Environment · Family

Reusable Shopping Bags and other Small Changes You Can Make for the Environment

Reusable Shopping Bags and other Small Changes You Can Make for the EnvironmentWhile there’s no doubt that the vast majority of global pollution comes from the mega-factories which produce the world’s retail offerings, there are still things that we can do which will contribute to a cleaner environment for ourselves and future generations. Small things which won’t have too much of an impact in terms of cost or effort, but will definitely contribute to a safer planet. Here are some ideas to inspire you:

Reusable Shopping Bags

It’s been quite a while since the supermarkets implemented their ban on free plastic bags for shipping with, but many people still spend the extra 10p for one, rather than bringing a reusable bag. In many shops, if you invest a couple of pounds in their branded totes, they’ll often replace them for free if they break, of if you want to be even more adventurous, there are some gorgeous personalised reusable shopping bags if you shop around. Top tip – keep them in the boot of your car when you aren’t using them and you’ll have them to hand when you shop!

Reusable Coffee Cups

If you’re someone who likes a daily latte, you’ll probably be aware that the disposable cups offered in many places aren’t the greatest thing for the environment. More than 1 billion coffee cups from 720,510 trees are made each year in Australia alone, and that’s just one small corner of the planet. There are even cups made from materials which look like plastic but are in fact bamboo, or other eco-plastics, making your impact on the environment even less.

Homemade Cleaning Products

It’s way easier than it sounds, especially considering white vinegar and baking soda clean pretty much everything. Making your own cleaning products not only reduces packaging waste from regularly buying them at the store, but it also saves you from using harsh and potentially dangerous chemicals on your everyday surfaces. Going Zero Waste has some great recipes for DIY cleaning products, including an all-purpose cleaner, a tub scrub and even all-natural bleach (yes, this is possible!)

Ditch the Drinking Straws

If you love drinking through a straw but don’t want to have the impact on the environment of disposal plastic straws, you should seriously consider investing in a stainless steel or copper straw. Many restaurants are also transitioning from plastic straws to more eco-friendly options, such as paper straws or even straws made from pasta!

Say Please to the Bees!

If you make packed lunches for your spouse or kids and end up using things like cling film or plastic bags for wrapping the food, you’re probably putting a LOT of single use plastic into landfill. Beeswax wraps are an amazing, hygienic alternative to plastics, are better for your health and you can even make them yourself at home.

Do you have any easy hacks or swaps that you use to make your life a little more eco friendly? Do you have a gorgeous reusable shopping bag that you love more than your Mulberry?! Leave me a comment below letting me know!

Home

Guide For Buying a Home For Your Family

If the time has come for you to purchase that next family home then you may be slightly overwhelmed at just how much there is to consider here. It is for this reason that we want to offer you some tips on exactly what you should be looking for with regards to that next property. We have recently spoken with the brilliant real estate guru Frank Carioti, check him out here http://frankcarioti.com.au/, to bring you some of the finest tips on how you can ensure that you get this property choice just right.

The Need For Right Now 

When it comes to invest in property you have to think about the future of you and your family’s needs. With this being said however the most important aspect to consider is the right now, and this is where the majority of the focus should be. Thinking about what the life of your family looks like in the now will include the following questions with regards to where you should be looking for a property.

How far from your job?

Where is the high quality nearest school?

What are the transport options like?

Where is the nearest grocery store?

Can my children play nearby?

These are key questions which will impact your daily lives and the answers will certainly help you to whittle down which places are possible choices.

The Bigger Picture

One thing which many people fail to look at is the big picture of where you live and this is one of the most important considerations to make. What everyone wants to find is a property that is in a safe place and one which can become more than just a house or apartment to live in, but also a community. Make sure that you do your research around crime rates, community groups in the area and the demographics of the place that you are thinking about living.

Planning For The Future

Ultimately those kids of yours will grow up and get jobs, advance their education and look to enjoy a vibrant social life. You as parents will also move on with your careers and your personal life and it will be important that you are able to find a property which can fit with your potential future needs. This will be a big factor when considering what size property to buy and what extras you would like it to have. You may have twins sharing a room right now but in the future they’ll want their own space, consider factors like this to help you in your decision to buy a property which you can stay in long term.

Budget

The budget will be a huge factor here and more often than not it will be the deciding factor between location or property type. The reason why so many people live in suburbs is because they wanted more bang for their buck and they were happy to travel if it meant a sizable property. This is usually the decision of those who are looking for a family property too, that they want the space more than they want to live in a hot location. The key will be balancing these two and in order to do that you have to work hard on the budget. Even if you are borrowing, it is important that you don’t go too big that you will feel under pressure to pay the mortgage every month, but also not to be too conservative and end up with a property which isn’t fit for all of your needs. Be smart, decide on a healthy budget and stick to it.

Take your time, consider all options and use a process of elimination to get the property which you want.

