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Family / Lifestyle blog. Sharing our life's fun and adventures with teenage boys living in London.
Finance

Finding Deals to Pay Necessary Bills

Take the time to save money

There is always a good time to sit down and think about your finances, to work out if you could actually be saving a little bit more than you already are. Savings don’t just have to be for a rainy day fund. Instead, you could be looking to a family holiday or to make sure your Christmas presents are extra special this year. So here are some suggestions for you to make sure you aren’t spending unnecessarily when you could be preparing for something big.

Bills

The bane of everyone’s life, bills. From electricity to water and everything in between we don’t want to pay them but we have to. Fortunately, there are options out there to help you save. Starting with household bills, consider using comparison websites that are designed to specifically reduce your outgoings. You might think it isn’t worth it, but actually, the savings can be quite significant especially with so many companies competing for your business.

In addition to running the house, you also have the other expenses. The ones we don’t need for heat or health, but we wouldn’t be able to do without. These are your phone, internet and other subscriptions. Once again you should be looking at comparison websites for your internet, but don’t be afraid to give your provider a call if you think you aren’t getting the best deal. Often the customer service representative is under instruction to keep business and will therefore go above and beyond to help you.

Finding Deals to Pay Necessary Bills

When it comes to mobile phones, the cost can be staggering. This is especially true when you have a family that all want their own data and text message options. However, the providers of these plans are starting to get wise to this and as a result fairer prices plans like Xfinity Mobile phones are starting to become more popular.

Make sure any bill you sign up for is done with thorough research. It may seem tiresome, but you’ll be thankful when you’re feet are up on the beach next year.

Food Shopping

Our grocery bills are also one of those things that can be significantly affected by having more mouths to feed. The average cost of a weekly food shop for a UK household is up to £89, but it can be reduced by shopping around and once again using the internet to help.

There is a bountiful of websites out there which are offering discount codes and vouchers to use in supermarkets around the country, so make sure you are taking advantage of these options when you are getting out there to shop.

There can sometimes seem to be a social stigma attached to using vouchers, but there shouldn’t be. We should take pride in finding good deals and paying less for our weekly shop when possible.

Once again, don’t think about the stress now of findings these deals. Think about the happy faces at Christmas when your hard-earned savings has helped the family to extra gifts.

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Building Design

Things to Consider Before You Start Your Home Extension Project Or Renovation

Things to Consider Before You Start Your Home Extension Project Or Renovation

Things to Consider Are

If you feel like you have grown out of your home and would like to improve your lifestyle, you will have to choose between turning unfunctional spaces into storage or living area, or adding space through extensions. Unfortunately, both projects will come with a lot of mess and you will need to compare the benefits and the cost before you start making plans. Apart from the finances, you will also have to work out how long you will need to be without a bathroom, central heating and air conditioning, and other services. Below you will find a few tips on how to make your home renovation project work for you.

The Look Of Your Home

The first thing you have to do is make sure that you are going to be happy with the end result. This means that you should create professional plans and check how your home will look like from the inside and the outside. If you are planning on adding an extension, the shape and style of your home will change completely, and you might as well ruin the curb appeal of the house. Engage with a professional and find out how you can improve the look of your home without breaking the bank or reducing the value of your real estate.

Style

Things to Consider Before You Start Your Home Extension Project Or Renovation

You will also have to choose a style that matches your taste and the current property trends, After all, you want to be able to sell on the home when the kids have flown out or you need to relocate. The more popular the layout and style is the better chance you will have to make a good return on your home improvement investment. Home renovations cost a bit, so you need to ensure that you are able to improve the look of your home while making it more comfortable for yourself and your family.

Cost

When decided whether to renovate your property or to add an extra room or two, you need to make sure that you can save money and your sanity, too. You will be able to improve the lifestyle of your family, but at what cost? You might get into debt to pay all the contractors and not even get the results you are expecting. It is always better to invest more in the beginning in your plans to make sure you are not wasting money on features and services you don’t really need.

Stability of Your Home

Things to Consider Before You Start Your Home Extension Project Or Renovation

When making structural changes to your home, or adding extensions, you need to make sure that nothing compromises the stability of the walls and the foundation. If you want your extension to be as strong as your home, you can buy Reinforcement Products Online and join the existing foundation with your new build extension. This is important when it comes to insulation and structural stability.  

Heating and Electricity

When you are doing a full renovation in your home, chances are that you will need to upgrade your boiler and your electricity as well at the same time to support the increased number of outlets and radiators. Changing your existing plumbing and heating system is not cheap, so you will need to get a couple of quotes in to find the best solution; extending your system or complete replacement.

Permissions

Your architect firm might be able to take care of the permissions for you, but you also have to check local authority’s building regulations to avoid being caught up in a legal battle. Ask your neighbours about their views, especially if you are looking to complete an extension or a garage conversion. If you live in a townhouse, the noise that comes with the work might upset some of the residents, so you have to make sure you are not creating more problems than necessary.

Roofing

When starting a home extension project, you will also have to consider whether or not to improve your roofing and insulation. The last thing you want to happen is one half of your house looking completely different from the rest, of having problems with dampness and guttering. Consult with a roofing specialist and compare the price of matching your existing roof or replacing the entire structure and all the tiles.

If you are considering a major home improvement or an extension project, you need to be aware of the difficulties ahead and calculate the total cost, or you might end up in debt and never be able to finish the work on your own.

