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Has our High Street Changed because of the Pandemic?

Have you returned to the high street since lockdown restrictions eased? Do you enjoy browsing in shops for new clothes, shoes and accessories, or do you simply order everything online these days?

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I used to enjoy shopping days as a social event, but that would include wandering around the shops with friends, catching up on gossip, and stopping for coffee and lunch breaks in cafes. Since the pandemic began, I have witnessed a further change in our high streets. More shops have collapsed and closed down. Some of our longest-serving brands have sold their physical shops and moved to online trading only. I was sad to hear about the demise of Debenhams and the loss of Bratt’s department store in Northwich, Cheshire, one of my local shopping centres. These are the stores I would visit for a special occasion outfit or a birthday gift. Now I must search online, plan ahead for delivery times and make sure I’m home to receive the deliveries. I’m not that organised, it’s a struggle!

Some shops are still battling to retain a high street presence. One of our family favourites is Clarks Shoes. I need to have my daughter’s feet measured again as she hasn’t been checked in almost two years and she did a lot of growing during the lockdowns. My elder daughter is now in adult sizes. We used to walk into our local Clarks shop, request feet measuring, and be served efficiently. I believe we now have to book in advance, which is tricky for us since we tend to be spontaneous with shopping trips.

Then there is the challenge with clothes shopping. I recently visited some of my favourite stores when they reopened and was frustrated to find that I cannot try on clothes in the changing rooms. They are currently closed due to the pandemic. That being the case, I might as well order my clothes online, try them on at home, and send back anything that doesn’t fit. It saves me the hassle of driving out to a shop when I can only purchase items that might not fit anyway.

And what of my beloved charity shops? There are now only two charity shops on my local high street. One has not yet reopened following the start of the pandemic. It is a hospice shop and I think they are struggling to find staff that can work safely, I’m not sure. I really want them to reopen! The other charity shop is only allowing three customers inside at one time. I tried to pop in while my children were at dance class recently and was asked to wait outside. I had to go and collect my children before I could visit the shop.

How is your local high street looking after lockdown? Have your favourite shops reopened and are you returning to them?

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Twinings Tea June offers – Up to 25% Off

Anyone for tea? Discover some fabulous summer tea blends at Twinings, and stock up on your old favourites like English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey Tea and Hot Chocolate. Up to 25% off sitewide.

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3 Ways You Can Look After an Elderly Loved One or Neighbour

We will all get old and aging need not be viewed as a negative aspect of life but rather a new life stage as you enter your golden years. If you have been kind to yourself and you still have your health, then you have done well. Should you be financial and/or personally independent, then even better.

But many of your neighbours, family, or relatives might not find themselves in such a fortunate position and require help with everyday things like bathing, shopping or even getting out of bed in the morning. If you are able, is it not your responsibility as a human being to help the frailest and vulnerable among us?

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Be Vigilant Towards Abuse

It’s a sad fact, but elderly people are extremely vulnerable and like anyone in a vulnerable position, they are abused; even in their care homes by those paid to protect them, and The National Council on Aging reports that over 5,000,000 people are affected by elder abuse each year.

Nursing home abuse and neglect cover such things as bedsores, medication errors, physical and verbal abuse, regular falls, and even death. Reputable firms like Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers can help if you suspect that a loved one or neighbor is being subjected to such malicious actions.

Ask About Their Life

Your elderly relative or neighbor may have their independence, their own home, and even good financial means in their bank, but as the proverb states, man cannot live on bread alone. In short, we need more than money in order to survive, and one of the primary requirements for survival, above food and water, is the psychological need for relationships (Abraham Maslow).

An Age UK survey found that more than 2 million over 75-year-olds often go on for over 2 months without speaking to anyone, including friends, neighbours, and relatives. For most of us, this type of loneliness is difficult to imagine, so stopping and just saying hello could mean the world to an elderly person living alone.

Offer Yourself in Service

Of course, getting older means that you aren’t able to do many of the things that you used to do, such as cutting the lawn, cleaning the bathroom or kitchen, and even making it to the store for groceries. An elderly neighbour might have trouble with these and many other things that you take for granted, so why not offer to help out with these?

One of the noblest things we can do as humans is to offer ourselves in service to others. The next time you go to the store, ask if your elderly neighbour needs anything. When you cut your lawn, offer to cut theirs as well and when you have some free time, check in on them for a quick chat and offer help with chores.

When it comes to the elderly, there is a humanitarian responsibility to help those older than us as we would like to be helped. We will all get old and none of us can imagine what it is like to be abused by those paid to help. Abuse can also also be passive, such as the loneliness of many elderly people who receive little to no social interaction for long periods and you can help by offering to complete tasks or chores that older people aren’t able to on their own.

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Sprucing Up A Boring Website

There’s nothing worse than a boring website. Ok, there is. But with more people spending their time online these days, nobody wants to waste their time on a website that’s looking dull, dated or basic. 

There are some great tools and platforms out there that can help you create an amazing website, lifting yours out of the darkest ages – and no coding required. So if it’s time your website had a bit of a facelift, take a look at some of the following ideas for sprucing up a boring website.

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Treat yourself to a new design

Having an eye-catching, professional-looking website is much easier than it used to be. You don’t need to know how to code, and there are templates out there that can create a fresh, easy-to-use website. With so many great website builders, including Squarespace and Wix, that have affordable plans and simple interfaces, you can give your website the overhaul it needs quickly and easily. Try it out, you’ll wonder why you didn’t do it before!

