Browse Category by Top tips
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.

Design, Interior Design, Top tips

Here’s How To Modernise Your Interior Design

Here's How To Modernise Your Interior Design
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Are you looking for ways to improve your home? If so, then you might be interested in ensuring that it looks more modern. This is a step that a lot of people will often take before selling their property. Why? A modern home is always going to be more attractive to buyers. Even if they are not getting the pieces that fit together to create the completed decor, they still want to see the dream. They want to know what this home could be and that’s why you should never leave a home empty and bare if you’re planning on selling. 

Invest In The Right Furniture

First, you should consider investing in new furniture for your property. There are numerous choices here but you should pay particular attention to the shape and even the materials of the furniture in question before you purchase items to modernise your home. Different shapes and materials look more modern such as a high gloss dining table. Under the right lighting, this is going to glisten and could become the centerpiece of any room. 

Get The Lighting Perfect

Since we mentioned lighting, it’s worth exploring how this could fit into a modern design. Beautiful lighting will ensure that the furniture and materials you choose glisten beautifully. The right lighting can create an incredible effect. There are many options for modern lighting however one of the best choices could be spotlights. Spotlights that are sunken in are perfect because they will light the room equally, ensuring that there are no areas that are left concealed in shadow. 

Consider The Flooring 

Next, you should think about selecting the right flooring for your property. Consider whether it is time to remove the old and outdated carpet from your home. Carpet is no longer considered a stylish choice for a property. Instead, you should opt for laminate flooring if you’re working with quite a tight budget or hardwood flooring if you have more wiggle room with how much you can spend. The good news about laminate is that it comes in a wide range of styles to help modernise your home. So, you will be able to find the perfect choice for your property and even a specific room. 

Go Minimal

Finally, if you are aiming for a modern look for your home, then you really do need to embrace a minimal design. You should explore options that leave a lot of open space in the rooms around your property and provide an effect that makes your home look like a showroom. The trick here is to think about furniture in terms of what you need in a room. If you do this, then you’re never going to have an issue with overcrowding an area. Your home will have that contemporary design that many people adore and definitely want to see. 

We hope this helps you understand the key ways that you can modernise your home design and why this could be the right choice. Ultimately, with these steps, you can guarantee that your property looks more presentable and attractive regardless of your reasoning. 

health, Home, Top tips

Signs That It Could Be Time To Change Your Windows

Signs That It Could Be Time To Change Your Windows
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It is so easy to put off some of our home improvement projects, as let’s face it, some can be very expensive, let alone time-consuming!

It is so easy putting off changing our windows as this can be very expensive. But how do we know when that time has come where they are needing doing and can no longer be put aside anymore.

Here are five signs to look out for:

  • Drafts: You will feel a draft, this could even be felt with your windows closed. If you are feeling a breeze from your windows when they are closed this could be down to a faulty seal or a number of other issues. This could cause problems with keeping the heat in and energy bills to rise.
  • Condensation: If you notice that your windows are damp between layers of glass then this means you have damaged seals. The damaged seals are allowing moisture between your glass panes. Sadly once the seals have broken any insulating gas used to make the windows more energy efficient has then gone.
  • Opening/closing difficulty: Windows that have not been installed properly tend to cause problems. Such as balancing and opening/closing. Windows that are generally old and rusting/rotten can cause the same issues. If your windows dont close properly or are not as secure as they once were then this could impact on the safety of your home.
  • Noise levels: If your windows are not providing you with much protection from the noise levels outside then perhaps they are not sealing properly. Perhaps you dont have the correct window for the area you live in. If your living by a busy road then that extra protection from outside noise may be what is needed.
  • Visible damage: If you can see damage to your window frames such as water damage, or they are soft to touch or chipped, then sadly they are beyond repair. Soft window frames indicate rot and water infiltration. Dampness can cause mould and health problems.

The importance of changing your windows

  • Energy bills: Changing your windows can help massively with your monthly outgoings on your energy bills.
  • Health: It can also help protect your health from dampness, cold and noise pollution.
  • Home security: You can have the benefits of stronger glass and advanced locking systems to help protect you and your family.

Replacement windows should last for many years to come if you chose a company based on the quality of their products. Toughened glass suppliers based in the UK work closely with clients to help develop solutions to specific needs. Above all, their skills are driven by a passion for innovative technology in glass.

Top tips, Travel

How To Find The Right Car For You

How To Find The Right Car For You
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Is it time to look for a new car?

It might be that you have just passed your driving test, so it could be the first car you will ever lease or buy. Or it might be that your old car is no longer suitable for your needs, so you might be on the market for another.

Whatever your reason for looking for a new car, there are some steps you need to take when determining what car is right for you. To help you, we have detailed these steps below to steer you in the right direction!

1: Consider your needs

It’s important to differentiate between need and desire, as it’s no good purchasing a car that looks good and has a ton of flashy extras if it isn’t practical for you. So, while we aren’t saying don’t go for your dream car, you should still give some consideration to functionality, as your personal needs have to dictate your spending choices. 

These are some of the practical considerations you need to consider.

