Relieving Stress By Getting Yourself A Hobby

As I struggle to adapt to my new Windows 8.1 computer (apps? I don’t need no stinkin’ apps), I feel my blood pressure rise. So I turn to one of my favorite hobbies – a brief, tension-relieving game of Spider Solitaire. Only, it’s not there. I look for the program file, and there isn’t one. There is only a bunch of app icons scattered everywhere. Tension mounting, I search for game programs – excuse me – apps – only to find one that takes up the whole screen, yet is hard to read. I think I’ve blown a gasket by now.
We all need break. I’m not one to watch movies or play WOW on my computer at work, but I usually have a crossword puzzle, a jigsaw puzzle, or a game of solitaire open for a brief respite. There are all kinds of hobbies, and simple ones like these can make a person relax, even just a little bit. By relieving stress, you actually restore your energy. Hobbies are like that. They give you a chance to develop new skills and polish old ones, losing yourself in the process.

How Do Hobbies Help?


Most of the time, our hobbies are something we’re good at. We may or may not get paid to do our hobby, but they provide immense satisfaction. One of the ways hobbies help is by helping us center ourselves in something we do well. This restores our confidence and clears our minds. There is a certain balm to repetitive movements that will yield the result you expect, whether it is clicking an icon to deal virtual cards or digging a hole in the garden to plant a flower.

Our hobbies help us to relax, and yet, to feel “in control” at the same time. By finding joy in our hobbies, we shed stress and re-focus our energies.

What Hobbies Are Best?


Just as each person has a different personality, we each have a different taste for hobbies. For some, socializing is the best stress reliever, while for others, socializing would be the ultimate stress inducer. After a very stressful day, some people want the refuge of the kitchen, enjoying the activities of cooking their favorite meal. Gardening, cards, crochet, running, all are excellent hobbies that appeal to some, but not others.

How Do I Get a Hobby?

Sadly, so many people spend so much time working that they think there is no time for hobbies. Their only interest is getting to bed so they can go to work tomorrow. In these cases, it’s time to take on something totally new. The TV show “Dancing With the Stars” has brought dancing into the spotlight, and more people are going out to their local dance shop such as Weston dancewear and turning to dance as a viable hobby. They get some physical activity, experience art, and socialize, all at the same time.
Don’t be afraid to try something new. It will focus all of your energies, take you out of yourself, and build your confidence.

Building The Perfect Outdoor Shelter


The perfect outdoor shelter is one that serves its purpose without being a blight on the landscape. This means that you must design it with care, so that it will withstand weather, wear and tear, and gravity that may cause doors to sag and windows to stick. It also means you must use quality materials, like Somerset Siding.

Site Preparation


Preparing the site for your construction is crucial to its stability. First of all, check all codes. There are usually easements required, leaving a certain distance between the structure and the border of your property.

Make sure the site is perfectly level. If you have access to surveyor services, take advantage of their expertise. You may have to hire a dirt mover if your build is going to be very large.

Your footings should e placed so that they won’t budge or break. In some cases, you may get to pour a concrete slab for the floor of your outdoor shelter. Otherwise, make sure that the supports are placed to support the flooring.



Start off with a high quality design. If you want to buy a plan, there are many available at your local home improvement store. In some areas, you have to get your plans approved before you begin construction. Purchasing a pre-approved plan will allow you to skip this step, but you will still need the appropriate permits.

When you select the plan, you’ll first make your selection based on the style of the building. Besides appearance, you will want a structure that provides you with enough headroom for your purposes. If it is simply for storage, you won’t need as much clearance as you would in a workshop. In addition, an outdoor shelter that will be used for a workshop needs windows. This can increase the cost and structural complication, but you’ll be glad for the light and visibility provided. You’ll also benefit from being able to ventilate the space.

Quality Materials

Your outdoor shelter needs to be made out of quality materials. This is not the area in which you need to scrimp. The frame, while built of construction grade timber, should still be sturdy enough to support itself. The cladding and interior walls will stabilize it, but you need to make sure that the frame will not bow or buckle once the cladding is attached. Sturdy, straight timber is crucial at This point.

