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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!

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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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Lifestyle, Top tips

Could you BE more energy-efficient?

Could you BE more energy-efficient?

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

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

Could You BE More Energy Efficient?

Stop using standby

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

Invest in your home

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

Consider solar energy

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

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

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Lifestyle, Top tips

Home cinema Ideas for the whole family

Home Cinema Ideas For The Whole Family

Home cinema Ideas for the whole family

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

Home Cinema Ideas For The Whole Family

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

What is it used for?

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

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

TV or projector?

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

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

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

Collection library

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

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

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

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

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Lifestyle, Top tips

Handy hints to simplify your home move

Handy hints to simplify your home move

Handy hints to simplify your home move

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

Handy hints to simplify your home move

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

Organise Your Boxes and Take Photos

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

Use Ziplock Bags for Small Parts

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

Wrap Up Cables and Wires with Twine

Handy hints to simplify your home move

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

Pack an Overnight Bag with Essentials

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

Avoid Over packing Boxes

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

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

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Interior Design, Kitchen, Top tips

House hacks for a family friendly kitchen

House Hacks For A Family Friendly Kitchen

House hacks for a family friendly kitchen

Everyone loves to get stuck in when it comes to cooking, and as the kids get a little older, getting them involved is the best way to install a little wisdom in them when it comes to cooking and other chores. Making the kitchen a space that is family-friendly is a great way to make life easier for you, too!

House Hacks For A Family Friendly Kitchen

Renovating the kitchen entirely with The Renovation Company is a great option, especially if you want to lower kitchen units and sinks and make things physically more reachable for the youngsters in the house. If you just want to make things a little more accessible and organised, then we’ve got some of the best hacks around for you to tap into and make your family kitchen easy to use.

House Hacks For A Family Friendly Kitchen

    • Keep the crockery and cutlery for the kids in a separate cupboard is a great way to allow them to take initiative and control. Giving children independence is part of teaching them to grow up, and so autonomy over their things is important!
  • Glasses and tumblers are a necessity, but the idea of allowing children to access glass is usually a no-no for parents. Ideally, you don’t want the cups they use out of reach so why not try this nifty little hack of adding magnets to the tumblers? They can be stuck to the refrigerator in reach of small hands – just make sure there’s nothing in them first!

House Hacks For A Family Friendly Kitchen

    • Cereal stations like this one are becoming more and more popular in family homes and for good reason. When the children are old enough to take themselves downstairs in the morning, they can be independent and make their own breakfast. Pots of their favorites in low cupboards, as well as an easy milk dispenser such as this in the refrigerator make for an excellent start to the day!
    • While we’re talking about help-yourself-stations, why not provide a basket in a low cupboard full of prepackaged snacks? You could have one in the refrigerator as well, for cold fruits and dairy snacks. Rearranging your kitchen to allow the children to self-serve doesn’t mean that they can go and help themselves whenever they like, it just means that when you say so they can feel pride in their own independence!
  • It isn’t often practical to have a step by the sink to reach the taps for hand-washing, especially if space is sparse. There are a lot of tricks you can use like the ones on this website so that you can adjust things and make them easier for smaller members of the house!

House Hacks For A Family Friendly Kitchen

Adjusting your home to suit the youngest members of the house doesn’t always mean ripping out entire rooms and starting again. You can make some pretty successful changes with just a few things re-organised. Kids need to learn that they can do things for themselves and you are the person who is going to teach them that. Start by making it easy for them to learn how to be their own person.

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Interior Design, Top tips

Cutting down costs with energy-efficient Interior design

Cutting down costs with energy efficient Interior design

Cutting down costs with energy-efficient Interior design

Gas and electricity prices are notoriously on the rise. With living costs skyrocketing and the living wage failing to keep up with the demand, it’s high time that we all start to cut the amount of wastage in our homes. You’d be so surprised at the amount of money that is frittered away through sheer waste. What’s most shocking? It’s entirely preventable! So, here are a few ways to cut down the costs with energy-efficient interior design.

Cutting down costs with energy efficient Interior design

Windows

The two main areas of a home that lose energy are the windows and the roof. So let’s start with the first. Windows need to be made of glass. There isn’t any alternative, suitable material. But sadly, glass doesn’t tend to have the best insulating properties. But not to worry, there’s a fix to everything. Make sure that your home has double glazing. This helps to create a vacuum of sorts between the two individual panes, containing heat within your home more effectively. It’s a relatively quick process and fitting won’t take all too long. For extra measure, you could make use of a specialist window coating.

