most-common-types-of-accidents-on-holiday-and-how-to-avoid-them/

 

Cuddle Fairy