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22:40:00

The benefits of colour in early years

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It is known that a baby is born with monochrome vision and unable to distinguish the difference between colours. However young children’s brains are stimulated by bright colours — it grabs their attention and feeds their curious minds. It is not until around 8 months when their colour vision is fully developed and by 3-4 years, a child can begin to recognise and name basic colours.
Aside from being aesthetically pleasing to a child, how do you think it can colour benefit a child’s early years development? Infinite Playgrounds, educational play area designers, have provided us with more of an insight. 

 The benefits of colour
Depending on age there are many benefits of a child’s exposure to colour.
Babies begin to notice bright colours at 8 months and this stimulates their minds. It is important to expose a baby to different shades of the same colour because it can help them make important colour connections early on in life. It is not recommended to surround them with the same primary colours. Experts have said that showing patterns to a baby is important as it provides visual and cognitive stimulation for a growing baby as they focus on what they can see.
It is important that a child can differentiate between colours and know their appropriate names, down to the different hues (navy blue, sky blue). Learning these colours allows them to recognise significant visual hues such as red as a code for danger and the meaning behind traffic lights. It is useful outside of the curriculum too — knowing the difference between a red and a blue coloured tap.
Being able to know the different colours helps with their speaking, reading and writing skills too. Describing an object without saying its colour is difficult! Similarly, when they are exercising their imagination when creating a story, colour is an important part of descriptive techniques.
Research has proven that colour can impact moods, wellbeing, productivity and behaviour. Some experts claim that different colours enhance learning in different ways:
·         Blue — a colour that encourages creativity, if overused however, it can bring the mood down in a room. A cool blue enhances relaxation levels in individuals.
·         Yellow — a colour of happiness for children as it is associated with sunshine. This can lift the mood and excite a child due to its vibrant appearance.
·         Orange — this is said to enhance critical thinking and memory.
A colourful classroom is more enjoyable for a teacher too, giving them various colours to refer to when teaching and creating an overall pleasurable place to work. Research has shown that colours are more memorable than monochrome too — a bright and colourful classroom makes new learned experiences stick in the mind.

How to introduce colour into teaching

Learning about and being surrounded by colour is beneficial for many. From introducing games based on colour , decorating your classroom there are a lot of ways that you can incorporate colours into the classroom.
For outdoor learning, consider colourful playground canopies and parasols. These can sit over areas of a playground, allowing the sun to shine through and create many colourful patterns for the children to enjoy. Pupils can  have fun traceing shadows of the patterns on the floor with chalk and learn how they move throughout the day with the sun.
Inspire a conversation about cultural differences and diversity with colour. Talk about how colours have different meanings in various countries, for example red signifies good luck in China and green is a colour of independence for Mexicans. Encourage children to use colour to create their own national flags and teach them about flags from the whole world.
For younger children, encourage sensory developments with colourful playmats and toys. Research has highlighted the importance of messy play too — where children can take part in an unstructured play and get their hands dirty! Let them play with brightly coloured foodstuff such as jelly and develop their fine motor skills too.
There are simple ten-minute games that you could add to the end of any lesson too. How about colour eye-spy, colour matching memory games or presenting coloured flashcards and encouraging pupils to name them.

12:14:00

Getting creative with your living room decor

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The living room of any home is the place that guests are directed to when they visit, and where families typically spend time together talking, relaxing, and hanging out.
Designing a comfortable and stylish living room is a great way to show off your style and creativity. Take a look at the following for creative and fun living room décor ideas.

