Design, DIY tips

Brick By Brick: Are You Ready To Build Your Own Home?

Brick By Brick: Are You Ready To Build Your Own Home?

Brick By Brick: Are You Ready To Build Your Own Home?

Let’s face it; house hunting can be a total nightmare. Moving house is stressful enough already without having to constantly worry about whether or not you’re able to find the right home. You almost always have to end up compromising what you really want in order to find somewhere within your price range as well. But what if you didn’t? What if there was a way that you could have your perfect home without having to compromise? Well, there is: build it yourself! A lot of people have always dreamt of building their own home to their exact specifications, but it can often feel impossible even to know where to start. In order to help you get started, here are a few things that you should carefully consider when building your own home.

Budget

The first thing that you should think about when building your own home is your budget. One of the most appealing things about building your own home is the fact that it gives you the opportunity to get the home that you really want without having to spend more money than you can afford. That being said, it’s entirely possible for the budget of your home build to end up spiraling right out of control. The best way to prevent that from happening is to keep a detailed budget right from the start that you consistently refer back to every step of the way.

Schedule

The other thing that can end up getting away from you if you’re not careful is the schedule for your build. Of course, building a house is not a quick process, but it’s important that you factor any potential issues into your schedule. If you plan your life around a schedule that doesn’t allow for issues with planning, materials, weather, or anything else, then you’re going to end up in a pretty difficult position further down the line. It’s also a good idea to make sure that you have somewhere to stay organized in advance. The last thing you want is to end up living out of your car while the build is being finished.

Services

If you intend to build your own home, then you’re going to need the help of a lot of services. From architects to construction crews, there are going to be a lot of hands on deck. Because of this, you want to make sure that you’re getting in touch with the best possible tradespeople. And don’t just think about the big stuff either. Places like https://drainage.services/ are incredibly important when constructing a home and you can’t afford not to consider them carefully. The same goes for carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and even landscape gardeners.   

Sure, building a home can be a lot of work, and it’s not something for everyone. But if you really want to create your forever home, then there really is no better way to do that than to create something totally unique that’s built entirely around the needs of you and your family.

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Lifestyle, Top tips

Handy hints to simplify your home move

Handy hints to simplify your home move

Handy hints to simplify your home move

They say that moving house is one of the most stressful experiences that you can have in your life. And while this may well be true, that doesn’t mean that you can’t take steps to make the whole process easier and less stressful.

Handy hints to simplify your home move

Of course, there are the big things that you will need to organise like hiring removalists, sorting out your utilities and decluttering. But there are also plenty of other hacks to help you out so here are just a few of them for you to peruse.

Organise Your Boxes and Take Photos

Before you start actually packing things up, you should make sure that everything is properly organised into categories so you can find things once you get to your new place. If you want to be extra sure, you can take photos before everything is packed up so you can consult these. This way, you won’t have to go through the frustration of rifling through all your boxes to dig out the things you need.

Use Ziplock Bags for Small Parts

There is nothing more annoying than taking the trouble to disassemble something, only to find that you have lost an essential part when you arrive at your new place. So, avoid this drama by keeping all screws, nuts and bolts in a separate ziplock bag. Label this clearly with a black marker and use a separate bag for each one of your furniture items so you don’t end up mixing these things together.

Wrap Up Cables and Wires with Twine

Handy hints to simplify your home move

A tangle of different cables and wires that you have to spend ages sorting out is the last thing that you need. Avoid this problem by neatly winding up the different cables and securing them with some twine. This way, you can get your electrical items up and running as soon as possible which is extremely important in any modern home!

Pack an Overnight Bag with Essentials

When you arrive at your new place, it is likely that you will be absolutely exhausted and you won’t want to do all that much. So, pack yourself a bag as if you were staying overnight at a hotel including PJs, a clean set of clothes and toiletries. This way, you will be ready for a good night’s sleep as soon as possible and also prepared to tackle the job of sorting everything else out in the morning.

Avoid Over packing Boxes

Though it may seem like a good idea to have fewer boxes, if you over pack the ones you have, they are much more likely to break and tear. And it is an absolute nightmare situation to find that something valuable or sentimental has been damaged during the move.

Moving house is a stressful experience at the best of times, so using these handy hints can help to make things that little bit easier. After that, you can start enjoying the positive and exciting aspects of moving to a new place.

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Interior Design, Kitchen, Top tips

House hacks for a family friendly kitchen

House Hacks For A Family Friendly Kitchen

House hacks for a family friendly kitchen

Everyone loves to get stuck in when it comes to cooking, and as the kids get a little older, getting them involved is the best way to install a little wisdom in them when it comes to cooking and other chores. Making the kitchen a space that is family-friendly is a great way to make life easier for you, too!

