1544 posts Posts by Jayne

Getting Prepared for Your Holiday

Now that the weather is getting warmer, many of us are finally starting to wind-down and think about our yearly holiday. The problem with holidays is that all the prep can be such a stress that it’s hard to unwind once we finally get to our destination, so I thought I’d share with you a few tips that can make your life easier while you’re preparing for your trip.

Order Medications Online

From regular prescription meds that we need to take every day, to basics like paracetamol and antihistamines, most if us take a few different medications on holiday with us each year. Using an online pharmacy like UK Meds to order everything you need well ahead of time can save you the stress of picking up prescriptions as everything you order will be delivered straight to your door.

Weigh Your Bags

Is there anything more annoying than getting to the airport, realising your bags are too heavy and you’re going to need to pay a hefty fee to take excess baggage on the plain with you? We highly recommend getting a suitcase scale and weighing them yourself before you go so that you can be double sure you’re not going to get stung for fees.

Online Check-In

I’m stilled awed by this one, but the ability to check-in online means less time waiting around in airports and going through all of that aggravation. Doing online check-in means that you can spend your time in the airport enjoying a pre-flight cocktail and perusing the duty-free at your leisure!

Buy it There

Often, we spend SO much time and money shopping before a holiday, when waiting to buy things when you’re there can be beneficial in many ways. Most places you’ll go will have a supermarket nearby (we saw someone online the other day saying they did a Lidl shop in Tenerife!), so you could buy toiletries, nappies, sun cream and other items. They’ll probably be cheaper than they are in the UK, and you’ll also save space and weight in your suitcases if you aren’t lugging these heavy, bulky items along with you.

Book in Advance

If you’re planning excursions and day trips while you’re away, there will be lots of things that you can book in advance, like water parks and coach trips. This will save you the bother of doing it while you’re there, can help to navigate a language barrier and means that any money you take with you will be for luxuries and treats!

Modernising an Older House

The house that my family and I currently live in was built in 19th century, which means it has a pretty oldy-worldy feel to it that we absolutely love. There are, however, certain aspects of the house that will definitely need modernising in the next few years, and I’ve been thinking about how that could be done without taking away the rural charm of the property. Here are a few ideas:

Hearth

One of my favourite things about this house is the wood burner we’ve got in the main living area. We use it more than the central heating in the winter and I love the fact that burning wood is a lot more environmentally friendly than using the heating. The hearth is quite old and battered now, so replacing it with a more modern glass hearth would make the whole room look more sleek and finished.

Floors

The house has a mixture of flooring, including carpet, laminate and lino and I’d love to replace them whole ground floor with wood flooring and sectional rugs to give the feeling of flow and cohesion to the rooms. I also love the fact that a whole rooms decor can be updated just by adding a new rug in a bright colour!

Kitchen Doors

Our kitchen doors are okay, a fairly nondescript light wood effect laminated set, but I’d love to replace the doors with something like a matte-grey effect door, which would give the whole room an overhaul. Replacing just cupboard doors is a great way to give a kitchen a makeover without needing to spend too much money.

Ceilings

This is a bit of a weird one, but some of the ceilings in our house are plastered with Artex in a swirly pattern and to me, Artexed ceilings are the quickest way to make a house look dated. I’d love to have the ceilings skimmed with plaster and made totally flat to really modernise the look of the place.

Radiators

Okay, so I know we said that we don’t use the heating much, but the radiators are still pretty prominent features of each room and they’re quite an old-fashioned style (and I don’t mean in that cool, retro radiator way). Replacing old radiators with a newer style can really change the look of a room and can also help with energy efficiency in your home, too.

Tips for Creating a Cosy Living Room

When I was a kid, I used to love being outside when it was starting to get dark; people would turn their lights on inside and it would make the world look really cosy. Sounds weird, but hey, I was a weird kid! Now that I’m a grown-up, I love settling down of an evening into a living room which feels warm and cosy, and I thought I’d share a few tips with you on how we give ours a super cosy feel:

Lighting

Lighting is probably the most important aspect of a cosy room. I hate sitting down to watch TV with glaring overhead lights on, so we tend to have lamps which we can use to create little pockets of light, rather than the whole room being bright. It helps the girls to get sleepy and we don’t get glare off of the telly if we’re trying to watch something.

