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Lifestyle

How Do Photovoltaic Cells Work?

How Do Photovoltaic Cells Work?

If you follow alternative energy news, you might have heard that are already over 2 million solar panel systems installed just in the US. Of course, even people who follow alternative energy don’t always know everything about the technologies themselves.

For example, wind energy works by using the rotations from the blades to spin the internal workings of an electrical generator. What about solar energy, though? Solar energy depends on the work done by photovoltaic cells. Not familiar with photovoltaic cells?

Keep reading for our explanation to the question, “how do photovoltaic cells work?”

How Does Electricity Work?

Before photovoltaic cells will make sense, you need a basic understanding of how electricity works. If you dig back into those middle school and high school science classes, you’ll remember that your basic atom is made up of three things:

  • Protons
  • Neutron
  • Electrons

While neutrons and protons reside at the heart of an atom, the negatively charged electrons orbit the protons like satellite orbits the earth. With the right conditions, you can knock electrons loose from atoms and create a flow of them along a conductor. That’s electricity in a nutshell.

What is the Photovoltaic Effect?

The whole basis of solar power is that light carries energy. You typically see that energy in the form of heat as it gets warmer when the sun comes up. When light is at the right wavelength, though, it can give some of its energy to the atoms in semiconductor materials, like silicon.

Specifically, the energy goes to the electrons in the silicon atoms. The increased energy lets the electron jump to something called the conduction band. What it means in practice is that electrons can move around more freely in the semiconductor.

How Do Photovoltaic Cells Work?

Your basic photovoltaic cell is a kind of sandwich of materials. You get two layers of silicon known as P-type and N-Type, for positive and negative charges. Where these two layers meet is the P-N junction. When the light hits the top layer of silicon and makes electrons jump, they essentially jump to the P-N junction.

The cell is designed with electrical contacts that give the electrons a path to follow, which creates an electrical current. In solar panels, you get a bunch of these cells working together. For more information on how solar panels work, you can contact a local solar installer, such as Blue Raven Solar.

Solar Energy and You

The question of how do solar cells work takes you into some interesting areas of science. However, it’s really combining those cells into solar panels that make solar energy a viable energy option for homeowners and businesses.

Those solar panels let you access an energy source that otherwise goes untapped most of the time. Even better, you’re not taking anything away from nature. The energy you capture is only what would normally hit your roof on a given day.

Looking for more ways you can make your home more nature-friendly? Check out the posts in our Home/Lifestyle section.

Lifestyle

Simple Ways to Enhance Your Home Environment

Simple Ways to Enhance Your Home Environment

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Your home environment can significantly impact your health and general mood. The first thing people see when they visit is how tidy or untidy your home environment is. This can make your home inviting or uninviting.

Your home is where you retreat to after a long day’s work. It, therefore, needs to have a serene environment that is suitable for maximum relation and peace.

Here are a few ways you can enhance your home environment:

Get An Air Purifier

Breathing fresh air is the first step to achieving good health. An air purifier combats air pollution and filters fine particulate matter, which can cause lung problems and heart disease. 

Clean Your Home

It is essential to keep your home clean to ensure its environment is appealing and healthy to live in. Generally, dirt can cause many infections.

For starters, begin with rubbish removal with Easy Skips, tend your lawns and garden, and clean the inside of your home thoroughly. By cleaning, you destroy any favourable environment for the breeding of pests and the spread of germs.

Invest In Home Decor

Home decor is the best way to personalise your home. A well-designed interior significantly enhances your home environment. You can buy antique or trending pieces that blend seamlessly with your home’s finish and design. Alternatively, you can make your DIY custom decor pieces. DIYs help awaken the creative genius and allow you to recycle some items making them cost-effective and budget-friendly.

Use Scented Candles

Scented candles make your home environment inviting and appealing and create a good atmosphere for relaxing and unwinding. They are accommodating after a long week’s draining activities. So if you feel tired, worn out, and overwhelmed, light up your favourite scented candles and enjoy the ambience and coolness.

For your wellbeing, invest in vegetable-based scented candles as they do not emit harmful chemicals.