  • How many passengers will you need to carry?
  • How much cargo capacity will you need?
  • How much parking and garage space do you have at home?
  • What safety features are you looking for?
  • What sort of distances will you be driving?

These questions will help you in your buying decision. If you have a family, for example, you will need something with enough seats for everybody. You might also need space for child’s car seats. If your commute is long, you will need something that will give you good fuel economy. So, consider each of the questions we listed, and then think of any other practicalities. You will then be able to narrow down your search, and you will be less tempted to buy a car that isn’t right for your situation.

2: Consider your budget

You need to set your budget before your search, as you don’t want to buy or lease something that you won’t be able to afford.

If you are looking to buy something on finance, or if you are considering leasing a car, it is generally advised that the monthly payment shouldn’t exceed 15% of your take-home pay. If you are able to buy something outright, then that might be something you consider if you can afford it. However, in all cases, you should also factor in the other expenses that you will be expected to cover, including car tax, insurance, breakdown cover, and fuel costs.

If you can determine a realistic figure at the outset, this will help you when researching the cars at the local dealerships or their online equivalents.

3: Consider whether leasing is better than buying for you

Should you lease or buy? This is a question facing many people on the market for a new car today, so you might want to pose the question.

When leasing, you will be able to drive a more expensive car at lower monthly payments. You might also qualify for the Vauxhall Motability scheme, and that will give you the means to afford a new car at a reduced cost. Repair costs are often covered when leasing too, so this will be one less expense for you to worry about. The only frustration is that you will have to give up the car when the lease period ends, although you will have the opportunity to shop around some of the latest models, and you could renew the lease.

When buying, you will be able to own the car outright. That means you will have the freedom to modify it how you like, and you also have the freedom to sell it if you later need the money. There will also be an end to the payment plan, so you won’t have to make monthly payments forever. However, if your budget is low, you might not have the opportunity to drive the latest cars on the market, which is where leasing can prove more attractive. 

There are pros and cons to both buying and leasing, so weigh up your options.

4: Consider the used car market

If you’re planning on buying a car, it might be that a used car will be better for your budget. You might not be able to find something with the latest features, but you could still opt for something that is a couple of years old, and that contains some of the safety features and other car technologies that are now being fitted as standard.

You do need to take care though. Buying used is often the cheapest option, but reliability is something you need to consider. You should always ask a qualified third-party to check the car before buying, as there could be hidden faults. 

In some cases, buying used is advantageous. Not only will you be paying less at the outset, but you will also have a vast array of cars to choose from. This means you might have a better opportunity to find a car that suits both your budget and your practical needs. 
Take a look at this used car checklist when considering this option.

5: Do your research

When you have an idea of the type of car you might need, it is time to start shopping around. You can do this online and off, so take your time, and don’t rush into a decision, even if you do find the car that seems to be right for you. 

When online, look for car review websites. These will give you the lowdown on the best and worst cars on the market and will detail such things as features, performance, and strengths and weaknesses. Read a range of reviews, from both buyers and car experts, and use their opinions to shape your search. 

Then research local dealerships online, and look for customer reviews on these places as well. While most dealerships will be reputable, there might also be those that aren’t, so the reviews you read should prove useful.

You can use online review and dealership sites to compare those cars that fit your criteria. You can check prices online too, so when you see something that you like, extend your search, as you might find the same car or similar at a cheaper price elsewhere. 

You also have the option to buy from private car sellers, so do check your local classifieds. The only issue here is that private sellers might care less about their reputation than an official dealership owner, so you could be sold a lemon (a bad car, not the fruit). There are some tips here on buying a car privately, so have a read. There is guidance on the questions you need to ask the seller and advice on how to avoid getting ripped off. 

If there are dealerships near you, be sure to visit them when researching the cars that are available. Compare the prices with those you have found online, and mention these to the dealers, as they might knock down their prices to match.

6: Take a car for a test drive

If you have found a car that suits your budget and your practical needs, then great. You are almost good to go! However, the test drive is very important, as not only do you need to make sure the car is actually driveable, but you want to make sure that you feel comfortable driving it too. You might also want to bring your family along with you on the test drive, as you will then know whether the car is actually big enough or not.

On your test drive, check for any faults. These will include signs of wear and tear on both the inside and outside of the car, but they will also include any mechanical faults. An engine that struggles to start, loose pedals, faulty elements on the dashboard, and weird smells and noises are just a few of the things you need to watch out for. It might be worth taking along a driver who is more experienced than you too, as he or she might pick up on things that you don’t on the test drive, especially if your heart is ruling your head!
Then check for other things on your test drive. Are the seats comfortable to sit on? Do the included extra features actually work? Do your hands feel comfortable on the wheel? Ask yourself: Will I enjoy driving this car for the long-term? There is much to consider when test driving a car, so take your time, ask yourself the important questions, and perhaps take other cars for a test drive so you can compare experiences.

