Driving

Top Considerations To Make When Searching For Your Next Car

When looking to buy a car, most people can find themselves standing on shaky ground. The purchase of a vehicle can, of course, come with enormous stresses, after all, it is one of the most significant investments you will ever make.

We are going to look today at some of the things you should be considering when searching for your new car.

Image Credit – Pexels – CC0 Licence

Affordability

When it comes to searching for your new car, making sure it’s affordable is possible one of the most important things you can do.

A new car can be one of the next most significant purchases after buying a house, so doing some research on its affordability is more than sensible.

The first thing you should look at is the cost of the car. Companies like Trade Price Cars are great when it comes to looking at finance deals. You should also be taking the other expenses of the vehicle on top of finance into consideration.

Doing some research into the economic factors of the vehicle is just as important. Knowing how much the car will cost to run weekly and the average repair costs are vital. 

Another consideration should also be the cost of tax and insurance. Getting some quotes and comparisons before you make a commitment will be essential in your car buying journey.

Reputation

Another important step when buying a vehicle is paying attention to the car you are going to buy. Most people have a general idea of the car they want, and sometimes this can be the biggest mistake. 

Going car shopping only wanting one car can often spell disaster. All is great should the vehicle you want is a fantastic feat of engineering. What if the car you want has a tripe reputation? You are then left with a new car that costs you a fortune in repair costs. 

The advisable thing to do is creating a list of possible cars that you find aesthetically pleasing. Then taking all of the vehicles from your shortlist on a test drive will certainly help you whittle down the good from the bad.

Be Prepared

Making a good deal of advanced preparations before heading out to view a car is essential. You should be armed with lists of questions and things of note to pay attention to as soon as you get there.

One of the first moves you should make, especially if the dealer knows you are coming is to feel the bonnet of the car. A smart little trick that dealers like to do is start the car and leave it running before you arrive.

By getting a car warm, the second time it starts helps to hide any issues that may be present when the car is cold.

Small things like this should fall to your attention; if something doesn’t look or feel right, there is no issue in walking away and finding the same car elsewhere. 

Interiors

Is Your Bathroom Top of the Trends?

Is Your Bathroom Top of the Trends?
Photo by Christian Mackie on Unsplash

How did you choose the colour scheme, fixtures and fittings for your bathroom? Did you plan a bathroom that is comfortable, cosy and designed to your own taste? Or were you led by trends you spotted in the shops or on social media? If you’re in the midst of planning bathroom makeover, maybe you’ve been soaking up what’s in style to help you plan what your future bathroom will look like? 

Whether you’re planning a bathroom makeover or have the bathroom of your dreams already in place, how does it measure up against the biggest trends of the past, present and future? Let’s take a look.

The New Trend Predictions

According to experts at The Times, autumn/winter interiors for 2019 are all about darker tones, bold hues and eco touches like bamboo furniture and houseplants. These all make for a perfect storm look in the bathroom. If you prefer things a little less dramatic, you might have fun with Pantone’s tipped trend for 2020 – all things nautical. According to the colour specialists, the interiors sector will immerse itself in all things sea-related next year. 

The nautical look is a perfect match for bathroom spaces and there’s never a shortage of beach hut emblazoned blinds or lighthouse, seagulls or anchor printed fabrics or accessories. If you’d like to avoid nautical decor tropes such as red, white and blue stripes, there are lots of great looks in stores to help you head down a path that’s a little less well-trodden. Choosing seashells, coral and seaweed prints will introduce some beautiful relaxing colours and give you interesting patterns and shapes to work with.

Trends Getting Love Right Now

Hands up who follows an unhealthy amount of interiors accounts on Instagram? Having inspiration at your fingertips can be a great thing when you’re planning updates in the home, but can you guess which looks and features people are hitting the like button for right now? And more importantly, have you channelled any of these trends into the design of your bathroom?

Harvey Water Softeners recently analysed the top twenty posts on Instagram across five different bathroom trend related hashtags to uncover the biggest bathroom trends. Top of the trends were classic choices like white tiles, dual sinks, hanging plants and freestanding oval baths. Also clocking up the likes were geometric tiles, circular mirrors and luxurious rainfall showers. 

Taps of all different colours are apparently catching the eye, with gold taps, black taps and silver taps all named among the top trends. Similarly, gold and black-framed mirrors also made a mark. Black bathroom fixtures are most definitely enjoying a moment, with black shower doors and towel rails also proving popular. 

If you fancy heading to the dark side, you’ll find black bathroom fixtures and fittings such as sinks, radiators, shower hoses and basin mixers at the Bathroom Discount Centre. Recessed shower shelves are another lusted after feature along with glamorous marble or floating sinks. Those looking for an instant update may want to try popular and pretty boho rugs, practical pine shelves or woven baskets.