 

Adulting · Family

4 Practical Tips for Hosting a Teen Party at Home

4 PRACTICAL TIPS FOR HOSTING A TEEN PARTY AT HOMEHosting a teen party at home is both fun and challenging. Fun because it is your teen’s party. You want this to be memorable for him and his guests. On the other hand, it is challenging (on your part) because of the planning and the after-cleaning you must do, especially if you hosted a large crowd of youngsters.

Here are practical tips to consider before hosting one for your teen.

Set a theme

Parties are more fun when there’s a theme to follow. Plus, it’s easier to choose the decoration, menus, party supplies, and party favors when there’s a theme to guide you. Let your teen choose the theme for their party.

Make the party more fun and interesting by asking everyone to come in costumes according to the theme. Teens can be incredibly creative, and it will be so much fun to see them interpret the theme in their costumes. Of course, your own teen should agree with the costume party. Help them find or make their costume. It’s their moment to shine, so make sure they have the best costume for their party.

Use visual effects

Visual effects like lasers and mood lights can add more life to the party and you can rent them, risk free, from a company like dj finance. It can lend a disco party vibe. On the other hand, smoke machines are also a fun addition to any party. These machines can enhance your lighting effects. You will have an instant light show that will stun your guests. Do you know that bubble machines are not for kids only. Liven up your party. Floating bubbles paired with lasers and colored lights will produce a stunning effect. Consider giving out non-toxic, multi-colored glow sticks among your guests. It is a cheap visual effect that is handy and glows for about six hours of use.

Keep guests outdoors

While it may look rude to prevent guests from entering your home, keeping guests out, and planning for an outdoor teen party may still come out more practical than ever. The pros far outweigh the cons. You do not have to worry too much about after-party cleaning and scrubbing. You save your couches and carpets from possible spills that can leave heavy stains. It costs more to steam-clean furniture than to pick up trash from the garden or mop the garage or patio floor.

If you are hiring party services like photo booth rental ny, you will have to disclose that you are planning an outdoor party. In this case, they will require clients like you to ensure that the booth is under a shade. They may also offer an outdoor canopy as added protection. Some are specifically made for outdoor use and are waterproof. It is best to choose this type of equipment. Ask installers to put it in a pretty obvious area. It will avoid the need to announce or remind guests to have their photos or selfies taken.

You might want to hire a portaloo to ensure that all guests don’t have to go into your house to use the bathroom. However, if you have a bathroom that’s accessible to guests without necessarily passing through your main living area, you do not have to rent one.

Friends or neighbors might have a garden marquee or party tents that you can borrow for the night. It will save you unwanted stress in case an unexpected drizzle happens on the night of your teen’s party.

Holding your teen’s party outdoors can be both fun and stress-free, especially after the last guest has gone. You don’t have to worry much about cleaning or accidental damage to indoor property and accessories.

Regulate background music

Parties aren’t complete without background music. Let your teen choose the music he would love to hear playing during the party. Most teens love alternative or classic rock music. While he will love to play them all aloud, you must remain considerate of your neighbors at the same time.

Know when to play music at its peak and when to tame it. Usually, you can have it downplayed when everyone is seated and conversing. When making a short speech or announcements about food and drinks, have the music turned to a low volume. Turn it to high once the guests are ready to hop in on the makeshift dance floor.

Discuss entertainment options

Get your teen involved in party planning. If your teen is a movie buff, why not help him download movies of his choice or those that he thinks his peers will enjoy. Of course, you are there to screen his movie choices. Ask for a list and assist him by compiling them. It won’t hurt to filter the list if you think there is inappropriate content in one or two movies he selected.

Does he love indoor games? Why not put up a dartboard. Bring out your pool table or card table. The party could look like a mini pub. Include pizzas and snacks to complete the pub ambiance.

If he is fond of music and loves to listen to DJs, offer to bring one in. There are a lot of disc jockeys you can hire if you are around New York. Ask him to search for dj buffalo. It is cool to be around while he is surveying the list. Remember, stay, and get involved. He will appreciate you hanging around and making yourself available when he seeks your opinion on which ones to hire.

When hiring a DJ, expect him to give you a rundown of the types of music that are appropriate for your teen and his guests. You may also suggest titles from your son’s list. Ask the DJ for a list of his collection of music. A professional one will have a ready playlist and keeps on updating it. He knows which music is trending with teens and young adults. DJs often ask for playlists not only from the celebrator before the party begins but from guests too on the day of the event.

Hosting a teen party can be exciting. Your teen won’t be young forever. Let him experience a fun night with friends. But remember that you too have to be practical. These tips will help you come up with a fantastic party without stress.

Garden · Home

My Neighbour Has Japanese Knotweed – What Can I Do?

Japanese knotweedJapanese knotweed is an invasive plant species that grows rapidly and dies hard. While the law does not require you to take action if you find Japanese knotweed in your garden, you will get into trouble if you allow the plant to spread into the wild; for this reason, if you do have knotweed growing on your property, it’s a good idea to contact a qualified Japanese knotweed removal specialist who can get it under control.