House Hacks For A Family Friendly Kitchen

Renovating the kitchen entirely with The Renovation Company is a great option, especially if you want to lower kitchen units and sinks and make things physically more reachable for the youngsters in the house. If you just want to make things a little more accessible and organised, then we’ve got some of the best hacks around for you to tap into and make your family kitchen easy to use.

House Hacks For A Family Friendly Kitchen

  • Keep the crockery and cutlery for the kids in a separate cupboard is a great way to allow them to take initiative and control. Giving children independence is part of teaching them to grow up, and so autonomy over their things is important!
  • Glasses and tumblers are a necessity, but the idea of allowing children to access glass is usually a no-no for parents. Ideally, you don’t want the cups they use out of reach so why not try this nifty little hack of adding magnets to the tumblers? They can be stuck to the refrigerator in reach of small hands – just make sure there’s nothing in them first!

House Hacks For A Family Friendly Kitchen

  • Cereal stations like this one are becoming more and more popular in family homes and for good reason. When the children are old enough to take themselves downstairs in the morning, they can be independent and make their own breakfast. Pots of their favorites in low cupboards, as well as an easy milk dispenser such as this in the refrigerator make for an excellent start to the day!
  • While we’re talking about help-yourself-stations, why not provide a basket in a low cupboard full of prepackaged snacks? You could have one in the refrigerator as well, for cold fruits and dairy snacks. Rearranging your kitchen to allow the children to self-serve doesn’t mean that they can go and help themselves whenever they like, it just means that when you say so they can feel pride in their own independence!
  • It isn’t often practical to have a step by the sink to reach the taps for hand-washing, especially if space is sparse. There are a lot of tricks you can use like the ones on this website so that you can adjust things and make them easier for smaller members of the house!

House Hacks For A Family Friendly Kitchen

Adjusting your home to suit the youngest members of the house doesn’t always mean ripping out entire rooms and starting again. You can make some pretty successful changes with just a few things re-organised. Kids need to learn that they can do things for themselves and you are the person who is going to teach them that. Start by making it easy for them to learn how to be their own person.

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health, Medical

Top 4 commonly Ignored health problems

Top 4 Commonly Ignored Health Problems

Top 4 commonly Ignored health problems

Most of us are guilty of ignoring health problems because it’s difficult to try to fit a doctor’s appointment into an already busy lifestyle. Getting little aches and pains is a normal part of getting older so we often tend to just ignore them and hope they’ll go away. Most of the time they do so you don’t need to rush off to the doctor every time you get a slight twinge. But occasionally, those aches and pains turn into something more serious. Lots of illnesses start off with tiny symptoms that gradually get worse so ignoring the everyday pains you get can be dangerous. These are the top health problems that most of us are ignoring.

Back Pain

Top 4 Commonly Ignored Health Problems

Most ageing people complain about back pain, it’s almost a rite of passage for the older generation these days. It’s just a natural part of getting older, isn’t it? That’s partly true and you aren’t going to avoid it completely but if it starts happening earlier, or gets very severe, you might need to do something about it. Most of the time, back pain is caused or at least made far worse by environmental factors. The most likely is a bad mattress. If you aren’t getting enough support from your mattress then you’ll wake up with a stiff back every day and the pain will only get worse. Luckily, there are plenty of mattresses designed specifically for a bad back. Visit Choose Mattress for some great information on the best ones. They offer much more spinal support which is the key to fighting back pain. You might also be getting worse back pains if you’re working in a job that involves a lot of heavy lifting. Health and safety isn’t exciting but you should listen to advice on proper lifting techniques if you don’t want to have a bad back for the rest of your life.

Grinding Teeth

Top 4 Commonly Ignored Health Problems

Grinding your teeth isn’t something that people really consider a problem. It’s just something that some people do. What they don’t realize is that it can do you a lot of damage. Waking up with a stiff jaw and sore teeth is the last of your worries, the long-term damage that you’re doing to your teeth is a more pressing concern. You risk chipping and cracking them as well as wearing them down in general. You’ll start to find that your teeth are more sensitive to hot and cold and you’ll get more problems with decay if you’ve got small holes in your teeth.

Insomnia

Top 4 Commonly Ignored Health Problems

A recent study found that 27% of people in Britain are experiencing bad sleeping patterns on a regular basis so it’s no wonder that we are starting to accept it as a normal part of modern life. But that’s risky because it’s already doing us a lot of damage and it’s more difficult to notice if you’re slipping slowly towards full-blown insomnia. Not sleeping enough contributes to all sorts of health problems including heart disease, diabetes and obesity. On top of that, it increases stress levels and makes your general brain function a lot slower. Missing out on even a few hours of sleep a night is something that you should be concerned about. See a doctor and ask if there is any medical reason you’re not sleeping, but it’s more likely to be environmental factors that are causing it. Drinking too much caffeine late in the day might be making it harder to sleep at night, and so could using your phone or laptop in bed. The light from the screen tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime and stops it from releasing hormones that encourage you to go to sleep. Why not consider reading a book instead? It’ll make it far easier to nod off later on.

