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Do More Than Just Spring Cleaning!

It’s that time of year where the clocks have gone forward, the nights and mornings aren’t so depressingly dark and we’re FINALLY starting to feel like we;re throwing off the blanket of Winter and saying hello to Spring. For many of us, this is when we start to think about spring cleaning, having a good sort-out, getting the garden usable after all the bad weather and all those other things that help us to shake of memories of dreary days. However, I’ve been thinking about other, bigger things I can do to get the house and garden back to looking their best and I thought I’d share them with you:

Tidy the Garden

Thanks to months of snow and wet weather, our lawns and flower beds have been totally neglected and need a really god tidy up. We invested in a petrol mower so that we could still mow on damp days but it’s still been far too wet, which is why we thought about hiring someone like https://www.lawncare.net/service-areas/florida/, as they’d have the right tools and expertise to get the job done. We get a lot of walkers going by our house and it must look such a mess!

Replace Curtains and Blinds

When we move in here, we didn’t have any coverings on any of the windows and I don’t know about you, but I hate that curtain-less, ‘living in a fish bowl’ feeling, so I went and bought cheap blinds to fill the gap. However, two and a half years on and the blinds are looking really tatty now, so I’m looking to upgrade to something a lot nicer. It will make the whole house look smarter and will hopefully help to keep the cold out if we choose thermal blinds. I’m a big fan of grey so will probably be opting for grey curtains or blinds.

Paint the Front Door

Our front door is wooden and painted gloss white, but it’s seen better days and is starting to look really tatty. As soon as we’re due to have a couple of nice days, I’ll be sanding the door, frame and doorstep and repainting the whole lot – I may even go for a colour instead of just stark white to give the house a bit of a brighter look.

Clean the Windows

I must admit, this is one that I probably leave far longer than I should, but because we’re surrounded by farmland we’re constantly getting dusty winds blown at us, so even if the windows have just been cleaned, they can look mucky again quite quickly. We’ve also got quite a lot of windows (I think I counted 15) so it’ll definitely be a case of getting someone in who’s got all the right tools and equipment to do it for us.

What jobs are you planning to do to get your house in order? Leave me a comment below.

Customer Service

When Was the Last Time You Had Great Customer Service? #Telephone101

When I’ve had poor customer services from a company in the past, I’m always the first to complain or send tweets to the company to let them know, but sometimes it’s refreshing to hear examples of how a company has got their customer service totally right. www.contactcustomerservicesnumbers.co.uk recently conducted a survey regarding customer service and created an infographic for us to share with you today:

I thought I’d ask my blogging friends for some examples of good customer service they’d received, and here’s what they said:

Penny from Parentshaped said “Flew home from Pisa with BA on Monday. There was a delay so the pilot came out and chatted to everyone, invited kids into the cockpit. He was so charming and apologetic and genuinely interested in people’s journeys and the impact of the delay. He also let us cram 13 travel bloggers into the cockpit for a selfie and bought birthday champagne for one of our group.”

Ruth at DorkyMum said “When we were moving here I lost an iPad at Dubai airport and even when Emirates were useless, someone with the baggage handlers Toll Dnata (someone who was actually based in Melbourne!) managed to track it down for me and get it couriered to Tasmania.”

Cass from Frugal Family has such a good experience with Tesco, who helped her elderly father, that she blogged about it and the CEO shared it with the whole company. You can read about it here.

When Helen from Kiddy Charts lost her purse on a Virgin Train, she never expected them to go so far above and beyond to help her find it. You can read all about her experience here.

Emma at Mum’s Savvy Savings says I always find Amazon to be great when things go wrong. Items have been resent or refunded quickly”

Lynn from Mrs Mummypenny said “Sky were really good with me earlier this week, despite me cancelling down my monthly contract to £20 rather than £77 we were paying. My middle son somehow managed to download Paddington 2 and we were charged £5.49. A chat over Twitter soon sorted it out and they refunded the £5.49.”

Vicky from Being Tilly’s Mummy has a great experience with Tiffany and Co which you can read about here.

