The Changing Face of Care Homes

For many years care homes have been regarded as the final place where octogenarians can go to, to live out their remaining years. These years were seen as anything but the golden years. Care homes have for the longest time been associated with isolation and illness. They have also been associated with boredom and loneliness. But, this is all changing. The evolution of care homes has brought in a new era. One where the elderly actually get to live out their last years surrounded by people who care for them and activities which are catered to their needs.

Here are a few of the services which new-age care homes offer to ageing citizens:

State Of The Art Health Care

As the face of care homes change, so does the care offered to residents. Modern care homes are equipped with life-saving hospital rooms which have seen the life expectancy of those entering care increased by at least five years. With highly trained staff on hand 24 hours a day, any medical issues are seen to right away. From the common cold to instances of a more serious nature, all can be handled on-site.

Activities To Keep Healthy

Living a healthy lifestyle in one’s later years is of paramount importance. It is for this reason that many of the modern care homes have adopted a health first approach to caring for residents. This approach has also ensured that those moving into care homes have access to activities which not only promote a healthy lifestyle but also support it. From dancing to tennis and even water aerobics, in the changing face of care homes, more centres are being equipped with facilities to alleviate boredom while promoting healthy choices.

Social Outings To Look Forward To

One of the most daunting aspects of moving a loved family member to a care home to the thought of them sitting isolated in a room with nothing to do. Modern care homes promote everything social. Residents are encouraged to take part in a number of social activities hosted in groups. These include knitting circles, photography clubs, and even guided nature walks. Getting out of the house is important not only for physical wellbeing but also for mental welfare. Residents are encouraged to actively participate in more than one social event every month to promote overall wellbeing. 

Amazing Psychological Care

Aging is part of life but for many, it is hard to accept. As the body or mind starts to deteriorate many elderly citizens often fall into depression. They are not able to do everything that they used to and this can leave them frustrated. Frustrations and continued efforts to get things done of their own can easily lead to depression. When family members do not visit as regularly as they used to many elderly residents start to feel as if they’re a burden to their family. To help combat this modern care homes employ the services of highly trained therapists who council employees to help them overcome mental issues they may have, and in doing so provide a holistic approach to aging care.

UK Or Spain For Your Second Home? Here’s What You Should Think About

Buying a second home is an important investment. The two top destinations for those looking to buy a second property are the UK and Spain. Both countries have distinct pros and cons for those looking to invest in the property market. Did you know that more than half of UK citizens are more likely to choose to buy a second property in Spain? There are a number of reasons for this including the property to be used as a holiday home. Only around 25% of those looking to buying a second property will choose to buy their investment home in the UK.

Here are a few things you need to think about before choosing to buy your second home.

Return on investment

When it comes to comparing property in the UK with homes in Spain you need to know that if you are looking for a quick return on your investment, you will need to buy a property in the UK. For those living in quaint little towns the best possible investment that can be made is to get a second property in the nearby bustling city. Rent the property out online to out-of-town visitors and you’ll soon find that the property will pay itself off.

Spanish property, on the other hand, is a much longer investment. If you are young enough that you know you’ll want to use the property during your retirement but still need to see it earning you money, you can opt to rent it out as a holiday home. This will mean that you’ll see your property earning you money, but mostly during peak seasons. Mike Jolly from local Costa Blanca portal Javea.Properties, says that he has seen a significant number of younger people buying property in Spain as an investment for the future, as opposed to buying for short term gains.

Buying the property

Citizens of the UK will find the process far easier to buy a local property than they would when buying a property in Spain. Despite this, it also has never been easier to buy a property abroad. You might have a few minor issues with regards to financing but if you get hold of the right agent, the process will run smoothly. The ideal investment property in the UK would be something small which can be quickly furnished and then rented out. The ideal property in Spain would be something that is close to holiday hotspots. This way you will be able to attract those heading to Spain for the summer holidays.

Finding the right property

When it comes to choosing the right property investors will also find that viewing a property in person is better than only having access to a property online. When you see the property in person you are able to see where the defects are and where you’ll have to spend money. This makes buying a second home in the UK easier than choosing a property in Spain. If you are lucky enough to regularly visit Spain, you won’t have this problem because you’ll easily be able to pop into the property while on holiday. Either way, you need to make sure that the property you are investing in will be fit for purpose.

