As we come into our ‘prime’ we often have a bit more determination to fulfil our dreams, whether it be to visit that far off destination, run naked through the woods or learn a musical instrument. Well, I am talking about the latter, and how fulfilling would it be to pick up a guitar and start strumming at a party or even among close family and friends. How many times have you been mesmerised by the funky guy or girl who is able to do that, and has the talent and ability to write their own lyrics and their own songs.
More and more people are fulfilling their dreams, and even if you are not going to be the next winner of Britain’s Got Talent or the X Factor, (and stranger things have happened), it is guaranteed to be one of the most therapeutic things you could possibly do.
I can talk from experience, as I have recently achieved a life long ambition to learn guitar, after having found a teacher locally, a young funky guy himself, who resides on the outskirts of Beaconsfield. He is a musician through and through, with waist long silky hair and an equally smooth voice, but with a sympathetic ear for my early stumbles on my favourite musical instrument, and after the first couple of months I am learning fast, and have just written my first song, which I am going to try out at my next social gathering.
It also came up as a result of a life coaching experience that I should give this as a present to myself after a lifetime of bringing up a family, caring for an ailing Mum and being a very committed wife and Mother. But you don’t have to wait until the kids have flown the nest, this should be a gift as a recognition of your own self worth and courage as it takes that to even start to explore the options of living your dream or at least one of them.
It sounds crazy now, but my main fear was knowing how to tune the instrument – but with iphones and apps, this is the most simple aspect of learning to play. So if your fear is holding you back from achieving one of your life goals, whatever that is, look at ways to overcome the obstacles and move forward.
My other reservation was that I am always ultra busy, as I run a demanding business, and wouldn’t have the time. Another simple solution, I now get up half an hour earlier in the mornings and put aside that time to practise, and mission accomplished.
Hopefully this will have inspired you to weigh up the options of ticking off something on your bucket list whatever that may be, even if it takes a few months of procrastination, after all how bad can it be? You may say, ‘well I have waited this long’, but my advice would be ‘there is no time like the present’ – and the present is definitely yours for the taking.
Check out this easy beginner guitar lesson and give it a try
‘How much is that doggie in the Window, the one with the waggly tail’ goes the old song, which is rarely played these days. In fact you will never see a doggie in any shop window in the UK nowadays, as we have thankfully tightened up the rules where window shopping and impulse buying of such a precious animal is concerned.
If you are preparing to buy or rescue a dog for the family for Christmas, how prepared are you? Have you thought it through, as it is a bit like making the changes to your home and lifestyle of having a new baby.
Firstly, depending on the size and breed of the dog, it is advisable to buy loose covers or throws for all of the furniture as you will want to wash them frequently if you are allowing the animal to sleep on the settee or even the bed. If not, then invest in a dog basket or sheep skin for the pet to sleep on.
If you are at work all day then you should think through how often your new pet needs to be taken for a walk, and it is possible to train dogs to stay in a crate for several hours, but this is not advisable until they know you will be coming back. So arduous work with leaving them from ten minutes at a time over a week or so and then building up to the time you will be out of the house, which should not be more than two or three hours at a time. So it may be wise for you to employ a doggie walker who will come to your house a couple of times a day. This does not come cheap, anything from £7 to £10 a walk for an experienced person who you can trust.
There are also some excellent doggie day care centres now, and will almost certainly be one in your area where you can take your dog when out for long hours. Again these range between £10 and £20 per day, costing more for an overnight stay.
Owning a dog does not come cheap, with their vaccinations, food, day care, deworming and flea treatments it can add up to a hefty £3-£7k per year. Look around for the best health insurance and veterinary surgery. But take out full cover because vets are expensive and you will still need to pay to get your dog neutered and vaccinated.
It is still advisable to go into the animal’s background if you have kids to make sure he or she is safe to have in the home, but the good news is, they are the most therapeutic animals in the World, and have been known to be a healing companion to the elderly or a younger person with a disability.
You should decide the breed of dog you want or if you would like to acquire a dog from your local rescue home. Size is quite irrelevant in the grand scheme of things in terms of care, as all dogs need walking and attention and the same rules apply. Smaller dogs are just easier to carry around, but there are the same restrictions in most restaurants, supermarkets or retail outlets so check out your local dog friendly ones.
Going on holiday is another thing to consider, and you may decide to go to a log cabin in the country where they have fabulous walks or dog friendly hotels or even abroad – and then you will need a doggie passport.
If you are going further afield check out your best kennel, as some are better than others, and most will give you a guided tour, and you can decide for yourself. If you choose one where they receive one to one attention, they will also have a brilliant holiday and some love it so much they won’t want to come home at first. So don’t fret about leaving them in kennels for a couple of weeks if you go away.
If after all of this information you still have your heart set on a dog, then you are embarking on a wonderful adventure, and one that will change your life for the better. But take heed, as they have been known to steal the hardiest of hearts, and they are also famous for never returning it to the owner.
Since lockdown measures were introduced to cope with the coronavirus outbreak, there has been a stark rise in domestic abuse, with the National Domestic Abuse helpline reporting an 80% increase in calls in June. Fran Hipperson, family partner at B P Collins, advises on what victims can do to protect themselves and their children.
Domestic abuse isn’t always physical violence. It can also encompass a pattern of controlling, threatening and coercive behaviour. This behaviour can be emotional, economic, psychological or sexual. Perpetrators of domestic abuse often use coercive and controlling behaviour to seek to isolate their victims from friends and family and to remove any support network they have.? Lockdown has made it much easier for them to do this.
If you’re experiencing domestic abuse, there are various orders which can be made to help you, although applications are likely to be dealt with remotely through telephone or Skype hearings rather than at court. For example, it is possible for the court to make an order regulating the use of the family home, such as who can use the kitchen at a particular time.
The court also has the power to exclude the perpetrator of domestic abuse from the family home entirely (an occupation order) and to grant an injunction to prevent abusive behaviour (a non-molestation order). Breach of a non-molestation order is a criminal offence and as such will act as a deterrent for some.
Refuges also remain open, and the police will provide support to all those who are being abused – whether physically, emotionally, or otherwise.
If you’re experiencing abuse, you can also call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free on 0808?2000?247 and anyone in danger should call 999.
If your friend or family member is a victim of domestic abuse, you could provide information on organisations that offer help to victims and their children and explore available options with them. You can also help them to report an assault to the police if they choose to do so and you could go with them