Add some attractive images

Images make a big difference to your website. If you look at the current web design trends, you’ll see that images feature heavily. A big hero image looks great, adding interest to your space, but there are also ways to make images more responsive, and even animated to add some extra special touches to your website. Make sure that any images you use are high-quality and think more carefully about the types of images you choose, it can make a big different to the overall look and feel of your website. 

Revisit your copy and change it

When was the last time you looked at your website’s copy? If it’s been a while, especially on your core pages, then it’s time to make some changes. Website copy needs to be fresh and engaging, stay clear of technical terms and long sentences! You should also familiarise yourself with new SEO practices to help you write better and to help improve your website’s visibility. An SEO agency can help overhaul your website copy, making it much more attractive to Google and other search engines. Revisit your copy regularly, it can help you make continuous improvements to your website.

Think about adding different types of content

Could your website benefit from different types of content? Video and infographics are particularly popular at the moment, and can provide a breath of fresh air amongst all the copy. Being creative with your content can make your website more engaging, as well as supporting your social media efforts. 

Whether you’re starting a new business or you’ve been in the game a while, it’s important to know the impact your website can have. As the shop window to your business, those first impressions really matter when it comes to your website. Create a plan to spruce up your website and get ready to welcome even more visitors to your space.

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Pooch & Mutt June Offers – up to 30% off.

Stock up your dog cupboard this month with 15% off site-wide at Pooch & Mutt.

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5 Ways To Keep The Home Happy And Positive

As a homeowner, your job is to ensure that the place is kept in the best possible condition. Anyone who has ever owned a home before will know that this kind of role is pretty much endless. You won’t be able to kick back for a week as there will always be another job around the corner. If it’s not a domestic job relating to fixing or improving the home, you’ll have something to do regarding the kids!

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One of the good things about looking after your home and keeping everything in good spirits is that it’s just a case of falling into the right habits. If you get stuck in some pretty negative ways, then looking after the home can be quite challenging. If you want to simply keep the home happy and positive, then you’ll have to make sure that you do a few things right. Here are five ideas for you: 

Set The Right Example

This kind of collective attitude around the house will start with you. If you have a family to look after, then this is especially important to think about. When it comes to supporting your children and making sure they live a happy life, you’re going to need to set the right tone and be optimistic every single day. If you have a negative disposition, then they’re going to mimic that, and the entire ambiance of the home will be negative. 

Keep Everything Neat, Tidy, And Organized

If the home is looking and feeling good, then the chances are that those inside the home are going to feel good, too. If everything is organized, then you won’t have to stress over things like messy items and other clutter. Make it a regular thing to clear up and keep everything hygienic. Think also about adding a few touches to boost the aesthetics. Perhaps you could add some pictures with a wooden frame on the walls of special moments and family members. Perhaps an ornament or two could make things even prettier. 

Make Sure The First Impressions Are Great 

If your home has positive first impressions, then it’s only going to be a good thing. First impressions are gigantic when it comes to the way we feel about pretty much anything. They set the tone for what lies ahead. So, make sure the home is looking pretty in terms of the exterior – if it’s a mess, then it’s going to make you feel a little down. The same applies to the porch and foyer areas. 

Think About The Colors And The Overall Atmosphere

Color psychology has a big part to play in terms of the way we feel about our homes. We often like to live in homes with warm colors, but it’s, of course, entirely up to you and your preferences. The atmosphere matters in terms of the smells and overall feel of the home. Do what you can to ensure the place is smelling fresh and providing the right temperature all year round!

Ensure There’s A Room In The Home For Everyone  

Everyone deserves to enjoy the spoils of your home. Make sure there’s a place in the home for every resident. So, if that means creating a study, a game room, a gym, or anything related to someone in your home, then why not go ahead and make it happen?

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Romancing the witch, werewolf style! #TheRedcliffeNovels

Happy Hump Day! Today I share an excerpt from my second Redcliffe novel, Love Kills (A Redcliffe Novel), where the love triangle begins to form between the witch, her werewolf, and her vampire boyfriend.


“This is all for you, Jessica,” Danny said, “I can no longer deny my feelings for you.”

My heart skipped a beat and the room spun around me. It was nothing to do with the whiskey. I swallowed nervously, again glancing from Jack to Danny. My boyfriend was silent at my side, and I was aware of Simon standing just in front of the desk.

“W-what do you mean?” I asked shakily.

Danny placed his hands on my knees, and I sat rigid, unable to move. Suri stirred again within me. I was aware of her lifting her head, surveying the scene with interest.  I could hear her thinking how useful this situation could be to her. She pleaded again for me to allow her release.

“Not now, Suri,” I whispered, and Danny looked at me sharply.

“Your tiger is here,” he said with a faint smile, “I can feel her. She wants me. Do you want me, Jessica?”

I licked my lips nervously. Yes, I wanted Danny, and it terrified me. How could I do this to Jack? Surely, I could not be in love with two men. It wasn’t possible. Well, maybe it wasn’t love. But I certainly felt something for Danny, and I could no longer deny it. He knew. He stared at me with growing comprehension, and his expression grew triumphant.

#TheRedcliffeNovels Series

The Redcliffe novels series follow the adventures of bookshop owner Jessica Stone as she meets a man and falls in love, only to discover the hidden werewolf secrets of her close friends. That includes Simon Bunce, manager of the Ship Inn, who turns out to be lieutenant to the Redcliffe werewolf pack, and lover to the wolf alpha Danny Mason. He fights to protect his master from the ethereal animal familiar who threatens to claim their pack. Who knew the Cornish coast could be so deadly?

Click here for more details about the Redcliffe Novels series.

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