Cushions

Although we were lucky enough to be gifted a new sofa, just before Christmas, we also like to have lots of scatter cushions around so that we can sit comfortably. Cushions are also a great way to change the look of the room without needing to spend a lot or make massive changes.

Blankets

As well as lots of cushions, we also tend to keep a stash of blankets in the lounge so that we can cover ourselves up if we start to feel chilly. The girls love getting cosy and dozing on the sofa rather than having a set bedtime, which is something we’ve done since Sausage was a baby, and it’s lovely to all spend time relaxing together.

Rug

Our living room is carpeted, but the floor underneath is concrete, so if you sit on the floor for any length of time, you start to feel the cold. We recently invested in a nice, thick rug and the difference it’s make to the cosiness of the room is huge! As well as keeping it warm, it feels lovely and soft underfoot and makes playing on the floor with Maureen the Pup much nicer!

Fragrance

This might sound weird, but I always think a room feels cosier if it smells nice. In the winter, I tend to use a cloth to rub essential oils (clove or cinnamon around Christmas!) on the top of the radiators. Once they warm up, the smell starts to radiate too and it makes the room smell incredible, without needing to burn anything or use plug-in diffusers.

Do you have any tips for making your home feel cosier?

Your Clutter, Their Treasure: Downsizing Can Help You Stay in the Black

It’s a daily struggle for many people to pay their bills, feed their families and have a little extra for other necessities, much less extras.  Luckily, there are many ways to stretch your budget a little further by simply using what you already have.

It used to be that to make any money off of your unwanted items, you had to have a yard sale.  Now, however, there are many more options where you don’t even have to leave your house except to get to your mailbox!

From online downsizing to installment loans, when you need the money most, you have options.

Declutter Your Home With Direct Selling

Do you have kids that outgrew their clothes, or never even wore that shirt they just had to have?  Xbox games no one ever plays anymore, or movies you have seen a hundred times and don’t want to ever watch again?

Those hot items and more are easy money makers through online direct sales sites such as eBay and Letitgo.  Sites like eBay allow you to sell your goods at a price you agree on, and all you have to do is post it and ship it once it’s sold.  Because of the shipping aspect, eBay is more geared towards smaller items, but there are options for pickup of larger items.

Letitgo and other marketplace type apps are more direct, where you post your item online and meet with local buyers in person.  This type is better for larger items that would not be cost-effective to ship.

Let Other Resellers Do the Work For You

Other resale companies, like Declutter and thredUp, will pay you directly for your items and then sell them for a profit, keeping you out of the direct transaction but allowing you immediate funds.   They even pay for your shipping.

The con of this is that generally your take is much less than had you sold your product directly, but the pro is you don’t have to sit around and wait for it to sell.

Stick With the Tried and True

Sometimes the old standbys are the best.  Yard sales are still as popular as they ever were, but technology has helped increase profits because now you can advertise online.  From posting about your yard sale on your social media to advertising on online garage sale sites, it’s much easier to get the word out for early birds and bargain hunters to come buy your unwanted stuff.  Remember, one person’s trash is another person’s treasure!

Emergency Loans

If you are looking for bigger amounts of money fast, there are options available as well in the form of installment loans.  These are typically high interest loans and therefore should only be used if all other avenues are exhausted, and if you know that you can repay the terms of the loan on time.

Installment loans are easier to get due to their high interest terms, and can be applied for and received completely online, depending on the company.  However, their repayment terms can be steep, so shop around before you settle, and be sure you can handle the terms.

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees, But You Can Find it in Your Backyard

When you need a few bucks, look around your house, your yard, or your car, and see what’s been sitting unused for months or even years.  Chances are, someone somewhere is looking for that particular item, and you can have a win/win:  declutter your house and make some money, and make someone else happy they got a deal!

 

Lotions versus Creams: What’s the Difference

One of the most important parts of skin care is keeping it moisturized. When it is sufficiently hydrated, your skin looks and feels softer, smoother, and more supple. Proper moisture also helps shield your skin from environmental stressors, like the weather and pollution. It even affords the skin some level of protection against germs and bacteria; dry skin is prone to develop cracks where these harmful organisms can enter.

Thankfully, there are various ways to help us achieve properly moisturized skin, including the use of personal care products. Two such items are lotions and creams, which some might think are essentially the same. They’re not entirely wrong; lotions and creams are both used to supplement your skin’s natural hydration, after all. However, they do have slight differences that make them more effective for different parts of the body and different skin types as well.