Creative design scheme
Style your living room in a way that represents your tastes by choosing a scheme that your whole family will love. Look to your family’s interests for inspiration.
If your family enjoys being outdoors, then you might like to use a natural color scheme of subtle blue and green combined with wood tones. Paint a woodland scene on an accent wall or create a stunning graduated paint effect that adds depth and mimics a sunset or calming ocean.
Movie-lovers might like to recreate a vintage theater look in the living room with plush velvet sofas and recliners. Brushed nickel or chrome are glitzy finishes for fixtures in a living room suited to showcase all the latest movies. Don’t forget to include plenty of tables with coasters for snacks and drinks on movie night.
Lighten up
Go for a distinctive living room window style by installing sleek new shutters that go with any interior design scheme. Shutters are perfect for bringing in natural sunlight during the day, displaying the dazzling sunset at dusk, and in the evening, they can be closed for privacy. Shutters.co.uk is where you can find useful tips on what type of shutters to buy and how to install them.
Create a dramatic effect with levels of lighting. Bright overhead lighting works for group tasks, while soft lamplight is useful for reading or watching TV. Get a pair of funky lamps or lampshades for a twist of style. Recessed lights allow you to highlight sections of the room for a touch of drama.
Upcycled style
Upcycling is a way to be creative for those who enjoy a design project. Taking something and transforming it into a new and unique item is incredibly popular among DIY designers. Upcycling is earth-friendly and fun to do.
For a rustic living room, you might upcycle old denim or flannel clothes into new pillows for your couch or take an old wooden door and attach legs to make a coffee table. You might even like to create coasters by staining thin pieces of wood.
Ultra-modern interior schemes can utilize upcycling techniques. Create a lamp or shelf using pipes for a modern industrial look; make an ottoman by topping a washtub, wire basket, or crate with a handmade tufted lid. Add legs to a file cabinet to make a modern metal end table.
There are upcycling projects for just about any style and skill level, so gather your unused items and peruse the internet for creative ways to turn them into interior décor.
Hopefully, these tips help inspire you to create a striking living room interior design. From a personalized design scheme to distinctive windows and furniture, you can create an interior that will wow guests and that your family will adore.

20:40:00

Giveaway: Win a Jumper or Cardigan of your choice ( UK only)

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      I love December, Christmas is approaching and there is joy on everyone's face. Since this is the month when everyone offers and / or receives gifts, I've also prepared a giveaway for you. Damart will offer a prize to the lucky winner! On the site, you can find clothes and shoes for women and men, Christmas decorations, home and garden products, etc. Take a look, surely you will find something to please you.
      For you beautiful ones we thought to give you the chance to win a cardigan of your choice, perfect for the cold days you want to feel cozy or why not a cardigan that completes a smart office outfit. 




 Good luck! I'll draw one name at random on December 9th.  Fill this form to enter : 
15:54:00

Fun in The Netherlands, visit Maastricht

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Although Amsterdam is Holland’s beautiful capital it is so well worth to explore The Netherlands a little more. There is so much more to do and see. Plus, The Netherlands have a couple of cities that are perfect for shopping, dining and sightseeing. Hop on a train from Amsterdam and visit beautiful Maastricht.
Maastricht is the most southern city in The Netherlands and maybe one of the most vibrant cities in the country. Maastricht has a large student population, the most excellent restaurants in The Netherlands and some amazing shopping options. Since it takes around 2.5 to get to Maastricht from Amsterdam it is well worth staying overnight. Check out these 3 top things to do in Maastricht.

Visit the book shop in the church
Maastricht has the most beautiful bookshop in The Netherlands. Libris bookshop has been voted the most stunning bookshop in the world several times, and I think that this is very just so. The bookshop is set in an old Dominican church, dating back to 13th century. You can climb the steps high, higher, highest to browse all the books. But having a cup of coffee is also worth it. 

Shop til you drop
Maastricht is maybe (probably!) the best city in The Netherlands to go shopping. Maastricht was occupied by the French in the 18th century and that French style and class somehow lingered and can now be found in dozens and dozens of lovely boutiques. Check out the Jerker quarter for the best shopping options.

Fine dining
It’s almost impossible to have a bad meal in Maastricht. The people from Maastricht love living the good life and think that proper food and drink are very important. And who are we to disagree! There are some pretty swanky options in town, but I think the less expensive cafés and restaurants are just as good. ‘t Wycker Cabinet is perfect for lunch and drinks, and just across the street Zondag is never short of clientele. Some funkier options are found just a little outside the city centre: Brandweerkazerne (a large restaurant in an old fireman station) and Tapijn (a bar and restaurant in old army barracks).
This article was written by Esther de Beer who tells you all about travel in The Netherlands on her blog Your Dutch Guide .
17:51:00

