It’s practically impossible to predict when an emergency expense would come up. Whether it’s your car breaking down or your washing machine needing a new part, sometimes, what you have in your account may not be adequate to cover this and other expenses before your next paycheck.

When you run into an unexpected financial emergency, you’ll most likely need a quick loan that can cover urgent bills, sometimes short-term to settle immediate costs. If borrowing from friends or family is not an option, you may need to borrow online since the traditional financing may not be as fast in giving loans.

Nowadays, people who seek online loans expect an easy and fast 21st-century application procedure that can provide instant access to the cash they need. Luckily, most online lenders have a straightforward application process that only requires you to provide a few facts about yourself and your financial standing.

If you’re confident that you need an emergency loan, you should first check if you meet a lender’s eligibility criteria before submitting your application. It is important to note that these lenders assess your ability to repay a loan, which reduces risks for both you and the lender.

Here are some of the best emergency loan providers, along with their interest rates, fees, and other relevant information:

  1. iCash

If you’re looking to borrow money online instantly, iCash can be an excellent option. Unlike other online platforms, iCash offers quick application, fast receipt and smooth repayment to all of their borrowers. As long as you are at least 19 years old, employed with the same employer for at least three months and receive a net income of at least $800 a month, you are qualified to apply for online loans from this platform.

2 .  Best Egg

If you’re a high-income borrower, with moderate to excellent credit scores, and looking for unsecured personal loans, you’ll want to consider Best Egg. The lender provides quick loans to qualifying borrowers, usually, within one day. Note that Best Egg’s process is purely online, meaning the underwriting costs are fewer. For this reason, Best Egg has better interest rates and more reasonable fees compared to other lenders.

Once you qualify for the loan, you will have a repayment period of between 36 to 60 months. The company may request for further proof of identity and income when you accept their terms.

All loans are subjected to a one-time origination fee, a sum taken out of the overall loan amount and factored into the annual percentage rate (APR) to cover loan processing. You can expect an APR of anywhere between 0.99% to 5.99% ,depending on your credit score and the repayment period.

Bets Egg provides unsecured personal loans of between $2000 to $5000, which can last three to five years.

Best Egg offers unsecured, low-interest personal loans from $2,000 to $35,000. There are no prepayment penalties, so if you can pay off your loan after making the first month’s payment, you will not incur any extra fees.

  1. Upstart

Upstart is ideal for people with excellent credit scores since they offer low APRs of about 6.18%. The lenders provide loans of up to $5000 for the most creditworthy customers, which can help with debt consolidation and home improvement projects, among others.

Upstart is a direct-to-consumer loan platform that accepts requests from borrowers with fair to excellent credit scores. If you want to clear off your debt early, you won’t be charged a fee for it. However, you have to be keen about their one-time origination fee, which can shoot to as high as 8% on your total loan amount.

  1. Prosper

Since its inception, Prosper has funded personal loans to a tune of $10 billion. The lending platform is peer-to-peer, meaning individual investors will fund your loan. While this platform offers between $2,000 to $40,000 in loan amounts, some investors may invest as little as $25 towards funding these loans. If you have a FICO score of less than 640, you won’t get funded. Prosper’s interest rates range between 5.99% to 35.99%.

If you don’t qualify for traditional financing and need an urgent loan, you should definitely consider Prosper’s offer. They have more reasonable interest rates, compared to most payday and credit card loans, and no prepayment penalties. The only downside is that your money may not hit your bank account faster, so you’ll need to be a little patient.

Prosper gives loans to applicants of 18 years and above, but will first obtain your credit card report from Transunion, a significant credit repository.

  1. Peerform

Peerform is a P2P lending site that offers unsecured loans, which means that you do not need collateral, like a house or car, to back up your borrowing. The good thing about peer-to-peer lending platforms is that they eliminate middlemen (the banks) to give investors a better return on their investment, while borrowers get better interest rates.

With Peerform, you can expect a loan of between $4000 to $25000, with a three to five years repayment period.

Peerform can be an excellent alternative to credit cards and payday loans. It is an option for people with poor credit rating and short credit history. Since it’s a peer-to-peer lending site, Peerform connects borrowers to individual investors who may be willing to fund their loans.

Peerform’s loan can be sought for debt consolidation, home improvement projects, wedding expenses, and many others.

