Pet Friendly Gardening*

As the owner of a cat who treats the garden as her own personal all you can eat buffet [seriously, she’ll take a bite from anything] it’s always on my mind that some of the plants we have might do her more harm than good. You’d like to think an animal would instinctively know which greenery to avoid but as where Mae is concerned she seems to take an “eat first, think later” kind of approach so it’s good to know there are guides out there which can help alleviate the risk. Growbag and compost retailer Compost Direct has done some research and put together an infographic to give pet owners a helping hand.

A recent survey found that 8% of dogs and cats have eaten poisonous plants or flowers, with 43% needing urgent care and 15% actually passing away. The graphic includes a run-down of some of the potentially harmful plants and poisonous substances in your garden and the impact they can have on your pets.

It also features advice on how to create a pet-friendly outdoor space, considering everything from fencing to dog- and cat-friendly plants. For more information view the infographic in full below. We’ve been lucky so and looking at this we have nothing risky in the garden but it’s really reassuring to be able to check up on these things.

Let me know if you found this useful- do any of you have pets that eat what they shouldn’t? It’s not just the garden with us- cut flowers in vases have to be very strategically placed if they have any hope of lasting beyond an hour or so in the house, she either has a stomach of steel or is fast using up her 9 lives!

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The Car Finance Calculators from Motorparks*

Top of my list of goals for next year (or which there are many because I have lost time to make up for) is to FINALLY pass my driving test. After seven attempts spread over almost 12 years I am determined that I only have to sit one more. The truth is I CAN drive, and drive well. The reality is that as soon as I’m in a test scenario my anxiety goes in to overdrive and gets the better of me, I’ve tried every suggestion under the sun to combat it and it hasn’t worked- on my last test I actually didn’t make it out of the car park!

Anyway, I digress. With passing my test will come the excitement of FINALLY buying a car. I don’t know much about the world of cars but what I have learnt from being chauffeured around by friends and family is that they cost a lot more than first meets the eye. It’s easy to overlook certain costs, things you don’t necessarily think about when caught up in the excitement of test drives and purchases. I’ve been playing around with the car finance calculator and motoring cost calculator from the folks at Motorparks.

The car finance calculator is there to help once you know what car it is you want to purchase…it takes interest rates, loan terms and deposit in to account and tells you what your monthly payment will be and how much you’ll pay for the car in total (don’t forget the interest adds up!)
The motoring cost calculator will walk you through how much your fuel is costing you per day. This was a real eye opener when Ben started driving as his mini guzzled fuel and he ended up trading in for a more economical vehicle after a while with dramatic savings.

The calculator will also help you keep tabs on general motoring costs- road tax, insurance, breakdown cover etc to show you how much your car is actually costing you per month. There are also plenty of tips and advice on how to get those costs down.

What costs surprised you most when you first started driving? Any tips for driving test nerves?

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How Office Yoga can Help you*

Anyone who has ever worked in an office will know that you spend a lot of time sitting on your arse. A recent study has shown that office workers sitting at their desk for at least eight hours a day face a 60% increase in their risk of premature death. It’s not all doom and gloom though as making some simple changes including taking a five minute break every hour, and grabbing some exercise in your lunch break or evenings can significantly improve your chances.

With this in mind Furniture at Work have launched a campaign to encourage desk-workers to get moving using beginners yoga as a focal point. The campaign- #OfficeYoga aims to prove that it doesn’t take much time, or indeed effort to get some health benefits in to your day- using a top yoga teacher and two average office workers to highlight the importance of taking a break and how it doesn’t have to be taxing.

The campaign is backed by youtube videos showing the simple poses that can be fitted easily in to the working day as well as a great infographic both of which I’ve shared below.

Of course as well as keeping you fit reducing your risk of an early grave yoga has the additional benefit of helping you escape from the stresses of the working world and claim back some “you time” each day. Are you a yoga advocate and will we find you doing this at your desk? I’m pretty game on for instating it in my work place once I get back (I just won’t share the news with my colleagues just yet…)

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Life in the Fast Lane- Ireland’s most dangerous roads*

Yeah, it’s another one of those “but WHY are you posting this Laura?” kind of posts, we all know I can’t drive (but I will be by my 30th Birthday, it’s my one of my two goals). Anyway, I thought this infographic on Ireland’s most dangerous roads was pretty interesting- it’s already had some coverage in national newspapers and on the radio and if it’s good enough for them it sure as heck is good enough for me.
I’m not a nervous passenger when it comes to being driven around (not unless there are bridges involved) but after seeing this I’m not sure how I’d fare being chauffeured around Ireland let alone driving there myself. I’m yet to visit Ireland but it’s on my more immediate travel bucket list, it looks so beautiful and I have a real soft spot for the accent! I think that perhaps when I do go I’ll stick to public transport or at least make sure whoever I’m with is a highly competent driver- best friend, I’m looking at you! When I first started learning to drive I’d say I was overly confident but when I started my second round of lessons ten years later I found that bravado had long ago departed me, I’m a coward on a road that’s even a tiny bit narrow let alone blind spots and hair-pin bends!
Have you been to Ireland, or have any experience of driving on the roads over there? I seriously do plan to visit, hopefully in 2017 so any top tips of where to go and what to see would be greatly appreciated!

This infographic was commissioned by Chill car insurance – it might seem like an odd topic for me to cover but I personally found it super interesting and a bit of an eye-opener!

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Going Green in the Garden with Compost Direct*

Our flat might not have much in the way of the garden but we are responsible for a small patch of space at the front which we’ve recently spent a bit of time sprucing up. I’m not the most green-fingered of people, I think that talent skipped a generation with me but I do enjoy pottering outside and reading up on just how much you can do to create a greener outside space in every sense of the word so I very much enjoyed this latest infographic from Compost Direct.
I’m not sure that our little patch of patio is quite big enough for a compost heap, it only just accommodates a couple of troughs full of flowers but as a youngster I was always fascinated by the compost bin in my Grandad’s garden (and the wildlife it provided the perfect habitat for). If we had a bigger space I’d be insisting we had one too as our local waste collection service is hit and miss and this is the perfect way to make use of those kitchen scraps and you have the satisfaction of knowing you’re creating a nutrient dense fuel for your foliage.
Do you compost?

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