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Finance, Lifestyle

Saving for summer

Saving for summer

Saving for summer

Being a parent and trying to save money can sometimes prove very difficult. Even more so for summer activities and a family summer holiday. I don’t know about you but it often feels as if money evaporates before our eyes. As the saying goes “every little helps”. A few small changes to spending habits can help a great deal and make quite a difference to the savings pot.

Saving doesn’t have to be boring, you can still have fun and save at the same time.

Here are a few saving ideas that may help you save a few pennies for summer:

  • Are you one for going off of lunch dates with friends? Try and cut out on the expensive coffee shops or pub lunches, try and meet for a picnic or even play host and take turns to lunch at each others house. That way you could save a few pounds but your still meeting and having fun.
  • Do you meal plan? Meal planning we find also helps watch the pennies. If meals are planned out in advance for the week it helps with budgeting the funds, it helps to cut out on the impulse buying and also food waste. I am guilty of always impulse buying and buying the “I may need this” item. I am always buying food products and forgetting that they are there and before I know it the food has gone out-of-date. Having a list to stick to and a budget in mind has helped massively. I now try and do online shopping to save the risk of temptation.
  • Voucher codes are always worth looking out for to help keep the costs down. A quick look online could help reduce your bill.
  • Having a sort out of unused items could bring in a few pounds to your saving pot. I think we are all guilty of having a junk area and unused things shoved to the back of the cupboard.  It may be worth having a sort out and advertising the products for sale, someone could grab a bargain and you make a few pounds.
  • Have a closer look at your usage to see what you truly need/use. We recently reduced our TV and internet package as half the channels we didn’t even watch. We are also going more energy-efficient around the home. In the long run the savings here will help keep costs down.
  • Comparison sites is always worth a browse. We never just auto-renew our insurances/contracts we always take a look at the end of every contract. This helps to keep the bills down each month.
  • Walking where possible saves us money and keeps us fit. Being a two car family due to both working and needing a car this means double the car bill. Where possible we leave the car at home and walk. This saves on wear-and-tear on the car, petrol and also parking fees.
  • Grow your own is something we done last year and really enjoyed. Have you ever tried growing your own fruit and veg? this saved us money last year and we hope to do it again this year. Home grown tastes so much better.
  • Try out cheaper brands in store, you never know you may be surprised and even like the cheaper brand. If you can change just a few items to a cheaper brand that could save you a few pounds to add to your savings pot.

These are just a few ideas that may help with saving a few pounds to put towards something for the summer. We are off on a few family holidays over the next few weeks, making a few changes will save on having to apply for a loan. Some may say short term loans can be a good solution but we would rather avoid loans as much as possible.

Do you have any good money-saving ideas?

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health, Lifestyle

Time to admit age is catching up with us

Time to admit age is catching up with us

Time to admit age is catching up with us

Our kid’s are no longer babies and are in fact growing into handsome young men. We are often being told how polite and helpful they are. They are growing up too quickly for our liking. Two out of our three boy’s now have girlfriends and are in full-time jobs making plans for their futures. Lee has only just left college and within days has got himself a job where his brother is currently working. Bradley our youngest is just about to sit his GCSE exams and is due to leave school in the next few weeks…..Yikes, how do we stop time?

Recently we dusted off our old photo albums from the loft and we all sat and had a lovely evening reminiscing, it was lovely. We was laughing at funny moments we had captured of our boys with dinner on their head from when they was learning to feed themselves, also funny potty training moments. The boys were laughing at each others outfits before they then started laughing at photos of us. Yes the comments was coming at us of “crikey dad you had hair”, and “mum look this was before you started going grey”. It was funny and sadly yes the comments were true. Age really is starting to catch up with us.

Time to admit age is catching up with us
Ian in 2001 (as the boy’s say “with hair”)

As working parents we spend our time worrying about our kids that we hardly take time-out for ourselves do we?

Well after seeing those photographs I fastly contacted my hairdresser and booked her to come and hide my grey, but poor Ian he really is going thin on top. Everyone tends to laugh at him for it and I do feel sorry for him, but he takes it in his stride and laughs it off but I know it does bother him. We have in the past bought him shampoos that have been recommended but sadly they didn’t work. I have taken to looking online and reading up on men who have suffered the same problem, most are saying that the they opted for hair treatmentsI had been browsing the internet looking up on the treatments as I was curious and asked myself “how does a hair transplant work“? I came across Wayne Rooney’s hair transplant results, wow what a difference.