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DIY tips

10 Top-Tip’s To Help You Stay On Budget With DIY Projects

10 Top-Tip's To Help You Stay On Budget With DIY Projects

Projects made easier

With Ian being multi-skilled we are very lucky when it comes to DIY projects around the home as there isn’t much he can’t turn his hand to. We find that we very rarely need to call in help from tradesmen as Ian is more than happy and capable to do things himself. This helps us hugely when we are working to a budget on a project.

Ian worked for a family run business for many of years. He really enjoyed his time working for the company. It is working for this company that he managed to do an apprenticeship as well as gain his skills and knowledge needed for his chosen career which was to become a fully qualified electrician.

Whilst working for this company he would work on many of different sites. He would work alongside many of different tradesmen and this is where he gained a lot of extra skills – skills that are very handy today!

Two of our sons are now following in Ian’s footsteps. Our eldest son Danny works on different jobs on different sites. He also works alongside different tradesmen and is also learning different trades just like Ian did. Bradley our youngest is currently at college on an engineering course which he is really enjoying.

We have put together a list of ways you could help yourself save some money when working on a D.I.Y project yourself at home

10 Top-Tip's To Help You Stay On Budget With DIY Projects

10 way’s you could help yourself to stay on budget with your D.I.Y projects:

  • Plan ahead– Good planning saves you from any surprises that could occur later in your project that is not planned or budgeted for. Good planning saves you time and money. It helps you to be organised and prepared for the job in mind.
  • Set a timescale – Set a timescale per job to work with, allowing enough time to complete it safely and to plan. That way you will know roughly how long each job should roughly take.
  • Set a price – Set yourself a realistic budget to work with. Try your best to stay within your budget. I know it is easy to get sidetracked when busy but keeping track of your outgoings will really help you keep track of the money being spent.
  • Allocate jobs – Do you have a friend or family member in the trade? Call in favours from friends and family. You will probably be surprised how many will be more than happy to lend a hand for a few hours. This will help you keep to your timescale and also help you keep within your budget.
  • Always shop about to find best prices – It is always worth shopping about to see what deals are about. You never know you might just find yourself a great bargain and be pleasantly surprised. Also try and borrow tools needed for jobs rather than buy them, money saved here can be saved or spent elsewhere if needed.

Take notes of everything and always have them to hand – It always pay to check everything twice

10 Top-Tip's To Help You Stay On Budget With DIY Projects

  • Communication – Communication is an absolute MUST. With drawings, measurements or even written instructions. Anyway in which you find helps you communicate with anyone helping on your project then do it. It helps massively and could save from missed communication problems which could result in delays or even prove costly.
  • Keep track of everything – It always helps to keep track of everything so take notes where possible. Of time on/left on jobs, budget spent/left, jobs done/left to do. Keep hold of all receipts collected and also contact details of any tradesmen used.
  • Pitch-in – Don’t be afraid to get stuck in. Bring out any hidden D.I.Y skills you may have, make the tea, clear up, fetch/carry. It all helps at the end of the day and time is money.
  • Make compromises – If you find you are getting a little to close to your budget for comfort then have a little re-think…..do you really need all of your chosen items? could you make a few changes to possibly get something a little cheaper or even do without one or two items? opt for cheaper if needed.
  • Work as a team – A little give and take on a project is always needed. We all have our own way of doing things, our own skills etc, but working as a team is always best. Sit down together and put a project plan together. Put a list together of jobs to be done and agree an order in which you all agree to work in.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help where needed

We have done so many different D.I.Y projects at home, our latest being our garden where Ian called in help as it was in urgent need of a makeover and he has friends in the trade. We all got stuck in and helped them the best we could but they done the bulk of it. Ian will turn his hand to many jobs but one he hates is plumbing and drainage so he avoids those sort of jobs and leaves them to the drainage services. To be honest I don’t blame him either!

Do you have a job you hate doing and leave to the experts?

 

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Renovation: top tips

Saving Money (And Your Sanity)

Saving Money (And Your Sanity)

Preparing Your Family For A Big Home Renovation

The topic of renovating our homes throws up so many concerns. But if we are to get through this, not just in the way that ensures your bank balance doesn’t take a major hit, but also so your emotions are intact, preparation is vital. But what if you’ve got a family and children that rely on you to do so much that you have to get the house done and completely finished under a tight timescale and also keep track of every other aspect of your family life?

Saving Money (And Your Sanity)

Getting Organised

Organisation is essential when you’ve got family anyway, but now that you’ve got to overhaul your home, it’s time to step it up a gear. As every spare moment will be spent dealing with professionals, working through the budget, and taking on a lot of the tasks yourself, you have to ensure that it doesn’t completely overwhelm you, nor take over your life. A good working relationship with professionals is essential in this instance. Whether you’re working with contemporary architects, standard builders, or on the phone endlessly to the council, developing your relationship so that when issues arise, they can be dealt with swiftly without causing much stress, can take some time to achieve. But this is where you have to get yourself organised. If you’re not a naturally organised sort of person, planning ahead, making lists, but also structuring your life, won’t just benefit the job, but the family too.

Keep An Eye On Every Outgoing

A natural offshoot of being organised is keeping track of every single financial component. Your outgoings will be stretched to the very limit. The very important parts at the outset include preparing a budget, but also understanding things can go over budget, and when you’re making financial plans, operating with a financial buffer will help. You can apply for loans to help, but you have to be aware have this could impact your credit score.