How to rearrange your living room walls this Christmas

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For those that want living room walls that look great this Christmas, we’ve teamed up with Oldrids & Downtown, a provider of bedroom furniture, to give you a guide on how you can change your interior design and make it more beautiful for the festive season!
The living room is arguably the most important room in the home when it comes to Christmas time. In here, you will be propping up your Christmas decorations and flooding your sofa with seasonal cushions and throws. But there are some top tips and tricks you need to know to make your home more visually pleasing for the festive season.
If you decide that you want to pull out all the stops this Christmas and repaint your walls for December, we recommend that you go with a matt color, such as a sage green or a traditional royal blue, that will make all of your furniture pop out from the walls. However, if you’re not looking to repaint entirely — the rest of your decorating will not suffer, as there is a lot of versatility around Christmas decor.
Once your walls are ready, it’s time to decide what to put on them. You don’t want to make them too cluttered, but you definitely want to have a movie-like backdrop when it comes to taking photographs on the big day. If you want to showcase your picture-perfect family, hang different sized frames across your wall in an inconsistent pattern — if you don’t want to use multiple photographs and only want to shine the spotlight on one family portrait, make sure that it’s a big photograph to reduce the risk of it looking lost on your wall.
A pre-lit wreath with baubles can make your living room look extra special and you can be adventurous with its placement. When all is said and done, everyone will admire the way your living room looks this Christmas!
15:25:00

The best is yet to come. How to dress for New Year's Eve

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We owe it to ourselves first to make our life beautiful. Since clothes participate in our life at any time of every day, we need to take this into account, so we can begin to feel good in our clothes by learning how to look stylish every day. Wherever you are, feel great, not just fine! You will go home happier and make the ones around you smile.

To dress with style means originality and individuality. It's about choosing clothes that fit your personality and express your inner style. Fashion is important since it can help boost trust and make you feel comfortable and be yourself. This is especially true on New Year's Eve. I hope that in the new year and in the days that follow, you will always aim for premium things and dream big for yourself and your loved ones.

As we well know, in order to have a proper outfit on New Year's Eve, we must first take into account the location. Each of us will spend this night in different locations: at the restaurant, at a mountain cottage, traveling across the ocean, or at home with friends. 

For the New Year's Eve at the restaurant, it is helpful for any woman to keep in mind that it is not necessary to exaggerate in terms of artificial elegance ( a.k.a. copying others). You have to be smart because dressing with style means original and individuality. It's about looking at the clothes that fit your personality and express yourself. Smart dresses for women on this occasion would include an original dress style where seemingly simple pieces are combined in the most original style to result in chic and personality-filled outfits.

For warmer destinations you can choose a casual, lightweight outfit in perfect harmony with the scenery. A long dress and a pair of special sandals, accessory jewelry or metal details can be perfect for such situations.

Ski resorts are a very accessible destination during this period. But you will need a serious ally against the cold weather, so the best option will be the ski suit. For your feet, you can opt for a pair of winter boots or fur boots.

If you do not have time to walk through the stores to look for a special outfit for the New Year's party, you can also opt for the famous black dress. A simple outfit, suitably accessorized, pulls you out of anonymity no matter the location. 

But wherever you spend the New Year, consider that the main thing is to feel good with yourself and be surrounded by those that love you. Take the time to relax, have fun, shine and smile! The best is yet to come!
11:06:00

Pets — should they be in your bedrooms or not?

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Do you let your dogs or cat sleep in your bedroom or on your bed? You are certainly not alone, as a survey commissioned by leading pet insurer Animal Friends found that nearly half of owners sleep with their pets.
But is it a good idea to welcome your pet into your bedroom? Fitted bedroom specialists DM Design has analysed the arguments both for and against this decision:


The case for pets being in the bedroom

A study carried out by the Mayo Sleep Clinic, a leading clinic based in Arizona, USA, supports the case for welcoming your pets into your bedroom.
After surveying 150 patients — 49 per cent of whom owned at least one pet — the researchers found that over half of those with animals in their let them sleep either in their bedroom or on their bed.
However, the study also revealed that those who did felt safer, more secure, more relaxed and had a better night’s rest. On the other end of the scale, just 20 per cent of those with pets said that they experienced interrupted sleep due to their pets ‘snoring’, ‘wandering’ or ‘whimpering’ when they were in the bedroom.
Lois Krahn, the author of the study, commented: 'Many pet owners view companion animals as family members that they wish to incorporate into as many aspects of their life as possible. Because humans spend considerable time sleeping, a pet owner's desire to have animals close at night is understandable.”
Dr Krahn also pointed out from the study’s results that people who slept alone — whether due to being single or because their partner had to occasionally travel or work at night — “more often spoke of the beneficial companionship stemming from a pet in the bedroom or on the bed”.
This isn’t the only instance where research carried out at the Mayo Sleep Clinic has revealed results in favour of having pets in the bedroom.
In a study of 40 healthy adults who had their sleep evaluated with a dog in the bedroom over a five-month period — with both the humans and dogs wearing activity trackers for the research — it was established that people slept better when the pet was on their bed. However, sleep quality was sacrificed when people allowed their dogs to sleep under the covers with them.
In regard to this particular study, carried out by Mayo Clinic’s Centre for Sleep Medicine, Dr Krahn acknowledged: “The relationship between people and their pets has changed over time, which is likely why many people in fact do sleep with their pets in the bedroom.
“Today, many pet owners are away from their pets for much of the day, so they want to maximize their time with them when they are home. Having them in the bedroom at night is an easy way to do that. And, now, pet owners can find comfort knowing it won't negatively impact their sleep.”