Time to admit age is catching up with us
Ian now 2018

When chatting with Ian about going thin on top he seems to think it is a receding hair-line problem. He is fully aware that there is help out there for him should he wish to get help, but for now he said he enjoys winding the boys up and blaming them for him going bald, as he say’s he had hair before they was born and they made him pull it out. Cheeky bugger, he is a wind-up merchant.

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Garden, Lifestyle

Our top five summer must have items this summer

Our top five summer must have items this summer

Our top five summer must have items this summer

Hopefully the horrible cold wintry days are now behind us, and the sunny summer days will fastly be here. With that in mind it has got us thinking about our summer must-have items for this summer. There is nothing we enjoy more than relaxing evenings in the garden after work. Since last summer we have had a garden makeover, we now have a garden that can be enjoyed by us as a family.

Also since last summer I have had to reduce my hours at work due to illness so we are always looking for the latest deals to be had.

We love to entertain and we are known for our parties, especially garden parties. This will be our first summer in our newly revamped garden and are yet to update our garden furniture. This Rattan Corner Sofa has caught our eye, it will be a great way of bringing the comfort of our living room outside with us. A perfect way to enjoy summer in comfort whilst wearing lovely summer dresses.

Seating area

Our top five summer must have items this summerA swing chair is something we use to own previously at our old house, it is also something we miss owning and are considering purchasing again. It use to be a great way to sit back and relax whilst swaying in the breeze. Ian use to relax so much he’d fall asleep on it.

 

Our top five summer must have items this summer

Relaxation 

With my birthday luckily enough being in the summer I have added a hot tub to my birthday wish list. Owning a hot tub has been a dream of mine for so long now and we now have the space for one since our house move.  I think I have managed to persuade Ian to add a bit of luxury into our garden. What a perfect way to relax and indulge into some luxury than purchasing a hot tub.

Our top five summer must have items this summer

Garden maintenance

Back in January we welcomed Coco into our family, our Siberian Husky puppy. Since then we have worn our old pressure washer out keeping our garden clean and tidy. We are now looking for a new pressure washer with additional patio cleaning accessories for making this never-ending task easier and faster.

Our top five summer must have items this summer

Summer cooking

Now we have a nice new patio with a canopy over the top, we are now looking at replacing our existing coal BBQ with a gas BBQ so that we can then BBQ in all weathers come rain or shine. This will be a perfect addition when entertaining at our garden parties.

 

Our top five summer must have items this summer

What is your favorite way to pass time in your garden?

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Education, Lifestyle, teenager, Travel

National Citizen Service – Bradley’s adventure

National Citizen Service - Bradley's adventure

National Citizen Service – Bradley’s adventure

Have you heard of The National Citizen Service? no me neither. Bradley came home a few weeks back now begging to go away with what he called “NCS”. Back then we hadn’t a clue what he was on about if we are honest. Since then we done some research and our first thoughts was “wow” – we was amazed at what they offer for teenaged children.

National Citizen Service - Bradley's adventure

We sat talking, and then started to think how we don’t recall anything like this being on offer when we was younger. The National Citizen Service is a government backed programme established in 2011 to help build a more cohesive, mobile and engaged society. By bringing together young people from different backgrounds for a unique shared experience, NCS helps them to become better individuals, and turn into better citizens.

National Citizen Service - Bradley's adventure

Once we had seen what an amazing experience was on offer for him how could we refuse him to go. Bradley will be doing his GCSE exams over the next few weeks and this experience will follow on from that, so he now has something to look forward to at the end of his very important exams.

Such as:

  • Outdoor team-building exercises
  • A residential for participants to learn ‘life skills’
  • A series of challenging activities to help him develop his strength of character
  • He will be helped to develop leadership skills necessary to succeed in the workplace
  • The experience enables young people to connect with their communities through a social action-packed project
  • For every £1 spent, NCS 2016 summer programme delivered between £1.15 and £2.42 of benefits back into society
  • There is also an end of programme celebration event

How amazing does all that sound? our teens today are so lucky.

National Citizen Service - Bradley's adventure

Almost 400,000 young people have taken part in this amazing experience and more than seven million hours of community action have been completed. How amazing is that? in fact this summer more than 100,000 teenagers from different backgrounds will be taking part in NCS. That means one in six of the cohort of 16 year olds will live together, develop skills together and build community projects together.

National Citizen Service - Bradley's adventure

Bradley is so looking forward to his time with NCS in July. The programme cost us just £50, that is including food, travel and also his accommodation for the few weeks with them which is just amazing value for money. Bursaries are available on a case by case basis. Support is also on offer for children with additional needs.

