Same Sex Marriages Legal in England and Wales

Same Sex Marriages Legal in England and Wales

The government has announced that same sex couples will be able to marry in England and Wales from March 29, 2014 which is earlier than expected. While certain rather backward members of the establishment and society will undoubtedly be indignant, the move is right and just and will bring a welcome boost to the wedding industry.


The Bridal Industry

I have worked in the bridal industry for over 8 years and have seen steady decline in the health of my business as the numbers of weddings decline gradually year on year. Add to this the impact of the recession on people’s pockets and the increasing tendency to purchase only when a bargain is on the table and many bridal shops have been suffering. The new law now brings the prospect of more weddings and so all businesses in the industry could stand to gain considerably from the move if a significant number of couples decide to take the plunge.


Business aside, the most important considerations are fairness and equality. I totally respect the rights of anyone whose religion or moral beliefs prevent them from favouring same sex marriages but it is not acceptable for those beliefs to bar others from making the commitment to marriage if that is what they want to do. The law should ensure that the same rights and privileges are available to all and those who do not approve can decide to have nothing to do with the events if they feel strongly about the issue.


Why anyone could be so concerned about the relationships of others I can’t imagine. It is the diversity of humankind which makes life interesting and frankly tolerable at times and I have never understood why anybody would seek to perpetuate prejudice. It is a position of extreme arrogance to propose that your way or the way you are is the right one and that anybody else is inferior or morally reprehensible because they are different. What kind of world would it be if we were all the same and wanted the same things? There would be some very long queues for one thing and we would all die of boredom from lack or variety and anything to talk about.


This week saw the passing of Nelson Mandela who did so much to strengthen the fight against racism. Whilst his memorial service was packed full of people celebrating his achievements there are many more people around who have singularly failed to learn a single thing from his life and teachings. One wonders how many generations must pass before the human race is prepared to fully accept its own diversity and offer equal rights to all.

One Small Step

The new marriage laws are at least one step towards a better world and I wish I could live long enough to see the day when people look back and marvel at how stupid the world was with regard to sexuality. I know that I won’t live that long but at least we are making progress and I am sure this is turn of events that will bring nothing but good to our nation. Couples will have the opportunity to demonstrate their love and commitment, bridal shops, venues, entertainers and party shops will see an upturn in business and the publicity surrounding the new marriages should do something to relax outmoded attitudes. I can’t wait for March!


Sally Stacey is a keen writer and business owner who divides her time between writing and running her bridal shop.


How To Make Your Own Water Purifier

How To Make Your Own Water Purifier

Clean drinking water is essential to life and should you find yourself in a situation where there is no clean drinking water available then you will have to purify the water yourself. Here is how you can build your own water purifier.

You will want to start out with 2 large plastic containers. One will be used for unfiltered water and the other for filtered water. 5 gallon should be a big enough size for your buckets and make sure you keep the lids. You will also need a food-grade spigot, a pair of water filtration elements and an electric drill with 1/2’” and 3/4” drill bits.


Step 1

First two 1/2” holes should be drilled at the bottom of whichever bucket will be the upper bucket. Also, drill two more holes in to the lid of the bottom bucket making sure that they align with the holes previously drilled. Keep in mind that this is a gravity filter, which means gravity will pull the water downward and that’s why it’s very important that your holes line up. Otherwise your water will not be properly filtered.


Step 2

Next you will want to drill a hole 3/4″ in size for the spigot into the bottom of the second bucket. Once the spigot is installed, make sure that it is properly sealed so that you keep water in and debris out.

Step 3

Now it is time for the water filter elements. You can buy these at almost any outdoors or camping store or online.

You will want to install these elements into the upper bucket. The hole that was previously drilled into the bottom of the upper bucket will secure the nozzle of the water filter. Make sure both of your filters are protruding from the bottom and secured.

Step 4

You are now ready to stack your buckets. If you measured and drilled correctly then your filter elements that are protruding from the bottom should fit into the lid of the bottom bucket.

