Ask Away...: July 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Common Benefits Of Driving Safely

The world of automotive engineering has come a long way since the boom of the early 1990s when vehicles started to become mass produced. The modern car is safer to drive than at any time in history. The wave of new technologies that have come onto the market puts computers and electronic safety mechanisms at the heart of the driver experience. The improvement in technology has brought down the numbers of crashes and accidents by overzealous drivers. However, this doesn’t mean that you should be taking anything for granted. Although cars are much safer, they’re still roughly, made out of the same materials they’ve always been. The cars are in fact, also heavier than they’ve ever been because as the population has grown, families want cars with more room and safety equipment for all passengers. Once the car leaves the showroom, the technology will be in your hands. But, no car is impregnable, and driving safe is the only possibility, that will decrease your chances of getting hurt. You may not have realised the benefits this style of driving may give you, but there is a noticeable difference when used.

Photo by - stux

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast

Driving according to the speed limit, you run less of a chance of getting pulled over by the law. You won’t get points on your license, and you won’t have a record for improper driving in the police system. However, when you drive slow, you can avoid damage to your car also. People who drive their car over a pothole stand to do serious damage to their suspension. If the drop is big enough, the suspension may torque the chassis violently, compromising the structure and handling. Drivers don’t intentionally do this, but they can’t see the damage in the road coming because they’re going too fast. When you drive in a calm manner, you have enough time, to react to something in the road, you want to avoid. Modern cars have electric steering, and they can react to your inputs with a snapping motion, veering the car out of harm's way with little physical effort.

Image by - Pictures of Money

Financial benefits

People who drive too fast, are more likely to get involved in accidents. Having points on your license as aforementioned will result in higher insurance costs. Companies always way up the benefits and the liabilities when giving you a quote. After processing your details, the annual policy cost, and the excess will undoubtedly be higher if you’ve been involved in an accident that was your fault and you’ve been found to be speeding. The type of policy you can claim may also be limited. Some companies may not wish to take on your business if you’ve shown to be somebody who is frequently involved in collisions.  

Insurance companies love a safe driver because they have a client who is predictable and has a proven track record of staying out of trouble. Companies will then offer you discounted car insurance because safer drivers are rewarded. You can also be forgiven for your first accident if you’ve got a record that boasts a fantastic clean sheet of no any form of reckless driving. Your premium may also be maintained if this is the case.

Speed fuels aggravation

Sometimes, we forget the road is not just ours, but it’s used by other people, who have similar lives too. Driving fast limits the reaction times afforded to us because it takes time for our minds to process the risk, decide on the course of action, and commit to the action physically. Causing an accident, or cutting somebody off because you’ve limited your options by speeding everything up, can cause road rage. Psychologically, it’s just because you’ve disrespected somebody else, but you’re endangering someone else’s life. Running a red light and forcing someone to jam on the brakes, or potentially lose control of their car trying to swerve and avoid you, can make them want to start a physical altercation. So before you shun the safety standards of the road, ask yourself is it really worth it? Your speed doesn’t determine if you’ll end up at your destination quicker because there are other road users around you. Treat the road like a chess game, be calm, calculating, and drive safely to avoid unnecessary risks.

Although vehicles have gotten safer, and have warnings when you’re drifting into the other lane, tyre pressure warnings, brake fluids alerts and more, this doesn’t mean you should rely on the machine to drive safe for you. The bottom line is, the human being behind the wheel makes the majority of decisions, and crucially, can stop an accident from happening. Driving safely doesn’t mean you’re crawling around, holding everybody up, it just means, you move at a consistent, and tameable pace.

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Finding Ways To Celebrate The Ordinary Days

Most of us have a special woman in our life; a guru, a muse, somebody that we look up to. Whether it’s our mother, a grandmother, an aunt or an older friend, these are the ladies who have walked their own paths well before we have and tend to know a lot more about life than we ever will - well, until we get to their age. So it’s nice to be able to treat them every once in awhile. But when it’s not particularly a special occasion to celebrate, where do you start?

Afternoon Tea

It’s not just a British thing - there are hotels, bars and restaurants all over the country that are offering afternoon tea for a great afternoon out. You can always jazz it up by requesting wine or cocktails instead of tea or coffee, and most cater for different dietary requirements. If afternoon tea isn’t quite your thing, perhaps just going out for a meal or drinks later on into the evening could be just the ticket. A chance to catch up and l

Shopping Spree

Who doesn’t love a good shopping spree? Buying an outfit as a “just because” to say thanks can be hard, especially when you don’t have the person there with you to give you their recommendations. There is style advice for women over 60 online that you could use as a guide, however, especially if the person that you’re taking doesn’t quite know their own mind when it comes down to fashion. If they’re not too into different styles of clothes then it doesn’t have to be all about that; a homeware spree or even a day in a garden centre buying things to spruce up your outdoor space can be a great distraction.

