27 July 2020

Quarantine Favorites: The Best Things To Spend Your Money On

Although quarantine has made us spend more time inside with our families, it’s also allowed us to spend more time online. Particularly, shopping online. It’s so much quicker to add things to your online basket than to buy them in store. Also, shopping online means you can easily compare prices for similar items with just a click of your button. However, how many times have you bought something online and forgot to send it back? Or even, were too lazy to make a refund so you just ended up keeping the item? Don’t worry, this is more common than you think.

While you can save lots of money by online shopping, it’s also easy to lose money by being lazy with your returns. It’s important to consider just what you are putting in your basket online, and how much you will realistically use it at home. Remember, you’re not doing as many things as you usually would at home, so it’s unlikely that you need to buy as much! Here is a list of the best things to spend your money on in quarantine which will get used the most during your time at home:

1. Hair Dye

With most salons shut right now, dark roots are growing quicker than ever before. But that doesn’t mean you have to wait until they open again! Even if your salon is still open for business, why wait to get an appointment when you can just touch up your roots yourself? Head to your nearest drugstore to pick up some dye. There are some good drugstore hair color brands that will only leave you $10 to $15 out of pocket, rather than your usual $40 to $45 plus tip at a salon. Don’t forget to rub petroleum jelly around your ears and on your forehead so you don’t stain your skin! If you’re really nervous about doing it yourself, ask one of your friends or family (who live in the same home as you) to give you a hand. They’ll make sure to do a good job!

2. A Food Processor

Social distancing has meant that we’re spending more time with our families at home. One of the rooms that we’re spending our time in is the kitchen! Family meals are a great time for parents to be role models for healthy eating, while also encouraging meal time family bonding. This time at home has also given us a chance to learn to cook and try out new recipes. One cooking tool used a lot in these recipes is a food processor.

Unlike a blender that should be used for liquid based foods, a food processor is used to make dry ingredients like hummus and pesto. A food processor also slices veggies like tomatoes, shreds cheese, finely chops/grinds ingredients, and of course mixes! Many large processors can also make delicious butters like nutbutter or sunflower seed butter. Here are some other tasty ideas:

3. Arts and Crafts Materials

Creating arts and crafts is a great way to spend time with your kids and is one of the most popular pastimes during quarantine. Therefore, arts and crafts materials are a good thing to spend your money on. Try some handmade fourth of July crafts ahead of this year’s celebrations. From a DIY fourth of July wreath to painted lawn stars, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to celebrate Independence Day!

Another popular arts and crafts pastime is knitting. Of course! Who wouldn’t want to come out of quarantine with a homemade blanket, scarf, or even a sweater? There are plenty of free knitting patterns online, you just need to buy the wool!

4. A Study Course

An online study course is a great investment if you want to stay productive during lockdown and learn a new skill that you can take with you forever! As well as various college online programs, you can emerge from quarantine as a nurse with an online nursing degree for non nurses. The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Baylor University combines online courses, clinical and lab experiences, and hybrid interactive learning courses in an intensive full-time program. As well as access to teaching from a nationally recognized faculty, the program’s main coursework is online which means you can study from home! The program is currently designed for students residing in Texas, but outside the DFW metro area. The next start date is January 11, 2021 and Baylor are now accepting applications!

5. A Sewing Machine

There’s no doubt that a sewing machine is a big investment, especially if you’ve never sewn before, but it’s also an exciting one. With all this free time at hand, sewing is a great way to express your creativity and who knows, you could be a natural at it! From making your own clothes, to creating handmade gifts for birthdays and Christmas, there really is nothing you can’t do with a sewing machine. Why not start with learning how to make a cloth face mask to wear to slow down the spread of coronavirus? Once you’ve got the hang of it, you could make different ones with different fabric patterns for the whole family!

6. Exercise Equipment

Since many gyms have closed their doors, people have been trying to make the most of household items that double up as exercise equipment. However, if you want something a bit more professional, proper exercise equipment is a good thing to spend your money on. This means you can also eat your tinned cans as well! Basic equipment like yoga mats can mean that working out from home can be much more comfortable and enjoyable – you don’t just have to use them for yoga! Weighted resistance bands are also useful for stretching and add an extra level of weighted resistance to your workout. You can also increase the weight as you switch up the heaviness for different exercises. The best thing? Bands are not just affordable, but super easy to store in your garage and don’t take up much space!

