Category Archives: Lifestyles

General Election 2017 Poll

So with Theresa May calling a snap General Election on 8th June, the news has caught almost everyone off-guard.

In calling the election she wants to get full backing for Brexit and obviously expects a big Conservative majority.

The Labour party and the Lib Dems have both welcomed the call for a General Election although it seems more likely that the Lib Dems could possibly win more seats from the remain voters.

However, as we have seen in recent times, polls and elections have been hard to call and often the predictions have not been correct.

So we thought we would ask what your opinions are in the result of the upcoming election. All answers are anonymous and you an see how the results are going by clicking on the ‘View Results’ link below the vote button.

Who Will Win the UK General Election on 8th June 2017?

View Results

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Where Can I Get a Waterproof iPod?

So I have recently taken up swimming as a great form of exercise both to keep fit and also to keep my back flexible and stop my back pain. I am not a great swimmer but I can keep going for a bit doing breaststroke and although that is not as good as doing front crawl I’m sure the swimming helps as part of my exercise regime.

However, the more I swim and the more lengths I do, the slightly more boring the swimming gets so I decided to see if I could get a waterproof iPod or some kind of music device to help stop the boredom and keep me swimming for longer.

I am a big music fan and I find that it helps in the gym, particularly on the treadmill to make the time go quicker. However, my everyday iPod will was obviously not going to be any good for swimming and so I had a look for a waterproof iPod, as I wasn’t sure if there was one, and found that there was indeed such a thing.

Actually there are two options for getting music in your ears while you swim and one is to buy a custom waterproof iPod or MP3 player and the other is to buy a waterproof case for your existing iPod or MP3 player. There are companies that take standard iPod shuffles and waterproof them with a 2 year guarantee.

Waterproof iPods

Waterproof iPod Shuffle options
 

Obviously there are pros and cons to each and it is a personal decision as to which one will be better for you but I would suggest the following:

If you are a frequent swimmer then maybe a waterproof iPod would be better then you don’t need to keep taking your iPod out of the waterproof case and also you can load up some songs that are perfect for swimming to. You can also get hold of a smaller iPod shuffle that is easy to attach when you are in the pool.

Waterproof MP3s can also be used in snow and for other watersports and not only for swimming. In fact obviously you can use them whenever but they are designed to work in water so you might as well use them for that!

The iPod can be attached to your goggles and you will also need waterproof headphones or earbuds to go with it. A waterproof iPod can also be used just like a normal iPod.

Waterproof Cases

If you just want to waterproof your iPod for going on holiday then think about getting a waterproof case, there are plenty available and the majority of these are cheaper than buying a waterproof ipod or MP3 player so you don’t have to shell out a lot of money.

You can also just get waterproof cases that will protect your iPhone or other smartphone for when you are at the pool or the beach so that your phone doesn’t get damaged by water.

However, if you are planning to swim with music then it is probably better to get something much smaller and easier to use than using your iPod or iPhone.

 

Bona Vacantia – Unclaimed Estates in England

Bona Vacantia

Many people die intestate and leave assets that can be worth a lot of money. But if no relatives can be found then these assets can go to the Crown. A list of estates that remain unclaimed is held and is called the Bona Vacantia list.

Whenever someone dies in England, if they do not leave a will advising who they wish to leave their assets to, and if no-one comes forward to claim that inheritance within 12 years of their death, their entire estate goes to the Treasury – i.e. the UK Government gets it all.

Because the government say that they would rather have the money go to the rightful heirs than themselves, the government have set up a list which can be accessed by anyone online, which shows all of the names of the estates that they have registered where no-one can be found to claim the inheritance. That list is called the Bona Vacantia list which means ‘vacant goods’. Anyone can search through this list to see if any of their deceased relatives are on the list and liable to leave an estate that could be valuable.

Only certain people are allowed to claim against an estate and that is close relatives, further details are given below.

Who Can Claim a Bona Vacantia Estate?

Only certain relatives are able to claim against a Bona Vacantia Estate. The simple explanation is that the person must be a blood relative of the deceased and be one of the following:

  • Parent
  • Grandparents
  • Parents
  • Aunt (by blood not marriage)
  • Uncle (by blood not marriage)
  • Sister (including half-sister)
  • Brother (including half-brother)
  • Children
  • Cousins (only first cousins, i.e. the children of the deceased’s uncle or aunt)

Obviously it can get a bit more complex than this but this is the essential list of beneficiaries. If any of the beneficiaries have themselves died and left children then they will then become entitled to that share.

A diagram of the main relatives that can claim on a Bona Vacantia estate.
A diagram of the main relatives that can claim on a Bona Vacantia estate.