Understanding the Difference

While some brands may also use the term “cream” for some kinds of lotions (for example, hand and foot creams), when you get down to the chemical nitty-gritty, there is a basic distinction between these two products: viscosity. Lotions have a lower viscosity, meaning they have a thinner consistency compared to creams. This is why you’ll find most lotions packaged in bottles that can be squeezed or come with a built-in pump. Lotions also tend to be lighter and less oily, which makes the formulation ideal for products that are used for the entire body and/or used during the day.

Creams, on the other hand, are much thicker. They are usually packaged in small jars since they are not only difficult to squeeze out of bottles, but are also more concentrated. Most anti-aging products used on the face have a cream formulation, such as Huxley’s anti-gravity cream, which is enriched with Sahara prickly pear extract that nourishes and protects the skin, since the active ingredients usually come in higher concentrations. Creams are also ideal for nighttime use. This is so that the cream’s components can be given more time to penetrate your skin, and also because they can be rather uncomfortable to wear during the day due to the thicker, heavier texture.

Which One Do You Need

If you have normal skin, lotions are already sufficient to moisturize your entire body, including your hands and feet. As mentioned earlier, lotions are also ideal to use during the day and during summer as well, since they are absorbed easily and don’t leave a sticky, sometimes greasy residue; if you live somewhere hot and/or humid, you may also want to use lotions instead of creams. However, if your hands, elbows, knees, and feet are particularly dry, you can find some specialized creams that can address the dryness in these areas.

Meanwhile, if you need intensive moisturization — for example, you have very dry skin — then creams best suit your needs. Those who live in places with strong winds or extremely cold winters may also benefit from the usage of creams, as they are thicker and thus provide a greater level of protection from harsh environmental conditions.

The trick to using both lotions and creams is to apply them when your skin is still damp, say from a shower or after cleansing your face. This locks in the moisture better than when you apply these moisturizers on completely dry skin.

Another thing that you should remember is that, unless you’re using natural moisturizers like coconut or olive oil, you should only use products intended for a specific use. That is to say, hand lotions and creams should only be used for the hands, and so on. This is because there are often ingredients in these specially made lotions and creams that aren’t supposed to be used in other parts of the body.

Now that you know the difference between the two, it’s time to get a lotion or cream (or both!) to take care of your skin all over.

5 Commonly Asked Questions about Karndean Flooring

Karndean FlooringIf you’re currently renovating or planning to renovate your house, there’s a good chance you’ll have considered Karndean as an option for your flooring. You’ll know how durable it is, how easy it is to fit and how cost-effective it is compared to other flooring products. But before you take the plunge there may be other wuestions you’d like to ask, so I thought I’d give you the answers to some of the most commonly asked things before buying Karndean flooring:

Is it easy to clean?

In a word; yes. Although it’s not advised to used steam cleaners on Karndean flooring, it simply needs to be swept regularly and cleaned using the fluid that Karndean makes to keep your floors clean, free from streaks and in tip-top condition.

Isn’t it going to feel much colder than with carpet?

Karndean is specifically designed to feel warm underfoot. Unlike laminate or other hard flooring options, Karndean doesn’t feel cold, even first thing in the morning, and and is also compatible with underfloor heating. There’s also nothing to say that you can’t use a rug, but people rarely do once they realise how warm Karndean is by itself!

Do I need to worry about scuffs and scratches?

Karndean is really hard-wearing and resistant to scuffs and scratches, however as with other wooden floors, it’s recommended to use footpads under heavy furniture and avoid walking across it in stiletto heels! Also, if you do notice minor scuffs, Karndean has a product called “Refresh” which can help to get it looking good as new again.

Where can I have Karndean flooring?

The answer to this is basically anywhere! Karndean can be used all over the house, even in bathrooms and conservatories. Karndean also have ranges which are perfect for using in office or corporate buildings!

What is Karndean made of?

Karndean is a vinyl flooring product made primarily from calcium carbonate (limestone), polyvinyl chloride and pigments. It is structured with five layers – two PVC backing layers, one high definition photographic layer, one clear PVC embossed wear layer and a top polyurethane (PU) protective coating.

Do you have any tips for people considering Karndean? Leave us a comment below.