Here are some fees involved when taking out a loan from Peerform:

  • Original Fee: An origination fee is a charge of between 1% to 5% imposed on a loan once it is ready to be issued.
  • Unsuccessful Payment Fee: If an automatic deduction from your bank fails, an unsuccessful payment fee will apply.
  • Late Payment Fee: If you delay your repayment by 15 days or more, you will pay an amount equivalent to 5% of the outstanding payment, or $15, whichever is bigger.
  • Check Processing Fee: If you choose to repay your loan using a check as opposed to direct bank debit, you’ll pay a fee of $15 for check processing every time you make a payment.
  1. Lending Club

Lending Club is another P2P lending site that offers personal loans, auto refinancing, and small business loans. This platform has been increasingly winning borrower confidence as a reputable emergency loan provider. Lending Club is among the pioneer P2P lending sites that match loan seekers to investors who are willing to fund them. The site is particularly ideal for responsible borrowers with established financial history.

When you apply for a loan, you will be screened for eligibility. If you do not have a good credit score and a lengthy credit history, you may not qualify for a loan at Lending Club. The problem with this site is that investors are the final decision makers as to whether you’ll access the loan or not.  Decisions are typically based on Lending Club’s grade, along with your income data and credit score. This data is also used to compute interest rates.

The lender’s annual percentage rate is anywhere between 5.99% and 35.89%. Lending Club has an origination fee of between 1% to 6% that is deducted from the overall loan amount. Once your loan gets approved, expect the funds to hit your bank account in around seven days. Lending Club’s repayment period stretches from 36- 60 months, depending on factors specific to the lender and borrower.

  1. Avant

Avant is another option to consider if you want to borrow money online. However, this lender has some of the highest interest rates in the market, with the lowest being 9.95% and the highest at 35.99%. To put this into perspective, average credit cards offer an interest rate of about 19.02%.

Avant’s loans are generally unsecured, and they range from $2000 to $35000. Still, minimum amounts may vary from one state to another.

Although the terms of your loan may depend on your creditworthiness and state of residence, all Avant’s loans have a repayment period of between 24 to 60 months. The good thing about this lender is that it gives you the option of settling your entire loan early, unlike many other lenders in the market. This will ultimately reduce the overall interest during the life of the loan.

As for the fees, Avant charges an administration fee of 4.75%, a late-repayment fee of $25, and an unsuccessful payment fee of $15.

To qualify, you must have a gross annual income of at least $20,000 and a credit score of 580 and above.

  1. OneMain Financial

OneMain Financial offers credit services to borrowers with moderate to poor credit rating. Although its loan sizes are generally smaller, borrowers who can’t secure a loan with other lenders or the brick-and-mortar banking institutions will find it easy to be approved here.

Like Avant, OneMain Financial offers unsecured loans. The downside is its application process, which is a little more complicated. Sometimes, the lender may require collateral if they feel you don’t qualify for an unsecured loan.

The lender considers traditional factors, such as your credit history, but you can, still, qualify even with a poor credit rating. Another downside is that you’ll be required to visit one of their branches before your loan request is accepted.

The lender’s loans range from $1500 to $20000. Its personal loans have a fixed APR of between 18% to 35.99%, depending on your creditworthiness.

You will receive a credit rate quote that is calculated according to your income size, credit history, and the value of your collateral. Repayment periods typically range from 24 to 60 months.

  1. Lending Point

Lending Point offers loans of smaller sizes, starting at $2000 to $25000. These loans last for a period of 24 months to 48 months, depending on some factors. Some other similar lenders give you more flexibility by offering repayment of up to five years and smaller monthly payments for similar amounts. At around 585, Lending Point has some of the lowest credit score requirements in the market. However, the low credit scores are generally accepted for people with little debt.

Lending Point’s loans are accessible to people in 49 states in the US, as well as those living in the District of Columbia. If you’re from the state of West Virginia, you cannot access the loan. When it comes to the interest rates, expect a rate of between 9.99% to 35.99% APR, depending on your financial standing and creditworthiness.  

  1. Rocket Loans

Rocket Loans scores quite decently when it comes to its APR range. It’s interest rates are anywhere between 5.98% to 29.99%. However, the company is a little less attractive due to the origination fee charged. Their loan sizes are impressive, ranging from $2000 to $45000, and have a repayment period of between 36 to 60 months.

What makes Rocket Loans attractive is their ability to offer same-day or next-day funding, which can come quite handy if you’re looking to settle very urgent costs.  Applicants will typically get loan estimates, notwithstanding their credit scores.

Rocket Loans’s origination fee stands at about 6% of the total loan amount. There are no hidden fees or penalties.

  1. Funding Circle

Funding Circle offers some of the biggest loans in the online lending industry. It gives you access to loans of up to $500,000 at very competitive rates. This staggering sum can go towards expanding your business venture, hiring new employees, or buying equipment.

The lender’s rates are generally low compared to other players in its category. You can expect an APR of around 12%, which is largely reasonable for the big loans they offer. One downside with this lender is the origination fee charged on its loans. It can be anywhere between 3.49% to 6.99%, depending on several factors.

If you have a credit score of 660 and above, Funding Circle is worth your consideration. According to the company, the average credit score of its clients is 700.

