11 interesting facts about coffee

11 interesting facts about coffee

Some of us can’t function without our daily dose of caffeine. But there are some really interesting things to know about your cup of coffee. Did you know…

#1 Coffee is a seed not a bean

Coffee is actually the pit from inside a cherry like fruit. It is called a bean because that’s what it resembles most.

#2 Johann Sebastian Bach wrote an opera about coffee

Yup. He wrote an opera called Coffee Cantata. Apparently he was a bit of a coffee enthusiast. Well, you’d have to be to write a whole opera about it wouldn’t you?

#3 In the world, coffee is the second most traded produce

The first is oil. That’s a pretty huge market though, right?

#4 It is possible to overdose on coffee

But don’t worry, you’d need to drink around 100 cups. (Please don’t do this)

#5 Brazil is the coffee capital of the world

Yup. Most of the worlds coffee is produced in Brazil. What other reason would you need to visit? I mean, it’s coffee.

#6 Caffeine will not help you sober up

Although there is evidence to suggest coffee can help reverse the affects of alcohol long term. Unfortunately it makes no difference whatsoever to a hangover.

#7 The first webcam recorded coffee

The first ever webcam, was placed near a coffee pot in Cambridge to let people know that it was empty.

#8 Drinking one cup of coffee increases blood flow

Research suggests that drinking one cup of coffee significantly increases blood flow.

#9 One of the most expensive coffee’s in the world is made from elephant poop

Yeah. You read that right. I’m going to leave it to you to find out which coffee that is. All part of the fun.

#10 25 million farmers rely on coffee

Across the world 25 million farmers rely on coffee as a means to live. That’s a lot of people.

#11 Coffee stays warmer when you add cream

I don’t know much about the science, but apparently this is the case. I imagine it has something to do with the thickness of it. Though I’m not sure.

#12 Theodore Rossevelt drank a gallon of coffee a day

He was the connoisseur of coffee. I would not recommend drinking a gallon of coffee. Not only would you get awful hallucinations but I imagine you wouldn’t sleep for like, a million years.

 

See our full range of products over at www.housenameplate.co.uk

Information Sources

Rd.com
Buzzfeed
Fact Slides
Good House Keeping

 

 

How to decorate your kids bedroom

How to decorate your kids bedroom

How to decorate your kids bedroom

It can be hard to know what it is your child would find comforting in their bedroom. One minute it could be the transformers, then a few weeks later it’s cars, then all of a sudden it’s Fortnite. Trends change, kids grow, but there are some things you can do to make your life easier, and your little one happy.

Planning

It’s really good to know what you’re dealing with. Take all measurements before you start, that way when you go out to collect bits and bobs, you know how much paint/wallpaper you need.

Have an idea of what sort of colour you want. Ask your child what colours they like, if they can of course. That way they won’t be disappointed if you get a colour they don’t like.

Decorating

If you know that your child wants something specific, a feature wall with what they want might be a good idea. Though I would be inclined to go with a block paint colour, and decorate with stickers that can be easily taken off and the wall be repainted. Or, accessorise. Character cushions, rugs, toys and bedding are fairly cheap ways to add to a room. And the beauty is, you can swap and change to suit their needs.

How to decorate your kids bedroom
Curtains

Think ahead

Plan for the future, neutral coloured bed frames, wardrobes, chests of drawers can all be dressed up with what surrounds them. And as your child’s taste evolves, you can rest easy knowing that what you have chosen will match anything you decide to change. Whites, greys and wood effects tend to be best.

Clear storage boxes or storage towers are always a good idea. For toys, even clothes and you won’t need to worry that they won’t match anything.

Shelving. Again, match to the frames and wardrobes. Shelves can be used for pretty much anything.

Safety

Think about bed location. Don’t put the bed directly under a window, the sun shining through into their eyes, or just on them in the summer months can be very uncomfortable.

Don’t put the bed next to a radiator. For obvious reasons. If you choose a metal bed frame, it could warm, and there’s always that really annoying gap that appears where you lose pillows and teddy bears and absolutely everything else that will fit.  Plus your child could get too hot.

Anti toppling devices for wardrobes and drawer sets. This will minimise the risk of injury to your child if they think they’re a bit of an Indiana Jones.

Latches on drawers to protect fingers.

Latches on windows to prevent them getting through and falling. A very extreme case, but it does happen.

Keep sockets covered, so that no little toys can be stuck in there. Or fingers for that matter. No one wants to be electrocuted.

How to decorate your kids bedroom
Sockets

Don’t hang heavy mirrors and photos above your child’s head. Or anything that could potentially fall or be grabbed. If anything, a poster that won’t cause any injury would be best.

 

It’s up to you what you do with your child’s bedroom. But all I will say is don’t rush it. Take time to plan, and research. It always pays off.