Finally

By following the steps we have suggested, you should be able to find the right car for you. So, let your head rule your heart, and be diligent in your search. After all, the last thing you want is a car that doesn’t suit your needs, as you will have wasted both your time and money. With the right car, however, you will have the opportunity to drive something that is perfect for you, and you will never regret the purchase.

Home, Top tips

Spruce Up Your Home and Increase Its Curb Appeal

Spruce Up Your Home and Increase Its Curb Appeal
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If you want to spruce up your garden and do something new with it, there are many ways to get that right. It’s a simple case of increasing the curb appeal and ensuring your house is presented to the world in the best way possible. If it’s been a while since you thought about this stuff, now is the time to change that.

Each of the ideas we’re about to discuss below will help you do something new and interesting with the area around your home, making it look nicer in the eyes of everyone who passes by. Find out more below.

Clean Out the Gutters

One of the first things you should do before you move onto any of the bigger tasks at hand is clear out the gutters. This is not just about how the home looks but also about presenting future problems. When gutters aren’t cleaned out regularly, problems start to appear and then you’re left with damaged gutters that run the risk of causing standing water problems. Such problems can damage your property very badly.

Change Up the Door and House Number

People immediately look at the front door and the details on the front of the house when they first see it. That’s why it can be a good idea to change up the door and do something new with it. That can be as simple as giving it a fresh coat of paint. But you could also do something much grander with it if you want to. Many people get creative with the house number they have on the side of their house. You can get a custom number made if you like.

Do Something New with the Boundaries of Your Land

Next, you should think about what you want to do with the boundaries of your land. There are many ways to think about this and some changes you might want to put in place. For example, adding a metal estate fencing adds value to your property and also makes it seem neater and properly established. People can clearly see the extent of your land, where it starts and where it ends. You could achieve something similar by using trees or planting shrubs.

Clean the Exterior

The exterior of the home will get battered and dirty over the years, so if you’re not taking the time to clean it and make it look nice, that’s going to be a problem. You’ll be amazed at how much of a difference it can make if you simply take a power wash and wash down the walls of the home. It’s something that might not have been done for decades, so give it a try and see what kind of impact it has.

Maximise the Lawn

The lawn is one of the most important parts of the front part of the home’s exterior. If you want it to look neat and presentable, it makes sense to hire a landscape gardener who can do all this kind of work for you. They’ll be able to make it look professional and manicured. If you have a large amount of outdoor space, it might even be a good idea to hire a gardener to come back regularly to maintain the lawn and garden.

Make it Symmetrical

Making your home look symmetrical from the outside creates a much stronger impression. The property will look like real work and effort has gone into making it look nice and that’s what you want when you’re trying to spruce it up and increase its curb appeal. This doesn’t have to involve doing anything particularly complicated either. You just need to put some thought into the changes you’re making.

Add Colour with New Flowers

Finally, you might want to think about the way in which colour can impact the aesthetic of the home and how it looks from the outside. If you have some front garden space, it’s a good idea to dedicate some of it to flowers and flower beds that bring a pop of colour. It’s a little thing but it can really brighten up and enliven the outdoor space around your home, so keep that in mind.

With the help of the tips and ideas outlined above, you’ll have absolutely no problem increasing the curb appeal of your home and making it look better than it ever has before. Choose the ideas that you think will work best for your home and then start putting them into action.

Technology, Top tips

Tips For A More Mindful Marriage In This Digital Era

Tips For A More Mindful Marriage In This Digital Era
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Do you ever feel like your mind just never stops? Our hyper-connected world provides a lot of distractions in our daily lives. We live in a world where we’re all consumed by our smartphones and we find it harder and harder to concentrate on a single task without the urge to check emails, social media feeds and all sorts of notifications that might pop up. 

The practice of mindfulness has never been more paramount, than it is in this day and age. It’s very much vital for our mental well-being. But what about the effect this has on our relationships?

Often our marriages get distracted as well. There are bills to pay, chores to do, meals to prepare, and much more. Life is busy. But it shouldn’t get in the way of a great marriage.

Plan together

When you first were married, you most likely had big plans for your life. Are you meeting the goal that you made together? Remember in the early stages when it was all exciting and you were busy looking for diamond engagement rings and looking through your wedding? You need to stay as focused as you were back then on your future

Take time together on a regular basis to make plans. Mark it on your calendar so that you don’t forget to talk about the months ahead. Plan the everyday tasks and also the big things like holidays. This is also a perfect time to work on your life vision. What does it look like and how well are you doing in realising it?

Plan to have time with your partner

Not only should you plan your ongoing life together, but you should also make time for each other in your day to day lives. Life can get really busy, but every once in a while it’s a good idea to make some time that’s just for the two of you. So plan a date night and try and keep to a regular schedule. It may be once a week, once a fortnight or even once a month. Whatever works best for you, working around your commitments.

Challenge yourself to dedicate some time alone, where you are not distracted by your smartphones or the TV. Just the two of you, chatting about your day. It’ll help you reconnect and reinforce your bond.  While you’re making time for each other, you can use this opportunity to indulge your partner in their interests and learn to appreciate what makes the other one tick.

