Sunday, October 22, 2017

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In life, there are so many different decisions that we need to make. Along with some major life choices, career choices, and even parenting choices, we also have to learn to make serious and responsible decisions when it comes to health. And this can often be the toughest of all. Because sometimes, we need to make decisions that affect not just us, but others in our families too. Some decisions will be small and won’t make much of a difference whichever way you choose to take things, but some can be significantly important. So you have to be able to figure out the best ways that you can make health-based decisions.

Ask Your Doctor

One of your first options, and sometimes the only option you need, is to speak to your doctor. Whether your health concerns are serious or not, you’ll often find that they are the best people to speak to. Not only can they provide you with all of the facts that you could need to know, no matter how trivial your decision may seem, but they may also be able to advise you during that decision making process too. And it’s that last part that can often make this option one of the best routes to consider.

Speak To Someone

Sometimes, you can get information from your doctor and still not know what you want to do. Whether it’s a decision concerning your own health or someone else's, you may benefit from discussing it with someone close to you, like your husband, mom, or best friend. Sometimes, talking things over and getting their advice can really help you to work out what the best course of action will be.

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Speak To The Pharmacist

Then, you could also think about speaking to your pharmacist. When the health decision you need to make is based on taking a certain kind of medication or knowing how to take it safely, your pharmacist is the best person to speak to. You may even find they can give you all the information you need on certain products so that you can decide for yourself which options are best.

Read Reviews

From here, you may also want to think about reading reviews. And this can be relevant for all kinds of health issues. From reading up on Advantix 2 reviews to help your dog or reviewing care center feedback before agreeing to move your elderly parents there. Reviews can really help you to choose the right course of action for everyone’s health.

Take A Trial

And, of course, you’ve always got the option of taking a trial. This can be particularly useful in lifestyle changes, like a new diet or trying to change the way you do things. Because sometimes, you’re never really going to know if something is right for you unless you try it out. And when it comes to making a decision based on your health, if you’ve tried something out, you’ll be more equipped to make that decision when the time comes to it.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

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The home deep clean is something we all have to endure at some point each month, but even just a good old-fashioned regular cleaning job can leave you feeling woozy and lightheaded. Here’s where the plot thickens, this isn’t because you were overexerting yourself. That’s right. It’s got less to do with elbow grease and more to do with cleaning products. Mmmmm hmmm, it’s all about the chemicals inside that bottle. Bad, huh?

Sure, these products may be designed to make your life easier, but the harmful chemicals they chuck in them could be making your life shorter. That’s where we step in because we want people to know that there is a way to go green with your cleaning routine, while also allowing you to achieve exactly the same results of glistening awesomeness. Better for the environment, better for your health and nicer smelling - what more could a domestic goddess need? 

For those of you that aren’t crazy-scientific-let’s-mix-everyday-products-and-make-some-magic kind of people, then we recommend you visit CleanHappens.com and make the switch to cleaning products that can cut through grime, grease and dirt without compromising on safety. However, if you are excited by the prospect of unleashing your inner high school chemical student, then you really need to check out these super cleaners that are delivering on the eco-friendly side of things, as well as being epically effective. Double. Whammy. 

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Baking Soda Is The Best
There are tons of different sodas that are great at doing different things. You’ve got bicarbonate soda that you can clean silver and rust with, washing soda that is ace at removing stains and descaling appliances, and club soda that is equally talented on the stain removal front (especially from organic products). However, our favourite is baking soda because it is insane when it comes to cleaning, as this list by allyou.com will confirm. Pour some down a drain, add an equal amount of vinegar and then just watch as they react, creating a gorgeous foam that cleans drains and leaves them smelling impossibly better. If you’ve got kids then this is one that you really want them to watch. It proves science is the best. 

A Sexy Little Thing Called Salt
Every household from here to Timbuktu has salt hidden away in one of the cupboards. What you may not realise, though, is that this salt can be used to clean, disinfect and deodorize a bunch of different parts of your home. Add salt and lemon juice together and you can battle back any rust. Turn it into a paste and you can clean your pots and pans, even the ones that you have managed to burn some stuff onto. Add salt to vinegar and flour and you will be able to shine up almost anything from stainless steel to pewter, gold to silver. That’s not all, either. You can also use salt to keep your other cleaning bits and bobs (read: sponges) germ-free and stench-free by simply leaving them to soak when not in use. 

Vinegar Is Very, Very Good
We’ve mentioned vinegar a couple of times already, which is a testament to its powers as an accomplice. But that isn’t all. Oh no. This little household gem is a diamond in the rough because it is an all-rounder up there with the likes of Freddie Flintoff. Its secret weapon is its ability to cut through grease like a hot machete through butter. How you go about applying it is up to you, though. You could put it in a spray bottle - half and half with water - and then use it to clean mirrors, glass, windows or anything else that falls within that bell curve. You can use it on wood flooring to spruce up a bit or use it on food containers to disinfect. The winner of all winners though is using it to clean your shower heads and faucets. All that rust and stubborn mold will fall away like people leaving a concert. In short, vinegar is that gentle giant that could transform the way you cleaning - gentle for the home and tough on the areas you need to clean. It’s a win-win. 

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When Life Gives You Lemons
When life gives you lemons, forget about lemonade for a second and use this wondrous fruit to eliminate smells, clean surfaces and polish items. That’s right, this gorgeous, yellow beauty can do more than just make your face scrunch up. There isn’t too much to delve into, but it is great at eliminating grease, killing nasty little germs and leaving your place smelling fresher. Like a summer orchard in the south of Spain. 