Spa Day

The chance to sit back and relax is always welcomed, no matter how old you are. Booking specific treatments can be a great way to unwind, and lazing around a beautiful, serene and dedicated quiet zone is just the ticket to get you back to rights. Most spa days have to be booked in advance, and this helps you to secure a better deal too; they’re not cheap by any means, but what they offer in return for your money is more than worth it.

A Flick To The Past

Sometimes, all we want is a little bit of nostalgia in our lives. Reminiscing back to the glory days is something that a lot of us relish. Listening to stories about where our friends and family have been, where they have enjoyed, where they first accomplished their talents and so much more can be great to hear, but it’s even better to put a place to the name. Make a day trip out of it and go and visit their old haunts. The tales that have been locked up for so long will be bursting their way out, and it’s a fantastic way to hear of past lives which would otherwise have been put to one side and forgotten.

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Books I Recommend You Read [July]

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A new summer month meant new books to read. Check out these awesome ones for the month of July.

Leaving Blythe River by Catherine Ryan Hyde
This book is about a boy whose father goes missing after leaving for a trail run. He sets off to find him with some locals on muleback and has quite the adventure and learns how badass he really is.

Tell The Wolves I'm Home Book by Carol Rifka Blunt
This is an amazing novel about a girl who loses her uncle to AIDS.   It's a coming of age story that takes place in the late 80's when there was a HUGE stigma over being gay and having aids.  She learns some very important things about her family and it ends up being a very happy , yet bittersweet ending for everyone involved.

Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica
This is an awesome thriller about a woman whose husband dies in a car accident.  However, she thinks something different happened and she's determined to get to the bottom of it despite looking crazy to everoyne around her. This bok had a lot of good twists and unexpected turns!

Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde
llie and bea - this was an amazing read about a young girl and an old woman who are both down on their luck and basically homeless.  They find each other and after a rough start, they become like family. But they need everything to work out in their favor in order to stay together.  So heartwarming!

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger
 Another great coming of age novel about a boy and his family, in the 60's.  It's full of tragedy as they lose a few people from their town as well as a member of their own family and it's truly amazing how the author draws the story out because it really keeps you thinking and speculating until you finally get answers. Would be a good movie too!

The Stars Are Fire by Anita Shreve
This was a great book that takes place in the 40's and 50's. A fire destroys an entire city, and a woman tries to start over now that she has lost her husband whom she was unhappily married to.  She begins to become an independent woman until something throwsa major disruption into her plan.  

The Party by Robyn Harding

WOW! They NEED to make this new release into a movie.  A teen girl get's very badly injured at a party.  The parents whose house it was are in the middle of a lawsuit with the girl's mom.  The entire drama brings out lots of secrets and the worst in everyone.   This is something very real about the world we live in, too!

Chasing Windmills by Catherine Ryan Hyde
I just love CRH and this book was a quick read. Basically it's a bittersweet love story between a woman in her 20's and a boy just under 18.  They are stuck together by trauma and violence and it's like a modern day Romeo and Juliet.

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How To Fight A Phobia


Phobias are extreme or irrational fears that can get in the way of our day to day lives. Whether it be bugs, heights, enclosed spaces, needles, germs or something as bizarre as baked beans, almost all of us suffer from some kind of phobia. They can be mild for some and debilitating for others, but as deeply ingrained as they may be, they’re almost always curable.

To get over a phobia, you first need to want to get over it. Without this desire to overcome it, you’ll always be keeping your distance. Here are just a few of the steps that you should take to fight your phobia.

Understand the root cause of your phobia

Phobias are often developed from some kind of trauma in childhood, although they can be inherited. A fear of spiders may be developed from watching a parent’s reaction as a child. You may not always be able to pinpoint the exact moment a phobia developed, but if you can it can greatly help in trying to rationalise your phobia.

In some cases, serious trauma can be a trigger (almost drowning in a pool might cause someone to become scared of water). The likes of can be useful for helping to overcome such trauma, which may require more serious recovery fist.

Realise the difference between a phobia and a common fear. A lot of us would think twice before going skydiving, but not being able to look out the window of a building’s 4th floor could be a clear sign of a phobia.  

Rationalise your phobia

The next stage should be to rationalise your phobia. When exposed to the object of our phobia, many of us will enter a survival mode that tells us to run, the type of reaction we should only have in a life/death scenario. In most cases, there’s no likely risk of death at all. A wasp may sting you, a dog may bite you and an elevator may break down, and even this most likely only comes with a very miniscule chance. Compare your fear to more obvious dangers and you’ll help to scale it down and start to realise just how irrational it is.

