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Family / Lifestyle blog. Sharing our life's fun and adventures with our 3 sons living in London.
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3 Reasons You Might Not Be Enjoying The Home

3 Reasons You Might Not Be Enjoying The Home

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It can be a very unfortunate state of affairs when you notice that you are not really fully enjoying the home as well as you could. When that happens, you are probably going to want to do something about it as soon as possible, so that you can stop it from worsening and you can hopefully work on it. There might be many reasons why you are not enjoying the home, and in this article we are going to take a look at three of the most common ones. As long as you are aware of these, and you are working to mitigate them, you should find that the home becomes much more enjoyable in no time, for you and all your family.

It’s Cluttered

Having too much clutter around is enough for most people to get a little stressed out. If you are finding that your home is too cluttered, then the simple solution is obviously to get rid of that clutter. However, that is much easier said than done, and it’s something that you are going to have to work on a few times before you can really notice a profound difference. Go around the home one time and get rid of anything you have not used in a year. That alone is going to make a difference, and beyond that you can simply work on keeping the level of clutter to that minimum as best as you can. You’ll find the home is less stressful and much more enjoyable as a result.

You Don’t Feel Secure

You have a right to feel safe and secure in your own home. When you do not feel safe, it is going to impact on how you feel in general within the home, so it’s something that you are going to want to look into in some detail. There are some big top-down changes you can make to improve your home’s security, such as installing a top of the range security door and making sure that your windows are security windows. Beyond that, it’s mostly about adopting the right kind of behaviour: not advertising your belongings near the window, and ensuring that you lock up at night. The more secure you feel, the more you are going to enjoy being in the home, so this is something you will want to focus on.

It’s Not Personalised

You have to make sure that you have a personalised home, or else it is not going to feel like your own. That will mean that you then struggle to really fully relax while you are in it, and before you know it you are going to feel as though you should be somewhere else. Do whatever you can to make the home more personal, whether that means putting up more pictures of you and your family, or just changing the decor to match your personality as best as you can. The more personalised the home is, the better you are going to be able to enjoy it.

Pet care., pets

How to Choose the Right Pet Door for You

How to Choose the Right Pet Door for You

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If you’re thinking about installing a cat flap or a dog flap in your home, then there are several important factors to consider. Ideally, a cat flap or pet door should add convenience and increase safety, not the opposite. There are also different kinds of pet door you can look into, to decide which one would best suit your home and your lifestyle. If you have pets, especially dogs and cats, it’s important to try and give them their independence. This does, however, depend on their breed. Here’s how to choose the right pet door for you.

Things to consider before installing a pet door

Some cats, for example, are bred as house cats. This means that they won’t necessarily be safe going in and out on their own. It’s vital to speak to the shelter or breeder where you got your pet and find out first whether they can go outside safely. 

If you’re pet is safe to go outside, the next thing you need to check is the conditions of your garden. Is outside safe for your pet? Have a clear out and do some garden maintenance. Run through a checklist to ensure your garden is pet-friendly. That way, you’ll have peace of mind when they’re off roaming on their own. 

The location of your cat flap or pet door is also important. You’ll need to find a suitable door or wall in which your dog or cat can enter easily and safely. Think about whether this will disturb you in the night.

The benefits of a pet door

You ideally want to create a safe living environment for your pets and all your family. A pet door is actually safer for cats and dogs. They can always get outside, but also they can get back in. If they need to come in quickly due to foxes or bad weather they can without having to get your attention. 

It’s also beneficial for their wild nature. For dogs that don’t normally use litter trays like cats would, it helps to avoid any toilet accidents. Both animals will have a little more freedom and independence which has several health benefits.

Different types of pet doors

If you aren’t sure which is best suited to your home then you could start by reading some cat flap reviews. For further information, here is an overview of the most common types:

  • 2-way locking

A 2-way locking pet door has a simple locking system. You can manually set the door to locked or unlocked.

  • 4-way locking

These are more advanced. You can set “in” to either locked or unlocked, and “out” to locked on unlocked. 

  • Magnetic

These are opened by a magnet attached to your cats collar.

  • Microchip

Your cat’s microchip acts as an electronic key, so no other cat can open it.

If you would like to give your pet more freedom and independence, a pet door could be right for you. Make sure you take their safety into consideration before you decide.

Interior Design, Lifestyle

The Design Trends That We Are Likely To See Next Season

The Design Trends That We Are Likely To See Next Season

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The American Institute of Architects (AIA) asked the architects what they expect to be the most important changes in the design of the houses and asked them to submit their forecasts and vision for the coming years until 2025. The results are interesting – most people are quite open to design and will try new things but recently, it has been modern trends and minimalism that has excited us. If you are looking for these trends, you’re likely to find them in new homes and brand new builds, which include Bellriver Homes. What other trends also make new homes such a thrill to us? 

Home technologies 

Technological integration is becoming more and more widespread with the support of personal automated temperature, safety and lighting control devices. It means that we can create a more accessible environment. The use of energy efficient and sustainable product design is increasing, such as solar panels, water recovery systems and water heaters also.