What are some of the best things you have bought during quarantine?

23 July 2020

Wish 143

A teenage boy is suffering with terminal cancer – not to mention adolescent growing pains – when he is approached by a wish-giving charity (if you don’t know you’re dying already you do when that happens to you…).  As a horny teenager who hasn’t yet lost you know what, then you can guess what his wish is. Wish 143 is an Oscar nominated short film directed and co-produced by Ian Barnes. If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, look out for a familiar face.


If legendary characters from Greek mythology had to live their lives and solve their problems in today´s world, how would they go about it?  That is the interesting starting point of Czech director and animator Alexandra Hetmerova’s graduation film (for her masters), Mythopolis.

Here, Medusa has some problems with her young son Mino (I think she must have stolen the child from Pasiphaë but wouldn’t you if you knew a child was to be consigned to life in a labyrinth?) not to mention her love life (or lack thereof).  Hugely entertaining, especially if you love Greek mythology.

Astrolabe – Magnificent Computer of the Ancients

It is an ancient tool, created over two thousand years ago when people thought that the Earth was the center of the universe. They are often referred to as the first computer and however debatable that statement might be there is one thing for sure without a doubt.  Astrolabes are objects of immense mystery and beauty.

So what does an astrolabe do and how were they useful in the ancient world? Firstly they are problem solving instruments – they compute things such as the time of day according the position of the sun and the stars in the sky. Like a computer, you input information and then you receive output.  They were typically made of brass and had a 6 inch diameter, although as we will see much larger ones were made.

7 July 2020

Speedway - The Curious Motorsport with No Brakes

Four riders line up at the start line where a set of white tapes stretch across the track to block them from moving forwards. Each of them wears a different coloured helmet, one red, one blue, one yellow and one green/white. As they await the order to start, they rev their engines and turn their heads to watch the mechanism that lifts the white tapes up.

As it triggers, they drop their clutches and rocket forwards, accelerating to breakneck speeds in just a couple of seconds before sliding their bike around the shale-covered hairpin bend, showering the spectators with dust and dirt in the process.

This sport, known as speedway, was once one of the most popular in the United Kingdom. In fact, online bookmaker and casino brand, Coral, first built its business off the back of it. Today, though, Coral makes much more of its money from sports like football and horse racing, as well as its online casino that’s been rated 4.5/5 by oddschecker.

Unlike Coral, which has gone from strength to strength, speedway has almost died out in the UK. It’s grown in popularity throughout eastern, central and northern Europe though. With large numbers of supporters in Poland, Sweden, Denmark and Russia.

In Poland, speedway is one of the most popular sports with the Polish Extraleague boasting the highest average event attendances of any sport in the country.

No Brakes
One of the biggest factors that distinguishes speedway from other forms of motorcycle racing is the fact that riders have no brakes to stop their bike. To go around a corner, the rider will lean in and accelerate, forcing the back wheel to step out and allow the rider to slide the bike around the curve.

This creates some exciting racing as riders will navigate each bend with different arcs, either taking the shortest route around the inside or sacrificing this to get a faster exit speed to attack their opponent at the next corner.

Races are a sprint, lasting just four laps. A single event will see more than a dozen races take place, with riders scoring points depending on how they finish in each heat. 

Another curiosity of the sport is that bikes must be fuelled with methanol, a form of alcohol used in industrial settings. This creates a unique smell at speedway races that many fans say adds to the atmosphere.

Using methanol instead of more traditional fuels allows riders to reach speeds as high as 80 mph as they navigate the bends, something that wouldn’t normally be possible on such short tracks.

Speedway may not be appreciated by many, but it’s a unique sport that’s the product of its strange rules, odd fuel choice, and very brave riders.

How Early Man Discovered Art

At some point in early human history, man discovered art and the wonderful drawings discovered in caves are testament to this early inclination to culture.  This video shows us one way in which, perhaps, the art of the chase gave way to the art of the cave. However, as you will discover in this wonderful animated short by LISAA students, while one step is made in the general direction of civilization, others are yet to be determined.

The Legend of Dōgo Onsen 道後温泉

If you have seen Spirited Away you may not be aware that the inspiration for the bath house in the movie was Dōgo Onsen, the oldest in Japan and situated in the city of Matsuyama.  To celebrate its 120th birthday, Brad Kremer (who has been there many times) was asked to make this short film combining animation, stop-motion and real-time footage.  The result is entrancing.