Olive Oil Is The Original Polisher
If you don’t have olive oil in your cupboards then who even are you? It is a must have for delicious cooking, and even a little bit of beauty work. But, more appropriately to our blog, it is also great for home cleaning. Mmmm hmmm. The best way to use it is for polishing things. Wood, metals, anything really. The point is it will bring up a nice shine that you can’t ignore or hate on. The other thing it is great for is leather. So if you have any leather products that are cracked a bit, worn a lot or just looking a tad dry then it is time to slap some olive oil on. It is also great for removing chewing gum, which could address an issue you are currently facing with your teenager, or it could make buying secondhand furniture a lot easier, who knows? Just make sure you add a little squeeze of lemon so that you get a nice aroma going. 

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Vodka Is Vital For A Lot Of Things
The Russians have been telling us that vodka is invaluable for centuries. But would we listen? No. Well, we recently decided to and, guess what, we’re kicking ourselves slightly. It is amazing, especially when it comes to removing stains and odors from your laundry. Seriously. It will get rid of all those odors that no amount of washes seems to be able to cure. It is also great for polishing glass, and it does so without leaving any streaks, which is what we’ve always wanted. You can also polish metals and even porcelain too, as well as the stresses in your mind by just dropping an olive in and sipping on it frequently. Soon enough you’ll forget you had any cleaning to do whatsoever, which is a total bonus. 

Super-Soap To The Rescue
So long as you choose a natural soap, the kind that is made from oils or fats (yup, just like in Fight Club) with an added dash of alkali, then you will be able to break down all those nasty, dirty greases that seem to be taking over your home. That’s its biggest superpower: it can be used on pretty much every surface in every room of your home - kitchen through to bedroom, office and bathroom. Even more epic is the fact it comes in a plethora of different forms. We’re talking powders, liquids, flakes and, every shower’s favourite, bars. 

Hydrogen Peroxide Isn’t Just Hype
The reason why people tend to use hydrogen peroxide is that it is a safe alternative for bleach (which is something that comes with a whole host of health concerns). As for what to use hydrogen peroxide on, you can use it to deal with stains, mold, mildew and anything else of this ilk. The other thing it is used for is cleaning kitchens and bathrooms - but mainly kitchens - simply because it crushes germs and bacteria - especially that nasty sucker, Salmonella - quicker than life crushes dreams (joking!). It is basically an antiseptic cleaner that doesn’t have any of the harsh chemicals you are clearly worried about or else you wouldn’t be reading this blog. 

And that is pretty much it. 

Now whether or not you use all, some or none of these natural cleaning products is your prerogative, as Britney would say. The important thing to understand is that you don’t have to worry about your kid's health and safety, your pet’s allergies, or about pulling on a pair of elbow high yellow gloves, or wearing science-lab goggles out of fear of what the chemicals may do to your lifespan. Instead, you can clean every inch of your home using things you already have in your cupboards; things that will do a grand job and leave a great smell too. Vinegar. Salt. Lemon. Olive oil. Baking soda. Vodka. Each of these is epic at cleaning, disinfecting and deodorizing. But beyond that, they are also great for the environment and even better for your wallet. Oh, yeah, we haven’t mentioned that. Well, not to beat around the metaphorical bush, these things cost cents, not dollars (except Vodka, maybe), which means you will have more money to spend on the finer things in life. 

We do hope we’ve piqued your curiosity enough to see you give it a go, and we would really love for you to send some pics in to prove they are amazing alternatives. 

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Winter may be on its way, but that’s no reason to lock yourself away indoors. You should be able to enjoy your garden all year round. Here are few ways that you can encourage you and your family to get out in the garden during the winter months.

Turn up the heat

The main reason no-one wants to venture outside in winter is because it’s too cold. However, a patio heater or a chiminea could help to provide some heat. Patio heaters will cost more to buy and run, although you can get solar powered ones. They can be excellent for heating up and outdoor space in the winter. Chimineas are cheaper and rely on burning wood. They might not provide as much heat but could still be a solution.

Set up an awning

If you’ve got a patio or decked area, it could be worth putting up some kind of shelter to protect from the rain. These could be something temporary like a gazebo or an umbrella. Alternatively, you may want consider more permanent canopy options such as patio roofs. Permanent roofs may be able to provide shelter from the sun in the heat of summer on top of shelter from the rain.

Add some light on the subject

In winter, the evenings get darker more quickly. Installing some exterior lighting could be handy. Nowadays, you don’t have to invest in mains lighting – solar lighting won’t require you to run cable outside and is far more cost-efficient. You can also light up outside with candles.

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Start growing winter produce

Need an activity to get you outside in the winter? Why not try some organic farming? You can grow many vegetables in the winter including parsnips, onions, garlic and leaks. Why wait until spring?

Have a winter BBQ

You could also consider having a winter barbecue. It’s not the done thing to do but it’s perfectly possible and standing over the barbecue will provide enough warmth. Many winter foods taste great when grilled over a barbecue. Leg of lamb for example can taste delicious seared with some black pepper, sea salt and lemon. You could even grill some sausages and burgers for something a little hearty. Both gas and coal barbecues are effective solutions, but expect it to take a little longer to warm up (you may want a canopy above in case it rains).

