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Family / Lifestyle blog. Sharing our life's fun and adventures with our 3 sons living in London.
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!

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eye care, health care

4 Ways To Take Care Of Your Eyes

4 Ways To Take Care Of Your Eyes
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If you want to enjoy life with your loved ones, then you should consider taking good care of your health in general. One of the least talked about aspects of health care has got to do with vision. However, it is as important as taking care of your physical health. You don’t need to bend over backward to ensure your eyes are in top-notch shape, and here are a few ways to do it.

Eat well

The diet you keep goes a long way to affect your eyesight, and it really should be more of a point of discussion. A balanced diet is recommended for general body health and fitness, but it helps to know what ingredients help your eyes. Fruits, vegetables, and fish contain nutrients that optimize their functioning. Zinc, vitamin c, omega-3 fatty acids, etc. are all very useful in reducing the risk of developing eye diseases to enhance your quality of life. So the next time you’re fixing you or your family a meal, consider ingredients that are eye-friendly as well. 

Reduce screen time

Screens have been shown to reduce the quality of your eyesight. You might experience blurry vision, trouble focusing, eye strain, and dry eyes if you spend a lot of time on your phone or computer. One way to prevent that is to take 20-minute breaks from those screens when using them. If this solution is not practical due to your lifestyle, then you should consider discussing other protection options with a professional. Think about getting medicated glasses, replacing them as and when it’s required. If you’re on a budget, best way to do it is to replace only the lenses while keeping your frame. 

Wear sunglasses

The sun does not only affect the skin but your eyes too. The UV rays are such that they can penetrate your eyes and cause some damage. Excessive exposure also puts you at risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Some sunglasses are designed to block out those harmful rays of the sun. Others can be used even while driving and so there’s no excuse for your eyes to be out. If you’re not a fan of eyewear, ask about contact lenses from a professional and see which one will work best for you. Hygiene is critical when it comes to this mode of eye protection and so ask about the pros and cons before committing to it.

No smoking

In addition to the other disadvantages of smoking is the possibility of depleting eyesight. Those who smoke are more likely to damage their optic nerve and develop cataracts. This is more motivation to work harder at quitting the bad habit. It might not be easy, but the more you try, the better your chances. So think about how much you’ll be saving yourself and put in your all to kick the habit.

You’ll not know how much your eyesight contributes to your quality of life until you’re faced with an issue. So before that happens, try your best to secure your vision for as long as possible — these four tips are just a few to start with.

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Home, Top tips

Spruce Up Your Home and Increase Its Curb Appeal

Spruce Up Your Home and Increase Its Curb Appeal
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If you want to spruce up your garden and do something new with it, there are many ways to get that right. It’s a simple case of increasing the curb appeal and ensuring your house is presented to the world in the best way possible. If it’s been a while since you thought about this stuff, now is the time to change that.

Each of the ideas we’re about to discuss below will help you do something new and interesting with the area around your home, making it look nicer in the eyes of everyone who passes by. Find out more below.

Clean Out the Gutters

One of the first things you should do before you move onto any of the bigger tasks at hand is clear out the gutters. This is not just about how the home looks but also about presenting future problems. When gutters aren’t cleaned out regularly, problems start to appear and then you’re left with damaged gutters that run the risk of causing standing water problems. Such problems can damage your property very badly.

Change Up the Door and House Number

People immediately look at the front door and the details on the front of the house when they first see it. That’s why it can be a good idea to change up the door and do something new with it. That can be as simple as giving it a fresh coat of paint. But you could also do something much grander with it if you want to. Many people get creative with the house number they have on the side of their house. You can get a custom number made if you like.

Do Something New with the Boundaries of Your Land

Next, you should think about what you want to do with the boundaries of your land. There are many ways to think about this and some changes you might want to put in place. For example, adding a metal estate fencing adds value to your property and also makes it seem neater and properly established. People can clearly see the extent of your land, where it starts and where it ends. You could achieve something similar by using trees or planting shrubs.

Clean the Exterior

The exterior of the home will get battered and dirty over the years, so if you’re not taking the time to clean it and make it look nice, that’s going to be a problem. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it can make if you simply take a power wash and wash down the walls of the home. It’s something that might not have been done for decades, so give it a try and see what kind of impact it has.

Maximise the Lawn

The lawn is one of the most important parts of the front part of the home’s exterior. If you want it to look neat and presentable, it makes sense to hire a landscape gardener who can do all this kind of work for you. They’ll be able to make it look professional and manicured. If you have a large amount of outdoor space, it might even be a good idea to hire a gardener to come back regularly to maintain the lawn and garden.

Make it Symmetrical

Making your home look symmetrical from the outside creates a much stronger impression. The property will look like real work and effort has gone into making it look nice and that’s what you want when you’re trying to spruce it up and increase its curb appeal. This doesn’t have to involve doing anything particularly complicated either. You just need to put some thought into the changes you’re making.

Add Colour with New Flowers

Finally, you might want to think about the way in which colour can impact the aesthetic of the home and how it looks from the outside. If you have some front garden space, it’s a good idea to dedicate some of it to flowers and flower beds that bring a pop of colour. It’s a little thing but it can really brighten up and enliven the outdoor space around your home, so keep that in mind.

With the help of the tips and ideas outlined above, you’ll have absolutely no problem increasing the curb appeal of your home and making it look better than it ever has before. Choose the ideas that you think will work best for your home and then start putting them into action.