Final Thoughts

Online loans can come quite handy when you have urgent and unexpected bills. While online lenders are great alternatives to traditional financing, still, there are some risks involved. Be wary of lenders who provide emergency loans without any regard to your credit score and financial standing. These types of lenders are similar to auto-title and payday loans with sky-high interest rates and lots of hidden fees, which make their loans too costly and, in some cases, difficult to afford.

If you must borrow money online, you need to be sure that you can repay it, along with the added interest charges. Not only will you need to sign a legal obligation for this part of the contract, but failing to repay on time may attract penalties that may come in the form of late repayment fees.

 

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Writing as therapy

Parents are worried about how their child is doing at school. Often wishing to get good grades, moms and dads start doing school assignments instead of their children – completing worksheets and writing essays. Thus, they can keep time and effort, but it prevents from developing an independent character. It’s much easier to teach once, even if it takes a lot of time. Some parents don’t mind teaching their children, but, unfortunately, they are lack of teacher education. Have a look at some helpful writing tips for parents.

Discuss the Topic Together

Identify what your child’s essay will be about. What subject or event does he want to describe? What mood and feelings does he want to convey? For example, let’s consider the topic, “My favorite book.” No need to retell the book; it’s more important to write why he has chosen this book. Probably, he liked the main character because he is kind and brave. What emotion did your child have after reading this book? Why can he recommend to read it? The writing process is long, and if your child has forgotten to ask for your help earlier, and you are short of time get help from professional writers, saying, “Could you write essay for me cheap and fast?” and start the teaching process providing your child with your own topic.

Collect the Material for an Essay

Your child is assigned the topic, “My way to school.” Although a child passes this way every day, in the morning, you are in a hurry, and the way to school seems boring and hasty. What to do? Take a walk along the usual route on weekends. Pay attention to what you meet on your way and say it aloud.

Make a Clear Plan

Your essay will be illogical without a plan. The more detailed the plan is, the easier it will be to write an essay no need to worry and ask for college homework help.  Just keep in mind that the plan has to include three parts: an introduction, the main body, and a conclusion. In the introduction, a child will tell why he has picked up this topic. The central part includes a description or a story. Discuss what a child should mention in his paper and what he might omit. In conclusion, he will express his point of view about the given topic.

Vary the Vocabulary

The main shortcoming of the child’s essays is “poor” vocabulary words repetitions and too short sentences. To avoid this, you need to choose the words that will describe objects, phenomena, and impressions in advance. You can try to organize the vocabulary in the chart, dividing it into nouns, verbs, and adjectives. For example, if the topic is, “My ideal person my mother,” you can use such verbs as “love,” “help,” “care,” “support,” and adjectives like “tender,” “attentive,” “kind,” “cheerful,” etc.

Have the First Draft

After you have made a plan and discussed the main points that will be described in the essay ask your child to write the first draft. After that, the essay should be checked and corrected. Don’t fix the mistakes by yourself! Just underline the misspelled words. The child should find the error and correct it himself. He will need to use the dictionary or try to remember the rule. Then, ask your child to read the paper aloud. Usually, during reading, all shortcomings are more evident. If you have enough time, have a fresh look at your essay the next day you might find some new mistakes.

As you can see, the writing process of children and parents essays is drawn-out, but it will be fruitful in the future.

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Standon Calling festival camping

If you are planning a family holiday and you want it to be fun, special and valuable but without breaking the bank then you might want to think about a camping holiday. These can be a brilliant experience with the kids, plus it can teach them a lot of valuable life skills as well as show them how to respect nature. Read on to discover a few tips for how you can plan a successful camping holiday with the kids that you will all cherish for years to come.

Plan Your Days Out

You do not want to get bored while on holiday so it is a good idea to have plans for each day – you do not always have to stick to this, but it is helpful to have things planned. You should research ahead to see if there is anywhere in the local area worth exploring and also think about how you will get there, such as with trains to Sevenoaks if you are in the Kent area which can be a fun day out.

Tent or Caravan?

One of the major decisions that you need to make is whether to camp in a tent or in a caravan. You will get more home comforts and space with a tent, but equally there is something special about sleeping in a tent and it is a good way to teach your kids about nature. Of course, you will also need to think about the weather as it would not be much fun camping in a tent if it is constantly raining!

Make it Stress Free!

If you want to be able to make your way easily around the campsite, try a baby carrier instead of a pushchair! Saves room and makes travelling on uneven grass a bit more hassle free. You can research online for the best organic baby carriers to make sure you find the best fit for your family.

Campsite Reviews

There are many terrific campsites up and down the country which are family-friendly and with excellent facilities, but not all are of the same standard which is why you should always research campsites and read reviews before making any kind of booking.

