How To Design An Amazing Playroom

If you’re lucky enough to have some free space in your home, there are a whole host of ways you can put it to good use. Those who work from home, for example, might turn their spare room into an office, while those who often have family or friends to stay can design the guest bedroom of their dreams. But for those with children, it’s a great idea to use the free space to create a playroom.

Playrooms have a number of advantages: from giving the children somewhere to go while you get on with work, to ensuring that there’s a dedicated place to store their toys and clutter, so it’s definitely worth thinking about designing one. And from choosing sensible window coverings to opting for decor with educational value, there are lots of relatively simple design tricks you can use to get your playroom looking and feeling top notch.

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Are you losing your hair? Did you know there's a treament that's 90% effective?

Male pattern baldness doesn't have to be the end of the world though. Being bald actually comes with its own benefits;  You save money on shampoo, you're more aerodynamic, and you'll never have a bad hair day. If you're starting to notice it, others probably have as well, so rock it! The only thing worse than going bald is pretending that you're not. Look at Patrick Stewart, or Bruce Willis for example – those guys are awesome and proud to be bald.

50% of all men by the age of 50 years will be affected by male-pattern baldness usually starting in their 20s-30s. Your hair however is a huge part of your personal identity, so the loss of it can hurt your self-confidence. Not to mention cost effiency; you may save money on shampoo as a bald man, but dome polish is expensive too!

If you're not quite ready to accept that yet, there a few options. Hair transplants appear in the media every now and then, usually focused on celebrities that have opted for them. It makes sense that it would be a celebritie's choice (see Wayne Rooney), as they can cost upwards of £20,000! Even after a hair transplant you have to continue taking Propecia to keep the hair that grew back due to the transplant.

Another, more affordable option however, is to start with Propecia/Finasteride from the beginning – the treatment has been shown to be highly effective at preventing hair loss and regrowing hair – The earlier you decide to take action, the better the results can be.

Matt Amy's journey with Finasteride is a great example of the results that can be expected:

If you're still unsure, need more proof (available under "effectiveness"), or need further information on hair loss and treatments, here is a great start and professional advice is always available from our team of dedicated pharmacists at Assured Pharmacy.

*A recent 5 year clinical study showed that 90% of balding men either regrew hair or had no further hair loss.

The Boy… Aged Nine

The Boy Aged Nine

My boy.

My funny, compassionate and sensitive little boy who still loves to cuddle up with his teddies.

He is growing up so very fast. It astounds me how he changes from day to day, so when his birthday is approaching and it's time for me to reflect upon the things that he likes at his current age, the difference from the previous year is even more pronounced. Some things will never disappear I think (cheesy ham pasta and Oliver Monkey), but Peppa Pig has long since been relegated to the depths of Nick Jnr and I can't say that I miss her that much.

And so here's my boy, just after his 9th birthday, and all the things that make him who he is in his final year of single digits.

The Boy Aged Nine

Your Guide to a Stress-Free Moving Day

It was once labelled as one of the most stressful life events, running close to losing a loved one or going through a divorce.

Indeed, moving house can be a stressful, intense period of time in your life but, when you have finally moved into your new pad, all the stress and uncertainty evaporates.

Just how can you keep stress under control and make moving less onerous a task?

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Studying in Sheffield: The Highlights

Homes for students studying in Sheffield are plentiful and affordable – at least when compared to London’s sky-high rates. You can expect to pay a weekly rent of between £65 and £85 for a room in a shared student house or Sheffield Hallam accommodation, though this naturally varies by area. Understandably, the properties best situated for the universities are in demand and often more expensive.

Start your search with a little fact-finding: the Sheffield University Student Union website has many useful guides for you to download. They also host a housing fair to help you find the best base for your time in Sheffield. Agents and landlords attend the fair, so there’s a good chance you’ll be able to tick housing off your list right there and then.

The house hunting season begins in November, but don’t worry if you’re not able to start the search so soon. There are plenty of good properties on offer in the Steel City.

Most shared flats and houses are for groups of four or five – splitting into groups will offer you the widest choice of properties and help stretch your accommodation budget further.

So much for the where, but what about the who? The people you live with in Sheffield may well be your friends for the rest of your life, if you choose well. Sheffield universities run housefinder events, so ask at the union if you're struggling to find flatmates.

Saving on accommodation is essential if you plan to make the most of Sheffield. After all, there’s much more to the Steel City than libraries and laboratories. The vibey, creative atmosphere and thriving culture means many people who study in Sheffield decide to settle down there. This beautiful city blends a rich heritage with a very modern outlook. There’s a deep and diverse cultural scene, with world class galleries and theatres regularly packed and a music scene that’s birthed countless acts from grime to rock. Check out the iconic Leadmill, where many a famous act has played to small local crowds on their march to the top. 7.2% of Sheffield's working residents are in the creative industries.