Charli from One Wage Family says We had a good experience with AO – Our fridge freezer broke a week after we bought it so we rang The manufacturer Beko and they were useless. They were going to fix it but didn’t have the right part so they wanted us to wait until it was in stock. Wasn’t happy so we tried ringing ao where we bought it from and they were really helpful and ordered us a brand new one delivered and installed the next day”

Faith at Much More With Less has a great experience with Hotel Chocolate. She said “Before Christmas, I signed up for a cut price trial subscription, but forgot to cancel in time, so they sent me the next full price box and charged me for it. Kicking myself, I rang to cancel. Customer services not only refunded the £22.95, but said I didn’t have to return the unopened box, but could give it to the charity of my choice. So I was able to add a nice box of chocs to my donation to our local foodbank, FIND in Ipswich.”

Clare from My Tunbridge Wells said “Wicked Uncle were great when I dealt with them. They sent out a missing part of the meccano set we had received the next day along with some chocolate as an apology!”

When was the last time you had great customer service?

Health

5 Health Benefits of CBD Oil

Benefits of CBD oilWhen you suffer with several chronic illnesses, the constant daily stream of tablets can get really tiring, especially when a new symptom arises and with it, the possibility of needing more medication. Recently, I discovered CBD oil and the many health benefits of using it, and I use it daily to deal with several different things, so I thought I’d share with you a few of the health benefits of using CBD oil.

Pain Management

One of the conditions I have, endometriosis, can be really painful at times, and while there’s the option of taking strong painkillers, it’s not something I really want to do on a daily basis as it can damage other organs in the long run. Taking a daily dose of CBD seems to keep my pain to a minimum or at a manageable level even on bad days, and means that my painkiller intake has reduced by about 90%. You can also take it in the form of CBD pills, which a lot of people find easier and more palatable. The oils can have an earthy taste which some find unpleasant so pills are a good alternative.

Anxiety

I’ve suffered with anxiety on and off for years but refuse to take anti-anxiety medications because of the horrible list of side effects that can go with them, as well as not want to feel like a zombie on a daily basis. THC free CBD oil really quietens my anxiety down and on the odd day that I forget to take it, I can really feel the difference in my symptoms.

Skin Issues

As well as suffering with psoriasis, I also have issues with hormone-related spots because of my gynae problems, but since using CBD my skin has been SO much better. The anti-inflammatory properties of CBD work wonders on a whole load of skin conditions and using it via vape pen as an e-liquid means that you can take a metered does every day and avoid the slightly unpleasant taste that is associated with taking it other ways.

Nausea

Nausea is something that I deal with on a semi-regular basis because of some of the medications that I have to take, and I’ve found that vaping CBD is a massive relief when the nausea gets too bad.

Blood Sugar Levels

I take daily medication for my diabetes, and my blood sugar is usually well controlled, but since I’ve been using CBD on a daily basis, my blood sugars have been the best they’ve been in ages. Obviously I wouldn’t recommend using it as an alternative to regular diabetes medication, but supplementing with CBD certainly can’t hurt!

Do you use CBD oil? What do you use it for? Leave me a comment below.

Adulting

Making Life Easier for the Elderly

I’ve written before about my Grandad John and what an amazing grandad he was, but he was a really remarkable person in a lot of other ways, too. He was intelligent and hard-working, and a great Dad to my Dad and his brothers, but I think his remarkableness really came into its own after my Nan died and his own health deteriorated. He was on his own for over ten years and had to learn to cope with life on his own, but he did it with amazing resilience – although, that’s not hugely surprising for someone who once told me a story about how he accidentally drove an ambulance into a camel in the middle of the Libyan desert! Here’s a few things he used to make his life easier:

Mobility Scooter

Once his eyesight got too bad to drive, Grandad was determined that he wasn’t going to be stuck indoors, so he invested in a Pro Rider Mobility road scooters. It meant that he could still get to the shops to to his grocery shopping, still visit his neighbours and still have a semblance of the independence that he prized so strongly.

Magnifying Glasses

When Grandad’s eyesight started so get bad and his glasses didn’t help as much, he invested in a whole load of magnifying glasses of different types and strengths and they were dotted around the house to help him. They ranged from small handheld ones to a massive one which I think was a surgical grade magnifying glass (like the one Joey stands behind in Friends after Mr. Heckles dies!). They allowed him to read his mail, read the paper and see finer details of things he needed to do.

Large-Number Phone

My Grandad’s house phone had the biggest numbers of any phone I’ve ever seen, which meant that he was able to see the numbers to dial the phone. He had an A4 sheet of phone numbers beside the phone too, and all of the numbers were written in 3-inch high letters!