Develop a coping mechanism

There are all manner of coping strategies that can be used to face a phobia. This could involve a breathing exercise or meditation that helps calm the anxiety. It could be a healthy distraction tactic such as playing music on headphones or humming a tune to oneself or visualising something else. details just some of the coping strategies that can be used for overcoming a fear of public speaking. Whilst not all of these may apply to your phobia, you may find that some could be adopted (meditating for five minutes before crossing a high bridge).


Rank your fears

Jumping straight in the deep end can work for a mild fear, but not for an ingrained phobia. Often taking baby steps and working your way up is the best route. This requires you to rank your fears from the mildest trigger to the most extreme scenario you could think of. In the case of arachnophobia, you could rank your fears from a small garden spider to a full blown tarantula. In the case of claustrophobia, you could rank your fears from being trapped in a small room to potholing. From here, you can then start to work your way up the list.

Start by visualising the first item

You should first get comfortable visualising the object. This may include drawing the object of your phobia or seeing a photograph of it. In the case of animal phobia such as snakes, it may be worth getting used to touching the photograph. For heights or confined spaces, it may involve watching a video of someone going through your dreaded situation in first person. VR has made it possible to step things up a gear and really experience these situations as if they’re really there. is just one of the companies that has been doing medical research into this kind of phobia recovery.

Seek out the first item in reality

Your next step should be to face the first item on your list in reality. This could involve stroking a dog or taking a short elevator trip. There may be ways of even easing yourself into this situation first such as getting near the dog with someone holding it on a leash, or stepping in an elevator and stepping our whilst somebody holds the doors. Get comfortable with this first step by constantly exposing yourself to this first item on the list.

Reward yourself

Every time you make an advancement, reward yourself. This will motivate you to keep on going. In fact, you can even set each goal with a reward. This could mean going for a meal out for overcoming the first item and treating yourself to a holiday if you manage to overcome the last item. In some cases, the reward may even be part of completing the final stage (if you’re afraid of going on a plane, you could book yourself a holiday that requires you to get on that plane).


Work up through your list

Keep going up through the list at a steady rate. Some people may find that by completing the first item on their list that they get more spurred on to try the challenging stuff and so may go up through the list at a quicker rate. The most important thing is to keep challenging yourself, even when you’ve overcome that greatest fear. Don’t stop handling spiders once you’ve held that tarantula and don’t stop taking lifts once you’ve got inside an MRI scan machine. The aim isn’t to simply reach the final challenge on your list, but to become comfortable with it, which means constantly trying to break down those boundaries until they no longer exist.

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The First 3 Things You Should Do After Moving Into A New Property

There used to be a time when families would purchase a home and stay put for their entire lives. However, that situation has changed, and now most people like to move every couple of years. With that in mind, the information on this page should help all homeowners to ensure they leave no stone unturned. The three actions listed below are essential for people who are just moving into a new property. All parents and couples should ensure they complete these jobs first. Failure to do that could mean they encounter issues further down the line.

1 - Test the furnace/boiler

Many people choose to move house during the summertime. That means the weather is pleasant, and there isn’t much need to use the heating system. However, it’s sensible to test the furnace or boiler the moment couples move into a new property. That is because parts and repair costs will increase during the winter. So, it’s sensible to get everything working properly ahead of time. The last thing any homeowners want is to discover there is a problem when they need the heating system to work. Conventional furnace and boiler issues include:

  • Thermostat not working correctly
  • Boiler loses pressure
  • Clogged filters in the furnace
  • Pilot light problems

2 - Change the locks

There is no way of knowing who might have copies of the keys to the new property. The previous owners could have reproduced them many times for different family members. As most homeowners want to live without stress, it’s sensible to change the locks as soon as they move in. Regardless of the location, there is going to be a locksmith in the local area who can perform the job. People with some basic DIY skills could undertake the task without specialist assistance. They just need to buy the right products and then use online guides to work out the best process. With a bit of luck, that should help to ensure only the current owners can get inside the home.  


We all know how children are often sensitive to germs and bacteria. They can cause infections or worsen the symptoms of allergies. As homeowners won’t know much about the previous occupants, it’s sensible to clean everything. That includes areas like:

  • Walls
  • Floors
  • Skirting boards
  • Stair rails

Just use antibacterial products on every surface people might place their hands. Hopefully, that should reduce the chances of anyone becoming ill. It’s important to follow that step, regardless of how clean the property might appear. Germs aren’t visible to the human eye, and so there is no way of knowing if there is anything dangerous around.

If homeowners manage to complete those three simple tasks, they can begin to focus on settling into the property. Don’t make the mistake of unpacking anything until those issues are resolved. It’s sensible to call a locksmith ahead of time so they can turn up on moving day. If nothing else, new locks will make the family feel safer in their beds at night. So will cleaning the entire home from top to bottom. Good luck!

