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Tips for Picking the Right Birthday Present for Your Friends

When your friend’s birthday comes around, sometimes you aren’t sure what to do. You want to make it clear to him or her how much you value and appreciate them, but it can be difficult to choose an appropriate gift. You don’t want to spend too much money, which can leave your friend feeling obligated or embarrassed as well as empty your wallet. At the same time, you want to show him or her that you didn’t forget their special day. Here are some tips to help you pick the right birthday present for your friend, no matter what they’re like.

Pick a Gift with Meaning

Adults don’t need their friends to buy them gifts because they can buy their own necessities most of the time. Instead, gifts are a way of showing that you’ve been paying attention to their interests and thinking about them. Get a gift for your friend that fits their favorite hobbies and interests, or choose something that’s a reference to an old joke or story that you share. You can find just about anything online to fit your needs. If your pal loves country fairs, consider cornhole gifts from a trusted provider like Custom Corntoss to give them something memorable.

Go on an Adventure Together

Instead of getting an object, get your friend an experience that they’ll always remember. Go on a trip together at your expense for an hour or a day. Pick something that will be fun to do together, like a tour of wineries or a concert for your favorite band. The memories that you will make together will be more valuable than any single purchase you could make for their birthday.

Share a Meal

One of the best ways to celebrate a friend’s birthday is to take him or her out to dinner, your treat. Choose their favorite restaurant for your celebratory meal. Or, better yet, surprise them with reservations to a popular new spot that they’ve been eager to try.

Tell Your Friend How Your Feel with a Card

If you’re totally unsure what to do for their birthday and don’t want to or can’t buy a gift, just get your pal a card. This will give you a chance to tell him or her how much you care without spending a lot of money or adding to the clutter of their life. You might be surprised by how much someone will appreciate a simple gesture like a birthday card. This is especially true in this day and age where most people only say “Happy Birthday” on Facebook. A heartfelt message will mean much more to them on their birthday.

What Are the Signs of Child Abuse That I Should Know?

As parents, we worry about our children, from the little things like convincing them to eat well, clean their teeth, and do their homework to bigger decisions like which school to go to, how to stay safe online and supporting them as they decide on a career path. But we also have those worries in the back of our mind: what if someone hurt or abused our kids? It’s every parent’s nightmare.

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The number of reported cases of child abuse has been rising, but that could because of an increase in awareness of abuse and more sympathetic official responses to abuse reports, meaning that more victims speak up.

With the sex offenders’ register and official disclosure checks there are more safeguards against those convicted of offences against children being able to access children.

Even smaller companies and individuals can apply for a criminal record check or disclosure documents via companies such as http://www.carecheck.co.uk/criminal-record-checks-for-individuals/.

The NSPCC estimates around 58000 children were in need of protection against abuse in 2016.

Although abuse may not be affecting as many children as media portrayals might imply, it’s devastating to the children involved, and as adults it’s important to know the signs of possible abuse so you can step in.

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Signs of Possible Physical Abuse

– Injuries for which the child has either no or an odd explanation for or that are in an odd position on the body, as well as any bruises, bites or fractures.

– Children being reluctant to change clothing or get undressed for swimming or sports.

Signs of Possible Sexual Abuse

– Inappropriate interest in or knowledge of sexual matters or sex itself.

– Repeated urinary infections or unexplained stomach pains.

– Very disturbed sleep and nightmares, especially if they involve any kind of sexual connotations.

– Eating disorders, such as bulimia or anorexia.

Signs of Possible Emotional Abuse or Neglect

– Depression or sudden mood changes or if a child suddenly develops an obsession or phobia.

– A sudden drop in their school work achievements or lack of concentration.

– Attention-seeking, running away, stealing or lying. Developing high levels of aggression or cruelty to those around them.

– Being dirty or smelly or with unwashed or unbrushed hair, as well as wearing dirty or badly fitting clothes.

– Frequently left alone or unsupervised.

BBC to Invest in British-made Children’s TV Shows

The BBC is to reinvent its service for the next generation, investing a further £34m over the next three years.

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Investment

The reasons for this is that British children’s programmes have been in decline for the past ten years, with ITV output reducing from 424 hours in 1998 to just 64 in 2013. The younger generation consumes content primarily online, which differs from previous generations, so a new system has to be adopted. The money will come from reinvestment across the BBC, increasing the children’s programme budget from £110m to £124.4 by 2019-20, with a commitment to spend a quarter of that online. The aim is to keep in pace with children using digital devices, therefore £31.4m will be spent on producing video, live online programme extensions, blogs, podcasts, quizzes and apps. The overwhelming majority will be spent on CBeebies and CBBC.