Work Abroad? Have a UK pension scheme? It may pay to Invest in a QROPS Scheme

If you have a UK pension fund and are planning to live permanently abroad during your retirement a QROPS scheme is (literally) made for you. QROPS are Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Schemes. That is, they are overseas pension schemes that are considered legitimate enough in the eyes of HMRC to manage your pension pot. For those who want to retire abroad this means they have options – Options are always good, so long as you know what they are!

Who Qualifies?

Certain UK pension pots are not eligible for QROPS and cannot be transferred. This includes,

  • A pension that has been used to purchase lifetime annuity.
  • Pensions where payments have previously been made through a “Final Salary Scheme” (annuity).
  • UK State Pensions

SIPPs, SSAS and most defined UK benefit pension schemes can be transferred.

An important thing to note is that having a QROPS will not affect any entitlement you might have to a UK state pension.

QROPS Options

UK pensions can be restrictive. QROPS are more flexible and offer up more options. A QROPS allows you to withdraw money how and when you want it. For example, you can choose to receive a higher income during early retirement and less later on when you really start to slow down. It is also possible to take out a lump sum, as much as you need.

Almost invariably QROPS can provide more options than UK pensions with regards to how your pension pot is invested. You will discover a flexible and extensive choice of funds available, able to suit different situations, goals and time-planning. Unlike guaranteed annuity there are some elements of risk with investment pensions. How much risk you are willing to take is also relative to the options available to you – Although of course, professional management will usually minimise risk.

What Countries & Pensions Qualify?

HMRC (who introduced this new scheme on April 6th 2006) has strict criteria that must be met for a foreign pension to qualify. Not all countries and all foreign pension schemes are eligible. In addition, transfer penalties as well as taxation depends on the country. However, it is not essential to transfer to a QROPS in the same country you retire.

The HMRC has a list of QROPS and the latest PDF can be downloaded HERE.

Get the Best QROPS for You

There is a myriad of options available using QROPS for UK pension holders who intend to retire abroad. Some countries do not recognise trusts (such as the USA and France), which can make taxation a difficult hurdle to manoeuvre. Without doubt, pensions and QROPS are a complex matter but many ex-pats have found them more than worthwhile. Even so, making the wrong move could cost you heftily. That is why it is absolutely essential to find out all the options and get the best advice by visiting a QROPS help centre and speaking with a professional pension advisor.

6 Great Tips for Maintaining Your Air Con Unit

It is important to carry out maintenance on all mechanical devices regularly. That is if you want them to last a long time and give you as many years of service as possible. Air con units that are not properly maintained, for instance, will break down, meaning you will probably have to pay out for expensive repairs and buy aircon parts. Repairs and the associated expenses that could have been avoided very easily by carrying out more frequent servicing.

Therefore, with that in mind, let’s look at 6 great tips for maintaining your air conditioner:

Hire Professionals to Service and Clean Your Air Con System

The best way to ensure that your air con is working properly and efficient is by keeping it clean. Although you can do this yourself, if you have the budget, it can be good to outsource it to a team that knows exactly what they are doing.

Inspect and Assess Your Unit Before You Really Need It

You can only imagine the frustration of the hot weather starting to come through during summer and there being an especially sticky hot day when you try to switch on your air con unit only to find it’s not working. Avoid that from happening by getting into developing a schedule for checking your air conditioner. You can do this by running it for just a few minutes to make sure everything is working as it should. If you discover that there’s a problem with it, you then have enough time to organise repairs.

Check the Thermostat

If you are looking to cool your home during those sticky, hot summer days and nights, you need to make sure that your thermostat is set accordingly. Some models enable you to specifically set it to a special cooling mode.

Inspect and Assess the Access Panels

It’s important to check all the access panels on your air conditioner. These need to be easy to access and secured properly. It is also important to remove any obstructions from around the air conditioner components.

Regularly Clean and Change the Filters

As one of the most important components in an air conditioner is the filters, you need to make sure that these are kept clean and in good condition. When the filters are not clean, they won’t work efficiently and when they don’t work efficiently, your air conditioner will need to work a lot harder than it should. This, in turn, will cost you more each month to run it. Therefore, regularly clean and when necessary, replace your air conditioner’s filters.