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(Re)models Need Not Apply: Making Your Bathroom Pop On The Fly


Remodeling the bathroom is the one thing every homeowner dreams of achieving. But, for most people, it will remain a dream and for one reason only: the sheer, eye-watering and heart-pounding expensive cost of such a thing. Despite common misconception, no one overlooks the bathroom when it comes to home decor; they just can’t justify splashing the amount of cost it will take, which is a real shame because it is one of the most frequented rooms in a home.

But what if we told you that updating your bathroom didn’t need to entail a two-month project and final bill that looks like Justin Bieber’s bar tab. No, it just needs you to be a little inventive. After all, if you know how to perk it up a bit, your restroom can become your best room.

Bold And Bright
Almost everyone believes that a bathroom should be white and clean looking. But while the latter point may be essential, it doesn’t need to be white by any means. In fact, one of the best ways to spruce it up a bit is to combine bold colors with bright accents. One of the looks we love is dark blue walls paired with yellow moments and metallic bits and bobs. This is a surefire combo to make a bathroom look spectacular.

Break The Rules
Like the old cliche goes, rules are there to be broken, and nowhere is more perfectly suited for this than your bathroom. This is the perfect place for you to experiment a little with textures and patterns. It could be adding antique looking textures in the form of Kohler faucets and lighting fixtures, as well as a gilded mirror and loo roll holder. It could be that you run with a nautical theme by tiling it in that style, thick rope accents and artwork in the same vain. Whatever takes your fancy.

Address The Flooring
As far as design goes, the bathroom floor is one of the most impact features of any bathroom. This is because there tends to be so much unobstructed floor space in a restroom. Everything tends to be pushed to the walls, leaving the state of your floor open for scrutiny. If you want to create a homier look then go with a wooden floor. If you prefer to make this the centerpiece of your clean vibes, then large tiling should be the way to go. Whatever it is, do it, do it now.

Less Vanity Needed
Space is the final frontier… and also the key to a much more magical bathroom. The question is, how do you make more space in a room where that poses the biggest challenge? Well, a great place to start is your vanity section. It could be that this crowding your space, so try reeling it in, opening it up and then adding more feature pieces. Bold art. Statement shutters. A wooden ladder to hang your towels on. A shrine of scented candles. All of these are inexpensive ideas that are totally gorgeous, and we mean totally.

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Home Office/Library Tips For Design Enthusiasts

Contrary to popular belief, people don’t have to work from home to warrant creating a home office. Indeed, for that reason, we’re going to refer to those spaces as libraries for this post. Designing a space of that nature is an excellent step, and the room will have many different uses. Homeowners can retreat to their libraries to hand out and relax after a long day at work. They can also use the area to file their paperwork and ensure nobody overlooks the household bill payments. With all that in mind, there are some tips and tricks below.

Create a bookcase wall

No library or home office is complete without fitted furniture. In most instances, it’s sensible to select the longest straight wall for that job. People can either pay specialists to create their custom product or try the DIY approach. If the latter strategy appeals, just head down to relevant local businesses and ask if you can reclaim any of their offcuts. Also, it’s wise to check sites like for inspiration. In most instances, that should help to drive the cost down considerably. Use the bookcase wall to store books, DVDs, paperwork, and even some family photos. Anyone who wants to improve the aesthetics and functionality should consider:

  • Adding some shelf lights
  • Creating secret compartments
  • Installing a moveable ladder for top shelf access

Provide some comfortable seating

Most people will sit at a desk when working in their library or office. So, it makes sense to invest in an ergonomic chair that will reduce back and hip pain. However, lots of homeowners might also like to lie back and listen to music in that room. Recliners from niche providers like are not going to break the bank. Indeed, some of the best designs from upmarket brands cost a small fortune. So, it helps if people don’t have to pay all the money upfront. Other seating ideas might include:

  • Tub chairs
  • Armchairs
  • Sofas
  • Chaise Longues

Make use of stylish lamps

Homeowners will want to regulate the amount of light in their office spaces. That helps with comfort, but it can also make the room appear larger than it is. For that reason, it always makes sense to use dimmer switches. Still, there are lots of other solutions available too. Lamps come in many different shapes, sizes, and designs. It’s possible to find some quirky products out there if people search hard enough online. Lava lamps are still as fresh today as they were thirty years ago. So, don’t overlook items of that nature because they can also help humans to relax and unwind. Just search Google for “weird lamp ideas” and check out some of the results.

With a bit of luck, the tips in this article will have given readers some new ideas. So, now is the time for people to create their plans and work out how much they can afford to spend. While money isn’t everything, it’s still sensible to determine a budget ahead of time. That should help to stop homeowners from overspending, and ensure they don’t break the bank. If anyone needs extra inspiration, just search for photos of offices other people have created online.

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