Continually learn about each other

We all change a little over time and our needs and interests change as we adapt. Make sure that you take the time to ask questions and see if you can find out something that you didn’t know about them. Chances are that you blindly assume some aspects of their personality, that you might be proven wrong on.  Even if you’ve been married for decades, there are still things you don’t know about your spouse. Take the time to find out his or her thoughts, feelings, memories, and future goals.

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.  

Home, Home preparation, Spring, Top tips

Preparing For Spring

Preparing For Spring

Spring is finally here! the clocks have now gone forward an hour and the nights are staying lighter for longer. Are you ready to start packing away your winter blankets and start getting ready for the lovely much-needed warmer sunny day’s? we most certainly are!

I hate the winter months, the day’s are long, cold, dark and miserable. There is nothing worse than waking up and it still being dark out, cold, frosty and very uninviting. They are certainly months we definately don’t mind waving a goodbye to.

Are you ready for the warmer sunny day’s? we most certainly can’t wait. No more winter wear cluttering up the hall. No more winter blankets or hot water bottles for added warmth. But hello sunshine, picnic blankets and outdoor fun!

Preparing For Spring

Refreshing Our Home For Spring

We are going to be busy over the next few weeks welcoming in spring by getting our home into warmer-weather shape by have a seasonal spring refresh. We will be doing this by de-cluttering common areas, tidying cupboards, packing away winter and welcoming spring.

Spring Cleaning Ideas

I guess it’s not called “spring cleaning” for nothing. Now is a great time to have a good sort out at home and prepare yourselves for the summer months. Are you spring ready?

  • Washing blankets, big heavy quilts, winter jumpers and winter coats. Getting them all washed dried and put away until next winter and swapping them for lighter spring wear.
  • Having a wardrobe tidy/sort out. We all end up adding to our winter wear over the cold months don’t we? our weight has even changed since last summer. Now would be a good time to have a good sort out of our wardrobe to see what fits and doesn’t. Perhaps bag up a few items to donate to a charity. Not forgetting that shoe pile as they easily mount up too!
  • Tidy cupboards. Is your home like ours and has what we call a “clutter cupboard”? – OMG this cupboard drives me crazy. It is a cupboard where we store all our cleaning products, such as our hoover, steam cleaner etc. It is always a mess as everything just gets chucked in it. This is a cupboard in desperate need of tidying and re-organising.
  • Clutter zones. Another massive hate of mine are clutter zones. I think every house has them, whether it be a shelving unit, sofa or table. We have two areas in our house that tends to get cluttered and is currently in desperate need of sorting.
Preparing For Spring
  • Kitchen cupboards. Need I say anymore? where do all the lids to food storage containers disapear to? please don’t say it is just our cupboards that end up with odd lids and food storage containers that are no longer of any use? time to match lids to containers or dispose. As for the food cupboard it is time to check the date on food lables as things tend to get pushed back and before we know it food ends up out of date before we have used them.
  • Surfaces. Time to clear all surfaces, remove any clutter that has accumulated over the winter months. This is when I enjoy to have a little change around. Add in splashes of colour to brighten our home up a little.
  • Bathroom/Toilet. Time to dig out that steam cleaner I think and hope all the attatchments are there. A job I hate but it is deep clean time for the bathroom.

Adding splashes of colour

Once everywhere is all nice and clean, also winter and clutter free it is nice to start brightening up our home by making it more bright, cheerful and welcoming. This can be done in many way’s. Here are a few ideas to help brighten up your home.

Preparing For Spring
  • Cushion covers – A simple quick change in style or colour of cushion covers can make all the difference to a room. It helps instantly to give a room the look you are working to acheieve.
  • Plants – A perfect way to brighten shelves, corners and tables. They instantly add colour to rooms and plain, boring dark corners.
  • Rugs – An instant way to add a splash of colour to tired looking flooring. Not only add colour but you could also add a pattern too if you wish. A rug can brighten up and transform any room instantly.
Preparing For Spring
  • Bedding – Fancy freshening up your bedroom and giving it a little makeover? Had the same coloured bedding for a while now? how about a change? add a splash of colour to your bedding it will help brighten up your bedroom.
  • Pictures – Having a change about with photo’s displayed or artwork can help change a feel to a room. A little re-position or update can make all the difference.
  • Table cloths – A nice new table cloth and a new centrepiece can help add a nice feel to a room. A table in a room can be a main focus point and looks lovely when nicely displayed.
  • Mirror – Mirrors can be a perfect way to help brighten up dark shelves and walls. They are a perfect way to make small rooms feel bigger, and also a perfect way to add light to dark rooms.
  • Ornaments – Had the same ornaments out on display for a while? fancy a change around. Changing a few odd items that are on display can make all the difference to a room. Either a little re-position or change completley depends on the look you are hoping to acheieve.
  • Curtains – Do they go with the look/colour scheme you are hoping to achieve? if they do then a quick freshen up is all they will probably need. Or you could add a different look by changing the tie-backs and/or the curtain pole. If they don’t fit with your new room update then shop around for a new set of curtains completely. It will help to instanlty give your room a new look.
Preparing For Spring
  • Lamps – I do love lamps in rooms, they make perfect mood lighting. They can also help to set a style in a room too. There are so many different lamps to chose from and they can help fill a gap on a table, shelf or even a corner in a room.
  • Upcycle – Have a tired looking piece of furniture that is too good to dispose of? then don’t – upcycle it! there are so many brilliant ideas you can find online these day’s, why dispose of good furniture when you don’t have to.