Make Sure the Area Around Your Air Conditioner Condenser is Clear

For your air conditioner to draw the air it needs to cool and then direct it back out into your home, you need to make sure the area around and over it is clear. Don’t store anything near or even on top of your air con’s condensing unit and make sure it is cleaned regularly to remove any build up of dust, dirt and debris that could impede its functionality.

How are Persian and Oriental Rugs Made?

A Persian rug is entirely handmade – not hand finished, which describes a power-loomed or hand tufted rug that is then trimmed or have fringes attached. They are both made in a bewildering array of qualities, designs, colours, and sizes but are always made with a pile, or none in the case of flatweave kilims or dhurries. The materials are for the most part wool, cotton and silk with tribal rugs and decorations using goat and camel hair too. The most ornate finely woven i.e. the highest density of knots woven in a square inch or metre are what are called City or Workshop rugs.

Loom Types

There are two types of loom- the vertical and the horizontal. The former is used in 98% of all rugs made for the floor (as opposed to pictorial or flatweave rugs which are made to be displayed on the wall or used to drape over beds, tables, and chairs). A vertical loom is comprised of two rollers made of either wood or steel which are secured top and bottom – this makes for a roller at ground level and another at a height of about 2-4 metres depending on the finished rug size requirement.

Rug Bases

The base of the rug is made by stringing cotton threads, the warp, around the two rollers which are then adjusted to get the correct tension. This is important because an incorrectly tensioned rug will become out of shape after some use, which created ripples in the pile as well as curves that become more noticeable the longer the rug or runner is.


The pattern of a rug is either unchanged through time and known by heart by the weaver or is drawn by a master designer and transferred to paper. The pile materials of wool, silk or cotton – or a combination of two or three of them – are pre-dyed to the required depth of colour. Before the invention of chemical dyes in Europe the colours were derived from roots, bark, berries, fruit and vegetable skins, seeds, insects, crushed rocks, leaves to make lovely green carpets, like this selection of green Persian rugs. The work of applying these colours to the yarn was highly skilled and the knowledge passed down from generation to generation. Obviously, it was as highly guarded as the recipe for Coca-Cola or Lea and Perrins! A better-quality rug has enough dyed yarn made in one batch to ensure the evenness of tone throughout. Many rugs develop bands of differing tones as they age, called Abrash, which shows that the materials were dyed at different times.

An experienced weaver who always works on one type of rug commission will be able to work from memory and automatically use the correct colour yarn, balls of which are hanging in front of them at eye level. For a younger weaver, or to make a highly detailed design with many colours, the pattern will be written in code on a paper which again is hanging at eye level. There are small workshops in cities and towns making finer and more expensive rugs which employ a master weaver, always a man, who will chant out the colours and design to ensure complete accuracy and save the workers from having to glance at the paper instructions.

Hand Knotted

The rug is built up by each knot being tied by hand around two of the warp threads until one complete row has been made, after which the threads are separated by a spreader bar and a horizontal weft thread is placed between them. This weft thread is beaten down with a metal fingered claw to lock down the knots – just as cement is used between layers of bricks.

Length of Time

A rug can take, depending on the quality and size, from mere weeks to a couple of years to complete. Once ready a final locking weft thread is inserted and woven around the warp threads at either end and the rug it is cut of the loom by severing the warps at each end.

Tribal Rugs

A rug made on a horizontal loom is almost always a Tribal rug i.e. traditionally made by nomadic or settled tribes in Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan.  These are much simpler affairs and simply use the same roller at each end, albeit a fraction of the size and weight, with the warp threads again strung between them. The tension is derived from hammering pegs at each corner and is done by experienced touch. These looms are designed for simple reasons- used in the open air by tribeswomen they are moved as and when new pastures are needed for their flocks of sheep and goats. The rugs and kilims (rugs with no pile) that are woven on them are far smaller and simpler than rugs woven on vertical looms and therefore the accuracy of design and colour is far less important. This often lends an abstract charm lent by the mistakes that are made- mistakes often allowed by the loom’s owner as their young girls learn to weave. On that note, a hoary old perceived wisdom is that any mistake in a rug is intentional because ‘only Allah is perfect’ – a simple and very oriental sidestep when selling a less than perfect rug. These rugs are finished and slipped off the loom in the same way as the vertical.