Check Out Campsite Activities

You may also want to look at what campsite activities are available as some places will have a wide range of fun, family-friendly activities available which can be of great help in keeping the kids entertained and ensures that there is always something to do even if you do not feel like leaving the campsite.

Pack Appropriately

Of course, you will also want to make sure that you pack appropriately and have everything that you need for a fun and comfortable holiday. This will include things like:

  • Comfortable clothing for warm and cold weather
  • Bathroom essentials
  • Basic kitchen equipment
  • Food staples
  • Electronics

A camping holiday can be great fun with the kids as well as teach them life skills and show them the great beauty of the country, but this is quite unlike a regular vacation so it is important that you know how to plan a camping holiday so that you can all have the best time possible.

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When you think of marriage, you think that you’re only going to marry once in your life. For many, however, marriage is something that they go through twice or more times. If you’re a citizen in a country that allows divorce, remarriage can be quite normal. Second marriages are getting more prevalent in society. 

While a remarriage can work as a second chance at love, there are certain complications that come along with it too. Importantly, there are financial concerns that come with getting married again. Therefore, second marriage estate planning should be on top of your list when you decide to remarry. 

You should take care of the possible issues, before saying “I Do” the second time around. This is of paramount importance if you’ve amassed a lot of wealth in your past marriage and own quite a number of properties. The financial and legal issues are also important if you have children.

This article gives you insights on how you can efficiently manage and protect your properties when you’re on the road to marrying again. Have a look at the points below.

  1. Disclose Any Financial Issues That You May Have Faced In The Past

You know that trust is essential when you’re getting married again. Don’t start off your relationship on the wrong foot by lying to each other or hiding important information. So, for building trust with your new spouse, it’s crucial to disclose any information that he or she may want to know about. 

To better manage your properties, include a proper disclosure of any financial issues and other considerations that you may have experienced or still be experiencing at the moment.

Some common examples of financial issues are:

  • The number of retirement assets that you have
  • Any credit card debt that you may still have
  • The number of overall assets that you may have acquired

With this kind of disclosure, both of you know that, should anything happen to either of you, the one left behind won’t get an unpleasant surprise. Your new spouse shouldn’t have to face any legal complications or financial burden that you may be carrying from your previous marriage. 

  1. Identify The Priorities That You’ll Have In This Marriage

Because you’re now marrying another person, it’s likely that your priorities in this marriage are going to be different. Just as you plan your wedding day, going into a new marriage also entails planning this new lifetime union. So, you also have to take the time to sit down together and identify all the financial goals that you’re going to have. 

Doing this is very important so that you know that you’re headed in the same direction as your new spouse. The discussion will also help you to set your priorities right. You might have to sell a few assets or properties from your previous marriage. Will that be sufficient for both of you to start from the scratch? Or, will you need to bring in a few thousand dollars cash from your previous account to a new one now?

Going through this step can help you better set the tone for your marriage, and determine how your financial outlook might be in the near and far future.

  1. Have A Prenuptial Agreement

Don’t be shy about bringing up the possibility of a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is that piece of document that’s going to set the limits as to what will constitute as separate assets of each spouse, and what are those that are going to be the conjugal property of this new marriage.

This document is of paramount importance, particularly when you’ve got many assets from your previous marriage. You’ll definitely want to protect these assets, simply because you may have children from your previous marriage or marriages. In such a situation, your children from that marriage may be the rightful heirs of those properties.

In crafting a prenuptial agreement, the most prudent advice that one can ever follow is to take the help of professionals. A lawyer and a financial advisor will assist both you and your new spouse in creating a solid prenuptial agreement. That way, assets owned by you and your spouse will be adequately protected. This can also help prevent any financial dispute, just in case, this remarriage ends up in another divorce.

  1. Put A Weight Of Importance On Estate Planning 

Estate planning refers to deciding how your properties are going to be divided and distributed upon your death. This document goes way beyond your retirement plans. You must understand the important aspects of estate planning by consulting the experts. You never know when death is going to come, so it’s important to be prepared.

Along with your prenuptial agreement, an estate plan can also help smoothen out any legal difficulties with your properties that may arise in the event of your untimely demise. Moreover, multiple marriages and children may complicate your family relations significantly. 

So, as you remarry, planning your will and estate matters is a vital and prudent step for you to take. Rather than going through this process all by yourself, it’s better that you have an estate planning or estate management lawyer on your side.

These are some of the important matters to be addressed as you go through estate planning:

  • Whether or not your new spouse can be named as your trustee, executor or agent?
  • Which of your assets you’ll hold jointly, or individually?
  • Which rights of survivorship will you like to apply in this new marriage?
  • Whether or not your spouse is to be named in your current home’s deed or mortgage?
  • Which items should be bequeathed to specific children upon your death?
  1. Set Up A Trust

When you have minor children from your first marriage, one way to protect your assets from that marriage is by setting up a trust. In doing so, you’ll transfer some of your assets in your name, with your children as the beneficiaries. Such a trust will be beneficial for the future of your minor children. When these minor children grow up and become major, no one else can own these properties except as stated in the trust.

