Top Tips For Conserving Battery Power On Your Laptop

As a mum who depends on my laptop for a lot of things – from colouring in sheets to templates to worksheets to my blogs and the social media work I do, my laptop sees some heavy action for one that isn’t in full time employment! One of the issues I have with my laptop is battery life, so here are some top tips for conserving battery power so you don’t have to keep running back to a charger:

Close Background Programs and Apps

A lot of computers will still run programs and apps in the background unless you manually close them. Even if the program is minimized, it may still run in the background to enable you to open and access it quickly when you need it. You can see on the task bar whether any apps or programs are still open. You can also head to your power settings to see if any specific program uses a lot of your battery power. It’s best to close everything you are not using on your laptop if you want to make your battery last longer.

Power-Save Mode

One great feature of Windows laptops like the G40 from Lenovo is that they come equipped with power-save mode to conserve the battery. Power-save mode makes small adjustments to enable your battery to last longer. Although the computer may not perform as well when you are in this mode, it will at least prolong the battery life. On your Windows computer, select the battery icon on the control bar to turn on power-save mode. You can quickly and easily turn it off once you have charged your battery so your computer is running normally when you have plenty of charge.

Don’t Run It Down Completely

Most newer laptops will shut down before you run your battery down to empty; however, that doesn’t mean you should try it. Running your battery down to empty multiple times eventually weakens it, so you should avoid letting it die completely. Conversely, you also shouldn’t overcharge it. Having your computer plugged in and constantly charging the battery even when it’s full can also weaken it.

Keep Your Battery Cool

Batteries don’t fare well with a lot of heat, and unfortunately laptops tend to generate a lot of it. Since heat breaks down both batteries and computers, it’s important to always keep your battery and your laptop cool. Make sure that you keep the vents open when you use your laptop, and try to set it on something that allows air to flow. Try to avoid setting your laptop on a pillow or on a heavy comforter where air can’t circulate as well. Finally, make sure the air vents stay clean. Consider buying a can of compressed air to clean off your laptop regularly.

Adjust Your Light Setting

Although your light setting doesn’t drain your battery in a big way, it can help if you are in a pinch. If your battery is running low, every bit helps. Turn down the light setting on your keyboard and your screen to help conserve battery power if you start getting low. If you want to save a little power day-to-day, turning the backlight and screen light down a bit will save some battery life and probably won’t even be noticeable.

Avoid Watching Videos

If you need to conserve your battery, then it’s important to avoid doing things that use a lot of your battery power. Videos and movies are some of the biggest power hogs. If your battery is getting low, avoid watching videos until you can get plugged in. Also be aware of some websites that may have videos automatically playing. Many websites now have video ads that automatically load. Social media sites also tend to automatically load or play videos as well, so see if you can disable this feature to save battery power.

Running out of battery power on your laptop can be very frustrating, but fortunately you can save your battery, both over the long run and when you just don’t have easy access to plug it in, to make sure it lasts as long as possible.

Image via Flickr by cheetah100

Terrestrial Treasures: Metal Detecting With Children

As a mom I’m always looking for good ways to get your children off their screens and games, and get them outdoors? While strict TV-hours might be useful, I often find offering them a creative alternative is much more effective. One such an alternative is introducing kids to the pleasures of treasure hunting with a metal detector – something we often see on the beach near our house. It can be addictive in a good way, and even better, it can get your child enthusiastic about a physical activity. It’s extraordinary what a little hope of adventures can achieve.Read more: Terrestrial Treasures: Metal Detecting With Children

The Treasure Hunting Family: Tips for Gem Collecting and Metal Detecting Together

The gold rush of the latter half of the 19th century was a savage time. Hordes of people rushed westward to strip the earth of every speck of gold that they could find, robbing and killing one another, and causing general mayhem in the process. They did this not only because they lusted after riches, but also because they were reacting to the idea of “gold,” a material that almost casts a spell on people. 

