22 Jun 2017

Glastontree At The Orange Tree Leicester


The Orange Tree is one of my favourite bars in Leicester for chilling out with friends and the food is fantastic! Their annual music festival Glastontree will be taking place on Sunday 2nd July this year and I can't wait to attend!
The Orange Tree have chosen to support LOROS Hospice as it’s a local charity that is dear to them. Each year local bands volunteer to play for free in order to help raise money for local hospice LOROS who need to raise £4.5 million a year from the local community in order to maintain their free service. They do this by putting on the festival & charging £3 on the door, all of which goes to charity! A raffle, which is supported solely by local businesses will be taking place on the day and all the money goes to LOROS. 

'When my grandma died of cancer, LOROS made her last months as comfortable as possible, they were brilliant for her.’ 
It’s on from 1pm till 1am with bands starting in the garden and then heading on inside to party the night away. They have a speciality cocktail bar in the garden this year and drinks offers will be available on all day. Don’t worry if you’d like to head in for some food as they will be serving up their regular menu right through till 7pm.

This is also the first year that children will be able to attend (between 1pm and 7pm) but please be aware the music will be loud so it’s not advised. All local bands are playing for free to help out such a worthy cause, Liam from the Hardy Band was really happy to give something back to the charity. Where as other bands are happy to play as it’s ‘the best local festival for championing local bands.. and the beer is great!
Whether you’re popping down to support local bands or a local charity, you’ll be in for a fantastic day with a great community feel. All for just £3!

Fancy carrying on the party afterwards? No worries! The Basement are the official afterparty venue and are offering free entry with a Glastontree wristband. There’ll be 20% off all drinks plus a DJ and beer pong from 11pm till 5am!


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20 Jun 2017

Out With The Old: Common Household Furniture And When To Replace It



Almost everything in a house has an expiration date. Milk turns sour, fire alarms run out of battery, and ornaments break into little pieces. Furniture, however, doesn’t play by the same rules. At least, it doesn’t on the face of things. The average homeowner doesn’t have a clue when to replace a sofa or a mattress, so they keep them forever. Sorry to say it, but this isn’t a good option because everything loses quality over time. So, the key is to replace your furniture when you see the warning signs, but what are they? Good question, and it’s one you can answer by taking a look at the following.

Mattress

When a company like John Ryan by Design gives an opinion on a bed’s lifecycle, it is tempting to ignore. Not because they are novices; far from it. Indeed, they are experts with years of experience. No, it’s because they sell mattresses, so it would appear in their best interest to keep the number low. The truth is that JRBD and nearly every other bed specialist on the market will say from five to eight years. The fact is that a mattress lasts ages as long as it is in good condition. Of course, if the springs are sticking out, it needs replacing regardless of its age.

Sofa

A couch is another piece which has quite a long lifespan. An average sofa will last up to fifteen years if it is well kept. However, the difference with a couch is the type of usage. Unlike a mattress, people jump, sit, lie and climb all over settees without a care in the world. As a result, the shine can wear off after only a couple of months. Unlike a bed, though, it is possible to reupholster a sofa to keep it going for even longer. But, after a decade, it’s time to make a change for the sake of the house’s style.

Carpet

Carpets can last for decades like a sofa and a mattress. However, that is only taking into account their durability. In a home, there is more to consider, such as the current style and trends. Carpets go out of fashion very easily, which affects the way the room looks and feels. As such, it’s important to keep an open mind. For example, there is nothing wrong with tearing it up after a year and replacing it with hardwood flooring.

Fridge

It’s easy to forget that a refrigerator is a piece of furniture. But, it is, and it’s one that is integral to everyday life. As a result, there is no need to throw it out until it starts to break down. To begin with, a refrigerator never loses its shine due to the material. More importantly, there is no need to blast money on an expensive item if it does an adequate job. You’re better off waiting until it leaks or starts to smell and then making a change.


Now all that’s left is to check your watch to see if its time!

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16 Jun 2017

Artbeat Leicester 16th - 25th June


This will be the fourth ArtBeat, a festival of the arts and culture, held over ten days, from 16th - 25th June 2017. There are over 75 events to choose from. It complements the Queens Road Summer Fair, for which we will provide the stage entertainment. Artbeat wants the people of Clarendon Park to experience a variety of cultural activities, as organisers, performers or as the audience, to take part in events where they can pick up new skills and knowledge. To make use of the many facilities and businesses around and to learn about other communities. They want everyone to feel that they are all neighbours in the distinct Clarendon Park community.