We wasn’t sure if Bradley would be able to attend NCS at first as we have a family holiday in July that had been booked up for months, but chatting with NCS and they helped us work around it to ensure that Bradley could still attend. If you have a child that may like to attend the experience but are worried due to commitments already booked, NCS are very helpful in working around booked commitments.

Do you have a child in year 11? or know someone who has that may like to join this amazing experience? you can find out more over on the >>NCS website<< Bradley is really looking forward to a summer of fun living away from home whilst making new friends, taking on new challenges, building his confidence, self beliefs and learning life skills that can’t be taught in a classroom.  He has told us he hopes come home at the end of July an even stronger, better, more confident unstoppable person. We as parents are so excited for him, this just looks and sounds amazing.

What an amazing way to end his toughest year in school.

If you would like to follow The National Citizen Service on social media to show your support, you can do so by following them on >Facebook< >Twitter< >Instagram<

 

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Lifestyle, Pet care., pets

Opening up our home

Opening up our home

Opening up our home

Sadly, back in March 2017 we had to say a very sad goodbye to our loving Buddy who passed away in his sleep. Buddy was our German shepherd dog and was our fur-baby for just under 11 years.

Back then we said “NO MORE” dogs as the saying goodbye was just too painful. Time passed and our home was just too quiet. Come January 2018 we were welcoming our little Coco, a Siberian Husky girl into our lives and home, aged 8 weeks old.

preparing our home for a new puppy

Not long after our Buddy had passed away my Endometriosis started to flare up. Resulting in myself having to step down from my position at work and go in on a part-time shift. I found I was moping around at home, I got very depressed and if I am completely honest I ended up in a very dark place. Thankfully Ian got me back to some form of me again.

Getting Coco has really lifted my spirits. She gets me up and out everyday, whereas before I’d just get up and mope about – Coco is my anti-depressant.

Opening up our home

We go on lovely long walks with her, she comes out with us in the car. We go off into the countryside, walk along rivers. We visit dog exercise parks and stop off in pet-friendly pubs/cafe’s. She basically comes with us everywhere.

Coco is a very friendly dog and absolutely loves nothing more than to play ball, chase and no words can even begin to describe how much she loves her paddling pool…. she’d sleep in it if we’d let her.

With Coco being so friendly and her energy levels being so high we have decided to open up our home and become dog fosterers. We have been in discussions for a few weeks now with our local dog rescue centre and have been accepted to become dog fosterers.

Opening up our home

Coco with our sisters dogs at our sisters house.

What is a dog fosterer?

A dog fosterer is someone who is willing to open up their home and help provide a temporary home for a dog in need. To give lots of love and look after them, help build them up to get the best chance of a fresh start in life. Let’s face it we all deserve a second chance, even a dog!

We will be helping to play a vital part in the rehabilitation of the dogs which will help improve their chance of finding their new forever home.

We will be helping to build the dogs confidence if needed, building them up and helping them to get used to a normal lifestyle in a home environment. We will be giving the dogs the love, care and affection they deserve. They will have a friend forever with Coco.

Opening up our home

By fostering dogs, we will be doing a good thing by helping to build a dog’s confidence and helping to settle a dog with a new forever home with a loving family. Being part of that will be so rewarding.

Before we take in any dog, checks are made by the rescue centre and we get contacted from there. Coco will be meeting them outdoors first. Once they have met and if all goes well things will move forward from there and hopefully we can then help provide a safe loving home for a dog in need. Coco will love having a friend to burn off energy with.

We are really looking forward to fostering our first dog and opening up our home.

Opening up our home

Do you have any pets?

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Lifestyle, Top tips

Could you BE more energy-efficient?

Could you BE more energy-efficient?

Imagine for moment you are sat in a scene of the famous sit com friends. You are drinking your coffee in central perk, having a chat with everyone about saving money on your energy bill and Chandler says “Could you be any more energy-efficient?” While this wouldn’t make the most exciting Friends episode, the point I am trying to make is that many of us have the very best intentions of being energy-efficient, but could we do more? Have we explored other options.

Of course, many of us will look at our current bill and aim to reduce it. Often by changing companies or shopping the market you can get a cheaper quote, and that’s the job done. You are saving money on your energy bill right there and then. Perhaps you ask your family members to switch lights off in rooms not being used, maybe remarking that the house isn’t supposed to reflect some light show. But is that all you do? Really, if you ask yourself honestly, many of us do the bare minimum when it comes to being more energy-efficient, so I wanted to share with you some of the other ways you can improve it.