Roofing

Cutting down costs with energy efficient Interior design

Onto the second largest site of energy loss: the roof: about 25% of a home’s energy will be wasted if its roof is uninsulated.  We all know that heat rises, so it is logical that you need a well-insulated roof to keep everything contained. There are a couple of ways to go about this. If you have a pitched or sloped roof, good news! This is the easiest type to work with. You can opt for a warm loft or cold loft. A warm loft has insulation lining the inside of the roof, allowing heat from your home to rise and fill the loft space. A cold loft has insulation lining the top ceiling of the building, meaning heat is contained to the home, but not the loft space. A second area to focus on is the roofing on any extensions or conservatories that you may have added to your home. Check out http://www.guardianwarmroof.co.uk/ for a quote from the most reliable and high-quality manufacturers and installers of the Guardian Conservatory Roof.

Color Scheme

Who would have thought that the colour of your walls could have an effect on energy conservation in your home? Well, it can! Lighter shades, like cream, beige and mushroom reflect energy, slightly preventing loss. It’s a small feature but it’s worth a try, right?

Cutting down costs with energy efficient Interior design

Lighting

This seems a simple one, but so many of us still fail to make use of energy-efficient light bulbs. These last up to ten times as long as standard incandescent bulbs and are more durable (they are less prone to break from knocks and bumps). Though they are initially more expensive to purchase, they save enough on the electricity bill to cover the cost and more. LED light bulbs only use 2-17 watts of electricity, which is between one-third and one-thirtieth of the energy used by most common incandescent bulbs!

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Home, Interior Design, Top tips

The benefits of LED lighting in a busy family home

The Benefits of LED Lighting in a Busy Family Home

The benefits of LED lighting in a busy family home

By now, you’ve probably heard the hype about LED lighting. It saves money, it’s good for the environment and it is available in a variety of styles. If you have a busy family home, LED lighting could be a great investment for you. Here is everything that you need to know about the different benefits of LED lighting:

Choice of Styles

When LED lighting first came to the mass market, it was only available in cool-toned bulbs that could make a home look bright and harsh. However, the technology has moved on a lot since then, and LED lighting is availability in a variety of styles and colours. You can get soft, yellow lighting that works well for mood lighting, and bright white lighting which looks great in a bathroom. You can buy LED lighting in a range of styles from pendant lighting to recessed lights for the kitchen and decking area.

Money-saving

One of the biggest benefits to installing LED lighting in a family home is the money that it saves. There is an upfront cost to LED lighting – the bulbs generally cost a bit more than the standard halogen bulbs – but in most cases, you’ll make the cost back in savings on your electricity bill. The best way to experiment with the impact of LED lighting in your family home is to put them in the room that you use the most – be it the kitchen, living room or bathroom, and see if there is a change in your electricity bill.
Although the upfront cost may seem off-putting, it’s important to remember that LED bulbs have a lifespan of over 10,000 hours, compared to 1000 hours for halogen bulbs. This means that you’ll barely ever need to replace them, making them more of an investment than a reoccurring cost.

Reduces carbon footprint

Another upside of switching to LED lighting is the environmental impact. 95% of the energy used in LED bulbs is converted into light and only 5% wasted as heat – the opposite is true in fluorescent bulbs. You also need less LED lights than standard lights, as they focus light in one direction to give a brighter light, unlike halogen bulbs.

Safety

One reason to install LED lighting in a family home is all about safety. As the bulbs do not generate as much heat, they are not as hot to the touch in the event that a child should accidentally touch one. They are also less likely to shatter and break.

Customisable

LED lighting works well in a family home because it is highly customisable. You can connect the lights to a dimmer switch, allowing the lighting level to match the atmosphere. You can have the lights in the kitchen bright for mealtimes and darker for when the kids go to bed and you are enjoying a glass of wine.
You can also connect your LED bulbs to a range of smart home systems, which allow you to control the lights when you’re outside of the house via an app on your phone. This also adds to the saving on your electricity bill, should you forget to turn the bathroom light off when you leave the house.
Would you consider installing LED lighting in your home?

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Top tips, Travel

Accommodating the family: A guide to cheaper holiday digs

Accommodating The Family: A Guide To Cheaper Holiday Digs

Accommodating the family: A guide to cheaper holiday digs

When the family goes on holiday, you have to find a place to stay for a couple of weeks. Accommodation may not have been an issue in your younger days, but you now have kids to look after. Unfortunately, travel digs don’t come cheap, so you may have to fork out a small fortune. And, that is before you have even begun to think about spending money. All in all, a regular hotel can make the cost of a family holiday too much.

But, are you supposed to call it a day and wait until next year in the hope of finding something more affordable? No, you are not! What you should do is search for affordable accommodation now. All you need are a few helpful hints to point you in the right direction, and as luck would have it, you can find them below.