Many people will choose inexpensive particle board for cladding. The problem with this is that particle board is not weather resistant. It will come apart in bad weather, leaving you without the shelter you wanted. Somerset Cladding is designed specifically to protect your structure. When installed properly, it sheds water and helps to keep pests out. It is also a good looking finish to your building, available in several different styles and colors.

The cladding you select should be sturdy enough to withstand wind and severe weather without breaking loose or warping. That is why Somerset Cladding is a good choice.


Using Planters To Accent Your Home

Bringing the outdoors in can make your home more cozy and welcoming. Quite often, people find that they feel more relaxed with a few leafy plants around to soften the straight lines of man-made buildings and furnishings. Even the planters used can make a big difference inside your home. In fact, large planters often serve as major accents in your home, even when used for non- plant purposes. Here are some ways to use planters of all types and sizes in the house.

Space Definition

Take a page from the business-world decorator’s handbook, and use planters to define spaces. For example, many homes don’t have an entryway, or foyer. You just walk right into the front room from the outside. You can create the feeling of an entryway, though, with a carefully chosen planter and plant. A large planter with a tall fern or ficus tree can create a cozy atmosphere as you walk in the door. The planter doesn’t have to stand between the door and the room. It can stand in the corner, overhanging the entry area. One of the difficult aspects of a separate entry is the sense of exposure. A large planter can integrate the spaces, making you feel less exposed when you walk in.

Large rooms and lofts offer great opportunities for the use of planters as screens. Creating a visual barrier with plants is more appealing than an actual screen or wall partition. Sure, you can peek through, so if you require absolute privacy, the plants probably won’t work. However, you can use them to soften dividing walls.

Non-Plant Use

Do you have a “brown thumb”? Maybe you can’t keep a plant alive, but that doesn’t have to keep you from using that beautiful planter you saw at the antique store. A lovely small planter can serve as a vase on your mantel or bookshelf. If you have found a really large garden planter UK you really love, turn it into a table! Cut a round bit of particle board to fit down into the planter about 4 inches down into the opening. Cover the board with something pretty, such as swaths of fabric, sea shells, or even different colors and textures of preserved moss and lichen. Lay a beveled circle of heavy tempered glass over the top, and you have a striking end table, coffee table, or bistro table for the breakfast nook.


Another great non-plant use for planters is a water feature. You can add a water feature to your home with carefully layered pots that appear to spill water into each other, through the use of a re-circulation pump. The sound of gently flowing water is relaxing, and the idea of a fountain in the home is appealing and attractive. It can also add visual interest.

Planters can add color, texture, and style to your home. Whether you use them to hold live plants, silk plants, or books, they are an affordable and attractive addition to your decor.

The Perfect Fitting Jeans

Jeans are a staple of the UK wardrobe. Casual Fridays at work were often initiated to allow jeans to be worn at work. Jeans are combined with heals, jackets, and other fantastic accessories for an overall look that can go from casual to professional, and from classic looks to party wear. However, finding the perfect fitting jeans can be a real problem. One-size-fits-all does not fit all, and everything from the placement of pockets to the rise of waist make a difference in fit and feel. The much maligned “mom jeans,” with their high waist and high pockets, once were intended to accent a small waist and feminine hips. However, they are not seen as flattering these days. Indeed, it is much better to go for an overall fit, rather than just looking at one feature of the figure. The return of hip-hugger jeans is testimony to the changing styles. Now called “low-rise jeans,” hip-huggers are the opposite extreme from “mom jeans.” For this reason, companies such as NYDJ have become popular. NYDJ stands for “Not Your Daughter’s Jeans” and the designers make it possible to find the perfect fitting jeans.

Plus-Size Fit


Face it, most women struggle with plus-size fit at some time. In fact, women struggle with weight fluctuations not just throughout the month, but throughout the lives, as well. This can actually justify an entire wardrobe of jeans, if you want to look at it that way!