New materials

In 2020 we will see more unexpected materials and one of those is cement. From sinks to cabinets, cement is becoming an increasingly popular material for home use. It is great for creating a modern but rustic decor and a wonderful change from a standard wood or marble.  We are likely to see other colors making an appearance also in design such as navy blue or hunter green can offer a sense of calm and serenity while still being traditional enough for use in dining or living rooms. White kitchens replaced the wood look in the 90’s, but in the past, we have seen several designers experimenting with color in their kitchens. Whether you decide to use bright, bold colors for your cupboards and cabinets or want to opt for retro appliances, the diversion from neutral colors can add an energetic and welcoming feeling to almost any kitchen space. This coming season, we will see a shift from artificial to natural materials throughout the house. From countertops to bathroom tiles, most people choose natural materials such as onyx limestone, granite and sandstone to create not only a more ecological space but also a more unique look that is still timeless. 

Embracing the traditional 

You will probably find more and more than people this year are beginning to once again embrace the formal dining room. A typical dining room does not need to be completely enclosed from the rest of the house, but it should simply be demarcated. It will become the entertainment center and contribute to the establishment of the family meal. It is something that has been seen in many magazines, dining room styles and utilising this underrated room once again. If you are always trying to match the designs in your home, it’s time to stop. Instead of sticking to minimalist and neutral colors, this year the trend is to mix and match textures and designs that will offer more visual interest. Maximalism is eclectic and playful, and when done right can give your home a personal and intimate atmosphere.

active, healthy living.

Fun Ways To Get The Whole Family Active

Fun Ways To Get The Whole Family Active
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You work hard to provide for your family. You want them to have the best of everything that you had in childhood, and enjoy opportunities and experiences that you never got as a kid. However, you also want them to get the most out of childhood. Including, perhaps, avoiding temptations and pitfalls that weren’t necessarily applicable in your youth. For instance, while you may have enjoyed movies and video games in childhood, you wouldn’t have had the relentless call of social media, apps and games accessible from the magical plastic and glass rectangle in your pocket. You didn’t have hours of films and TV shows available at a touch of a button. In short, you didn’t have as many reasons to stay on the sofa. And you didn’t face the specific health issues that today’s kids face, with up to 40% of UK children obese in some areas. 

You know you need to get your kids more active. But you don’t want to be a nagging Mum. You want to make taking an interest in health, fitness and wellbeing its own reward. And a great way to do this is by making exercise fun for the whole family. Here are some great ways to get the whole family active before the summer draws to a close…

Invest in your family’s own kit

You want to show that you’re all in this together. So why not make your very own custom Sports Kit just for the family? It’s a great way to compartmentalise your time. When the whole family is in their kit, everyone knows that it’s time to get active!

Create your own back garden Olympics

Needless to say, the 2020 olympics in Tokyo had to be postponed until next year. Still, while the weather’s warm and the back garden’s in bloom, it’s the perfect time to plan your own back garden olympics. With an ostentatious opening ceremony, medals for winners (and maybe even some tasty rewards), and all kinds of events to suit the whole family, it can be the perfect way to spend a sunny weekend in the garden. This blog has some cute idea for events that young kids and adults can enjoy together.  

Balance active time with screen time

You don’t want to be the kind of parent that prohibits screen time. But you want to maintain a good balance of activities. So why not try allowing the kids (and the grown ups) to earn screen time by spending some time doing something more active. Half an hour’s bike ride could be used to earn the same amount of time playing video games, for instance. 

TV night? Mix things up with some ad break exercises

Finally, if you’re serious about getting the whole family fit, any time is an opportunity for a workout. Even the short breaks for ads while the family watches TV together. Bupa has some great ideas for short but intense ad break exercises that will allow the family to burn some calories during TV time and mitigate the health risks of too much sitting. 

Lifestyle, Safety tips, Top tips

Tests and Checks Every Household Should Make for a Safe Living Environment

Tests and Checks Every Household Should Make for a Safe Living Environment
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Are you doing everything in your power to keep your property safe? No matter where you live, whether you rent or own, you need to make sure that you are in a safe living environment and doing the necessary checks. Here are some of the things you need to make sure that you are doing to keep your living space as safe as possible.

Know Where Things are

Do you know where the important things are in your home? By this, we mean the things that could potentially save your life and help you out in a crisis. For example, if there is a power cut, have you got torches and candles that you can use to light your home until things are restored? It always pays to be prepared.

At a minimum, you need to know where your fuse box and your gas and water mains pipes are. These are all important as they are the points where you can turn things off if you think something has gone wrong. If a pipe has burst, you need to be able to turn the water off. If you smell gas, you need to turn it off at the main until someone can come to check. These are all little things you as a homeowner need to do, but they could one day save your life. Make sure you know where each of these points are in your home and try to make sure other members of your household know too.

Renew Your EICR

Your EICR, or electrical installation condition report, is an important document that everyone needs to have. A residential property needs to have one renewed every 10 years, or with every change of occupancy. Meanwhile, a rented property needs to update theirs every 5 years, or again with every change of occupancy. 

This is a document that states that the electrical work within a property is safe and that the property is habitable because of it. By getting in contact with a company like Trade Facilities Services who provide these reports from £99, you will easily be able to arrange your EICR renewal.