Encourage winter wildlife

The winter is also a great time to see some new exciting wildlife. Why not put up a bird-feeder in your garden to help attract robins and chiffchaffs? Many animals will want to hibernate in the winter – woodpiles can be great places for them to nest so be careful when disturbing these. If you’ve got a pond, make sure that it doesn’t freeze over as this could kill off any fish in it. Don’t break the ice by smashing it as this could cause harmful shockwaves that harm the fish. Instead, pour some boiling water on an area of the frozen pond. 

If you’re a creative person, you might also enjoy creating beautiful spaces in your home. Of course, if you’ve done about all you can with your interior decor, you might be looking for a new project. Have you thought about extending your design skills to your exterior? Your outside space isn’t just an extra room to utilize. It can be many different rooms, depending on the amount of ground it covers. So what are you waiting for? Try one (or all) of these outdoor projects to make more use of your home’s exterior:

One For The Kids
Most of us are keen to encourage our children or grandchildren to play actively outdoors as much as possible. This isn’t always easy. There is, after all, a lot to fear. You can build a secure and safe play space in your garden more easily than you think. Start by planning out the space you might need. If you have tiny tots, consider putting in a little picket fence with a gate. This stops your pets using that area and prevents the kids wandering into areas that are less child-friendly.

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You can turf this area for a softer landing as they’re finding their feet. You might even use artificial turf if you’re worried about mud. Play mats work perfectly well on any surface, so you can even make a hardstanding area into a safe and fun play area. Add a playhouse and a few ride-on toys. Why not include some water play or a sandpit?

All children’s areas outdoors should have shady areas too. This greatly reduces the risk of illness or burns from the sun. It’s more comfortable for their little eyes too. A little table and chair placed under the shade could become the ideal workstation for all those crayon artworks. Why not have a little picnic here too?

One For Thinking
Every garden should include an area that is just like your living room, but outside. You should feel comfortable just to sit and be. Contemplating life and doing not-a-lot can be good for the mind and the soul from time to time. Now all you need is a great view and a great place to sit. 

There are lots of different types of garden that can help you to relax and even meditate. A Zen garden might be the first one that comes to mind. This is usually a dry garden and might be considered minimalist. Sand, pebbles, and one or two statues might be all you need to create a place that can help you find peace of the mind and quietness. 

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Water features can be added too. You might have a little pond with lilypads and gorgeous flowering water lilies. Maybe you like the idea of moving water? A fountain or feature can offer that calming sound of running water as well as something beautiful to watch. 

All of this might be enjoyed from the lawn. A good quality turf should be mown every week in the summer. To keep it healthy, use options like hunter rotors to ensure irrigation is thorough and adjusted to suit the climate and soil. It will also help ensure a steady rate of lush growth that is easier to manage. 

Don’t forget that beautiful floral displays can be the perfect view when you want to unwind. Add a bench or a gazebo with an outdoor sofa. Perhaps you like to lounge in the sun? And if you love being active, you might have a workout space, complete with a Yoga mat.

One For Dining
If you love entertaining, then an outdoor kitchen and dining room are the perfect solution. You have plenty of space when you use your yard or garden. It also means you don’t have all those cooking smells indoors. You can hook up a gas grill or use a traditional barbecue. Set up a good quality dining set in the garden, and you’ll have all the seating you need to celebrate those big events in style.

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Outdoor kitchens are usually enclosed on three sides and may have a roof. The open side is essential for safety and ventilation. Being enclosed keeps the wind and any passing rain showers out though. This type of exterior facility is often attached to the back door or kitchen door of the main home. You might have a patio or concrete flooring. Wooden decking isn’t always the best choice here.

One For Gardeners
Gardening can be physically demanding but highly rewarding. Much of the work that is required once you’ve designed and installed the garden is easier though. Get started with a few photos and some measurements of the space you have. Consider the size of the budget you have to work with. Don’t forget that plants will spread out over time, so you can afford to plant sparsely at first.

Plants grow up as well as out. Think about the architecture or structure of your planting as well. You might choose shrubs as well as colorful flowers. Don’t forget that trees can offer tasty fruit as well as some wonderful shade in your garden. Check the final height of your young sapling. You might not want a very tall tree in a small garden. 

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You might also like the idea of growing your own fruit and vegetables. This takes quite a lot more work than a flower garden. But imagine the taste of veggies fresh from the garden to your dining table! 

One For The Pets
We mustn’t forget our pets. If you create a fenced off area for your dog, then you can contain any mess and digging. Animals need to roll around and play outside. Try to provide a few different surfaces. A gravel area, some lawn, and a little bit of mud might keep your pet happy for hours. Throw in a few toys, and they’ve got their own little patch of heaven!

What kind of garden might you create for your family? Why not have one of each? Enjoy your beautiful outside spaces.

Are you tired of buying boxes of chocolates or bottles of wine for friends as Christmas presents? Do you want to take gifting to the next level and get them something that will truly wow them? Then you’ve come to the right place. In this brief article, we’re going to go through some golden rules of gifting so that you can come up with the perfect gifts time and time again. No matter who your recipient is or how long you’ve known them, this guide will teach you how to pick the right gift.

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Determine who it’s for

First, pick your target. Is your recipient a close friend? Is it a co-worker? Or perhaps it’s your significant other? It’s important to determine who your present is for because everyone is going to need different levels of attention, and everyone has different interests that you need to appeal to.