What can you expect..

Comedy

A Right Carry On up The Clarry takes local comedians and gives them a chance to make you laugh. A Laff in The Pub combines some old films with comedians, compèred by the award winning Rob Gee. The combination will be irresistible.

Dance

You can learn new dances from around the world - they have classes in Indian Classical/Folk dance, Jewish Circle dancing, Salsa and Line Dancing. There's a Grenshoots Ceilidh, a Hoedown and a Lindy Hop to really get those feet moving. An unusual combination of Indian dance accompanied by western song is a must see.

Singing

If you want to sing along, the City of Leicester Singers and the U3A Singing for Pleasure group both are offering the chance to sing along to well known songs and some that may be new to you.  It will be a pleasure listening to the Amazing Voices gospel choir. There will be Rabbi Cantor Solomon with his Hebrew and Yiddish songs at the Leicester Progressive Jewish Synagogue, followed by bardic music from the Messianic Synagogue at Brice Hall.

Music

Chris Conway makes a welcome return, accompanied by Andy Nicholls, playing his own memorable style of jazz at Fingerprintz. Classical music is well represented. There's Yvonne Bloor giving a concert of her entrancing guitar playing. If you're a talented young string player, you could no better than attend the String Masterclass given by James Dickenson of the Villiers Quartet. They have three classical concerts too. Rock and pop music isn't forgotten: there are band nights at the Clarendon, the Donkey, the Cradock Arms, and the Knighton & Clarendon Park Club, as well as open mic sessions.
Greg Lint will play the Erhu, a Chinese two-stringed violin.


Literature

Try your hand at their creative writing events – poems that tell a story, or remember lost gems from our past like Fenwicks or the local bank. The multi-talented Rob Gee is also leading a creative session. Enter the prize poetry competition: the theme is “We all Belong”. Appropriately for the time of year you can join in a reading of  Shakespeare's “A Midsummer Night's Dream”. And of course there's the ever popular book quiz.

Creativity

Do you want to design a fantasy house? Or a garden? Or even a whole world? They have events that will tell you how.

Science and Philosophy

They are called ArtBeat, but they are really a festival representing all the culture in Clarendon Park. So for the first time, you can listen to talks on alternatives to using animals in experiments, or technology in healthcare. There's an interesting cross-over with a talk on how ancient artefacts can inspire art. There's going to be a “Philosophy in the Pub” session provocatively entitled “Is it OK to Murder Granny”, which is about priorities in the NHS and bed blocking. They also have talks on St Thomas Aquinas and Theosophy.

Health

Practical sessions on acupressure, body movement, mindfulness and qi gong.

Family

Throughout the festival there will be a treasure hunt, following clues leading to the treasure. There are fun days at Christchurch and St John the Baptist School. Children can learn the basics of Indian Dance at Avenue Primary School. You can try out instruments – maybe one will work for you. Many other events, like mindfulness, maypole dancing, the ceilidh and the guitar taster class welcome children. All children must be accompanied.

Faith

Faith is an important part of our culture, and many places of worship have joined in this year. There are visits to Gurdwaras, and churches and synagogues have opened their doors to hold events. You can learn how to put on head gear from various cultures. Midsummer is welcomed with two celebrations in the Community Garden. There are two walks pointing out the architectural features of places of worship. The high spot will be a “Meet the Neighbours” event, with 20 different local  faith groups and those of no faith represented, gathering to explore the theme of the festival, 'We All Belong'.  Mr. R. Sandhu, MBE DL, Chair of Leicestershire Interfaith and  Assistant Mayor Councillor Sood will be attending. Clarendon Park is only a reflection of Leicester's diversity.

Some participants

Chris Conway
Chris Conway is an amazing jazz pianist, vocalist, composer and songwriter and is at home in modern jazz, standards, ballads, bossas, and blues, recording many albums in various groupings.

Rob Gee
Rob describes himself as “Multi-award winning stand up poet, writer, crowd-pleaser and all round good egg. Rob's is the only performance ever to have instigated a fight at the Leamington Spa Peace Festival.”