New Technologies

The BBC are exploring how new technologies can enhance how consumers access services and discover new content. Unless they want more of our culture shaped and defined by the rise of American companies such as Netflix and Amazon, the BBC needs to invest in British content, particularly for the younger generation. If they wish to remain at the cutting edge they need to develop new technologies in virtual reality, voice activation and artificial intelligence.

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Manchester

This announcement is good news for Greater Manchester’s creative and digital industries because BBC Children is based in Salford Quays next to the MediaCityUK campus. The University of Salford works closely with the BBC and is excited that there will be investment in their area of expertise.

As a population, where would we be without our television screens and up to date aerials? Companies like Tewkesbury TV aerial installation http://steveunettaerials.co.uk/services/satellite-repair-installation-gloucester/ keep us connected to the multitude of channels available.

Ofcom report that only £77m was spent on first-run British children’s programmes in 2015, against £140m ten years before. Channel 5 fell from 353 hours to 30, and Channel four has fallen from 49 hours to zero. The BBC is responsible for 97% of first-run British children’s programming. Ofcom have now taken over governance of the BBC and have stated that CBBC needs to broadcast a minimum of 400 hours and CBeebies at least 100 hours of new commissioned British programming next year.

Should I Allow My Child to Play Rugby?

Many parents struggle to get their children to exercise on a regular basis. The idea of them having fun on the football or rugby pitch seems far preferable to them staying inside texting. But recent reports, including one in the BMJ from a paediatric neurosurgeon describing some typical rugby injuries, may change that. Let’s face it: as parents it is hard not to cover them up in bubble wrap!

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The Problem

As both a consultant and a rugby parent himself, Michael Carter argues from both corners. From his vast experience he argues that children are just as at risk of injury as adult players. The problems occur when children or those in their early teens play together in a squad. There is generally a lack of skill and the knowledge to avoid injury, not to mention very big height and weight differences within the whole squad. Larger kids can easily squash the smaller ones when tackling. Furthermore, the nature of the game itself sees players encouraged to continue playing despite injury. While this is a great way to toughen players up, it does mean some injuries, particularly things like concussion, can be overlooked, with the potential for lasting damage to occur.

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So What Is the Solution?

How can parents achieve the right balance? Reliable data for injury frequency and severity in rugby kids is difficult to find. However, a careful review of fifteen studies found that per 1000 match hours there were from 27.5 to 129.8 injuries which required medical attention, with 3.3 per 1000 hours for concussion. This is a wide variation but is a result of the different ways data as collected in each study.

Despite this data, there are things which can be done to prevent injury and minimise the danger on the field. Firstly, ensure that coaches are trained in first aid and that students wear the correct safety equipment.

Teaching players the skills they need to avoid injury and building their strength through careful training are also very important. For training advice, watch a rugby drill video such as https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/.

As with any type of sport, injuries can occur. However, through careful management children can have a fantastic time on the rugby field and need not worry that they are going to get hurt.

Chicken recipes that you can make with kids

Chicken is always popular with kids, and if they can help to make the recipe with you, it tastes even better. Here are a few chicken recipes that are ideal for getting children interested in cooking.

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Chicken burgers

Sauté chopped onion, pepper and celery in a little oil then allow to cool. Place in a large bowl with the minced chicken and let the kids mix it well together. Season with salt and pepper, before the children shape the mixture into separate burgers and press firmly. The burgers can then be fried in a little oil until they are nicely browned and the chicken is cooked through. This should take about eight minutes each side, but if you want to introduce a little science here, use a thermometer to check that the internal temperature of the burger has reached 75°C. According to the NHS website, you can also check the meat is not pink and the juices are running clear.

Chicken with couscous and orange

Let the kids shred a rotisserie chicken and combine it with pistachios, chopped mint, chopped oranges, olive oil and red wine vinegar. The mixture can then be combined with cooked couscous.

Peanut crusted chicken fingers

This is one of the most popular online chicken recipes, and kids will enjoy flattening chicken breasts between two sheets of kitchen paper using a meat mallet. When the fillets have been flattened, marinade them in a mixture of buttermilk, paprika, mustard, sugar, salt and white pepper for 30 minutes. Cut chicken into fingers, dip in egg and then into a mixture of breadcrumbs and chopped peanuts before baking in a hot oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

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Chicken meatballs

Many people prefer to use chicken thighs for this recipe, as they contain more fat than breasts. Place the chicken in a food processor with grated parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and oregano. Add egg and season with salt and pepper. Process until all the ingredients are combined, before getting the kids to shape them into balls. They can be oven baked and served in tomato sauce with rice or spaghetti. You can find many more chicken recipes on sites such as http://food-tales.com/food-recipes/chicken/.