The case against pets being in the bedroom

Although the Mayo Clinic has released studies in favour of having pets in the bedroom, the institute — or more specifically their Sleep Disorders Center — believes that people who have difficulty sleeping should consider keeping their pets out of the room.
In a survey of 300 patients, of which 157 had one or more pets, 53 per cent of pet owners suggested that their sleep was disrupted to some extent on a daily basis. Snoring was also reported in 21 per cent of those with dogs, as well as seven per cent of those with cats.
With these results in mind, John Shepard, the medical director of the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, advised: "Every patient has to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of sleeping with pets and make a personal decision about the sleeping arrangements in the household. Some people are very attached to their pets and will tolerate poorer sleep in order to be near them at night."
Meanwhile, Derek Damin, of Kentuckiana Allergy, Asthma & Immunology in Louisville, USA, believes that people who have asthma or obviously pet allergies should refrain from letting their animals on their bed or even in the bedroom. This is “to give your nose a few hours a day to recover”, Dr Damin explained.
However, he was keen to add: "But if you’re not allergic, there’s really no big issue with having a dog in the bed. It’s fine as long as it doesn’t disturb your sleep."
It appears then that so long as there aren’t any issues with allergies, personal preference takes precedence when deciding whether or not to allow pets into the bedroom.
12:20:00

Things to do in Paris

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Paris is a city with endless sights to see, and often times too much to take in on one visit.  Having visited Paris more times than I can count, I have listed a few of my favourite activities that will give you a taste of the Paris I have come to know and love…

Take a walk along the Left Bank to see the Bouquinistes

The Bouquinistes are the booksellers and literary antiquarians that sell their wares from wooden boxes along the left bank of the Seine River in Paris.  Now a UNESCO World Heritage site, this stretch of the river and the unique book boxes are an important part of Paris’s literary history.



Have a coffee at Place de la Contrescarpe

Place de la Contrescarpe is a delightful square full of cafés that sits between the Pantheon and the oldest street in Paris, Rue Mouffetard in the 5th Arrondissement.  Before venturing down Mouffetard, stop in Place de la Contrescarpe for a coffee at one of the many cafés; and watch the world go by.  People-watching is one of the simple pleasures enjoyed in Paris, as illustrated by the outward facing chairs in the bars and restaurants.

See Notre Dame by night

Most people queue for ages to head inside Notre Dame Cathedral on the edge of the River Seine, and yes, it is something I recommend seeing.  However, I also recommend taking a walk around Notre Dame at night.  The façade and famous ‘flying buttresses’ (the external support system) are well-lit at night and there is something magical about seeing her grandeur at night.

Walk along the Promenade Plantée

Similar to New York’s High Line, Paris’s Promenade Plantée or Coulée verte René-Dumont, is an elevated green course built on the old Vincennes railway line.  Inaugurated in 1993, it was the only elevated park in the world until the High Line was created.  At 2.9 miles long, this walkway affords spectacular views of the 12th Arrondissement and lets you see Paris from a different angle.

 If you want to find out more beautiful places to visit, you can check out HHLifestyleTravel .
11:22:00

How to choose the perfect engagement ring?

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Whatever time of year you decide to pop the question, you are likely to make it the best time of year when you get down on one knee and present your other half with a diamond ring that shows just how much they mean to you. Some of the sweetest proposals we have ever heard of involve a puppy or a kitten underneath a Christmas tree with a diamond ring attached to their collars and notes such as “Will you marry my new daddy?” Puppies and diamonds? Who could say no to that?
Choosing the right time of year to propose is the easy part – when it comes to choosing the perfect engagement ring, some men find this part a little tricky. How do you find a single piece of jewellery that represents your love for that one person? Luckily, AC Silver are experts when it comes to diamond rings and antique engagement rings and have some great advice for you. 


Gemstone ring or plain diamond ring?