See our full range of products here

How to puppy proof your garden

How to puppy proof your garden

How to puppy proof your garden

It is so important to get your garden to a point where your dog is not only safe from roads, but from things like plants, tools and weed killer. Here’s a list of some of the things you can do to puppy proof your garden.

Fences

A large breed dog, if it wanted to, could clear a 6 foot fence no problem. Breeds like Huskies, Boxers, Alsations etc are all able, if they wanted to, to do this. Keep your fences 6ft tall of higher to avoid any escape.

Not only should you look at the height of your fence, but you need to check lower down too. Your retriever breeds and spaniels are known to be diggers and could easily dig under a fence into the neighbours. You don’t want that. Chicken wire a couple of inches or so below the surface could help prevent such an escape.

They are very determined animals when they want to be, so a fence with no gaps between panels would be the best choice, made from good strong wood.

Raised Beds

Keep your beloved flowers and shrubs out of their way. To them, everything is an opportunity to dig up. I would advise raised beds or hanging baskets or even some sort of fencing to keep your pooch out.

How to puppy proof your garden
Rose

Breakable ornaments

Breeds like Boxers, Spaniels and Labradors are full to the brim of energy. When they get started, they don’t care what’s in their way. They will easily knock over a statue or two. So, solution? Move them out of the way, perhaps to the opposite side of the house.

How to puppy proof your garden

Gates with latches

For extra security, installing gates with strong latches are a must have. Bolts, padlocks or something that will keep your gate secure will be so beneficial. Providing you warn your family and visitors to close the gate on entry and exit.

You could even install a 2 step solution. Whereby you have 2 gates, one on the inside to get you through and the other on the outside. That way if your dog DOES get through, he is only been able to get through to between the 2 gates.

Avoid planting poisonous plants

If your dog ingests any of the following. You need to get advice from a vet. This is a list of some of the plants that are known to be poisonous to dogs. Courtesy of the Kennel Club. To be safe, don’t plant them, or if you know you have them already, get rid.

  • Aconitum
  • Amaryllis bulbs
  • Asparagus fern
  • Azalea
  • Cyclamen
  • Daffodil bulbs
  • Day lilies
  • Delphiniums
  • Foxgloves
  • Hemlock
  • Hyacinth
  • Hydrangea
  • Ivy
  • Laburnum
  • Lily of the valley
  • Lupins
  • Morning glory
  • Nightshade
  • Oleander
  • Rhododendron
  • Rhubarb leaves
  • Sweet pea
  • Tulip bulbs
  • Umbrella plant
  • Wisteria
  • Yew

Tools and chemicals

Common sense, you would keep them out of the reach of your kids, so keep them away from your dogs. I an industrial environment, they would have to be kept in a locked container or cage. Make sure that wherever you put them, it is only you or another adult that can access them.

That goes fro weed killer, slug repellent etc because they are all deadly to dogs. A dog won’t distinguish between what is food and what isn’t, especially a young puppy.

How to puppy proof your garden
Vintage Engine Oil

Shelter

If you know your dog is going to be outside for long periods of time. Make sure you give them plenty of shade in the summer months and if it gets too hot, just bring them in. Dogs can regulate their temperature up to a point. But then it becomes a life or death situation.

The same goes for winter. If they’re going to be outside, give them a warm place to shelter, blankets etc. But if it gets too cold, bring them in.

Nature

Protect the wildlife too. If you have nesting boxes, or bird tables in your garden, make sure you place them somewhere out of reach. We don’t want any accidents. After all, dogs can be extremely playful and not realise.

How to puppy proof your garden

Plenty of Toys

Boredom breakers, and plenty of toys to keep them occupied is a must. Go for chew toys, soft toys, rubber balls, larger tennis balls for larger breeds. If you really want to spoil them. How about a paddling pool? You won’t be able to keep them occupied indefinitely. But a good choice of toys will set them up for at least 10 minutes ha!

See our Full range of garden accessories here.

Top tips for a stress free house move

Top tips for a stress free house move

Top tips for a stress free house move

In light of one of our very own staff members preparing to move house. I thought it would be a good idea to share some top tips for a stress free house move. Whether or not they work when put into practice is another story. But I like to think that someone, somewhere will take on board a point or two and make it work for them.

#1 De-clutter

If there is one thing I would recommend above everyone else, it would be this. When we moved into our first home together, we moved absolutely everything. Down to the last screw. And looking back, I would have done things much more differently.

We’ve been in four years now, and we are still spending hour upon hour de-cluttering. I just get the urge to go through everything and throw out stuff I havent used in the last 6 to 12 months.

I feel that if I had done this in the first place, I’d probably have had much more room. But no, the house, the loft and the garage are completely full to the brim. I fear my ceiling will cave in if we add anymore.

So yes, de-clutter, anything you can live without, get rid. Make a tip run, get your stuff on the Facebook market place, or donate to charity. You won’t look back. I promise.

#2 Lists

Now if you’re like me, you’ll make lists for everything. I am not exaggerating when I say I even have a list of lists I need to write.