Takeaways

With these tips, now you can be more frank with your prospective spouse before tying the knot again. It’s important to resolve pre-existing financial issues as soon as possible, before the new marriage. A prenuptial agreement is a definite requirement to avoid future disputes. If you follow the tips in this article, you’re unlikely to encounter any financial problems or disputes after you remarry. It’s anyway vital that you enter the new marriage with a very clean slate. Start the remarriage as financial equals. That way, you can avoid falling into any financial or related relationship issues.

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Hands up who’s bored of staying at home pretending that they’re living their best life making sourdough and enjoying the slower pace of life?

*waves hand wildly*

It’s getting kind of tedious isn’t it? I know, saving lives and all that, I’m not about to start an illegal rave, but I do miss full contact brunch. Still, it has to be done, and probably for a while yet, so in the meantime I’ve pulled together a load of things to do online that are fun and free. It’s not like the post I wrote the other day suggesting you learn a language or get a skip bag or anything, these are all purely for time wasting or purely joyous purposes.

PLUS…

Read to the end of this post, or skip there now if you’re really that fed up, and there’s the chance to win a £50 Amazon voucher! (I nearly included ‘evaluate your Amazon wish list’ as one of the items, but I assume that was the first thing EVERYONE did? It’s certainly something I’ve spent a lot of time on.)

Play board games online with friends

We’ve had a bash at playing some games with family via Zoom, but it can be a bit fiddly if you’re all trying to keep track of your own Monopoly board. Instead, try something like Tabletopia for board games that you can play virtually.

Go to the theatre

National Theatre is showing a full length play every week during lockdown via YouTube, and they’ve had some absolutely cracking stuff on so far. This week it’s Gillian Anderson in A Streetcar Named Desire. Now’s your chance to get all fancy and cultured – no one needs to know you saw them at home in your pyjamas.

Enter some competitions

Totally free and who knows, you could end up with a new car or even a year’s supply of Weetabix! The thrill of winning a competition is rarely proportionate to the prize in my experience – having the winning ticket in the village fete raffle is an absolute buzz, even if you do just win an Old Spice gift set.

If you’re not normally a comper, check out Competition Finder as a great starting place for finding and entering competitions.

Learn how to take a dramatic portrait shot of your pet

Dramatic pet portrait photography is just one of the many, many online courses available at Skill Share, amongst other treats such as ‘how to create the ultimate donut flat lay.’ Skill Share is a paid service, offering easy to follow lessons in all kinds of creative subjects, but there’s a decent free trial if you just fancy giving one or two things a go.

how to take a picture of your pet View Post

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Pampers #everybaby new Princess

Gas can be an uncomfortable feeling for all of us, but babies can especially struggle with this digestive symptom as they aren’t able to tell us when something’s wrong. The feeling is caused by trapped air inside the intestines or the stomach, but although it can be particularly painful for our little ones, it isn’t usually a sign of anything serious.

Sometimes, when our babies are agitated or uncomfortable, we might find it hard to know what the cause of their crying is. So to make things a little easier for all the moms and dads out there, Baby Schooling have created a list of the common causes of gas in babies, including signs to look out for, following up with some tried-and-tested methods for how it can be treated.  

Causes:

1)      Swallowing Air

Swallowing air is a common cause of gas in babies, as it can happen due to incorrect latching onto the breast or a bottle. As your baby will feed for multiple times during the day, it’s inevitable that on at least one of these occasions, they are going to swallow some air. Little ones can also swallow air simply from babbling or crying, so sometimes gas can be unavoidable.

2)      Excessive Crying

Crying can be a cause of gas, but it can also be as a result of gas. This makes it hard to figure out the original source of your baby’s tears, but it’s still something to bear in mind if your child always seems a little gassy after a crying spell.

3)      Minor Digestive Problems

Most commonly, babies will get gas when they are unable to pass a stool, such as if they are constipated. Other digestive issues that may cause gas include GERD or minor reflux. If the gas happens often, is quite severe or comes with other symptoms, it may be worth speaking to your doctor for some peace of mind.

4)      New Foods

In older babies who are being encouraged to eat solid foods, the introduction of these new foods may cause gas as the digestive system adjusts. Excessive gas may be a sign of a food allergy or intolerance, so it may help to make a food diary of what your little one is eating and their symptoms.  

Symptoms:

A baby with gas may cry at times when they’re not likely to be hungry or tired, will possibly arch their back and lift their legs, and may have a swollen looking tummy. Also, on a more obvious note, they may be passing gas or belching.