Finishing Touches

At this point it is an indistinct and slightly shaggy article and needs to be finished. The sides are secured by a selvedge of wool or cotton wrapped around two or four of the outermost warp threads. On cheaper rugs this is achieved by simply sewing on a pre-made twist of yarn which over time will come loose and the knots on the edge of the main pile start to fall out.

The rug is placed in a large iron latticed drum (tribal rugs are beaten with a stick) which rotates over a collecting pit and which removes the excess wool and general dust, after which it is washed by simply placing in a stream or being continually soaked in water on a concrete platform and brushed out.

Once fully dried out in the sun the final process is the clipping of the pile which must be done by an expert or the rug can be totally ruined. Traditionally this was done with hand held shears which required a strong forearm and a very keen eye. These days the cutting is by electric shears which makes the job far quicker but not much less skilled. The shaggy pile is now low- the lower the pile and therefore thinner the rug (generally!) the better quality, as the rug with the most knots per square inch or metre will not reveal gaps as a lesser quality will. Think of pixels on a screen- a lower quality screen will show dots of space between the pixels. The awkward thing about knowing rugs is that a thicker heavy rug, like a Persian ‘Heriz’, is as hard wearing and beautiful as a thinner finer Persian ‘Isfahan’. The design is now clear and with a handmade Persian or Oriental rug be the exact same on the back as the front.

Many poorer quality rugs are then given a final wash in chemicals which will alter the final appearance. This can give a very washed out bleached effect, a silky shine (which fades after a time) or a tea leaf sepia tone. A better rug should stand on the original quality of the materials and not be mucked about with like this- all chemicals have a detrimental effect on a rug.

The rug is now ready for the wholesaler to show in Lahore, Tehran or Bhadohi or to be shipped directly to a showroom in London, New York or Buenos Aires.





Spanish Property – Villa, Apartment Or Townhouse?

Spain offers a wealth of varied properties, and these properties range from the huge holiday apartments to the huge country mansions that are set with everything in them. The purchase of these homes has become increasingly popular among foreigners.

Below is a small breakdown of the types of properties available in Spain.


These are basically flats that are found in Spain. Majority of Spanish people live in the apartments, especially in large towns and cities.

Many resorts have been blocked by a large number of apartments that are built for holiday markets in those towns. Apartment constructions in Spain have continued without facing any challenges.

In addition, there is a good market for apartment buyers in Spain. The quality of the apartments and their style vary so much. Some of these apartments are located in the small side streets and are normally dark and cramped. While on the other hand, others are located on the large frontline beach as well as the golf development with extraordinary views that go as much as you can.

The Spanish law requires all apartment owners to abide by the rules and regulations of the community and must also be able to pay the community fees. Some benefits one can get from an apartment are that it requires low maintenance and has security especially if an apartment offers 24/7 securities.

However, you will have to put up with the noisy neighbours and a lot of crowding during the holidays.


These are rows of hoses that are terraced; they are normally made in a typical regional style and are also made around the communal gardens along with a pool.

These townhouses are very popular around the large towns and large cities with Madrid being one of the cities.

Townhouses are normally built in style called the Mediterranean village in the coastal resorts. Townhouses are normally very spacious and normally are often of three or more floors. It also has a garage basement, storage as well as a roof area that has a roof terrace.

Its disadvantage is that these types of houses have little garden space. It only has a small patch at the back of the house and front. Their construction is very recent and is often of good quality.

They are normally part of the community property, and owners are required to follow the rules and regulation of the community as well as pay the community fees.


In Spain, people do not like to live in detached houses, so you are more likely to find detached villas with pools on the outskirts of resorts and cities, rather than terraced houses which are common in the UK:

Some of the villas form part of the complex and may as well share the communal gardens. It also has a pool and is located on the small individual plots.

However, some of them are located on the large grounds. If the villas form part of the community property, the owners are required to follow the rules and regulations of the community.