Avoid Chemicals

It is essential to avoid using chemical-based cleaners and pesticides. Instead, use basic soap and water, plant-based products, or essential oils to clean or as pesticides. The chemicals in cleaning products cause health problems like aggravating asthma and are carcinogens. Other natural cleaning solutions you can use are baking soda, lemon, and vinegar.

Control Your Light

Uncontrolled light can interfere with sleep. Too bright light or flickering lights can disturb your downtime and rest. It is wise to invest in eyeshades or eye masks to block out the light, especially if you live in a city environment. Inadequate sleep is known to cause memory loss and mental illnesses.

Plant A Garden

A garden is eye candy when adequately tended. To add a touch of class to your home environment, you can plant vegetables, herbs, or scented flowers even if you are a beginner. You get to enjoy a beautiful view and at the same time enjoy a fresh supply of spices and vegetables.

You can also plant trees around your home. Trees help purify the air, and you are assured of a fresh supply of breathing air.

Conclusion

Whatever you do, make sure you go all out to enhance your home environment. It is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. It is essential to let your house exude calmness and serenity. Such favourable and restful conditions will boost your health in the long run.

Lifestyle

Your Ultimate Home Hot Tub Guide

Your Ultimate Home Hot Tub Guide

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If you are looking for a hot tub, you will have no doubt done a little bit of digging on the Internet. You will have found an abundance of information, yet the only trouble is that this can be a bit misleading, and this is because there is a lot of myths and false details surrounding hot tubs. Keeping that in mind, in this post we aim to put some of the most common myths to bed. 

Firstly, a lot of people believe that hot tubs are difficult to maintain. They think they are going to have to dedicate a huge amount of time every week to looking after their spa. However, this could not be further from the truth. In fact, it is more likely to take you around five minutes per week. Many individuals also think that hot tubs are expensive to run. However, just like air conditioning, you can find many energy-efficient solutions nowadays. Therefore, this is vital to keep in mind when you are looking for a cheap hot tub. 

One of the most common myths is that the more jets your hot tub has the better it is. Unfortunately, this leads to a lot of people simply counting the number of jets when purchasing a spa. This is a huge mistake to make. There are many different types of jets available nowadays. Therefore, you need to be concerned with their type, quality and orientation. Finally, another myth is that cleaning your spa with bleach is the best approach. However, this can damage your filter and your interior and so should be avoided. 

What You Didn’t Know About Hot Tubs

An increasing number of people are looking for hot tubs for sale, and it is not difficult to see why. After all, there are many benefits to gain, from relaxation, to weight loss, to pain relief… the list is endless. However, in this post we are going to provide you with some interesting information you may not know about hot tubs. 

First and foremost, did you know that the use of hot tubs actually extends back thousands and thousands of years? A lot of people have a tendency to assume that this is a modern luxury, but that is not the case. In fact, in Ancient Japan, Greece, and Egypt they believed in the positive and therapeutic effects of cleansing. Although their ‘hot tubs’ were very different from the ones we know today. A lot of people look to buy a cheap hot tub because of the hydrotherapy benefits associated with them. 

But, did you know you can benefit from various types of therapy aside from hydro-massage? For example, you can relief tension by targeting pressure points on your feet and your hands. Another surprising fact is that the technology found within a hot tub actually originates from agricultural and aviation industries. There is also a common misconception that hot tubs are expensive to run, but there are many energy efficient options available today and so this is no longer the truth. Also, did you know that a spa dealership in Spain holds the world record for squeezing the most people from around the globe into one tub? 26 if you are wondering!

The Most Luxurious Hot Tubs Worldwide

Nowadays, hot tubs are more affordable to the masses than they ever have been. However, this does not stop there from being lavish and expensive options available on the market. Have you ever wondered what the best hot tub in the world is? In this section, we are going to talk you through some of the contenders. 