Yvonne Bloor
Stunning technical mastery, perfectly executed phrasing, every note was clear, every note sang. Yvonne’s technique coped just as effortlessly with songs from the musicals as it did with the most demanding contemporary classical pieces.
Houghton News – July 2011 as quoted on http://www.yvonnebloor.com

James Dickenson
In 2010 James started the Villiers Quartet. The Quartet have recently released their first disc on NAXOS , the Complete Quartets of Robert Still. James has spent the last 8 years studying the work and teaching methods of Constantine Dounis, a pedagogue unparalleled in his approach to the violin.

Full details of the programme can be found at www.clarendonpark.net


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15 Jun 2017

Decorating Without Much Dough? Budget Home Makeover Ideas



When the paintwork is yellowing, and the wallpaper is peeling, your precious home can quickly start looking tired and uninspiring. But with redecorating being so time-consuming and expensive, it’s easy to want to put it off. However, if you’re fed up with the four walls you’re looking at and are ready to make a change, there are things you can do that are budget friendly and make all the difference. Here are some home decor ideas to consider when you don’t have a tonne of cash in the bank.
Make Your Own Cushions and Curtains

Lined curtains can be incredibly expensive, especially if you have larger windows and want nice material. Ready made pairs certainly don’t come cheap, plus you’re often limited on patterns and colours. Making your own is a far better option, if you have a sewing machine in the cupboard now is the time to dust it off! Best of all you can use the same fabric to make cushion covers or even to cover the seating pads on dining room chairs for a cute, matching look. One tip for choosing fabric, if you have busy or patterned wallpaper choose plain fabric. If you have very plain walls and decor you can have fun with pattern. That way it helps to keep the room looking balanced and prevents it from being too overwhelming. If you choose a neutral shade, your curtains will go with any decor changes over the years. If you want to order online, sites like www.onlinecurtainfabrics.com have fabric samples available, so you can get a good look and feel of the material in person before making a purchase. 


Upcycle Some Furniture

Wooden furniture has a VERY long life, there’s no reason at all for solid wood pieces to end up discarded. However, they often end up in junk shops, on Craigslist and being given away on Facebook groups because cosmetically they look a little worse for wear or outdated. However, if furniture is still in good condition (it doesn't have any rot, pests or water damage) it’s so easy to give it a new lease of life. This article http://www.homebase.co.uk gives you a rundown of the tools you need to complete a basic project, there are also plenty of tutorials on Youtube too. Even a simple coat of white paint and some new handles can give you a beautiful piece of furniture and will cost you next to nothing. There are all kinds of effects and paints you could try out if you’re the crafty type. 

Find Bargain Home Accessories

A couple of photo frames, a wall plaque, some faux flowers and some sweet ornaments can be the difference between a house that looks stark and unloved to one that looks cosy and homely. Best of all, these things don’t have to be expensive. Shops like Ikea, TK Maxx, even pound shops have little homey accessories that you can pick up for next to nothing. The perfect way to add a splash of colour or a little personality to your room. Online, sites like Amazon and eBay are also good to scour, keep an eye out for things that really grab your attention and help to reflect you and your personality.
Do you have any tips for decorating on a budget?

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6 Jun 2017

Show Your True Colours With DIY Ideas


Roses are red, Violets are blue.


And there’s nothing you can do about it: colours do make the world go round. Therefore it is impossible not to write a post about colours. Colours can be your saviours during dark and tiring days. They are there to lift your spirit up and make you smile. Surely, you’ve noticed that you feel a little happier when you are wearing bright clothes instead of a classic black ensemble. That is the magic of colours. So come and dive now into the story of a colourful world and why it’s important for your mood and energy. Then you will discover some craft ideas to make your home and your life a more colourful place!

You Need Colours In Your Life

Colours say a lot about who you are. Surprisingly,  you can feel a lot more energised when you see or wear your favourite colour. It is because your mind establishes an emotional connection with a variety of colours. As a result, changing the colour of your clothes or your surroundings can significantly impact on your mood. If you are trying to achieve a difficult goal – whether it is professionally or at home – finding the right colour to help you to draw strength and support can be a catalyst for your success. Additionally, you can also use colour as part of a healing process, whether you are going through a difficult time or simply struggling with chronic pain.

Funky And Simple Accents

It’s funny how when some consider adding colours into their home décor; their immediate thought is to buy something bright and colourful, like a red chair or a blue table. Actually, with a little bit of craft, you can make your own colourful accents for each room. Not only will it be significantly cheaper but it will also be more satisfying. If you’ve never heard of embroidery hoop art, it is a relaxing and pleasurable hobby that can help you to create amazing pieces. However, if embroidery isn’t your thing, how about using the hoop as a canvas for a mosaic piece? All you need is colourful pieces such as broken glass or plates. You can create a waterfall of colours using strong adhesives – Kenyon adhesives are super easy to use and sturdy, for example – to stick your hoops to the wall. They are also a great effect when placed around a round mirror.