How To Treat:

There are some home remedies for treating gas in a baby, and these may be trial-and-error depending on what works best for your little one! Try out these following methods below next time your baby has gas:

  •         Raising their head above their stomach.
  •         Moving the legs in a bicycle motion.
  •         Going for a car ride – the rocking may soothe your baby and ease their pain.
  •         Swaddling.
  •         Cradling the baby face down.
  •         Massaging your baby’s belly.
  •         Burping.
  •         Tummy time.
  •         Probiotics – speak to your paediatrician about which ones are safe for your little one.

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cat stretched out long

Pets are part of the family. They provide comfort, lots of cuddles and many giggles too. Through tough times, they can be a great source of companionship and can enhance your physical and mental wellbeing as well – dogs will force you to get outside for regular fresh air and exercise, while cats are happy to curl up on you for hours for some therapeutic petting.

When we see images on social media of our friends with their pets, it can often be tempting to consider getting one for ourselves. While these animal friends are certainly cute, they can also be expensive, so it’s vital that you do your research before bringing a new bundle of energy home.

Recent research has shown just how significant an expense owning a pet can be. The survey revealed that Britain’s pet owners cumulatively spend more than £180million a month on their dogs, cats, horses, fish and small mammals. The average pet spend per month is £68.06, so when you multiply this by the number of pet owners that are in the UK – 26.6 million – you reach this huge figure!

From London to Sheffield

Do the spending habits of pet owners differ across the country? It appears so. Bristolians and Londoners spend the most on their pets at £99 per month, compared to the lowest spend of £32 in Sheffield.

But just how much is too much to spend on your pet per month? According to the data, 53,000 UK pet owners (2.2%) spend more than £400 a month on their pets. The survey also revealed that fish owners spend more on their animals’ upkeep (£67.23) than those who own small dogs (60.60), cats (£62), and reptiles (£60.96).

So, why are pet owners willing to spend so much money on their animals?

Vet bills, insurance, food and treats all add up, but many people consider their animals as family members, not just pets, which means that they are happy to fork out for whatever they need. These cute additions to the family quickly become our best friends – they’re non-judgemental listeners, comforters and are always around to help take our minds off things.

If you often splash out on your furry, feathery or scaly friends and use your credit card to do so, it’s important to keep an eye on your credit score. A great way to maintain a healthy credit score is to use your credit cards sparingly – for treats once per month or regular bills, for example. And make sure you pay the balance off in full every month.

What do you love most about your pet?

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child in a cardboard box

If your child is staying home for the day, that doesn’t mean they will just be wasting their time not learning anything. As a matter of fact, there are so many activities you can do with them that can benefit children in a variety of different ways. And if you’re too busy, plenty of these exercises are engaging and interesting enough to keep kids occupied for hours.

Setting some time aside for something like this every day is important because it helps your child grow and develop all kinds of skills. Whether it’s the ability to solve problems they are presented with, fine motor skills or even the development of social skills and cooperation they want to be improving, all of that can be targeted with a variety of very simple activities.

Not only that, but keep in mind that children are multi-sensory beings and that their brain is rapidly growing, so you would do well to stimulate multiple senses and help develop different kinds of skills at the same time with one single exercise. This helps the brain create more neural connections quicker. Of course, try to balance things out, and a great way to do that is to follow the way MindChamps early learning centres approach this subject. Here are a few examples of what you can do.

Sensory boxes for babies

Sensory boxes are a great way to stimulate all of your baby’s senses. Just take any box whose size is suitable enough for the baby to grab objects placed inside of it and you’re ready to go. Then, fill the box with things made of different materials in order to stimulate the sense of touch with different textures and let the baby check every object in the box out thoroughly. You can even put some containers you use to keep some mild spices in there, and when the baby pulls one out open it for them to stimulate their sense of smell. For an extra challenge, put some kind of tape or rope over the box’s opening to make your child figure out the best way to get the items out. The smaller the holes created by the tape (rope), the bigger the challenge will be.

Bubbling paint for toddlers

This one is great if your child is showing an interest in art. Fill a few small bowls with a bubbling solution and then add a different dye into each of them. Then get a sheet of paper and a bubble blower and instruct your child to create bubbles of different colour and blow them towards the paper. You can also use some simple straws for this. Let the child pain mix colours and generally express themselves on paper however they want.

Not only does this exercise help develop your child’s creativity, but it can also help with motor skills and is generally a whole lot of fun and potentially quite messy, which only adds to the experience for them. But one thing you may not be thinking of is that this activity can spark scientific curiosity. What are bubbles and how do they form? Why do certain colours create new colours when they mix? Use this to start teaching them about the nature surrounding them.