In general, when you’re looking for a plus-size pair of jeans, look for mid-rise waists. This will keep from pinching at the waist that will be uncomfortable. Some women think they need to tuck the waist in to create an hourglass figure, but that creates an unnatural profile.

Your daughter’s jeans probably have acid washing on them. The seat and/or thighs may be washed out. There may also be a special effect called “whiskering” at the crotch. These are the horizontal lines that travel from the crotch out toward the outer thighs. These faded effects actually serve to widen the hips and thighs, rather than compliment them.

Finally, don’t be afraid to wear boot-cut jeans. For about 10 years, the style has been straight leg jeans that are the same width as the thigh all the way down. But now, legs that taper slightly at the knee then flair out slightly at the ankle are easier to find, and are very flattering.

Muffin Top


Be honest, now – do you have a “muffin top”? High waist jeans are uncomfortable and stiff, while low waist jeans accent the part of your midsection that you would rather not draw attention to.

The key here is to look for jeans such as NYDJ, which are designed to fit women’s bodies, rather than junior sizes. They are cut just a little higher, and a wide waistband will help to retain the extra “muffin.” A mid-rise waist is more flattering. Until you can switch your wardrobe over to mid-rise adult jeans, a loose fitting top or bubble top looks really cute with the jeans you have.


The History Of Lawn Maintenance

The history of lawn maintenance is almost as long as the history of man. That’s because man has tried, for most of our existence, to cultivate nature, rather than just using it up. While the first horticulture was practiced on plants that provided food, it didn’t take long to expand to the nuirture of plants simply for the beauty of them.

Ancient Horticulture



It is estimated that the first horticulturists lived in prehistoric times. These peoples lived in rainforests, and apparently cultivated the trees, shrubs, and vines that would provide the most useful produce. These plants provided fibers for weaving and food for survival. The native people would cut out species of plants that were detrimental to their lives and the plants that supported them, and cultivate the desirable species. Thus, the first horticulture was created for survival.



With the Dawn of Civilization, people began to cultivate plants for aesthetic reasons. There are paintings in Egyptian tombs dating back to 1500 BC that show beautiful gardens and landscaping. The Hanging Gardens of Babylon were once one of the 7 Wonders of the World. These gardens contained beautiful ornamental trees, ponds, and flowering bushes. The ancient Egyptians were known for developing rose bushes, irises, daises, the date palm, fir trees, and poppies.

The ancient Assyrians developed the first game preserves, incorporating beautiful landscaping along with wildlife. This may be the first record of cultivated grasses, as the Assyrians would provide grazing land for different species of deer.

The Middle Ages


During the Middle Ages, the emphasis turned to the cultivation of medicinal herbs, kitchen gardens, and vinyards. Once again, private plots of grass were cultivated for the sake of grazing of livestock and wildlife. The landowners would plant hedges around the fields to keep the livestock in place.

It was during this time that those in charge of cultivating lawns and fields learned the value of aeration of the soil. The traffic from herds of livestock and wildlife did more damage than the actual grazing, and the first “lawn care specialists” were born. They developed horse-drawn aerator cylinders to loosen the soil. This would help the soil hold onto rain water and encourage the spread of roots from the various grasses. In addition, there was a court in the center of most gardens that had a plot of grass.

Around the same time, Persians were building gardens with a foursquare pattern with 4 waterways dividing it. These gardens were circled by walls, and the center would either have a pavilion for gatherings, or a pool. These gardens featured Islamic mosaics and


Real Lawns

It wasn’t until the end of the 1200s that lawns were valued for their own existence. In Europe, people would plant stretches of lawn framed by fruit trees and rose trellises.
Since the 1200s, lawns have been valued by property owners, and lawn maintenance has had a significant role in horticulture. Proper lawncare has added oxygen to the air, and purified the water for hundreds of years.