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Technology, Top tips

Tips For A More Mindful Marriage In This Digital Era

Tips For A More Mindful Marriage In This Digital Era
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Do you ever feel like your mind just never stops? Our hyper-connected world provides a lot of distractions in our daily lives. We live in a world where we’re all consumed by our smartphones and we find it harder and harder to concentrate on a single task without the urge to check emails, social media feeds and all sorts of notifications that might pop up. 

The practice of mindfulness has never been more paramount, than it is in this day and age. It’s very much vital for our mental well-being. But what about the effect this has on our relationships?

Often our marriages get distracted as well. There are bills to pay, chores to do, meals to prepare, and much more. Life is busy. But it shouldn’t get in the way of a great marriage.

Plan together

When you first were married, you most likely had big plans for your life. Are you meeting the goal that you made together? Remember in the early stages when it was all exciting and you were busy looking for diamond engagement rings and looking through your wedding? You need to stay as focused as you were back then on your future

Take time together on a regular basis to make plans. Mark it on your calendar so that you don’t forget to talk about the months ahead. Plan the everyday tasks and also the big things like holidays. This is also a perfect time to work on your life vision. What does it look like and how well are you doing in realising it?

Plan to have time with your partner

Not only should you plan your ongoing life together, but you should also make time for each other in your day to day lives. Life can get really busy, but every once in a while it’s a good idea to make some time that’s just for the two of you. So plan a date night and try and keep to a regular schedule. It may be once a week, once a fortnight or even once a month. Whatever works best for you, working around your commitments.

Challenge yourself to dedicate some time alone, where you are not distracted by your smartphones or the TV. Just the two of you, chatting about your day. It’ll help you reconnect and reinforce your bond.  While you’re making time for each other, you can use this opportunity to indulge your partner in their interests and learn to appreciate what makes the other one tick.

Continually learn about each other

We all change a little over time and our needs and interests change as we adapt. Make sure that you take the time to ask questions and see if you can find out something that you didn’t know about them. Chances are that you blindly assume some aspects of their personality, that you might be proven wrong on.  Even if you’ve been married for decades, there are still things you don’t know about your spouse. Take the time to find out his or her thoughts, feelings, memories, and future goals.

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Pet care.

Tips To Make Your Home Suitable For Pets

Tips To Make Your Home Suitable For Pets
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Buying pets is a serious commitment, especially for those that will live for years. It’s important that you also make your home a place that is suitable for the animal in mind. Here are some tips to make your home suitable for animals to live in.

Have Plenty Of Outdoor Space

Having an outdoor space is important because it’s good for those animals who need to stretch their legs and perhaps have quick access to go to the toilet. You’ve also got animals like horses who will need a lot of land to be able to use and places to store food from Equi Supermarket. If you haven’t got the available space or perhaps limited with the space you do have, you might want to reconsider or think carefully about the types of animals you were looking at having. For their own health, it’s important to have lots of outdoor space available, otherwise, it will likely impact their health and also their happiness. 

Consider The Flooring

The flooring is an important element to consider in your home, especially if you’re going to have animals that are running about on the carpet. Anything with claws or nails might end up damaging the carpet you have, and it’s important to clip them whenever they get too long. However, if you let them grow, then you could damage your carpets regardless. It’s probably a good idea to have wooden flooring or vinyl flooring where you can simply wipe up the problem, rather than having to deal with soiled carpets. This can be especially relevant when you’ve got puppies or kittens that don’t know how to go to the toilet properly for the first few months.

Keep Valuables Out Of Reach

With pets, there’s a risk that valuables or anything that’s sitting or hanging too late can end up getting damaged. It’s important to keep your valuables out of reach, just like you would if you had young kids. By keeping things out of reach, you stop some of your favourite things from getting ruined. Whether that’s a pair of fancy slippers from getting torn apart or anything small that might accidentally be swallowed by the animal who gets hold of it. Before you get the animal, perhaps go around your home to make sure everything is kept away, and that will hopefully help you to keep on top of it.

Invest In Cleaning Products

Cleaning products are something that can come in handy when cleaning out cages or dealing with soiled areas in your home. It’s a good idea to invest in the right products that will make cleaning up easier. However, it’s also important to pick the ones that aren’t going to be toxic to the pets you have in your home. There are certainly ones that you can use on floors and areas where they’ll be that are non-toxic for them.

Making your home suitable for your animals is essential, so make sure to do it before having them.

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Collaborative post, Pet care., pets

Save Your Dogs From Themselves This Spring Season

Save Your Dogs From Themselves This Spring Season
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Springtime normally brings out the fun side in everyone. After long months of rain, wind and snow, we’re finally back out into green fields, bountiful meadows and enjoying the sunshine. Our pets especially feel invigorated and want to run as fast as they can, while chasing butterflies. But, sadly, it’s not all fun and games because springtime does have a few hazards waiting for our pets. Although the majority of them are far from serious, some of them can transpire into larger issues that we hope never to deal with. Thankfully, there’s a wealth of knowledge out there to avoid suffering through any of them.

Harmful flowers

Cats and dogs love to chew on flowers during this time of year. They are bright and they are juicy. They love to eat some flowers because the petals are filled with sugars. However, the bulbs of some flowers are toxic and can make your pet vomit or suffer from diarrhoea. Watch out for flowers such as daffodils, bluebells, cyclamens, lilies and azaleas to name but a few. It can cause your pets to have sudden convulsions if there were to ingest one of the bulbs. You should keep an eye on what your cat is doing in your garden and when you go for a walk with your dog, make sure you’re telling them to stop when they bite at flowers. Sometimes, our pets have to be saved from themselves.

