Shetland Sheep – the Perfect Smallholders Animal

Shetland sheep, while traditional to the Shetland Islands, and bred all over Great Britain, have made their way across the pond to Canada and the United States. They are a favourite breed among sheep farmers, especially smallholders. These sheep are fine-boned, smaller than most breeds, and are known to be easy to manage.

Shetland Wool

Shetland wool is renowned for its variations in colour, from whites to browns, blacks and grays. Whilst it is easily dyed, the natural colours are beloved by hand-knitters and spinners. Hand-spinners love the texture and ease in the way the fibres are drawn. The fleece is layered with tight coils beneath longer fleece, so the variety in the fleece is unique in wool. This wool has a low itch factor, with only 20 to 30 microns and can be worn next to the skin. The fleece is generally clean when shorn as it has a low lanolin percentage.

Shetland Meat

Shetland meat is more tender than most lamb because it is not bred for a fast return and grows slower than the lamb you find at the market. The taste is known to be unique, almost sweet, and it has a marbled look, much like beef. If lamb is a favourite, buy this lamb direct from a farmer to be sure you are getting the best quality.

Perfect Sheep for Smallholders

Smallholders might consider keeping Shetland sheep as they have a good nature and are not known to be difficult to work with. Consider 4 to 5 sheep per acre if there is good grassland and pasture for them. These sheep are good conservators as well. Their small feet do not disrupt the natural habitats of native plants and other wildlife, and the sheep do not destroy grass by taste unless they intend to eat it.

Shetland sheep have a lot going for them, whether you keep them for their wool, strictly as conservators, or for their meat. They are an easy choice.

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Posted by admin - February 25, 2014 at 7:57 am

Categories: Pets   Tags:

TED Talks – Motivational, Inspirational and Practical

If you work from home, motivation and inspiration can sometimes be an issue. The benefits of being in an office is that colleagues, bosses and perhaps friends to push you to achieve new goals and help you to exceed even yourself. You may find that even when working in the most comfortable home office environment (clothed in your dressing gown accompanied by a fresh pot of tea and Cash in the Attic on in the background) your laptop may stare at you intimidatingly, its dull glow pushing your for creative ideas.

TED offers a plethora of inspirational & motivational videos in a non-preachy fashion; ranging from speakers who are heads of different industries to ordinary people who have achieved fantastic things within their lives. The TED talks are full of concepts that really make one think and perhaps may give you that kick you need.

Ric Elias “ 3 Things I learned while my plane crashed”

In this talk, Ric Elias shares his harrowing experience of having a front row ticket to a plane crash in the Hudson River, New York, in 2009. However instead of delving into how scary the ordeal was and the subsequent horrific details surrounding it, Ric talks about his thought process moments before impact and how the event has ultimately affected his life for the better. “I was given the gift to see into the future, and to come back and live differently”.

Andrew Stanton – The clues to a great story

All artists can sometimes hit a creative block, so it’s always useful to sometimes resort to basics and get some tips from one of the world’s best story grafters Andrew Stanton (Toy Story, WALL-E, Finding Nemo, John Carter etc.). Listening to this man speak about the ways to hook audiences in with certain elements with such vigour will definitely give you that get-go to tap away a novel on your keyboard.

Matt Cutts – Try something new for 30 days

Geeky computer scientist Matt Cutts decided to challenge himself to try something new every 30 days of his life, ranging from writing his own novel to climbing Kilimanjaro. This talk goes to show that 30 days are going to pass you by whether you like it or not, so why not utilise those 30 days to try something you’ve always wanted to do? Truly inspiring stuff.

Mattieau Ricard: Habits of Happiness

In this uplifting talk, Matteaiu Ricard (Buddhist monk, photographer and author) debates whether people are able to train their minds in habits of happiness. If you’re feeling a bit low and the looming grey sheet of sky outside the window is just getting a bit too much, watch this video and find out where your priorities in life should really lie – in the wellbeing of your soul.

David Blaine – How I held my breath for 17 minutes

World-renowned magician and stuntman David Blaine talks about how he went about tackling the challenge of breaking the world record of holding his breath underwater. On watching this you will be truly captivated by David’s story, as he takes you on the journey of how he fought his own body and brain to achieve something truly amazing.