Headaches

Top 4 Commonly Ignored Health Problems

Chances are, when you get a headache you reach straight for the paracetamol and get on with your day. They’re so common and most of the time they’re probably just caused by stress, but if you keep getting them regularly, it could be more serious. It could be caused by any other medication that you’re taking if it doesn’t agree with you, or it could be a symptom of a larger health problem. Lots of small things like your posture or the amount of red meat that you eat can even bring on headaches. Even if they are stress headaches, you shouldn’t be getting them all of the time so instead of just putting it off with painkillers, do something about it.

It’s always a pain to take time out of your already busy day to get to the doctors but it could be dangerous not to.

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Exterior design, Garden tips

5 ways to change your garden’s functionality for the better

5 Ways to Change Your Garden’s Functionality For the Better

 5 ways to change your garden’s functionality for the better

The more functional your garden is, the more useful it will be. You paid for your home’s outdoor space, so it’s only sensible to want to get the most out of it. If that’s not happening at the moment, it’s time for a few changes. This doesn’t have to be anything too drastic. Simply read on to learn about 5 of the ways in which you can change your garden’s functionality for the better.              

Plan with Privacy in Mind

Privacy matters a lot when you’re trying to make changes to your garden. You don’t want to feel like people can see you and watch you while you’re enjoying your outdoor space with your family and friends. So, always make plans and come up with design ideas while keeping privacy in mind.

Make a Space for Dining and Entertaining

Most people who spend a lot of time in their garden spend it dining or entertaining friends and family. It’s a good way to make use of your outdoor space on a regular and continued basis. So, you will need to have the right table and chairs, as well as somewhere to barbecue. You could even install a pizza often. You might even want to learn how to lay flag paving if you need to create a paved area for the dining space. Make this the focal point of your garden.

Create Zones in the Garden

Zoning is something that you should definitely be doing when you’re trying to make cool changes to your garden. Gardens can look like a jumbled up mess when they are not separated into zones. As mentioned above, you need a space for dining and entertaining. But you might also want a place for kids’ play or growing vegetables or organising your flower bed. All these things matter, and they deserve their own space.

 

Keep Paths and Walkways Simple

There is often a temptation to add too many paths and walkways in your garden when you’re trying to make it more functional. However, this is a temptation that is best avoided. Of course, you do need to have paths and walkways, but keep them simple and subtle. Don’t add paths for the sake of it; always consider the functional reasons for putting a new path or walkway in place.

Make Space for Tools

There are so many ways to create spaces for your tools in your garden. If you have a bench or table that you use for small DIY projects and repairs, you could add some hooks to the edge of the table where tools can be hung. It’s definitely one idea worth considering if you do a little gardening here and there. Having the right tools on hand can make you much more efficient as a gardener.

Your garden is nothing if it’s not functional for you and your family, so be sure to put some of these ideas into practice next time you want to make improvements to your outdoor space.

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Interior Design

How to get your home looking super stylish

How to get your home looking super stylish

How to get your home looking super stylish

Perhaps you are thinking about how you can give your home some added oomph.  Maybe you are a bored with living in a bland space. You want to create a home that has the “wow” factor. A home that you are proud to show to your family and friends. You want to do some home improvements and create your dream home, but where do you start?

How to get your home looking super stylish

Get Pinning!

Pinterest is a really great place to start. If you aren’t sure what colours you want to use on your walls or what sort of furniture you like, then Pinterest can be a great space for gathering ideas. Decorating your home doesn’t need to feel daunting when you can order all of your ideas all in one place. Focus on different elements of the room and set up a board for each element. You might have one board for flooring, one board for colour schemes and one board for furniture. Have fun and get pinning. Start working out what you like and what you don’t like.

Hire An Interior Designer

You now have your Pinterest boards bulging with ideas. You have discovered a look that you love for your room. You know the furniture that you want but you don’t know where to source it from. Hiring an interior designer like Sasha deBretton will help with that. A good interior designer will be able to find the right furniture for your look. They will also be able to tell you if that massive sofa you have fallen in love with from Ikea, really is a good look for your home. How many times have we seen something in Ikea that we think is amazing only to get it home and find that is far too big for our little space!

Working with an interior designer means that you will save money. They will help you make the right decisions for your home and they will make sure that you stick to your budget. An interior designer is used to working to a budget so they will ensure that you know where every pound is going.

What To Do If You Can’t Afford Everything

Don’t worry If you can’t stretch to a complete overhaul, there are still some great changes that you can make on a budget. Focus on some key investment pieces. This could be a sofa, a bed or a big mirror. These can all make a massive difference to how a room feels. You don’t need to buy your furniture brand new. Look online and you can find some lovely pieces of furniture at very good prices.