Could You BE More Energy Efficient?

Stop using standby

Switching something off is one way of saving money, but if you put a TV, computer or device on standby then you aren’t saving much at all. That is because there is still an element of energy needing to be used to keep that product in standby mode. Instead, consider switching them off with their off switch or better yet switch the plug off. This could work for anything including smaller appliances like a kettle or toaster in your kitchen.

Invest in your home

It is important to invest in your home, and there are plenty of ways you can do that with being more energy-efficient as your priority First things first, why not consider making sure that the heat stays in your home, especially with the colder months ahead. Replacing your windows and doors from companies like Buckingham Double Glazing could prove a worthwhile investment in this department. Other things to consider would be to insulate your property thoroughly, and even change the light bulbs you use in your home to more energy-efficient ones like LEDS. While all of this has a cost, it can prove to be very cost-effective in the long-term, as well as enabling you to be more energy-efficient.

Consider solar energy

Finally, solar energy could be a real viable option for your home. The panels can be installed onto your roof, so they don’t interfere with the aesthetic look of your home. They can then produce hot water, heat and energy to your home. Often, there is a cost upfront for these panels to be fitted, but there is a big potential saving when it comes to the monthly costs of running your home.

I hope that this has inspired you to consider some of the other ways you could be more energy-efficient in your home.

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Lifestyle, Top tips

Home cinema Ideas for the whole family

Home Cinema Ideas For The Whole Family

Home cinema Ideas for the whole family

A man cave, she-shed, or just a home cinema; call it what you like, but a proper entertainment room at home is something everyone should treat themselves to. If you have the interest in video games or movies and some spare space, you’ll easily be able to build something like this over a short weekend.

Home Cinema Ideas For The Whole Family

How much money you’d like to put into it is up to you, so here is a quick guide to get you sufficiently inspired to get started.

What is it used for?

While you may very well want a gaming room as well as home cinema, you need first to figure out if you want to entertain guests in there as well. As a big family, we need that extra seating space in any way and multiple couches, as well as a large screen, is a must – particularly if guests come over. It’s not quite the entertainment room you imagined when you have to carry in extra kitchen chairs to accommodate people.

When it’s only two of you, and you won’t really invite your neighbours over, you’ll be fine with at least two comfortable chairs or one single couch.

TV or projector?

The next and most difficult step is to pick the right kind of screen for your new entertainment centre. If you’d rather have a TV than a projector, you need to browse through some of these wooden TV stands or a table in any other material you prefer – just make sure it has space underneath for your console and remotes.

Projectors are popular for home cinemas as the room is supposed to be kept dark at all times; not like your living room, for example, where you might want to let the sunshine in even though somebody’s watching. If you’d like a projector, you also need to place it with a bit of distance from the wall so the room should be rather big too.

Consider the purpose of the room and if a TV would be a better fit for a brighter or smaller entertainment room.

Collection library

If it’s purely a gaming room, you definitely need a few shelves to display their games (unless they only have them online, of course) as well as whatever collectables they pick up on their gaming adventures.

Home cinemas should also have a library of movies but most of these are also stored on a hard drive these days; get a display stand in any way to show off your collectables, and you’ll still be able to dazzle your guests.

Have some fun decorating your space as well, by the way, and set a theme if you’re into that sort of thing. What about an 80’s theme with drive-in cinemas and large buckets of popcorn? It would look really sweet if you also have a vintage console to pair the decoration with, such an any old Nintendo.

Comfort and lightning are key terms when you’re assembling your new entertainment room. Just make sure everyone has a soft spot to sit in and are able to view the screen – and you should be good to go. Invest in a proper sound system too either now or when you’ve saved up for it, and you’ll have a hard time keeping the neighbours away.

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Lifestyle, Top tips

Handy hints to simplify your home move

Handy hints to simplify your home move

Handy hints to simplify your home move

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

Handy hints to simplify your home move

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

Organise Your Boxes and Take Photos

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

Use Ziplock Bags for Small Parts

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

Wrap Up Cables and Wires with Twine

Handy hints to simplify your home move

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

Pack an Overnight Bag with Essentials

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

Avoid Over packing Boxes

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

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

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Lifestyle, Slimming World, weight loss

Life changes

Life changes

Life changes

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

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

Life changes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lifestyle, Weight loss

Finding myself again

Finding myself again

New group new start

So today saw my first weeks weigh in at my new Slimming world group. Was I nervous? yes. Was I excited? yes. Was I pleased with my result? hell yes. Any weight off in my opinion is good and all I hope for.