Understand The Scope Of The Renovation

We usually operate with the idea of what the house will look like, rather than think about the hardship we have to go through to get to that end product. Understanding the scope, in conjunction with the budget, you need to figure out what you would like to see completed in a short-term time scale, as well as over the next 12 to 18 months. This links directly to your goals, and if you are looking to gut your house out completely, this can result in the budget spiralling out of control. Compromise can help, and if it gets to the point where the project is going on far too long, then you will have to lower your expectations.

We have to consider the impact on our family as well as our financial situation. If our children have limited access to the kitchen and the living room over the space of a year, they can feel somewhat hemmed in. And when life is so busy as it is, adding the task of total renovation can make for a stressful environment. Preparation is vital, not just for your family, but for your own sanity.

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Finance

Kick High Bills To The Curb

A few ways you could lower your bills…

Nobody wants to spend all their hard-earned money on bills. But, for the average person, high bills are just an accepted part of life: something they put up with without question. The problem with this is that paying out lots of money on bills reduces your disposable income and prevents you from doing the things that you want to do with your life.

So what’s the solution? Here we’re going to take a look at some of the interesting ways you can reduce your high bills and get your outgoings under control.

Switch Energy Providers

Kick High Bills To The Curb

Energy providers operate a kind of cartel. There are only so many providers in the market, and so competition is necessarily low. Most people don’t go to the hassle of seeing whether another provider is willing to take them on for less money because they don’t think the savings will be that great.

But the market has changed a lot in recent years. Competition among price comparison websites has actually made it beneficial for many people to switch. Not only do you end up with a lower bill at the end of the month after changing contracts, but these sites will often throw in freebies to entice new customers. It’s not unusual, for instance, to receive gift vouchers for merely logging in and changing who supplies your energy.

Stop Paying For Data You Don’t Use

There are two types of phone contracts: contracts where you pay for both access to the mobile network and the handset, and deals which pay for the network only. Network-only contracts tend to be cheaper because you’re not paying off debt on the handset, but they still aren’t necessarily an efficient use of your resources. For instance, many people end up paying for data and minutes that they don’t use, and those unused data do not get rolled over or taken off their final bill. There are, however, some companies that do pay customers back when they don’t use all of their monthly allowances, providing much better value for money than standard providers.

Install Solar

Solar energy has come down in price dramatically over the last few years to the point where it’s economical in practically every location. Although it’s unlikely that solar will provide for all your energy needs, it can take up the slack for some of them, reducing the amount you are forced to rely on the grid. Pair solar with a battery and you can build up a ready supply of energy in the day and use it in the evening when you need it most.

Stop Leaving Appliances On Standby

Although the quantity of energy electronics use while on standby has gone down to negligible levels over the past decade, many other low-tech appliances haven’t followed suit. Coffee machines, for instance, can cost up to £10 a month to keep on standby. The same goes for electrically heated towel rails. These appliances are expensive to run, so use a smart plug or meter to ensure that they only operate when you need them.

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pets

Why we got a second dog

Why we got a second dog

Our reason behind getting a second dog

As regular readers of our blog will know, we did have a beautiful boy dog for over 10 years called Buddy. He sadly passed away just under two years ago. Back in January this year the emptiness from not having a loving dog around the home was just too strange and the decision was made to not replace Buddy as he is irreplaceable and will always be forever in our hearts and could NEVER be replaced but to get another dog.

Fast forward a little and we was soon welcoming home a beautiful Siberian Husky girl who we have named Coco. She was 8 weeks old when she joined our family. Coco has brought so much joy and happiness into our lives since joining our family. We had 10 months dog-free before Coco came along and it just felt so strange not having a dog around. After losing Buddy we didn’t think we would be able to get another dog let alone love another but the emptiness just got to much. We’d often find ourselves looking at dogs for sale but then quickly looking away thinking no way, the heartache of losing them is just too much and not wanting to go through it all again. The subject was quickly changed.

So what changed our minds?

A family member visiting you and showing you photos and videos of their friends dogs pups is what. The next day we went to see them and before you know it research on the breed was being done and a day or two later we was visiting Coco a deposit was left and our new adventures with Coco began!

Coco being a Siberian Husky means lots of energy, lots of walking, lots of bikejoring all in all lots of fun adventures. She has been with us 10 months now and has already been on four holidays with us. A caravan holiday, camping holiday, boating holiday and a log cabin holiday. We enjoy forest walks, river walks, bike rides, trips to the park/seaside – her favourite game is to play ball, she will have you throwing a ball for hours on end. She recently enjoyed a fishing trip and enjoyed laying by the river.

Why we got a second dog

We take Coco with us where ever pets are welcome. She has joined us on pub lunches, dinners, for coffee at local cafe’s, she even joined us on a trip to choose our new tent at Go Outdoors as pets are welcome in our local store. Sadly pets are not welcome everywhere which is understandable and there are times she has to stay at home.

We became dog fosterers…

With Coco having lots of energy and being socialised from when we very first got her we became dog fosterers so she would have a friend to play with. We fostered Goldie a beautiful Labrador who was the same age as Coco. She loved having a friend and welcomed Goldie straight away without any problems. Goldie was with us for a week and as lovely as it was for Goldie to find her forever home it was also sad. Coco had gotten used to having a friend about to have fun with and we had all taken rather a shine to Goldie, she was a beautiful girl. As choked up as we all was we had done a good thing and provided a safe and secure temporary home for a dog in need.