Ceiling Mounted Blinds: What You Need to Know

Ceiling Mounted Blinds: What You Need to Know

Window treatments can generally be mounted in a variety of ways. Typically, blinds are mounted either inside the window area if it has any depth to it, or on the wall just above the window pane. In some cases, you might want to mount the blinds on the ceiling above the window.

Here’s some tips from selectblindscanada.ca that you need to know when mounting your blinds on the ceiling.

Brackets

Every type of window treatment will come with brackets, which are essentially sturdy metal pieces with a variety of holes in them. The distribution of these holes will allow the blinds to be secured from different angles around the window.

If you’re going to be mounting blinds from the ceiling, make sure the brackets are designed in such a way as to allow this. Fortunately, most blind and shade brackets are universal, meaning they can be used for a variety of mounts, including a ceiling mount.

Note that Roman shade brackets are a bit different but will usually have holes at the top for ceiling mounts.

Where would you need ceiling mounted blinds?

Ceiling mounts are uncommon for window treatments, but there are certain situations that will call for them. For example:

The window is too shallow and there’s no space on the wall

In this case, you wouldn’t be able to secure the blinds inside the window or just above it on the wall. Your only option would be a ceiling mount.

On a patio with no pillars on the sides

If you’ve got a covered patio and you need blinds for privacy and sunlight management, your options for mounts will be limited by the structure. In some cases, you’ll have to affix the blinds directly to the ceiling of the patio’s roof if there are no secure pillars around.

Covering large or multiple windows

If you need to cover a large window or several windows with one shade, a ceiling mount can be a better option. If it’s properly secured, it can be great-looking solution in this case.

How to secure ceiling mounted blinds

When installing ceiling mounted blinds, make sure you are mounting the blinds into rafter beams, studs or joists. If this isn’t possible, you can use drywall anchors to secure the mount, but check their specifications to make sure they can support the weight of the blinds.

If the ceiling is shared with an attic floor, you can always add extra support like a beam or joist in the attic to secure the blind mount.

If you secure the ceiling mount well, it should result in a sturdy installation. As we’ve said, this type of mount can actually work better for large windows.

Trust the experts

Mounting blinds in your home shouldn’t be a headache. Ceiling mounted blinds are a great solution if installed properly. If you’ve got unusual windows or outdoor areas that need different mounts than the conventional ones, do your research online to find the best solution.

Tips for Puppy Toilet Training

As you many know, if you follow me on social media, at the beginning of March we added a new member to the Mum’s the Word clan – Maureen the Pup. Having a puppy has been a real learning curve for us as Chuck was already 2 when he came to live with us and needed no toilet training, but we’re doing pretty well so far. Here are a few tips that we’ve picked up along the way:

Think about your floors!

Whether you like it or not, puppies WILL have accidents, of both the wee and poo variety, so if you haven’t got something convenient like Karndean flooring, you’re going to have to deal with mess. We got a rug from freecycle for our lounge, so that the majority of the carpet is covered and we don’t mind the odd puddle on a free rug, but we also dotted puppy pads around in the early days, as she often had her “accidents” in roughly the same place.

Take them out regularly

Just like when you’re potty training a toddler, getting them to go to the loo really regularly is the first step to cracking toilet training. Husband and I try to take Maureen out at least once every 30-60 minutes, and at the moment we take her out on a lead and try to get her to go in the same place every time, as this will teach her to go there once she goes independently.

Invest in a carpet cleaner

Husband and I have a Bissell hand-held carpet cleaner, and honestly, it’s been an absolute godsend for cleaning up after Mo’s accidents. It can be filled with an odour-busting spot cleaner and can be used to vacuum liquid out of carpets, making it perfect for puppy puddles! I think life would have been much harder without it.

Reward

Most dogs are fairly food motivated, which means that giving them a treat as a reward after they successfully pee or poop outside will be more of an incentive for them to do all of their business outside. Do remember to adjust the amount of food you’re giving them if you’re treating regularly as you’ll end up with a very chubby puppy!

Watch for cues

After a while, you’ll start to notice your puppy’s behaviour or body language change when they need to go out, and acting on these cues is important to develop the communication between you and your dog. As soon as you see them acting like they need to go out, take them and make a big deal of praising them afterwards.

Be Patient

Toilet training a puppy can be frustrating at times – a puppy can do every single wee or poop outside and then randomly go on the rug, and although it can seem like an act of defiance or like they’re being naughty, this is rarely the case. Puppies get caught short, or sometimes we miss their cues. Be patient with them as getting cross will just make them fear you, which isn’t conducive to a good training environment.