Stalk your target

Next, gather information. If it’s someone that you know well, then asking them some subtle questions about their interests should be easy. However, if it’s someone that you’ve only just met, then it suddenly becomes a little harder and you’ll need to stalk them a little to get some information. Ask mutual friends, look at their social media profiles or converse with them without appearing awkward or revealing your true intentions.

Look for inspiration

Let’s assume that you’ve discovered that your target has an interest in video games. How do you pick a gift with that as a theme? Well, you could always check out inspiration websites such as GiftBeta here, or you could ask friends that share common interests with your recipient. Just make sure you do a bit of research before getting a present with a theme that you have no idea about.

Store-bought or DIY?

Decide if you want your gift to be store-bought or DIY. Store-bought gifts are often less hassle, but a DIY gift can be more meaningful and a bit cheaper as well. Just keep in mind that making your own gift can be time-consuming, especially if you’ve no idea how to even begin.

Add a bit of personalization

Whether you buy a gift or make one, make sure you add a bit of personalization to it. This can be as simple as gift-wrapping it with a handwritten message, or you could take it to the next level and gift your recipient a shirt or something with a customised message.

It doesn’t have to be physical

Gifts don’t always have to be physical. You could always purchase something digital like a gift card for an online store or a digital copy of a music CD instead of giving a physical gift. It usually works out to be cheaper and it’s perfect for friends that live far away from you.

Final words

If you follow all of these tips, you’ll no doubt have some fantastic ideas on what you could gift your recipient. Research is the most important step, and with Christmas coming in a little over two months, you should have plenty of time to pick the perfect Christmas gift.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

We all work hard to provide ourselves with a home that we can retire to each day. Whether you have mortgaged and bought it, lease it, or even live with parents still, the place you call home is of great importance to you. So it is important to ensure that you keep calm when facing some of the most common household issues. Some may be obvious, others may prompt you to do something. But I wanted to share with you what some of them are and hopefully provide you with some tips on how to overcome them. 

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When you have a problem with pests

Pests can cause havoc in your home. Whether that is termites eating away at the woodwork. Cockroaches infesting your personal space, or even an infestation of spiders. Many of these pests are completely unwanted and uninvited. However, no matter how hard you try, sometimes you can get a pest problem that needs to be resolved by professionals. This is when companies like Natura Pest Control could ensure that the problem is terminated once and for all. Pest issues can be troublesome, especially if you have some form of phobia yourself. So take the chance to get it sorted as soon as you spot the signs that something isn’t right. 

Keep your home secure from opportunists

No one wants their home to be burgled. You will have filled it with items you have worked hard to buy, like computers or TV’s, it may be filled with sentimental items that have huge value to you, however, to a burglar these items are just chances to make some quick money. They don't care what they are taking or what you are losing. This is why it is important to ensure that you secure your home as best you can. It might mean getting a pet dog, raising your fences or adding gates your home boundary. It could mean adding an alarm or surveillance cameras to secure your home more appropriately. However you do it, make sure you are happy with the outcome. 

Try and avoid leaks or pipe issues during different seasons

Different seasons can cause different problems when it comes to the pipes in our home. Winter often means that pipes can freeze, but once they thaw, they can burst or leak. Autumn and spring may bring rain, which could cause drains or gutters to overflow and flood your home. This is why it is important to protect the pipe framework in your home. Adding foam around pipes to avoid freezing, and tackling those yearly chores such as clearing out the gutters and drains regularly. Simple actions can avoid huge problems. 

Keeping on top of maintenance issues

Finally, there are other elements of your home that may need your attention. You may need to fix a wall or patch a hole, perhaps decorate or sort out niggling issues like damp or adding insulation. Home maintenance can be an abundance of things, and keeping on top of it can ensure you avoid other common household disasters in the future. 

For many people, the concept of working from home seems like a dream. There’s no worry that your boss will pop up behind you and demand to see what you are working on. There’s no one to interrupt you to share the latest gossip. No commute to worry about. But even so, working from home - complete with all of its perks - does have some downsides, one of which is taking care of your wellness. 

When you work from home, you are technically ever away from your desk, which can make getting that work-life balance right, a little difficult at times. And it’s this struggle to balance your private time and work time that can make putting your health and wellness before your career, so difficult. However, if you take note of the wellness advice below and implement it, you can ensure that working from home doesn’t hinder your health

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Take regular breaks

In a corporate environment, usually you are reminded to take breaks by your colleagues or even your boss, but when you work from home, there is no one to remind you. This can often mean that you end up working through your break times, and have very little time to rest and recharge throughout the day. The issue with this is that when you don’t take regular breaks from work, the stress that comes with your job can get on top of you and can impact your mental health and wellbeing. To remind yourself to take breaks, set a reminder on your phone, that way you shouldn’t end up working through your breaks. 

Look after your eyes

One common complaint that many people who work on computers - not just people that work from home - is that they have bad eyesight. There are various studies that have shown that spending longer than a couple of hours on a computer each day can be bad for our eyes, and can make conditions like nearsightedness worse. So if you are going to be working on a computer day in, day out, it is important to take care of your eyes by going for regular check-ups with your optometrist, to make sure that your eyes are healthy. Ideally, you want to get your eyes checked at least once a year. However, if you notice any strange symptoms such as blurriness, headaches, or eye pain between your annual checkups, it’s always worth going to get them checked. 