Springing into action

Part of what makes spring so bright and beautiful is the countless living things that spring into action, all at the same time. It’s almost as if they are working in unison, on the same schedule and it’s a wonderful melee of action. However, during the spring, parasites are out in force as well. Particularly, fleas, as they begin to lay up to 50 eggs a day on any living creature they can find. That’s why you need to see this link, whereby you can buy a tasty chew treat, which battles an array of parasites from mites, fleas, ticks, heart-worms and other worms that fester in the digestive system. It will help to limit and control secondary conditions that will make your dog feel lethargic and off his or her appetite.

Stick to trails

If you’re a man or woman of the country, you will need to stick to the walking trails when you’re out with your dog. Poison ivy is one of the worst things your dog can come into contact with. If they eat it, expect to see excessive drool, convulsions and vomiting. If your dog rubs up against poison ivy, he or she will be driven mad with itchiness, causing them to roll around on the ground uncontrollably. Look out for the signs of ivy, it’s a very thick, dark green leaf which can be mistaken for something harmless. If your dog is affected by it, bathe them in a shampoo with oatmeal to calm the inflammation.

Springtime is a joyous season, where life makes leaps and bounds once again. But beware your dog doesn’t go crazy with excitement and does themselves more harm than good. 

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Lifestyle, moving house, Top tips

Tips For A Stress-Free Move

Tips For A Stress-Free Move
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Moving house is an exciting time in your life but can also be quite overwhelming. There’s a lot to think about and tasks to complete before settling into your new property.

There are steps you can take to ensure that your move is stress-free and goes over smoothly. Put in a little extra effort right away, and the days ahead won’t seem so frustrating. Whenever you get anxious, think about all the new memories you’ll create with your family once you’re in your new home. Take your time and go about it the right way so that you can stop stressing and begin to see the big picture and how to successfully get yourself from one point to the next.

Start De-cluttering & Packing Early

One tip for a stress-free move is to start de-cluttering and packing early. As soon as you’re thinking about moving houses, you should begin going through your belongings. It may be wise to research storage solutions in advance so that you have someplace to put your items if your closing date moves back or you’re downsizing. Be sure to label all your boxes and know which room they’ll be going to in your new property.

Make Lists & A Timeline

Help yourself out by making a to-do list and a timeline for each task related to buying and selling a home. Keep yourself organised by documenting all you need to accomplish and by what date. Your move will be stress-free when you write down specifics and can keep yourself on track with what needs your attention. Lists are an excellent way to avoid having to think about all the to-dos each day. Instead, you can refer to your timeline and quickly see if you’re falling behind or on schedule.

Enlist Help

Another tip for a stress-free move is to reach out and enlist help from others with to-dos and chores. Assign responsibilities to your spouse and kids and reach out to a friend or relative if you know they have some time on their hands. It’s also a wise idea to schedule professional movers to help you if you have a lot of belongings or are moving long distance. Trying to take on all the tasks yourself may leave you feeling worn out and tired.

Rest & Take Care of Yourself

It will help if you avoid allowing moving houses to consume you. Remember to take breaks and take good care of yourself throughout the process. It won’t be beneficial to you if you get sick or are too exhausted to continue when it’s time to transport your stuff. While it may be tempting to drink a lot of caffeine or eat unhealthy because you’re busy, you must find ways to practice self-care and attend to your well-being while you pack and move.

Conclusion

Apply these tips, and you’ll be on your way to completing a stress-free move. Know that there may be hiccups along the way and try your best to go with the flow. Focus on all the positives and the fun you’ll have decorating your new home.  

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Garden, Garden tips, landscape

Caring for Your Backyard: 6 Signs It May Be Time to Remove a Tree

Caring for Your Backyard: 6 Signs It May Be Time to Remove a Tree

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Trees are a valuable addition to any property. They offer protection, define a homeowner’s property line, and are beautiful and aesthetically pleasing to look at.

With all these benefits, it makes sense that someone may be hesitant to remove a tree from their landscape. However, sometimes, there’s no other option. Get to know some of the main signs it is time to remove a tree and call tuckerenterprise.com for help here.

1. Branches Hanging Over the Property or a Structure

A clear sign it is time to have a tree removed is if the branches have started to overhang on a person’s property or their home. If this branch happens to break off during a storm, it may fall and cause significant damage. Having to repair a roof can be extremely expensive and having a tree removed is a much more affordable process.

2. A Diseased Tree

If there’s a sick tree on the property, it is dangerous. A tree that shows signs of a disease needs to be treated or removed completely to keep it from falling on the property. When considering the health of a tree, look for certain signs, such as discolored or yellow leaves, weak branches, rotting branches, or rotten roots. Disease will make a tree vulnerable to additional infections and problems.

3. Fungus on the Tree

Usually, the growth of fungus is a sign that the tree isn’t healthy. A person will notice things like mushrooms near the base of the tree or on the trunk. This indicates there are parts of the tree that have begun to rot, and it may not be safe to leave them in place, as it may pose a hazard to structures and people.

4. The Presence of Pests

Trees are habitats for animals and birds. However, there are some situations where the animals that make their home in a tree are actually annoying and potentially dangerous. If there is a tree that is attracting worms, scorpions, or rodents, it may be causing more harm than good. This is particularly problematic in a tree that produces fruit or one that is diseased. If a pest finds its way into a nearby structure, there will be a bigger problem than just removing the tree.

