How to avoid the winter blues

Shivers, chattering teeth, getting your scarf trapped in the zip of your coat – yes, it’s that time of year again. WINTER. It’s the time of year we associate with layering up (especially on the waistline), Christmas, and running late because of underestimating the amount of frost on our car windscreens.

It’s not the worst time of year, but let’s face it – it’s not summer. Here are six cheery tips to help you avoid the winter blues:

1. Make mince pies!

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During winter when the weather’s not so great, we’re more likely to get lazy, which is good in moderation for relaxation but too much of this will lead to lethargy and decreased spirits. Just because you’re inside doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. Baking is a great way to both relax, keep your mind and body active, and it can fun for all the family. Mince pies are at the top of the list right now, of course!

2. Take long walks

WALKING ACROSS HAMPSTEAD HEATH

Even though it’s cold, it’s still important to get enough exercise, and a chilly walk can often be very refreshing. Exercise also releases endorphins, the happy hormone, so taking a brisk walk and getting your heart rate up is brilliant for both mind and body. Also whilst you’re outside, you’ll be soaking up lots of Vitamin D from the sunlight, which is important to stay chirpy and to avoid getting Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

3. Get enough rest

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Sleep and relaxation is, no doubt, the key to a healthy mind, body and soul. With the Christmas period upon us, it’s easy to have a build up of stress, so finding the time to relax isn’t easy but it’s definitely important. Our blackout blinds aid sleep by providing a room that’s free from light so you can get to sleep faster and have no interference from the outside light. However, it is important to balance this with getting enough sunlight when you are awake.

4. Have a laugh

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Laughter is the key to feeling happy and this, too, releases endorphins. If you’re at home, try reading or watching something that will make you laugh. If you’re stuck for ideas, sticking on some funny cat videos on YouTube always does the trick.

5. Pursue a hobby 

family

Winter-time can be a great time to reintroduce yourself with a hobby you love, and you can also include the whole family! Whether that’s painting, playing family board games or pursuing a sport, try and make winter as enjoyable as any other time of year!

6. Take a short break

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Sometimes a break and a change of environment is just what you need. Whether it’s for a weekend or a week, a chance to spoil yourself with your family, friend or partner will definitely raise your spirits. If winter is definitely not your thing, then find a place in the sun and say good-bye to the winter blues!

 

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Technology vs Sleep Challenge!

Today, technology rules everything and everyone. Without it, we’re lost. However, we rarely take a moment to think about what it’s doing to our health.

Remember when Mums used to say “Don’t sit too close to the telly or else you’ll damage your eyes”? Well, now we’re doing it on a daily basis, if not with the telly, we’re doing it will our laptops and phones. And it’s not just our eyes that are affected, it’s our brains, our sleep cycles and our bodies as a whole.

Photo from syracuse.com

Photo from syracuse.com

That’s why we’re challenging YOU to cut down by at least 1 hour a day for the next 2 weeks. Of an evening, leaving your mobile alone after 8pm and cutting down on browsing on the laptop, as well as watching just a little less television already adds up to a lot. Mixing and matching on your own terms, you can cut down and, as a result, enjoy better sleep.

Earlier this year, bigbrandbeds.co.uk found that 95% of 18-29 year-olds sleep with their phones right next to their bed, with 25% of people not silencing their phone before they go to bed. Does jumping out of bed because you heard your phone vibrate sound familiar?

95% said they used electronics in the hour prior to going to sleep, with 50% of people found to check their phones immediately upon waking in the middle of the night.

The Lighting Research Centre has also found that light from tablets, phones and similar devices can confuse our natural body clock, making sleep harder to attain but keeping us tired during the day.

Dr Naim of the Los Angeles Sleep Study Institute said: “Regularly using a computer late at night is associated not only with sleep disorders but also with stress and depressive symptoms both in men and women.”

If you have been suffering with sleep issues, examine how much technology you use on a daily basis. Cutting down on this and taking these tips can help you. However, if you are deeply concerned about your sleep deprivation, seek advice from your GP.

Technology, of course, if both a powerful and progressive feature of the 21st Century, and it’s only going to get bigger. The only chance we have of making sure it doesn’t take over our lives and our health is to control and limit it. So join in, and see how well you do!

Tell us about your experiences @easyblinds.

Photo from techtimeout.com

Photo from techtimeout.com

 

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Confessions of Your Vigilant Infant

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According to a recent study, posted by the dailymail.co.uk, infants are a lot more vigilant than we give them credit for, mainly because they want to decrease the likelihood of another sibling.

Harvard scientists state that babies are naturally “programmed” to urge more attention from their mothers. Professor David Haig said: ‘Night waking increases in the second half of the  first year of infant life and is more pronounced for breastfed babies.’

The study also claimed that breastfeeding at night can lead to amenorrhoea in mothers – in other words, their fertility remains at an all-time low. Low fertility = less chance of siblings = SUCCESS! Monopolisation of Mummy complete!

Well we know that babies are attention-seeking, but is this really the reason? If only we could speak baby…

So what do you think? Have you recently given birth soon after a previous child? Or are you trying again and finding it difficult?

On another note, here’s a link to some funny baby videos – the Gangnam Style baby is pretty hilarious!

 

 

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Mother’s Day: We Love Mums!!

