Renovating an Older House

When you live in, or have recently bought, an old house it’s really tempting to completely modernise it so that none of the original features remain. This is usually the cheapest approach to renovating and gives you a clean, up-to-date feel, but removing original features and taking away the character of a property can actually decrease it’s value in the long run, so it may well be worth staying true to the original style of the house and renovating it using architectural antiques rather than modern fittings. Here’s a list of areas that you should consider “backdating”.


Getting rid of fireplaces and blocking chimneys off was a bit of a trend a decade or so ago, but these days a fireplace is probably the number one original feature that house buyers hope to see in a period property. If you live in a property where the fireplace has been blocked off, you might be REALLY lucky to find that the original antique marble fire surrounds and tiling have been left intact, but if not, replacing it with a reclaimed on is a really good idea.

Chimney Pots

If you have a fireplace, you’ll need a chimney and there’s actually a surprising amount of detail that goes in to chimney pots. They may sit at the highest point of your house, but getting the pots right is an important feature for character-loving house buyers, so finding one which fits your house, style-wise, is a must.


The plasterwork which goes around the top of the room is also an important feature which is usually in keeping with the period in which the home was built, from the highly decorative designs of the late 1800’s to the bolder, more blocky plasterwork of Deco properies. Many modern properties don’t have features like this at all, so finding it in a period property is a bit of a gem. If you already have existing plasterwork, it’s possible to have it renovated or even replaced in parts with replicas.

Light Fittings

Because of updated electrics in housing, even period properties tend to have the (rather ugly) white plastic light fittings and this can really detract from the overall look of a room if everything else is in keeping with the era. Opt for brass lighting plates and vintage switches for a look more fitting.


Using reclaimed flooring can be a MUCH cheaper way of giving your room the finishing touch. Brand new parquet flooring can be thousands of pounds, whereas using reclaimed parquet will reduce your materials costs by a LOT. If you like a soft covering for your floors, opt for rugs instead of carpet as this will allow you (or your buyers) to change the scheme of the room more easily and make it more appealing to them as a purchase option.


Protect Your Family With A Rainy Day Fund

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Families are expensive, and in the current financial climate, life is expensive. Increasing numbers of people just about scrape by, and some are struggling to get out of debt. Even if you think you’re doing okay, something could come along out of the blue to put your finances in jeopardy. You or your partner could be  suddenly made redundant, or your boiler could break. Any number of things can happen to add an extra burden on your wallet. To protect your finances and your family set up a rainy day fund.

A rainy fund is your get out of jail free card. It’s your insurance against the unknown. If the worst happens, you have peace of mind if you have a little set by to help you.

No Amount Is Too Little

The first thing to make clear is that no amount of money is too little. Even if you can only spare a few pounds a month, this will mount up over time. Make sure you keep your fund separate to your regular savings and don’t be tempted to dip into it.

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Freeing Up Funds

If you’re struggling to make ends meet, try to free up money from other areas to add to your fund. There are many ways to go about this. Start by looking for changes with a high reward but a low impact on you and your family. For example, money from a PPI claim could be considerable, but it won’t cause any hardship. This could be a significant boost to your household income, and it could be split between your everyday savings and your fallback fund.

Other areas you can make savings are your household bills. Get rid of anything that is no longer useful. That lapsed gym membership is taking up funds that could be redirected elsewhere. And it’s worth negotiating your utility bills. The savings that can be made mount up and could be the equivalent of a small salary bump.

Once you have overhauled your expenses, it’s worth considering your everyday spending. These are payments you make on a regular basis without much thought. A useful exercise is to write down everything you spend for a week. This includes cash as well as card payments. Going through this process can be a humbling experience, and it’s possible to find areas where savings can be made. For instance, your daily coffee from the local barista is costing you around £10 a week. That’s £520 a year. It’s not about depriving yourself. If that coffee is something you look forward to, find a cheaper alternative such as making your own in a travel cup.

Other expenses that mount up include buying sandwiches for lunch and purchasing soft drinks and bottled water. Again, there are savings to be made if you take your own.

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Bad things happen to good people all the time. Despite your best efforts, people fall ill, accidents happen, and companies fold. The trauma of these events is bad enough, without added financial worries. Establishing a rainy day fund could protect you and your family during a difficult period. And there’s no cost you can put on peace of mind.


The Good and the Bad of a Workout Buddy


Personal fitness is one of those things that we all care about in an abstract sense, without always following it through to reality. While walking is low intensity, it still helps us get moving – ensuring we have the correct walking shoes to stay comfortable. It may keep us walking (take a look at runner click for the best walking shoes) past the baked goods in a grocery store, it may make us pick out the “diet” soda rather than the full-fat solution. It’s harder, though, to make it stick to the point of actually hitting the gym regularly.

After all, it takes the same time and money to buy a different type of soda – for example. There is even a momentary feeling of reward by making such a choice, which you can pat yourself on the back for as you select the option that you figure is better for you (whether you are correct on that is another point entirely). But the principle is the same.

Where Things Get Rough

Yet when it comes to working out and actually living more healthily rather than just the easy options as above – well, that’s a lot more to deal with, isn’t it? It’s a far bigger change, a more substantial shift in the way you do things and the impact it has on your existence. That kind of change is a lot harder to maintain. So how do you keep going when such a regime begins to feel too tough to be worth bothering with?


One piece of advice you might hear is to start working out with a friend. On some levels, it makes a lot of sense – after all, it’s harder to do anything new in life if you’re going it alone. It’s also great to be able to share information with someone. You can swap exercise ideas, the exciting real AlgaeCal reviews that you found and talk the best way of using kinesiology tape with someone who’s in the same boat as you. (Bear in mind too that if you’re advising a friend on supplements, you should first take advice yourself from a doctor and advise them to do likewise).