Get out of the house every day

When you work from home, it’s far too easy to end up trapped in your home day in, day out. However, it is important that for both your physical and mental health, that you make an effort to spend some time out of the house each day. Whether that means going for a walk somewhere local, popping out to meet with some friends, or spending a few hours working out of the house at your local library, it doesn’t matter, all that matters is that you make times to get out of the house. 

When you work from home, it’s far too easy to put your health on the back burner and focus purely on your work. However, it is important that you put your health first, and make an effort to ensure that you are taking your wellness seriously. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could physically feel your home’s positive energy when you entered it? If you always felt positive when you got home from a long day, or had to get up to start one, rather than drained and unmotivated? There are a few things you can do to feel this way!

There are many different ways people say you can improve the energy of a home, and here we’ll discuss 15 of them. No, not 15 tips on how to save on your energy bills - 15 tips on improving the vibe of your home, if you will. It might sound strange, spooky, or like downright witchcraft to you, but people have tried and tested these methods! Whether you believe in energy or not, there’s nothing wrong with attempting to improve the look and feel of your home. You don’t even have to move! So, without further adieu, take a look at these tips: 

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Tip 1: Start Using Feng Shui
Feng Shui is an ancient practice in many countries, and is famous for supposedly helping the energy in a room to flow better. There’s no harm in trying it, right? There are all kinds of principles with feng shui, and it’s understandable that you may not be able to incorporate every single one in your home for whatever reason. Instead, do the ones you like the sound of, and the ones that speak to you most. 

Tip 2: Clear Your Air
Clearing your air as best as possible is great for your home and physical health. You can crack open a window from time to time, but this still isn’t going to do much if you live in a polluted area. To help, you can add plants, as well as Himalayan salt lamps.

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Tip 3: Add Some Color To Your Home
Know the meaning and moods of colors and then add your favorites to your home. This will brighten up your space and make you feel good whenever you see them. 

Tip 4: Give Your Home A Deep Clean
Giving your home a deep clean is a good way to ensure everything is looking great, and that there will be no adverse effects on your health. If you fail to clean your home properly, this is where energy can go stagnant. When energy goes stagnant, you tend to feel lethargic and down in the dumps. So, what can you do to give your home a deep clean? Set a day, or even a weekend aside and just go to town! You could even hire some professional services, like Delaware Valley Hardwood to make things look brand new, without having to purchase anything new. Whatever you do, you’ll love the vibe of your home afterwards. 

Tip 5: Get Rid Of Things That Don’t Bring Joy
In order to banish negativity from your home, you need to get rid of absolutely anything that doesn’t bring you joy when you look at it. It’s a great way to declutter and make more space for better things to fill - and not necessarily material things. Just good energy! 

Tip 6: Include Some Art That Lifts Your Spirits
Every single house should have a gorgeous piece of artwork in it. It should not be up for discussion. If you see a piece that speaks to you, make sure you grab it! Artwork makes a fantastic investment, and you’ll likely have it in your home forever. It could even be a piece that gets passed through the generations. 

Tip 7: Add Soft Textures
Soft textures not only bring interest to your home, but comfort too. To feel cozy and protected in your home, make it full of texture. 

Tip 8: Burn Some Sage
Burning sage is thought to purify a home. You can do it as regularly as you like, just make sure you stay safe! It is thought to help a space’s energy after an argument, after a guest leaves, or even if you just fancy doing it for no reason. 

Tip 9: Think Very Carefully About The Things You Bring Into Your Home 
Before bringing new things into your home, think about it carefully. Will the novelty wear off? Could you do without it? Will it really bring you joy? Be as precious as this about your space and you’ll begin to love it more than you can imagine. 

Tip 10: Have Real Fun In Your Home 
One of the best ways to improve your home’s energy? Have real fun there! Invite your best friends and favorite people over and have a blast. Spend quality time with your family. Dance and sing alone. What better way to lift the energy than by having an awesome time? 

Tip 11: Use Essential Oils 
Essential oils are all unique in their own way. Lavender is relaxing, for example, while others can be uplifting. Consider how you’d like to feel and use them. You can get wonderful diffusers

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Tip 12: Play Beautiful Music
Playing beautiful music in the home is a no brainer. Classical, relaxing, and even soul music can all have a profound effect on the home’s energy. However, it’s OK to listen to anything that truly brings you joy. 

Tip 13: Include Flowers And Plants 
Flowers and plants should always have a place in the home. They look beautiful, bring life to any decor, and even have health benefits. Flowers can improve mental health, while plants purify the air. 

Tip 14: Cut Down On The Electronics 
The electronics we have in our homes can seriously affect our sleeping patterns, moods, health, and more. Cut down on them as best you can. For example, stick to only having them in the main room and avoid having them in any bedrooms! You’ll love how relaxed you feel when you go to bed, and your sleep quality will be so much better. 

Tip 15: Burn Candles 
Candles have been used for centuries, but these days more so for relaxation purposes. There’s nothing quite like a gently burning flame to improve the mood of a home. Try some non-toxic, natural candles and see if you like those better than more commercial brands! 

Which of these tips resonates with you the most?

With recent weather and events in the news all around the world, you can’t help but feel like you need to do something to be a little more prepared. If there was a flash flood of a hurricane where you live; would you be prepared enough to have minimal damage?