5. Invasive Roots

All trees have roots that will go vertically into the ground and ones that grow horizontally. The horizontal, also called the secondary roots, can prove to be intrusive on any property. For example, they may begin to grow into plumbing pipes, causing a blockage, and an array of other disasters in the sewer or plumbing system. These roots also make it challenging to mow the grass.

6. The Wrong Type of Tree

Not all trees are meant to grow in every region. There are some trees that do better in areas that don’t receive too much sunlight and others grow in colder regions. If a tree is planted that isn’t meant for that climate, it won’t grow, which means it doesn’t add curb appeal to the property.

If a homeowner notices any of the above-mentioned issues on their own property, now is the time to consider having the problem tree removed. This will pay off and help ensure that a home’s curb appeal remains intact and that no other serious issues occur like the ones that have been mentioned here.

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Garden, Garden tips

How to Run Your Garden in a Sustainable Way

How to Run Your Garden in a Sustainable Way
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If you love your garden but wish you could get more out of it and run it in a more sustainable way, you’re not the only one. These days, more and more people are thinking about how they can create a sustainable garden. It might seem difficult to know where to start and how to get this right, but we’re here to help you out with that.

It doesn’t have to be an impossible mission and it doesn’t even have to be particularly complicated either. We’re going to talk about some of the practical steps you can take to change your garden in positive ways and ensure it becomes more sustainable and eco-friendly. Find out more below.

Use Solar Power Lighting

First of all, you should think about how you choose to light the social spaces in your garden. If you use lights powered by conventional electric, that’s not a very green or sustainable choice, especially when there are so many better and more sustainable options out there for you to consider instead. Look at solar power lighting solutions and how these might help you to light up your outdoor space in the evening using solar panels that charge a battery during the day when the lights aren’t in use.

Commit to Zero Waste

There’s no reason at all why you should be creating waste in your garden. Many people are now making the commitment to running gardens that operate on a zero waste basis. This means that absolutely nothing gets thrown in landfill and nothing goes to waste. After all, why should it? There’s something that can be done with all of the potential waste that comes out of your garden, and we’re going to talk about some of the specific ideas below.

Grow Your Own Food

Growing your own food is a must if you want to run a sustainable garden. We all need food, but why buy things from a store when you can grow them in your garden instead? It’s a way of consuming the most local of products, and means that you’re not buying food that has been transported over long distances, creating CO2 emissions in the process. Start with a small vegetable patch growing some simple produce and then grow it from there over time. It’ll offer you just what you need.

Create a Compost Heap

This is one of the ways in which you can reduce the amount of waste in your garden. All of the things that are created after weeding and pruning your garden can be thrown on a compost heap and be put to good use. It’s much better to do that than to simply allow your garden waste to go in the bin and ultimately end up in landfill. Instead, you can get some use out of it and actually benefit your garden in a big way. Your own fresh compost will enable you to revitalise your flower beds and plants later on.

Capture, Store and Use Rainwater

Why waste water when you can get all the water you need from the sky? You can use plastic water tanks to collect rainwater and then use that water to keep your flowers and plants hydrated and growing. It’s easy to set up a system like this and it’s essential to do so if you’re serious about making your garden more sustainable and eco-friendly. There are guides out there that’ll help you with putting a tank system in place, so make the most of them. You won’t regret it.

Avoid All Chemicals

There’s no reason why you need to use garden products that are packed full of chemicals. It’s simply not necessary and there are so many better options out there. There’s a growing number of garden products that only use clean and sustainable ingredients, and that means shunning products that are packed full of unhelpful and unhealthy chemicals. If you want to make your garden more sustainable, you should also take these kinds of steps to make it a little cleaner too.

Reuse as Many Resources as Possible

Whenever you get the chance to reuse something in your garden, you should go ahead and do that. You don’t want to be buying new items, implements, pots and tools. Plant pots can be made from all kinds of things from old cardboard crates to disused toilets. There’s no limit to the ways in which you can get creative when it comes to reusing items and putting unwanted things to new uses in your garden, so make this happen. It’ll add new character to your garden and it’ll be sustainable at the same time.

Use Native Plants That Belong in Your Garden

If you want to make sure that your garden is healthy and natural, you should use native and adapted plants. Native plants are one that grow in your location without any human input. Native plants are well suited to your location, the conditions and climate. On top of that, native plants can add a distinctive sense of place to a garden, which is always a positive thing. It’s much easier to maintain a healthy balance in your garden when you have native plants in place.

Save Your Seeds

Finally, you should always remember to save your seeds. You won’t need to buy new seeds all the time if you make use of your own. You can grow flowers or vegetables or fruit and then take the seeds and store them carefully until you want to plant more of that flower or that vegetable. It’s easy to do and it’ll benefit you massively in the long-term as you attempt to expand your garden.

If you want to run your garden in a greener and more sustainable way, these are the things you need to do. Each of these changes will be easy to implement and they’ll enable you to easily run your garden in a sustainable way. Get to work and start making these changes as soon as you can.

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Garden, Garden tips

3 Garden Projects That’ll Help You Deal With Boredom

3 Garden Projects That’ll Help You Deal With Boredom
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There are few things in life as annoying as being bored. When you’ve got nothing to do, then you feel like you’re just wasting the hours in a day. Boredom comes and goes at all times, but most of you are probably feeling more bored than ever right now. With strict isolation orders in place across the country, many of you are stuck at home with very little to do. 

If you have a garden, then you’re in luck!