Why Your Drying Methods May Be Affecting Your Health

I remember when my mum got a gas tumble dryer. She cried. No longer did she have to hang clothes on the sagging clothesline outside. We felt like we had moved into the 20th century with that and a color television. If we had known then what we know now, we would have kept the clothesline for some situations. Little did we know that the dryer could actually affect our health!



First of all, we didn’t count on the lint. Apparently, drying clothes in the dryer produces a great deal of lint. This created a problem for my sister, who had asthma. So, the housekeeping had to increase in order to keep lint cleared out from inside and behind the dryer. It was amazing how much lint could accumulate on the wall behind the dryer!
Not only that, we found out that the lint was actually a fire hazard! In our case, the heating element in an electric dryer went out. We had it replaced, and the repairman called us in to witness the huge amount of dryer lint that had accumulated around the heating element. He told us that we were lucky it hadn’t caught on fire. Evidently, dryer lint is highly flammable!
His recommendation to us was to use a clothes rack for some items, and to even install a clothesline for some of the larger, heavy items that could be too heavy for the dryer. So, we were back to the clothesline!



Another feature we did not anticipate was the increased humidity brought into the house when we used a tumble dryer. As the dryer evaporated the water from the clothes, that moisture had to go somewhere! Sure enough, we started having problems with mold and mildew in the laundry room. Now, besides my sister’s asthma being exacerbated, other family members started having allergies. It actually resulted in us having to call in contractors to replace drywall in the laundry room. They took out the gypboard and installed concrete board that was more moisture-proof.
Another problem created by the humidity was closets in the laundry room. That was where we kept our linens, and they started smelling like urine. It was because of the increased humidity in the room. Apparently, when you live in an area that gets a lot of rain, the dryer will add to ambient humidity and create mildew problems.

The 21st Century

Now, we are in the 21st Century, and we have advanced to clothesmaid clothes racks. Sure, we still use our tumble dryer, but luckily the styling of clothes racks is much more sophisticated. The woods and finishes keep the racks strong and splinter-free, and they are even a decorative addition to the laundry room. They can fold down from the wall, fold up into the corner, or be suspended from the ceiling. And, bonus, they have cut down on our utility bills!

You may want to consider using clothes racks in your laundry room. It can improve your health, and save money.

Why A Detox Retreat Could Help You Feel Better

Your knees hurt, your back hurts, your muscles ache, your stomach is often queasy and your digestion is iffy. Maybe you are coming down with the flu, or maybe you’re just feeling your age. Or, maybe you are just full of toxins. In fact, a buildup of toxins in your body will account for all of these symptoms, and more. But, getting those toxins out of your body can be difficult, time consuming, and – awkward. That is why a detox retreat could help you feel better.



Foods tend to lodge in the gut, refusing to be fully digested. This is caused by many different things. Part of the problem is that most people do not drink enough water to fuel their digestive system and help it to flush. Sometimes, the water we drink is so full of chemicals that it does very little to help us.

Some foods we eat do not lend themselves well to digestion. Others digest well, but turn into fat quickly. Toxins build up, creating inflammation throughout your muscles and in your joints. Inflammation from toxins also will keep your liver and kidneys from working efficiently, dumping even more toxins into your body.

Environmental Causes

Even your environment can add to the toxins in your body. The air you breathe and that comes into contact with your skin carries toxins. Your body lotion absorbs into your skin, and circulates through your body. Shampoos, detergents, and everything else you come into contact with will be soaked up by your body, creating toxic problems.

Detox Retreat


When you go to a health camp uk, you are in a clean environment. That tiredness you feel all the time, and the aches and pains, can all be caused by toxins that cannot be flushed from your body easily. The clean environment will allow your body to begin repairing itself.

How Much Time

How much time should you spend at a detox retreat? That depends. It depends on how much time you have to spend, and just how sick you are. You can plan a detox weekend, or an entire week. You can also plan a month at a detox retreat. Whichever you choose, you will be in a situation where you can rest and take care of yourself, and eat foods and drinks that are actually good for your body.