Test Your Alarms

When was the last time you tested your smoke alarms? Modern alarms tend to beep when the batteries in them are running low, but you should still make sure you test your alarms when you can to ensure that they are in good working order. The same goes for any heat alarms that you may have in your kitchen. 

If you have older alarms in your property, you might want to think about getting them replaced from a safety standpoint. Upgrade your systems now and make sure that you are as safe as possible at all times.

It is imperative that you have the right protections in place within your own home. Try to get in the habit of checking your alarms, and always make sure that you know your own property inside and out so you can be certain that it is always a safe place for living.

health, health care

Health Myths: Are All Types of Hand Sanitizers Effective at Killing off the Germs That Cause COVID-19?

Health Myths: Are All Types of Hand Sanitizers Effective at Killing off the Germs That Cause COVID-19?

With COVID-19 on the rise, it is important for everyone to take steps to stay healthy and safe. One of the most important steps a person can take to prevent the spread of this virus is to maintain clean hands. Simple, everyday actions, such as handshakes or touching various surfaces, can cause the virus to get on a person’s hands.

When they touch their face, rub their eyes, or even scratch their nose, it can cause the virus to enter the body and infect that person. The best method for preventing this is to avoid touching the face and keep hands clean. For many people, hand sanitizer is their go-to product for keeping their hands free of germs. Unfortunately, not all hand sanitizers are the same, nor do they all work to kill the COVID-19 virus.

Best Method for Keeping Hands Free of Covid-19

The most effective way to keep hands clean and lessen the spread of COVID-19 is for a person to wash their hands with soap and water. Soap breaks down the lipid coating of the COVID-19 virus. This kills the virus and prevents it from causing illness. There is a large variety of hand soaps and cleansers available to help stop the spread of this virus. Those looking for soap options for their business can find details at bigclean.com.au.

After every contact with a potentially infected surface or person, the hands should be thoroughly washed. It is recommended that proper handwashing include wetting the hands and then applying enough soap to cover the hands. The soap should be rubbed into every part of the hands and fingers for at least 20 seconds to ensure all germs are destroyed. Then, the hands should be thoroughly rinsed and dried with a clean towel.

Unfortunately, it is not always possible to wash hands when exposure may have occurred. In these situations, hand sanitizer can play a very beneficial role. However, hand sanitizer should only be used when handwashing is impossible. It is also important to find a hand sanitizer that will effectively kill the COVID-19 virus.

Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizer

Many hand sanitizer products on the market are alcohol-based sanitizers. These hand sanitizers tend to use isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) and aloe gel or other gel-like material. The isopropyl alcohol has been effective in destroying the lipid coating of the virus that renders it unable to cause infections. The aloe gel or other gel-like materials in the hand sanitizer is often used to moisturize the hands since alcohol can be drying for the skin.

Unfortunately, some hand sanitizers do not have enough alcohol in them to sufficiently kill germs and viruses effectively. This makes it important for customers to opt for hand sanitizers that are at least 60% isopropyl alcohol. Anything less than 60% may not kill all the virus and allow for further spread.

There have also been some types of hand sanitizers that had to be recalled by the FDA due to toxic chemicals. Instead of using isopropyl alcohol, some companies have been using methanol (wood alcohol) for their hand sanitizers. These products can be toxic and pose serious health risks for users. It is important that consumers check the recalled list to ensure they are not using one of these hand sanitizer products.

Alcohol-Free Hand Sanitizers

There are some hand sanitizers available that do not contain alcohol. Most alcohol-free hand sanitizers use benzalkonium chloride as their active ingredient. This ingredient has been shown to provide germ-killing abilities to help protect the user.

Alcohol-free hand sanitizers are often used for a variety of reasons. This can be due to irritation caused by alcohol-based products. Alcohol-based products are flammable. This can pose issues for some people in their work or other situations. Alcohol-free products are also less damaging to the hands with repeated use because they do not strip away the natural oils in the hands.

Although alcohol-free hand sanitizers can kill germs on the hands, they are less effective than alcohol-based products. In addition, most health organizations do not recommend alcohol-free hand sanitizers for the prevention of COVID-19. They have not been proven effective against killing this virus as well as alcohol-based products do.

Proper Use of Hand Sanitizers

Another issue that may make hand sanitizers less effective is the improper usage of the product. Consumers should always read the instructions on their hand sanitizer to ensure they are using the proper amount to provide thorough elimination of any germs on their hands. Not using enough or not properly coating the hands could potentially leave behind viruses and other germs that can promote the spread of infection.

In general, when using hand sanitizer, the hands should be free of dirt and debris. Hand sanitizer is not an effective replacement for hand washing. Dirt and debris on the hands will not be properly removed by the application of hand sanitizer. This dirt and debris could hold germs that may not be completely killed by the sanitizer. If dirt and debris is present, proper hand-washing procedures should be used.

It is also important that the right amount of hand sanitizer is used to ensure proper coverage. The packaging should give the recommended amounts for use. The product should then be applied to the palms of the hands. Then it should be rubbed over every surface of the hands until the hands are dry. It is important that all surfaces of both hands be covered to ensure the effective killing of the COVID-19 virus.