Seeing Coco be so happy with having a friend to charge about with (who has much more energy than us) cuddle up with, burn off energy with it was sad to see her on her own again. When out on walks/bikejoring she gets so excited to see other dogs she just loves company. The hunt was on to find Coco her very own friend, one that was to come and to stay this time.

Coco cuddling Goldie our foster dog

Why we got a second dog

Then came dog number two….

The search was then on. Research was then done as some say two of the same-sex are best avoided but then I panicked about two dogs different sex and what we know could happen. The search then began and the cutest of all dogs just stood out and stole our hearts. The boys kept on asking for another German Shepherd dog but to be honest I was very unsure but agreed to look and see what happens.

This is what happened…..

I am a sucker for cute fur babies, look at this 8 week old boy, how on earth could I say no to this.

Why we got a second dog

A week later he joined our family and was introduced to Coco who was very keen to charge about with her very own friend. He is a joint birthday gift to Ian and Coco from us.

Why we got a second dog

Coco loves her new best friend dearly and follows him everywhere.

For anyone wishing to follow Coco and Hunter’s adventures they both have their very own Instagram accounts

Why we got a second dog

 

 

 

Why we got a second dog

We now have two fur babies and love them both dearly. Lots of new fun and adventures now await us which we are so looking forward to.

Do you have any pets?

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Finance

3 Ways To Recover Unhealthy Personal Finances

3 Ways to Recover Unhealthy Personal Finances

Ways you can recover

Life is full of ups and downs, just like our bank accounts. Sometimes, however, we need some extra help in order to get back on our feet after a particularly mean couple of months and the help is always within reach. If your finances have been suffering lately, or even for the last couple of years, you need to find ways to recover and nurse them back to health.

It is, in fact, possible to maintain a healthy financial state and live within your means as long as you pay attention to what you’re doing instead of ignoring the warning signs.

Here is a handful of ways to help you dig your way out of the financial pitfall and get back to prospering again.

#1 Go over your debt

The biggest problem to most people with poor personal finances is that the amount of debt they kept, consuming any hope of ever getting back on their feet. How are we supposed to be saving up for an emergency fund when those bills are putting us in minus each month?

If you haven’t tried debt consolidation yet, you should certainly give it a shot. It could, after all, be what you need in order to dig your way out of that hole and get back to saving money again. Start by having a look at https://www.debtconsolidation.co and go over the different options.

The point is that, by consolidation your debt, you’re making the monthly payments a bit more bearable and can actually gain an overview of all your debt.

3 Ways to Recover Unhealthy Personal Finances

#2 Slice your expenses

When you’re starting to get all of your financial ducks in a row, it’s time to look at what you can do to keep your finances healthy. Since you’ve been building up quite a bit of debt, chances are high that you’re spending more than you’re earning. You need to slice your expenses, in other words, and preferably as much as possible.

Live on rice and beans if you have to, sell your car and take the bus, spend your Sunday on cooking up lunch for every day of your working week – in short, do everything you can to cut down on that spending. Have a look at https://www.budgetbytes.com for some great and affordable recipes.

It may feel tough, to begin with, but this is what people do in order to stay afloat when recovering their finances and this is the only way for you to lead a healthier financial life.

3 Ways to Recover Unhealthy Personal Finances

#3 Work out a new budget

Finally, you need to sit down and work out a proper budget now that you’ve managed to sort out your debt and know how to cut down on your expenses. Maybe you’re even able to save up for that emergency fund now that you’re spending less money on eating out.

The most important part, however, is that you have enough money to pay off that debt. Focus on that, first of all, and enjoy the feeling of moving forward with your life even if you have to live off rice and beans for a while.

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Bedroom design

4 Beautiful Bedroom Design Trends

4 Beautiful Bedroom Design Trends

4 top trends

Many people will agree that their bedroom is the most important room in the house. After all, this is where you get your eight hours sleep a night (…hopefully). Therefore, it needs to be a room that perfectly emits the feeling of relaxation. Moreover, the bedroom is the ideal place to let your personality shine through. There aren’t many rules in terms of design, especially when contrasted with the likes of the kitchen or the bathroom. If you are considering redecorating your bedroom, this post is just for you. There are lots of fantastic bedroom design trends that have come to the fore so far this year. Read on to discover some of the best…

Girly Oriental

First and foremost, let’s begin with ‘girly oriental’. This trend takes inspiration from traditional Japanese designs, yet you give your bedroom an undeniably girly edge with a pink colour palette. Look for some signature oriental pieces, such as a bamboo chair or something with an Origami-inspired pattern. Yet, keep the room minimalistic and ensure you stick to shades of white, red, and of course pink.

Neutrals and Greys

4 Beautiful Bedroom Design Trends

If you ask someone to describe the word ‘grey’, a lot of people will often deem it to be boring. However, this trend is far from dull. Emulating this trend is simple – stick to neutral colours and various shades of grey. Yet, the effect is astounding. Firstly, you create a place that looks contemporary yet is extremely relaxing. Moreover, by keeping the colours simple you allow various shapes, patterns and textures to come to the fore. Your ceilings and flooring are especially important with this trend. Check out the flooring at Carpet One for some inspiration. These are attributes that tend to be lost when loud and dominating colours are present in the bedroom.