If you would like your children to experience the sense of the energy that drove all those thousands of people to impossible risk-taking all those decades ago, there is one great way to do it without all the death and leaving the country and stuff – taking them treasure hunting. While the modern versions are completely safe, civilized and well-regulated, your kids can still pretend it’s the Wild West. Kids are good at it. The best part is, there is real treasure out there to look for.Read more: The Treasure Hunting Family: Tips for Gem Collecting and Metal Detecting Together

How To Make And Keep Your Resolutions In 2016

It’s that time of year again where people make resolutions and plans and promises for the year ahead. We look at ourselves and list all our flaws and short comings and determine that this – this – is the year that changes things. And somehow we spend so much time being told or shown that we’re not good enough that we end up believing it long enough to make it through the year, feeling like failures, just in time to make new lists of all the same flaws and shortcomings and make the same resolutions again next year.

The most successful resolution I’ve ever made and stuck to was to quit smoking. At the ‘peak’ of my smoking days I had a 40-a day habit… impressive for a 22 year old! When I finally decided it was time to quit, I was 26 and did it entirely cold turkey: no patches, no special hypnosis, nothing. I just quit.

So how did I achieve my resolutions?

1. Identify just one goal

I identified one target for my year. There was only one goal, and that was to give up smoking. I wasn’t going to try to lose weight at the same time, or try to run a marathon in the same year. I wasn’t going to try to learn a new language or pay off all my debts (though saving about £10 a day on smoking definitely helped with that!). By focusing on just one target, neither attentions or efforts are split.Chocolates, Chocolate, Nibble, Sweetness, Gourmet

Read more: How To Make And Keep Your Resolutions In 2016

How To Pick The Right Gift For A Child

It is always an enormous struggle to find a perfect Christmas gift for a child that is not just toys. Children may be temporarily happy with a toy, but sometimes something a little different is just that little bit more special too. Here are three basic tips to help you out.

Think about the age of a child 

Some things can be suitable for all ages, and some can work only with specific ages.  For example, if you want to pamper a five year old, it is best to choose for gifts in a 5-7-year-old category, rather than a 4-5-year-old group. This will ensure you have chosen a gift that stretches the child but doesn’t frustrate him or her, and it extends the life expectancy of the gift.

Read more: How To Pick The Right Gift For A Child

7 Lifehacks For Thanksgiving

With Thanksgiving just passed you’re likely feeling relaxed and happy that all the stress is over with.  Believe me, I’ve been there.  But this is the perfect opportunity to reflect on the chaos of the past few weeks and unlock the secrets of a convenient holiday for next year.  Peruse this list, and see just how easy Thanksgiving can be.

  1. Shop Early

One of the worst parts of preparing for a holiday like Thanksgiving is braving the crowds at the local grocery store. Unfortunately, it’s an unavoidable task for any of the fresh foods required for your dishes. You can make it easier on yourself by dividing and conquering. In the days or weeks before, head to the store and load up on all of the non-perishables that will stay fresh until your festivities commence. Make two lists: the things you can buy now, and the things you’ll need the day before. With the first list in hand, head to your grocery store and load up. When the fresh ingredients become necessary, you’ll have a much smaller second list to attend to which means less time spent in the store.

  1. Make Décor Easyautumn-mood-947484_640

Creating DIY centerpieces for your holiday occasions can be so much fun, but not when you’re on a time crunch. If you’re stressing about how to decorate your home before all those Thanksgiving guests arrive, don’t worry! Order a seasonal arrangement from a flower company and put it on your table for a one-step centerpiece. You can also use leftovers from your most recent holiday. If you have any uncarved pumpkins sitting around that haven’t started to slump, core them out and throw some lush Thanksgiving greenery and flowers in the center for your very own do it yourself bouquet.

  1. Turkey Takeover

Turkey is a mainstay of the Thanksgiving meal, but these huge birds can take up all the space in your oven—meaning no room for the other sides you were hoping to make. Consider different ways of cooking your bird. Whether it’s the crockpot or a deep fryer, trying alternative spins on this Thanksgiving fowl will give your feast a whole new taste and vibe next year. If you’d still like to cook your large turkey in the oven, consider slow roasting it overnight. You can throw it in the oven at 11 pm, and come morning, the low temperature cooking technique will have you a golden brown bird ready for the day’s feast—and an empty oven ready for that green bean casserole or Grandma’s famous fresh baked rolls.