Proper handwashing with soap and warm water is always the best method for killing any bacteria or virus, including the COVID-19 virus. However, hand sanitizer is a great alternative when handwashing is not possible. Keeping hands clean and free of germs is a major step in preventing the spread of the virus. However, it is only part of the fight.

When practicing social distancing and the use of masks in public settings in combination with proper hand washing techniques, the spread of COVID-19 can be greatly limited. Working together as a global community and taking responsible actions to prevent the spread of this virus can help the entire world get through this pandemic.

Design, Interior Design, Top tips

Here’s How To Modernise Your Interior Design

Here's How To Modernise Your Interior Design
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Are you looking for ways to improve your home? If so, then you might be interested in ensuring that it looks more modern. This is a step that a lot of people will often take before selling their property. Why? A modern home is always going to be more attractive to buyers. Even if they are not getting the pieces that fit together to create the completed decor, they still want to see the dream. They want to know what this home could be and that’s why you should never leave a home empty and bare if you’re planning on selling. 

Invest In The Right Furniture

First, you should consider investing in new furniture for your property. There are numerous choices here but you should pay particular attention to the shape and even the materials of the furniture in question before you purchase items to modernise your home. Different shapes and materials look more modern such as a high gloss dining table. Under the right lighting, this is going to glisten and could become the centerpiece of any room. 

Get The Lighting Perfect

Since we mentioned lighting, it’s worth exploring how this could fit into a modern design. Beautiful lighting will ensure that the furniture and materials you choose glisten beautifully. The right lighting can create an incredible effect. There are many options for modern lighting however one of the best choices could be spotlights. Spotlights that are sunken in are perfect because they will light the room equally, ensuring that there are no areas that are left concealed in shadow. 

Consider The Flooring 

Next, you should think about selecting the right flooring for your property. Consider whether it is time to remove the old and outdated carpet from your home. Carpet is no longer considered a stylish choice for a property. Instead, you should opt for laminate flooring if you’re working with quite a tight budget or hardwood flooring if you have more wiggle room with how much you can spend. The good news about laminate is that it comes in a wide range of styles to help modernise your home. So, you will be able to find the perfect choice for your property and even a specific room. 

Go Minimal

Finally, if you are aiming for a modern look for your home, then you really do need to embrace a minimal design. You should explore options that leave a lot of open space in the rooms around your property and provide an effect that makes your home look like a showroom. The trick here is to think about furniture in terms of what you need in a room. If you do this, then you’re never going to have an issue with overcrowding an area. Your home will have that contemporary design that many people adore and definitely want to see. 

We hope this helps you understand the key ways that you can modernise your home design and why this could be the right choice. Ultimately, with these steps, you can guarantee that your property looks more presentable and attractive regardless of your reasoning. 

health, Home, Top tips

Signs That It Could Be Time To Change Your Windows

Signs That It Could Be Time To Change Your Windows
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It is so easy to put off some of our home improvement projects, as let’s face it, some can be very expensive, let alone time-consuming!

It is so easy putting off changing our windows as this can be very expensive. But how do we know when that time has come where they are needing doing and can no longer be put aside anymore.

Here are five signs to look out for:

  • Drafts: You will feel a draft, this could even be felt with your windows closed. If you are feeling a breeze from your windows when they are closed this could be down to a faulty seal or a number of other issues. This could cause problems with keeping the heat in and energy bills to rise.
  • Condensation: If you notice that your windows are damp between layers of glass then this means you have damaged seals. The damaged seals are allowing moisture between your glass panes. Sadly once the seals have broken any insulating gas used to make the windows more energy efficient has then gone.
  • Opening/closing difficulty: Windows that have not been installed properly tend to cause problems. Such as balancing and opening/closing. Windows that are generally old and rusting/rotten can cause the same issues. If your windows dont close properly or are not as secure as they once were then this could impact on the safety of your home.
  • Noise levels: If your windows are not providing you with much protection from the noise levels outside then perhaps they are not sealing properly. Perhaps you dont have the correct window for the area you live in. If your living by a busy road then that extra protection from outside noise may be what is needed.
  • Visible damage: If you can see damage to your window frames such as water damage, or they are soft to touch or chipped, then sadly they are beyond repair. Soft window frames indicate rot and water infiltration. Dampness can cause mould and health problems.

The importance of changing your windows

  • Energy bills: Changing your windows can help massively with your monthly outgoings on your energy bills.
  • Health: It can also help protect your health from dampness, cold and noise pollution.
  • Home security: You can have the benefits of stronger glass and advanced locking systems to help protect you and your family.

Replacement windows should last for many years to come if you chose a company based on the quality of their products. Toughened glass suppliers based in the UK work closely with clients to help develop solutions to specific needs. Above all, their skills are driven by a passion for innovative technology in glass.