I am taking a new approach to my weight loss this time round, I am setting myself small goals rather than one big one. My aim at the moment is to lose one stone by my birthday (7th August) but if it doesn’t happen it doesn’t matter it is just something to aim for at the moment. Today was my first weigh in and I am very excited to say that I am now 5 lb lighter. Next week I am aiming for my half stone award…..I can do this!

Small steps…small steps!

Ian has been a huge support to me, I sat down and explained to him that I am not happy with my weight and sadly haven’t been now for a while. I am kicking myself big time for putting my weight back on that I lost before our move but I only have myself to blame.

I sat and chatted with Ian and we have both agreed to get back into meal planning and batch cooking again. I found this a huge help last time. He is now on board and has agreed to learn new and healthier recipes with me. We both work long days so it isn’t just one of us cooking it is both of us which is why it is best we both learn this together so it helps to keep me on plan.

Diet coke chicken is something different I had heard mentioned a few times in my old group. I recently made it for us all to try and we all enjoyed it. Meal prep plays a huge part for us, with working such long days and not getting home until late, gone 9 pm most nights the last thing we want to be doing then is chopping and dicing vegetables but yet we want a nice homemade meal.

Finding myself again

Batch cooking meals in the only way so far I have found helps us to stick to healthy home cooked meals. Now Ian is on board and is willing to learn this makes it all the more easier to stay on plan. Ian is normally a lover of using his takeaway app to order in when I am out working late. Yes I enjoy the odd takeaway but I’d much prefer a nice healthy home cooked meal. Ian is a good cook and just needs reminding of that.

What we are currently doing is looking at healthy slow cooker recipes and also have a change about with our current eating habits. What I would like to do is find nice recipes that we can all enjoy. I may be out some nights until gone 9 pm but I certainly don’t expect Ian and the boys to wait for me before having their meal, certainly not at that time. Fingers are crossed for a minimum of a 2 lb loss for next week so it will then take me to half stone.

What is your favorite family meal?

 

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Lifestyle

The most underrated home Improvements that will transform your family property

The most underrated home Improvements that will transform for your family property

Home Improvements to consider 

Home improvements play heavily on the minds of all homeowners. There’s no doubt that you will make some upgrades over the coming months, just like everyone else will. But how can you be sure that you’ve made the right decisions?

We all think we know where our priorities should lie. However, many of the commonly overlooked jobs are the ones that will actively bring the greatest improvement. Learn to appreciate these seven of the best below, and your property will soon look and feel better than ever.

 #1. Upgrading Security

There’s no greater feeling than the feeling of safety, especially at home. Until your property is properly protected, it will be almost impossible to enjoy it to its full potential. Frankly, this should be one of the first items on your home upgrade agenda.

Improving the security starts with ensuring that all doors and windows are protected by the right locks. Meanwhile, if you are a new homeowner, you may want to get the locks changed just for peace of mind. After all, you never know who the previous owner gave a set of keys to.

Take security one step further by installing surveillance cameras, automated gates, and alarms. It’s always better to be safe than sorry, and this is the perfect solution.

The Most Underrated Home Improvements That Will Transform For Your Family Property

 #2. Going Green

Living a more eco-friendly life has become a growing concern for millions as society becomes more aware of the damage being caused to the earth. Protecting nature should provide some motivation but, in truth, personal rewards will give you a far greater incentive. And that’s why the home should be the first place where you incorporate green ideas.

 You don’t have to make the big gesture by installing solar roof panels. The benefits of using LED lights throughout the home are arguably even greater, and it’s one of the easiest tasks to complete. Likewise, saving water with improved dishwashers and energy-efficient toilets is pretty easily achieved.

Many homeowners underestimate how much of an impact those upgrades and home Improvements can have on monthly bills. Those upgrades will pay for themselves, and add comfort for the family. If that doesn’t encourage you to make those switches, what will?

 #3. Painting The Walls

When you enter a room, the colour is the first thing you’ll notice. It might not always be a conscious reaction, but it does happen. As such, the walls essentially set the tone for the entire home, and changing them is the best way to alter the atmosphere.

Painting the walls is a quick and cheap upgrade, particularly if they have been prepped well. You can learn how to do this at DIYNetwork.com. A few new coats of paint will instantly provide a room with fresh energy. However, changing to a lighter tone can actively change perceptions to make the space look larger. That’s something that most families will appreciate.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the desire to add cool artwork and other stylish features, which is all well and good. Nonetheless, the wall colour will have the biggest influence of any single job. Do not forget it.