Firstly, we have the Cal Spas Galaxy GX49 Entertainment Spa, which will set you back more than £20,000. As you may have gathered by the name, the appeal of this hot tub comes from the array of entertainment options that are available, including a 40” plasma, a dedicated sound system, an iPod dock, a SCS player, and a therapy system seat. You have an entertainment room and a spa all in one! Another option is the Luxema, which is available for about £18,000. You will struggle to find a hot tub as extravagant as this one. The Luxema 8000 has its own private bar as well as a generous flat-screen TV and it also stretches over two floors. On the lower partition of the hot tub alone you will find the bar with six seats around it, and this is the smaller section of the Luxema 8000. Last but not least, we have one of the best hot tubs for sale in terms of the jetting system, which is the Villeroy & Boch outdoor whirlpool Just Silence. You can choose from 16 unique JetPaks, ensuring you have an experience that is entirely suited to your needs.

Lifestyle

10 Best Ways To Protect Your Home & Family

10 Best Ways To Protect Your Home & Family

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Buying a new home is a significant milestone for any property owner. However, that investment is not complete if you don’t go to all lengths to secure your house and protect your family. With grim statistics showing that burglary attacks are increasing, putting the best home security measures in place is worth it. Here are ten ways to protect your home with robust security systems and boost your first line of defence.

Secure the doors

A responsible homeowner will want to inspect their interior and exterior doors to ensure that the frames and hinges are strong enough. If you do not want to help a burglar break into your home, simply secure your doors. A mail slot in your door is one thing that can compromise your home security, as burglars may be able to reach through and unlock your door. If you have just moved into a new home, consider changing your door locks. This will bar strangers who might have had access to your key from burgling your home. Reinforce the security systems around your vital entryways by upgrading to smart locks.

Reinforce your sliding glass doors and windows

Since burglars love taking advantage of the downsides of sliding doors, it makes sense to reinforce your sliding doors. Install conventional window bars when necessary to prevent your sliding windows from being forced open. Homeowners ready to use high-tech security solutions will find systems like the Ajax security system to be very effective. Do you want to protect your home with a tap of a button? The Ajax app turns your security system into a manageable device. Add door sensors and glass break sensors to receive quick alerts when intruders try to tamper with your home.

Secure your wireless network

Thieves are not the only threats to your properties; cyber-criminals can also ride on your Wi-Fi networks to plot attacks on your home. Wireless networks act as central doorways for hackers to target your sensitive information, including financial data. If you use home automation systems, these tools can make your home vulnerable to attackers. For example, if your insecure wireless network is linked to your smart home gadgets, criminals can exploit this loophole to gain direct access to your home. Secure your computer systems with anti-malware protection, build a firewall, and secure your Wi-Fi routers.

Protect your children with parental control software

Parents with little ones around them may want to monitor the online activities of their kids. The internet is a good platform for education and entertainment, but it can also expose children and adults to cyberbullying.  Keeping your kids safe from web-based predators can be done using parental control apps and other software solutions. These systems allow parents to control their children’s screen hours and enforce device-free dinners.

Get to know your neighbours

Sometimes thieves don’t come from afar but within your immediate surroundings. When you move into a new place, one of the first things to do is get to know your neighbours as a security measure. Protecting your home from break-ins is more effective if you have trusted people nearby to keep an eye on your properties. Get to know those who live around you, and inform them to watch over your house when you are going away for extended periods.

Get a dog

If you love pets that much, you may want to get a dog. This domestic animal can keep you company, protect your house, and bring you joy as well. Dogs that bark loud can scare home intruders from coming near your residence. They will also make some noise to alert you when a stranger is at the door. Get the right type of dog, and their presence will deter potential burglars from your home. 

Install security cameras

In recent years, security cameras have been making headlines as they are known to foil burglary attempts. Surveillance cameras allow homeowners to monitor suspicious events around their homes – they can provide valuable information to help track down criminals who target your home. Security cameras come in different forms. Whether you buy surveillance cameras that work on their own or those that come with complete home security systems, the investment can improve your safety. Security cameras with mobile apps will allow you to view footage in real-time. Modern home security cameras now come with unique features such as motion detection, cloud storage, and night vision capabilities.

Don’t post your vacation plans on social media

It isn’t uncommon for potential burglars to eavesdrop on social media conversations to rightly time their attacks on people going on vacations. It’s normal to want to share your vacation plans with your social media followers. However, doing so can also compromise your security. Leaking your vacation plans to the wrong person online can land you in deep water, as burglars will know precisely when to attack your home.