Finance, Lifestyle, london, Travel

Cutting the Cost of Living in London

Cutting the Cost of Living in London
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London is a fantastic place to live your best life and achieve your career goals. For centuries, the big smoke has been a thriving hub of industry, commerce, science and technology. Not to mention having a plethora of awesome attractions, delectable restaurants, cool cafes, trendy bars and more exquisite parks than you could shake a stick at. Every year, it’s estimated that around 200,000 people move to London from the UK every year. And while they do so with the hopes of finding their fortunes, living a more exciting and fulfilled life and taking their careers to the next level, they all quickly discover one immutable fact…

That London can get pretty darned expensive. 

Nonetheless, with a little savvy, discipline and determination, there are ways to cut the costs, no matter whereabouts in London you’re living…

Keep your fridge well stocked

The great thing about living in London (as with any major conurbation) is the easy access it gives you to a treasure trove of different kinds of food. Whatever borough you call home, it’s easier than ever to get delicious hot food from your favourite take aways and restaurants delivered straight to your door. Especially now that services like Just Eat and Deliveroo make it so easy and tempting. Still, relying on this too much can exacerbate the already sizeable costs of London living. 

Keeping your fridge well stocked and taking the time to plan and prepare your meals can go a long way towards keeping your costs manageable.

Grow what you can in your garden

While we’re on the subject of food, relying on a mostly (or exclusively) wholefoods, plant-based diet is not only a great way to save money, it can be highly advantageous for your health, our weight and your environmental footprint. What’s more, if you’re lucky enough to have some garden space of your own (or even a window box) you may find that you can save significantly by growing your own organic veggies and fruits. According to Moneywise home-growers save over £250 a year on the cost of fresh produce. These apps will make home growing (and gardening in general) easier and more enjoyable. 

Stop paying over the odds for your insurance!

Your home, your car, your gadgets. It all needs to be insured if you’re to protect what’s important to you from the uncertainty of the future. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that your insurer will reward you for your loyalty. In fact, many insurers count on their customers to let their policies roll over so they can crank up the price without penalties. This is especially egregious in the world of car insurance. Don’t leave your finances to chance. Use an insurance broker like one sure insurance to get the best deal on a policy that suits your needs. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that price comparison sites are your only means of getting a great deal. 

Never buy a paper ticket when travelling

Finally, one of the many great things about London is it’s awesome transport network. Wherever you need to go, you can get there on the bus, the train or the tube. But don’t make the rookie mistake of buying paper tickets. Ever. Always use an oyster card or contactless app. Not only will it be cheaper, it’s also way more convenient. 

DECOR, Design

Five Ways To Tastefully Incorporate Some Sparkle Into Your Home

Five Ways To Tastefully Incorporate Some Sparkle Into Your Home
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Who doesn’t love a little bit of sparkle? Glitter and shimmer can look great when incorporated into the design and decoration of your home, but using too much can easily tip you over the edge from tasteful to tacky. Here are five ways to tastefully incorporate some sparkle into your home. 

Sparkly shower cladding

Not only is cladding a far cheaper alternative to conventional tiling, but it is also easier to install and comes in several colours and finishes. Black sparkle cladding is a great way to waterproof a wet-room or to affordably do-up your bathroom, providing a chic black finish that is flecked with beautiful silver sparkles that catch the light from overhead. If you’re looking for a more subtle sparkle effect, the white cladding with silver sparkles is a little less noticeable. 

A glitter paint feature wall 

Opening a can of glitter paint is mesmerising, and it can be tempting to start painting it onto every surface that you can find. The key to incorporating glitter paint tastefully is to use it in moderation by focusing on one feature wall. Most glitter paints look best when applied in a thin layer over the top of coloured paint, with pale colours like pink, cream, and baby blue often providing a more subtle effect than darker colours such as navy, black or red. Start by applying just one coat of glitter and allow it to dry before assessing whether you need a second or even a third coat. 

Kitchen counter tops with sparkle 

Incorporate some sparkle and luxury into your kitchen by installing counter-tops with mirror-like pieces of quartz or even glitter embedded in the resin. Sparkly kitchen counter-tops work best in white, black or natural stone colours as these make the sparkle the centre of attention. Because the counter-tops lay flat, the sparkles will only be seen as you approach them and so will not overwhelm the rest of the room. 

Add gold or copper hardware to your kitchen cabinets 

Adding gold, copper, or even chrome hardware to your kitchen cabinets and drawers is another easy and stylish way to add some shimmer and sparkle to your kitchen. Opt for brushed gold or brushed copper if you don’t want too much bling and keep your kitchen cabinets a plain colour such as navy or white to best show off the new handles. If the gold, copper or chrome handles are not enough, then you could go one step further by sourcing hardware that is embedded with glass diamonds or gems. 

Install a couple of crystal chandeliers 

Whether the lights are turned on or off, crystal chandeliers cascade sparkle down into any room. When used excessively, chandeliers can look tacky, but when installed as the centerpiece of a room they exude class and sophistication like none other. Chandeliers look best when installed in rooms with high ceilings as it allows them more room to cascade without getting in anyone’s way. If you don’t have the room for a traditional ceiling chandelier, then you can get a similar effect with a crystal lampshade or by introducing a few chandelier style food lamps. 

So there you have it – five tasteful ways to incorporate a little more sparkle into your home. 