Project 365 (2018): Days 7 – 32

days 7-13

Well, look at me! The chilled out 365-er who hasn't posted weekly. I haven't even got a photo a day either! I've missed about three days this month, probably because they were a Tuesday and I was knackered after work. The world still turns though, who cares if I've missed a day? I've still taken way more photos than I have been doing over the past year.

days 7-13

Days 7 – 13: I spotted a very complex maze book which I snapped up for The Boy, and he was suitably challenged by it! More challenged than he is by the Rubik's Cube which he learnt how to solve and can manage in 3 minutes 18 seconds (to be honest it's probably quicker than that now as he doesn't stop fiddling with the damn thing!), and marginally more challenging that learning how to bowl without the aid of the ramp at his cousin's bowling birthday party. Only once did the ball end up in the next lane. Wedged. The children in my class this week were also challenged; take photographs of the school building from interesting angles and I showed them this photo of the wall as an example.

days 14-20

Days 14 – 20: Another week with a day missing, Monday this time! On the Sunday we went to watch the really lovely film 'Coco' in the cinema; I highly recommend it if you've not seen it. I've started a DT club in my school which I'm running for my son's year group so of course he had to join in; we're making a cam-shaft toy and the children are very excited to be using saws! We popped to the library and perused the Harry Potter display but didn't take anything out. We won't let him read past book three at the moment, and he's got a copy of the first batch of the series so no need to borrow a copy.I popped my Subway cherry; an interesting experience but not overly amazing and I'd much rather have a Starbucks in the car wash! And finally we've been enjoying my husband's record player which I bought him for Christmas.

days 21-27Days 21 – 27: I've lost another day this week, think it was Monday again so that should go some way to showing my state of mind on a Monday evening! Sunday involved lazing around and playing Minecraft in bed. My son progressed with his cam-shaft toy in DT club, he's coming along brilliantly with his piano practise and I'm so proud of him. A lily just because I like them. And let's chuck some crochet in there as well! This is a baby blanket for a colleague and it's going to be a rainbow blanket.

days 28 - 2

Days 28 – 32: Not another missing day, don't worry! I haven't taken today's yet and until I go to sleep I count that as today, I'm going for a sleeping boy photo. This week has involved helping daddy re-lay some paving slabs on the drive, midnight cuddles with mummy in bed, and a rather spectacular Super-Blood-Blue-Moon which was neither red or blue but was pretty supertacular! The rainbow blanket progresses (in fact I've just finished the blues section and am moving onto the purples), my lilies look rather beautiful in silhouette, and when I send him upstairs to get ready for school I actually end up with him reading on his bed. When did he get so long?!

When the Kids Leave Home

It can be difficult to cope when your children leave home. For years your life has revolved around caring for them and preparing them for the outside world, but when they enter it, it can leave a void. Empty Nest Syndrome is very real, and many people feel a loss of purpose when their children aren’t around the house any more.

There are a few simple ways to relieve these feelings of loss, so you can refocus and concentrate on the new freedom you have in your life.

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Three Storage Tips to Make Your Home Safer and More Spacious

Not only does it look a mess, clutter can be a bit of a health hazard too, especially when you have kids around. Think about knives lurking at the bottom of drawers, or heavy boxes waiting to topple on toddlers. Doesn’t bear thinking about.

Here are some tips to help keep the house tidier, and safer to boot.

A Place for Everything

It may be a tired old cliché, but having designated spots for everything from boots to crayons means you can find what you want straight away without tripping over things on the way.

Drawer organisers are easy to buy and cheap, and they’re useful all round the house, not just for cutlery in the kitchen. Use them for:

  • Pens, crayons and felt tips in a crafting drawer.
  • Hair ties and bobbles.
  • Costume or play jewellery
  • Make up and brushes

You can also buy or make dividers for sock drawers, and to keep crockery or pots and pans organised.

Shelving throughout the house creates lots of storage without restricting the floor area, and is especially good for keeping glass or other breakables out of little finger’s reach.

Activity Zones within Rooms

We can’t all afford bespoke rooms for every activity. Bedrooms are all occupied by beds and people who sleep in them, and dining rooms are fully fitted out with dining furnishings. We can, however, earmark sections of a room for certain activities and take steps to make sure the kit needed for those activities stays within the boundaries.

  • The office in the living room – a small computer workstation in a corner takes up little floor space. Install shelving over the desk for stationery or text books, and use an open bookcase set perpendicular to the wall as a cubicle boundary. Have some books facing each way so it looks good from either side, and pretty it up with trailing plants and photo frames or ornaments.
  • Zoning children’s rooms – make a quiet reading corner with a couple of bookcases and a beanbag, or lay a play mat for building bricks or cars. Captain and cabin beds create additional space for activity zones beneath them without taking up extra floor space.
  • Elsewhere in house, adopt ideas such as installing a shoe rack in the cupboard under the stairs to encourage people not to leave shoes lying around in the hallway. You could rearrange furniture in the living room to make conversation more important than watching TV, or create zones with colour or textiles that either excite the mind or promote calm.

Going Seasonal With Storage

When you’ve got more possessions than house room but you don’t want to permanently get rid of stuff, putting what you’re not using into self storage is a way of freeing up space. Some people go the seasonal route, storing summer garden furnishings and machinery over winter and winter sports kit during the summer. You could adopt the same routine with clothes if you have favourites that come out every year. Wardrobes are less crammed, and what’s in there stays in better condition.

Minimising the things kept at home makes it easier to create a safe environment too. Not only are garages and sheds less attractive as treasure troves and climbing frames to children, it’s easier to keep the inside of the house clean and sanitary when you can easily reach the corners.

An added bonus to organising home storage and clearing up some clutter is the sense of mental freedom afterwards. The home feels more airy and spacious, and is an altogether nicer place to be.

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