Going Big And Bold

If you prefer bold interior décors, a subtle colourful highlight will not do the trick for you. Instead, you may want to consider painting your walls in bright colours. Stay away from the sempiternal Magnolia and opt for something for daring. From a yellow door to a blue room, there is a lot of options for your to explore. What colours should you avoid? None! However, do bear in mind that dark colours should be used in rooms with plenty of natural light. Otherwise, they might create a suffocating and anxious atmosphere. The trendy colours for the seasons tend to be pastel tones, but you can also revive a room with one boldly coloured wall. A green wall in the bathroom maybe, or an orange wall in the lounge.






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The Money Pit: The Problem With Your Home


architecture, daylight, driveway

Even those who feel relatively comfortable with their personal circumstances will go through periods where they worry about their finances. This is only natural. After all, money is just about the most common cause of anxiety for the vast majority of people. People worry about not being able to save enough, not having money set aside for emergencies, and even simply not having enough money to make it to the end of each month. This leads to people needing to make a lot of different choices that impact their finances in both big and small ways. People will curb their spending on luxuries, which can be incredibly useful since far too many people simply don't realize how much they needlessly spend every month. They will attempt to cut down on things like food shopping and work on ways to make their meals last longer and look for cheaper ingredients. While all of these things are extremely useful and are things that just about everyone should at least think about, many people end up ignoring one of the biggest drains on the finances that there is: their home. If you're worried about your financial situation, then there's a pretty good chance that taking a long hard look at your home is going to go some way towards helping you deal with that. Your home is often the thing that you spend the most money on every month, which is understandable. After all, few things are as important as having a roof over your head. Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't way that you can reduce that cost as much as possible so that you don't end up dealing with outgoings that are larger than you can actually manage. With that in mind, here is the truth about your home and many of the ways that it might be costing you far more than it needs to.

Rent/mortgage

Of all of the expenses that you'll end up paying when it comes to your home, few are going to larger than your rent or your mortgage. It hardly takes a genius to understand why. You're paying to be able to actually live in your home in the first place. Now, whether you think that people should be paying such a high price for the ability to have a roof over their head is irrelevant, the reality is that you need to pay your rent, or your mortgage and if you can't you could well end up in serious trouble. However, that doesn't mean there aren't things that you can do if it seems as though you're not going to be able to afford your rent or mortgage each month. Remortgaging is an option for a lot of people which allows you to extend your mortgage period and potentially bring your monthly payments down. Sure, this may result in you having to pay back more money overall, but it will lessen your monthly bills which will have a much greater impact on your everyday life. When it comes to renting the best you can do is to speak to your landlord and try to negotiate something, even if it's just for the short term. It's important to remember that you can't always rely on landlords to agree to this. If that's the case, then you might want to start thinking about downsizing and moving to somewhere with a lower rate of rent.

bills, calculator, cash

Energy bills

No one likes getting bills in the mail, but the fact is that they're a part of life and they are certainly not the sort of thing that you should ignore under any circumstances. The problem is that, for a lot of people, the idea of even opening a bill is a source of serious dread over how much of an impact it's going to have on your bank balance. Luckily, there are things that you can do to avoid this. For one thing, setting up your bills as a direct debit is often the most cost effective method. Not only that but you can then turn it into a regular monthly payment which makes it that much easier to budget around. The other thing that you can do is to do everything you can to save energy wherever possible. When you're looking for new appliances, try to make sure that you're choosing the most energy efficient ones that you can find. Not only that but think carefully about the amount of energy that you're using on a daily basis. Even if your home is extremely energy efficient, it's not going to make any different if you can't adjust your behaviors to be the same way. Never leave lights running when you're not in the room, use your heating sparingly where you can, and be frugal about how much water you're using. These things might take a little bit of effort and discipline, but that can make a big difference to your energy bills at the end of each month. That way you'll at least be less anxious when that envelope comes through the letterbox.   