Garden, Garden tips

Apps To Create A Beautiful Garden

6 Apps To Create A Beautiful Garden
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With the right maintenance, your garden can be one of the most beautiful spaces of your home. Perhaps you’re new to gardening as a hobby, and you’re looking to learn the ropes? Getting into gardening won’t just improve your home, but it will improve your well being at the same time. With these applications, you’ll have all the tips and support you need to create a beautiful garden.

1. My Garden Organizer 

My Garden Organizer is an app to help you design and manage your vegetable garden. Using this app, you’ll always remember which cultivars you’ve planted and learn how to make the most of your vegetable patch. When you first start using the app, you can create a list of all your different vegetable beds; when you click ‘add bed,’ you can set the correct dimensions. Input the name, planting date and cultivar to keep track of your progress. To give your garden a makeover the My Garden Organizer app is just what you need.

2. Flower Checker

Flower checker is a great application that helps you identify plants. First, you snap a picture of the plant, next you send it to the flower-checker experts who will identify it. Gardening is all about learning new things, and if you’ve got some wildflowers and plants growing, it’s useful to know what they are. With the flowerchecker app, you’ll never mistake a weed and a plant again! Flowerchecker is useful if you enjoy foraging and need to check if a plant is safe or not. After a short while using this app, you’ll become a flower-checking pro!

3. Garden Plan Pro

With Garden Plan Pro, you can design your perfect vegetable garden with lots of tools and tips to help you. The application is suitable for any kind of garden, whether you’re using raised beds, containers, or rows. Garden Plan Pro has growing info for hundreds of plants, plenty of recommendations, and info about harvest dates. You’ll find content to help you keep pests under control and learn how to produce a fruitful harvest!

4. Veggie Garden Planner

Veggie Garden Planner is the tool you need to create the perfect vegetable patch. Using the app, you’ll learn about plant distancing, sowing times, neighboring plants, and more. Whether you’re looking to learn about crop rotations, or which vegetables are in season, you’ll find all that you need here.

5. Moon and Garden

Moon & Garden helps you to use a lunar approach to planting your fruits, vegetables, and herbs. With the biodynamic method, this application uses phases of the moon to help you look after your garden. The idea is that successful sowing, harvesting, and transplanting depends on lunar cycles. You’ll receive info about the moon phase, zodiac signs, and the weather.

Garden work never ends, there’s always maintenance ongoing, (and sometimes we just don’t have the time)! For further support with your garden, consider using a grounds maintenance service. A Grounds maintenance professional can help you with everything from your pruning and weed control to your grass cutting and beautiful landscaping.

Top tips, Travel

How To Find The Right Car For You

How To Find The Right Car For You
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Is it time to look for a new car?

It might be that you have just passed your driving test, so it could be the first car you will ever lease or buy. Or it might be that your old car is no longer suitable for your needs, so you might be on the market for another.

Whatever your reason for looking for a new car, there are some steps you need to take when determining what car is right for you. To help you, we have detailed these steps below to steer you in the right direction!

1: Consider your needs

It’s important to differentiate between need and desire, as it’s no good purchasing a car that looks good and has a ton of flashy extras if it isn’t practical for you. So, while we aren’t saying don’t go for your dream car, you should still give some consideration to functionality, as your personal needs have to dictate your spending choices. 

These are some of the practical considerations you need to consider.

  • How many passengers will you need to carry?
  • How much cargo capacity will you need?
  • How much parking and garage space do you have at home?
  • What safety features are you looking for?
  • What sort of distances will you be driving?

These questions will help you in your buying decision. If you have a family, for example, you will need something with enough seats for everybody. You might also need space for child’s car seats. If your commute is long, you will need something that will give you good fuel economy. So, consider each of the questions we listed, and then think of any other practicalities. You will then be able to narrow down your search, and you will be less tempted to buy a car that isn’t right for your situation.

2: Consider your budget

You need to set your budget before your search, as you don’t want to buy or lease something that you won’t be able to afford.

If you are looking to buy something on finance, or if you are considering leasing a car, it is generally advised that the monthly payment shouldn’t exceed 15% of your take-home pay. If you are able to buy something outright, then that might be something you consider if you can afford it. However, in all cases, you should also factor in the other expenses that you will be expected to cover, including car tax, insurance, breakdown cover, and fuel costs.

If you can determine a realistic figure at the outset, this will help you when researching the cars at the local dealerships or their online equivalents.

3: Consider whether leasing is better than buying for you

Should you lease or buy? This is a question facing many people on the market for a new car today, so you might want to pose the question.

When leasing, you will be able to drive a more expensive car at lower monthly payments. You might also qualify for the Vauxhall Motability scheme, and that will give you the means to afford a new car at a reduced cost. Repair costs are often covered when leasing too, so this will be one less expense for you to worry about. The only frustration is that you will have to give up the car when the lease period ends, although you will have the opportunity to shop around some of the latest models, and you could renew the lease.

When buying, you will be able to own the car outright. That means you will have the freedom to modify it how you like, and you also have the freedom to sell it if you later need the money. There will also be an end to the payment plan, so you won’t have to make monthly payments forever. However, if your budget is low, you might not have the opportunity to drive the latest cars on the market, which is where leasing can prove more attractive. 