Most ladies will have tried to drop subtle hints to their partner when they know what they want – it’s just up to you to take them on board. Trust us, it will make engagement ring shopping a lot easier. So, if your future fiancée keeps on talking about sapphire rings, you should most definitely go for a sapphire cluster ring, for instance. Do not be afraid of it not being “traditional” enough — if that’s what she wants, then that’s what she should get. I wanted a ring with a big stone and yellow gold and I told him before I knew the special moment will come. 
Nowadays, traditions have changed and you are more than free to do whatever you want. The only thing to bear in mind is that some stones are softer than others, so will need some extra care. Diamonds, however, are the most hardwearing gemstones, with a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, and for this reason they symbolise an ever-lasting love and are the preferred choice.

“Diamonds are forever”

A safe bet would be a timeless classic, such as a diamond solitaire ring – they are generally guaranteed to impress your other half and you can personally choose the style yourself. An engagement ring is going to be worn daily, and a diamond solitaire ring is the perfect accessory to complement any outfit – and will never go out of trend.

How do you choose the perfect diamond?

A basic understanding of the diamond’s four Cs will help: the four ‘C’s’ being: Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat-Weight.

Colour:

Diamonds come in different colours, but the most popular ones still are white diamonds, with a colourless stone being the highest grade. Diamonds are graded from a D colour, which would be colourless, to a Z, which would be light yellow. Generally, anything higher than an I colour can be considered as very high colour graded and will have a nice white colour.

Clarity:

The clarity of a diamond is determined by the size, number and location of natural inclusions within the stone when viewed under 10x magnification. The range varies from an IF, internally flawless indicating no inclusions at all, to an I3, which will be an included stone. Any stone higher than an SI1 or SI2, slightly included, stone will show a good brilliance and the inclusions will not be seen with a naked eye.

Carat:

The ‘weight’ of a diamond is measured in carats. As the carat weight of a diamond increases, so does its rarity; this will be reflected in the price – the bigger the diamond, the more expensive.

Cut:

Modern Brilliant round cut:
The modern brilliant round cut diamond is by far the most popular choice of diamond shape these days. A solitaire ring does not necessarily have to be a single stone, it can be embellished on the shoulders or can be arranged around the main gemstone in a halo-like design.
Old European round cut:
This is the antique version of the modern brilliant round cut, with the difference being that it is older (pre-Circa 1920s), and hand cut as opposed to machine cut. An old European round cut diamond will not be as “neat” as a modern cut one, but it will have a distinctive, classic antique and a more unique design. What is also remarkable with older stones is that in addition to a great unique look, such gemstones represent better value for money.
Transitional modern brilliant round cut:
Sitting in between the Old European round cut and the modern brilliant round one, transitional modern brilliant round cut diamonds were typically diamonds cut around the 1930s-60s. These diamonds are often very similar to modern brilliant round cut ones.
Princess cut:
The princess cut is the most popular non-round diamond cut. It is either square or rectangular cut with pointed corners.
Emerald cut:
Emerald cut diamonds can be square or rectangular, but differ from the Princess cut as the corners are tapered, and the pavillion (underside) has a faceted cut. Known for its elegance, this cut sits on the finger sophisticatedly.
Asscher cut:
The Asscher cut diamond is nearly identical to the Emerald cut except that it is square, with a total depth which is typically greater.
So, these represent the most popular diamond cuts, but, obviously, there are less well-known options. These include: marquise cuts, cushion cuts, old Dutch cuts, fancy cuts (heart shaped ones for instance), pear cuts, old mine cuts.

White gold, yellow gold or platinum?

This decision is generally down to personal taste – it is worth considering what your loved one would prefer as well as what will match her other jewellery. White gold and platinum seem to be the most popular options, with platinum having the added advantage of being more hardwearing. Have a look at your partner’s jewellery box — does she have more yellow gold jewellery or more white gold pieces? For example I associate white gold with silver and I never wanted a white gold ring to wear it forever.

Inside information…

If you really are in doubt but want to keep it a surprise for your intended, it is sometimes useful to bring someone with you. The question is who would know her taste best? Maybe her mother, sister or best friend could be a good call? Someone who can keep a secret for sure!

The perfect choice – is yours

Follow your instinct – after all, you are the person she is about to choose to spend the rest of her life with. My future husband did it and he chose the most wonderful ring for me. So, give yourself more credit, as you probably know her taste well enough to make the perfect choice!

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