The detox retreat will plan your menu carefully to work with any medication you are taking. You may find that some of your medications are not working properly because of the toxins in your body. By purging those toxins from your body, your gall bladder, liver, and digestive tract can once again begin to function normally. This means that they will be able to absorb the nutrients in your food and properly process medications. You will emerge from the other side of your detox retreat feeling healed and with strength to keep yourself healthy.

Why Metal Planters Are Helpful

If you are a gardener, metal planters are simply the best way to go. I remember the time when I thought that terra cotta pots were the ONLY way to keep my plants beautiful. I read somewhere that they helped to regulate the moisture content of the soil. Boy, did I goof.

Terra Cotta Pots

Terra cotta pots are beautiful, don’t get me wrong. They are available in every style, too. I should know, I bought a lot of them. And they weren’t cheap, either. Oh, sure, the simple ones were inexpensive, but the really pretty ones with designs? Forget about it – I paid a TON of money for those things. They’ll last forever, right?

Boy, did I find out otherwise. First of all, they flaked. My most expensive pots flaked off in layers, leaving a terrible mess on the patio, until there was nothing left at all.

The ones that didn’t flake got cracks in them! I was really upset to find some of my pots with big cracks running from the rim to the bottom. Even more aggravating were the tutorials I saw on how to repair these pots. They wanted me to drill a series of holes – using a “mortar bit”, whatever that is – on each side of the crack, and lace it back together with BAILING WIRE! It was supposed to look “rustic”. I thought it just looked stupid. Plus, my plants were lying around on the patio, WITHOUT A POT, gasping for air like fish out of water while I played “cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe” with the stupid pots. Which, by the way, shattered when I tried to drill them.

AND…that whole moisture equalizing thing? What that means is that the terra cotta leaches the moisture out of the soil, leaving a white residue on the side of the pot and dry soil – and DEAD PLANTS – inside.

Plastic Pots

Plastic pots rot. Sure, they are light weight. Sure they are in different styles, but if they sit in the sun, they rot. And break. And the plant dies.

Metal Planters

Which brings me to metal planters. Ok, right up front, metal will rust. But guess what? My metal planters have outlasted everything else I’ve tried in my garden and home!

The metal planters are available in any style you want, in any size. They are amazingly lightweight. Check for planters that have holes drilled in the bottom so that excess water can drain out. This will keep the bottom from rusting. If the metal planter is sitting on a paver or rack rather than the dirt, it will last even longer.

Stainless steel is particularly durable. You can find stainless planters with powder coated surfaces to get the color you want. Or, you can simply get a pretty metal planter and put your ivy in it, knowing that it will look good for years to come.

In reality, I still have terra cotta pots, and plastic ones, too. They are just too pretty to never use again. But, my metal planters have outlasted everything.

Why Cornwall Is The Best Place To Surf

When people start listing their favourite places to go surfing, some might be surprised to hear Cornwall listed. The truth is, Cornwall is one of the best places to go surfing, especially through the late autumn season. It seems that the ocean is the right temperature, the wind is from the right direction, and the waves are the right height this time of year to make Cornwall one of the premier places to surf in the entire world.

North and South Cornwall


The southern beaches of Cornwall are well known for their surf accessibility. In fact, Weymouth, Plymouth, Falmouth, and other prime locations attract a great number of holiday surfers. However, this often creates a problem for those looking for less crowded beaches. The tourist and surfing industries in these areas are thriving, and the surfer can always find lodging and restaurants. The businesses in these areas are also friendly to the surfing set, welcoming wet suits and sand in most areas.

However, more and more people are discovering the northern beaches of Cornwall surfing. Swansea, Barry, Bideford, Bude, and other locations along the coastline offer prime surf and services, as well. A great deal of this property is National Trust land, so it has not been as developed, and the surfer can have a more pristine experience.