Lego Challenge for preschoolers

If you have a preschooler at home, tasking him or her to build something from Legos or any other kind of building blocks is a great way to keep them busy and to help them develop a variety of skills. Give them a challenge to build a house, a flower, or a giraffe, and watch them work. This will primarily help children develop motor skills (the smaller the blocks, the finer their motors skills will be), but you can also use this to enhance their problem-solving abilities, too. To do that, in addition to the main challenge, you can give a specific condition that has to be met, like using only blue blocks in the first row.

Also, completing a Lego challenge can be a group task, so if your kid has their friends over – great. This way, they will learn to cooperate and maybe even hone their leadership skills.

These, of course, are just a few examples, but you get the idea. If you need help coming up with more stuff, MindChamps blog has a number of activities you can do at home with your children, so feel free to use it as an inspiration. They are all very simple, but making an effort and investing time into preparing everything will do wonders for your child’s growth. Be with them if you can, try to communicate as much as possible during every activity, show them you’re involved, and you will see the bond between you grow tighter and tighter.

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I’m still going through massive emotional lockdown ups and downs. Occasionally I do something really annoyingly motivated, like when I signed up recently to start that interior design degree*, but most of the time, as you can see from the frequency of my blog posts, I’m just sort of semi-reclined, reading Poirot books and eating bags of Maryland mini cookies.

(Only 99 calories a bag you know. What do you mean ‘but you ate four bags’? How rude.)

If you DO want something to do during lockdown though, then I’ve pulled together a few ideas for you based on what it feels like a solid half of Instagram is doing right now. (Which probably means no one is actually doing it in real life.)

These are JUST IDEAS though. It’s totally okay if you prefer the Poirot/cookie scenario, or just want to kick back with a puzzle. No one is judging you. It’s a weird time for sure.

Take the couch to 5k challenge

I’m delighted to report that so far no one has tagged me in anything suggesting I run 5k for the NHS. Either these means I have no friends, or that all of my friends know me better than to suggest I run ANYWHERE. Even regular readers should know that running is definitely not my thing, as evidenced here by my own couch to 5k photo collage.

I know everyone says that after a while you start to get a buzz from running, but after completing the whole programme and I can say with absolutely certainty that at no point did I enjoy it at all in any way. The entire time I was ‘running’ my internal monologue was basically ‘this is hell, make it stop, why are you doing this, it’s awful, surely I’ve been going for 20 minutes by now, let’s check the app because surely it should have beeped by now and maybe it’s broken, oh no it’s only been four minutes, this is awful, please save me, help.’

But sure, have a go if that’s your thing. View Post

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how to sleep better

If you suffer from anxiety, you will understand how difficult it can be to get to sleep at night. Some of us just can’t stop thinking about all the stresses that need dealing with, making it difficult to switch your brain off and get a solid night’s rest. Other people experience the physical impacts anxiety has on our body, which makes it hard to think about anything else when you are trying to get the rest you need. Fortunately, there are many things we can do to deal with anxiety to get a better night’s sleep in return. Anxiety is a mental health disorder, so time and patience are key to easing the symptoms. To help you on your way, here are 6 tips for dealing with anxiety for a better night’s sleep.

Adjust Your Environment

Adjusting your environment is the first step to a better night’s sleep. Controlling sound, temperature and light will help to calm your mind, which will help you fall asleep. Taking a bath or shower before bed is a great way to lower your body temperature, which can help you get to sleep. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress to sleep on. Memory foam is always a good choice.

Try Relaxing Exercises

Exercising has been proven to reduce anxiety and improve your ability to fall asleep. You should avoid exercising right before you go to bed, because it could actually keep you awake. Instead, try exercising in the morning or the afternoon, as this can help with getting your waking and sleeping cycle back on track. This has the ability to treat conditions, such as insomnia and sleep apnea.

Calm Your Mind

To reduce anxiety, you should do what you can to calm your mind. There are plenty of relaxation techniques that you can do throughout your day, which will reduce anxiety and improve your ability to sleep in return. Techniques include yoga, meditation and certain breathing exercises. Even taking a short walk has the ability to calm your mind during the day, triggering a relaxation response at night.

Reduce Screen Time

Smartphone, tablets and other electronics can fool you into thinking they are good for anxiety. This is because we use these devices to escape the real world and although it can take your mind off your troubles, it only masks your anxiety. Reducing the amount of screen time throughout the day, limiting it before bed and substituting a screen for music or a book will relax your mind and help you rest.

Fall Asleep to Sound

Although a quiet room is said to help you relax and induce sleep, sometimes being alone with our thoughts is what keeps us awake at night. To help with this, you should consider falling asleep to some background noise. White noise has been said to reduce anxiety, but other relaxing sounds or an audio book can be a good substitute if the sound of white noise doesn’t work for you.