  1. Dessert With No Effortpumpkin-pie-1041330_640

Do something a little bit different than just the normal pumpkin pie for the holiday season. Add a dessert table filled with the perfect finger foods to make your Thanksgiving festivities the most delicious your family has ever experienced. Whether you offer chocolate covered strawberries, cupcakes, cake pops, or delicious melt in your mouth cookies, the kids and adults alike will easily be found hovering around your dessert table.

  1. Avoid the Bloat

Holidays are rife with fantastic foods, but that can mean terrible things for our health—and our waistlines. Do what you can to avoid binging and feeling awful by snacking on healthy items throughout the day, offering healthy choices on your Thanksgiving table, and saying no to seconds. The effort now will be worth it later, especially when you are ready to start your New Year in a healthy way.

  1. Cooking in Advancetea-314671_640

Limited kitchen space makes cooking all of your main entrees, sides, and desserts in one go an impossible task. Do what you can to plan ahead, and prepare any items that you can during the day before Thanksgiving. Baked goodies, certain vegetables, and meats like bacon can all be prepared 24 hours ahead of time—sometimes even longer than that—meaning you can focus on the big items the day of. Examine the different cooking temperatures you’ll need for your oven and plan to cook items that can go in at the same time.

  1. Separate Drink Bar

Set up a specific area and table for all of your guests’ drink needs. Whether it’s alcohol or punch, place the libations of choice in this area to ensure your kitchen is free of unnecessary bodies (making it easier for you to get done all that you need to without distraction or interruption). Lay out plastic cups, utensils, straws, and a full ice chest to ensure guests can grab what they want when they need it without having to ask.


Downtime DIY: Weekend Projects for You and Your Printer

Guest post by John Sollars

You might think of your printer as a useful workhorse that makes life a bit easier by printing out
driving directions, boarding passes and tickets together with the odd document or two, but it is
actually more versatile than that.

If you are looking for something to do at home or to keep the kids entertained with a craft project that won’t break the bank, there are a number of ideas that you might want to consider which can be tackled using your printer to get you started.

Model-making opportunities

Papercraft is very popular and this is a DIY-modelling community where people create models using just their printer and some paper, glue or tape and scissors.

Take a look at the website and you soon realise that there are some very interesting and sometimes challenging craft projects you can embark upon, depending on your enthusiasm and perhaps your craft skills.

There is something for everyone and you can create all sorts of retro tech items and sci-fi models or almost anything that you want to have a go at making.

Photo cake

Image result for diy edible photo cakeYou might need to ensure that you find an online supplier for HP ink cartridge replacement or whatever brand you use, so that you have plenty of ink in stock and don’t run out halfway through a project.

Some of the big supermarkets offer you the chance to print a favourite image onto a cake, which looks great and is always well received by the recipient on their birthday or to mark a special occasion.

You can actually do this yourself at home, which means being able to bake your own cake using the ingredients you want in it and then printing out a photo on an edible frosting sheet to put on the cake.

For a one-off cake, it might turn out to be too expensive to get the sheets and the edible inks you need, but if you plan to make a habit of it, then producing your own photo cake will be quite rewarding.

Create your own camera

Not many people would think that you could create a working camera out of paper, but it is possible however improbable it sounds. If you are wanting digital technology then you are going to be disappointed but you can actually create a pinhole camera which works with an old unused 35mm film.

The building process might stump a few people at first but you can get the inspiration you need for this ambitious project by viewing the original instructions for the Dirkon Paper Camera. There are numerous applications and ideas that you can use your printer to complete and many people turn out to be very surprised just how underused their device has been up to this point.

Printing out your own boarding passes and favourite photos is putting your printer to good use but printing out a 3D model or even a working camera, takes it to a new level and will ensure you never have another dull weekend again.

John Sollars is a business owner of many years. When he gets the time, he likes to sit down and share what has worked for him. Look for his informative posts on a number of websites and blogs today.

Baby on Board: Travel Planning Pointers for Pregnancy

As many expectant mothers will tell you travelling while you are pregnant can be an uncomfortable and even challenging thing to do.