Step 5

Now that your purifier is assembled you are ready to start filtering your water. Since your filtration elements are new it will probably take a long time for the water to make its way through. If you want to increase the rate of how fast the water is coming out, then you can simply add more water. Since it is a gravity filter it uses weight as its momentum.

water filter

Step 6

It’s important to regularly clean your new water filtration system. As time goes on, the more you filter water the more debris will pile up on your filter and it will begin to start slowing the filtration process down. All you need to do to clean your filter is to simply remove it and rinse it off. Remove any debris by hand that won’t come off with water pressure. Use this time to also clean and rinse out the buckets. It’s also always a good idea to keep extra filtration elements on hand as a backup just in case your filters become compromised.

All it takes is 6 easy steps and a few relatively cheap materials to ensure clean and safe drinking water. A worthy investment by any standards.


By Henry H. Hernandez

Henry Hernandez is an army veteran who enjoys farming on his ranch in Texas. After the military Henry became a water sanitation engineer and retired earlier this year. He has been living a self-sufficient lifestyle on his ranch and has actually made his home out of an underground bunker that he personally designed from Henry can be found on Google+.

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Creativity

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Creativity

Creativity plays an important role in both our personal lives and our careers. It can provide a valuable release to those who take up writing or art as a hobby, enhance your social life by providing you with the ability to interact well with other people and it can make you indispensable within a company that is always looking to produce new and innovative products for the public and market them in the best way possible.

The brain has often been the subject of complex experiments and scientific study as we desperately try to understand more about it. And whilst we may not know as much as we would like about this intricate organ, he are a few things we do know about creativity.

1. Creativity is directly affected by others carrying out the same task. This is often referred to as social facilitation and describes the extraordinary observation that people located near each other who are partaking in a similar task tend to influence each others ability.

This was discovered in a 1920 psychology experiment in which a number of people were placed around a table and, even though they were not working together or even competing against each other, performed better than usual on a range of different tasks. This goes some way to explaining why writers like to congregate in coffee shops and other communal areas.

2. The color blue has proven to be a creative facilitator. Many colors have been tested to see what kind of effect they have on people’s creativity and blue seems to stimulate the process the most.

3. Slowing down helps you to think more creatively. Studies have shown that slowing down, reducing stress and stepping away from a particular activity can actually cause us to be more creative towards it. We can take this further by saying that boring and passive activities encourage us to be more creative; that’s why the best ideas usually hit you in the shower. People that are more creative also tend to have more relaxed personas because the nerve systems in their brain are slower.

4. Contrary to popular belief, the Eureka moment, in which we suddenly have a great idea which has seemingly come out of nowhere, doesn’t exist. This creative spark is much more likely to have developed in our subconscious and is the result of much contemplation on a certain topic.

5. Research has shown that creativity can have the power to slow down the aging process. Elderly people who engage their brains in tasks such as puzzles, crosswords and general writing activities seem to age slower than those who don’t.

6. Incentives may cause creativity to eventually run dry. Whilst we may be spurred on by them in the beginning, once creativity becomes a means to an end we begin to lose that illusive spark.

7. Creative thinking is not necessarily gifted to us from birth. Whilst there have been a few people in history that were seemingly born with creativity coursing through their veins, nurture looks to be the key. Therefore, it is true that just because you don’t consider yourself to be an innovative person you can still learn to improve your inventive thinking. Creativity training courses aim to teach people how to access their inner creative genius.


By Chris Mayhew

Chris Mayhew studied creative writing at university and loves finding new ways to increase his creative thinking capacity. He would recommend creativity training courses from Now Go Create to anyone wanting to explore the power of their brain.

Same Sex Marriages Ending In Divorce

Same Sex Marriages Ending In Divorce

Allowing same sex marriages is still a topic for debate in many states. There are a total of thirty-seven states in the US that still don’t accept same sex unions. Getting married to the person you love if you are the same sex therefore is a challenge if you don’t live in a state that allows for this union. Many couples opt to travel to states that do allow for same-sex marriage to be unified. If getting married is difficult for same-sex couples, getting divorced has been made nearly impossible for these couples. There are a lot of hurdles that same-sex married couples have to jump in order to get a separation.

Take for example a same sex couple (let’s name them Steve and Kevin) live in a state that doesn’t recognize same-sex unions such as Virginia. In order to legalize their union, Steve and Kevin are likely to opt to travel to a state that recognizes same sex unions such as Massachusetts. They may choose to return to Virginia to continue with their lives. However, if they decide to get a divorce later, they wouldn’t be able to do so in their home state because their union was not recognized by the state in the first place.