Top tips for a stress free house move
List

Sad I know.

But seriously, it might be beneficial to you to make an inventory of what is in each of your rooms, so that when you come to box stuff up, you can mark them with a keyword of what’s in them. It will make life a million percent easier.

#3 Take your time

Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time. If you know you’re going to be moving house in the next 12 months, it will be a lot less hassle being able to do a bit here and there. You don’t want to be rushing around at the last minute and risk leaving something behind.

Time
Time

Time is a great tool if you use it properly. You might find that dedicating a wet Saturday or Sunday here and there will be majorly helpful to you. What else would you be doing otherwise? Time. Use it wisely.

#4 Ask for help

You might prefer to do it on your own as a family. But take any help that is offered, just make it clear that you’re in charge. If you find you are struggling, maybe with a tip run, you might be able to ask someone you know who has access to a van to come around and do a full load for you. Or a trailer even. Don’t be afraid to ask, the worse that could happen is that they say no. You’re neither better, nor worse off at that point.

#5 Hire a van

If you’re in a good place financially, it might be worth getting in touch with a local removals company. They will be able to offer you a van, for a day, or more if you need it. Making life a whole lot easier when it comes to actually moving things. Or again, for getting rid of some unwanted items.

#6 Get enough sleep and eat properly

If you are stressed, your digestive system will respond. And you could be faced with a plethora of unwanted stomach aches and pains. Eating properly, avoiding too many take away’s (easier sometimes I know) and getting plenty of water down you will help keep your body ticking over with energy and without risk of dehydration.

Sleep is also a really important factor. Without enough sleep you’ll be prone to irritability, you may become forgetful and you will just feel blergh. I’m not going to bore you with the science, just know that sleep is just as important as the move itself.

#7 Find time to relax

Again, it comes down to stress. Try and set time aside, to perhaps go for a walk or pop out for a meal or even take a few days r&r away from all the commotion. It will all still be there when you get back, but you’ll feel a lot fresher going back into it after being able to put it to the back of your mind for a day or two.

(Take a look at Mind’s guide on how to relax.)

Top tips for a stress free house move
Relax

#8 Pack your boxes wisely

It would be useful for you to get hold of some labels and what not. Make life easier for yourselves when it comes to unpacking by making a brief note of what is packed in every box. That way the boxes can be taken straight into their corresponding rooms and you’ll feel so much more organised.

Take it one step further and pack room by room. That way you’re not getting mixed up and you can tick ‘kitchen’ or ‘dining room’ off your list.

Be sure to leave your essentials until last though.

Top tips for a stress free house move
Moving Boxes

#9 A moving day survival kit

There will be some things that you will need with you, or that need to be accessible to you come moving day. Here’s a brief list of what you might want to include in your survival kit.

Top tips for a stress free house move
Survival Kit
  • Phone and charger
  • Car keys
  • House keys (both sets)
  • Mugs, Tea, coffee, milk, snacks
  • Important paper work
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Loo roll
  • Screw driver (electric and hand)
  • Wet wipes
  • Doggy bags and toys if you have a pooch

You can add or takeaway stuff on this list where you need to. But I think that’s a pretty universal list to start off with.

#10 Say goodbye and don’t look back

The time has come, and you’re about to leave your old house and lock up. It may be useful to take one last wander around, taking in the last however many years and making that last memory.

Top tips for a stress free house move
See you soon

You will have reasons for your move, so it shouldn’t be a particularly sad occasion. Think of the next chapter of your life, a fresh change and a fresh start. Don’t look back. And away you go.

 

See our full range of House signs, numbers, and gifts here.

How to update your bedroom without breaking the bank

How to update your bedroom without breaking the bank

How to update your bedroom without breaking the bank

Lets face it. Times are hard, it seems the cost of living is steadily increasing while income isn’t keeping up with it. So things like decorating can take a back seat, because really, there are things that are far more important in life.

It’s not all bad though, If you are really unhappy with how your bedroom is looking, there are a few things you can do to spruce it up, without breaking the bank.

My bed is a magical place where I suddenly remember all the things I forgot to do.

Start simple. Updating your bed linen can make your bedroom feel so much fresher. Items wear, and bed linen is one of those things that you wash and reuse, wash and reuse. I have 2 different sets for my bed, and that’s all I’ve ever used. But the colours are fading, the corners are getting tatty, and to be honest, it’s not a massive cost to replace them. With so many bargain shops around, and of course the online world, you can pick up bedding sets for next to nothing.

How to update your bedroom without breaking the bank
Bedding

Helpful Hint: Head to the sales aisle, you never know what you might find.

And the very folds of the curtains, contained secrets and sighs

Another thing to do, is to update your curtains. Again, you can pick them up fairly cheaply. Or if your feeling really adventurous, try your hand at making your own. Though the cost would be significantly higher here.