But what if it’s your next-door neighbour who has a Japanese knotweed problem? We’d suggest referring them to Willow Park tree services experts who will know exactly how to solve the problem.

Well, ideally, your neighbour will act quickly and make sure the plant doesn’t spread onto your property. Unfortunately, not everyone is that proactive, so a certain amount of vigilance may be necessary on your part too.

Here are some tips to bear in mind if your neighbour has Japanese knotweed:

Start by talking to your neighbour. They may not be aware of the invasive weed that’s lurking in their garden—they may not even know what Japanese knotweed is, so be patient and politely suggest that they get in touch with a specialist contractor. It’s always better to resolve issues like this amicably if possible.

Remember, your neighbour is not breaking the law by having Japanese knotweed on their own property. UK law does not even require them to remove or treat the knotweed—only to prevent it from spreading elsewhere.

If your neighbour refuses to take action or acknowledge the issue, you should take the initiative and contact a qualified Japanese knotweed specialist yourself. They will be able to confirm the plant’s presence and can send your neighbour an official letter notifying them of their legal obligation to ensure that the knotweed does not encroach on your property.

Monitor the situation closely to see how it develops. Photographic evidence and regular reports from your knotweed expert will help you to demonstrate (if necessary) that your neighbour did not take sufficient action to prevent their Japanese knotweed from crossing the property boundary.

Japanese knotweed can have a significant impact on your property’s value and may even cause damage to the property itself, so it’s imperative to make sure you’re covered. A neighbour who has permitted Japanese knotweed to spread from their property to yours is legally liable, and you may be able to claim compensation—but only if you can prove what happened. This will be far easier if you have an expert witness to back you up (ideally a qualified professional who specialises in Japanese knotweed control and who has been monitoring the situation from the beginning).

Mental Health

Online Counseling and Other Ways to Care for Your Mental Health

Taking Care of Your Mental Health During Lockdown
Photo by Dylan Ferreira on Unsplash

Whether you’re back to normal and going out and about, or still trying to isolate as much as possible, there’s little doubt about the fact that lockdown had an effect on the mental health of many people. As humans, we’re usually social creatures who need to feel a sense of togetherness and community, even if it’s something as simple as a chat to the other school mums in the morning, or a cheery hello from the person serving you in your local shop.

With this in mind, I’ve been thinking about ways that we can galvanise our mental health, especially if we have a second wave incoming, and I’m sharing them with you today:

Be Active

Besides doing various exercises that help keep the mind active, there are other ways to be active mentally. You can choose a book of your choice to read. Reading a book regularly can help keep your mind alert and active throughout. But, reading a book can sometimes be boring, and this might make you slack. The best thing to do is to set a reminder and schedule time to read. You can also challenge your memory. You can do so by playing chess or learning something new.

To remain active, it would also be best to partake in online racing games. They can improve your brain functionality when you think critically about how to finish a certain level. They can also help reduce stress and improve your decision-making skills. Additionally, engaging yourself in stimulating talks can help keep your mind active. In a group or with a friend, you can choose to discuss a topic that will challenge you to think globally.

Find a Counselor

Never underestimate the amount of mental wellbeing a counselor can offer, and thanks to technology, you don’t even need to be face to face. BetterHelp offers online counselling services, and can match you to the right mental health professional for you. Booking yourself in for a weekly chat to vent your frustration and fears can have a profound effect on your mental health.

Find a Hobby

Unless you live in a house which is equipped with all sorts of entertainment areas, the chances are, you were bored at least once during lockdown. Boredom can be devastating to your mental health and the overthinkers amongst us can dread time alone with their thoughts. Finding a new hobby can really help to combat this – I’ve taken up cross stitch since lockdown began and it’s something that’s really helped to give me a focus and a distraction.

Depending on your likes and interests, some hobbies are easier to do at home than others are. If you’re good with your hands and you love solving puzzles, consider hobbies like picking a lock, jewelry making, pottery (if you have the space), or even calligraphy. You can certainly pass the time picking up new skills or discovering new things.

Get Some Exercise

Keeping your body healthy can have a really big knock-on effect on your mind, not least of all because you release endorphins, the “happy hormones”, when you work up a sweat. It’s difficult with gyms being shut, but there are lots of exercise tutorials on YouTube. If that’s not your cup of tea, simply stick some headphones on and go for a walk.

Have a Spa Day

You don’t need to leave the house to treat yourself to some spa treatments – there are plenty of things you can do at home which will make you feel like a new person! Face masks, hair masks, long baths and even self-massage can all help you to feel like you’ve been pampered and nurtured, and taking the time to care for your physical appearance is vital to better mental health.

Do Something Nice

You’d be surprised at the mental boost you can get from doing something nice for someone else. Write a letter, send a box of chocolates in the post, you could even just mow an delderly neighbour’s lawn without being asked. The glow you get from doing something nice for someone else can really bolster your mental wellbeing.