21 articles Articles posted in Adulting

Giving Your Driveway Some Inspiration for Summer

These days, everyone wants a modern driveway. As times have moved on, the quality finish of these areas has developed alongside the vehicles they hold. Now they’re better than ever before.

Still, while car sales are falling nationwide, this doesn’t mean that everyone with a car wants to scrap or store away their own vehicles! When enough time has passed, the driveway needs a rejig.

Consequently, here’s how to give your driveway some inspiration for summer.

Drivegrid

One of the problems with the gravel driveway is that they can get very messy, very fast. However, the drivegrid was specially designed to maintain a sustainable gravel driveway. The grid uses cells to contain high quantities of angular gravel and can be filled with an impressive 5-16mm of the stuff. Therefore, the driveway will always look in good order and not scarce on stones!

It’s also practical, in that it inhibits weed growth as all good driveways should, with no sudden greenery sprouting from underneath or destabilising the finish. Each individual cell in the grid also allows a smooth running of rainwater, so you don’t have to worry about the gravel-filled grid clogging up in a summer storm. It’ll unnoticeably flow into the ground below, and your pristine gravel finish will remain intact.

Block paving

For a more solid, sturdy and robust result, block paving is likely the option you should go for. You can get 60mm blocks that better fit with the exterior aesthetic of your home due to their colour scheme; such as charcoal, bracken or red. This will give the perimeter of your home a more consistent look, or even a Mediterranean appearance depending on the colours chosen. Some even spruce up their designs further, incorporating blocks to form grey circles within too. If appearances matter to you, block paving is your best bet!

However, block paving also doubles up in a practical sense too. This is because it also acts as a Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) that complies with new government legislation on keeping driveways clear, safe and efficiently balanced. If you love your summers to be relaxed and care-free (and who doesn’t?) in every regard, then block paving has you covered in the driveway department.

Security placements

Sometimes, the summer brings more than just heatwaves, but crime waves too. There’ve been reported links between summer time and crime, so it could be that you want to keep your driveway on lockdown, especially during the warmer seasons. It’s understandable and even advisable!

For example, you could erect security posts along the perimeter of your drive. They operate in a similar way to bollards in a town centre, deterring people from driving down certain avenues and streets. In your own driveway, they’ll stop car thieves from whizzing away with your vehicles and may deter thieves entirely. Who needs a gate worth thousands of pounds?

Conclusion

Summer is an aesthetic, but equal consideration must be paid to security too. After all, while people like their driveway paving to look appealing and immaculate in all its glory, it’s also important to have a practical frame of mind too. In taking that balance seriously, an excellent summer driveway is assured.

Mum’s Guide to Leasing a Car for the Family

Family CarsFamily Cars

Car leasing may sound like the perfect option for a family with a tight budget, but it is not the solution for everyone. Continue reading our mum’s guide to leasing a car for the family to see if leasing a vehicle is right for you.

What is the Difference Between Buying a Car and Leasing a Car?

There are some major differences between buying a car and leasing a car. When purchasing a car, you have to pay for the whole price of the car. Payments are made with cash, car loans, trade in of previous vehicles, or a combination of all of these. One of the major differences when leasing a car is that you only pay for the difference between the cost of the vehicle and its expected value at the end of the lease. You’ll also have to pay for interest and fees.

When the lease is over, you will have to return the vehicle to the dealership. You will have no ownership of the car and the leasing company will remain the owners of the title. When leasing a vehicle through a company or dealership there will be limits on how you can drive it and how many miles you can out on it. If you return the vehicle in a lesser condition than what the contract specifies, you can expect to pay some big fines. There will be penalties for breaking a leasing contract so take plenty of time to think about this before deciding to lease your next car.

Is Now the Right Time for a New Car?

Getting a new car is a big step for any family. A vehicle is essential to addressing daily routines, errands and activities. Before you make any decisions, you must first know when it is the right time for you to get a new family car. If the time is now then you should consider looking into whether leasing a car is right for you and your family.

Is Leasing a Car Right for your Family?

Leasing a vehicle is only for people who can handle a long term financial commitment as most leasing options start at a 12-month lease. A leasing contract is best for people who are absolutely sure they will not go over their mileage limit. If you think you need more mileage, you should ask a dealership about a high mileage lease. These contracts will be more expensive and some additional fees. The more miles put onto a car the less the car is worth so you will be paying for that deterioration.

Leasing a car is a great option for families who like to change their car out every few years and for people who are happy without making any modifications to their vehicle. Remember, a leased car does not belong to you, therefore you cannot make any changes to it. That means so tainted windows or paint jobs. No changes to the rims or interior. This also goes for modifications made by children. If your little one spills an apple juice or smears gum in the back seat, there will be extra charges for you at the end of your lease so that the company can make the necessary repairs.

Finally, you will want to make sure that you have good credit before considering leasing a car. If you want the benefit of driving a brand-new car every three years, you will have to keep up on payments. Dealerships will check your credit and previous payment history to see if you are a trustworthy candidate.

If these conditions seem fair to you then you and your family may be a good candidate for leasing a vehicle. If you do decide to lease a car, keep food away from any small children inside the car. Their mess will become your problem.

Caring for Your Vacuum

Vacuum cleaners are a staple in many homes and have been so for decades. This is because they enable their owners to clean their homes with ease and in quicker time. As such, it is practically irreplaceable for many and they are considered a valuable investment.