Vibrating Doorbell

Grandad was hard of hearing even when I was little (I remember being about six and chuckling to myself because he’d turned his hearing aid right down so he couldn’t hear my Nan nagging him!) but as he got older it obviously got worse. He invested in a doorbell which had a little unit he could put in his pocket which vibrated when the bell was rung, so he didn’t even need to be able to hear the bell to know someone was at the door.

Grabbing Stick

This was one of my favourites, but mostly because I liked to grab people’s bottoms with it as they walked past me – Grandad had one of those things that convicts in America pick rubbish up with to help him pick things up off of the floor or grab things which were out of reach and it was really useful once his mobility became restricted.

Do your elderly relatives have any gadgets which make their lives easier? Leave me a comment below.

Home

Rubbish Clearance Waste Management Improved By Clearabee

Besides a rubbish clearance bin, most UK citizens have a “single stream” recycling container in which they put all their recyclables. This includes everything from plastic juice bottles to discarded toys. Paper, plastic, and glass are all mixed together. Other countries, such as the United States, use single stream curbside recycling too because citizens tend to be lazy so they prefer not having to separate out the different types of recyclables they bin and the government doesn’t force them to. However, this convenience comes at a huge cost.

Single stream recycling is usually picked up by the same bin men as pick up the rubbish clearance bins. They simply throw it on a different truck or a different part of the truck. However, it is a problem that much of the household rubbish ends up in the recycling bin and vice versa before they even pick it up. Further, the rubbish clearance will often contaminate the recycling to the point it cab not be processed as recycled items. For example, if oil or grease gets on cardboard recyclables, it cannot be recycled and will end up going to the landfill anyway. This is the same reason that greasy pizza boxes cannot be recycled, although people often mistakenly put them in the recycle bin.

The single stream recyclables are taken to a materials recovery facility where it must be sorted in various ways. In some case, people actually remove certain items as the recyclables come down a long conveyer belt. In other cases, optical sorters, infrared sorters, and magnetic sorters automatically sort the waste removal while humans watch over the process and spot errors. Although this works amazingly well, the process is not perfect.

Susan Collins, the director of the Container Recycling Institute, a charity group based in the United States, reports that twenty-five to forty percent of the single stream recyclables actually get taken to the landfill. This is due to contamination and other issues in the sorting process and due to what happens in the recycle bin at home before it even gets taken to the materials recovery facility. As she puts it, “You can’t unscramble an egg.” In other words, once certain materials get mixed, you can un-mix them to sort them for recycling different types of materials. For example, if glass breaks into bits during transport, and contaminates paper recyclables in the same bin, these items may not be able to be sorted well enough for the paper and glass to both be recycled in the way they need, so they both may end up in the landfill.

Private on demand rubbish clearance companies, like Clearabee, in the UK seem to be the best equipped to deal with the problems associated with sorting (pre-sorting) and contamination. Further, they seem to reduce this problem just be how their process works and where they take the rubbish clearance they pick up. Luckily for ecofriendly oriented UK citizens, Clearabee has quickly grown to be the largest private rubbish clearance service in the entire UK, outcompeting the next largest similar service by a long shot.

The Clearabee teams are trained to pre-sort and then group together similar materials from different households and businesses. They then use technology to determine the nearest places that will accept each type of material for reuse or recycling, instead of taking these items to the landfill. They also put a preference on reusing materials over recycling them as reusing items is even more ecofriendly than recycling items.

Some customers of Clearabee are willing to help out and do a certain amount of pre-sorting before Clearabee picks up their rubbish clearance, although the Clearabee service does not require this. For example, one household doing some spring cleaning, may separate out the clothes, toys, glass bottles, and household items. This can help Clearabee get these different items to places where they can be reused or upcycled.

Over their eight years of being in business, with Daniel Long at the helm, Clearabee has strived to improve their reuse and recycle rate. Right out of the gate, given their mission, motivation, and business plan, they reused and recycled more items than any of the waste removal services hired by the local councils. Today, they have improved upon their original percentages and they now reuse or recycle about ninety percent of everything they clear! This percentage is on par with some other European countries like Finland, Sweden, and Germany who are considered the best recyclers in the world. They are approaching closed loop recycling and Clearabee isn’t that far off this mark either.

Clearabee has become a leader in sustainability on a world stage. Many UK citizens seem to use their service in part because of how ecofriendly their services are compared to any other service in the UK. Doing business with a socially responsible and environmentally friendly business is becoming increasingly important in one’s decision making process on which business to chose over another. Clearabee’s practices make that an easy choice for all the people they serve in England, Scotland, and Wales.