Moroccan Inspiration

You can create a stunning and serene bedroom by taking inspiration from Moroccan culture and traditional designs. The great thing about a Moroccan inspired bedroom is the fact that you can create the perfect balance, i.e. a room that looks glamorous yet is also extremely comfortable. So, how do you create a Moroccan vibe? Begin by painting your walls in a crisp white shade. Once you have done this, you can then bring colour into the room via your choice of fabrics. A mix of bright cobalt blue with dark navy works extremely well. Geometric patterns are bang on trend at the moment and they work brilliantly with this theme, as do pom-pom trims.

Tartan

Last but not least, the final bedroom trend you should consider is tartan. Of course, tartan is a pattern that is not for everybody. However, it is definitely making a massive comeback and has already dominated the runways as of late. Now we see it make the move into interior design. Nonetheless, don’t feel as if you have to stick to the traditional red shade. One of the best ways to use this pattern is to create an industrial vibe. If you take a look online you will see a lot of teal and lime green tartan patterns – a popular adaption of the traditional design. This is an option you may wish to consider.

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games

A Garden In Which Play Never Ends

A Garden In Which Play Never Ends

A few ideas to help keep active outside

Having a large family of young children means the household will always be somewhat noisy. So many people eating at tables and in bedrooms, typing on computers and laptops and going in and out of the house. You need something to keep them occupied and fighting off the boredom by themselves. When kids are bored they get restless, they get agitated. A bunch of frustrated children in confined quarters is never a good thing. Either they’ll end up annoying you, looking for something to do or they’ll somehow end up arguing with each other. A home that doesn’t support an active lifestyle is bound to have these kinds of issues. It’s only natural for growing kids to want to expand their energy no matter if it’s hot or cold, wet or dry outside. The garden comes to the rescue many times, but the fall seasons can make it less than desirable. But here’s how you can keep it active.

All-weather get together

The main goal of a garden that will keep the kids occupied, is flexibility. No matter what the season is your garden should still have something that makes it fun. When it’s hot, late nights out in the garden will become more and more frequent. And, when it’s the fall camping outside with a fire is going to be just as fun for the kids. So, buy an all-weather garden tent that is for families. Designed to be strong and spacious, these kinds of tents vary in their shapes. Some offer more room than others, so it depends on what you require for the size of your family. When the summer comes around they can use the tent as an obstacle to hide in while playing with water guns. Yet when the winter comes, they can use it as cover for a snowball fight.

Less work more play

You have enough on your plate you don’t need more garden chores to be added onto your schedule. Mowing the lawn and keeping it in good condition so the kids can play their sports on it takes a consistent effort. Is the pay off really worth it in the end? Instead you can buy LazyLawn which is an artificial lawn that can be easily fitted to your garden. It’s going to be available to use and play on all year round no matter what season, weather or temperature it is. The highly trained installers know how to fit both a commercial or domestic applications so they already have plenty of experience underneath their belt.

Giant Jenga

A classic game played indoors, now can be made bigger and played outdoors. Giant Jenga blocks can be placed on top of each other and then, let the games begin. The kids can play this outdoors as the pieces are heavy enough to not be blown around by a gentle wind. It’s all about patience and a steady hand in this game.

Getting the kids active is no problem. But, getting them active day after day becomes a challenge. They will get bored before you do so try to make your garden fun all year round. Whether it’s a tent or artificial grass so they can play their sports, change your garden to fit all the seasons.

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moving house

How to pack and prepare for your house move

How to pack and prepare for your house move

Make moving house easier

If you know that you are moving house then you will also know how important it is for you to try and get everything sorted out well in advance. You also need to make sure that you are putting the work in to try and arrange your moving company, and pack up your belongings as well. This is easier said than done and this is especially the case when you have so much on the go as it is right now. If you want to avoid all of this hassle and fuss then there are a few things that you can do about it.

Declutter Everything

When you are moving house, you really don’t want to move items that you know you are going to throw away as soon as you arrive. For this reason, you need to sort through everything and you also need to make sure that you get rid of everything that you don’t think you’ll need as well. When you are able to do this, you can then feel confident knowing that your move is going to go smoothly and you also know that you aren’t taking all of your clutter to your brand new home as well.

Furniture

It is so important that you are able to picture your new home and whether or not you are going to picture your furniture in there. The owner of the last house should have given you a document which gives you the dimensions of every single room in the home and this gives you the information you need to try and work out what will fit and where. If you can’t find room for something then there is a high chance that you will need to sell it or even give it away. When you do this, you can then feel confident knowing that everything else will fall into place.

How to pack and prepare for your house move

Removals Company

If you can, you should always hire a moving company. If you don’t then this can cause you real issues at a later date. After all, if you happen to break something then it won’t be insured and you will have absolutely no cover when it comes to your insurance either. If you do hire a moving company then you know that they will be able to cover everything for you and they can also give you the help and support you need when it comes to getting everything packed up and loaded too. On top of this, they can save you a lot of time and they can also work with you to make sure that you are more than happy with the service that you have been given so you won’t have any issues there. Companies such as Grange Removals are great for that.

Identify your Breakables

Most of your items can go right into boxes and this is great, but at the end of the day, you do still need to try and work hard to identify any breakables you have. If you don’t then you run the risk of having them shoved into a box and then crushed, so doing this is the best way to get around that.

