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

When you think of a classroom, what springs to mind? Most likely it is a room, indoors, with desks and chairs facing a whiteboard on the wall. It’s important to remember, however, that this isn’t the only environment that a child can learn in and, as research has shown, it may not be the most effective.

Many children are going home after school and spending time on their tablets and devices instead of playing outdoors like previous generations. Introducing outdoor play at school provides them with an opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and engage with nature.

Together with Infinite Playgrounds, creators of Adventure playgrounds, we look at the benefits of learning outdoors and how to adapt lessons to teach outside.

What are the benefits of learning outdoors?

In addition to encouraging children to appreciate the outdoors, there are many benefits of learning outside of the traditional classroom.

One benefit is the opportunity for children to exhibit some physical activity that wouldn’t be possible indoors. In the school yard or in a sensory playground, there is lots of space for the children to run around and play — raising their heart rate and keeping them active.

Another benefit is the encouraged use of imagination. There is plenty for children to discover outdoors; from plants they may not have seen before to minibeasts that catch their eye. Before the children learn what these are, they might use their imagination with their peers to guess what a certain animal is or what one of the plants is called. This stretch of imagination will become useful when they begin to write creatively or during drama exercises.

When children are learning about how plants grow, for example, it will make the lesson much more memorable for them when they can touch the plants and the soil. 92% of teachers surveyed said that their pupils were more engaged with learning when they were outdoors.

 85% of teachers reported that they saw a positive impact on their pupils’ behaviour when they were being taught outside. This could be down to the children finding more enjoyment in outdoor classrooms — 92% of pupils said that they preferred their lessons outdoors.

 It is possible that the introduction of outdoor classrooms could improve school attendance rates, too. If children are enjoying their lessons more, it is likely that they will have more motivation to come to school.

 How can you adapt classroom teaching to the outdoors?

Teaching outdoors does not have to massively disrupt your curriculum, there are many ways that you can alter your lesson plans so that you can take them outside. The main thing about outdoor teaching is that it shouldn’t be overly teacher-controlled — it is important for children to be aware of the safety hazards outdoors. But apart from this, they should be encouraged to step outside of their comfort zones.

There are many new resources that become available when a lesson is taught outside, as well as all of the extra space. Teaching outside can be beneficial for the teacher as well as the children, 90% of staff found that outdoor teaching was useful for curriculum delivery.

Maths

Depending on the age group of your class, there are many ways that you can teach maths outdoors. For the younger children, consider bringing shapes and counting outdoors and asking some of the following questions: How many petals does this flower have? How many circles can you spot? How many legs does the picnic table have? You could take pictures of the shapes to have a look at when you get back into the classroom.

For an older age group, encourage them to measure each other doing the long jump or provide stop watches and let them time each other running a certain distance. When you get back to the classroom, teach the children how to plot these numbers on a graph.

English

For English, consider allowing the children to explore the area around them and draw some minibeasts that they can see. When you get back to the classroom encourage the children to write down a short story involving their pictures. For younger children, they could colour in the pictures when they get back and talk about a made-up story.

Science

There is lots to do with science outdoors. You can teach children how plants grow and even allow them to plant their own seeds, visiting them regularly and explaining the scientific processes behind the plant’s development. Children can also learn about heart rate through exercising outdoors.

It appears that most lessons can be taken outdoors and the benefits are hard to ignore, the next time you are planning your week ahead consider taking the class outdoors and allow your pupils to push their boundaries.

Sources

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/englands-largest-outdoor-learning-project-reveals-children-more-motivated-to-learn-when-outside

 

Cuddle Fairy

Cambridge is such a lovely place to fall in love and has such beautiful places for Cambridge singles to go on dates. I know the city well as I was at university there.in the Eighties. Today I am highlighting a few ideas for dating in Cambridge.as the sun shines and puts us in the mood for romance. The great thing about Cambridge is you can have romantic moments for free or spend to the budget level you have available.

Royal Wedding date

With the Royal Wedding just around the corner, one fun date idea would be to go to the big screen filming of the event itself taking place in Market Square. There is bound to be a street party atmosphere so even if you have not met your perfect match you are guaranteed a fun time with other revelers.

A romantic stroll

For me, there is nothing more romantic than walking around the diverse and very beautiful Cambridge colleges. Make sure your walk includes taking in the Bridge of Sighs, Trinity Hall and King’s College Chapel. The colleges are historic and are a treat for the eye and sometimes it is easier to get to know each other walking alongside each other rather than gazing over a dinner table.

Dining out

Having said that Cambridge is full of mainstream and more independent eateries. There is the gorgeous Midsummer House on the edge of Midsummer Common on the River Cam. If your budget does not stretch to this idyll, go for something simple but tasty such as Pizza Express. Cambridge is a cosmopolitan city so Polish, Greek and French food is easy to find.

Punting

Punting is such a special thing to do and oozes romance. Take strawberries and champagne in the warmer months. On colder days take a flask of hot chocolate and snuggle up together under a blanket. If you want a giggle do it yourself when it comes to punting but if you want to enjoy the sights properly invest in a guide for a relaxed trip.

When I was at university couples were always going off to visit the idyllic village of Grantchester which can be found around 3 miles away from the bustle of Cambridge itself. Take a punting tour along the peaceful river meandering through fenland, woods and open meadows Return punting trips to Grantchester include a 1.5 hour break, allowing you ample time for a culinary treat

Don’t make the mistake so many visitors to Cambridge do by missing The Backs. The Backs is a very picturesque area to the east of Queen’s Road where several colleges back on the River Cam. It’s a very green area and perfect perhaps for a romantic picnic.

Further afield

There is more to Cambridgeshire dating than the city of Cambridge so do check out delights like Ely Cathedral and the Imperial War Museum at Duxford.

Check out some free dating websites and start your next romantic adventure.

Do you have suggestions for great dates in and around Cambridge?

 

 

 

 Treasure Hunt is a book by Rizwan Vark. It’s a little bit different and worth investigating.

Treasure Hunt

Have you ever experienced an odd coincidence? Have you visited a place and had a sense of deja vu? Does your body feel strange sometimes perhaps when making decisions about the next path to take?

What if there was a way to just “know” the people, places and opportunities that would be best for you?  We talk about mentors these days but what if you had an inner one that just wants to shake you sometimes?

Rizwan Virk, a successful Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor, shows you how to tune into messages that are coming to us all the time from the hidden worlds.

These clues, from our inner mentors, or future selves, can help us uncover our hidden Treasure Map, which shows us the work we were meant to do in this life and the path to take to get there.

I did not find this an easy read and had to focus on it more than most books but I read it in just a few days so it kept me coming back to it. I did like howRizwan Virk summarised what he calls  the Clue Lifecycle to provide concrete guidance for our lives and futures. That means I can keep this book and return to it quickly when I need to.

I have always had a keen interest in spiritual matters. I used to read so many New Age books back in the day. This book is interesting in that it combines that spiritual feel and investigation with the business and science world too. It has countless interesting case studies that help to explain the clue lifecycle.

Not everyone will be ready for this book right now but I would encourage everyone to give it a go and see what lessons they can take from it. In a busy and stressful world, we all need to listen to the quieter messages that come our way in dreams and waking life.

 

 

 

 

 

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