The truth is, though, that nothing is without its challenges. So if you’re going to work out with a friend, it makes sense to be ready for the primary issue this can present:

One of You Will Always Be Doing A Little Better

When two people embark on something together, the likelihood is that one will find it easier (or get better results) than the other. This can lead to frustration and resentment on the part of the person left behind, if the situation is not addressed upfront.

If you’re the one who is finding a new routine easy, indicate to your workout buddy that it’s not a competition. You’re both aiming for goals and it’s not about defeating one another.

If you’re the one lagging behind, don’t resent your friend. It’s petty. Just try and bear in mind that different people react in different ways, at different paces. Sometimes you will be the one behind in the dust, but in other activities, you might streak ahead. It’s all about balance and perspective.

If you feel you must be in competition, then be in competition with other people at the gym – not the person you’re close with! 


Travelling With Kids: All-Inclusive And Stress-Free

For many parents, going on a holiday with the kids that doesn’t involve any stress at all is the ultimate dream. But that is often it, though – it is only ever a dream and never actually occurs in reality. Having a stress-free time abroad with kids doesn’t have to be a completely impossible goal. I think I have found the answer! You just need to go all-inclusive with your accommodation. There are loads of resorts and accommodation around the globe that offer all-inclusive deals. And, trust me, whenever you visit them with your family, you will feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Here are some brill reasons why you need to book all-inclusive for your next family trip.


Wish You Were Here

Where do you wish you could travel to? For some parents, their dream destination seems too much hard work with kids. For example, long-haul flights might put families off the idea of travelling out of Europe. But when you go all-inclusive, these worries shouldn’t put you off anymore. After all, the benefits of going all-inclusive will greatly outweigh these potential negatives! Not only that, though, but pretty much every travel destination will have an all-inclusive resort, or you could take an all-inclusive cruise from the likes of www.bolsovercruiseclub.com. Once you start posting your holiday pics to Instagram, your friends will certainly wish they were here!

All You Can Eat

Do you worry that your kids won’t like the local cuisine? This can be a problem, even if you visit the most child-friendliest of places. However, that won’t be a worry when you go all-inclusive. And that is because most of the accommodation and resort put on huge buffets with a fantastic choice of international foods. So, if you travel to Germany but your children aren’t too keen on sausages, I’m sure the resort you pick will also offer familiar foods from home on the buffet. Get ready to dig into a delicious feast from around the world, no matter where you are!


Kids Activities

Want to spend some time sunbathing on the beach in peace and quiet? Well, you can when you go all-inclusive! The majority of resorts and cruises have kids clubs which arrange lots of different activities for kids to do. And these clubs let parents leave their children with the professional club leaders so that they can enjoy some child-free time on their holiday. So you won’t need to research babysitter websites for your destination like www.kidminder.com/AboutUs.aspx. Instead, just drop your kids off at the activities club, and they will have a great time while you top up your tan!

Deals And Discounts

Lots of all-inclusive resorts and cruises appeal to many families because they offer various deals and discounts through the year. So to make sure your holiday doesn’t cost you the world, be sure to look out for these special deals. You can often find these in newsletters and directly on the company’s website.

Have fun going all-inclusive!


Taking Care of my Skin with Biotulin

One of the knock-on effects of me being overweight is that I’ve made less effort in other ways with my appearance. I think it’s an issue with confidence and self-esteem, but because I’ve had a lot of self-loathing about my weight, it means that I feel like it’s just not worth making the effort to make myself look nice. On the flipside of this, now that I AM taking care of myself, it’s given me a little more of an interest in making myself look more presentable.

One thing that I am worried about with losing weight is loose skin, not just on my tummy (inevitable after two large pregnancies resulting in c-sections, as well as my weight) but also my face. I’ve seen SO many celebs who are large their whole lives, lose a bunch of weight but suddenly look ten years older because the chub had been giving them a bit of a “baby face” effect. Once the fat melts away, there’s nothing pushing the wrinkles out anymore!! Anyway, the crux of all this is that I’ve been researching skincare recently, trying to find something effective but affordable, and I think I’ve found it.

Biotulin Supreme Skin Gel is actually used by the Duchess Kate Middleton, and was also a recommendation that she shared with Michelle Obama, both of whom have incredible skin! The gel is basically like a non-injectable, organic botox which firms and tightens the face. It contains a natural local anesthetic extracted from the plant Acmella oleracea, which promises to reduce muscle contractions and relax the facial features around the eyes and between the eyebrows. This promises to reduce fine lines and make the skin noticeably smoother.

Michelle’s make-up artist, Carl Ray, says “Michelle Obama has been using this organic Botox gel regularly on the recommendation of Kate Middleton”, while Michelle herself said “It’s really pretty basic. I wash my face with a good cleanser, and I use a moisturizer with an SPF. Every now and then I’ll go to a dermatologist for microderm or a facial, but I don’t have time to do that all the time.”

The best thing about this miracle product is that it only costs £43 per bottle, making it affordable for even us mere mortals, unlike a lot of the other high-end products on the market – I’m going to make sure that this is well and truly at the top of my birthday list in June! Knowing that I’ll be able to use something to firm my face as the weight melts off is a real bonus because weight loss isn’t always as simple as being fat at the beginning and slim at the end, especially as you get older.

If it’s good enough for Michelle Obama, it’s definitely good for me!