The Most Underrated Home Improvements That Will Transform For Your Family Property

 #4. Utilizing The Garden

The home doesn’t simply include what’s inside the four walls. Adding external appeal is equally important for the relationship shared with the property. So, if you are blessed with a garden space, it’s imperative that you use it to its full capabilities.

Essentially, this job boils down to giving the space a sense of purpose and function. Decks and patio areas may be deemed a little pointless by some. But once you’ve built one, your afternoon and evening time in the garden will never be the same game. Those benefits will be felt all summer long while the maintenance is easy too. Perfect.

If the thought of maintenance has been the main obstacle for avoiding the transformation thus far, try adding an artificial lawn too. Time is the greatest thing in our lives, and those saved hours will make a world of difference to your happiness.   

#5. Fixing The Temperature

Most homeowners dream of a property that boasts the perfect aesthetic. In reality, the practical features should always take priority. After all, there’s little point in having the flash TV if you don’t have the basic comforts in place.

The heating and air circulation features should be top of the to-do list. Visit OnlyRadiators.co.uk to learn about the best heating appliances along with tips to get the most out of them. Let’s face it; nobody wants to spend the winter months sat on the sofa in three coats and a pair of gloves.

On a similar note, fixing the temperature and pressure of the shower and kitchen taps will have a far greater impact than luxury home additions. Prioritising tasks is crucial. Take a mature approach, and it will pay dividends in the long run.

The Most Underrated Home Improvements That Will Transform For Your Family Property

#6. Finding Floor space

Nobody wants to feel cramped in their home. Unfortunately, you’ll need planning permission and capital to increase the physical dimensions. However, creating added floor space will work wonders for the interactions with each room.

Simple jobs like mounting TVs to walls or adding shelves will make an instant impression. Meanwhile, finding hidden storage space in ottomans can work wonders. Combine those tricks with extendable tables and other furniture that can be made smaller when not in use, and you’ll soon see a massive difference.

You don’t even necessarily need to buy new products or complete jobs to see a change. Even the positioning of furniture can transform the appearance of the room. Try out a few different ideas until you find the most spacious appeal. You will not regret it.

#7. Building A Dream Bedroom

What do you consider to be the most important room in your home? Most people will answer the living room or kitchen. While those areas are crucial areas, they don’t come close to the bedroom. Because if you cannot get a good night’s sleep, it will bring negativity to your mental and physical health.

A great bedroom should be more than a place to sleep, but this should still be the number one priority. Investing in a great mattress is imperative, while blackout curtains or blinds will make a huge difference too. Some people will find that a fan may aid their sleep patterns due to the noise and air circulation too.

 

As for the kids’ bedrooms, Improvements you could consider could be high sleeper cabins as a way to aid sleep and create more room for their playing activities. Either way, when you perfect their bedroom spaces, improved sleep is inevitable. For the sake of their development and your sanity, getting this right is a must. Underestimate its importance at your peril.

Do you have any home Improvements planned?

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Lifestyle

Landlords Vs Tenants – Know Your Rights

Landlords Vs Tenants – Know Your Rights

There are now more people in rented accommodation than ever before. And this means that more and more people have to deal with a landlord. Thankfully, the majority of landlords do their job properly and see to all their tenants issues and problems very efficiently. However, there are some out there who don’t put their tenant’s best interests first.

Are you currently suffering with a nightmare landlord? Your dispute shouldn’t be ongoing as most are very easy to sort out. You just need to make sure that you know your rights. Read on to find out more!

Landlords Vs Tenants – Know Your Rights

Know The Law

You should brush up on the law before you get into any dispute. That way, you know whether you are right to be making a complaint or stand up against your landlord. Sometimes a problem between a landlord or a tenant occurs when one of the parties doesn’t realise that they have broken their side of the contract. So, knowing the law can also prevent you from making a mistake that could end with you in the wrong. You will be able to find out the basic laws by just doing a Google search. But if you want more information, you should speak to a lawyer.

Get Evidence

If you are sure that you have a case against your landlord, you need to gather evidence to prove your point. If you are unhappy with the state of your home, you should take pictures of any damage or improvements that need sorting out. It might also be worth contacting some chartered surveyors to check out the building. If they can show that your home isn’t safe, it will make the landlord act a lot quicker. The surveyors will also be able to give evidence in the event the case is taken to court.

Landlords Vs Tenants - Know Your Rights

Talk Face To Face

Most people contact their landlord through email or letters. However, things can often get misread which might cause the situation to blow up and become a much bigger deal than it should be. If you do find a problem with your home, you should endeavour to speak to your landlord face to face. That way, you can see where you are both coming from, and you will be able to come to an agreement in a very civilised manner.