Clear hiding places

Overgrown shrubs, weeds, and trees near your home create a perfect haven for thieves. So, consider pruning your yard shrubbery and trees to eliminate the risks of these hideouts to your home security. You may also want to trim the foliage near your windows as an extra security precaution. A good number of burglary incidents happen during the day time, so don’t let tree branches and shrubs provide cover to malicious individuals.

Get a safe

Since you can’t always trust your security systems to keep out bad guys, getting a safe is a good insurance policy. A safe in your home can be used to securely store valuable items like jewellery and travel documents, including passports.  A good safe should be fire-resistant, waterproof, and heavy enough to prevent thieves from looting it. Ensure that the locks on the safe are up to two, choose the appropriate safe size to keep your precious items and install a safe that’s portal or anchored according to your need. A gun safe can keep your firearms out of the reach of criminals or unauthorised users. Annually, in the United States, about 230,000 firearms get stolen during household burglaries.

Lifestyle

Living A Normal Life When You Don’t Have Your Own Space

Living A Normal Life When You Don’t Have Your Own Space

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It’s not uncommon for people to find themselves in a position where they are waiting for somewhere to live. House sales, being evicted, and a host of other situations can lead to you having somewhere to stay, but without a real place to call your own home. During times like this, it can feel very difficult to live a normal life, and a lot of people struggle to keep themselves happy. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the best ways to find normality when you are in a position like this.

The Right Place

Thankfully, most people are able to find somewhere to live when they are in a situation like this. This could be the homes of friends or family members, temporary accommodation provided by your local government, or even a hotel or hostel. No matter your financial situation, though, you need to make sure that the place you are living in doesn’t make you feel bad. Living with family can be tough when you’ve been away from home for a long time, and this makes it well worth considering your options to make sure that you can make everyone happy. Being in the right place will make it much easier for you to enjoy your new living conditions.

Keeping Possessions

It can be all too common for people to sell off their possessions when they find themselves in-between homes. This is very unfortunate, and it can take a long time and a lot of expense to recover from something like this. Options like an affordable self-storage facility will be ideal for this, providing you with a safe and secure space to keep your possessions locked up. This sort of option is ideal for anyone moving somewhere without space for their possessions, though it’s not always easy to make sure that you get the right result and research is key.

Distracting Yourself

While you may not feel very happy about your living situation when you are between homes, there are plenty of ways to make your life feel better. Distracting yourself with the things you love can be a great way to achieve this, with hobbies, social activities, and other ways to spend your time is much better than sitting around and dwelling on your problems. This sort of action can feel unnatural at first, but it will make it much easier for the time to fly between now and when you finally get yourself into a new home.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of living a normal life when you are in-between homes. This process can be hard to deal with, and many people find themselves in a bad spot when they don’t handle it correctly. Of course, though, this should be easy enough to solve if you take the right steps.

Lifestyle, outdoors

How to Connect Your Indoor and Outdoor Spaces Better

How to Connect Your Indoor and Outdoor Spaces Better

If you’re not making use of your outdoor space as much you would like to, it could be because your home and your outdoor space are not properly connected. When there’s a clear lack of cohesion between your indoor and outdoor spaces, your spaces become less functional and underused, which is not what you want.

We’re going to talk today about the ways in which you can better connect the indoor and outdoor spaces of your property. Each of the ideas we’re about to discuss will help you to create a positive flow between your patio space outdoors and your kitchen and dining space. So read on now to find out more.

Make the Flooring Continuous

One way to make it clear that the indoor and the outdoor are combined and connected is to make the flooring continuous between the two spaces. You can choose some new floor tiles that work in your kitchen space while also functioning well and looking good in the outdoor patio area where your outdoor dining space is located. It’s the small things like this that make your indoor and outdoor spaces much more connected and cohesive.

Install a Skylight

If you want to bring some more natural light into the home while also connecting it with the outdoors a little better, you should definitely think about having a skylight installed. These allow you to see the sun, the sky and the trees overhead even when you’re indoors. It’s a great way of bringing the outdoors inside and making your indoor space feel much more natural and appealing. It’s an intervention that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Create a Shelter in Your Outdoor Space

If you want to make better use of your outdoor space, you need to make sure that it offers the practical features and functionality that it needs to in order to be usable. For example, your patio area will need some kind of protection and overhead cover, such as a canopy or some other sort of roof structure. That way, you’ll know that you’ll be able to use your outdoor dining area even if the weather suddenly changes.