It’s The Small Details

How to get your home looking super stylish

Focussing on the small details in a room can also make a huge difference. How a coffee table is dressed can really lift a room. Instead of using it as a dumping ground think about how you can dress it. Stacked books can be used to inject personality into a room and add interest into a space. Think about textures. Could you add cushions and a rug to your room? These small elements will help create a cosy space.

Move Your Furniture

If all else fails then moving your furniture could be the way forward. Trying a new arrangement can really make a room feel like new.

This is your home and so there are no rules. You create the rules. Be bold and experiment with furniture and colour in your home. You want this home to reflect your personality. You want it to be fab not drab!  

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Building Design, DIY tips, Exterior design

Building A Home: The Best Bits Of Advice

Building A Home: The Best Bits Of Advice

Building A Home: The Best Bits Of Advice

If you’re deciding on how to build your home for the first time, there are plenty of things that you should know before getting stuck it. Building is a great alternative to buying because you don’t have to settle for something if you can’t find what you’re looking for. You can just create your own dream house, something completely different to what anyone else has, because it has came from your mind and not an ad online.

Let’s get started.

Arrange the finances

It is absolutely essential that you come up with a budget, along with how you plan on paying for this project, as this will determine how big (or small) the house can be. It’s important you be realistic with your budget to avoid disappointment. You don’t want to envision something incredible, and then realize you have no means of getting the finances to cover it.

Find a building plot

You will need to decide on a location for your home to go. This can be a long process because not only will you need to find somewhere that you have the right to build on, but you also have to like it. You will need to consider things like distance from the nearest shop, doctor, school, and work.

Find a team   

You have the choice of what kind of designer you choose. You could hire in an architect as well as a builder to work alongside one another. Or you could go with a package supplier, which is the person that does everything. Just make sure you find the right person for the job. They should understand and be able to visually see your idea while also giving you their honest opinion on things if they don’t think that it’s a good move. For example, when deciding on the framing, there are plenty of steel frame homes pros & cons. Now you may not have any idea what these are – but your team should.

Contact the planners

Starting communication with the planners is a wise move so that you know early on whether your project is viable or not. By doing this, you will have a better idea of what will and won’t be accepted in terms of the scale that you want your home to be, as well as the different materials that can be used. This will give you the best chance of getting your planning permission because you did everything by the rule book without trying to cut any corners.

Start the build

Hopefully, by this time everything has been accepted, and you have the freedom to build exactly what was planned. If this is the case, then it’s time to start. Now although you may not be doing the work, it’s important that your presence is always around so you can oversee exactly what is happening, and if it’s how you had all discussed. Of course, you should have every trust in your team that they create your vision exactly how you said, but sometimes it has been known for builders to stray away from that. So you must be there to keep an eye on how things are running. – If there is something that you’re not sure about or weren’t aware of – speak up.

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Exterior design, Garden, Garden tips

Turning outdoor space Into a fun area for the children

Turning outdoor space Into a fun area for the children

Turning outdoor space Into a fun area for the children

All parents should think long and hard about the way in which they use their gardens. Some people let the outdoor space overgrow because they just can’t deal with the maintenance. That is a terrible idea that could encourage complaints from the neighbors. Others slab the entire lawn, but some folks like to think outside of the box. Considering that, mothers and fathers reading this post should consider turning their garden into a fun space for the little ones. The ideas on this page should point families in the right direction. However, in most instances, you just need to use some imagination.

Turning Your Outdoor Space Into A Fun Area For The Children

Get some climbing frames and other equipment

Every healthy child likes to spend time playing outside while they’re still young. Some teenagers even feel the same way, and plenty of adults do too. So, the goal is to make the garden as fun as possible. There are lots of different types of equipment anyone could purchase and keep outside to create a multifunctional garden. However, climbing frames, slides, and swings are always a top choice. In most instances, it will only take a few minutes to put the items together and start using them. For the best prices, it’s sensible to check auction websites and online retailers. That is especially the case now we’re approaching the winter because those items tend to get a reduction.

Dig a pond and add some wildlife to the garden

Most children like to spend time learning about animals, plants, and wildlife. So, it’s sensible for parents to encourage that interest. Adding a pond to the garden is an excellent move because it means you can keep lots of exotic fish. Of course, it’s wise to take safety precautions and ensure the kids can’t fall into the water. Also, in built-up areas, there are going to be a lot of cats. For that reason, homeowners will have to place a net over the water to stop the animal from eating any fish. There are step-by-step guides online that explain everything you need to know. So, just conduct some research!