Cooking with kids is a great way to introduce them to new foods and develop their culinary skills. Start with these recipes and enjoy!

Revolutionary Breakthroughs in Skincare

In our image-conscious world, we are constantly striving to look good. As a result, the modern skincare industry presents us with a constant stream of innovative products and procedures. New technological and scientific advances in skin care have led to the development of impressive new ideas.

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From lasers and radio waves to new ultra-natural ingredients, it is hard to keep up with the latest trends. Here are some of the latest, cutting-edge advances in skin care that will shape the way we look after our skin for the rest of this decade.

Looking After your Skin: The Future

Our skin is a vital organ of our body but is often ignored until something goes wrong with it. According to the British Skin Foundation, skin problems are the number one reason that people visit their GPs. Over 8 million people in the UK are living with some form of skin disease and many skin conditions last a lifetime.

When our skin looks good, we feel good about ourselves. However, we don’t want to compromise our safety or spend a lot of time on messy and painful treatments that can go wrong.

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The popularity of non-invasive procedures is rising. This is typified by the new non-invasive lasers which can be combined with a professional alpha beta peel for maximum results. Products that work with your skin rather than against it, such as Vichy Normaderm Anti-Blemish Hydrating Care, keep the skin healthy and supple during treatments and are very popular.

The new generation of gentle treatments avoid the need for downtime which gets in the way of busy modern lives. They are also less painful and the results are rapid. You can usually see a difference within a week. Then you can use a gentle product such as http://www.lifeandlooks.com/vichy-normaderm-hydrating-care.html to keep the skin looking youthful and supple.

The Benefits of New Breakthroughs in Skin Care

Modern lasers can penetrate the skin without causing damage. They work at the deepest layers of skin structure where they promote collagen growth. This has the effect of firming up the skin and reducing fine lines and wrinkles. Lasers can be applied with great accuracy, so treatment can be confined to problem areas without affecting the surrounding skin. This makes them highly useful in the treatment of acne scars.

How should I pair wine with meat, poultry and game?

Most people think white wine goes better with poultry and red wine pairs with red meat. However, would you know which wines taste better with different meat and poultry dishes? Here we look at how to choose the right one to complement the meat that you are eating.

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According to the Telegraph, there have been many conflicting reports about the benefits of drinking wine. The general consensus seems to be that drinking wine in moderation will not increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. With this in mind, you might want to make sure that your wine goes well with the food that you are eating.

Poultry and game

Contrary to popular opinion, red wine can work well with poultry. Lighter reds such as Merlot or Pinot Noir complement poultry nicely. However, if you are sticking with white wine, a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc is your best bet. Goose is actually a good match for a red wine such as Australian Shiraz or a Burgundy, while duck goes well with white or red, so try a Chardonnay or a Merlot. Most game meat suits good red wine and this is often seen as a classic pairing, but rabbit or quail also work with white wines depending on how they have been cooked. Chardonnay can work well with quail, while rabbit is more suited to a Sauvignon Blanc.

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Red meat

For lamb that is being roasted or barbequed, why not try a Cabernet Sauvignon? If you are cooking lamb shanks, an Australian Shiraz would work well. Pork can be eaten with either white or red wine, but younger wines are a better match for the flavours used when cooking with pork. Wines to pair with pork can be tricky to choose, but your local wine supplier or online wine merchants in Northern Ireland such as http://thewinecompanyni.com/ can offer you advice.

For beef, red wine is definitely the best partner. Depending on how it is cooked, there are many to choose from. Barolo and Cabernet Sauvignon are good for roast beef, while Bordeaux or Merlot are a good pairing for a steak.

Although we can suggest which wines go best with which meats, it is also a matter of personal taste, so it is worth experimenting until you find the wine that you prefer.

Six Indicators of an Ill-Fitting Bra

Although most women wear bras, few of us know our correct bra size. The following examples will illustrate that you might be doing something wrong.

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1. The Centre Front Panel Isn’t Resting Against Your Skin

If the cups are too small, the bra will be sitting on your breasts instead of your sternum. The same applies if your skin is pinched under the wire. Do yourself a favour and go up a cup size.

2. Two Breasts Visible

From under a t-shirt two round shapes should be visible. It shouldn’t look as if two babies are trying to peek out of their pouches. If it looks as if your boobs are joined in the middle, it looks equally unattractive. In both cases, you are wearing cup size too small.

3. Armpit Boobs

Those flabby bits that pop over the side or the top of the cup are once again caused by cups that are too small.

4. The Edges of the Cups Are Not Flush with Your Skin and the Cups Are Wrinkled

It is here that one has to draw a delicate balance. Although you don’t want your breasts peeking over the edges, you need to make sure that they lie flat against the edges of the cups. If not, you need a cup size smaller. If this is all getting confusing, take the time to have yourself professionally fitted for a suitable style like the Prima Donna Deauville White Bra at places such as http://www.orchidlingerie.co.uk/white-prima-donna-deauville-full-cup-bra.

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5. The Strap Creates Back Cleavage or Back Fat

If you have cleavage at the back, the band is way too tight. However, the little rolls seen above your band are caused by a band that is too big and rides up. When you raise your arms in the air, the band should not be moving on or away from its position. Tight bands can become very uncomfortable and lead to back ache. Wearing the correct size is essential to your general health and well-being.

6. The Straps Fall Off or Dig into Your Skin

The straps are not what should be holding your boobs up. Be sure to adjust them to your height without having them dig into your skin.

A well-fitting bra will be comfortable and make the clothing covering it look great too.

Unruly pupils to be recorded using body-worn cameras

It would appear that the number of naughty and unruly children in classes has reached an all-time high, forcing many teachers to resort to desperate measures. Following London’s Met Police service rolling out the use of cameras attached to their uniforms last October, the idea is becoming more and more popular, across a variety of public sector environments, including in schools with problem students.

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Teachers are ‘fed up’

A proposed new pilot which was recently approved by local education authorities will see at least two secondary schools trialling body worn cameras for three months, to record any disruption in their classes. These cameras will allegedly film only when switched on during an incident, as opposed to filming at all times. It has also been noted that students will receive a verbal warning when the cameras are being turned on.

According to a spokesperson, teachers are fed up of constant levels of disruption preventing them from doing their jobs. The cameras are aimed at tackling these issues and deterring them.

Is the idea ethical?

Many parents have voiced their concerns over the use of cameras in schools. Whilst the wearing of body cameras is legal, provided certain regulations are closely observed (https://www.pinnacleresponse.com/legislation), there are always going to be some concerns when it comes to the filming of minors.

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Others have claimed it is an ‘over the top’ reaction to the problem, and won’t solve the issue. However, body cameras have proven to be efficient in other situations requiring deterrents or visual evidence, and those behind the trial are confident the results will be similar in this instance.

How could the trial help?

According to studies, a third of newer teachers don’t see a future in their professions. Whilst a large proportion of these claim their decreasing interest in their role is down to an overwhelming workload, it’s no secret that more and more teachers are changing roles, which is likely to eventually cause a staffing shortage.

By tackling the problem of unruly behaviour in classrooms, it is hoped this may decrease the pressure placed on teachers, and encourage more to remain in the profession long-term.

How do you feel about the use of body cameras in schools? Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.

Fun projects to try with fat quarters

Finished your quilting and looking for new ways to use up those fat quarters of fabric you have? Do you need an excuse to buy some of the lovely patterns offered in fat quarters that you have seen at your local or online haberdashery? However big your pile of fat quarters, read on for some terrific ideas for projects using them.

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Fabric covered notebooks

There’s no two ways about it – fabric-covered notebooks are just more exciting, prettier and more luxurious than standard notebooks. The good thing is you only need to buy cheap hardback notebooks – ideally A5 or smaller – and cover them with fabric to create a far more expensive-looking notebook. These make ideal gifts for birthdays or Christmas – the only problem is giving them away once you have fallen in love with them!

Infant aprons

Whether for helping you to bake or getting messy with a bit of playdough and paints, aprons are essential if you have young children in the house. You can make a very cute apron for a pre-schooler or toddler using just two fat quarters. Use different patterns for a contrasting effect.

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Fabric bunting

One of the best ways to use up fat quarters is to make fabric bunting. The great thing is that each quarter will make two or even up to four triangles, depending on what size you want the bunting. Mismatch material is excellent here; however, if you end up with lots of triangles the same, be sure to alternate them as much as possible. Unlike paper bunting, fabric bunting can be re-used for every party or event you hold.

Buying fat quarters

The concept of fat quarters has been around for a long time and they have always been very popular with quilting enthusiasts. Fat quarters are available from most haberdasheries, either cut to order or more often sold as remnants with leftover fabric, and tend to come from cotton fabric stocked by suppliers such as https://www.higgsandhiggs.com/fabrics/plain-cotton-fabric.html.

Dolly clothes

Fat quarters are the ideal size to make dresses, jumpers or hats for dollies and teddies.

As you can see, there are lots of great projects you can try with fat quarters. Additional projects include making a small purse and bag for children, an oven mitt, a sunglasses case, or even a phone cover.

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