Regardless of whether you are planning a journey by plane, train or in the car, each mode of transport presents its own set of issues and requires an element of smart preparation if things are going to go smoothly.

Flying with a baby on boardpregnant-422982_1280

You should be able to take a flight without any difficulty during your first and second trimester but when you run into your third trimester and the due date is rapidly approaching, airlines may refuse to let you fly with them.

If your pregnancy is considered a high-risk then you may not get permission to fly at all – but if you have any choice in the matter, speak to the airline and ask them about quieter flights. Also ask once you’re on board if there are any open seats – and sometimes on long haul flights even open rows where you can lie down – towards the back of the plane.

Obviously we all hope that we won’t be unfortunate enough to have any sort of accident or mishap, especially when you are pregnant, but you will no doubt appreciate that commercial airlines don’t want to take any unnecessary risks with an expectant mother.

Always make sure you have sufficient travel insurance that covers you for medical treatment at your destination, and remember that accidents can happen to anyone,  so if you suffer an injury that wasn’t your fault, there are companies like that can assist you to make sure you don’t miss out on compensation.

Early dangers

While early pregnancy won’t see you have the same issues with airlines,  you should be aware of some of the difficulties of travelling when pregnant. For example you may be experience nausea and fatigue during the first few months of pregnancy, which will make any sort of travel uncomfortable, and can be very limiting on what you are physically capable of.  And if you’re afflicted with the need for the toilet every few minutes, that can make for a very long flight too!

2nd Trimester comes out tops

General medical opinion seems to be that the best time to travel is during your second trimester, when you are likely to be feeling at your best physically and the risk of complications is relatively low- unless you have ongoing conditions like Hyperemesis Gravidarum or similar.

Many people travel during their final trimester, especially those planning a babymoon – a last hurrah before the baby comes. This can be a wonderful opportunity for a couple to reconnect and strengthen their bond for what lies ahead, but remember that pregnancy can often cause all sorts of aches and pains and swollen ankles and feet, so if you are heading off somewhere exotic, make sure to take a comfortable pair of shoes, Geranium oil for massaging those water retaining feet, and always ask for spare pillows at your hotel so that you have enough around to prop up all the aching bits.

Although it certainly comes with a few additional complications, travel during pregnancy is manageable, and the photos will give you something to reminisce over during those late night feed and burp sessions.

Julian Green has worked for years in public health and wellness. He likes to share his insights online and his thoughts can be found on health related blogs.

Give the Gift That Lasts a Lifetime: All About Personalised Presents

Of course, every gift is personal; you pick an item out and give it to the recipient.

However, personalised gifts are a bit different.  For example, anyone can give a tie as a gift, but having a special someone’s initials engraved on the front makes it more special.  A bracelet is a token any receiver would appreciate, yet a personalized message on the inside – something intimate – makes it cherished even more.  If you’re thinking about making a someone feel extra special, give the gift of a personalised present.

Kinds of Personalisation

You may assume a personalised gift means it must show the recipient’s name, yet that is only one way to personalise a gift.  Besides the name, you could do just initials, birth date, special date, inside joke, or heartfelt message.  Also, personalisation doesn’t have to incorporate print or text.  Personalise a gift by adding a photo, or use personal items to create some form of collage.  For example, a really special way to honour and remember those who aren’t with us anymore, is a memory tree* using pictures, personal artifacts, and messages to express feelings to remember them.Baby-s-1st-Christmas-Red-Picture-Frame-RU13112

What to Personalise

Now that you have ideas about kinds of personalisation, you can begin to think about choosing gifts to personalise. For example, personalised pens are great for writers, or if you’re thinking of a first anniversary gift (paper anniversary); those who love the holidays enjoy personalised Christmas ornaments*; and, those who work in IT might like a personalised mouse pads.  As the popularity of personalisation grows, providers expand the available items too.  You may have noticed even brands like Coca Cola getting in on the personalisation trend with their named cans!

