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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 schedule professional movers to help you if you have a lot of belongings or are moving long distance. Trying to take on all the tasks yourself may leave you feeling worn out and tired.

Rest & Take Care of Yourself

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

Conclusion

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

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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health, Lifestyle

Way’s of coping with a chronic illness

Way's of coping with a chronic illness

Way’s of coping with a chronic illness

Living with a chronic illness can make life very difficult indeed, as those living with one will understand. Yes I have a chronic illness but I am also a mum and wife still wishing to live my life and not let my health get the better of me.

I suffer with Endometriosis and have been living with the condition now for 16 years, resulting in surgeries. I also suffer with Fibromyalgia and depression – both of which recently diagnosed. A cocktail of medication is taken daily for various of reasons. I don’t like taking them but know they are for my own good.

Due to my health deteriorating I am having to sadly reduce my working hours and step down in my position at work. This is reluctantly being done as I love my job and I wish to continue working for as long as I can. I work as a support worker out in the community – currently on light duties and only working three day’s a week.

Daily chores are apart of everyday life and if not managed they soon begin to pile up…..If only the cleaning fairy was real.

The chronic pain really does make my life difficult, but things are still needing to be done at some point. At the moment I am currently under the care of consultants and attending pain management in London. I am trying to live life as comfortable and to the full the best I can, following specialist advice.

Hopefully soon I am due to start a specialist treatment plan but this sadly doesn’t start until October as these plans only run a few times a year and I have been booked on the next plan. In the meantime I am going to do all I can to manage my chronic pain better and make life easier for myself and my family.

Way's of coping with a chronic illness

Below is a list of my way’s of coping to still feel like a mum and wife whilst suffering a chronic condition. I may suffer a chronic condition but I am still a mum and wife with bills to pay and a house that needs cleaning.

Here are a few of my self-help tips

  • Make a list of jobs – Making a list of jobs that I know I can do and making up a weekly jobs planner to help me keep on top of things so they don’t pile up.
  • Post-it-notes – It is probably medication related (well I hope it is) but my memory is awful at the moment and I am easily forgetting things. Leaving myself little notes/reminders are currently helping massively.
  • A little bit each day – I have made a point to try and do a small amount each day. Long gone are the days of rushing around and trying to blitz the house in a day or two. I now have to go day-by-day doing what I can depending on how I am feeling.
  • Make chores more manageable – By using light-weight cleaning tools/aids it helps a great deal. No more big heavy hoovers, mops and buckets. My stomach muscles are not what they used to be due to my Endometriosis and surgeries.
  • Medication reminders – I am always asking myself “have I had my medication” – I purchased a dosset box. This gets filled up on a weekly basis and all I have to do is check the box. If my medication is still there for that day and times of day then it helps to remind myself.
  • Online shop – Online shopping is a godsend. No more having to struggle with heavy bags/trolleys. Ordering online makes my life so much more easier. I order our weekly shop online and pretty much everything else needed to be honest. I am even going to try online healthcare at some point.
  • Ask for help – I have always been a very independent person and to be honest asking for help is something I struggle with and absolutely HATE doing – but is something I have to start learning to now do. Ian is always telling me off where I overdo things and end up in pain.

Working from home will make life so much easier for me

Way's of coping with a chronic illness

  • Work from home – It goes without saying, reducing my working hours with my employer is having a knock-on-effect with our monthly income. I am currently trying to work more from home so I can be resting but also be working and helping pay the bills.
  • Plan ahead – On what I call “a good day” I like to plan ahead, by organising myself more. This can be anything from preparing for any upcoming family events, paying bills, meal prep/batch cook and reply to missed emails from a “bad day” as when I am in pain I tend to let things slip. Things are then easily missed or forgotten so I try my best to catch up with things and try and plan ahead the best I can.
  • Talk – I can sit and talk for hours about a load of gibberish but I must also learn to talk about my feelings more. Recently at one of my hospital appointments I was asked “how I was feeling” – this was done over a few questions in different ways. I ended up breaking down because to be honest I just feel useless now. A few years back I used to be able to do so much, be so organised and I look at myself now and how little I manage to do, I just feel like a complete failure. I have recently joined support groups to try and help me open up about how I am feeling and not hold it all in.
  • Rest/relaxation – Learn to rest would be a huge help to myself. I am always looking round and seeing things that are needing to be done, I just need to learn that it will still be there later/tomorrow and not everything can be done in a day. Or learn to ask for help and see if someone wouldn’t mind helping me. We are currently trying to form a family daily cleaning jobs list. If it works the way we hope then we will all have 1-2 jobs a day each and things shouldn’t get that bad.

Way's of coping with a chronic illness

  • Not stay indoors – Getting out for some fresh air is important. Staying shut away indoors isn’t good and it is good to get out even if just for a little while. I do enjoy walks with Coco, someone always comes with me just in case It gets a bit much. I do have to rest along the way but I do enjoy the fresh air and the walk. It helps to clear my head.
  • Weight loss – Trying to shift some weight is something I would love to do. I managed 3 stone loss a few years back and I would love to do it again plus more. Weight loss will also help my health. I am currently trying to do light exercise at home alongside trying to eat more healthy.
  • Sleep – I seem to have forgotten what sleep is lately. It has been ages since I have had a good full nights sleep. Some day’s I wake feeling more tired than when I had gotten into bed. I am constantly exhausted from the pain but just can’t sleep. I must look into way’s of helping to get a good nights sleep. A good nights sleep makes a huge difference when suffering chronic pain.

Do you suffer with a horrid chronic condition?

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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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