In order to claim an entitlement the beneficiaries must have evidence that they are who they say they are and that they are related to the deceased in the way they claim. This can be done by getting appropriate copies of birth, marriage and death certificates from the appropriate Registry Office.

Which Names Are Listed on Bona Vacantia?

You can find a full list of names of those who have died intestate (without a will) and for whom no relatives can be found, on the website in either the form of a list or by searching for a particular name or area where someone may have died. Obviously if the deceased has quite a common surname then it is going to be difficult to find relatives – for example, there are over 100 names on the list with the surname Jones so those are going to be more difficult to solve.

However, there are names on the list that are more distinctive and rare like the following:

Ignat Bladezki
James Anthony Blenkey
Frank Arthur Booton
Gertrude Maud Chitty
George William Flippance
Alan John Hankinson
Edward Lish
Edward Onions
Ellen Deborah Parker-Husband
Jean Albert Recordon
May Kathleen Sackett

These are just a small selection of names from the list, there are many more unusual and common surnames of people who were residents of England when they died. To find out the full list of names or to search through them you can check here.

The Importance of Having a Will

If you do not have a will and you die then there are strict criteria set out by law, as to who will get the value of your estate on your death. Obviously then, if those people are not the beneficiaries that you would actually want to receive all your worldly goods then you need to make sure that you have a will specifying your wishes.

A lot of people do not think about making a will until they feel like they are ‘getting old’! It is put off from year to year because we either do not want to think about it or just think it will not happen to us at any time soon.

However, it can be quite simple to make a will (as long as your affairs are not too complex). Although it is best to get a will drawn up by a solicitor, you can also get a kind of ‘readymade’ will where you just need to fill in the details. Once you have specified your wishes in this document and completed it according to the instructions, it is valid in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

With a will costing less than £20 there is really no need to put off completing one, even if this is a more simple version for the interim until you get a solicitor to draw up a more complex will. You can get legal forms to complete a will online – see the link on the left for one particular example.

Why is Everyone Dying?

In 2016 there have been a spate of celebrity deaths that actually kicked off just after Christmas of 2015 with Lemmy of Motorhead.

Obviously the big death that shocked everyone initially was David Bowie on 4th January 2016 but then it seems like a lot of high profile people have followed over the past few months.

So why are so many people dying you may ask? Well one theory is that popular culture really started kicking off in the 1950s and 60s and that is when television became much more widespread. By the beginning of the 1960s around 3/4 of the population had a television in their homes and so you could say that celebrity became much more common and accessible at that stage.

This enabled not only TV celebrities but also musicians to gain much more notoriety and in much larger numbers.

So those people who were becoming well known in the 50s and 60s were likely to be born in the 30s and 40s, which would make a lot of them in their 70s right now.

With life expectancy for men being in the 70s it becomes logical for many of the popular figures in the 60s to now be hitting that kind of milestone.

Obviously there are other factors involved too and in particular it seems that a lot of the deaths in 2016 have been from cancer including Bowie, Alan Rickman, Dan Haggerty, Johan Cruyff,  Victoria Wood and Billy Paul, but cancer is a big killer. Currently 44% of the population are expected to get cancer in their lifetime (in the UK) and of those 50% will survive for 10 or more years.

So really we have to think that maybe it is not a case of lots of well known people dying in 2016, but maybe more of the case that there are more well known people around so we are likely to hear about more celebrity deaths in the coming years as the generation that became celebrities in the 60s and beyond become part of the older generation.

It does seem that 2016 has started pretty badly, but overall life expectancy is getting higher each year and women in particular can expect to live until they are around 83 years old in the UK and 81 in the US. Men are a little behind with an average life expectancy of 79 in the UK, 76 in the US.

Life expectancy is rising continually so anyone born now could have a life expectancy in their 90s and by 2050-60, anyone born around that time may be expected to live until 100!

Trump 7/11 Gaffe

So a few days ago Donald Trump was making a speech at a campaign rally in Buffalo, New York when he made a terrible gaffe when speaking about the 9/11 disaster and instead referred to 7-Eleven (a chain store of convenience shops).

Instead of calling the event the 9/11 disaster – he called it ‘7-Eleven’ – in fact he said: “I watched our police and our firemen down at 7-Eleven – down at the World Trade Center”.

He didn’t even seem to realize this mistake at the time he made it but no doubt it was pointed out to him very soon afterwards.

However, even so he has yet to apologize for the gaffe, two days later, even after a social media outburst that means there is no way he doesn’t realize the mistake he made.

Trump does seem to be prone to not thinking before he speaks but possibly this is his worst gaffe…yet. We will wait and see what else he has to offer the media.

Check out the video from CNN for the speech that  he made here: