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

Before You Buy An Older Home, Consider These Key Factors

Before You Buy An Older Home, Consider These Key Factors

Are you thinking about purchasing an older home? Typically, people will take this step as a way to save money on a property. It’s true that older homes can be more budget friendly. However, they can also come with issues that you will likely not be prepared for and this is something that you should keep in mind. So, let’s explore whether an old home is the right choice for you.

Does It Have Asbestos?

Any home that was built before the 1980s does have a strong chance of containing asbestos. Up until that point it was used as an insulative material in the walls. If you are worried about this issue, then you should make sure that you are completing an asbestos survey. This should tell you whether the home does have this issue. Be aware that some owners will not allow you to complete this step. If that’s the case, approach with caution. There’s a good chance that they are merely intent on hiding the issue and hoping to sell it without revealing the problem to a buyer. Asbestos will cost thousands to remove and full removal is the only way to ensure that your home is safe. 

Are There An Issues With Insulation?


Older homes are also more likely to have issues with insulation. Unless a previous owner has made this home improvement, there’s a strong chance that the windows of the home will let in cold air and this can be a massive issue. It can cause your home bills to hit the roof. Now, it is possible that you can deal with this problem by upgrading the windows yourself. However, that’s always going to be expensive so you’ll need to make sure that you have this in your budget.

Are There Any Repairs?

You might also want to consider whether there are any repairs that need to be completed before you commit to a purchase. Be aware that it is possible to ask the current owner to complete these repairs for you. This is going to save you an extra headache once you purchase the property. While minor issues won’t be much cause for concern, major repairs should be the responsibility of the current homeowner. 

Are There Signs Of Wear And Tear?

Finally, you might want to consider whether there are any signs of wear and tear around the property. You should consider whether the home has been well looked after by the previous owner. While you might be hopeful that this is the case, you should always check over the property. If it looks unclean and untitdy there’s a good chance that there are worse issues lurking beneath the surface. 

We hope this helps you understand some of the key points that you should keep in mind if you are buying an older home. By focusing on these factors, you will be able to guarantee that you know whether this is the right choice for you. Remember, an older home can be a smart choice but only if you are ready for the challenges that come with it. 

dog, pets

How To Give Your Dog A Very Happy Christmas

How To Give Your Dog A Very Happy Christmas

Christmas is coming, and many of us are currently in the midst of our festive planning. It might look a little different this year, of course, thanks to the continuing disruption caused by the pandemic, but there is still much to look forward to.

But while in the planning stage, we shouldn’t forget about our four-legged friends. Dogs love Christmas too, so we should do what we can to ensure they have a wonderful time over the festive period.

Here are some ideas both you (and your dog) will find useful.

1: Buy your dog a present (or two)

When you’re busy unwrapping gifts with your family on Christmas morning, you don’t want to leave your dog out of the equation. Admittedly, he might be more than happy with the wrapping and cardboard that he can chew into after you have created a merry old mess, but you should still buy him a gift or two of his own. Ideas? Well, how you could buy a calming dog bed, that is both comfortable to sleep on and a place for him to calm down if he gets anxious or overly-excited. Or how about some new toys to play with? Especially if his other toys are looking past their best, he might appreciate something new to chew on. Or perhaps something functional, like a new water dish, a brand new collar, or a warm jacket for his winter walks.

2: Keep safety in mind

Your dog won’t have a very happy Christmas if he becomes ill over the chilly season, so do all you can to create a hazard-free zone. Put your tree out of reach if you can, as pine needles, once consumed, can cause your dog to feel unwell, and the same applies to your tree decorations. Holiday plants can be toxic to dogs, such as mistletoe and berries, so think about this when decorating your home. And while your dog will be desperate to eat the leftovers on your Christmas dinner plate, remember that some festive foods are bad for dogs. Brussell sprouts are okay to feed him (your kids will be pleased), but check out this list of toxic Christmas foods before putting anything in his dinner bowl. 

3: Spend time with your dog

There will be times when you might have to shut your dog away for a while, such as when you’re entertaining any guests with fur allergies, or when you’re busy decorating the tree or cooking dinner. However, don’t leave pooch alone for too long. Christmas is a time for families, after all, and your dog is a valued member of your clan! So, let him sit with you all when you’re watching your Christmas Day movies. Play with him when he starts to get a little restless. And keep up with your usual walking routine, as both you and your dog will need the exercise after eating bounteous amounts of festive food. 

So, paws for thought, and do what you can for your dog this Christmas. Like you, he will want to have a good time over the festive period, so treat him well, keep him safe, and enjoy spending time with him.

Bedroom design, Interior Design

Choosing The Right Bedroom Lighting

Choosing The Right Bedroom Lighting

***Collaborative post***

Your bedroom has to be a cosy, comfortable space to relax and enjoy. You sleep here, you rest here and it’s the place where you wind down after a long day at work. A bedroom should be soft, soothing and muted in its decor, and the lighting should be just as soft as the decor you choose.

The first decision that you have to make for a bedroom is the lighting that you choose. Some people choose to bring in an electrician to rewire the house and introduce new lighting to the room, but the first question you must ask yourself is what type of light you need for the space. There are ceiling fixtures and accent lights, task lights and standing lamps and they all have a place in a bedroom. The light that you choose needs to balance the natural light that flows through from the windows and an interior designer is the best person who can help you to get that balance right. So, with that in mind, here are a few tips to help you to choose the right bedroom lighting.

  • Ceiling Lights. When you have a ceiling fitting installed, you should consider a modern pendant or spotlight, or a classical chandelier if you want to have a home that looks more luxurious. The lighting that you choose should have an LED bulb or two to really illuminate the room and save money at the same time. Consider the size of the lighting based on the size of the room and choose a ceiling light fitting that matches the rest of the room, too.
  • Reading Lights. Sitting in bed with a good book is one of the many pleasures in life, but without the right reading lights, you have no functions in your room. A wall sconce is the perfect addition to the bedroom if you want to read in bed, and you don’t have to have an old-fashioned one. You can choose modern sconces and enhance the look of the bedroom. Ask your electrician for best placement before you go ahead and install anything.
  • Accent Lighting. Your bedroom should have a relaxing air to it and lamps will help you to do it. Whether you have standing lamps or dresser lamps, you can soften the look of the room with a gentle glow in the corner or next to the bed. There are plenty of table lamps that will help you to enhance the decor and the look of the room, and these accents will add to the room, too.
  • Size Matters. When it comes to bedroom lighting, think about the size and shape of the lampshades and the bulbs. Too big, and you end up with ridiculous looking lights in your room, and too small, and you don’t get the lighting that you need. You need to illuminate the space and the best way to do that is to measure the space properly before you go for any installations. Choose wisely for the best look.
Home, Home preparation

Upgrade Your Home During Lockdown With These Tips!

Upgrade Your Home During Lockdown With These Tips!

***Collaborative post***

There is nobody out there right now that’s happy about another lockdown. The world is supposed to be getting better, not worse, and while we can all do or bit to support the recovery from a pandemic by social distancing and wearing masks, we feel pretty useless. The shops are shut, the restaurants are closed, the arts are crumbling – it’s all very depressing as a start to what should have been the Roaring Twenties once again. The one thing that has been pulling us all through is our combined ability to come up with things to do – even when we are stuck inside the house!

Your day may be looking a little like Groundhog Day every day, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make it more interesting. With a little forward thinking and assessing of your own interests and skills, you can fix it up so that you are able to indulge in something to make lockdown more bearable. Lockdown has drowned everyone’s plans for holidays and nights out but it doesn’t have to change your home renovation or upgrade plans. How long has it been since you really spent time in your house? Most people spend their time out and about or at work, and that makes it hard to see where things are looking a little worn out or in need of some love. Being at home and working all the time makes you see the areas that have become a little tired. You may be tempted to whip out the glue guns and start making fancy things for the walls, but what you really need to be thinking about is how you can get upgrading the main rooms of the home. Below, we’ve got some of the best ways that you can start upgrading your home during lockdown – and upgrading your lockdown experience, too.

Look At Your Layout

You may not be able to move and erect new walls and extensions right now, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t play around with the layout of your home. Look at the living room and the bedrooms and make a point of switching and swapping the bed, the rugs and even the bookshelves. The shabby looking furniture can be upcycled with fabrics and new upholstering, and the older pieces can be moved out and the newer pieces moved in to make the space look more modern. Change the ornaments and vases to be more central to the rooms and give everything a thorough clean. You can get so inventive with the layout of your home and even if it doesn’t work, you can just do it all again – you’ve got time.

Make a Move Outside

If you have a patio in your backyard, it’s time to give it a boost. Pressure washing the stones and cleaning down the mud is one thing, but you can get creative with your patio decorations. You may be tied inside because of lockdowns, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t make your patio as beautiful as possible during this time. This is your outdoor bubble; the space in which you can sit and bask in a slice of sunshine. Adding flowers and pot plants is going to give it colour, and adding outdoor artwork is going to make it fun. Take the time to source some outdoor seating if you have the space, too. If you don’t have room for a table and chairs, think about an egg chair that you can hang from an installed bracket.

Play With Colour

You’re staring at the same walls for the foreseeable future, so you may as well brighten them up. You can order paint online for delivery and start decorating your rooms one by one. Plain white walls can be upgraded with a little masking tape and some new colours to make stripes and mosaic patterns. Give the window panes a buff and sand down, and then repaint them with new, bright colours to brighten up the windows. Paint isn’t the only way to add new colours, either. You can buy fabrics and upholster your armchair, replace your bedsheets and blankets with pretty patterns and transform the space entirely.

Declutter It All

Anything you didn’t get through during the first lockdown can be changed now. Those hidden closets stuffed with your things, the drawers with the old clothes in them? They are all in desperate need of a good sort out! You can declutter all of the spaces you have and approach everything with a minimalistic outlook. You can rearrange everything and sell anything you don’t use on Marketplace so that others can collect and reuse your older things!

Winter It Up

Christmas is coming. 2020 has been full of March – every day is more March – but it’s also somehow nearly Christmas and the festive season is bearing down upon us. So, upgrade the house with trees and decorations and tinsel and baubles. So what, it’s not December just yet? So what if it’s not actually Christmas for a month? Bring in the fluffy cushions and blankets with Christmas patterns and put a Christmas tree in every room. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that there are no rules this year! You can make Christmas last for weeks if you want to and no one can stop you.

Upgrade Your Workspace

Are you working from home right now? It’s time to think about your workspace. No, we don’t mean the chair and the laptop on your lap that you’ve been doing so far – we mean an actual workspace! A desk in the corner, a comfortable chair and something to rest your feet on is going to make a huge difference to the way that you work – and don’t forget a filing cabinet for your stationery and paperwork.

Upgrading your home during lockdown can be as creative as you want it to be. Whether you break out knitting needles or glue guns, the paintbrushes or cookie cutters – make lockdown fun!

cleaning, Kitchen

Deep Cleaning Kitchen Guide

Deep Cleaning Kitchen Guide

The prospect of deep cleaning your kitchen may seem a little daunting, however, once you know where to start and what to tackle, you’ll soon be on your way. 

Before You Get Started 

You firstly need ot make sure you have all of the basic supplies such cleaning products, rubber gloves, sponge scourers, a number for ductwork cleaning services, paper towels, etc. 

Some of the cleaning products you may want to think about include: 

  • Disinfectant spray 
  • Surface cleaner
  • Floor cleaner
  • Over cleaner
  • Wood or metal polish
  • Anit-bac cleaner 
  • Floor cleaner 

Make sure any washing up is done and put away and you are ready to start your deep clean.

Kitchen Cupboards and Surfaces

Surfaces and cupboards should always be your first port of call when you are doing a deep clean: 

  • Clean the insides of the cupboards. Take out everything from inside and use a disinfectant spray to wipe them down. 
  • Scrub down any outer surfaces, including any shelves and the extractor fan. 
  • Use a friendly cleaner on the cupboard doors, or even a bowl of warm water and soap. Bear in mind any solid wood may require a specialist cleaner. 
  • Shine any handles, especially id they are looking greasy. If you need to, remove them and soak them. 
  • Once you put your belongings in, do one final sweep. 
  • Spray down the worksurfaces and tiles with a warm cloth and disinfectant spray. 

Kitchen Appliances

The largest cleaning jobs in the kitchen are usually the refrigerator and the cooker, however, if you deep clean these together you can save a lot of energy and time. Start by cleaning your oven, the oven cleaning kits are brilliant for this, but make sur you keep the kitchen well ventilated. Then move onto the fridge; remove any food and chuck out anything that should have gone a while ago and wipe the inside down thoroughly but quickly. Anything that you plan to put back inside the fridge shouldn’t be left out for more than 20 minutes. 

When you want to deep clean smaller appliance such as the microwave, you should wash any detachable items in the sink and then scrub the insides when they are switched off. You may want to consider using a descaling product on the kettle. 

The Final Touches 

Thoroughly scrub your sink as the last job, after all, you are using it to clean almost everything else so it’s bound to get a little grubby. Leave some warm water with either limescale remover or bleach for a few minutes before you drain and wipe the surroundings. Remember to always use non-scratch scourers if you have any tough stains. 

Then clean your floor. Vacuum or sweep the floors and use a diluted solution to mop your floor thoroughly, leaving it to dry. This means your deep cleaning session is complete! 

Most kitchens need to be deep cleaned every 1 to 2 months, as long as you keep it clean day-to-day. Following the tips above every few months, your deep clean shouldn’t take more than a few hours each time. 

Home, Home preparation

Social Living: Make Your Home Ready for Guests

Social Living: Make Your Home Ready for Guests

***Collaborative post***

Your home isn’t just for you and your immediate family to enjoy. It’s also there for your friends and extended family, too. In an age when it’s more and more difficult to go out to pubs and restaurants, many of us are looking to host people in our homes — or at least, they will be in the future, when the coronavirus restrictions have been loosened a little. But of course, if you’re going to host people in your home, then you need to put some effort into making sure that it’s possible. Below, you’ll find some useful tips that’ll ensure that this is the case.

Clean and Spacious

If you’re going to invite friends around, then you can’t present a dirty and cluttered home. They’ll only figure that something is wrong with the atmosphere, even if everything else is perfect. The first step should be to make sure that everything is clean and spacious, and that your home is an all-around pleasant space to be in. If you know that you’re going to have guests around, then be sure to put in some elbow grease, and make the space spotless. It really will be appreciated by your friends and family!

Well-Stocked

Sometimes, you know that people are going to visit you. At other times, you don’t know — they just turn up. And there’s nothing wrong with that; it’s always nice to be surprised when you’re at home, providing that you’re not busy. However, you might feel a little uncomfortable if you have nothing to serve! Water is good, but it’s not a social drink, that’s for sure. You can make sure that you’re ready for whoever to turn up by having a well-stocked pantry with a selection of drinks, alcoholic and soft, so that there’s always something to serve. It’s recommended to have a few extra snacks lying around too, just in case.  

Room to Relax

Take a look at your home: is it set up to receive guests? As in, is there a place where everyone can unwind and have fun together? If there’s nothing, then look at making some changes. There are a few different ways to do this. If you know you’re going to host parties in the future, then opt for the open-plan kitchen — they’re great social spaces. You should also pay attention to your outdoor space, because who wants to cooped up indoors when the sun is shining? Invest in some garden furniture from Dreamo Living, and you’ll be able to spend long hours in the outdoors with your loved one. And don’t forget to buy a BBQ too! If you have friends and family who live far away, then be sure to set up a guest room. 

A Welcoming Attitude

Finally, remember that attitude is key! If you have a welcoming attitude, one that allows people to really feel at home when they’re in your house, then you’ll already be most of the way towards creating a special space for your friends and family.

beauty.

Keeping Your Skin Smooth: What Is the Best Type of Wax for Each Part of Your Body?

keeping your skin smooth

Men and women may discard waxing as a hair removal method because they
aren’t comfortable with someone else being so up and close with their
bodies. However, they would use this method if they could do so in the
comfort of their own home. Fortunately, waxing at home continues to
become easier, and one way in which it has done so is in the different
products offered today for this purpose. Body parts differ greatly and may
require different body wax. Not only do the body parts differ, but the wax
products do as well. Certain areas remain very sensitive and others can be
hard to reach. There is a wax for every body part. It’s simply a matter of
knowing which to use where.


General Rules When Waxing

While different body parts require different types of wax, certain rules apply
regardless of what wax is being used and where. Always allow the hair to
grow to a minimum of a one-quarter inch before attempting to wax the area.
Wax cannot adhere to hairs shorter than this length. Instead, it adheres to
the skin and makes the process uncomfortable. Additionally, women should
avoid waxing during their period, and both men and women need to avoid
alcohol before waxing. Both increase skin sensitivity and make the process
more painful. Nobody wants this. Finally, know which type of wax to use on
which body part for the best results.


The Underarms


The underarms remain one of the hardest areas of the body to wax, so
women should use hard wax beads. They help address the thick hair found
in this area while adhering to the curves of the armpit. When melted, this
wax applies much as soft wax does, but the thicker consistency allows it to
adhere to the hair as opposed to the skin. In addition, hard wax won’t run
like soft wax does, so this need not be a concern for users. Finally, the wax
beads work better than strips, as they are easier to apply at awkward
angles. Once the wax solidifies pull it straight from the skin. When applying
the wax, pay attention to the direction of hair growth for the best results.
This may mean the person needs to apply the wax multiple times to account
for different growth patterns.

The Bikini Line


When it comes to sensitive areas of the body, most women list the bikini line
as among the top two or three. This area lacks surface area, which leads
many women to use hard wax as opposed to the other options. Hard wax
sticks to the hairs while leaving the skin along, and this means the woman
will experience less irritation. Women find they need not use strips with the
hard wax because the user simply peels the wax once it solidifies. If hard
wax isn’t available for any reason, a person may use pre-made wax strips in
the area. This option often leads to more irritation, however, and women
need to consider this when making a choice. Use small wax strips on the
bikini line to ensure more hair isn’t being removed than desired.


Arms and Legs


Soft wax works best on sizeable areas of the body, such as the arms and
legs. While this wax irritates the skin more than hard wax beads, it’s more
cost-effective and easier to use on body parts that cover a large surface
area. For those who don’t like soft wax because of its messiness, pre-made
wax strips serve as an excellent alternative. Read the directions to ensure
the wax works as intended and provides the desired results. If any stray
hairs remain, use a cellulose or muslin strip to remove these hairs.


Back


As with the arms and legs, the back covers a large surface area and benefits
from the use of soft wax. This remains the least sensitive area of the body,
so men and women find they can use soft wax or wax strips with no
difficulty. If nobody is available to assist with the waxing process, the strips
work best because they can reach areas that you might miss with soft wax.

Face


Areas of the face are very sensitive, which is why most people recommend
making use of pre-made wax strips to remove hair from the eyebrows, chin,
upper lip, and more. The fine hairs respond well to the strips, leaving behind
a smooth face. Look for smaller strips designed for use on the face or take
larger strips and cut them down to size. The goal is to create strips that only
adhere to the hair to be removed taking no excess hair.


Hands and Feet

Men and women might find they have excess hair on the hands and feet and
want to remove the hairs for smooth skin. Fortunately, these areas of the
body are tougher and more resilient, so people can choose the wax method
they feel most comfortable with. However, most people find that pre-made
strips work the best. In fact, strips made for use on the face work great on
the hands and feet as well.

Stomach


Some people find they have unwanted hair on their abdomen and wish to
remove it. The skin on the stomach resembles the skin on the face in many
ways, meaning it is sensitive and fine. For this reason, experts recommend
using the pre-made strips on the stomach. Another option to consider would
be sugar waxing.


Once an area has been waxed, remove any stragglers using clean tweezers.
Never wax an area a second time to remove any hairs left behind. Doing so
can cause skin irritation or actually burn the skin. In addition, be prepared to
address any ingrown hairs, red bumps, or bruises that appear after waxing.
A person may reduce the risk of these issues by exfoliating the skin before
waxing. Finally, always finish up by applying an aloe-based gel or lotion or
an after-wax lotion to the area treated. This helps to keep the skin healthy
and smooth.

health

How To Take Better Care Of Your Mental Health

How To Take Better Care Of Your Mental Health

Have you ever been told to just ‘snap out of it’ or to ‘cheer up’ when you’re feeling down? You’ll know that it is just not that easy when you struggle with depression. 

Depression is an illness. It is not just an emotional weakness. It is caused by imbalances of brain chemicals or from historic trauma in your past. It should be treated as an illness just like any physical health problem might be. If you are struggling with depression, it is not something that you should feel the need to say sorry for, and you shouldn’t have to wear a smile for someone else’s benefit. 

Self-care is important, and you should do everything possible to look after yourself. Getting into a routine of looking after yourself is hard, however, in the long run, it is one of the best ways of helping yourself. 

Here are several ways that you could consider when it comes to taking better care of your mental health. 

Realize That You Need To Prioritize Your Mental Health 

Putting yourself first can be hard. Firstly, you may believe that to do this is selfish. Putting your needs before the needs of others may not come naturally to you. You may naturally be someone who believes in hard work and effort, and to put your own needs first may seem counter-intuitive to your goals and unproductive. But you must do your best to prioritize your mental health needs above everything else. This means giving yourself time to rest and recover whenever you need it. 

Stop Judging Yourself 

The biggest critic that you probably have is yourself. You may spend a lot of your time beating yourself up or judging yourself. But a judgement is an opinion, not a statement of fact. Don’t allow your negative view of yourself replace the real you. 

Keep your negative thoughts in check by challenging them. 

Look At Taking Herbal Remedies

There are many great herbal remedies for depression and anxiety. St John’s Wort is one example of a traditional remedy. Another might be CBD. 

CBD comes from the same plant as cannabis, however, it has none of the same psychoactive properties that the drug cannabis has, meaning that there is no high and you are just left feeling more relaxed- but still able to go about your regular daily life. 

CBD oil UK is one of the more popular ways of taking CBD, however, you can also get it in the form of gummies, or vape liquid. 

Talk About Your Problems 

One of the best ways of dealing with your mental health problems is to talk them through with a friend. Go for a coffee with a close friend and let them know what you are going through. You may be surprised at how empathetic and supportive they may end up being. In addition to this, they may be able to give you some advice on the situation that you find yourself in.  

Winter

4 Tips For Making Your Home Winter-Ready

4 Tips For Making Your Home Winter-Ready

The passage of linear time has been hard to track this year, for obvious reasons, but it won’t have been lost on anyone that nights are drawing in. The days are getting colder, and there is more likely to be some rain to deal with too. Although our arrangements for the holiday season might be different in 2020, many of us are at least beginning to make those arrangements, and though we can’t say that winter has truly begun, it’s certainly on the way.

This year, more than any other, the importance of making your home ready for the colder months is inescapable. Many of us will be working from home for the foreseeable future, and even those who can’t do that may yet find themselves unable to travel to work, so it’s vital that your house is prepared for the encroaching colder days and nights, and the darker evenings that we’re now beginning to experience.

Check your windows from the outside

You may well be of the opinion that there isn’t a draught in your house, and you might be right. It’s also possible that there wasn’t a draught last year, but the passage of time has taken its toll and now there is cold air getting into your house. You wouldn’t have noticed it in summer, but as the days grow colder, you surely will. Draughts are most likely to get in around windows and doors – anywhere in your home where there is a join, in all honesty. So it makes sense to take a bit of time one morning to go around the exterior of your house.

As you move around, look at any gaps in the mortar, and in particular around any openings. The aforementioned windows and doors are important, but vents and other such interruptions to the brickwork should be monitored – and if there is space for air to get in, it should be patched up with a caulking gun. This may not eliminate all draughts, but it can certainly limit the impact they have on your comfort throughout winter. 

Clear out the gutters

By now, much of the leaf fall we are likely to see this autumn will have already happened, but there is some still to come. Now is a very good time to check the gutters around the roof of your home, and clear out any fallen leaves. The longer that leaf mulch sits in your gutters, the more rain it collects, and the more prone it becomes to freezing solid when the temperature dips below zero. This can cause permanent damage to the gutter which will require expensive repairs to make good again.

Ensure that your heating – and hot water – work as they should

It used to be essential to have hot water from taps in your house, for washing up, showering and a range of other purposes. As time has passed, appliances that need to use hot water can increasingly heat it themselves, and are plumbed into the cold water supply – and frugal people are engaged in a battle of wills as to who will be the last to turn the household heating on. That’s all well and good, but it means we’re often late to find out about faults in our hot water and heating throughout the house.

It’s vitally important to check that these essentials are functioning; you quite simply will not want to be washing your hands in cold water this winter (and, thanks to the pandemic, you need to wash your hands all the more right now). If you need any repairs to be run, you can book them in with the likes of localplumber-uk.com before the winter rush begins, and can then be confident of a steady supply of hot water and household heating that will see you through the coldest months of the year.

One last tip: lots of blankets!

We all know how cold it can become in winter, and if you are working from home the concern may well be that you need to heat the house more because you are there for longer. As far as possible, it is best to avoid turning the heating on unless it is absolutely necessary. Instead, have plenty of warm blankets which you can wrap around yourself to stay warm, only deploying the household heating if it gets seriously cold.

Making your house winter-ready is a vital step to take before winter itself has fully descended. You’ll be glad you took the above measures when you look back in January and see how much you have benefitted.

Finance

4 Reasons To Avoid Credit Cards When You’re Skint

4 Reasons To Avoid Credit Cards When You're Skint

It’s nearing the end of the month and your bank balance is looking bare. It’s so low that you can’t afford a drink and a packet of peanuts in your local establishment. Yes, you’re officially skint.

People say they are broke and have no money, but they don’t mean it. Their balance might be low, but they’re in no danger of missing the rent or mortgage payments. However, you’re struggling and want to turn to your credit card to help you through.

It’s a bad idea for several reasons. Continue reading to learn more about them.

There’s No Buffer

Paying with a piece of plastic can be a wise move as it gives you breathing space before the full amount is due. But, when you’re boracic, you don’t experience the full benefit of credit since your funds usually run out at the end of the month. And, that’s when your credit card statement is due, too. By switching from a debit account to a credit account, all you do is increase the chances of missing payments, which leads to high-interest rates and more debt, as well as a low credit score. To use credit wisely, you must plan to get the breathing space you need.

The Limit Is Dangerous

A credit card has a maximum limit. In the UK, the average is between £3,000 and £4,000, which is very high. Not only is it large, but it’s dangerous as you might be tempted into spending more than you can pay back. At least you have the option to top-up your finances with small amounts that are more straightforward to clear with payday loans. After all, £50 is a lot simpler to manage than £150 or £200. Therefore, it could be healthier to consider other credit options instead of continually leaning on your credit card.