Turning Your Outdoor Space Into A Fun Area For The Children

Build a Wendy house (or a whatever your child’s name is house)

Building a Wendy house is a great way of encouraging the little ones to spend more time in the garden. Of course, placing something like that on the lawn is going to damage the grass. So, lots of people will decide to get some fake turf first. That’s a fantastic move because it also means those homeowners will never have to get their mower out of the shed again. The real cost of artificial grass is nowhere near as high as most folks imagine. Indeed, it’s more than possible to get the perfect solution without breaking the bank. The benefits of artificial grass include:

  • No maintenance
  • Comes in a range of shades
  • Lasts for many years

Those suggestions should help all parents to make a start when it comes to improving their gardens. However, readers know their children better than anyone else, and so everyone should make sure they create something that suits their little one’s tastes and interests. Don’t make the mistake of letting the area overgrow because it will take a lot of effort to put things right.

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Interior Design, Kitchen

New kitchen plans

New kitchen plans

New kitchen plans

One room I have always dreamed of having and that is a larger kitchen. It is the one room we always find ourselves congregating into at mealtimes and even parties that we have once or twice a year….OK then, I will be honest! any excuse for a party and we have one, well why not.

A small kitchen can feel very claustrophobic at the best of times let alone when we are all trying to squeeze into a very small room. With us moving house back in November we now have a much smaller kitchen sadly. We did gain an extra bedroom (this is now our office) and a huge living room so we can’t grumble too much. When moving house there are always pros and cons to weigh up isn’t there?

We are now looking at ways we can make our kitchen bigger in size, if not in size then at least make it feel bigger, less claustrophobic and feel more welcoming. Here are a few ideas that we have in mind at the moment.

Our kitchen ideas so far

Colour 

We are thinking nice bright and neutral colours for walls and flooring. Colour if chosen right can change the feel of a room and make a room feel much bigger. We can always add warmer colours within the soft furnishings such as towels, blinds etc. When browsing for kitchen tiles this tile caught my eye straight away, they are a stunning sparkly diamond white quartz tile. Perfect for providing any wall or floor with that “WOW” factor. This tile has a stunning mirror fleck, allowing the light to bounce giving a lovely sparkly effect and helping to make a room more welcoming.

New kitchen plans

 

Comfort and design

The design and comfort of the kitchen is the most important, we must have a kitchen that works well and everything needed is close to hand. We think we will try and minimize on the number of wall cupboards that we will have, this will help to minimize the claustrophobic feel slightly. Any wall cupboards we do have will be glass fronted to help enhance the spaciousness.

Be realistic

We will be minimizing our kitchen gadgets and be more realistic about what we use and no longer use anymore. I don’t know about you but our cupboards are full of gadgets that we haven’t used in a long time, basically taking up space for no reason. We will also be looking to change some kitchen items, we are going to be looking for more space-saving items, it’s amazing what you can get space-saving wise these days for the smaller kitchen.

Appliances 

At our previous property we had integrated appliances when we had a fitted kitchen put in, to us these looked more tidy looking. Of course when we moved these all stayed behind and we currently have freestanding appliances at the moment as we don’t currently have a fitted kitchen at this property. Our personal preference would be to change back to integrated appliances again. We found with having a fitted kitchen we could utilize our space more and use every spare inch possible. At our current property although our kitchen is small we can see lots of wasted space that we could make so much use of when we come to doing our fitted kitchen. Boy do I miss my eye level oven!

Extending the kitchen

We are in discussions at the moment as to whether we could extend our kitchen. We plan on doing this by knocking a wall down that goes between the kitchen and living room, taking a few feet from the lounge and replacing the wall again. By doing this it will not only make the kitchen bigger this will allow for more worktop space, appliances and or base units for storage.

Lighting 

With Ian being a fully qualified electrician it does come in very handy when it comes to electrical work around the home. When it comes to the lighting in our home we can never tend to agree on a design. We have always had low ceilings in our properties and we often panic with head height and our boys being rather tall. We have agreed down lights would be our best option and would work rather well. In our kitchen we will also have plinth lighting and under-cupboard lighting too for mood lighting.

We are a little way off yet before our kitchen plans are put into action. We are currently working on floor plans and measurements and then double checking them as we’d hate to make a costly mistake by rushing and getting it wrong. Kitchen plans take time and a lot of careful planning as we found out last time. We are learning from past mistakes.

New kitchen plans

 

Have you had a kitchen makeover? did it go to plan?

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Energy-Efficient, Top tips

3 easy ways to maintain an energy-efficient home

3 easy ways to maintain an energy-efficient home

3 easy ways to maintain an energy-efficient home

Is your home energy-efficient? This is one of the many questions being asked of homeowners in the twenty-first century. With the emergence of the Internet of Things, smart homes and Eco-builds, it has become more important than ever to try and keep your humble abode as energy-efficient as possible. This means that you can feel all warm and fuzzy inside having done your bit to save the environment and you will have saved money on your utility bills at the same time. Sounds like a perfect win-win situation doesn’t it? And it is if you get it right. Take a look at these three easy ways that can help you maintain an energy-efficient home.