There are so many different styles to choose from, so it’s all about finding the right ones for you. I personally prefer eyelet curtains, rather than messing about with silly hooks.

Same with your blinds. Once a rather expensive luxury, now a reasonably priced accessory.

Helpful Hint: It pays to shop around, don’t pick the first ones you see.

You are confined only by the walls you build yourself

There is no easier update than freshening your walls. Grab your old paint brushes and rollers. Don your old clothes and get painting. Paint is fantastic, because you can do anything and everything with it. Block colour? yes, fancy pattern? Why not? How about a huge mural? If you can find the time, go for it.

You can buy paint fairly cheaply too and a lot of the time, you’ll find it on offer. 2 for 1, and what not. I have so many half empty tins of paint hanging around that I could probably incorporate a rainbow stripe sort of look across the room.

Now there’s a thought.

How to update your bedroom without breaking the bank
Wall

Helpful hint: Don’t be afraid to experiment, let your true personality show through colour.

Accessories are like vitamins to style

Pull your bedroom design together by using accessories. Choose cushions with bold, geometric patterns. Shag pile rugs, candles, plants. Basically anything that you feel would finish off your room. Looka round, go to car boot sales, or the facebook market place. You never know what you might find.

And it’s super fun finding new and intriguing items.

Helpful hint: What about finding alternative uses for stuff. Kilner jars for pens and pencils, or pillow covers to hang up your shoes in your wardrobe. Perhaps even upcycle an old ladder and use it as a shelf.

See our full range of items by clicking here.

How to refresh your home with these 5 steps

How to refresh your home with these 5 steps

How to refresh your home with these 5 steps. I don’t know about anyone else, but every so often I get the sudden urge to change my living room! And sometimes it’s not just the living room. I can start there and have done the whole house by the time I’m finished. It’s that time of year again for me, I just feel like the freshness has disappeared and that my house needs a bit of an update. Here’s what I do to refresh my home.

#1 Get the cleaners in

No, actually I have far too much time on my hands to get a cleaner in. Every month I give my house a really good deep clean. I move all the furniture out of every room and brush, hoover and mop. Adding something with a nice lavender or lemon scent to the mop bucket. Makes a huge difference you know! It’s keeping on top of it once you’ve finished that’s key.

I don’t leave anything untouched, everything gets polished, my leather gets wiped down ( baby wipes are amazing for this) and even the dog gets a bath.

So get your marigolds out and get motivated.

#2 New rug

OK so I don’t get a new rug every month. But I’m feeling right now that it needs updating. It’s had it’s fair share of deep cleans with the carpet cleaner. It gets hoovered daily, and the white bits in the design are just a bit grubby. The carpet cleaner isn’t really making a difference anymore.

So, head down to your local rug shop. Or see what’s hanging about on Facebook marketplace! You never know what you might find. I got my last one from a well know high street bargain shop. Paid less than £100 and it was really good size. My living room is huge! Could probably go a bit bigger this time.

#3 Give the windows a clean

I am so passionate about this one, that I do it, oh, twice a year, three times if I’m feeling really adventurous ha!

I wouldn’t spend on fancy cleaners. Vinegar, lemon juice and a squeeze of washing up liquid is much better than most cleaners. The vinegar helps keep streaks away. All you’ll need is a wash on cloth and a wash off cloth. Check out my previous post about cleaning windows for an in depth instruction manual.

#4 Fresh flowers

Spruce up any room in the house with a fresh bunch of flowers. For me it is always lillies. Well it was, until we got our pooch. Lillies are poisonous to dogs and cats.

Never mind. Just having the flowers in your constant view will be enough to create a nice atmosphere. And there are some amazingly smelly flowers out there.

#5 Update your lighting

Try even changing the bulb. Perhaps a lower or higher wattage than you’re used to. I found that mine got quite dusty. When I replaced them it was like I had added an extra window.

The light was so much better. Something I’ll definitely be doing is giving them a quick wipe every now and then. Keeps them fresh, and dust free.

 

Some fairly easy ways of keeping your house fresh. Is there anything you would do in addition to all of these? Or perhaps you’re a clean as you go person.

How can we help our Nations Bees

How can we help our Nations Bees

How can we help our Nations Bees. First of all, it is no secret to anyone that our nations bee population is in decline. There has been a lot of press recently about the importance of reversing this decline in attempt to save not only the bees, but our environment in general. Bees are imperative to the thriving of our wild flowers, trees, fruit, veg etc. So, what can we do to help?

Why are bees so important?

In short, bees pollinate pretty much everything. Our fruit, vegetables and 3/4 of our nations wildflowers.

Without bees, our food and our economy would be at risk of failing. No, they would fail. Completely.

If we had to artificially, or rather if our farmers had to artificially pollinate our food crops, it would cost them an extra £1.8 billion a year, or there about. Can you imagine how much our weekly shop would cost if that was the case? I mean, they’d have to make their money back somehow wouldn’t they?