Creditors Are Flexible

Creditors have bad reputations. Most people assume they want their money at all costs, but this isn’t the case. They do want you to pay back the amount you owe, which is why they often set up payment plans for customers who struggle. From their perspective, they’re more likely to get their money back if the repayments are lower. From yours, it’s much easier to meet deadlines when the figures aren’t as big. Plus, agreeing to a payment plan provides peace of mind and stops you from stressing.

It Becomes The Norm

Once you do it and it doesn’t end in tears, you’ll continue to do it month after month. It might never be a problem, yet the odds are higher that you’ll fall foul of credit card companies sooner rather than later. Using credit cards means you don’t have a budget and find it tough to practise self-control. By cutting them out of your routine, you’ll be less likely to receive penalty notices. Also, you won’t see it as normal and should be able to drop the habit.

There are many reasons to avoid credit cards when you’re skint, but the main one is that there are alternatives.

Health and fitness, health care

Staying Active During Lockdown This Winter

Staying Active During Lockdown This Winter

The last six months for most of us have been a huge change of pace in life and a strange new world to get used to. When we have a family with children, being in the house for so long can be a huge challenge and many of us have struggled to keep everyone sane and healthy throughout these trying times. 

One of the biggest challenges during the pandemic has been to keep ourselves and our family active and fit. When it’s not possible to hit the gym and go to the playground: staying fit becomes much more of a challenge and it may seem impossible to achieve. 

Today though we want to share with you a few of the ways that you can stay fit and active during the winter, and during lockdown at home. 

Use YouTube Videos 

One of the best resources that we all have available to use these days is YouTube. If you are stuck at home, YouTube offers a huge range of videos from workouts to meditation, physiotherapy and even craft videos for the kids. Utilise YouTube for yourself and your children by selecting a workout you can all do together in the living room every day. Even if it’s only 20 minutes, it will make a big difference to all of you and keep you for and active at home. 

Explore your local area 

There are not many activities we can do at the moment that involve being active; however walking is always an option. After being stuck in lockdown for a long time those same four walls can be torture, and that’s why you should take the chance to go out into your local area for a walk. Set off from home and see where the walk takes you. You might be surprised at some of the places you notice during your walk! 

Do some DIY 

If you want to stay active at home but the weather is looking worse and worse, DIY is a great idea. After being at home for months on end, a change of scenery could make all the difference so why not do some decorating? Make the most of the time you have at home to complete those niggling projects you haven’t done before, and spruce the place up too. Not only will it improve the mood in the house but it will keep you active too. 

Practice Yoga 

As important as it is to perform cardio and strength workouts to keep yourself fit; you also need to work on flexibility. Yoga is a practice which is accessible to all members of the family and it can be a great activity to share with your kids. Yoga teaches flexibility and strength as well as calm. Take the opportunity to watch YouTube Yoga videos and find your flow at home. 

Get gardening 

If you have an outdoor space at home, now is a great time to get outside and prune some of your hardy shrubs as well as mow the lawn for the last time until spring. Bring the children out into the garden with you and get them involved! 

There are plenty of ways to stay active even when you are stuck at home, so we hope these ideas helped you today! 

Home

3 Reasons You Might Not Be Enjoying The Home

3 Reasons You Might Not Be Enjoying The Home

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

It’s Cluttered

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

You Don’t Feel Secure

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

It’s Not Personalised

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

Pet care., pets

How to Choose the Right Pet Door for You

How to Choose the Right Pet Door for You

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

Things to consider before installing a pet door

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

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

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

The benefits of a pet door

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

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

Different types of pet doors

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

  • 2-way locking

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

  • 4-way locking

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

  • Magnetic

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

  • Microchip

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

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

Interior Design, Lifestyle

The Design Trends That We Are Likely To See Next Season

The Design Trends That We Are Likely To See Next Season

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

Home technologies 

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

New materials

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

Embracing the traditional 

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

active, healthy living.

Fun Ways To Get The Whole Family Active

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

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

Invest in your family’s own kit

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

Create your own back garden Olympics

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

Balance active time with screen time

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

TV night? Mix things up with some ad break exercises

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