A garden offers so many time-consuming opportunities that will keep boredom at bay. Here are a few project ideas you can start whenever you like: 

Growing the perfect lawn

This is a great project to start – particularly if your lawn is looking rough right now. We had a lot of bad weather for a few weeks, which means most people ended up with a waterlogged lawn that couldn’t be cut. Not only that, but the winter months also took their toll on your grass. Not, it’s probably a far cry from the green lusciousness that you hoped for. 


Well, now’s the time to put things right as you attempt to grow the perfect lawn. Take a look at your current garden and figure out what might be wrong with your lawn. Is it overwatered and underfed? Is it too dry? There are loads of ways to revive a dying lawn, and you can spend your time doing this.

Planting a hedge

Hedges make great additions to anyone’s garden. The great thing is, you can have a hedge in your front garden or one in the back. Think of them as tall bushes that add some extra privacy and class to your garden area. 

Now’s the time to plant a hedge if you don’t already have one. You’ve got so many different hedges to plant, and hedgeplants-heijnen can show you some of the best options. The key is to ensure your hedges grow nice and tall and remain neat and tidy. If you already have hedges in your garden, then use this time to tend to them. Perhaps you could even look at some awesome hedge cutting designs to try out? 

Creating a flowerbed

For me, adding a flowerbed to your garden is a great way to make it more bright and peaceful. The addition of colours can liven up the place, and the scents from the flowers really boost your mood. Plus, it’s an enjoyable task going outside and preparing a flowerbed then planting all your flowers and watching them blossom!

The great thing is, you have to go out pretty much every day to spend time looking at the flowers and ensuring they’re on the right path. So, boredom is a thing of the past. 

Take full advantage of your garden if you’re struggling to think of ways to pass the time. When you start making an effort, you suddenly realise how much work goes into looking after your garden spaces. Loads of projects present themselves to you, but these three are great places to start. 

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Finance, Home

The Future of The UK Real Estate Market

The Future of The UK Real Estate Market

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For years, the people of Britain have been known for the fact that most of them choose to own houses and not rent them. However, the recent soaring prices of buying houses, over the past two decades has influenced this factor causing more people to turn to renting. However, this is not the only factor contributing to the rising number of renters in the country. Other factors include the financial crash that happened in the year 2008 and the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union.

Like in any other part of the world, the British housing market is extremely unpredictable. Despite the uncertainty, citizens looking to purchase houses tend to try and anticipate the market conditions beforehand. Something that can be said about these predictions is that no one is ever sure whether or not they are accurate. The reason why this is so is that it is hard to predict causal factors like financial crash and even health crises like the Corona Virus outbreak. All these factors could either negatively or positively affect the market.

The British Housing Market in 2020

A lot can be predicted about the foreseen future of the real estate market. Below are some factors to consider when predicting the state of the market:

1. The Current State of the Market

This is a very important factor to consider when trying to predict the future state of the market. In a recent statement about the housing market in the UK, the Nationwide Building Society, a mortgage firm, suggested that there had been a fallback in its growth. The report showed that the cost of purchasing a house in the UK has increased by a tenth in January 2020. This growth comes after the zero-growth period in December 2019. The report goes further to say that the growth of the housing market has been low for the past six years. The state of the market in January alone is enough to help you predict what the market holds in the months to come.

2. Opinions from the Experts

Despite the low state of the United Kingdom housing industry at the beginning of 2020, experts in the sector are very hopeful about the months to come. According to Richard Donne, an analyst of the property sector, the market is likely going to experience a 3 per cent rise by the end of the year. Capital Economist’s Chief Property Economist also predicts a slight growth in the market by the end of the year. Other professionals in the market like Russel Galley of Halifax Bank and Lloyds Banking Group and Andrew Montlake of Coreco seem to have the same opinions as the first two. On average, the analysts seem to agree that the industry is set to experience a growth of at least 2 per cent. 

However, some analysts in the industry still maintain pessimistic expectations from the real estate sector. According to Miles Ship-side house valuation online remarks, the political state of the country and the ongoing negotiations with the European Union are set to derail the growth of the market. This means that there probably won’t be any change in the state of the market this year. A few other analysts echo these sentiments, others citing a research done by Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. The study indicated that the market is set to remain at its current state or experience a negative growth.

3. The country’s political and financial state

It has been determined from experience that an increase or decrease in the financial state of the country significantly affects several sectors, including the real estate market. The political state, like the relationship with the European Union, affects the sector as well. This is because it affects the financial state of the nation.

House Valuation Online

Online house valuation sites help participants in the real estate sector determine the cost of their property before selling or buying. These sites use algorithms that factor in the state of the market when determining the cost. The sites are also important when it comes to predicting the future and state of the market since they use data from various sources.

Conclusion

There isn’t really a way to determine who is right about what the future holds for the market because there is no way to correctly predict what the future hold. This means that only time will tell what happens in the industry.


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Garden, Garden tips

Closer to Nature: 3 Ways to Turn Your Garden into a Peaceful Haven

Closer to Nature: 3 Ways to Turn Your Garden into a Peaceful Haven

***Collaborative post***

Why bother planting a garden or paying to have a landscape company install a beautiful landscape around your property if you can’t enjoy it? A garden or landscaped lot should be a place for relaxing and contemplation. It must include healthy trees and plants, visual beauty, and comfortable seating options. A successful landscape and garden must be properly maintained to ensure the health and longevity of the plantings and to remain an attractive place to spend time. Some people love puttering in the garden, but others don’t have the time or inclination to care for their landscape themselves and hire competent landscape companies to do the job.