With the winter months on the way, it can lead to a lot of extra rain and snow. If you’re not prepared enough, then it can lead to damage to your home, including flooding. So if you want to look after your home and keep things as safe from a flood as possible, then here are some steps to help you tackle it.

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Doors

The doors you have can be the first line of defense against floods. What are your external doors like at the moment? How about your internal doors too? You need to make sure that they are up to scratch, especially if you live in a floodplain area. You could try lifting up the thresholds on the door to avoid getting water in if there is a flood.

Guttering

Your roof and guttering can be big factors in how much water can be let into your home. You gutter in particular can be a culprit, especially at this time of year. It can get filled with fallen leaves a rainwater. This can then freeze, leading to blockages and cracks. It can lead to leaks or flooding in the home if it isn’t checked regularly or replaced by a business like Community Roofing. So check on your gutters, as well as your roof. If anything looks damaged, then now is the time to get it fixed, before it is too late.

Drains and Pipes

You are not going to be able to control all of the water that comes into your home. This is especially the case if there is heavy rain water. But there are some things that you can do. You can fit non-return valves to help with it, as well as monitoring them regularly. Check them for damage, to ensure that you don’t get any unnecessary leaks.

Electricals

If you live in a modern home, then due to building regulations, your electricals should be up to scratch. But in older homes, some updates may be needed to avoid damage. If you live in an area that is likely to flood more than others, then things like electric and plug sockets are going to need to raised, as well as any fuse boxes or wiring. You don’t want to damage the wiring if you do get a flood. Having things like television sets placed higher up, with no cables trailing on the floor, is another way to avoid too much electrical damage.

As you can see, with a few changes around the home, you can help yourself if you are in an area that is likely to get flooded. You don’t want to get too much damage to your home, especially if there is something that you could have done about it.

Giving Your Car A Home

Coming home from work, after being stuck in traffic and having to weave your way in and out of small spots, to only find you have to find a parking space can be incredibly frustrating. Not only are you tired, but your patience is wearing thin. All you want to do is to park your car, but it’s not that simple. Your car is also a prized possession because it's a symbol of your status, helps you to work and also is worth a lot of money. Therefore it needs to be safe and secure, and leaving it on the street, even in a supposed safe area, just isn’t enough these days. Of course, you may think that an alarm and tracking technology will save you from thieves, but car manufacturers are constantly finding that thieves are innovating. It would be great if you home were more car-friendly so that you can swoop in and park with no hassle, as well as have peace of mind.

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Driveway 

A front garden does make the home look nicer but essentially doesn’t add much else. A paved driveway, on the other hand, is an extension without really being an extension. A driveway would make the front of your home into a feasible, usable space which real practical qualities. The issue arises in the cost, but actually, this is a thing of the past. The market has boomed since the turn of the millennium, and the number of homeowners wanting their personal parking space has gone through the roof. It's cheaper to look at something like a cement or tar driveway; however, these two don’t have the longevity. A brick driveway is the best option because it can take the weight of any vehicle without being damaged in any way.

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Garage 

It's the dream of many to have their own garage. It keeps your car safe from thieves but also shields it from the elements. The weakest point of this structure is, of course, the door itself. Getting the right door isn’t always about aesthetics because that’s an afterthought and therefore an aftermarket issue. You can always paint your door or have it coated once you have it fixed. For safe and strong doors you should check out a company like A-1 Door Company. They have a 5-star rating from customers who have reviewed them on Yelp. They also have a BBB rating that’s A+ as they have shown their worth as a business also. Anything from windows, from wood to metal, and electric door motors which open by a switch that is also portable, you have a plethora of choices that are all newest in their field.

Making a home more car-friendly isn’t always about having a tyre pump and a jack lying around somewhere. It's about giving your car a home also so that it's away from the street and out of harm’s way. A driveway is the cheaper option but immediately gives you a personal parking space. A garage is much better but will cost more as well as require planning permission. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Many of your household costs such as your mortgage and cable bill have a fixed price, making it easy to budget for them.Others, however, are more unpredictable and can come as a nasty surprise - like your energy bills. Unlike your mortgage or your gym membership, your energy bill is something that you can actively reduce by making some simple changes to your lifestyle. Want to win that power struggle for lower energy bills? Read the following tips that could help you cut down. 

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Power off at the mains, not the standby button

One of the biggest mistakes people make is thinking that they’ve turned their appliances off when they hit the standby button. While you will be using less energy than if the appliances were turned on, you could be using even less by turning them off altogether. Get into the habit of turning your appliances off at the mains at night and watch your energy bills decrease.

Invest in a more efficient water heater

Water heaters come in different varieties, and some are more energy efficient than others. Take a look at electric tankless water heater reviews and see the benefits of using a tankless heater to cut your energy bills down. Tankless heaters will heat your water instantly, meaning there’ll always be hot water without having to keep it on constant. It’s a great solution for households where multiple family members are in and out of the bathroom and could significantly reduce your electricity or gas bill.

Get out more

One great way that you can save on your energy bills is to get out more! Instead of sitting at home watching TV or wasting time on the internet, you could be outside getting some fresh air and doing fun activities with the family. You and your family should never have an excuse to be bored so plan some great outdoor activities you can do together that will get you out of the house. The extra exercise will be good for your health and will be sure to cut your energy bills down.