Steve and Kevin therefore find that they would have to return to Massachusetts to get a divorce. However, they would not be able to get a divorce in the state if they have not established a legal residency in the state. Steve and Kevin would therefore find themselves in a dilemma as this would mean picking up their lives and moving to a new state to start over in order to get a divorce.

There are some states that require even much more than the establishment of a legitimate home within the state to grant same-sex couples a divorce. Some states may require a lot more paper work and other requirements to be fulfilled before they can grant the couple a divorce. This often results in the couple spending a large sum of money and investing a lot of time in getting a divorce.

Many same sex couples that would like to get a divorce are therefore opting to remain married but live separate lives than to invest heavily in seeking a divorce. However, difficulty arises when they end up in relationships with other people that they would like to marry but can’t because they are still in a legal union with someone else.

If you thought that getting a contested divorce is hard for regular couples, then it is a nightmare for same-sex couples. Courts tend to view contested divorces for same-sex marriages differently. The case will more than likely be treated differently from any other divorce proceeding.

Studies show that the divorce rate amongst same-sex couples is half of that of mixed-gender marriages. However, this rate is expected to grow with an increase in the number of same-sex marriages. It is therefore expected that the law is likely to catch up and accommodate the needs of these same-sex marriages.

Michelle Mitchell is a couples counselor in Massachusettes, working primarily with same sex couples seeking divorce.


Christmas Cards Can Be Charitable

Christmas Cards Can Be Charitable

Christmas is renowned for being a time for giving, where families and friends meet up to exchange thoughtful presents as a token of their appreciation. However, Christmas is also renowned for being one of the busiest times of the year for charities – as people are finalizing their shopping lists, preparing to make travel arrangements as well as businesses shutting up shop over the festive period; resulting in less trade. However, you can make a difference – simply by making a donation to your chosen charity when sending out your Christmas cards.

All for a good cause

Whilst many may have every intention to make a charitable donation at Christmas, by the time factors such as buying presents/attending Christmas parties/spending time with the family have been accounted for, making a contribution to a good cause often ends up being less of a priority. A survey conducted in 2011 found that 1 in 5 people claim to donate more to charities during Christmas; yet a similar statistic admitted that they found it more difficult to give. When it came to recognizing what Christmas means most to the respondents, 6 per cent stated ‘purchasing something from a charity’, 3 per cent ‘giving money to charity’ while 1 per cent said ‘volunteering for a charity’.

Driver of Ideas for nfpSynergy, Joe Saxton, says: “Charities cannot take Christmas for granted. Almost as many people say they find it harder to give as say they are more likely to give to charity at Christmas. As Sir Cliff will have us all know, charities at Christmas time must compete with mistletoe and wine, children singing and logs on the fire – not to mention much-loved  in-laws, ruthless bargain hunting and soapy cliffhangers!

“That all said, ‘bar humbug’, one must surely concede that the ‘Season of Goodwill’ still affords opportunities of Dickensian proportions for those charities that work hard to cut through all the sherry and tinsel, to hug at merry hearts.”

Sending your season’s greetings

However, according to the article (as reported by nfpSynergy), 49 per cent of those surveyed said they “usually buy charity Christmas cards” while 31 per cent said they were “more likely to buy a product that makes a donation to charity at Christmas”. With these insights in mind, why not combine the two – and send a Christmas card whilst at the same time, make a donation to your favorite charity? Not only will you be sending loved ones holiday cheer, you can also help make a significant difference to a worthwhile cause – which for many charities, serves as the perfect Christmas gift.

Charity begins at home

With many sites offering this service, getting started couldn’t be simpler. Simply pick a design, personalize your message, then select the charity you want to donate to. Once that’s done, the card will then display your charity’s logo so your recipient knows you’ve made your donation – which in turn will hopefully raise awareness and get them donating too! So go on, spread the message this Christmas – literally – by sending a card and donating to a charity today.


Article submitted by freelance blogger Rachael Blakewood on behalf of Christmas card specialists, Christmas Connections.