A few small changes to your home can make all the difference. It doesn’t have to prove too costly either!

Health and fitness, healthy living., keeping fit, Top tips

Preparation Home Gym

Preparation Home Gym

Preparation new me

At the start of 2019 I gave myself the kick up the backside well and truly needed to get myself on the right path for a new healthy lifestyle.

Since then I have not looked back. Infact I have actually been enjoying it. I sat down and a made a list of the the things I have tried in the past, things I have enjoyed and even the things I haven’t enjoyed.

Making a list really does help

Doing this list really helped me because it helped me find all my pet hates about exercising. Such as being in overcrowded exercise classes, getting embarrased about being too fat, or not being able to keep up with the class.

I also found out that having a gym membership added pressure on me to go to the gym. This then led to me not enjoying my time going if that makes sense. I felt pressured to go to get my moneys worth out of the membership rather than freely going because I wanted to.

Life can easily get in the way

It sometimes felt like life got in the way rather a lot to. I would arrange with friends to go to a class together, 20, 20, 20 class was one of my favourites. I would find that I couldn’t always go as being a working mum things happen at home or work as they do. Meaning I had to phone and cancle more than I actually went.

Preparation Home Gym

Gyms are not for everyone

Going to an actual gym isn’t for everybody. This could be due to time, cost or even due to feeling embarrased. For me it is mainly due to time. Finding an extra hour or so in an already busy day can prove difficult. I am currently in the process of setting up a home gym.

Home Gyms aren’t for everyone but for me I think having one would work better for me and my lifestyle.

Things to consider before setting up a home gym

Budget: It is always best to work out your finances first and see what budget you have to work with. Always shop about before purchasing as it can be easy to get carried away. Always read product reviews before purchasing so you know you are getting something good for your money.

Price check: Try and do a price check so you have a rough idea of prices so then you can plan ahead before purchasing products. Exercising equipment doesn’t come cheap but you will be wanting to get more for your money so take the time to shop around online.

Space: What space do you have for you home gym? will it be a room dedicated to set up as a gym full-time or is it going to be a shared space. This will be important to know before purchasing your equipment so you know whether to look for equipment that folds to be stored easy. Also check electricity supplies, will you need added sockets for power? extention leads can be a trip hazzard and can also be a fire risk if overloaded and not careful.

Making space: Before you start to purchase your home gym equipment always clear the space first to make sure it is clean and free from clutter to prevent any accidents when exercising. Matco are always happy to help if you need help with moving or storing anything.

Be 100% sure: If you are not 100% sure on the equipment you want or need you don’t have to purchase new, there is always the option of second hand. You can sometimes find a product that is in good as new condition for half the price. It will be a good way to find out if the equipment is right for you and the space you have without the cost of brand new.

Take your time: Take your time when building your home gym, there is no rush. Purchase one or two items at a time, get use to those items first and see if they work for you and with the space you have dedicated for your gym. If happy then build upon your home gym from there.

Motivation: Sometimes a little motivation is missed when exercising at home. There is always the option of inviting a friend or family member to join you or more if you have the space. You could even challenge each other. There is also the option of exercise dvd’s or YouTube motivation. Music can help too.

Home gyms can be just as fun and ecouraging as going to the gym whilst adding loads of flixibilty. The intial outlay may be expensive but if it helps to keep us fit and healthy I would say it is the perfect investment!

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Parenting, Top tips

It’s The Little Things You Do

It's The Little Things You Do

It’s The Little Things You Do That Show Your Kids You Love Them

It’s the little things we do that show our kids we love them. There’s no need to prove our love with extravagant gifts – no matter how much our kids complain we don’t love them enough because we haven’t bought them the latest this and that! There’s no need to go overboard at the school gates with hugs and kisses, as this will only embarrass our poor children anyway. There are other, more subtle ways to show our kids that we love, care, and cherish them, and we have some examples of this right here.

Tell them

We show our kids we love them by telling them we love them. It’s not soppy to tell our children we love them, and while they probably don’t need to be reassured of this fact verbally, it’s still nice to be told those three little words. When did you last say to your children, “I love you?” No matter how old they are, make the effort to tell them today. Sure, they might roll their eyes at you, but secretly, they will be over the moon that you told them. Say those words every day.

Making the effort

We show our kids we love them by giving them our undivided attention. This isn’t always easy within a large family where sibling rivalry rears its head. But as the parent, you need to make the effort to spend time with each, finding time to ask them about their day, and taking part in activities with them that are things they are interested in. Create a mental note in your head each day, telling yourself to find time with each of your children. And when they come to you for something, never be too busy not to make time for them. Put down your phone or the television remote, and be present for them.