Find the Right Outdoor Furniture

Finding the right outdoor furniture will be essential if you want to make better use of your outdoor space in the summer months. It’s up to you to ensure you put the right furniture in place, and be sure to make it comfortable and suited to your particular needs. The kind of furniture that’s right for you will depend on a range of factors; most important, how you’re going to use the space.

Invest in New Patio Doors

If you want to connect your indoor and outdoor space, it makes sense to invest in new patio doors. By having large sliding doors put in place, you’ll be able to open up that space and ensure that there’s no visual barrier between the kitchen-diner space of your home and the outdoor patio area. If you want to find out more about putting these kinds of patio doors in place, this guide will give you the information you need.

Create Great Second Floor Views

It’s also a good idea to think about how you connect the upper floor of your home to the garden as well. For example, you might want to have a balcony created to make use of the outdoors from your bedroom. Or you might simply want to reconfigure your office space so that you have appealing views over the garden when you’re working from home. There are many ways of doing this, so get creative.

Design the Space to be Used as One

When you’re creating an outdoor space that connects and flows into your indoor space, you should try to design the space as one single entity that’s to be used as one. That way, you’ll be able to make sure that the whole space feels cohesive and as if it’s one space that straddles these two aspects of your home as opposed to two different spaces entirely. This consistency can be achieved in a variety of ways through the right design strategies.

Connecting the inside of your home with your outdoor space can enhance both of those areas. If you want to connect these spaces better, be sure to make use of the ideas and solutions discussed above. You’ll be very glad you did so by the time the summer months roll around once more.

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. 

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.

Lifestyle, Safety tips, Top tips

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

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

Know Where Things are

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

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

Renew Your EICR

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

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

Test Your Alarms

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

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

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

Finance, Lifestyle, london, Travel

Cutting the Cost of Living in London

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

That London can get pretty darned expensive. 

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

Keep your fridge well stocked

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

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

Grow what you can in your garden

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

Stop paying over the odds for your insurance!

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

Never buy a paper ticket when travelling

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

Lifestyle

Has Your Spouse Lost Interest In You?

Has Your Spouse Lost Interest In You?

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

Talk about physical intimacy

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

The question of mental health

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

Sexual dysfunction is a real threat

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

Have you changed?

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

Remind your partner why they were interested in you

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

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

Collaborative post, Lifestyle

Is It Time to Move? 4 Questions to Ask Yourself

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

Are You Ready to Move or Just Bored?

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

Can You Afford to Miss Anything? 

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

What Is Going to Change? 

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

Is It Practical?

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

Decision Time

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

Lifestyle, moving house, Top tips

Tips For A Stress-Free Move

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

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

Start De-cluttering & Packing Early

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

Make Lists & A Timeline

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

Enlist Help

Another tip for a stress-free move is to reach out and enlist help from others with to-dos and chores. Assign responsibilities to your spouse and kids and reach out to a friend or relative if you know they have some time on their hands. It’s also a wise idea to book a professional removals company. Their job is to take out the additional stress that comes with moving home. Trying to take on all the tasks yourself may leave you feeling worn out and tired.

Rest & Take Care of Yourself

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

Conclusion

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

DECOR, Design, flooring, Interior Design, Lifestyle

Why Choose Laminate Over Wood Flooring?

Why Choose Laminate Over Wood Flooring?

As laminate flooring is gaining more popularity with time, it would be only natural to consider laminate flooring for your house. And for those who are still deciding, here are the reasons why laminate is better than wood flooring.

1. Affordable And Cost Effective

This is the first thing people see when they have to choose between two things. Laminate flooring is way more cost effective than wood flooring. You can spend a little amount but will get fantastic styles in laminate. The styles, color options, diversity in design and width and grades will make your floor really charming.

Why Choose Laminate Over Wood Flooring?