Gwyneth Paltrow

 

Michelle Obama

Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge

J.K Rowling

So what do these four famous women have in common? Their Mums, of course! In less than 5 hours, it’ll be Mothering Sunday – the one day a year when Mums are (or should be!) guaranteed to a) get a breakfast in bed and b) put their feet up and get never-ending praise from their little ones (or big ones!) – what’s not to love?! According to clareflorist.co.uk, Mum’s across the globe will be celebrating in the UK, Ireland, Nigeria and Bangladesh; but what do Mums actually want this year?

According to a poll taken by the dailymail.co.uk, Mums want:

1. To spend time with their children (47%)
2. Spend the day out with the  family (35%)
3. Taken  out for a meal (34%)
4. Be  spoilt by the family all day (32%)
5.  Have an uninterrupted lie in (30%)
6.  See their own mother (30%)
7. Have breakfast in bed (26%)
8. Spend time with the whole  family (26%)
9. Spend time  with their partner (24%)
10. Have a cup of tea in bed (24%)

So which one of these do you most crave? Tweet us @easyblinds or message us on Facebook!

Happy Mothering Sunday, Mummies!!

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When Blackout Blinds Saved Lives

These days, blackout blinds in the bedroom or nursery are a luxury, and their purpose is to help people sleep better and longer. There is certainly no law saying you have to have them. But 73 years ago, it was against the law NOT to have them. On 1 September 1939, before the declaration of  World WarII, it became compulsory to black out all windows and doors with a suitable material such as heavy curtains, cardboard or paint. The Government made sure that the materials necessary were able to be obtained cheaply enough by even the poorest families. In most cases black cotton fabric was used, so the bigger your house, the more it would cost to black it out. And often it took 2 or 3 layers of material to block the light completely. This cheap material was often very difficult to hang over windows; it was fine if you had wooden window frames, but many people struggled to hang their blackout material in windows with stone or metal frames. Air Raid Patrol Wardens patrolled the streets and reported any household who had light showing to the local authorities. There were stiff fines imposed if you didn’t comply. The purpose of this mass cover up was to prevent the escape of any glimmer of light that might aid enemy aircraft in navigation, while flying overhead.  Even street lights were switched off,  and essential lights such as traffic lights and vehicle headlights were fitted with slotted covers so they shone only on the road. And in cities by the coast, the blackouts allowed vessels to move around the coastline without being silhouetted against the city lights and subsequently targeted by the enemy’s submarines. The streets were finally allowed to be fully lit again in April 1945,  five and a half years after the Blackout descended. And people have been using blackout blinds to keep light out, not in, ever since.

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Blackout Blinds on Holiday

I’ve been writing about blackout blinds for the home a lot, but I was thinking about holidays too. So, let me scare you for a moment – don’t worry, if you’re not a parent you’ll be immune!

You’ve flown to California for a two week holiday. In tow, a three-year-old and a one-year-old. It’s summer. After what feels like three days of flying with a change in Orlando, you get a cab to your hotel. You and your partner are exhausted as are the kids. You all flop into bed and the entire family instantly falls into a deep sleep around midnight local time. Around 5am, you’re awoken by a sound. It’s the one-year-old, wide awake in the sunny hotel room. This wakes the three-year-old, who is understandably cranky. Now you’re all awake and all cranky. And jet-lagged. And have foolishly planned a coach trip to the Mojave National Preserve that afternoon. Holiday Hell just arrived!

If we rewind to the night before, we can save these poor souls from certain doom. Instead of going to sleep straight away, you can spend five minutes fitting a travel blackout blind like the Go Anywhere travel blackout blind kit stocked on this very website! Now, their hotel room stays dark. The one-year-old sleeps until 8am along with everyone else. The trip to the Mojave is saved!

It’s such a simple thing, too. When fatigue sets in it’s easy to throw caution to the wind but anyone who has stayed in a hotel will notice the gossamer-fine curtains that barely cover the huge East facing windows. Just a tiny bit of forethought can save you a huge amount of stress. Well-rested children make for a good holiday, cranky sleep-deprived ones? Well…once you’ve been there, you’ll suffer a chill down your spine just thinking about it!

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Bright days, exciting times!

May is one of the busiest months of the year here at easyblinds, and we haven’t stood still for a moment!!  This week, on top of everything else, we are also busy getting ready for the Birmingham NEC Baby Show on Friday20th where the amazing Jo Tantum will be launching her version of our Go Anywhere portable blackout blind.  Jo’s techniques for helping babies to sleep beautifully are hugely successful and we are thrilled to bits that she has adopted one of our products to include in her portfolio.  The Jo Tantum Go Anywhere blackout is available at www.babysecretsltd.com and at the Baby Show on the Baby Secrets stand, C10.  Please do come and see us!

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Hello!

There is so much going on this month at easyblinds that we have hardly stood still! Having all of the children on school holidays also makes it (ahem) lively and a tad noisy in the office – apologies if you telephoned and thought you might have called a playgroup by mistake!!

Our new website launched this month and we have competitions running on www.babyworld.co.uk  and www.littlestuff.co.uk , and another starting soon on www.babybudgeting.co.uk .  We are about to add some great new products too.  Jo Tantum, baby sleep expert, launches her Go Anywhere portable blackout blind – it has been awarded the Prima Baby Loves logo, and we are really pleased to add it to our range.  Jo has some amazing tips and methods for helping babies sleep beautifully and her website www.babysecretsltd.com is well worth a visit!  We will also be adding a limited edition SnoozeShade with gorgeous pink trim for taking baby out and about – bring on the sunshine!

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