Best Ever Bathroom Trends

We’ve looked at what’s next for bathroom design, but do you have a favourite trend from the past? There are plenty of traditional looks that have stood the test of time and if you’re decorating your home to put it up for sale, adopting styles and trends that appeal to the masses can be a smart approach.

Dunelm recently dug into the best and worst ever home decorating trends and highlighted a lot of love for many interiors trends that lend themselves to bathroom spaces. Among the most loved trends here in the UK are en suite bathrooms, wet rooms, freestanding baths, LED lighting, and underfloor heating. Stripped wood floors, shabby chic furniture and vintage revival items are among the other enduring trends that would look right at home in the bathroom.

Can you take a guess at the trends of past decades that were the least liked? Unsurprisingly, many of those surveyed said they weren’t fans of fluffy toilet seat covers (33%) or had an aversion to avocado coloured suites (33%). Putting carpet down in the bathroom was also a pet peeve for 29% of respondents.

 So, how does your bathroom fair when it comes to trends past, present and future? Is your bathroom space top of the trends or in a league of its own when it comes to popular colours, fixtures and features? Is your sense of interior styling more on-trend than you thought or are you happy to find that your own unique approach in the bathroom is what’s made it the perfect space for you?

Home

Plumbing Emergencies and Tips on How to Deal with Them

Plumbing problems are uncommon, especially when you live in an old house. While a good plumbing system can run with minimum maintenance, there are still many things that could go wrong. In a worst-case scenario, you may have to deal with a plumbing emergency in the middle of the night.

Knowing how to deal with the most common plumbing emergencies is something that everyone needs to know. Taking the right first steps helps to prevent those emergencies from becoming bigger problems that aren’t always so easy to deal with. To help you prepare for the next plumbing emergency, here are some of the things you need to know.

The Right Tools for the Job

Before you are forced to deal with plumbing-related issues, you want to make sure that the right tools are available in the house. Simple things such as a forced cup and plunger can be very handy; not having them, on the other hand, can make dealing with plumbing emergencies difficult.

You also want to have a big enough bucket and leak-sealing tapes. These let you deal with leaks before you can contact the best plumbers available for the job. At the very least, you can prevent water from spreading before the emergency plumber arrives.

Other tools are more common; you probably have them around the house already. Some Allen keys, wrenches, a set of screwdrivers, and a tool caddy for keeping them organised are all useful tools to own. Complete the set by adding blind caps and towels or rags.

Know Your System

Next, you want to equip yourself with some basic knowledge on how the plumbing system is set up. At the very least, you need to know where the main water shut-off valve is located. When there is a sudden leak, you can shut off the water immediately and prevent further damage. Leaks at home are one of the primary sources that contribute to wasted water yearly in the United States. This water conservation infographic provides useful information on the matter.

A good plumbing system also has a number of isolation valves. Their main purpose is so you can shut off the flow of water to certain areas around the house, making dealing with specific issues easier. For example, there is usually a shut-off valve below a sink, so you can isolate the taps without turning off the main’s water supply.

When working with the plumbers, it is also a good idea to have professionals inspect the system thoroughly.

Who to Contact

24/7 services are handy because the best service providers can be contacted at any time. That said, you want to find the best plumbers to contact so you don’t have to go through the hassle of searching for one when you have an emergency to deal with.

Asking the plumbers to inspect the system prior to dealing with an actual emergency is a good idea for this very reason. If you’re looking for a recommendation, you can start by contacting the Bristol plumbers at Plumbing Care Services. You can get a fast quote by filling in the contact form on their website or simply give them a call if you have an emergency. They strive for a 60 minute response time so are a good option to consider if you’re in an emergency.

Having the number of a reputable plumber to hand prior to an actual emergency also allows you to compare quotes and estimates better. By the time you need their services, you already have their day rate and know how much the job is likely to cost.

The Right First Steps

Shutting off the main valve or the isolation valve to a specific area is always a good first step to take when you have a plumbing emergency to deal with. However, it is far from a permanent fix. In fact, leaving the master valve closed for too long is inconvenient.

Remember that you have more tools to use, which means you can deal with many emergencies yourself. In the event of a leak, for instance, you can use Teflon tape to seal the leak temporarily. You can also use blind caps as a quick-fix for broken fixtures.

Wrenches are handy for when you have loose pipes, or when you need to replace some fixtures yourself. You can use a plunger to fix a clogged drain or toilet. Use a cup plunger for smaller drains, or a forced cup plunger for sinks and toilets.

Keep a bucket handy, especially when you need to open fixtures or drains. Even when there is no water visible from the top, the system may still have water inside. Opening pipes and drains could mean letting a lot of water out of the system, something you want to do with buckets and rags handy.

Here’s another reason why knowing who to call is a must: you can ask for first-aid advice over the phone. If you are not sure about what to do in the emergency, contact your local plumber and ask for a step-by-step direction.