2. Easy Installation

The installation process is the other reason why laminate is better than wood flooring. If you are not a pro, you can still install laminate at your house. It takes a lot of less time than wood flooring and can be completed within a day. With wood flooring, you will have to hire any service and it will increase your cost too.

3. Durable And Powerful

Many people are worried about scratches on the laminate floor. But it is not a problem at all whether you walk with high heels or drag office chairs. The floor will endure all such rough stuff without leaving any scratches. You can perform test to see how wood and laminate floors react. Laminate floor tolerate the test and shows no scratches.

Why Choose Laminate Over Wood Flooring?

4. Stain Resistant

The wood floor is really expensive and gives a luxurious look. But you are always worried about the stains, scratches and spots as they will ruin its charm. However, this is not a case with laminate flooring. It is stain-resistant and easy to clean as well. Chemicals don’t affect it either so you can use acetone to remove the stains and make it look like the new floor.

5. No Gap Between Planks

You might have noticed that fixing wood planks is really hard. You may end up with gaps. But in laminate flooring, you will not see anything like this. The whole surface is smooth and neat without gaps. The multiple layers in laminate hold it strongly and leave no gaps within planks.

6. Family Friendly

For a wood floor, you to be really careful as the kids may damage its upper surface that is all wood. Repairing can prove expensive. But you should not be worried about the laminate flooring. It is family friendly. The finishing material, installation items and other chemicals used are user-friendly and not toxic at all.

Why Choose Laminate Over Wood Flooring?

7. Great Floor Look

This is one of the reasons why people should use laminate over wood flooring. With low cost and affordable price, you can give your floor a nice and decent look. The charm stays for years without any damages and stains. You will be surprised to see how durable the laminate flooring is.

8. Easy To Clean

Flooring cleaning is a daily job or you have to clean the floors very often. If you have kids and a bigger family, this becomes even more necessary. With laminate flooring, you will feel safe because cleaning it is simple and easy. With a good chemical, you can make it like a new laminate floor within minutes.

What flooring do you prefer?

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DECOR, Lifestyle

Bring Your Home Into The Modern Age

Bring Your Home Into The Modern Age

Ideas to help bring Your Home Into the modern age

Your home is your place of solitude. Your home is the place that you love to make your own, and one way we think you should be doing that is by bringing it into the modern age. We’re talking in terms of design, technology, and everything to do with the outside of the home. There’s just something about a really modern looking home that makes it feel fabulous, and it’s a look so many people are going for. But, unless you’ve bought a new build home, you aren’t exactly going to find this easy. The transformation might be big, expensive, but it will be one of the most rewarding ones that you have ever done. We want to show you a few simple ways that you can bring your home into the modern age, so have a read and see if you would like to do any of them to your own home!

Bring Your Home Into The Modern Age

Using Modern Decor

Modern decor really does have the power to change the whole feel of your home. Plus, it’s one of the cheapest changes that we’re going to suggest that you make. So, the main thing you need to think about is the colours you’re using, and the accessories that you’re putting in. At the minute, we think that modern is nice and bright, and the best colour to achieve that with is white. You could go for a white wall look, with one grey feature wall, and have grey accessories. It’s such a smart and modern look, and a lot of homes are going for it at the minute. All you would need to do would be to secure yourself some fancy grey wallpaper, or even just stick to paint, and change the colour of the carpet to grey. If you then go for grey furniture and silver accessories, you’ve completed the perfect look in either your bedroom or your living room! Plus, it doesn’t take that much effort to try and sort it.

Having A Modern Renovation

A renovation is a scary thing to a lot of you because of money, but once it’s done it lasts for years, and the value it can add to your home is going to be so good for you when you come to resell. Mccormack Plywood Kitchens is just one company you should check out if this is something you would be considering. If you’re going for something as big as this, you need to make sure that it’s perfect for you, and that it’s nice and modern. Most kitchens are, and you can visit a showroom to decide which one you would like. We like the darker coloured kitchens at the minute!

Get Some Modern Technology

Technology is obviously one of the best ways that you can bring some modern to your home. One of the coolest that we think you could try is home automation, because you can control your home from your phone. It’s not only cool, but super practical if you’ve left the heating or lights on when you leave the home!

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