Ask for Help

Sometimes it can be hard to manage a mental health disorder without the help of others. You should never hesitate to speak to someone about your problems and ask for help. Sleep problems due to anxiety are very treatable, so speaking to someone can actually do a lot of good for you. If you don’t want help from a professional, then keep family and friends close to you and in the loop.

Getting rid of anxiety isn’t something that will happen overnight, and for some of us, the above will only ease the symptoms. However, others may do a lot better and see their anxiety disappear over time. If you feel like you need more help and support, then speak to a medical professional.

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I’ve got Jon from The Money Shed here again today blabbering on about Bonus Accumulator. I honestly don’t know what he talks about most of the time but I know a lot of people find his articles on matched betting and earning money online really useful, plus he’s stuck at home without his usual time out with a bottomless coffee in Wetherspoons, feeling sorry for himself, so here he is.

If youve been working from home or earning on the side for a while, then youve probably heard of matched betting. If not, matched betting is a risk-free strategy that allows you to turn bookmaker bonuses into withdrawable cash.

Matched betting has been around for years but received mainstream attention when Sam Stoffel released a membership-based service called Profit Accumulator. For a small monthly subscription fee, users were able to log in and be told exactly what bookmaker bonuses were available at any given time and given a step-by-step guide to guaranteeing a profit from them.

Profit Accumulator is still going strong but what theyre best known for is making the whole process easy for anyone to take part in.

The exciting news for long-term matched bettors and newcomers looking to make money online from home is that Sam Stoffel is back with a new product called Bonus Accumulator thats sure to keep the profit rolling in on a monthly basis.

What is Bonus Accumulator?

Bonus Accumulator is different to Profit Accumulator because it focuses on casino and bingo promotions as opposed to sports betting. View Post

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Peacock wallpaper

Although summer is just around the corner, it looks like it will be a very different season from the one that we are used to. Many families will already be feeling the effects of lockdown, and this is going to get so much more intense when the weather heats up and the days get longer.

While there’s no shortage of celebrities with outlandish ideas for staying busy during the pandemic, for most of us, it’s going to be a constant battle with daytime TV, hyperactive children and the latest grim news reports from the outside world.

But before you throw the kids in front of endless loops of Hey Duggee, there are a few things that might just do the trick in surviving the summer months at home.

YouTube Channels for Staying Fit

We will all need to work twice as hard to stay in shape this summer. While the kids will always find their own ways of letting off steam, for us adults, it’s all too easy to get lethargic by settling down on the sofa.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of excellent YouTube fitness channels that are ideally suited to helping the whole family fight the flab. In particular, Joe Wicks’ PE workout has proven to be hugely popular among kids and adults alike. While the first few sessions can be adamant, once you get into the swing of it, then you’ll find it much less painful.

We should also note that there are plenty of great video games that are designed to help you and the kids get more active. In particular, Just Dance and Wii Fit could prove to be excellent at keeping you in shape from the comfort of your living room.

Entertainment Basics: Video Games & Cards for Everyone

We all know that playing games is a great way to pass the time – now more than ever. And there’s a lot to choose from. Kids will love classic board games like Buckaroo, Kerplunk and Operation. Obviously, most people now game on a computer or video console. So, if this is the case, try and encourage your family to play those fun multiplayer games so that no one is left out. Nintendo’s Switch and Wii consoles are perfectly designed for multiplayer gaming, and there are many top titles like Super Mario Party, Animal Crossing and Overcooked that should be able to keep the little ones suitably entertained.

Adults, on the other hand, will probably prefer something a little more grown up. There are deals across many different gaming platforms, so you’ll definitely have a chance to save some money. We see a lot of promotions across various sectors in the entertainment industry. From sales on Sony PlayStation Store and free trials on Disney+ and Prime, to bonuses at iGaming brands – there are a wide range of deals customers can take advantage of. If you’re into casino games or you enjoy the occasional poker with your friends, there are sites where you can create lobbies and play using game money. Using a bonus for casino entertainment can come in handy if you’re eager to do a little exploring and see what different sites have to offer.

Cooking and Helping Around the Home

Of course, it can’t all just be fun and games this summer.  While there will be no shortage of household tasks, the trick is to try and get everyone involved. So don’t banish the children from the kitchen the next time that you have to make food, but see if you can get them to help out on some family-friendly recipes. Not only is it great fun, but it will help the little ones understand the importance of nutrition too.

Not all of us will be blessed with a big garden, but even something like helping to water the houseplants can be useful, and it will certainly fill up a few hours. Above all, it’s about getting everybody involved so that nobody’s feeling bored and restless. And once summer’s out the way, then hopefully school can come to the rescue!

ombre coloured planter

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