3 easy ways to maintain an energy-efficient home

Lighting

Energy saving light bulbs have been available to the masses for a couple of decades now. Whereas they were once a luxury of the more well-off folk amongst us, energy-efficient and long-lasting bulbs are now hugely accessible as they have reduced in price. By heading to your local DIY store and swapping all of your energy-wasting light bulbs with those that will emit the same amount of light but cost you less money doing so, you’ll be saving on your electricity bill.

If you ensure that everyone in your household sticks to a homemade energy contract of switching off lights when leaving a room, you’ll be saving even more of your pennies. If every household in the UK used energy-saving bulbs, the annual electricity consumption across the nation would reduce by 2%, the equivalent of a nuclear power station.

3 easy ways to maintain an energy-efficient home

Heating

Although they sound like something out of Star Trek, smart thermostats are the latest piece of technology to help homeowners reduce their energy usage and save money on their utility bills. You could now set off from work on a cold winter’s evening and have your home intelligently switch on the heating to ensure a warm and toasty temperature for when you arrive. Even if you require domestic heating oil to fire up your heating system in the winter, you could lower your thermostat by just one degree to reduce carbon dioxide emissions that go onto create the dreaded greenhouse gases that harm the environment.

3 easy ways to maintain an energy-efficient home

Water

It’s vital that you maintain the pipework within your home. Drip leaks can occur beneath your property, under your sink or in your bathroom and if you don’t carry out an annual check on your pipes, you may be in for a nasty surprise when the inconspicuous drip turns into a raging waterfall.

By running your bath a little less full, boiling your kettle with only the water you need and showering for shorter lengths of time, you’ll inevitably use less water. This means that you will be diverting less water away from rivers resulting in you doing your bit to preserve wildlife habitats. It really does pay to turn the tap off while you’re brushing your pearly whites.

Start making your home more energy-efficient today. Not only will you be protecting the environment and showing off your Eco-credentials but you’ll also be saving your household money in the process.

 

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Finance

Money under the mattress: finding funds from your home

Money under the mattress: finding funds from your home

Money under the mattress: finding funds from your home

In the modern world, most people have less than perfect finances. With the expense of living, jobs paying less than they used to, and housing being so pricey, it can be hard for people to get enough out of their salary. In this case, life is a challenge and will be very hard for you to manage. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Instead, using your home, you can find ways to give yourself a good windfall, taking away some of the financial strain you feel. To help you out with this, this post will be going through some of the best ways to make money out of your home.

  • Giving Away A Slice

As the kids start to move out and space starts to open up in your home, the possibility of hosting a lodger becomes a reality. Of course, you won’t want this with young kids, so, for some, it might not work. Without a young child, though, having a young professional live in your home won’t impact your life that much at all. In most cases, lodgers will pay good rent for the place you give them, especially if you’re willing to provide food to them.

For people with young kids, the issues with hosting a lodger will probably be clear. Of course, though, this doesn’t mean that you can’t downsize. By moving to a smaller property, you can rent your current home to someone else. While they live there, the rent you pay will be covered by the rent you receive, leaving a little bit for you. This sort of action has to be taken very carefully, as it can be easy to lose if you’re not careful.

A lot of people will need a little bit of help to carry out action like this. Thankfully, in most cases, an estate agent is all you should need to be able to get started with something like this. They will be able to handle all of the paperwork while making the transaction nice and simple.

  • Using It As Collateral

In some cases, it can be better to keep the space you have and give away some of the equity from your home, instead. One of the best ways to do this is through home owner loans. This sort of option uses your house as a guarantee for the loan, making it easier for the banks to trust you. Along with this, this sort of loan is very easy to apply for, as you don’t have to go through the same vetting as a regular applicant.

Of course, though, in some cases, you will need a lot of money to be able to get on your feet. In this position, it can be worth sacrificing a large part of your home. A remortgage can achieve this for you, as long as you’re not too old to pay back what you owe before you leave work. A lot of people find this method extremely helpful, as it can be done very soon after taking the initial mortgage.

Making a decision like the ones above is never something which can be taken lightly. So, in most cases, it’s a good idea to get some help before you start. Your bank will be a good place to begin, as they will be able to provide you advice for free. For some, though, looking for professional help could be a better way to get the support you need.

  • A Clean Out

When bills are stretching the bank and you’re struggling to make ends meet, even a small boost could be enough to help you out. Though you may be attached to them, the unused items around your home could be plenty to fill your gap. You can start by looking for things of high-value which don’t get used very often. For example, an old music player or other electronic gadget. Then, you can start to look for some ways to sell it.

eBay and other auction websites can be the best to help you if you want to sell quite a few items, as they make it very easy to manage. Alongside this, though, you could also use a social media marketplace, like Facebook’s local sales tools. Using options like this will expand your reach and be much more effective than selling to customers in the flesh.