Start tracking your usage

One way to shake up your energy consumption habits is to start tracking your usage with a smart meter. There are pros and cons to using a smart meter, but they could be useful in your home to help you track exactly how much energy you’re using and identify where those peak moments are. Keep an eye on those numbers and aim to keep them as low as possible. Other alternatives include investing in remote home kits such as Apple HomeKit which allow you to control your heating and lighting outside of the house to help you reduce wasted electricity.

Cutting down on your energy bills is a good way for your family to make the most of its budget. If you can cut down on everyday expenses, you’ll have more to put aside towards paying off debts or put into savings while also helping the environment too. Set yourselves an energy-saving challenge and see if you can reduce your monthly bills from now on.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

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Gardening is one of those seemingly eternal pursuits which reconnects us to the ancient days of humanity, where cultivating the land was a way of life for the vast majority of people, and gave rise to the dawn of civilization.

Today, most of us are disconnected from the natural cycles of the world around us and have little if any idea of what it takes to make things grow. In spite of that — or perhaps because of it — gardening is a hobby which everyone can benefit from, sometimes in profound ways.

Here’s a look at some of the life lessons we can learn from gardening.


Gardening teaches us to appreciate cause and effect

Everyone understands cause and effect on some level, from the first time we tried to touch a hot object as a child and scolded ourselves, or did something naughty and got punished.

But while we all understand on an intuitive level that every action has its consequence, we can often drift away from this understanding over the course of our daily lives, as we space out and let things run on autopilot.

It’s often this kind of spaced-out apathy and inattentiveness that results in problem behaviours like impulse buying.

Gardening forces us to confront this primal truth in a visceral way, and serves as a constant reminder of it. Leaving the garden unattended will result in it being overgrown with weeds. Tending to young saplings leads to trees one day rearing up from the earth. 


Gardening is a reminder that creation takes time

It’s been said that it takes years to create something beautiful, and only seconds to destroy it.

In the fast-paced and industrialised world we live in today, we all tend to fall victim to instant-gratification thinking and impatience at one point or another, and lose our reverence for the natural process of creation.

Gardening intimately reconnects us to the understanding that creation takes time, investment of energy and care, and nurture. It teaches us to take pride in our projects and approach them with patience, and not to be overly hasty in our interactions with the world around us.


Gardening reminds us to enjoy life’s simple pleasures

In an increasingly complex world, working a small patch of soil and taking pleasure in making things grow is a great reminder that we can, and should, find joy in the simple things.

With the abundance of well-advertised and ornately packaged and presented gadgets on offer for our amusement, not to mention the enormous range of entertainment media that we have access to at any moment, distraction comes easy.

And with the elaborate world of celebrity culture which makes its way into our awareness through our televisions, magazines and computers on a daily basis — and which sells us the vision of a world of opulence and luxury — it’s easy to become greedy and crave more.

Gardening shows us a way to feed our sense of fulfillment without needing to get lost in the rat race. Even if we invest in the best cordless string trimmers and high-end trowels, we’re still engaged in a fundamentally simple activity.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

How often do you hear your kids say the phrase, "I'm bored"? There's a good chance that it's pretty often. Do you often find that your response is something along the line of "go and do something fun then!"? Well, here's another question. How often do you find yourself feeling bored? How often do you find yourself with a bit of free time and it just feels like you're sitting around letting it all go to waste? 

The truth is that we all get bored from time to time. Both kids and parents have those moments where they can't think of what they want to do, but they know that sitting around is a waste of their time. Well, here's one piece of information that everyone on earth could do with learning: you have no excuse for being bored. It's the 21st Century! There are more things to do than ever before! There might have been a time when you were literally left with nothing to do, but those days are long gone! If you find yourself feeling bored and frustrated then here's a list of things that you can do to make sure that you've always got something fun and interesting to do as a family.

Create a dedicated fun space

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One of the things that a lot of people struggle with, especially families, is having a space where they can actually spend their leisure time and have fun. After all, keeping a home clean and tidy is hard enough without having to think about clearing away huge piles of toys, lego, video games, and whatever else ends up all over the place after a fun day at home. That's why it's often so great to have a room dedicated to having fun. For some people, that might be a spare room that they never really use for anything other than storing away boxes, and for others, it might simply be their living room. Being able to set up a room with a TV, a bean bag chair, a table for crafts, and a space for kids, and adults, to play in can be fantastic. Then, if you don't have the energy to tidy things away, then you can leave it all in the playroom without sacrificing the comfort of the rest of your home.

Get out into the world

If you and your family are sitting around at the house, feeling bored, then get out of the house already! There's a whole amazing world out there, and it's just waiting for you to get out there and discover it. A lot of people have this misguided assumption that you need money to be able to get out into the world and do stuff. And sure, theme parks, swimming pools, museums, and movie theaters all cost money, but those aren't the only things that you can do. Why not just head out into the woods and get lost together. There's something wonderfully enjoyable about getting to experience the wilderness as a family, and you're almost certain to come across some fascinating wildlife.

Try new things

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It's far too common to end up getting stuck doing the same old things, again and again, every day. Sure, you've all got school and work to do, but that doesn't mean that you have to do the same during your free time! There are always new things to discover. Whether it's a new place that you've never been to before or a new activity that you've never tried. Whatever it is, there's nothing wrong with getting out there and attempting something new. Sure, you might not be great at whatever you try right away, but it's always better to try new things that to stick to the same old stuff day after day no matter what. And the things you try don't even need to be a challenge. Even something as simple as trying new meals out at dinner time can be a great way to spice up an average day for you and your family.