There are pros and cons to both buying and leasing, so weigh up your options.

4: Consider the used car market

If you’re planning on buying a car, it might be that a used car will be better for your budget. You might not be able to find something with the latest features, but you could still opt for something that is a couple of years old, and that contains some of the safety features and other car technologies that are now being fitted as standard.

You do need to take care though. Buying used is often the cheapest option, but reliability is something you need to consider. You should always ask a qualified third-party to check the car before buying, as there could be hidden faults. 

In some cases, buying used is advantageous. Not only will you be paying less at the outset, but you will also have a vast array of cars to choose from. This means you might have a better opportunity to find a car that suits both your budget and your practical needs. 
Take a look at this used car checklist when considering this option.

5: Do your research

When you have an idea of the type of car you might need, it is time to start shopping around. You can do this online and off, so take your time, and don’t rush into a decision, even if you do find the car that seems to be right for you. 

When online, look for car review websites. These will give you the lowdown on the best and worst cars on the market and will detail such things as features, performance, and strengths and weaknesses. Read a range of reviews, from both buyers and car experts, and use their opinions to shape your search. 

Then research local dealerships online, and look for customer reviews on these places as well. While most dealerships will be reputable, there might also be those that aren’t, so the reviews you read should prove useful.

You can use online review and dealership sites to compare those cars that fit your criteria. You can check prices online too, so when you see something that you like, extend your search, as you might find the same car or similar at a cheaper price elsewhere. 

You also have the option to buy from private car sellers, so do check your local classifieds. The only issue here is that private sellers might care less about their reputation than an official dealership owner, so you could be sold a lemon (a bad car, not the fruit). There are some tips here on buying a car privately, so have a read. There is guidance on the questions you need to ask the seller and advice on how to avoid getting ripped off. 

If there are dealerships near you, be sure to visit them when researching the cars that are available. Compare the prices with those you have found online, and mention these to the dealers, as they might knock down their prices to match.

6: Take a car for a test drive

If you have found a car that suits your budget and your practical needs, then great. You are almost good to go! However, the test drive is very important, as not only do you need to make sure the car is actually driveable, but you want to make sure that you feel comfortable driving it too. You might also want to bring your family along with you on the test drive, as you will then know whether the car is actually big enough or not.

On your test drive, check for any faults. These will include signs of wear and tear on both the inside and outside of the car, but they will also include any mechanical faults. An engine that struggles to start, loose pedals, faulty elements on the dashboard, and weird smells and noises are just a few of the things you need to watch out for. It might be worth taking along a driver who is more experienced than you too, as he or she might pick up on things that you don’t on the test drive, especially if your heart is ruling your head!
Then check for other things on your test drive. Are the seats comfortable to sit on? Do the included extra features actually work? Do your hands feel comfortable on the wheel? Ask yourself: Will I enjoy driving this car for the long-term? There is much to consider when test driving a car, so take your time, ask yourself the important questions, and perhaps take other cars for a test drive so you can compare experiences.

Finally

By following the steps we have suggested, you should be able to find the right car for you. So, let your head rule your heart, and be diligent in your search. After all, the last thing you want is a car that doesn’t suit your needs, as you will have wasted both your time and money. With the right car, however, you will have the opportunity to drive something that is perfect for you, and you will never regret the purchase.

Lifestyle

Has Your Spouse Lost Interest In You?

Has Your Spouse Lost Interest In You?

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Maintaining a mindful marriage is not easy. It means looking at and appreciating the good in your marriage, but also being wary of the bad, and taking care of those aspects before they cause a serious rift. A seeming loss of attraction, oft accompanied by a decrease in sexual intimacy in a marriage, can become a serious problem. As such, it’s worth taking the time to identify any causes that might be behind it.

Talk about physical intimacy

Sex is an everyday part of marriage and, while outside circumstances can make it a little harder to get intimate with your partner, there should still be signs of physical and emotional affection that aren’t necessarily for the bedroom alone. If your partner doesn’t cuddle, kiss, or show simple physical intimacy, then it may be because of deeper reasons. They might feel their own sex drive changing with age, for instance. However, there can also be physical and emotional health issues at the root of it, too.

The question of mental health

Mental health issues of all stripes can affect our desire and ability to feel sexual attraction. Depression has been known to decrease sex drive drastically and stress may mean that someone is too focused on minor problems in their life to “get into the mood.” If your partner has been changing, it may be a sign that they need to seek help, rather than a change to do with you.

Sexual dysfunction is a real threat

Aside from the mental health issues that can affect our desire to be intimate, sexual health is another aspect that is worth addressing. For instance, a surprisingly frequent issue in marriages where physical intimacy becomes rarer and rarer is pornography addiction. Not only can it mean that a partner never shows interest in real intimate contact, but it can affect your feeling of self-esteem and self-worth as a partner. Addictions of all kinds can destroy marriages, so it’s important to address them and treat them thoroughly.

Have you changed?