Surfing Conditions in Cornwall


On the northern side of Cornwall, surfing is possible even in stormy winter weather. The reefs in this part of the continent face the west. This means that when winter weather strikes the southern coast, the swells on the northern coast are perfect for surfers. Coves that face the north suddenly become the prime location for surfing, and those storms that swamp the southwest corner of the coast become perfect swells in the coves. Talk to some of the locals to find out where the seasonal swells are the best, because you will find both summer and winter surfing here.

In addition, the beaches of northern Cornwall are well maintained. Not only are the beaches pristine, the topography is as dramatic as the area’s heritage. Cliffs, caves, and dramatic scenery make this one of the most picturesque locations for anyone on holiday.



The waves all along the Northern Cornwall are fairly uniform in height, ranging from 3 feet to 5 feet. At Mawgan Porth and Watergate Bay, you will be more likely to find the 3 foot waves. These swells may be little, but they last a whopping 12 seconds.

At Constantine, Harlyn,Treyarnon, Tebarwith strand, and Polzeath you will find 4.5 foot waves, while the beaches at Crooklets, Widemouth Bay, Sandymouth, Summerleaze, and Crackington Haven sport typically 5 foot waves. Each of these will last for about 7 seconds, providing a pretty good rush for even the experienced surfer.

Surf Schools in Cornwall

There are quite a few high quality Bude Surfing Schools. Freewave Surf Academy, TJ’s Surf Shop, Escape Surfboards, Harlyn Surf School, and Seed Surf Co all provide gear and board rentals, and lessons from beginner to advanced.


How To Get A Relaxing Night’s Sleep

Insomnia and sleep deprivation are problems that thousands of people face. With insomnia, the person can’t get to sleep. With sleep deprivation, the person can’t remain asleep. Lack of sleep is often the culprit behind traffic accidents, falls, and general loss of productivity at home and at work. But, what can you do to get a relaxing night’s sleep? Here are some pointers for beating insomnia and sleep deprivation.




If your lack of beneficial sleep is due to interruptions, see what you can do to eliminate those interruptions. In some cases, you just need earplugs to block out ambient noises. I never travel without earplugs, because you never know how noisy the hotel will be. Young parents are among the most sleep deprived, and when there is someone present to take care of the baby, can greatly benefit from a good set of earplugs.

Another form of interruption is yourself. It is said by sleep experts that everybody wakes up 3 or 4 times a night. They just don’t remember waking up. This means that by repeating pre-sleep rituals, you may be able to teach your body to get back to sleep.

Ambient Noise

Along with the problems that can arise with interruptions to your sleep are the problems brought about by ambient noise. It may not be periodic noises that randomly crop up – it may be repeated sounds such as the neighbor’s garden gate squeaking, or simply the sound of the water heater as it gurgles and pops. The solution to this is often the old strategy of fighting fire with fire. Play recordings that will keep your ears busy, rather than distracted by environmental sounds. Many people listen to relaxation recordings of ocean surf or thunderstorms. Some take advantage of their brain’s need for stimulus and listen to foreign language tapes while they sleep. Foreign language tapes are a great way to keep the mind occupied instead of thinking “I can’t sleep” and you also get the added bonus of being able to learn, there’s nothing better than having the ability for translation. The rhythm of the spoken words help to lull the mind, and some of it usually sinks in!



Caffeine can be a subtle influence on your sleep patterns. I learned that, while I may be able to have a cup of coffee with evening dessert, I must not, under any circumstances, drink any tea within 6 hours of bedtime. You would think there would be no difference, but there is. And, keep in mind that children are also affected by caffeine. I still remember one mother who, to my shock, allowed her children to drink tea with dinner, then complained that they were so hyper and hard to calm down for bedtime!



There are some additives in food, as well, that might be keeping you awake at night. MSG in foods can act as a stimulant for some people. Foods that you have even the slightest allergy to can upset your system and keep you from drifting off, or from remaining asleep once you reach that state.

Slowing down, avoiding stimulants, and using calming music or language recordings can help you get caught up on your sleep. Try them out, and you’ll see.