Keep A Record

Whenever you do make contact with your landlord, you should always keep a record. If you email or write to them, this is easy as you can print out the email and keep a copy of the letter. However, it’s slightly harder if you speak to them in person. But you can still keep a record, you just need to write down the time and date the discussion took place and what each of you said.

Don’t let nightmare landlords bring you down. Follow these steps, and you can help to improve the situation between the two of you in no time at all. If things continue to escalate, then chat to a property lawyer about your next steps.

 

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food, Lifestyle

Diet Coke Chicken

Finding myself again

A new family meal – Diet Coke Chicken

With recently re-joining Slimming World I have been taking a look at some of our family meal times. I can safely say that whilst I have not been attending group our eating habits have slowly gone back to our old ways. When it is Ian’s turn to cook when I am working late he mistakenly thinks that the takeaway apps the oven. Accidentally on purpose of course. This is even done when there is a pre made dinner in the fridge that just needs to be put in the oven so it is ready for when I get home from work.

I re-looked at some of our meals and thought perhaps a change is needed and we needed a change and to mix things up a little to help bring back the love of cooking from fresh food again. In our house time plays a big part in our eating habits. Admittedly we love any dish that can be cooked using the minimal amount of pots and pans and is also quick to make. Slow cooker recipes are a favourite in our house.

With us both out working 12 hrs of the day preparing food and a nice family meal can become a problem if we are not prepared in advance as all we want to do when we get in is kick our shoes off and enjoy a nice long soak in the bath.

Batch cooking is something we used to do a lot and is something we need to start getting into again. We moved house since last attending Slimming world, we are now settled and have re-joined at a different group so hopefully this will all fall into place again very soon.

Slimming World was re-joined again on Wednesday and so far the plan has been stuck to so fingers crossed results will show next week at group. One of our new meals we have enjoyed is Diet Coke Chicken….Yes Diet Coke Chicken!

Diet Coke is one ingredient we have never used before for cooking, have you?

This was one meal we had to try, I must say it was delicious. It was enjoyed by all of us, the teens even asked for more so we can’t complain. Lots of veg was added and it was extremely filling. It had been spoken about in group at our old group and new so I just had to try it out with my boys and see if it’s a possible new recipe that can be made and enjoyed again. The answer from my teens was a big yes. I am so pleased to be finding family meals that can be enjoyed by myself who is currently wanting to lose weight and meals that also fits into meal times that family will also enjoy to.

Ingredients used was:

  1. x 4 skinless Chicken breast
  2. Low calorie spray
  3. x 1 red pepper & x 1 yellow pepper
  4. Can of Diet Coke
  5. Chicken stock – 200 ml
  6. Cup of frozen peas
  7. Kale x 2 handfuls
  8. x 1 onion – diced
  9. Mixed herbs 1 tbs
  10. 8 tbs Passata
  11. 4 tbs Tomato puree
  12. 2 tsp Worcestershire
  13. x 1 tbs dark Soy Sauce
  14. x 2 chopped Carrots

How we cooked Diet Coke Chicken:

We heated the pan and then sprayed the pan with my low-calorie spray.

All the vegetables and chicken was then added until lightly browned.

Once browned the stock was then added, diet coke, passata, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce and then mixed herbs.

This was then continuously stirred whilst bringing to the boil.

A lid went on the pan, the heat was turned down and it was left to simmer until the chicken was cooked through and the sauce had thickened.

This was so quick and easy to make, all in the one pan too – extra bonus!

This took us 15 minutes to prepare and roughly 40 minutes cooking time and most of that was simmering on its own.

This meal fed four of us and we all very much enjoyed it. This meal made a lovely change and will certainly be being made again. I enjoyed this meal with cauliflower rice Ian and the teens had rice.

diet coke chicken

Do you have a favorite family meal?

 

 

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Lifestyle, Top tips

Ways to reduce the stress of moving house

Ways to reduce the stress of moving house

Ways to reduce the stress of moving house

Anyone that has ever moved house would most probably agree that it is one of the most challenging lifes events, both physically and emotionally that anyone can go through, even more so if you have children.

Moving house can be extremely stressful as there is a lot of changes happening and unfamiliarity to deal with. This can lead to stress and anxiety if not careful. It is important to make sure moving does not become to overwhelming.

We recently moved house and was a mix of emotions. We was happy but also sad, excited but not. Tears on moving day was happy ones but a few sad ones too. Our moving post and reasons for moving can be read here.