Be creative

There are few things that can get rid of boredom and pass the time faster than creating something. It doesn't matter what it is either. It could be drawing, painting, writing, singing, dancing, sculpting, or anything else that your mind can come up with. Not only that but anyone can do it. You don't have to be a master to be able to try your hand at something creative, and it's something the whole family can get involved in. You can all crowd around the table and paint pictures together; you can sing songs and play instruments together. No matter what it is, there's almost certainly a way to make it into a creative activity that the entire family can get involved in at once.

Do something unexpected

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Is there anything that you're not comfortable doing? Anything that you've always wanted to try but have been scared to? Well, why not take control of those feelings and do them! Think about the kinds of things that you've always wanted to try. There's a good chance that they will actually end up being a lot less scary than you might have thought. Sure, things like skydiving and bungee jumping aren't exactly what you would call "family activities, " but they certainly offer a chance for you to try something exciting and your kids will almost certainly love to see you jump out of a plane! And sure, you're probably going to end up feeling pretty scared. But hey, being scared is at least more interesting than being bored. After all, taking risks is one of the ways that we grow as people. Being able to show your kids that fear doesn't need to hold them back is one of the very best ways to make sure that you're helping them to grow into responsible, well-rounded adults.

Find the fun

There are always going to be things that you have to do on a day to day basis that aren't exactly what most people would call fun. However, the doesn't mean that there isn't at least some way that you can create some fun out of those activities. Sure, no one really likes having to do chores. But why not make a game out of it? Why not have your kids race to see who can clean their room the fastest? Little touches like that can turn even the most boring job in the world into something a lot more fun and exciting. The other thing that you can do is get the kids involved in the kinds of things that they might not normally do. WHy not set the kitchen up as a space where the whole family can get involved with cooking the meals? That way, not only will your kids feel a great sense of responsibility but they'll have a much closer connection to the food that they're eating at meal times.

Forget structure

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One mistake that parents make all the time is that they try to impose way too much structure on the things that their kids are doing. The issue here is that if you're trying to force fun into too rigid a frame, it's just not going to be fun anymore. So instead, try to embrace a little bit more spontaneity. If your kids want to run around in nature, then that's great! But if they'd rather spend their time indoors doing some crafting then there's no reason why you shouldn't be happy changing directions and doing that instead. If you focus too much on making sure that you're meeting schedules and following a plan, then you're just going to end up getting stressed for no good reason.

Embrace the simple things

Of course, it's foolish to think that the only things that you can do to avoid being bored are the big exciting things. In reality, there's nothing wrong with embracing the simple things as well. Something like a family movie night under a blanket with a big bowl of popcorn can be one of the very best ways to spend an evening with your family. The same goes for a day where you and the kids sit around playing games and building things out of Lego. Just because you're not on some kind of grand adventure doesn't mean that you're not able to have a lot of fun together.

One of the main reasons that a lot of people end up feeling bored is that they want to do something, but they aren't actually willing in to put in the effort required. The truth is that sometimes, it does take a little bit of effort to get up and do something fun. But you're almost always going to end up feeling far better for it in the long run. It might sound a little bit harsh, but the reality is that the old saying is still very true: you're not bored, you're boring.

If you’re lucky enough to have an unused room in your home, don’t let it become a space for accumulated junk. Why not transform it into a gorgeous guest room so you can have family and friends over to stay? If you want to be the host with the most, here are some of the ways you can ensure their visit is as comfortable as possible.

Neutral Decor
You should set up your guest room much like a hotel room. It should be clean and functional, and if you go with neutral decor, it will be pleasant and appealing to all tastes. You might love bold color and pattern but not everyone will, it might be your house, but if you’re setting up a room just for guests, it’s something worth bearing in mind. Strip off any old wallpaper, sand down the walls and paint them in a light, neutral color. Replace carpets with something neutral and hardwearing, that way it will last for many years to come. Companies like Carpet One home flooring have loads of options available so you can pick what suits the space best. This turns the room into a blank canvas.

A Great Bed
Too often guests are lumbered with a rickety old camp bed or a blow-up mattress. Instead, why not invest in a decent bed so that anyone who comes to stay can have a good night’s sleep. A supportive mattress, plump pillows, and cozy bedding will do the trick allowing your guests to settle down and get really comfortable at night. 

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Storage Space
If your guests are staying for more than a day, having some storage space means they’re not having to live out of their suitcase. A wardrobe and a chest of drawers will give them a place to hang or fold their things and generally make things more convenient during their stay. A bedside table with a lamp and a place to charge their phone will also be appreciated, if you were being really nice, you could even leave out some popular books and novels as reading material.

A Tray of Essentials
Another way you can be extra nice to your guests is by providing them with a few essentials. Many may be too polite to ask for things during their stay so this way you avoid any awkwardness. Some snacks, some bottles of drinks, some toiletries, ear plugs, even a universal phone charger if they forget theirs. Another nice touch is to leave the code to your wifi, designers on sites like Etsy can create you a framed piece like this which you could leave out for guests. 

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Blackout Blinds
Finally, blackout blinds are an obvious choice. You probably already have these in your own room, so don’t overlook them for the guest room. Your guests won't get a whole lot of sleep with car headlights and lampposts shining brightly through the window at night. For an added layer you could hang lined curtains over the top.