A healthy environment

Have you ever sat having a picnic, perhaps in the garden of a stately home, or a even a meadow near your house? If you have, you would probably have noticed all sorts of beautiful smells coming from the surrounding wild flowers, and the unmistakable sound of the bees buzzing while they work hard to gather what they need for their hives.

If you did notice, it means that the environment in that area is good. Bees are therefore a good sign of a thriving area.

A good place for bees is a good place for people. So, not only are these areas responsible for keeping our bees working hard and healthy, they also mean that for humans our air is fresher and our water is too.

Species

Over the years, over 270 species have been recorded in the UK. 13 species have completely disappeared. Since 1900, 35 species have been deemed under threat. This isn’t good news.

Why the decline?

There are a number of reasons why the bee population is in decline, loss of habitat as a result of the need for homes and places to grow crops. Disease, pesticides from farming, pollution from everyday life, and the increase in foreign plants and insects coming here from abroad. The bees just can’t compete with them.

Progress

Progress is being made. Slowly but surely. In 2018 three neonicotinoids (pesticides used in UK farming) known to be harmful to our bees were banned. This is a positive step in the right direction! But more needs to be done.

Can you imagine a country without bees? I can. Bleak, barren, devoid of life and colour. But it’s not all bad.

How can we help our Nations Bees?

So, there are a few things that we as residents of this great world can do to help our bees on their way.

  • Plant nectar rich flowers in our gardens, or window boxes. Herbs such as sage and thyme, flowers like bluebells, lavender, strawberry plants and tomato plants. All of these are fantastic for bees.
  • A bee hotel. Despite the ever represented swarms of bees, a few of our species are solitary and need somewhere to live. Many of them dig into crumbling walls and soft concrete, others prefer dry logs. Placing things such as logs, untreated wood, breeze blocks etc in your garden can help give them a place to live.
  • Access to water, install a pond or perhaps a bird bath in your garden. Bees need water too.
  • Eat local honey, apparently eating honey within 6 miles or so of your home can help tackle hay fever too! I’m not sure how much truth is in this but it would make sense right?
  • Encouragement at work. Why not tell people what you’re doing to help. You could hold a competition for who can make the most bee friendly living environment, and then have them set up in your gardens, or even in a dedicated space on site at work. Whatever you do, it will help our bees on their way.

What are we doing at the House Nameplate Company?

Here at the House Nameplate company, we are proud to say that we are doing our bit to help reverse the decline in our nations bees. We have launched our range of ‘Bee’ related products and for every product sold, we will be donating £1 to Friends of the Earth – ‘Save the Bees’ campaign. Read more here.

We also have something exciting happening in July, again to do with bees. But I’m going to save that for another blog post. I can’t wait to share though!

Head over to our website now to see our Range of Bee products. 

 

What are the Rules surrounding Gravestones in a Cemetery?

What are the Rules surrounding Gravestones in a Cemetery?

The rules surrounding gravestones vary depending on the cemetery.  Whether it’s privately owned or council owned, the cemetery will have its own set of regulations you need to abide by.  It is important to check these out, as they can stipulate the style, wording, size and material used.

Types of Gravestones:

For the first six weeks to twelve months (depending on the burial site), you will be  advised to not fit a gravestone.  The earth needs time to settle so a gravestone fitted too early may sink.  This can be distressing, as it is understandable that you want a nice place to visit your loved one.  Some cemetaries will allow you to place a temporary memorial, such as a wooden cross or plaque.  The House Nameplate Company sell a lovely range of slate gravestones on a plinth or a stake that can be placed at your memorial site while you wait for the ground to settle.

Once you are allowed to fit a permament gravestone you need to check what types of gravestones your cemetary allows.  There are plenty to choose from:

Upright Gravestone:

Upright gravestones are the most common.  In most circumstances they are tall, thick and rounded with a concrete base. Upright gravestones are made from a wide selection of materials, most commonly granite and marble.   They ususally have an inbuilt vase in the base of the gravestone. Normally they are three feet high by two and a half feet wide by one foot deep.

Flat Tablet:

These simple gravestones which tend to be rectangular, are either flush with the ground or raised very slightly to allow water run off. They are usually cheaper than other gravestones but don’t contain as much information as other gravestones. Flat or ground level gravestones are usually made from either granite or bronze.

Gravestone flat
Flat Headstone

Desk Tablet:

Also known as as the DVT (Desk vase tablet) gravestone. They resemble a book with inbuilt vases at the top. It is recommended to have a cement foundation to keep them in place.

Gravestone, desk tablet
Desk tablet

Ledger Slab:

Ledger slabs are thick slabs of granite, marble or sandstone which cover an entire grave. They are often used in conjunction with other gravestones or memorial plots. Ledger slabs can also be joined together to create a multiple burial plot.  They require less maintenance than grass and are easy to wipe down.