When to Personalise

Personalised gifts are perfect for many occasions – a wedding, birthday, Christmas, graduation, or to commemorate a person’s life.  A personalised token is especially thoughtful when you’re sure that other gift givers will provide something thoughtful yet expected, like a watch for a work anniversary or money for a graduation gift.  If you truly want to make an impression, show the recipient that you went out of your way to ensure their gift is one of a kind – and that it’s not last minute, since you’d have to put time and thought into getting something made to order.

How to Buy a Personal Gift

Shop online to find ideas and items that you may personalise, whether it’s a set of glasses, dice, shirt, ring, ornament, or similar.  Be sure to check the spelling; it would be unfortunate to go out of your way to personalise something only to find you spelled the person’s name incorrectly!  If you’re personalising a gift with a photo, use high-quality photos and be aware of the kind of file you’re sending a vendor or manufacturer.  If you’re ordering online, a number of suppliers will provide an image of what the personalized item will look like, which is a nice option to have since most will not allow you to return an item once it has been marked with initials or a special message.  Lastly, ask a merchant how they charge; for example, some charge per letter while others charge a flat fee regardless of how many characters are in a name or an intended message.


Lisa Hanson is a full-time mom and has been designing and creating her own gifts for years. She loves to be able to share her ideas online and has already shared her tips across a number of websites.


Early Years In Finland And Sweden

Many home-ed parents, when asked why we home educate, will reference Finland and Sweden’s models of education and their results, as part of the reasons why we choose not to send our children off to school aged 4 or 5, even if they do seem ready. Often I’ve heard people use the fairly obvious ‘in Finland they don’t start before 7’, but few people know many other details of these education systems. Today I have a guest post for you, with a bit of background on the education systems in these countries, and what makes them different. Enjoy!


Early years education in both Finland and Sweden are much lauded and envied around the world. Recognised globally for their child-centric starting point and commitment to outstanding care and learning for all children, many countries seek to emulate this Nordic success story. Finland is officially the world’s leader in wider education, while Sweden takes the accolade of international leader in early childhood education and care.

In Sweden and Finland, children don’t begin school until they’re seven, although 83% of Swedish children aged between one and six are in pre-school, which is run on the EDUCARE model. The model’s objective is to meet every child’s educational and care needs, while simultaneously providing a societal pillar that allows parents the time to work and study.

apple-256261_640A number of factors define the child’s day-to-day experience, including highly educated teachers and teaching assistants, a remarkably high-quality environment and materials, and an emphasis on valuing the thoughts and opinions of everyone; parents, teachers and children alike. Perhaps most significantly, these small children are not placed under the pressure of targets – they do not have to reach arbitrary learning milestones at certain ages. Instead, they simply develop at their own individual pace.

Some aspects of Sweden and Finland’s educational models may seem counter-intuitive. For example, Finland, despite boasting world-leading results in the sphere of education, also has some of the shortest school days and terms. Finnish children enjoy a lengthy 11-week summer break yet continue to thrive when they are in the classroom.

Both countries have built their education systems on foundations of equality. That equality is for the children themselves, but also for their parents, no matter which socio-economic background they come from. During the 1970s and 1980s, Sweden deliberately combined the early years education provided by crèches, which were originally established for poorer children, and Kindergartens, which had been more middle-class. The objective was to create inclusive learning environments where everyone enjoyed the same educational benefits. All children, rich and poor, begin at the same point in Sweden.

shaky-bridge-838061_640So, while an ethos based upon child-friendly care and learning, and a commitment to creating a meritocracy have defined the Swedish model, what elements of the Finnish system have propelled it to such phenomenal educational success? Well, in Finland there are no exams and very little homework until children are well into double figures. Neither are there any educational tiers, meaning that children of all abilities work together in the same classroom. Plus, all teachers have a (state-subsidised) master’s degree and the national curriculum is incredibly flexible compared to its UK equivalent, designed to gently guide teaching rather than furiously dictate it.

As parents and teachers in the UK, we can learn much from how Finland and Sweden have designed their education systems. By allowing each child to learn about the world and explore its fascinations at their own pace, whilst simultaneously providing a comfortable, nurturing learning environment, as well as quality learning tools from companies such as Hope Education, we can release untold potential and make a valuable contribution to our children’s happiness.