Aimee Mullins – How my legs give me super powers

Have you ever woke up in the morning, looked in the mirror and seen a spot on your face which you thought everyone would notice instantly? Paralympic athlete, model, actor and author Aimee Mullins puts it all in perspective for you, as she presents her story of how she defines what beauty is and what it means to have a disability. “Pamela Anderson has more prosthetics in her body than me and nobody calls her disabled!’

Shea Hembrey – How I became 100 artists

Shea Hembrey comes from a “hick’ background but also a truly intellectual one and his quirky upbringing led him to create an international art show featuring the work of a hundred different artists. However, Shea did not have contacts at all of 100 different artists,so he created artists himself; the personas, the biography, their individual concepts and even the art. In this talk, Shea shows samples of the art he created much to the audiences delight. This goes to show that with true passion, determination and just simply thinking outside the box that one can achieve great things.


In conclusion, watch these videos and simply feel uplifted invigorated and motivated and they ultimately will help you get off of the sofa and into your office. These videos show that with positive energy, determination and passion that anything is possible and that nothing is holding you back from creating a masterpiece.

Thanks to British Antique Replicas for providing this excellent resource of TED talks.

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Posted by admin - February 23, 2014 at 7:50 am

Categories: Society   Tags:

The Fair Trade Jewellery Revolution

Giving jewellery as a token of love or affection is a time worn tradition. It often poses an ethical dilemma, however, for those who prefer to shop with a conscience. Particularly when you are giving a gift that is supposed to represent love or friendship, it seems absurd if the gift itself was not sourced ethically. Thanks to reforms in the gold trade and an increased awareness of the importance in ethical trading, it’s now far easier to choose fairly traded jewellery.

For thousands of years, perhaps even tens of thousands, both genders have enjoyed giving, receiving and wearing jewellery. The jewellery industry has suffered a fair amount of bad press in recent years and issues have been highlighted in films such as the 2006 movie Blood Diamond. But it has been thanks to the public and media interest on these issues that has ensured many jewellery buyers and producers have cleaned up their act. Of course, many traders have been bringing Fairtrade jewellery to the market for years already.

The gold trade in particular has become more transparent thanks to the partnership of Fairtrade International and the Alliance of Responsible Mining. Together they created the Fair trade and Fairmined gold certificate, which enables makers, buyers and consumers to have more choice about the gold they purchase. The increased availability of Fair trade jewellery also means we have a widened choice of styles and products. Rather than the same old classic styles, we have been exposed to the beautiful craftsmanship of local tribes or groups from the other side of the world.

Buying jewellery that has been fairly traded is a ‘no-brainer’ for the ethical consumer and thanks to changes in the industry and a heightened demand from the buying public, it’s now easier than ever to find fair trade jewellery. As a symbolic gesture of your love for someone, a gift that is both beautiful and ‘fair’ is a winner every time.

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Posted by admin - January 29, 2014 at 9:44 am

Categories: Shopping   Tags:

Enjoying Real Birdwatching Heaven with Cornwall Cottage Holidays

If you’re into birding or twitching you can’t go far wrong with Cornwall cottage holidays. A smart holiday home provides plenty of room to stash your bird watching gear, loads of room to spread out wet clothing if you need to and enough home comforts to soothe away the rigours of a hard day tracking down fascinating species. Best of all the county is packed with really good birding spots. Take the estuary at Hayle for a start, an internationally recognised bird hot spot down in the west.

Owned by the RSPB, the estuary is an official Site of Special Scientific Interest and home to a plethora of unusual waders. There’s purpose built hides at strategic points throughout the reserve and it’s very popular with birders on Cornwall cottages holidays from as far flung places as Japan, the US and all over Britain. It’s an important stop off for a variety of migrant waders including the ubiquitous gull, large and small; herring gulls, great black backed, black headed, lesser blacks, common gulls and med gulls, little gulls and even Iceland and glaucous gulls, depending on the season.