Repairs

In an ideal world, your home would always be a safe, secure place where you can feel comfortable, relaxed, and free from the stress of the world outside. Of course, it should be pretty obvious by now that we do not live in an ideal world. In reality, your home is just as susceptible to problems from the outside world as anything else. If you suffer any kind of home disasters like flooding, fire, or a burglary, it's probably going to result in some kind of repairs being necessary. Whether these are big or small, they can take a serious chunk out of your finances. The very best way to solve this problem is to try your best to avoid it in the first place. Make sure that you've got an alarm system set up in your home so that you are as safe from intruders as possible. Not only that but you should make sure that your home has the right kinds of insurance to protect you from things like fire and flooding. You might not be able to ensure that you never have a problem with these kinds of things, but at the very least you can try your best to minimize those risks. Of course, if something does happen, make sure that you shop around when you're looking for someone to do repairs. Make sure that you only speak to established companies with clear reviews from other people. The last thing you want is for any problem to be made even worse because of a construction team who try to overcharge you or don't even finish the job properly.

cable, call, communication

Phone/internet

Can you imagine trying to function without the internet? As much as a lot of people like to go on about the fact that modern generations are slaves to their smartphones and are losing touch with the real world, no one is going to be that willing to give up their internet connection. Not to mention all of the people who work from home and require the internet to be able to make ends meet. Of course, many people end up taking the first deal they get when they move into a new home and never really think about it much beyond that point. You should make sure that whatever contract you're on, it's suited to your needs. If you're only online for an hour or two a day and otherwise aren't that concerned, then you don't need unlimited high-speed internet. But if you're working from home then trying to save money by having limited internet is going to make life much harder and probably result in greater costs further down the line. It's worth checking for new deals when it comes to your phone and internet connection as often as you can. Not only that but there's a chance that, if you decide to find a better deal elsewhere, your existing provider may well offer you and even better deal than before.


Of course, no matter what you do, your home is always going to cost you money in one way or another. Because of that, it is, of course, very important to think about your personal and household finances more carefully. Create a clear budget so that you can easily differentiate between necessary and unnecessary spending, as well as the things that you can reduce in order to bring monthly costs down. Not only that but it's important to be careful with your money in general. Don't spend money that you don't have, never use credit cards as a way of justifying your spending, and be wary of things like short-term cash loans as much as possible. In reality, the only way to be totally sure that your finances are entirely secure is to take the safe, boring option to put in the time and effort required to be as safe and responsible with your money as possible.



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An Essential Guide To Booking A Last Minute Holiday




If you haven’t booked your summer holiday yet, fear not! Many people are avoiding booking early, in favor of finding something last minute. There are many reasons for this, including job insecurity, where people don’t feel safe in booking their vacation at the start of the year in case their financial situation changes. Due to the increase in online bookings, there has also become the tendency to wait for those last minute bargains. There will also be a lot of cancellations made last minute, so there will be plenty of options for you to snap up.So, if you haven't booked your holiday yet, this guide may help you get to your perfect destination.

Avoid peak times

As people generally take holidays to fit in with their children’s vacation time, there is often high demand during the Easter months and during the summer. There is often less demand toward the end of August when people are traditionally getting ready for the return to school and work. If you don’t need to work around a family situation, any other time of the year should suffice.

Shop around for the best deals

The best deal does not necessarily mean the cheapest. You don’t want to end up in poor accommodation, or traveling on a rickety airplane. Therefore avoid the temptation in looking at a price comparison website, as you may be able to find a better deal by doing some of the hard work yourself.

Consider what kind of holiday you are looking for, be it a country cottage, camping holiday, or an adventure on the sea with somebody such as Bolsover Cruise Club. Go directly to company websites and see if they have any last minute availability to suit your needs and budget.

Go to Spain

Spain is one of the more popular places to travel to from abroad. There is a reason for this. They have a large choice of destinations to choose from, as well the most flights and accommodation possibilities. Chances are, whenever you book, there will be an available option to suit you.

Beware package deals

There are advantages in booking a last minute package deal, as all your travel and accommodation needs are bundled together. However, you may get a cheaper deal booking your transport and accommodation independently. You will also have more options in places to stay and how you want to travel. Skyscanner.net will allow you to search for the cheapest flights on your planned date of departure.

Don’t go abroad



You don’t need to go abroad to have a good holiday. There are many places in the UK that you may not have visited yet, and should you have a car, they will be easy to get to. All you need to do is find somewhere you would like to visit according to the kind of holiday you want. The lakes and mountains of the Lake District will suit people who enjoy walking holidays, London is great for shoppers, and Cornwall has many beaches for sun worshippers.



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