We would like to share a few tips on how to have a stress-free house move.

Our top ten tips are:

  1. Our top tip would be to write an action plan as far in advance as possible as come closer to the moving date you wont be thinking straight and will have 1001 things going round in your head. At least with the plan in place it will help ease some of the stress for you and it is even on paper for any volunteers you may have to come and help.
  2. As soon as you have a date set shop around and get your removal company/vans booked ASAP. It would be awful if forgotten or left to the last-minute and there is none available. Plus it would be a tick off that huge to-do list.
  3. Book time off work to allow yourself time. Moving can not only be exhausting but it also gives you time to adjust to your new home and neighbours.
  4. Book re-direction of your mail and start making a list of whom to inform of your new address.
  5. Put a moving day box aside to keep to hand on the big day and fill with handy things such as, medication, drinks, snacks, phone chargers etc. It is important to have means of contact should anything go wrong as well as keeping hydrated and some snacks to hand.
  6. Don’t make the boxes too heavy as the removal men won’t be too happy. If possible borrow or hire a sack barrow as this would be most welcomed when it comes to any heavy appliances. Also a van with a tail-lift would be extremely useful. Minimize heavy lifting where possible.
  7. Don’t be afraid to ask friends and family for help on the big day, some may only be too happy to lend a hand. More hands the better, especially if it’s a rainy day like our moving day was.
  8. Moving house is a good time to have a sort out/de-clutter. If honest with ourselves we are all guilty of owning a junk draw or cupboard? do you really want/need to take all that with you?
  9. Take time out for a short break, have a drink, rest and recharge. Don’t forget to eat otherwise you will burn all energy.
  10. The key to a successful move that we found was organisation. Everyone had an allocated job so we all knew who was doing what. We swapped around during the day so we all took turns to help with the heavy lifting, it also gave us the chance to have a much welcomed rest from it.

If you are moving into a house that is in need of renovation works then perhaps self storage may be a safer option to help protect your belongings whilst works are carried out.

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Lifestyle, Top tips

The Garage Clear out Guide

The Garage Clear out Guide

The Garage Clear out Guide

So you have made the decision to go about turning your garage from a junk depository into something more usable. Perhaps you have decided it’s finally time that you were able to keep a car in there, or you might even be contemplating using the space as an extra room on the ground floor of your house as www.mkhomedesign.com.au suggests. Either way, you’ve got big plans and now all you need to do is… remove the years of mess that have been being stored there! No big problem, then.

While this might be a worrying undertaking, there’s no doubt that it can be a beneficial one if you commit the time and energy to doing it. There’s a whole extra space in your home that you haven’t been taking advantage of, so why not roll up your sleeves, put on some gloves, and blast through it in a weekend?

Deciding what to keep, what to throw, and what to do with the mess that’s left is one of the most difficult parts of this project. If you need a few guiding pointers, then there’s a few good ideas that you should be putting into use…

1 – Don’t Get Trapped By Memories

As you peel back years of junk, it’s far too easy to find yourself being trapped by nostalgia. You’ll find boxes of items you’d thought lost; memories of experiences with your kids, their toys, and all sorts of items you have an emotional attachment to.

This is one of the perks of cleaning out an area like the garage, but it’s also one of the biggest time sucks. If you want to do a thorough job, you need to ensure you’re not caught up in an endless parade of attached memories. Rather than reflecting on items, give yourself five seconds to match a quick decision on whether to keep or throw them out. You can go back over them later and indulge as much nostalgia as you want, but the first task is to remove all the rubbish that needs to go, so you can begin to see how much space you have to work with.

2 – Get Rid Of The Rubbish

When you have accumulated a lot of items to be disposed of, then get rid of it as quickly as possible. As mentioned, this helps you to make a more thorough assessment of the space that you have available to you rather than being backed into corners. If you don’t fancy making numerous runs to the tip, then consider using the likes of www.dirtcheaprubbishremoval.com.au to collect and dispose of unwanted items and rubbish for you. Any extra time you have to tackle the mess is preferable!

3 – Separate The Remaining Items Into Sections

If you try and deal with a whole room as a single entity, then it can be overwhelming. However, separating items out into their own space before you decide what to do with them is the best bet. You could have a specific area for items you’re keeping for the sake of nostalgia; a pile of ‘useful’ items such as tools; seasonal items that you only use a few months out of the year – and so on and so forth. This kind of separation makes all the difference when it comes to organising the remnants in the room, as it helps to truly focus you so you can be done as quickly as possible.

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