Building a Contemplative, Relaxing Garden

Those who would like a nice place to relax and unwind outside can choose a place in the back yard to develop or improve. If the budget allows, hire a local landscaper to evaluate the area and give you a plan for the perfect garden to install and enjoy. Give this expert a budget and a list of favorite trees and flowers to use. Also, give him or her a list of plants and trees you do not like.

If there are already trees or shrubs in the back yard, hire a Tree and Shrub Pruning service to get them in shape. They can be the anchor for the new garden. A good landscape company can test the soil and upgrade it to accommodate the new plantings so they can thrive. Paths can be constructed to allow easy access to different areas, water features can be installed, comfortable seating can be incorporated. Then the plantings can be installed to add color and interest to the garden.

Do You Want a Wild-Life Friendly Garden?

Decide if the garden is going to be just for people or if at least part of the garden can be wildlife-friendly. Some people like to watch animals feeding and hear the birds singing. Five steps to accomplish an animal-friendly area include: setting up a feeding station, providing water, making the area accessible to animals, leaving a corner untouched and wild, and cooperating with willing neighbors to link gardens for a larger animal area. If areas are separated by a fence, a small opening could be cut in the bottom to allow small animals to enter.

A Quiet, Contemplative Garden Spot

Choose the spot to install your relaxing, private garden spot and concentrate your efforts and budget there. On your own or with a landscaper’s help, divide the space into grass areas and flowerbeds with paths between and a seating area with a full view. Choose easy-care perennials for the long-run and some splashy annuals to change every year as your whim dictates. This way the garden will always have attractive plants, yet will change each year to remain interesting.

Work with existing trees to save a little money but add some new flowering varieties that do well in your area. Fruit trees provide beauty and some healthy fruit every summer. Consider having some seating and a small table in the garden for summer lunches or tea. Then add some interesting lighting so the space is usable for longer times during summer and fall months.

A well-balanced garden can be enjoyed by the whole family. It should be a great place to read a favorite book, have a cup of tea or coffee, or work on a portable hobby. This type of garden is well worth money and effort.

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business

Thinking Of Starting Your Own Business? Just Remember Your Business is Only as Strong as Your Brand!

Thinking Of Starting Your Own Business? Just Remember Your Business is Only as Strong as Your Brand!
***Collaborative post***

Are you tired of banging your head against the glass ceiling? Of waiting for your employer to send a few more crumbs from the corporate table your way, or at the very least acknowledge all the hard work, effort and endeavour that you bring to the table every day? It can be extremely frustrating for professionals when the recognition they receive at work (and the pay they take home every month) are disproportionate to their efforts in the workplace. Especially in this era of wage repression where the cost of living keeps on rising but our wages never rise to meet it. For parents, this is especially worrying. Everything from the cost of food to the price of school uniforms seems to rise every year and not only do you struggle to meet the costs of being a parent in 2020, you also find it harder and harder to make the time for your little ones. 

For ambitious but frustrated parents, it’s easy to see how starting your own business can be the perfect antidote to all the inequities of the workplace. It allows you to make more money and create new opportunities on your own terms, using the skills you’ve spent your career developing to do something you love and enjoying better flexibility and work / life balance. And in the digital age, there are more opportunities to go into business for yourself than ever. You can even start your business up as a side hustle which you work on in your free time to reduce your financial risk. Still, if going into business for yourself were easy, everyone would be doing it. Running your own business can lead to great success. But to be successful you need a strong brand behind you.

What is your brand?

Most of us are pretty brand savvy. After all, we’ve had brands trying to market to us since we learned to walk and talk. We understand the shorthand of marketing and all the psychological triggers that brands use to get us to trust and believe in them. However, while some nascent business owners assume they’re “doing” branding by commissioning a graphic designer to make a fancy logo, designing a fancy website and establishing a presence on every social platform under the sun, branding is actually much more nuanced than that. Love him or hate him, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has a great definition of branding. 

“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room”.

Let’s take a look at some of the less-explored factors that influence your branding which you’ll need to master to achieve success with your small business…

Your brand is the materials you use to make your products

Of course your brand is your product. But if you make your own, whether you’re building houses or baking brownies, your products are only ever as good as the raw materials, components or ingredients from which they’re made. This means taking the time to find the best suppliers and maintaining good relationships with vendors so that you can maintain the same consistency of product.

If you start out looking for vendors solely on the basis of cost, you could wind up starting your business on the back foot. Many new business owners think that the best way to stand out from the competition is to be the cheapest game in town and undercut their competitors on price. But this low cost, low margin model only works if you’re trading in high volumes. Which, as a new and unproven business, you probably won’t be. Invest in suppliers who are as passionate about quality as you are. 

At the same time, don’t assume that you have to pay over the odds for quality. Small construction firms and independent contractors, for instance, use Complete Construction Products because they’re able to offer both quality and affordability, with discounts on bulk purchases. This is important in construction because it’s an inherently low-margin industry, but one in which reputation is everything. 

Simply put, you can’t build a compelling brand on inferior products, and you can’t build great products with inferior materials.

Your brand is how you respond when people are upset with you online

Most of today’s entrepreneurs are highly digitally savvy and understand the importance of a robust online presence. You’ll see them on social media shouting from the rooftops every time they get a great review or when someone has something positive to day about them on social media. What’s significantly more telling, however, is how they react when people complain about them online. 