Making time

We show our kids we love them by arranging time to take part in family activities. This could be anything from having a home cinema night at the weekend or a camping trip during the holidays. And when we plan any activities, we need to remember the word ‘family.’ Let your kids have a say in the planning, as not only will this alleviate the risk of them not enjoying something, but it will show them that you have taken their needs and wants into consideration. And again, you are taking time out of your schedule to spend time with them, and while our kids don’t always notice the fact, this is possibly more important than the activities you are embarking on together.

It's The Little Things You Do

Being proud

We show our kids we love them by recognising their achievements. We display certificates of awards in picture frames around our homes. We offer words of praise when they have done something well. We let other people know how wonderful our kids are. We celebrate the fact that our kids have skills and talents, and we let them know just how proud we are of them.

Being forgiving

We show our kids we love them by not bearing a grudge when they have done something wrong. While it would be great if they resembled little angels all of the time, the reality is our kids can be difficult. They can do things that upset us. And they can exhibit behaviour patterns that we most certainly haven’t taught them. While love is about letting them the know the difference between right and wrong, and showing appropriate discipline so they recognise boundaries, love is also about forgiveness and offering a path for redemption. So, don’t penalise your kids for too long. Don’t bring up their misdeeds in conversation long after things have blown over. Practice forgiveness and unconditional love, because they aren’t perfect, but then again, neither are you! One day you might need their forgiveness, so be a decent role model.

Not criticizing

We show our children we love them by not putting them down. We don’t criticise them for failing at something they have tried to do. We are only human, and none of us are perfect. We need to take a positive stance. When our children fall down, we help them up again. If they struggle to do something, we help them to be better. Though if they are never going to be good at a particular thing, we don’t push them too hard. Rather, we focus on the things they are good at and encourage them to play to their strengths. We lift them up rather than put them down; we offer words of encouragement and not words that will diminish who they are.

Accepting them

We show our children we love them by accepting them for who they are. They will make choices in life that don’t always correspond to our own ideals, but provided those choices aren’t criminal or damaging to them, we should offer acceptance. They don’t have to like the same things we do. They don’t have to follow the same sports teams we do. They don’t have to follow career paths that we think are good for them. Our kids have the capacity to make decisions of their own, and while we might want to ask questions and challenge them occasionally, we should also know when to shut up and let them steer their own paths. They are who they are, and that’s a good thing!

Being there

We show our children we love them by just showing up when they need us. When they need a shoulder to cry on, we are there for them. When they need someone to talk to, we offer that listening ear. When they are performing at school, we are there in the front row. When they appear miserable and low, we offer that arm of support. When other people threaten them, we stand up in defense of our children. We show up right when they need us because we love them, and this sometimes means having to sacrifice our own needs to care for their needs instead.

So today, show your children you love them. Do it in all of the ways we have described, or do it in ways that are personal to you. And then remember to take the opportunity to say…I LOVE YOU!!

They will become better people because of what you do and say today.

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Top tips

Tips For First-Time Horse Owners

Tips For First-Time Horse Owners

Tips For First-Time Horse Owners

If you have decided that you want to add a horse to your family, you are bound to be feeling incredibly excited about it. However, there is a lot that needs to be considered when owning a horse for the first time. Diving right in can be a bit of a disaster, with a lot of people making the mistake of ending up being matched up with a horse that is not right for them. With that being said, read on to discover some useful tips for first-time horse owners.

Take an experienced horse owner with you

The first thing you need to do is take an experienced horse owner with you. An experienced trainer or owner will know how to look for the signs that the horse in question rides well and is healthy and sound. After all, if you do not have any experience, these are all things that can easily be missed. You may be thinking that you don’t know anyone with this sort of experience, well, the next point can assist you with that.

Invest in some riding lessons

By investing in riding lessons, you will get to know people who are experienced with horses, and so this can assist you with the former point. Not only this but investing in riding lessons will make sure that your new family addition does not keep bucking you off again and again. Knowing how to ride a horse and knowing the basics regarding care are both essential.

Consider a mobile field shelter

You have many different options available to you in terms of your horse and the stable it is going to stay in. It is certainly worth looking into mobile field shelters. These buildings are much more convenient, providing you with a flexible solution for your home. Built to last, they offer great value for money too, making them a great option for any new horse owner.  

Find out about the history of the horse

Last but not least, it is important to make sure that you find out about the history of the horse. Why is the seller selling the horse? How long has he or she owned the horse? Does the horse have any registration papers that are going to be signed over to you once the sale is complete? Never be afraid to ask as many questions as you like. The more you know, the better!

Hopefully, you now feel more prepared in terms of choosing the right horse for you and your family. Not only this, but you need to make sure that your horse has the right environment and that you continue to learn at all times. If you do this, you can ensure your new family addition fits in perfectly. Good luck!

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Summer, Top tips

How to Get Your Home Ready for Summer

How to Get Your Home Ready for Summer

Getting summer ready

If you want to get your home ready for summer then all you have to do is follow this helpful guide. Here you can find out everything you need to know about getting ready for the best weather of the year as well as finding out what you can do to make your home more inviting for any guests that come over.