Hopefully, this post will give you a good idea of what can be done when you’re trying to find new ways to make money from your home. When you have a resource like this, you have a lot of potential behind you. To learn how to use it, you just have to do some research.

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Exterior design, Garden, Garden tips

3 essential areas every garden needs

3 Essential Areas Every Garden Needs

3 essential areas every garden needs

Not every home has a lot of outdoor or garden space. That doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of the space you do have. If you have a family and the kids are still at home, your garden might be essential space you can’t do without! Are you not making the most of your backyard right now? Then why not have a look at creating these three essential areas so you can enjoy being outdoors all year round:

Kids Play Area

Kids (and pets) need space to play. Your garden is perfect for that. If you haven’t tackled this area for a while, then there are some makeover projects you might want to tackle first. This part of the garden should be secure and safe. Make sure the fencing is strong and robust. It might need staining again just to ensure the wood is weathering well.

3 essential areas every garden needs

Choose a surface for play. You might install some artificial grass for mud-free rolling around. Play mats can be quite handy too as they also just hose down when you want to use them. Your regular lawn might be OK if you don’t have a lot of rainfall where you are. Add some outdoor toys and games. You might even have a playhouse for the little ones. Perfect.

Outdoor Dining

This area is best placed on flat ground. You can build it up with decking or simple patio paving if you like. A minimum of 2.5 meters squared is needed to make a good sized dining or seating area. So grab your bramblecrest furniture, erect a gazebo and get ready for some outdoor dining!

3 Essential Areas Every Garden Needs

You can also build up an outdoor kitchen. You might only have a barbecue grill right now, but with the right features, you could include a bar and extra seating space. This area is usually best served by being attached to the outer kitchen door. That way you can use both facilities and entertain even more hungry guests!

Green, Pink, Yellow, Red and Blue

Lawns are lovely if you have the time and energy to maintain them. Of course, you can always get a robot mower! Add some flower beds or pots for a splash of color almost all year round. Flowers smell good as well as looking bright and cheery. If you’re a keen gardener, you might take cuttings for indoor floral displays too.

3 Essential Areas Every Garden Needs

When you’re setting up your flower garden, consider grouping the different colors together. Don’t forget that stems and blooms come in all different shapes and sizes. That means they will grow to different heights as well. This can be ideal if you’re trying to shape your garden. Shrubs and bushes can help here too.

Every garden has potential to be something special that all the family can enjoy all year round. If you’ve neglected yours a little recently, then why not get back out there and see what you can make of it? How do you like to enjoy your garden?

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Interior, Interior Design

The secrets of a successful home office transformation

The secrets of a successful home office transformation

The secrets of a successful home office transformation

The priorities of a modern family have evolved massively over the last 20 years or so, and technology is at the heart of it all. Computers are now an omnipresent feature, and most households could benefit from having an office space. Whether it’s to help mum and dad work from home or allow children to complete studies in peace doesn’t matter. Creating a suitable environment for those activities is essential.

Deciding that you need a home office space is one thing, but actively turning that vision into a reality is another altogether. Pay attention to these realities, and you won’t go far wrong.

1. Comfort Is King

When building an office space, you’ll naturally think about designing a space that allows you to work on a computer with ease. Before worrying about this, though, you must ensure that the room is livable.

The most obvious candidates for office transformations are guest rooms, lofts, and garages. These areas have probably gone unloved, so think about energy efficiency and the general atmosphere. Skip those factors, and the following gestures will seem almost redundant.

When it comes to furniture, ensure that your office chair is comfortable too. Ultimately, the home office space should be designed to encourage extended periods of work. If you don’t feel comfortable, however, that simply cannot happen.

2. Personal Touches Make The Difference

There’s nothing wrong with taking inspiration from other offices that you’ve seen. However, a commercial business office space serves a slightly alternative function from a home one. Moreover, the design needs are far different too.

This is still a part of the home, and decorating the walls with sports memorabilia and family photos can aid the happy vibes. Meanwhile, if you are using this area for business matters, interactions with other people are likely to take place via the internet. Putting a screen on the wall can provide a video conferencing space. From a practical standpoint, this can be telling.

Above all else, the organisation should be considered to be a major priority. Even when a lot of your paperwork can be kept online, creating ample storage space is key. This is likely to be one of the smaller rooms in the property, and letting it become overcrowded and untidy will harm your relationship with it badly. Use shelves and vertical storage to avoid eating up the floor space, and you should be just fine.

3. It Will Take Time (& Money)

As with any worthwhile home upgrade projects, patience and planning are vital. Rushing straight in will lead you to overlook key elements. And it will inevitably reduce the impact of the transformation.

The decision between using an expert or taking the DIY option will largely be dependent on your skills and the severity of the project. Either way, capital will be required. This type of project is a very suitable reason for getting unsecured home improvement loans. After all, the money you invest will be rewarded with increased property value.