Gravestone Ledger Slab
Ledger Slab

Obelisk:

These tall columns are mounted on pedestals and point up towards the sky.  They vary in height and they can be as plain or as intricate as you prefer.

Gravestone - Obelisk
Obelisk

Lawn memorials:

A lawn memorial is made to be fixed at the head of a burial plot with a classic base and headstone combination. They can be crafted using a large range of materials – all with lasting durability and protection against weathering.  Other types of memorial, often for use in a private garden, include benches, statues, ornaments and water features.  It is very important to check the rules and regulations surrounding such features though as not all cemeteries will allow these features.

Kerb memorials:

These memorials include a line of stone which form a rectangular edge covering the whole grave.  Kerb memorials create a set area and allow your loved one’s memorial to stand out in a cemetery.  They can have different types of cover slabs or chippings, or alternatively they can be left open for planting.

Gravestone Kerbed
Kerbed Memorial

Bespoke memorials:

A bespoke memorial means that you can personalise it to make it unique, and tell a story. An alternative design can really reflect the individual personality of your loved one for family and friends to recognise. You can choose exactly what size, shape, colour and finish you would like your memorial to have. It is important though to check the cemeteries rules and regulations as not all allow such individuality.

Cremation memorials:

Cremation memorials range from headstones to plaques, to urns and vases. These kind of memorials can give you a point of focus to connect with your loved one.

Children’s gravestones and memorials:

Choosing a memorial to remember a child can be extremely painful. You may feel that you need to make the decision gently, and in your own time. Gravestones for children and teenagers are often inspired by their youth. Many infant gravestones are shaped like teddy bears, favourite toys, angels, hearts, etc.  Teenage  gravestones can have carvings that represent their hobbies, such as music notes or cars. Always check the rules and regulations of the cemetery if you plan on purchasing something out of the ordinary.

Gravestone Materials to choose from:

Material plays an important part in the durability of the gravestone. Granite, bronze and marble are the most commonly used materials but there are other options.

Granite is a material which boasts great durability and can withstand virtually any weathering. It’s available in a variety of colours, such as black, red, blue and grey. Granite was traditionally very expensive but is now far more affordable.

Gravestone Granite
Granite

Bronze is also popular due to its hardy nature. However, bronze will often darken over time, but is resilient and easy to maintain.   It is generally more expensive than granite.

Marble is strong and looks great but it’s not as durable as granite and is more susceptible to weathering. It can’t be placed placed in damp areas due to its weakness in structure. This means that inscriptions will likely fade over time.

Limestone is another common gravestone material.  Nabresina is the most commonly used form of limestone and is a light beige colour. It’s durable and suitable for most churchyards. Nabresina can make an ideal alternative to white marble and is just as pleasing to the eye. Portland Stone is another widely used form of limestone.

Slate is hard wearing, weatherproof and has a unique grain. It is easy to engrave and comes in natural shades of black, charcoal, grey and green.

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Before you make a choice of material, make sure it is allowed as some cemetaries stipulate what to use to create a uniform look.

What wording to choose?

When it comes to wording for a gravestone, you need to consider font as well as inscription.  Different fonts can add character to a gravestone. The most popular option is a Roman font or one very similar. Highly stylised fonts such as elaborate ‘script’ like fonts may look good on paper but are often very unsuitable when cutting into stone. More simple italic style fonts are often used for verses, bible passages, poetry and quotes. It is also important to choose a font of contrasting colour to the gravestone to ensure the wording stands out.

The inscription is one of the most important parts of a gravestone. It’s the message that will represent the life of your loved one and should be timeless and dignified.   It can contain anything from bible passages to quotes to poems, and should summarise the dead person’s life, beliefs and accomplishments.  This can be very difficult since it’s hard to summarise somebody in just a few words.  Common phrases include ‘Rest in Peace’, ‘In loving memory of…’, ‘Forever in our thoughts’, etc.  Any personal phrases need to be checked to make sure they comply with the rules and regulations belonging to your particular cemetary.

A range of memorials can be found here

The Rise of Fortnite

How it began

The rise of Fortnite has taken the gaming world by storm and it doesnt show any signs of calming down any time soon.  Epic Games’ mass-multiplayer shooter has more than 40 million players online and continues to grow at a rapid pace.

In July 2017, it was released as a paid Early Access game. It was solely a PvE (Player versus Environment) experience.  Players completed levels by collecting materials and creating sophisticated bases in which to fight against hordes of zombies.

Reviews were mainly positive.  However, Epic had been watching the success of another Early Access game called PlayerUnknown’sBattleground (PUBG) and decided to follow suit.

The following September, ‘Battle Royale’ a free to play version of the original game, was released.  And by January 2018, the rise of Fortnite was clear to see.  The world had gone Fortnite crazy with Epic revealing Fortnite had 45 million players worldwide.

Battle Royale

Battle Royale mode entails 100 people parachuting onto an island with only the clothes on their back and a pickaxe.  Players can play solo or as a part of a team of up to four players.