Service your Air Conditioner

There’s nothing much worse than having your air conditioner break down when the heat just gets too much. For this reason you will need to make sure that everything is well-maintained in spring if possible. The first thing that you need to do is change the filters as this will be making the unit work way harder than it needs to. It will also cost you way more to run as well and this is the last thing that you need. The next thing that you need to do is make sure that everything is working properly, and you’re good to go.

How to Get Your Home Ready for Summer

Clean your Windows

Spring is the ideal time for you to move any hard water stains from your windows. Fill up a spray bottle with some window cleaning solution and then use a sponge or even some newspaper to get them really streak-free. If you have sensitive skin then it is a good idea for you to wear some protection here as this will help to stop the liquid from touching your skin. When you are cleaning, check out for any dry rot or even any water damage from the winter. Check the window seals and also make sure that you really make sure that everything is nice and clean.

How to Get Your Home Ready for Summer

Summer Tools

Lawnmowers really are the key to keeping your yard looking neat. For this reason, you have to make sure that your equipment is up to the task. If you have a gas mower then clean up the equipment and change the gas if you need to. Now is also a good time to give your BBQ a good clean and to replace the gas in there as well. If you are not comfortable checking over this for yourself then you can hire a professional to take care of that for you.

Your Decking

If you have decking then it’s a good time for you to give everything a good hose-down. You need to re-finish your decking if this is required and it also helps to get the grime out of the grooves as well. After all, when you are setting up the BBQ, the last thing that you need is to have to do is clean everything at the time so do keep this in mind when the time does come for you to get started.

Of course, if you want to really get your home ready then it helps to clear out the shed, tidy up the flowerbed and just get everything looking great. After all, when you have parties to host and guests coming over, you want to be proud of your home and you’ll also want to avoid those last-minute cleaning sessions.

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Top tips

Fed up of cold callers?

Fed up of cold callers?

What to say to cold callers

It’s not surprising to hear that British people fielded 2.2 billion cold-call phone calls last year — for some, it might feel like we had that many on our own! A research piece by The Times clocked cold calls at 4,200 phone calls and texts every minute in the UK, with many being scams.

As a result, 57% of people in the UK say that the worst part about having a phone is being annoyed with cold calls. To help combat the problem, we’ve joined True Solicitors LLP, experts in handling mis sold timeshare claims, to tell you exactly what to say to a cold caller so they never phone you again!

The most frequent cold call types

There’s a few different types of cold call, so let’s take a look at the most common.

Figures show that around 6 million calls and texts come from pensions, payment protection insurance (PPI), and insurance covers cold calls, making these the most common types.

Companies saying they are injury claims specialists or holiday sickness claims experts accounted for 895 million calls and texts.

Those over the age of 65 found themselves experiencing the majority of the calls — posing the question: are companies like this preying on older people who are likely to be more vulnerable? Here are a few tricks you can use to combat cold-calling…

Make them waste their time

Salespeople have time targets to hit, so wasting their time is sure to remind them not to call you again. They call to get you instantly on board with some product or service that they’re selling, but telling them you’re not interested at the start of the call won’t achieve anything. They will first mention the product that they are selling and you must act interested at the start, they’ll start their sales patter and after they’ve put the effort into doing that — just admit that you’re not really interested and admit that you were just wasting their time. Remember that they have targets — they’ll not want to ring your number again!

Calls may be recorded for quality and training purposes…and more

Try using this pre-prepared script. Say something along the lines of: “Hello, just to let you know that I will be recording this phone call as you’re not complying with the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations of 2003. This legislation has been put in place to help restrict marketing methods through cold-calling, unsolicited texts, emails, and faxes”. The good thing about this trick is that they’ve probably ended the call after the first sentence. Don’t be afraid to try this one!

No money here

Cold callers want your money, nothing else. Tell them that you’re an un-discharged bankrupt and they will put the phone done quicker than you could imagine. By saying this, you’re telling them that you are unable to obtain credit beyond a certain limit without informing the creditor of your status. Of course, this does not exist in your case — but they don’t know that.

Behind bars

This one works for different scenarios. Obvious timeshare scammer telling you you’ve won a free holiday? Tell them you have a travel injunction against you and your passport has been revoked. Or that you’re in custody awaiting your trial and plan to plead guilty.

Practice your second or third language!

As they are dialing a UK number, they will be expecting to hear English. Don’t conform to what they want! If you can speak another language, try doing that, and as they won’t be able to understand what you’re saying, they will hang up. If you don’t know another language, make it up and this will leave them even more confused than what they originally were.

Soon, you’ll have a no cold calling zone in your house! It’s also a good decision to block their phone number, however as they change frequently — this not be a viable option. Some phones have the ability to put callers through an answer machine first, where they have to notify the person they are ringing who they are and then press several buttons. Cold-callers will not want to go through this much effort.

Do you get fed up with cold callers?

