Websites of the Week 30th January- 4th February 2012

February 3, 2012 at 2:46 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Annette's websites of the week

Met Office/BBC WeatherAfter a week of freezing temperatures and reports of snow for many parts of the UK this weekend it’s easy to feel a little fed up with the weather.

However, it’s important to remember that in such extreme coldness, the Met Office issued a Level 3 Severe Weather Warning earlier this week, vulnerable and elderly people are at a significantly higher risk of becoming ill and lonely.

BBC Weather

During period of bad weather I always find that preparation is vital. Whether you’re an elderly person who’s worried about getting out and about or have family member to care for. Before making any plans always check weather reports- I find that the Met Office’s website is extremely thorough but BBC Weather is a little more user friendly. Nevertheless both sites give up to date and reliable information.

It’s also a nice idea to call in on elderly neighbours during the winter months especially if you’ve not seen any family or friends dropping by for a couple of days. I like to take a plate of dinner around with me- even if my neighbour doesn’t eat it, it can be refrigerated and enjoyed later.

For more tips on staying warm during the winter read my previous blog- Winter Warmers.


National Trust I’ve written about the National Trust several times before and that’s largely because I’m a big fan of heritage sites. Plus there always seems to be somewhere to go within the National Trust regardless of where you are in the country.

National Trust membership

Personally I’ve found that purchasing an annual membership is worthwhile especially if you’ve got a family. When I was recently renewing my own membership I saw that the National Trust is now offering a 25% discount on all annual memberships– this offer is an introductory rate for the first year only. Although this discount rate isn’t available to existing members it’s perfect if you’re hoping to explore the National Trust for the first time.

There really is plenty to do and having a family membership has proved to be incredibly usefully for me and my family during the years. Even better the entire family can enjoy the fun as senior memberships are available and children under 5 get in for free.


BookRabbit.comAs a book lover I relish the chance to talk to other literature enthusiasts about my favourite new releases and old classics which I’ve read time and time again.

Last week I recommend Good Web Guide, which hosts hundreds of quality websites. After exploring the site more this week I’ve found an online community site which brings books lovers together.


A little bit like Facebook in the respect that it focuses around networking, the site promises to ‘Bring your bookshelf to life’ as it simply encourages users to post a photograph of their bookshelf and then explore the shelves of other users who favour similar authors and genres.

Users can review books, join discussions and check out which authors are up and coming in 2012. It’s a site I’m happy to recommend and a great place to proudly display your bookshelf to people who really will appreciate it!

Winter Warmers – The best ways to stay warm this winter!

January 31, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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After a period of mild weather I’m sure that many of you will have noticed the sudden drop in temperature this week. As its still January it’s important to remember that it is in fact still winter so we should be prepared for cold spells. This week it’s predicted to be particularly chilly and the Met Office has issued a serve cold weather warming which runs right until Friday morning.

As the Met Office set out precautions it’s important to do the same, insuring maximum personal safety and wellbeing. I know that for many older and elderly people getting out of the house can be difficult in the winter so call on the help of friends and family to bring around essentials.

drinking tea

Whilst at home ensure you’re as warm as possible by layering clothing, I find that wearing thinly layers garments  such as a vest with one or two thin t-shirts on top and then a cardigan is much more effective than one large jumper, the thin layers trap in body heat keeping you warmer for longer. I’d suggest the same for night ware too.  Change an hour or so before you’re planning to get into bed this way you’ll already be snug and warm. 

So how else can you beat the cold? Alongside drinking plenty of warm drinks and ensuring that windows and doors are closed a tip taken from last night’s SuperScrimpers: Waste Not Want Not was to put your heating on constant but turn the thermostat down. This way warm heat will always be circulating the house but won’t build a huge bill. If you feel a chill during the evening pop the fire on for an hour or so. Easy!


Get creative- make draught excluders

For anyone who is crafty like me why not make a draught excluder (there are plenty on the high street if you’d prefer to buy one). The beauty about making your own is they are easy and quick to make, plus it give you something fun to do for an afternoon, and you can choose any design which you like. I’d suggest following this ‘How to…’ guide from The Guardian.

Despite all of these wonderful ways to stay warm my favourite thing to do during the winter months is to eat fabulous comfort foods all which are hearty and full of goodness.  Winter warmers like soups, stews, homemade pies and one pot casseroles are all perfect to make for winter as they can be made in advance and frozen for convenience.

My favourite winter pick me up is good old fashioned Shepherd’s pie, which may sound a little old hat but it’s a fantastic winter recipe. Not only is it easy to prepare, filling and full of healthy veggies it’s also incredibly cheap. I like a sprinkle of cheese on top and a good helping of gravy!


Cold Weather Alerts Service

November 1, 2011 at 12:42 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Last year we experienced the coldest winter in 100 years and despite efforts from various organisations to keep vulnerable sectors of society safe thousands of older people died simply due to the cold weather.

In an attempt to tackle the estimated 27,000 unnecessary winter deaths a ‘Cold Weather Alert Service’ has been launched today.

Provided by the Met Office and Department of Work and Pensions the scheme principally works with the NHS and other agencies such as social services to help implement safe guards against winter deaths.

Cold Weather PosterUpon reports of significantly bad or server weather approaching the Met Office will now issue weather alters (ranging in levels dependent on circumstances). From there the NHS and other organisations involved take actions to ensure public safety.

Read a full report from the Met Office regarding the Cold Weather Alert Service here.

These actions involve ensuring that vulnerable older people receive a daily house call when the weather is particularly bad, providing human contact and ensuring personal safety, which is particularly reassuring.

It comes as no surprise that Age UK– the UK’s largest charity for older people are backing the weather alert service incorporating the service in their ‘Spread the Warmth’ winter campaign.

Personally, I think that the service is a positive step forward. However, it’s difficult to avoid the problem of ever increasing high cost of energy bills, which is ultimately causing significant problems. I think many would agree that until people can heat their homes significantly winter will continue to be a difficult time.

The weather forecast for The Royal Wedding.

April 27, 2011 at 11:00 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Every detail of the Royal Wedding of Prince William and his bride to be Kate Middleton has been thought out with care and perfection. However, the only thing that can’t be controlled is the weather.

I’m sure that everyone will agree that beautiful sunshine on the day will make it extra special for everyone from the royal couple themselves to spectators in London, and spectators across the country who might be at street parties or celebrating in their gardens like myself.

rain or shine

From the gorgeous summer time weather, which we have seen across the country over the last week I feel optimistic that the weather will hold out until the big day.

To keep up to date with the forecast keep an eye out for 5 day forecasts for a general overview of the predicted weather, available at the MET Office and BBC Weather. For a more detailed forecast I will be checking out the MET office online forecast tomorrow evening.

Fingers crossed for lovely weather which will make for a fantastic day!

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