As such, it’s vital to know how to respond to complaints on social media. While nobody likes dealing with negativity, especially when their working days are already busy and stressful, there’s nothing you can do that’s more destructive to your brand than bury your head in the sand. The longer you leave online complaints unattended, the more damage they can do to your brand and your reputation.

Here’s how you deal with online complaints;

  • Respond in a timely fashion
  • Apologise and empathise
  • Don’t try to argue or justify yourself
  • Invite the customer to contact you privately to achieve a resolution
  • Maintain a positive and optimistic tone. Show the world that you’re here to help

Believe it or not, online complaints are a gift to your brand and your business. They give you an opportunity to show legions of prospective customers out there how well you look after your customers, even if they’re less than  thrilled with you. And that counts for a lot!

Your brand is how you treat your employees

Your employees are the ambassadors of your brand. It’s their everyday interactions with your customers that will define your brand and the expectations that new and repeat customers have of you. And if your employees are exhausted, stressed, visibly annoyed or overworked this is likely to reflect poorly on your brand. 

Of course you need to be able to trust in your employees’ professionalism and work ethic, which is why the recruitment process is so important. However, it’s also up to you to ensure that you have an employee onboarding and training program that helps you to get the best out of your employees. Not only should you give them all the training, knowledge and tools that they need to do their job well, you should also make sure that they know what’s expected of them to create and perpetuate the kind of workplace culture you want for your business. And don’t make the mistake of assuming that training stops when your employees start working.

Training should be something that’s ongoing and tailored to your employees’ career goals. Empowered employees whose employers invest in them are happier, more productive and more likely to embody the kind of brand you want to build. 

Look after your employees and building a strong brand becomes much easier.

If you’re a solopreneur (a business with just one member of staff-you), this still goes for you too. Make sure you’re looking after yourself, eating healthily, staying hydrated, exercising, making time for your family, loved ones and friends, and getting plenty of sleep (easier said than done- I know). Looking after yourself in mind and body will help you to remain calm in a crisis, prevent stress from getting the better of you and help you to avoid the very real threat of burnout

Your brand is your relationship with your customers

As you’re probably already aware, it costs around 5 times more to acquire a new customer than it costs to retain someone who’s already made a leap of faith in your business. And how well you maintain that relationship with your customers says a great deal about your brand. Every time you’re too busy to call them back, every time you make them repeat themselves to numerous members of staff and every time you forget what “the usual” is, you erode their faith in your business. 

Even if your business is very small, it’s a good idea to invest in a Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM) to track your relationship with prospects as they move through your sales pipeline. You can also get access to pertinent customer data in just a few clicks. So your customers can enjoy the same standard of service from you even if the member of your team whom they usually deal with is on holiday or off sick.

Your brand is the trust you earn

Finally, trust is a more important aspect of branding than your logo, your slogan or the colour scheme in your web design. People don’t flock to McDonalds because they sell the best burgers. It’s because they know exactly what to expect and trust that they’ll get the same experience every time they walk through the door. 

Your customers should be able to trust you to deliver the same quality consistently. Invest in the infrastructure to provide it and you’ll retain your existing customers while also attracting new ones and charting a path for sustainable growth.  

That means a successful business and more opportunities to take control of your life!


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Finance

TOP 10 TIPS TO HELP COLLEGE STUDENTS ESTABLISH GOOD CREDIT

TOP 10 TIPS TO HELP COLLEGE STUDENTS ESTABLISH GOOD CREDIT

***Collaborative post***

With mounting student loan debt and limited part time job availability, many college students and recent college graduates are finding it difficult to get a leg up in the financial world without having established credit. Without credit, college students can find it incredibly difficult to perform basic tasks such as renting an apartment and buying a car. The best way to avoid these scenarios is to establish your credit as early as possible. Consider the following important tips to gain established credit while in college, so you can avoid complications in the future.

1. Become an Authorized User of a Parent’s Credit Card Account

To establish your credit before you qualify for your own credit card, look into becoming an authorized user of one of your parent’s credit card accounts to build your credit while having your spending monitored. If your parent has good credit, this usually helps to boost your credit score as well.

2. Get Your Own Credit Card

Once you have established your credit by becoming an authorized user on your parent’s account, you can usually upgrade to your own independent credit card. You will have to meet the specific requirements of the credit card company, which will include providing proof of income. In recent years, credit card companies tend to be stricter about offering credit cards to college students, so having the experience and established credit through your parent’s credit card will certainly put you at an advantage.

3. No Two Credit Cards Are Alike

If you have already decided that you are ready for your own credit card, you will want to make sure to research and compare all of the credit card companies available to choose which is the best plan for you. Consider factors such as interest rates, annual fees, credit limits, and billing policies to determine which company offers the best deal.

4. Prepare with Retail Cards

If you feel like you aren’t quite ready for a credit card yet, a good alternative to build up your credit and prepare for monthly bills, interest rates, and other aspects of owning a credit card is to take advantage of retail cards. Many retail stores today offer retail credit cards to shoppers to bring convenience to their shopping experience. The qualifications for these cards are typically more lenient than those for bank credit cards, so using these cards before applying for a credit card is a good way to prepare yourself while simultaneously building up your credit.

5. Only Use Your Credit Card For Small Expenses

Although you may be on a budget, you can’t expect to build up your credit without actually using your card. Once you have your credit card, don’t get carried away with big expenses on clothes, electronics and restaurant bills. Instead, use it occasionally for small expenses, such as grocery store trips and small household bills that you know you will be able to afford at the end of the month.