A winter Cornwall cottages holiday delivers keen birdwatchers the chance to see flocks of Eurasian teal and wigeon in action, with the occasional green winged teal and American wigeon joining in. There’s divers and grebes, goosander and merganser little busy little dunlin, accompanied by the

British Birds: The Definitive Guide to Birds and Bird Watching (Book & DVD) (Book and DVD)

British Birds: The Definitive Guide to Birds and Bird Watching

lonely cries of the curlew and the lapwing, AKA the plover. You’ll see the oystercatcher, bar tailed godwit, knot and greenshank wading the sandy shores and the startling turquoise flash of kingfishers, known to frequent Ryan’s Field and Lelant railway station platform.

Visit in spring for whimbrel, little ringed plover and two flavours of sandpiper, the wood and the green. There’s the odd avocet, a wonderfully elegant bird, and terns aplenty. In autumn you’ll feast on vast numbers of waders at Hayle with dunlin and ringed plover vying for space with the turnstone, little stint, egret and ruff. And in summer you’ll spot grey heron and redshank, birds of prey like the majestic buzzard, clever carrion crow, highly intelligent rook and tiny meadow pippet, swallow, swift and house martin.

If you’re extremely lucky you might even spot a spoonbill, any number of unusual sandpiper types, longbilled dowitchers and phalaropes, bonepartes gulls and the charming citrine wagtail. There’s bonepartes gulls and white billed divers. The black kite has been known to pay a visit. And there’s always the possibility of seeing whiskered, gull billed, white winged, black and Forsters terns. Enough to turn the head of any self-respecting twitcher (pun intended!)

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Posted by admin - January 18, 2014 at 10:30 am

Categories: Travel & Holidays   Tags:

Why Pets and Wildlife Love Rayburn Stoves

Rayburn stoves are synonymous with warming frost-chilled fingers after bonfires. With delicious smells as tender meats cook, breads rise, spicy cakes come to life and rich stews bubble. With the super-clean scent of crisp, spotless laundry fast-drying on a traditional ceiling rack in the kitchen. With the scents of summer food alfresco and intimate autumn dinners for two.

A house with a proper stove has an entirely different feel to one with regular heating. A range beats like a mighty heart in the centre of a home, radiating safety, calm, cosiness, homeliness and welcome as well as steady, reliable, controllable warmth.

Pets feel it too. Many an oil fired Rayburn has an attendant cat or two. Any self-respecting moggie will edge as close as it can to the source of all that delicious heat. If your cat has a habit of sitting on warm appliances and you’re installing a range cooker, keep the hob covers down until they’ve learned what’s hot and what’s not. Some cats are nice but dim. Others know their stuff where heat is concerned. Either way it’s better safe than sorry.

Cats are also great ones for finding warm, dark, secluded places where they can get their backs to the wall and have a totally undisturbed sleep. Especially in a home where there’s noisy children. If you’re bringing the latest super-dooper Rayburn 480K or whatever into the equation, don’t leave the doors open for any length of time. Take extra care if you’ve got a kitten with its nose in everything or an old, creaky cat who likes peace and quiet. The last thing you want is to cook your puss!

Dogs, of course, are easier to teach. Put their basket in the warmth and, unlike cats, they’ll settle down happily without climbing all over the oven and getting into trouble inside it!

If your kids manage to lose the hamster, gerbil, mouse or rat, under the range is a very good place to start your search. It’s warm, dry, safe and a constant source of food.

Your final consideration? The wildlife. The moment it gets cooler outside, various small creatures come indoors to share the warmth of our homes. You might find the underside of your range becoming home to a collection of common or garden insects. We’re lucky in Britain; because we have very few poisonous or dangerous insects you can afford to live and let live, cohabiting happily with your harmless, many-legged friends until the weather gets warmer and they gently drift back outdoors.

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Posted by admin - January 18, 2014 at 10:10 am

Categories: Home & Garden   Tags:

No Better Time to Build Your Pool

The winter is the time of year when many people’s thoughts turn to their summer holidays, particularly when the weather is as cold as it has been. But the colder months are also the best time of year to build your own above ground swimming pool.