Self-reflection can be difficult and it’s important to ensure that it does not turn into self-blame. However, if you have experienced excessive weight gain since the beginning of the marriage, it can affect the attraction of your partner to you. Furthermore, it may have affected your own self-esteem. You might notice that your partner doesn’t initiate as much, but it could be the case that you haven’t noticed your behaviour has changed in the same way.

Remind your partner why they were interested in you

Marriage changes a relationship, turning it from something that’s purely attraction-driven into a partnership that’s as practical as it is passionate. Taking the time to date your partner can help you both rediscover what it is that drew you both to one another, helping to rekindle things in the bedroom and beyond.

It might hurt to look into the reasons why your partner isn’t showing the kind of interest that they may have done, before. However, it’s worth identifying reality through honest and empathetic communication. You may, after all, be mistaken and find another reason for the shift in your marriage.

Garden tips

Giving Your Garden A Makeover

Giving Your Garden A Makeover

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Whether you’re green fingered or not, the garden is always an area that is worth investing some of your time. After all, when you want to enjoy the weather, it makes sense to create an outdoor space that you can utilise and enjoy for many years to come.

You may have lived in your house for many years or have moved into a new property and have consequently inherited a neglected garden or one that is not designed to your taste or in a practical way.  It can sometimes be hard to envisage the potential that your outdoor space has, so it’s always worth a look around online to get some inspiration from what other people have done to their gardens and outdoor space.

No matter how your garden currently looks, it can be converted into a space that really suits your style and matches your vision of the perfect garden. From stripping down overgrown shrubs and trees to building new features and adding greenery, we take care of every step of the process.

Many factors will come down to a details such as:

The size and shape of your garden

If you have a small garden, then you will really be looking to maximise the space and clear away any obstacles that are not working. There might be trees that are blocking natural sunlight or a space that could be better used. Some jobs might be too big to tackle on your own though and this is where you will need the services of tree surgeons like the Sydney Tree Company who can remove trees and arrange for their removal too.

Your budget

Before you start planning your garden design and reconfiguration, you need to be looking at how much money you have to spend on the project. Once you start looking at costs, then you’ll get a clearer idea of what your priorities are and what you can achieve with the amount you have in mind. It will help clarify what the essential changes are and what the ‘nice to have’ changes will be.

The functions of the garden

You need to be clear on what you intend to use your garden for. If you spend a lot of time in your garden, then it makes sense to get it to the way that you envisage, as much as possible. If you’re used to entertaining and plan to use your garden for socialising, then it’s functionality is of paramount importance.  You will need a space that can accommodate more people, as well as planning out seating areas for everyone’s comfort.

If your garden is going to be used primarily for kids playing, then you might want to consider what might be more sustainable for the upkeep. You might not want delicate plants and flowers in places where they might get trampled on, and you also might want a grassed or and are with artificial grass for the kids to play freely, without any hazards such as raised beds that can easily be tripped over.

Collaborative post, Lifestyle

Is It Time to Move? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

Is It Time to Move? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself
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Even if you love everything about your house, there might come the point where you feel compelled to move. Even though you can’t put your finger on why you want to move, you believe that it is now or never. Moving home, however, can be stressful and expensive, and it could disrupt a life that doesn’t need disrupting. If you find yourself browsing available properties all over the country, ask yourself these four questions before deciding on anything concrete. 

Are You Ready to Move or Just Bored?

Sometimes, you just feel bored with your home and the area. You feel you’ve done everything, and there is nothing that inspires joy any longer. This, however, is no reason to move house. Instead, you can consider ways to get that joy back. A renovation is a great place to start, and you use Buddy Loans or crowdfunding to make this possible. Renovating or extending your home will give you more space while also making the house feel new all over again, giving you the warm, fuzzy feeling you had when you first moved in. 

Can You Afford to Miss Anything? 

If you have built a life around this home, then there is a chance you will miss more than you expect. You might miss your favourite chippy, or if your kids have grown up and moved out but still live local, you could miss your grandchildren. If they are still living at home, you must consider how a move could affect them. It doesn; ‘t seem fair to uproot your entire life on a whim and tear them away from their friends. When thinking about moving house, it’s not all about you, so consider everyone else in the house. 

What Is Going to Change? 

Your move should be for positive reasons. Maybe you are moving for work and more opportunities; perhaps you want to move to a safer neighbourhood to raise your kids. Perhaps the cost of living is more affordable, or the schools are better. These are decent reasons for you to move home. But, if your only reason for moving is that you’re bored or you feel like it without the potential for much to change at all, it’s best to stay put. 

Is It Practical?

Even if you know there’s nothing you will miss, and you are moving for the right reasons, that doesn’t mean your dream of moving can come to fruition. There are plenty of practical issues that arise from moving home, including affordability and whether it could disrupt your life entirely. A move is stressful whether it’s across the country or the world, so if you have to move, maybe it’s best to wait until you can afford it and life is a little calmer. 

Decision Time

Moving house can give you the refreshed feeling that you had when you first moved into your current property. But it’s not good to chase that feeling whenever you feel bored or tired with the same four walls. As with any significant decision, you must consider alternatives and work out all the fine details to make sure that it is something worth doing and will benefit everybody, not just you!