How to Make BBQ Chicken in the Oven – Oven Baked Barbecue Chicken

Barbecued chicken is, along with fried chicken, one of the most popular types of cooked chicken. Making barbecue chicken in the oven has one clear advantage over cooking it on the grill (aside from the fact that it allows people without grills to make it at home). The oven, unlike the grill, can be used to perfectly and evenly cook meat, resulting in a delicious and somewhat crispy outside and skin, and perfectly cooked meat on the inside. Following are instructions for how to make BBQ chicken in the oven. Cooking chicken this way is a relatively healthy way to cook chicken.

Oven Baked BBQ Chicken Recipe Ingredients

3 lbs Chicken (wings, drumsticks, breasts, thighs)
1 cup BBQ sauce (any kind that is preferred)
1/2 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon chicken seasonings, if desired

How to Make BBQ Chicken in the Oven

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a bowl, combine the BBQ sauce, ketchup, honey, Worcestershire sauce, and salt, and whisk them all together until they are evenly blended.
Grease a cookie sheet with a little butter or olive oil. Take the thawed chicken, and either paint the sauce mixture onto all sides of each piece with a brush, or spoon it onto each piece, and spread it around with fingers. Place each piece of uncooked BBQ chicken on the cookie sheet.

Sprinkle pepper and chicken seasonings onto each piece of chicken coated with the BBQ sauce on the sheet, and place it all in the oven. For smaller pieces of chicken, such as drumsticks and wings, it may take as few as fifteen minutes to cook. However, for large breasts and thighs, it may take up to about half of an hour or even forty minutes to cook, depending on the size of each piece. It may be a good idea to flip each piece about half way through its cooking.

After they have cooked, remove the barbecued chicken pieces from the oven, and set them aside for a few minutes. Then, serve and eat!
Oven Baked Barbecue Chicken Recipe Considerations

This oven baked barbecue chicken recipe may be altered slightly, according to taste. Try using a little hot sauce for a spicier BBQ chicken recipe. Add hot sauce into the bowl with the barbecue sauce, ketchup, and honey. Use more honey or ketchup for a sweeter result.

When cooking BBQ chicken in the oven, it may be necessary to re-coat the pieces of chicken once during the cooking process, as the juices that come out of the chicken during its baking may wash some of the sauce off. When the chicken is finished, it cannot hurt to apply a thin and final coat of the sauce to the already cooked chicken before eating. This should maximize flavour.

What Is Permanent Makeup?

Permanent makeup was made popular by George Burchett who is a famous tattoo artist. Permanent makeup is a cosmetic procedure and can be customized to meet the needs of the client. There are many different designs and colours that can be used. Many people chose to have eyeliner, skin treatments, lip colouring, and eye makeup tattooed on their face. Artificial eyebrows can also be tattooed in place by a professional makeup tattoo service. An example of this would be derma pigmentation, and micro pigmentation. During these procedures tattoo ink is used to colour the skin.

Benefits of choosing to have Permanent Makeup

Permanent makeup can help some people feel better about their appearance. People that have skin conditions include conditions due to alopecia, chemotherapy, or a genetic disturbance chose to have their makeup to look and feel better. People that do not have the time to apply their makeup everyday can also chose to have a permanent makeup procedure.

Are there any limitations?

Permanent Makeup allows a person to look great no matter what they are doing. They can go swimming, hiking, and even work out without having to worry about their makeup wearing off or looking smeared. Once the permanent makeup is tattooed on the skin a person will never have to worry about applying makeup again. It will also look fresh and vibrant.

How is Permanent Makeup applied?

There are different procedures and tools used to apply permanent makeup. Traditional tattoo machines can be used. There are also some hand-held devices that are smaller and allow more precision. The entire processes take 2 to 2.5 hours depending on the location and the design.

Is it really Permanent?

Many people wonder if this makeup is really permanent. Just like a tattoo the makeup will stay on. The ink is tattooed under the dermal layer of the skin meaning it will not wear off. The cost of permanent makeup will vary by provider.

The Complicated Issue of Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

What is a dual diagnosis? Answer: more than one health diagnosis ocurring simultaneously with another.

Regarding eating disorders and substance abuse, the rule of thumb used to be, sober a person first, with a sobriety foundation/lifestyle, then start treating the co-existing condition. However, sometimes not treating co-existing conditions simultaneously, means the non-treated condition has a high potential of sabotaging the treatment of the other condition. For instance, not treating an existing eating disorder condition could sabotage the treatment of the substance abuse condition and vice-versa.