The current world-wide economic downturn is forcing many people to reconsider their planned home moves as property values continue to depreciate. Uncertainty in the housing market is leading to many people looking at their existing homes and considering ways that they can enhance their property. Rooms in the roof, extensions, new kitchens and garden makeovers are all excellent ways to make the most of your current property and improve the quality of your life. Another is to add swimming pool to your garden.

Many think that swimming pool building is a spring or summer project. But building during the cooler months brings a number of advantages. You will find that out-of-season swimming pool pricing can be very favourable indeed, providing some significant savings over the prices charged during the peak months. Swimming pool availability is another factor that is influenced by the time of year. You stand a better chance of finding precisely the pool that you want during the low-demand period of the year. Also, delivery and installation can be more favourable outside of the peak summer months.

The big advantage is that your new swimming pool will have been installed and ready to use as soon as the weather turns that little bit warmer in the spring. When the warmer weather comes along you can be certain that your swimming pool supplier and installer will become incredibly busy with a backlog of orders and installations to fulfil.

My advice to anyone who has been toying with the idea of having their own swimming pool installed in their garden is to gather a few quotes from reputable swimming pool suppliers now. Use the prices provided to negotiate a substantial discount and get yourself a bargain pool installed and ready for some summer fun.

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Posted by admin - December 17, 2013 at 3:59 pm

Categories: Home & Garden   Tags:

Safety Advice for Above Ground and In Ground Pools

Swimming pool ownership brings with it responsibility for the safety of those using the pool and people and pets around the pool.

Every year a number of people are injured or even die as a result of preventable swimming pool accidents. Some of the most common accidents and injuries include:

  1. People slipping and falling resulting in various injuries, sometimes very serious
  2. Children and pets falling into an unattended swimming pool
  3. Children snagged by the swimming pool drain and held underwater
  4. Falls from the rim of above ground pools
  5. Above ground pools collapsing as a result of people standing or sitting on the rail or rim.

Employing a few basic safety steps and rules will go a long way towards lessening the hazards presented by a swimming pool.

Above Ground Pools

Above ground swimming pools are one of the most popular styles as these can be installed with minimal ground work often by a competent DIY enthusiast. When the pool is installed it is important to ensure that the access ladder is very secure and located where it can be used easily.

For users of an above ground pool it should be a rule that nobody should sit or attempt to stand on the rim or railing surrounding the pool. Falls from the edge can cause serious injury and the weight of a person could cause the pool wall to collapse.

In Ground Swimming Pools

In ground pools present their own safety hazards. Being at ground level means that it is much easier for a child or an animal to fall in. It should be a rule that children shouldn’t be allowed to use the swimming pool unsupervised. Another good rule is that there should be no running or horseplay around the perimeter of the swimming pool.

Swimming pool safety fencing, pool alarms and pool safety covers can all be used to keep people and pets away from an in ground pool when not in use.

Swimming Pool Chemicals

Dangerous swimming pool water treatment chemicals should be safely out of reach of children. Handling chemicals means that appropriate protective clothing, gloves and goggles should be used. Always read and follow the manufacturers safety recommendations.

Pool Drains and Vents

There have been cases of small children trapped below the water by powerful pool water outlets. Pool drain covers should be inspected regularly and verified as safe. If the pool is used by small children they should be instructed to keep away from the outlet drains and it should be ensured that small children cannot be trapped by the suction.

Pool Electrical Equipment

Swimming pools use a variety of electrical equipment for circulating the water through filtration and cleaning. Equipment should be routinely inspected for safety ensuring that all cabling is safe and secure.

While it may seem like a chore to make a swimming pool safe and enforce some basic safety rules doing so will go a long way toward keeping people and pets safe and giving you peace of mind.

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Posted by admin - December 17, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Categories: Home & Garden   Tags:

Top Christmas Cooking Tips for new Owners of Range Cookers

It’s one thing cooking any old meal. It’s quite another cooking a great Christmas dinner, especially when your oven’s relatively new. You know what it’s like. Over time you get used to your old cooker’s little foibles: the way it runs hot or cool, leaks heat or takes aeons to warm to temperature. If you’re the proud owner of a brand-spanking new Rayburn range, you might be feeling a bit uncertain about the whole Christmas thing. Here’s some useful tips to help you create a delicious, moist and memorable Xmas meal.