6. Pay Off the Entire Balance Each Month

Whether it’s your retail cards or your own personal credit card, it is crucial that you pay off the entire balance each month to avoid paying extra interest and to ensure a good credit score. If you are unable to pay off the balance by the end of the month, you are living beyond your means and should make immediate adjustments to your lifestyle.

7. Pay Off All Additional Bills On Time

Timely payments are another crucial element of establishing good credit. Whether it’s a hospital bill, student loan bill, taxes, or even a small library fee, make sure to pay off all of your debts on time to avoid any late fees, interest hikes and negative effects on your credit.

8. Only Use Student Loans For Educational Purposes

Some college students think it’s okay to take out a little extra on their loans to pay for expenses from entertainment to special items for themselves. Although this may certainly be a tempting prospect for a struggling college student, it is not a financially reasonable decision considering the fact that you will be paying the interest back on these purchases.

9. Never Co-Sign

In general, a co-signer is only required to be at least 21 years of age and have a slightly above average credit score. If you have been following the previous tips, there’s a good chance that you may qualify as a co-signer and your friends and family members may want to take advantage of this. Although you may want to help out your friends, you simply can’t afford to ruin your credit from their mistakes.

10. Try to Limit Yourself to One Credit Card

Although having multiple credit cards may seem like a good way to quickly build up your credit, the reality is that applying for several credit cards reflects negatively on your credit. Not only does it effect your credit negatively, but having multiple credit cards increases the temptation and risk of overspending. Reasonably, a college student should not need more than one credit card.

Thanks to Payless Power a Houston Electricity Company

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crafts, Handmade

How To Make Your Own Dream Catcher

How To Make Your Own Dream Catcher

Dream catchers nowadays come in many different shapes and sizes, and are becoming an incredibly popular decor choice. In Native American culture, dream catchers were believed to catch and trap bad dreams, whilst allowing good dreams to pass through its spiders web design, and drift into the heads of those sleeping!

I have always LOVED dream catchers. I don’t know if it’s the feathers, spiderweb design or the belief that they really do catch bad dreams – whatever the reason is, I really do love them.

They are great hung in the bedroom, but also look just as great hung anywhere within your home, office or even in your garden. They are even beautiful enough to make a perfect gift for family or friends.

Seeing as I am currently creating the perfect office/craft room space for myself I decided to make one to hang in the window.

How to make a dream catcher:

  • Get an embroidery hoop: I started off by getting a 10″ embroidery hoop and choosing which yarn I would like to use.
  • Choose some yarn: I chose a yarn I purchased from Dunelm.
  • Starting anywhere on the hoop I tied a knot using the yarn.
  • Wrap the yarn: I then began to wrap my yarn around the hoop. Using small amounts of glue, and also clips to help hold the yarn in place. I continued all the way around until the whole of the hoop was covered in yarn, i.e. back to the starting point.
  • Once the hoop was covered in the yarn, I then tied a knot to finish. I trimmed off the unwanted yarn and applied glue to hold in place.
  • Leave to dry: The hoop was then left for 15 minutes for the glue to dry.
  • Begin to weave: Some yarn was then tied in a double knot to the yarn on the hoop, with glue and a clip to help hold in position. I then began to weave some yarn to form a pattern. This was done by looping the yarn around the hoop and then back over itself. I made sure That the yarn was pulled tight to secure its position before moving on each time.
  • This was continued until I was back at the starting point. I tied a knot to secure the position to finish this row.
  • Continue to weave: The 2nd row was then weaved using a different colour yarn. The rows were continued in different colours, keeping the yarn pulled tight at all times to help keep the positioning secure. The middle then became too small to continue. I tied a double knot at the end to secure its position. I cut away the unwanted yarn.

The Sun Catches The Dream Catcher Nicely In Its Position!

  • How To Make Your Own Dream Catcher
  • How To Make Your Own Dream Catcher
  • How To Make Your Own Dream Catcher
  • How To Make Your Own Dream Catcher
  • How To Make Your Own Dream Catcher
  • How To Make Your Own Dream Catcher
  • How To Make Your Own Dream Catcher

I Then Began To Decorate The Dream Catcher

How To Make Your Own Dream Catcher
  • Adding ribbon: I cut some ribbon to my chosen length needed. This was then glued in position at the bottom of the dream catcher. I used two different coloured ribbons.
  • Drying time: Time was given for the glue on the ribbons to dry. I used clips to help secure in place whilst the glue dried.
  • Cut the ribbon: When the glue had dried, I then cut each ribbon in to three. Feathers were then added via a knot in the ribbon.
  • Decorate: To the hoop area I added coloured gems using glue. I also added glittered feathers attached with yarn. To the web area I added Rhinestone daisy flowers using glue.
  • Making the hanging hoop: I cut some yarn long enough to make a hanging hoop. This was attached by each end of the yarn being tied in a triple knot to the hoop, leaving enough yarn to then hang and hold the dream catcher.
  • Complete: Once all glue was dried, I then removed all of the clips. It was then ready to hang in position in the window area of my office/craft room.

I am still in the process of adding to my office/craft room slowly. I recently made a pom pom cushion which adds a lovely splash of colour to my space. I also upcycled an old photo frame which is now in use in my office/craft room. This is a room in our house that is currently a work in progress and I am very much enjoying turning into my very own space.

Seeing as I spend most of each day in this room, I want to make it as comfortable and cheerful as possible.

I can now daydream away all I want….and just hope all my dreams come true!

Do you love dream catchers?

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