First things, first. If there is any question as to the existance of an eating disorder or substance abuse addiction, or both, the important step is to secure help from qualified individuals. The sooner treatment begins, the sooner begins the improvement of the quality of one’s life.

Linkage between Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

According to Joseph A. Califano Jr., the President of the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University,”… anorexia and bulimia are joined at the hip with smoking, binge drinking and illicit drug use. warning is, if there is one condition, there is a great likelihood of the existence of the other.

Substances like heroin and cocaine suppress the appetite. Cocaine increases metabolism. Additionally, heroin is sometimes used with cocaine to take the edge off the crash (intense depression) experienced as the cocaine is wearing off. People who use these drugs are at a high risk of doing severe, possibly irreversible damage to their bodies as well as their brains. Such is the high level of addiction, that, without help, in a large number of cases, it is exceedingly difficult to stop use without some form of intervention and treatment.

Kate Moss Super Model, Addict, Skin and Bones

Whether Moss began using drugs to keep the skinny look for model shoots, is unknown. What is known, however, is the use of cocaine and heroin have turned this woman into a walking skeleton within an industry that extols bony frames. She did, however enter recovery in 2006.

“In other words, the bodies that appeal to designers–and thus to consumers is a body that looks like it has been ravaged by drugs. In order to stay employed, models must maintain this shape.” (Rebecca Traister, “The Rise and Fall of Kate Moss”, Breaking, September 23, 2005).

The psychology behind the advertising is simple–produce images that will make women hate their bodies and thus, they will buy the product to feel better about themselves.

Treating Dual Diagnoses

Because conditions manifesting themselves may mimic each other or other conditions, a thorough evaluation is necessary. Depending upon the area and availability of resources, as well as the seriousness of the condition(s), this could mean an outpatient evaluation or an inpatient evaluation. If, as a reader, any of the information presented is waving red flags, talk with a primary care physician, visit the emergency room, connect with the crises response units, and/or call the local hospital. There is help available.

If insurance or finances to pay for treatment are a problem, local providers may be able to help find funding resources.


Why You Should Hire a Professional Photographer for Your Wedding

You are talking about the most important event of your life, your wedding. You need to know that it will be perfect, and that you will have reminders that last a lifetime. This is why you need to hire a professional photographer, to make certain that you have something to show to your children and family as in later years.

Some brides decide to have their wedding photos taken by friends or relatives, only to realise their mistake once the wedding is over. Certainly some amateur photographers can take great photos, but do you really want to take the risk? A professional photographer ensures the best photos, so there would be no need for you worry about the matter.

Wedding photography is not easy. The photographer has to cover many different situations in a short period of time. He will have to take portraits, group photos in the sun, and photos of the ceremony inside the church, where there could be a problem with the lighting.

A wedding is not like a movie, where bad scenes can be repeated. If an important moment is missed by the photographer, the whole wedding album can be compromised. Hiring a professional photographer guarantees that lifelong reminders of the event are preserved.

An experienced photographer has, probably, attended hundreds of weddings, so he will know how to solve unexpected problems and handle different types of situations. He will be accustomed to using his equipment and you can sure that it is reliable. A professional photographer will not hesitate in making technical decisions, which will result in photos that look professional but, at the same time, completely natural.

The professional photographer will not be left without charged batteries or memory card space in his digital camera in the middle of the event. Neither will he shrink the resolution of the photos in order to store more on a single SD card.

Most professional photographers offer different packages for weddings, and special effects can be arranged for the most important moments. Real specialists in this field are like directors, capable of arranging the people in the photo in the most perfect manner. They must be able to catch captivating and natural moments, so that your wedding album will be a special collection of each different wedding moment.

The price might be an important factor, when choosing a specialist of this kind, but you do not want to make any compromises when it comes to quality. Ask to see albums of previous weddings, where your prospective wedding photographer was hired; to see if this is the photographer who will be able to do the kind of work you want. There are many different types of photographic methods and ideas, you should choose the one that is best suited to your wedding, and make sure that your precious moments remain in your heart forever.

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