First, try the internet. There’s a host of excellent hints and tips about getting the best out of range cookers, from specialist range cooker blogs, supplier sites and recipe sites. Many are written by people who spend a lot of time on their range, with plenty of genuine, in-depth experience.

It’s easy to find specialist books about cooking with a range. Try the New Rayburn Cookbook by Richard Maggs and Dawn Roads. Maggs also wrote the Little Book of Rayburn Tips. Roads is a former in- house home economist for Rayburn themselves, and both are big fans of fresh, simple recipes and easy cooking. Perfect when you’re creating a seasonal meal for loads of people! With more than 100

Multi-Cooker Made Simple: Step By Step Photos (Made Simple Range)

Multi-Cooker Made Simple: Step By Step Photos

recipes and stunning photos, it’s an asset to any kitchen. Alternatively, if you have an Aga you can always track down the wonderful Twelve Days of Christmas – Aga Recipes by Sarah Whitaker. She’s an Aga Demonstrator so she knows her stuff! Try the Classic Rayburn Book of Slow Cooking by Louise Walker, The Classic Rayburn Cookery Book, also by Louise Walker or the Country Range Cookbook by Carol Bowen. You can get most of these second hand via Amazon Marketplace, or buy new.

It’s also a good idea to pop into your local range cooker dealership, or give them a call to see if they can offer Christmas dinner-specific advice. You never know! The manufacturers themselves are also often a source of handy tips and hints for range cooking perfection. If they can’t help, they might know someone who can.

Last but never least, ask someone who already has a range for advice. Ranges are growing fast in popularity because they’re easy to use, rugged and long-lasting, beautiful to look at and have a load of ‘green’ features to help save energy. Ask around and you’re bound to find someone who’s been using a range for long enough to give you the low-down.

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Posted by admin - December 15, 2013 at 10:05 am

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End Sleeping Light With A Silk Eyemask

A silk eye mask can block out disruptive light. In the modern world electricity ensures light is available round the clock. Some people may even sleep during daylight hours because of work or lifestyle. The constant barrage of electronic light in combination with irregular sleep and wakeful hours can contribute to unhealthy loss of important rest. An eye mask can prevent disruption while sleeping, whether blocking out ambient night time light or allowing for sleep during day time hours.

An eye mask made from silk is a luxurious sleep aid. Unlike medications or other chemicals, eye masks do not interfere with the body’s natural chemistry. On the contrary, a good sleep mask aids the body in producing its own sleep regulating hormones by blocking out external light disturbances. Powerful aromatherapy can be used in combination with an eye mask. Lavender is a popular scent for relaxation. A lavender scented silk eye mask enables the body to relax. This makes falling asleep easier and faster. Unlike powerful medications that can interfere with an individual’s waking state, lavender aromatherapy has no unwanted side effects. It only reinforces the body’s natural ability to sooth itself with rest.

Before the invention of electricity, people used fire and candlelight during night-time hours. These softer ambient lights did little to disrupt the mind’s ability to fall asleep. Now more than ever, the brain constantly receives signals to stay awake, especially in the form of light. Mobile devices, computers, and televisions all stimulate the mind day and night. Electricity enables modern appliances to work after the sun goes down. This can prevent people from getting needed rest. Even though the body is tired, the mind paces, kept alert by unnatural causes of light. An eye mask blocks out all light sources entirely. Without light to disturb the mind, little interferes with the natural sleep process. No longer receiving signals to stay awake, the body and mind work together to get needed rest.

No medicine is better for the mind and body than a good night’s rest. People who get enough sleep are smarter, healthier, and happier throughout their day to day lives. Well rested individuals age gracefully. They feel young and strong. People with healthy sleep habits also eat better. They have more willpower and better regulation of hunger hormones that cause over eating. The key to a good life is good rest. A silk eyemask is an holistic, luxurious, and beneficial approach to improving sleep.

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Posted by admin - December 15, 2013 at 9:59 am

Categories: Wellbeing   Tags:

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