More importantly, though, getting the job right saves the hassle of future tasks. Aside from upgrading your tech facilities every few years, the home office could serve you for decades. This can only be great news for all the family.

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Interior Design, Kitchen

Don’t get burned by your kitchen!

Don’t Get Burned By Your Kitchen!

Don’t get burned by your kitchen!

If there is one room in the house that needs to be perfect, it is the kitchen. When you think about it, the kitchen is the place you spend the most time. Apart from cooking, it is also a place to socialise and relax, which makes it a multipurpose area. The sad thing is that most people’s kitchens are the bane of their life for a variety of reasons. If you are one of these people, it is time to crack out the home improvement manual and start the process. But, before you jump the gun, there are a few pitfalls to avoid.

The Triangle

Unlike the Bermuda triangle, you won’t get lost in your kitchen. But, you might find that the room doesn’t have the same functionality without it. Simply put, the triangle refers to the position of the oven, sink and refrigerator. As the names suggest, all three need to be in close quarters so that the room is as functional as it is beautiful. So, if the plans have anything in the way of the three, you might want to reconsider. An island, for instance, is a big obstacle. Always keep the path clear and the three main features in close contact.

Ignoring Practicality

There is no doubt that the kitchen should have a wow factor, and every interior designer would agree. But, it shouldn’t come at the expense of functionality within the room. Otherwise, the kitchen will be all style and no substance, and substance is probably the most important feature of any kitchen. So, the trick is to think before you buy. Will the designer dining table fit all the family? Are the chairs comfy? Is there enough room to cook and walk around? All of these are questions that you need to answer.

Lack Of Storage

It doesn’t matter how big your kitchen is because you will always need storage. Why? It’s because they house lots of different utensils and cutlery, and they are bulky. Even if they are sleek, like knives and forks, they are plentiful. Bearing this in mind, it’s a good time to get creative. The oven, for example, is a perfect place to put a frying pan as it is deep. Of course, the cabinets are always on hand for glasses and pots and pans. Plus, shelves and hooks are low-tech solutions with storage capacity that take up little room.

Designing For Others

Quite possibly the biggest error you can make is designing a kitchen for other people. That can sound stupid, yet it happens all the time as homeowners sacrifice what they want for what they think they should have. At the end of the day, it is your kitchen and you should design it how you please. So, forget about the neighbours and leave them to their own kitchens. Instead, write down what you find appealing and try and implement that throughout the renovation.

There is no point designing a kitchen for other people when they are not going to use it. Anyway, they aren’t paying, so they don’t get a say!

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Lifestyle, Slimming World, weight loss

Life changes

Life changes

Life changes

A while back I ended up in an awful car accident. This saw me ending up being cut free from the car, hospitalised for just under two weeks and paralysed down my left side due to nerve damage. I was in a wheelchair for a while and had to learn to walk again.

With not being very mobile this saw the lbs pile on which at the time I was just glad to have survived the accident and it couldn’t have been further from my mind.

Life changes

Once I was more mobile thanks to the intense physio sessions and reflexology treatment I had on a weekly basis I started to gradually build myself back up again. Once more mobile I signed up to attend our local Slimming World group. Back then I managed to lose 3 stone and I was so proud of myself as I had gone through so much and had come such a long way. I had the determination which was amazing and I felt so much better and confident in myself.

My aim back then was to lose about 5 stone, I was over half way there but then life had gotten in the way. Things happened and I ended up suffering from depression due to certain issues. This is where comfort eating kicked in then yes you guessed it, the weight piled back on.
No I am not proud but hey what can I do but pick myself back up and start again. Now I am starting to feel better in myself again I feel that I am in the right mind-set again to try again. I have amazing support around me from Ian, my 3 beautiful boys, work colleagues and even neighbours.
Ian is my rock and said he will help support me in any way he can as he knows it means so much to me to get this weight off and my confidence back.

I have now joined Slimming World again, this time round it is a different group as we’ve moved house since my last journey. I am now 2 weeks into my new journey and I’m currently 6.5 lbs lighter already. I am so happy to be on my Slimming World journey again, I was so happy last time until I sadly suffered with depression.

This time round I am not going to be so hard on myself, I am going to set small goals along the way and little Interim goals. My first little goal is to try and lose 1 stone by my birthday (7th August). This is purely set as a birthday gift to myself. I still have a few weeks to do it in, I feel like I can do it so I’m going to give it my best shot. If I don’t do it then no harm is done I am just happy at the moment with any loss.

To help myself get up and moving I have signed up to do a 5k run. Well they say run but you walk, crawl, skip even hop just as long as you complete the 5k. I done a 5k run a few years back and completed it within 36 minutes. By the time I completed the run yes I did crawl over the finish line and no I couldn’t even talk for 10 minutes but I did complete it and it felt amazing.

All I need to do now is stay as focused as I can and keep telling myself to keep thinking positive.