As they search for weapons and hunt rival players, the game slowly restricts the game area by way of a “Storm Eye.”  Players must remain inside the storm eye in order to survive.   As the battle continues, the storm eye gradually shrinks and players are forced to  get closer and closer with less and less places to hide until there is a ‘last man standing’ winner.

The game offers a different experience everytime it is played.  Different opponents of differing abilities are faced each time and loot is randomly dropped all over the map.   Also, downed players drop any loot they’ve collected for other players to pick up.  Due to this, no two visits to the same location will offer the same weapons, health packs or shields.  This keeps the game interesting and fresh.

After being killed, players can either spectate their opponents or join another game and start all over again against a whole new set of opponents

Platforms

At the minute Fortnite is available on PC,  PS4, XBox One and Apple Mac.  Some IOS owners can already play it on their mobiles if they are signed up to the official Fortnite site and have received an invite. Once tests have been completed, Epic will be releasing the full mode and this will be available to Android users too.   Currently, only users signed up to the site who are using iOS 11 on iPhone 6S/SE, iPad Mini 4, iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, iPad Pro devices or later are getting invites.  There are some small differences on the mobile version:  its not as visually impressive and the controls are touchscreen.  Also a lot of audio cues have been made visual so that users can play in public without the need for headphones.  On the whole though, the mobile version is much the same as the full version.

Cross-play

XBox One and PS4 owners can’t play the game together still, but users on these consoles can play with friends playing on  PC and mobile devices. There is also cross-progression. So, if you’re logged into your Fortnite account on your mobile and you later log into your console to play, everything you did on your mobile earlier that day is carried over.

Should Parents be concerned

There has been numerous discussions in the media about whether or not parents should be concerned with the rise in popularity of Fortnite.  There is a fear that it is highly addictive and desensitizes the user to violence.  However, although the game does obviously involve violence and classic shooting game elements,  unlike games such as Call of Duty, it doesn’t show any blood or gore and has cartoon style graphics.

The Future

Celebrities such as Drake and Travis Scott are massive Fortnite fans.  They often tweet to inform their fans when they are streaming live, increasing interest in the game with their followers.  Fortnite has also been discussed on popular television programmes, such as ‘Good Morning America’ and the UK’s ‘This Morning’.  This kind of exposure is only going to help the popularity of the game.

As Fortnite is free to play, gamers can try it with no risk or financial outlay, which is obviously going to help improve its popularity.  Epic are able to offer this because they are an established developer who make their money by selling their game engine, ‘Unreal’, to other companies.  They also sell in-game items, such as cheap battle passes and skins, which creates even more interest in the game.

Epic have an entire team of people dedicated to expanding Fortnite and its in-game items.  Various new locations were added to the world when the game was updated in January 2018.  These changes included a motel, a big city and many unique habitats each with different environments.  Just this month a new mode has arrived called ’20 vs 20 vs 20 vs 20 vs 20′, which allows a more clan style of attack.  Constant improvements and changes keep Fortnite current and allow gamers to look forward to new experiences and stop boredom setting in.

This constant updating also allows the game to evolve with current popular culture and even somewhat impact on it.  Football stars and rugby players are using moves from the game to celebrate scoring creating interest with young fans.

With all this considered, the future of Fortnite is looking bright and the rise of fortnite is set to continue.

The rise of Fortnite: 10 Cool gifts for Fortnite Fans:

  1. Fortnite Hanging Sign:
    The Rise of Fortnite
  2. Personalised Fortnite Hanging Sign:
    The Rise of Fortnite
  3. FORTNITE nightlight mood light battery powered – green light for XBOX players

  4. Fortnite Wall Art:
    The Rise of Fortnite
  5. Fortnight Stand:
  6. Fortnite Bomb Desk Lamp:
  7. Fortnite Night light:
  8. Gaming Fortnite Controller Sticker Decal Decoration Fan Art:
  9. Fortnite: The Legendary Guide to becoming a Pro in Fortnite Battle Royale :
  10. Fortnite Swim Bag:

Why is there a Dragon on the Welsh Flag?

Why is there a Dragon on the Welsh Flag?

The Red Dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) stands proudly with one foot raised on a green and white background. But why is there a dragon on the Welsh Flag?  What does a mythical creature, like a dragon, have to do with Wales?