Games To Play If You Love To Decorate

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There seems to be something about playing with paint colours and placing furniture which fascinates us as people. We love to create designs and order things in a new and exciting way. If you love to play around with interior design then here are some of the best things you can play!

The Fictional Furnishings Quiz

If you think you know Monica’s apartment from top to bottom or you think you could easily recreate hogwarts from memory then this quiz is perfect for you. You’ll have a piece of fictional furniture appear on the screen and you need to work out what show or film it is from, it’s the perfect way to kill time and relax in the evening.

The Sims 3

There’s nothing quite like using the motherlode cheat on Sims and then spending the next five days creating the perfect mansion from top to bottom. Whether you decide to recreate your own house or build the palace from your favourite Disney movie: it’s super relaxing, fun and you can really go as crazy as you like! You could create a castle with 4 floors and even make a home cinema if you want to, it’s all about being creative and taking your time to make the most fun house you possibly can. Just remember to put a ladder on the side of your pool!

Harvest Moon: Animal Parade

If you are a fan of the Facebook favourite Farmville, then harvest moon will be the perfect addition to your game collection. The whole idea of this game is to run your own farm successfully, get married and then build your home together from scratch. It’s the perfect way to spend your time and is seriously addictive.

Design This Home

If you are looking at decorating your house in the next few months you can actually use this app as a fun way to test what things you want and how you’d like it to look. You can create a virtual version of your own house and have fun playing around with colours, furniture and fittings. You can then use this as a guide for your renovation project and it saves you having to draw it out!

Animal Crossing: New Leaf

Animal crossing is one of those games which makes you feel happy and relaxed. It’s comforting and super fun to play on in the evenings. Your task is to look after a small village, build up your home, pay a mortgage and even plants flowers outside. It’s the ultimate game for anyone who loves more chilled out games and would rather run around catching butterflies than race cars.

Theme Park

If you fancy a different kind of design, one of the most iconic games of all time is theme park. As the owner of a piece of land you will have the task of adding tides, restaurants and facilities, hiring staff and even building roller coasters from scratch. It is supper addictive and will keep you occupied for hours and hours!

Getting Your House Ready to Sell

Getting Your House Ready to SellIn our experience, there seems to be two types of house sellers – the first kind are the ones who want to do as little as possible to a house and generally just sell it in whatever condition it’s in. The second kind are the ones who want to really revamp a property and invest in making it look amazing before selling it, to maximise their profit. If you’re one of the second type, then we’ve got some great tips to help you to really make the most of your investment.

Floors

I don’t know about you, but one of the quickest ways to put me off of a property is to walk in and see ancient carpets, tatty laminate or something equally as unappealing on the floor. Updating your flooring can be the best way to revamp a whole house, and needn’t be a massive task with something like Quick-Step, which is really easy to fit and looks absolutely stunning.

Woodwork

It’s all well and good painting the walls and getting them looking fresh, but if your woodwork (skirting boards, dado rails, etc) are tatty and marked, the whole room is going to look worse for wear. Touch up your woodwork for a clean, polished finish. It’s estimated that buyers are willing to pay up to 25% more for a house which is freshly decorated, so a few quid on paint could see you making a much bigger profit.

Front Door

They say that most buyers make a decision about a house within ten seconds, which is why kerb appeal is hugely important. A tatty front door will ruin your kerb appeal straight away, so if you’ve got a uPVC door, make sure it’s clean and if it’s a wooden door, give it a fresh lick of paint to make it look good as new.

Gardens

In the same way as the front door, a front garden that looks like a rubbish dump will put off even the most hardcore renovators. Equally, a back garden which looks like Tarzan’s hangout is very likely to feel like too much work to many house buyers, so make sure the lawns are trimmed, pathways swept (or even jet washed), bushes are trimmed back and flower beds are free from weeds.

Bathrooms

Although it’s actually pretty cheap to buy a new three-piece bathroom suite these days, we aren’t suggesting you have a whole new bathroom fitted (unless you have an ancient, avocado-coloured bath and then we wholeheartedly recommend you do!) – however, there are things you can freshen up cheaply like the grouting of your tiles and the caulk around the bath, which will make your bathroom look good as almost new, with little effort or expense.