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health

Health Habits the Entire Family Should Be Following

8 Health Habits to follow

When you’re thinking of ways to keep your family healthy, there are a few different things you can do. Doing these things together as a family gives you more opportunity to build up momentum, and therefore, more chance of success. Take a look below for 8 health habits that the entire family should be using and you’ll see what you can change:

  1. Keeping A Regular Bedtime/Get Up Time

The whole family should have a regular bedtime/get up time. This doesn’t mean that the parents have to go to bed at the same time as the kids; it just means that every night, you should make sure you’re all getting a good night’s sleep by going to bed at the same time, for example, 8pm for the kids and 10pm for the adults. Then, ensure that you get up at the same time each morning. Do this even on weekends, and you’ll ensure your circadian rhythms are healthy and that you don’t feel the need to sleep in! If you do feel like sleeping in on weekends, chances are, you’re not getting enough sleep in the week. Try to get around 8 hours a night. Just bear in mind that you might need a little more or a little less depending on your age and activity levels. Kids tend to need more than adults!

  1. Eating One Meal Together Daily

Eating just one meal together daily can help your family to feel closer together, and science says your kids will benefit greatly too. Studies have shown that kids who eat at least one meal a day with their families do better in school, avoid peer pressure, and have higher self-esteem, amongst other things.

8 Health Habits the Entire Family Should Be Following

  1. Keeping Up Regular Health Appointments

Make sure your family doesn’t skip health appointments. You can save time by getting your NHS repeat prescription online, but that doesn’t mean you should miss doctor’s check ups. If you have symptoms or you sense something is wrong, getting it seen to early could help you to avoid big issues later on down the line.

  1. Daily Activity/Movement

Getting active as a family should be fun, so find something that you all like to do together and stick to it! You could go swimming, walk, clean the house or even just play in the garden together for 20 minutes. A little exercise is better than no exercise at all, so get into the habit of doing this and then build yourself up little by little if you want to. You could even go on hikes together, take picnics, and explore new places. Things like this are great bonding activities and you’ll stay healthy.

  1. Limit Screen Time

Don’t be the family that sits together but doesn’t pay attention to one another because you all have your face in a screen. Do your best to limit screen time. Whether it’s your mobile phones, a computer game, or something else, aim to spend real, quality time together.

  1. Fill Up On Real Food

Plan your meals for the week ahead and make a shopping list so you can ensure your family is always full of real food! Buy plenty of fruit and vegetables, and get to know how much you use each week so that you don’t buy food that goes to waste. Avoid having junk food in the house, as if it’s there you’ll likely just reach for it and eat it. Have healthy food to snack on, and get used to reading nutritional labels so you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.

As well as buying the right kind of food, make sure you all drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and avoid carbonated drinks and too much juice!

  1. Find Hobbies And Passions

Set an example to your family by finding hobbies and passions – things that you love to do that light you up! Everybody should have things that they love to do, and if you make an effort to find things you love, you’ll be setting an example to your kids. This could even help to introduce them to something they want to do in college, or even as a career.

  1. Develop A Healthy Body Image

You will usually pass your body image on to your kids. If you talk negatively about your body, your kids will learn to do the same with theirs. Developing your own healthy body image is so important, as so much pressure is put on young people to look ‘perfect’! Make sure you don’t talk about your weight in front of your child, or even mention their weight to them. Put a focus on being healthy, over everything else, but don’t give them a complex.

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healthy living.

Keeping Your Loved Ones Health in Check!

Keeping Your Loved Ones Health in Check!

Keeping Your Loved Ones Health in Check!

Our family are the most important people in our lives, and when you’re a parent, their health is something that’s constantly on our minds. We live in a world where childhood obesity is common, one of the leading causes of death are preventable illnesses due to bad lifestyle, and where more of us than ever work sedentary jobs. In order to keep your family fit and healthy you need to ensure that you’re teaching them good habits to set them up for success as an adult. Here are a few ways you can go about doing it.

Eat meals together

Research has shown time and time again that eating dinner together as a family on most days a week has lots of benefits. The first is that it helps to maintain closeness. When your children feel close to you and can communicate with you how they’re feeling, they’re much more likely to open up about any issues in their lives. As parents, we like to think that we know everything there is to know about our children, but as they get older it’s simply not the case. Spending time together eating in the evening maintains close bonds and allows you all to chat and connect. Eating together as a family has been linked to lower rates of teenage pregnancy and drug use for this reason. Another reason to eat together is that you can cook healthy meals. Families that eat together tend to have lower rates of child and teen obesity, because you know exactly what’s going into your cooking. You can set a good example by filling up on healthy foods, knowing that children will eventually mirror your habits- even if they’re a little picky right now. Many adults get into the habit of feeding children and adults

separately, but do it together if you can. If your partner gets home from work a little later in the evening, give kids a healthy snack to keep them going instead of giving them their dinner.

Exercise as a family

There are plenty of great ways you can all exercise together as a family. Go on a hike, put your dog on the lead and go walking in any nearby countryside, beaches, mountains, rivers or canals. Look online for your local bike trails and go on a bike ride. You could go on a day out which will involve a lot of walking, or even just go to the park and run around together burning off energy. Take a ball or a frisbee and play some games. If your kids are a little older, you could play a sport together. Recreation centres usually have tennis and basketball courts which are free or cheap to use. You could go swimming, go to a trampolining centre and much more. Don’t see it as exercise to stay fit- see it as a fun activity you can all do together! You won’t even realise just how many calories you’re burning and the good you’ll be doing to your body as you’ll be having too much of a good time.