Happy hotel hunting guys and girls!

Accommodating the family: A guide to cheaper holiday digs

Search The Internet & High street

Of course, the first place to check is the World Wide Web because it has all of the best deals. Thanks to sites like Booking.com, it has never been easier to find a bargain. Indeed, some people get to stay in four and five-star accommodation without paying the usual price. Still, the internet isn’t the only resource at your disposal. Whether you realise it or not, holiday bookers exist on the high street, and they are very helpful. In some cases, they are even cheaper than the deals online because they need to keep up with the competition. A holiday broker may not have anything that is suitable for a young family, but it is worth checking all the same. When you cover all the bases, you are bound to find the cheapest deals.

Book More Than One Night

Some people like to stay for a night to check out as many establishments as possible. In truth, this is a great way to save money if you can find cheaper digs elsewhere. However, it depends on the deals that the hotel has to offer. In most cases, hotels have discounts which only apply if the guests stay for three or four nights. In that sense, it is costlier to move because the promotion will not apply and you will have to pay the full rates. Before you book, check what promotions are on offer and the terms and conditions. Far too many holidaymakers don’t read the fine print and it bites them on the backside on arrival. Also, don’t be afraid to haggle. The deal may say one thing, but you can ask for a further discount. After all, ‘no we can’t do that’ is the worst they can say.

Stay Mid-Week

Regardless of the time of year, the weekends are always the most popular days. As such, the rates are more expensive on a Friday and a Saturday night. The logical move, then, is to avoid these days whenever possible. Although it sounds hard, it is pretty easy as long as you book the flights strategically. The trick is to fly out over the weekend so that you arrive during the week. That way, even if you spend two weeks, you should only have to pay the peak rates once. The rest of the time will be weekdays, so the prices should be lower. Anyone that goes away for one week to seven days can exploit this trick. Don’t worry about Sundays as they don’t follow the same rules due to the mix of clientele. Leisure bookers, for example, prefer Friday and Saturday, while business bookers stay from Monday to Friday.

Accommodating the family: A guide to cheaper holiday digs

Travel Off Season

The prices in the summer holidays are higher as it is the most popular time of year. But, there is no need to holiday in June, July and August. If you get organised, you can go away in the early autumn instead. All you have to do is take time off work, which isn’t difficult, and link it with the half term holidays. You will find that September is much cheaper even though you still get the weather and the atmosphere. October is also another good time to get away because of half term. Simply put, don’t book a holiday in the peak season if you want to save money on accommodation!

Sacrifice Location

One thing that bumps up the price is the location. People don’t want to travel far to the restaurants and bars and will pay more to stay close to the action. Because most guests are willing to fork out, the hotels shamelessly take advantage. There is nothing you can do about this if you want to be within a stone throw from the centre of town, so you have to pay extra. However, if the location isn’t a big deal, you can take up a position further a field. Then, the cost of the room for the duration of your stay will be a lot lower. And, you can use the extra money to spend on the kids, your partner, or yourself if you get the chance. Also, thanks to public transport, there is no need to miss out on any of the action. A local bus will get you into town within ten to fifteen minutes, and Uber is almost everywhere in the world.

Think Outside The Box

This post uses the word ‘hotel’ a lot because that is what springs to mind when you think of accommodation. But, there are lots of other types, and they tend to be cheaper. All you have to do is research all of your options and get creative. For example, hostels won’t appeal to you because they are for young travellers who like to party. However, there is no need to share a dorm as you can book a private room. Plus, if you pick a quiet hostel, the noise shouldn’t be too much of a big deal. Or, you can rent a houseboat and stay on the water. Houseboats are quite affordable because there are few overheads to factor in as long as you moor in a marina. Finally, there is a guesthouse for those of you who get sea-sick. These are three options, and there are plenty more at your disposal.

Go With A Group

Why? You still have to pay per room. That is true, but some establishments offer discounts for guests with multiple bookings. More importantly, there are more options when you travel with a bigger group. Take a condo or a villa as an example. For one family, these are two options which are out of most families’ price range. But, when there are two or three families together, the price is lower because you split it evenly. After all, the price of a villa stays the same regardless of how many people want to stay. Unlike hotels, they don’t charge per person, which works out in your favour if you can get more friends on board. Just make sure you like everyone you ask. Staying with people who get on your nerves may ruin your holiday!

Accommodating the family: A guide to cheaper holiday digs

Look For Free Cancellation

Once you make a booking, you have to stick to it unless there is a free cancellation option. It is worth noting that the majority of places don’t provide this option for obvious reasons. However, there are ones that are willing to take the risk, and these are the ones you need to find. That way, it won’t cost you a penny should you find a better and cheaper alternative.

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