Strange Fruit

A father and son’s day is interrupted when they encounter a boy of a different color.  What happens next is an extended visual metaphor around the phenomena of racism.  Is it an acquired cultural trait or do we each have responsibility for our conscience? This powerful animation is the Graduation short film by Shimi Asresay and Hili Noy from Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem.

The Dead Leaf Butterfly - Camouflage King of the Asian Tropics

Although the title of this article at our sibling site the Ark in Space has already given the game away, take a close look at the ‘leaf’ above.  Dead and withered, its dark veins still stretch across the parchment thin remains of its once emerald resplendence. Yet a closer look reveals a head, eyes and legs.  This isn’t at all what it appears to be – and that is exactly how nature intended.  Pop over to Ark in Space and see what is to be found on the inside of the wings!

First Image Credit - Wikimedia

10 Amazing Places to Visit in China that Aren’t the Great Wall or The Terracotta Army

If you are visiting China as a tourist then the likelihood is that at some point during your stay you will find yourself at the Great Wall.  This remains one of the country’s sites that simply should not be missed, especially when you travel to places along its length that are less visited by tourists (take our tour).  Yet in this vast country there are hundreds of other places that could crown a visit for one reason or another.  As with college paper writing service reviews, you need to find out a little about your destination before you venture there. They may be less well known than the Great Wall or indeed the Terracotta Army but they linger in the minds and hearts of all who visit them. Here are just ten of those amazing places you could visit while in China.

1 Huanglong – Land of the Yellow Dragon
The Minshan Mountain Range is situated in the north of China’s Sichuan Province.  An area of outstanding natural beauty it is home to a four kilometer stretch of travertine landforms and pools.  Even in its home country the place is relatively little-known. Yet Huanglong, literally Yellow Dragon, is a place of wonders. You cannot get a better recommendation than that - and when it comes to it, essay writing reviews will also let you know who you can trust, what will be wonderful or not.

4 July 2020

Why Bingo is a Social Game for Women

Gambling is supposed to be a fun activity enjoyed by everyone who can afford to spend a small amount for the thrills of the game. This is what bingo is all about and punters who have discovered this type of entertainment are not tempted to trade it for anything else. Unlike other forms of gambling, it remained the same fun and social game that encourages interactions and generates good vibes. This explains why it has retained its appeal after all these years and why women are so fond of it. Compared to men who are inclined to choose seriously competitive games, women are more balanced and relaxed when playing.

A match made in heaven
Land-based bingo parlors have lost much of their shine over the years, as Internet gambling became the dominant form of gaming. Having said this, there are still plenty of people who enjoy these charming places and women represent the vast majority of the audience. Many have transitioned to online bingo rooms that offer similar thrills in a more convenient fashion, as well as bonuses and special offers. The two communities might look different, but they are brought together by their love for the beautiful game.

Bingo is the perfect choice for anyone who seeks casual gaming and it is just as exciting at low and high stakes. Speaking of which, compared to other types of gambling, bingo is almost never played at nosebleed limits. This means that everyone can take part in the excitement and the risk of developing a gambling addiction is extremely low. It is also nearly impossible to find cases of people who lost a fortune playing bingo, which is extremely important when you take the games casually.

The Top online bingo sites took things to the next level and many provide their members with the opportunity of enjoying their favorite games for free. They supply them with virtual currency, which is automatically replenished whenever players run out. This can be used to buy tickets for free bingo tournaments and learn the game mechanics while having fun. Add to this the fact that occasional bingo freerolls are offered and you’ve got an accurate picture of why so many people have switched to Internet games.

Mobile bingo is the future
An important catalyst for the growth of online bingo was the arrival of smartphones and tablets capable of running the games smoothly. Modern devices are more than enough to enjoy bingo on the go without having to worry about technical glitches. Internet bingo rooms are optimized for handheld gadgets and all the important ones have games that can be played on mobile. There are even special bonuses and offers for those who make the transition from computers to smartphones.

Virtual reality games are just around the corner and bingo looks like the perfect candidate for this evolutionary step. Online bingo rooms are likely to embrace the new technology and provide their female audience with an even more exciting playground.