Teach kids the dangers of unhealthy vices

Most kids will experience peer pressure at one time or another. Experimentation with things like drugs, alcohol and smoking are common but it doesn’t mean your child can’t avoid them when they’re equipped with the right knowledge and support. As well as educating them about just how dangerous these kinds of vices can be, you should also make sure they know you’re always available to talk and will support them if they’re ever put under this kind of pressure. Kids who have a better relationship with their parents are more likely to open up about what’s happening, and once they do you have the opportunity to talk to them and advise them what to do. If they don’t have that kind of support and communication, they’re far more likely to just go ahead with these things when they’re put under pressure to do so. Understand that your kids can make mistakes, and if they come to you having done something you don’t like- speak to them instead of just shouting and punishing. Putting that barrier up will mean next time, they simply won’t come to you. We want to wrap our kids up in cotton wool and make sure they’re never exposed to the evils of the world, however, education is invaluable. When they know just how dangerous and damaging these habits are- the illnesses they can cause and the harm it does to their bodies- they’re far less likely to want to give it a try. Kids and teens tend to be experimental because unlike adults, they’re less aware of consequences. Teach them that the consequence of these things isn’t just a punishment if they get caught, as they could simply aim to not get caught. Educate them to know that they could cause serious illnesses and even result in death when they mess around with these kinds of things.

Study a health topic

If you have a strong interest in health, why not study a health related topic? Maybe you want to become qualified in sports massage, study child psychology or nursing? This could be because you want to change career, and take a job in the health industry later down the line, or just because you want to focus on your self development and work on learning new things and brushing up on new skills. Plenty of health topics you can study can directly benefit your family too, take nutrition for example. Knowing exactly how the body works and the nutrients and vitamins it needs to thrive will enable you to make better decisions with your diet and food choices. If you change career, you could get a higher paid job making your family’s finances easier to manage, and being happier in your work could allow you to be a happier and more positive parent. So it’s something to consider, as it can benefit you and your family on many levels.

Make relaxation a priority

It’s easy to think that stress is a problem that only affects adults. However, it’s simply not the case. The things that upset or stress children and teens might be a lot different (and in your eyes, they might not seem like a big deal) however, it is to them. Pressures from school and friends, their changing body, budding relationships, arguments with family and more can all impact a child’s well-being. For this reason, relaxation should be a priority for the whole family. It can be something fun and nice that you all do together, where you can switch off from the world for a while and unwind. It’s good for mental health, physical health and can be great for you as a family as well. Switch off social media and outside distractions. You could have a few hours of quiet time reading together, play a board game or watch a movie. If you have a daughter, you could have a pamper session together where you do manicures, pedicures and face masks. You could bake together, or do a crafting activity. Either way, something that’s enjoyable and allows you to switch off from the worries of the world is good for the health of all of the family. So many of us have children and never get to enjoy their company or even properly get to know them. So this helps to maintain a closeness as well as give you all chance to relax.

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Children's Charity

Running for their lives – Alder Hey Children’s Charity launches Running Hub!

Running for their lives – Alder Hey Children’s Charity launches Running Hub!

Alder Hey Children’s Charity Running Hub

One of the most fun and rewarding ways to raise money for charity is to take part in a running event. Now, Alder Hey Children’s Charity wants to help runners get even more from their race.

Newly launched is the Alder Hey Running Hub, to provide help and advice to runners of any age or ability. Because running a Marathon, or even your first 5k, can help to boost a person’s health and self-esteem, but could also allow them to do something extraordinary for those who need it most.

Childhood should be filled with happiness, laughter and fun.

Unfortunately, for some children, this time can involve more trips to the hospital than the park. But now a trip to the hospital doesn’t have to be daunting or scary. With the recreational and distraction techniques funded by Alder Hey Children’s Charity, we can help children to be children, even when they’re forced to be patients.

The charity also raises funds for pioneering equipment which can improve children’s experience in surgery, and improve their chances of a full recovery.

Just ask Daniel Bell, and his mum Rosalind.

When three-year old Daniel was diagnosed with a brain tumour, he was rushed to Alder Hey, a centre for excellence on brain conditions. The tumour was the size of an adult fist and there was a possibility that the surgery which would save his life could also rob him of key motor and mobility skills.

Thankfully, his surgeries were aided by Alder Hey’s state of the art 3-T MRI scanner. The device, which was paid for by charitable donations, allows surgeons to scan the brain during surgery and assess the success of the operation in the operating theatre and not many months after recovery.

Daniel is now a healthy and active seven-year old boy, and a budding actor besides, who was recently seen in a production of Little Shop of Horrors with his local Performing Arts Club.

He also raises money for Alder Hey; and was proud to be named a Young Fundraising Ambassador for the charity. So far, Daniel and his family have raised more than £22,000 for Alder Hey. They’ve accomplished this by collecting people’s Christmas trees. But this is just one of the many fun and exciting ways our fundraisers young and old can help out, from bake sales and charity car washes to exhilarating park runs.

Why not explore our brand new running hub? You’ll find help, inspiration and lots of motivation. You’ll find delicious and nutritious recipe ideas, running tips, and training guides for every distance.

So if you’d like to challenge yourself to run a 5K, 10K run for charity or even a marathon we would love to you go and check out the Alder Hey Running Hub now.