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Top tips

Flood prevention guide for homeowners

Flood prevention guide for homeowners

Flood prevention guide for homeowners

Flooding is an ever-present threat. Without being vigilant about the risk it poses, it can very easily catch you off-guard. Before you have even entertained the possibility of water entering your home, it can already be too late. All it takes is a single overlooked vulnerability for the weather to ruthlessly take advantage and leave your home submerged in water. Armed with the right advice however, you can create a capable flood-ready defence with a minimum of effort in no time at all. From the most advanced flood-resistant technology to the simplest practical measures, you’ll find everything you need to know about protecting your home from flooding here.

Keep groundwater at bay with a sump pump

Submersible drainage pumps are a prime example of advances in technology drastically improving our ability to deal with the consequences of tumultuous weather. Placed in an at risk area – typically a basement, cellar or sump pit where excess water is likely to accumulate – drainage pumps will rapidly remove any excess water that accumulates there. The best thing about this? It does so automatically. Equipped with a pressure sensor or something similar, submersible TT pumps, which are available to buy online, are able to autonomously detect rising water levels and react accordingly – perfect for repelling the weather’s attacks, even in the event it catches you unawares.

Protect doors and windows with the latest in anti-flood technology

Doors and windows – as the primary access points by which water can penetrate the home – have to be suitably protected. The strength of the preventative measures that are worth instituting are largely defined by the area in which you live. Zones of particular susceptibility demand that homeowners take especially strong defensive measures – and flood barriers for example, would certainly fall into that category. While they give the impression of being something that could only be forged at great expense and effort to the homeowner, worthy alternatives can be cobbled together in a DIY fashion at little to no cost at all. Technological advances have rendered traditional sandbags and other similarly ineffectual fortifications a relic of the past. Time consuming to fill, difficult to handle, and prone to water seepage, sandbags have been almost unanimously dubbed ineffective for groundwater flooding. Instead, flood boards, constructed from plywood and silicone, have been championed as a far sturdier yet similarly priced substitute. Positioned to block vulnerable areas like doorways and windows, such boards are more than capable of adequately protecting your home from flooding.

Revisit brickwork to ensure it is watertight

Just as significant as the major points of entry for water (doors and windows) are the less obvious routes into your home. Brickwork, both intentionally and unintentionally, can provide water with access. Air bricks for example, which are installed to allow air to circulate beneath the ground floor – preventing condensation from wreaking havoc in the process – inadvertently allow water to infiltrate the home. Air brick covers are easily obtained and can neutralise this potential threat in no time at all. While air bricks are overt in their weakness, brickwork as a whole can be more inconspicuously yet unintentionally challenging. Narrow gaps and cracks in brickwork are equally dangerous. Re-pointing can be an arduous but nevertheless necessary endeavor to guarantee your home’s walls remain resolute against rain.

These tips are designed to help you establish a substantial and sustainable flood defence for your own home, and we hope you leave this post feeling better informed and better prepared to face whatever challenges the weather can throw at you head-on.

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health, Top tips

Quit smoking – self-help tips

Quit smoking - self-help tips

quit smoking – self-help tips

Quitting smoking is something we always nag Ian about. He say’s he will give up smoking when we give up chocolate – yeah that’s no time soon then!

I will give it to Ian he has tried on many of occasions to give up but then he slowly starts up again. He says “there are too many things that make him start again”, like:

  • His social circle
  • Habit
  • Routine
  • Lack of will power
  • Work stress
  • It’s his way of chilling out and relaxing

I must admit that smoking has never really bothered me. I never have smoked and probably never will. I’d sooner a nice glass of wine.

Here are a few tips that may help with giving up smoking

  • Think positive – Having the right frame of mind will go a long way when wanting to quit. You have got to want to give up yourself to have the best chances of quitting. If you’re wanting to quit then tell yourself “you can do this” and get the right support in place.
  • Make a plan of action – Get a date set that you’re wanting to start a new non-smoking you. Get that date set and make yourself a promise and give it all you’ve got and go kick that butt!
  • Make a list of your reasons to quit – Make yourself a list of reasons that you want to quit smoking. Keep it close by and keep reminding yourself of your reason to quit. You made find it a huge support if/when you’re struggling.
  • Identify when you smoke – Take note before you gave up on when your cravings are. This will help to put things in place to help work around them, such as avoiding going outside with the smokers in the smokers area, not allowing smoking in your house, pre-warn friends and ask for support so they are aware not to offer you a fag etc.
  • Get support in place – Make friends and family aware of your decision to quit. Chat with your GP to see what support is out there in your local area. See if anyone would like to join you by quitting too and support each other.
  • Take up a hobby – Finding something else to occupy your mind may help you to stop thinking about having a cigarette.

A lot of people say the thing they found the hardest about giving up smoking was not having a cigarette to hold. Some people like a cigarette with their coffee, watching TV, or even whilst having a soak in the bath. For that reason a lot of people make a switch from cigarettes to Vape kits just for that cigarette feel of keeping their hands busy still. Whilst some are happy to switch to nicotine patches or gum.

Do you have any tips to help quit smoking?

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