The red dragon has been associated with Wales for centuries and the Welsh flag is claimed to be one of the oldest national flags still in use.  However, the appearance of the dragon has been adapted and changed over the years and there are several different versions in existence.  The current version of the dragon on the Welsh flag was officially adopted in 1959.   It is based on an old royal badge used by British kings and queens since Tudor times.  But the real answer to why there is a dragon on the Welsh flag lies in Welsh mythology and history.

red dragon

red dragon

The ‘Draco’ Symbol:

One theory is that in the early fifth century, the Welsh kings of Aberffraw used the dragon to symbolise their power and strength after the Romans withdrew from Britain. The ‘draco’ (dragon) head, which was brought to Britain by the Romans, was used as an emblem as their standard in battle.  The emblem  remained strong within Welsh culture after the invasion due to the Romano-Britons that remained.

 roman draco dragon
roman draco dragon

The Myth of Merlin:

However, there is another tale linking back to the fifth century that suggests another reason as to why there is a dragon on the Welsh flag.  Vortigern, a fifth century war lord and king of the Britons at the time of the Saxon arrival, wanted to build a fort near Beddgelert.  He came across many problems though and sought the help of Merlin, a powerful wizard.  Merlin told him to dig down and create better foundations.  On doing so, he found a red and a white dragon.

The two dragons rose up and began to fight, with the red dragon being victorius.  Merlin explained to Vortigern that the white dragon represented the Saxons and the red dragon represented the Welsh.  He told Vortigern that this was proof that one day the Welsh would push the Saxons out of Britain and from this point on, the red dragon became a symbol for Wales.

 fighting red and white dragon
fighting red and white dragon

The Red Dragon of Cadwaladr:

The story of the warring red and white dragons, linked to the myth of Merlin, was also used during the ‘War of the Roses’ by various contenders as part of their claim to the throne.

As part of this story, Merlin predicted that the Saxons would be beat by the Celts if Cadwaladr (a future King of Gwynedd – AD 655 to 682) sacrifices his personal power for the sake of his people.  By renouncing the throne, Merlin said it would eventually lead to the restoration of British control of the island in the future.  Cadwaladr, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, heard this prophesy and did exactly that – renouncing the throne so that Merlin’s prediction could come true in the future.

The Tudors:

And although Owain Glyndwr raised the dragon standard in 1400 as a symbol of revolt against the English Crown, the dragon was brought to England by Edward IV who used the tale of the dragon of Cadwaladr to claim the throne.  He asserted that he would be restoring the authentic ancient lineage of Cadwaladr, thus fulfilling Merlin’s prophecy of the victory of the red dragon.

When this didn’t happen, the Tudors then claimed their descent from Cadwaladr to legitimise their authority over Britain, starting with Owen Tudor who carried a red dragon badge.  Then when Henry Tudor landed in Wales in 1485, he adopted the red dragon flag and claimed to be returning in fulfilment of the prophesies of Merlin as recorded by Geoffrey of Monmouth.  After Henry VII’s victory at the Battle of Bosworth, he was greeted at the gates of Worcester with a poem asserting:

Cadwallader’s blood lineally descending,
Long hath be told of such a prince coming.
Wherefore friends, if that I shall not lie,
This same is the fulfiller of the prophesy.

(Dobin, Howard, Merlin’s Disciples: Prophecy, Poetry, and Power in Renaissance England, Stanford University Press, 1990, p.51.)

The Welsh dragon was thereafter referred to as the “Red Dragon of Cadwallader” and used as Henry’s personal emblem. The House of Tudor continued to use this emblem as a nod to their Welsh dynasty and during Henry VIII’s reign the red dragon on a green and white background became a favourite emblem on Royal Navy ships.

tudor emblem
Tudor emblem

The current Welsh Flag:

So the reason we have a red dragon on the Welsh flag links back to fifth century history and mythology and remains to this day a symbol of pride and strength.  It still sits on top of the Tudor colours of green and white and today the flag can be seen flying from the Senedd in Cardiff and from the Wales Office in Whitehall, London each day.

The dragon on the Welsh flag is contunuously used by those in the arts, sport and business to show a sense of patriotism or recognition of Wales. For example, during the 1999 Rugby World Cup, which was hosted in Wales, the opening ceremony used the motif of the dragon several times.  This patriotism has continued in both rugby and football international games with fans carrying huge Welsh Dragon flags to fly during the match.

Welsh fans
Welsh fans

 

 

 

 

 

 

In music, the flag is commonly flown by Welsh stars and was memorably worn on a dress by the Welsh singer Shirley Bassey.  The singer Cerys Matthews also often adorned her clothes with pictures of the Welsh dragon.  Other musicians to have used the flag, include Nicky Wire of Manic Street Preachers, who will often drape the Welsh flag over amps when playing live and classical singer Katherine Jenkins, who has taken the flag on stage during live performances all over the world.

The popularity of the dragon and the Welsh flag seems to be increasing with Welsh nationals refusing to let their relatively small country size and fairly unknown native tongue go unnoticed… and rightly so.

 

A range of beautiful Welsh Dragon gifts can be found here:

https://www.housenameplate.co.uk/modern-acrylic-round-house-sign-with-welsh-dragon-emblem.html

https://www.housenameplate.co.uk/personalised-black-dublin-postbox-with-welsh-dragon-design.html

https://www.housenameplate.co.uk/welsh-slate-hanging-sign-croeso-with-welsh-dragon-motif.html