***Posted to help raise awareness***
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Health and fitness

Kick Your Fitness Goals Into Gear With These Fun Ideas

Kick Your Fitness Goals Into Gear With These Fun Ideas

Way’s to make fitness fun


It seems everyone is trying to improve their health and fitness. As diseases and epidemics become more prevalent, people are making a better effort to be mindful of their actions and adopt healthy lifestyles. As great as it is to be healthy, when you’ve spent the majority of your life doing what you want, getting adjusted to the changes can be trying, to say the least.

From making a commitment to work out daily to transitioning to cleaner eating, many get lost along the way and give up hope altogether. If you’ve been a bit discouraged about reaching your health and fitness goals or are simply having a hard time making the transition, these tips are sure to give you the boost you need.

Use Mobile App Fitness Games

You’re already tied to your smart phone so why not use it to make health and fitness more fun? Did you know that there were multiple fitness games you can download to your smart phone? From running and jumping to push-ups and sit-ups, there are apps you can use to set goals, track, and win cool prizes if you’re a top performer.

Challenge Friends

There’s nothing like a little friendly competition to get you excited about health and fitness. If you need some inspiration, you can always take some of your friends and family members to compete with you. Set goals like steps per day, calories burned, and more and see who will reach their goals the fastest.

Take Dance Lessons

Most make the misconception that the only way to get fit is to join a gym. Though this method has been proven to be very effective for some, it is not an efficient solution for everyone. You can make getting in shape a lot more fun by taking dance lessons. All you need to figure out is what types of classes you’re interested in taking, where to buy toe socks and other gear you’ll need, and how often you’ll need to attend. You could tap, do ballet, jazz, or even hip-hop and burn a lot of calories to a beat.

Learn New Recipes

The thing with healthy eating is that most aren’t familiar with how to make healthy cuisines. They dwindle their menus down to salads and smoothies and quickly get bored. You can make healthy eating fun by learning new recipes. There are thousands of recipes online you could try that will bring new meaning to the phrase clean eating. The more you learn, the more skilled you become at making meals everyone can enjoy.

Reward Yourself

Here’s a great way to make healthy living more fun – rewards. Who doesn’t find it fun to reach goals if they’re going to get something in return? Lost those 5 lbs? Treat yourself to some frozen yogurt. Dropped a size? Go buy some new clothes to wear. The thrill you get from rewarding yourself can often make it easier to succeed.

Lighten Up

Sometimes, people take the fun out of getting healthy and fit by taking things too seriously. Learn to loosen up a bit. The very fact that you’re making an effort is worth smiling about. Set realistic goals, and enjoy your journey to reaching them. When you’re too hard on yourself it’s no longer fun and you become easily uninspired.

Don’t let unfamiliarity or lack of knowledge keep you from reaching your health and fitness goals. Though it is an adjustment, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Find ways to make being healthier fun like using mobile apps, creating a little friendly competition, joining a dance class, expanding your arsenal of recipes, and rewarding yourself for successful progress. Most importantly, remember to lighten up. As much as you want to reach your health and fitness goals, getting there is always easier with a smile.

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health

3 Health Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore

Health warnings NOT to Ignore!

There are a lot of health issues that will, believe it or not, resolve themselves. An example of this would be a cyst. Cysts are common and can occur anywhere in the body. These small lumps can even appear on the nether regions which lead to cancer scares for numerous people. In reality, cysts are harmless and will disappear by themselves within two weeks. However, this isn’t the case for all health symptoms. Some are signs of a far more serious problem. So, let’s look at a few of the health issues that you should never ignore.

Hallucinations

This is far rarer than most people realise, but it can happen. A hallucination will typically be caused by a lack of sleep. If you are suffering from insomnia, this could be the cause of you seeing things that aren’t actually there. Even going two days with low levels of sleep can cause your brain to start to hallucinate. However, if you’re sleeping regularly and you are still seeing or hearing things that aren’t there, you should consult a doctor.

This could be a sign of a psychological issue such as schizophrenia. Or, it could be the sign of a physical issue in the brain such as a tumour. Tumours can cause a range of sensory issues and severe migraines can also be a sign of this rare occurrence.

3 Health Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore

Painful Teeth

There are a number of causes for painful teeth. It’s possible that they are moving and this will be the case if you have or used to use braces. You might also find that your wisdom teeth are coming through, pushing on different teeth in the mouth. This can feel like the adult equivalent of teething can it can get very painful for the individual. Alternatively, it’s possible that you notice a sharp pain in the upper section of your teeth after you have eaten. Be careful of this one because it can be a sign of tooth decay. It’s worth getting a dentist to check your teeth out anytime you notice pain in your teeth that lasts longer than a day or is recurring. Often there will be a simple explanation.

You also need to watch out for ulcers in the mouth that won’t go away or white marks on your inner cheek. Both can be a sign of a serious health condition that should be looked at.

3 Health Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore

Weight Loss

We often think of losing weight as a positive occurrence. It’s always good to drop those pounds, right? Don’t be so sure because losing weight can be the sign of something serious going wrong in the body. Particularly if the weight loss occurs suddenly and it’s accompanied by a loss of appetite. While a range of different conditions and factors can cause this issue, it’s worth being aware of the problem and addressing it by speaking to a doctor. They will be able to check if the issue is serious of if it’s just a case of taking the right medicine.

3 Health Warning Signs You Should Never Ignore

Take this advice, and you won’t ignore some of the most serious health warning signs.

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