With the main issue solved – even when it is only temporarily fixed – you don’t have to worry about the plumbing emergency turning into a bigger problem or damaging other parts of the house. You can then sit back and wait for the plumber of your choice to come and deal with the bigger repair.

Business · Work

Work and Home – Five Ways to Keep Them Separate

How to Separate Home and Work Life
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

As someone who works from home, I’d be the first to say that there are a lot of pros to the arrangement. I get to work in a familiar environment, Maureen the Pup doesn’t have to be left by herself and I get to dictate my own hours (and eat lunch whenever I want!). However, there are also downsides, and it can be difficult to create separation between home and work life – I say this as I sit here typing on a Sunday afternoon, between cooking dinner and doing loads of laundry!

There are, however, ways to ensure that work and home don’t bleed together – here are a few of them:

Invest in Office Space

This might seem counterproductive if you want the freedom of self-employment, but there are lots of small office spaces where you can work, distraction free, which don’t cost a fortune. Click Offices London guide can help you to find serviced office space in the City, which will fit your budget and help you to look more professional to your clients.

Set Work Hours

I’m very guilty of taking work at a moments notice, which means working at times when I should be with family. Set yourself hours in which you’ll accept work and don’t do anything outside of this. You could even set yourself an out of hours notification for your emails so that clients won’t expect to hear back from you until the next day. It can be daunting, thinking about losing work, but setting parameters like this is good for everyone.

Ditch the Work Phone

For those of us with work phones, consider implementing a ‘no phone’ policy at home. There’s nothing worse than a fun time with the family being spoilt by a call from work about something that could wait till Monday. Of course, there are some exceptions to this but in most cases, the job can wait till you’re on the clock.

Delegate as Much Work as Possible.

If you have others that work with or for you, make sure to assign a reasonable amount of tasks to them, instead of trying to do everything yourself. Give your assistant or team members tasks that are lower on your priority list, but that you can trust them to accomplish. You may also think about assigning tasks or activities that will build and enhance their skills.

Keep Your Social Media Separate

If you’d like to separate your work relationships from your personal ones, it’s a good idea to keep them separate online as well. The easiest way to avoid overlap is to use different social networking sites for different purposes. For example, Twitter and LinkedIn are excellent tools for developing your professional network, whereas Facebook is often better suited to sharing photos and news with your family and close friends. If your business page is linked to your profile, there’s temptation to answer questions doing downtime, but you should try to keep notifications off at weekends, at the very least.

Health · sleep

How to Cope with the Winter Months

How to Cope with the Winter Months
Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

I don’t know if it’s because I was born in June, but I am definitely a summer person. The longer days make me feel energised and I’m never happier than when the sun is shining. I always joke to the kids that I’m solar powered, but I think there’s a little bit of truth to it. When autumn and winter roll around, I tend to retreat from the world a bit, which isn’t always healthy for me, physically or mentally.

This year, I’ve decided to try to do things differently, and I’m putting together a plan of action for keeping myself from slipping into unhealthy habits, and I thought I’d share some of them with you today:

Healthier Sleep Habits

I have a terrible habit of hibernating when the nights get longer, which means sticking my pyjamas on almost as soon as we get home from the school run, and doing way too much dozing on the sofa. I’m planning to have a set bedtime so that I get a proper 8 hours a night, and I’ll be cutting back on the coffee. I’ll definitely drift off easier with Snooze, a non-caffeinated drink designed for bedtime.

Eat Well

Our dinners are always different in winter – gone are salads and cold food and in come stews, casseroles and other warming slow-cooker suppers. As well as avaoiding junk, I’ll be making sure we get a good variety of different veg in our diets to make sure our iron and vitamin levels stay up.

Exercise

The motivation to exercise doesn’t come easily to me, and it’s always worse on cold or rainy days, but Maureen still needs to be walked even when the weather is bad. Instead of doing one long, epic walk a day, I’ll break it up into two smaller walks so that she and I are still getting plenty of time outside but it doesn’t feel like so much of a slog as doing it all at once!

Stay Hydrated

I’m very guilty of forgetting to drink water in the winter. I drink loads in the summer because I’m hot and get thirsty, but I do tend to forget when it’s cold outside. We’ve just got a fridge with a water dispenser, so I’m hoping that this will help me to remember to drink more. Dehydration can cause muscle cramps, headache, lightheadedness, sleepiness and a lack of tear production. When the eyes stop producing tears, they are no longer properly lubricated, which can lead to dry eye, eye strain and vision problems.

Take a Multivitamin

We always strive for a balanced diet, but getting plenty of vitamins and monerals is especially important in winter, not least of all to bolster your immune system against nasty winter viruses. Make sure you get one which contains zinc and vitamin D as these are often the ones which are most depleted during the winter months. Viruses, such as the common cold, are more likely to strike during the winter months so zinc’s immune system support can decrease your risk of being struck down with the illness.