Vacuum cleaners can run into thousands of pounds in costs, and as such, they need to be properly cared for to avoid damage and constant replacement. Fortunately, caring for a vacuum cleaner is not an overly difficult task, and can be done without much effort. If you are a vacuum cleaner owner who wishes to prolong its lifespan, consider the following steps:

Replace broken parts

While vacuum cleaners should be maintained and kept in good condition, they often get damaged at some point in their lifespan. Should that happen, it would be in your best interest to repair and replace whatever parts have been broken or misplaced.

For example, if a Karcher vacuum part needs to be replaced, look up Karcher spares from a retailer such as Spares2you and replace it as soon as possible. If significant damage has taken place, take your vacuum cleaner to a repair expert and have the issue resolved before more damage takes place.

Use as suggested

One of the most common reasons why vacuum cleaners get damaged in the first place is that they are often used in ways other than their recommended manner. This includes use on surfaces that are advised against, mishandling the various parts of the vacuum cleaner, and improper storage.

For your best interest, read the instruction manual that comes with your vacuum cleaner carefully and only make use of the machine in the way and on the surfaces that have been specified. This will go a long way to make sure that your vacuum cleaner does not get damaged and can serve you for a long time to come.

Clean regularly

While they are designed to help ease the process of cleaning your home, vacuum cleaners also need to be cleaned to prolong their lifespan.

Regularly empty the attached trash bag and wipe the surfaces. Make sure there is no obstruction in their pipes and clean them if any is discovered. If there are any metallic parts of the vacuum cleaner, make sure they are clean and dry at all times to avoid rust damage to them. If all these are observed regularly, the damage is less likely to occur.

Service it regularly

Once a year or so, have your vacuum cleaner taken to a technician who will service and conduct maintenance work on your vacuum cleaner.

This will help to identify and rectify any possible problems with the vacuum cleaner ahead of time to prevent further damage. When you take your vacuum cleaner to your technician, ask for any tips or suggestions they have about maintaining, using, and storing the machine, and be sure to follow any instructions given.

Vacuum cleaners last and serve for a very long time or can fall apart easily depending on how you treat them. Follow the above steps to maintain your vacuum cleaner.

How to Understand Your Rights When You Go on Maternity Leave: 5 Things You Need to Know

There are sets of laws that have been put in place to protect women when they are pregnant and employed. Many women have a lot of questions when it comes to their employment. Will you be given a set time period for your pregnancy? Will your job be protected? Can you be fired? There are a few things pregnant women need to be aware of so they can make sure their rights are fully protected.

The Family Medical Leave Act

For pregnant women, knowing your maternity leave rights is vital. The Family Medical Leave Act was passed in 1993 and applies to companies with at least 50 employees. Those who have worked at least a year with the company and work at least 25 hours a week qualify for taking up to twelve weeks of leave for pregnancy. When you return to work, under the law, you must be returned to employment offering equal benefits. The twelve weeks can be split up or taken all at once.

The FMLA also allows spouses to take leave for work for the care of their pregnant spouse or their newborn baby. It is imperative you are well-versed in the law so you can fully protect your rights as you go through the process.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

Unfortunately, discrimination still occurs against pregnant women. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was passed in 1978. This act provides women with the same rights as others with medical conditions. This act states the following.

· You cannot be fired because you are pregnant.

· You cannot be forced to take a mandatory leave.

· You must be given modified tasks so you can continue to perform your job safely.

· You are allowed to continue working as long as you can safely and effectively perform your job.

· You are fully guaranteed job security during your leave.

Women need to be aware of this act that was passed to protect their rights as a pregnant woman. The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was put in place to ensure pregnant women are treated fairly in the workplace.

5 Things You Must Know

1. As long as you have worked part-time for at least a year, you qualify for maternity leave.

2. You are required to request maternity leave in writing.

3. Your employer must continue to provide you with insurance, but you must pay your premiums.

4. There are only four states that have government-funded maternity leave and they include New Jersey, California, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

5. Short-term disability insurance can offer coverage for the partial term of the maternity leave, but it will not cover it all.

Although laws have not been put in place in every state that requires employers to offer paid maternity leave, some employers provide this for the good of their employees. Preparation with savings before medical leave can make this period of time less financially stressful.

Conclusion

Pregnant women need to be aware of the rights they hold and should familiarize themselves with the laws and the policies of their employer. Being informed will help you to protect your rights as you go on maternity leave. Those who have been discriminated against or illegally fired should file a report and consider getting legal help.

The Dos And Don’ts Of Buying Used Cars

We all know that buying used cars will work out far cheaper than buying brand-new vehicles. But not many people know exactly how to go about buying second-hand. More often than not, they will end up going to a private seller and paying slightly over the odds for the make and model that they go for.

There’s no reason to end up fleeced if you follow our guide though. These dos and don’ts of buying used cars should help you save some money and come away with a very reliable vehicle that you can use for a good few years.

Pixabay.com

Do Buy From A Reputable Trader

For starters, it’s really important that you buy your car from a reputable dealer. If you don’t, then you risk being conned into buying something that really isn’t worth it. Ideally, go to your nearest second-hand car dealership as these will have to follow some industry standards. This is also a good idea if you want a used 4×4 or something a bit more specialist than just a basic family car. The staff will be able to give you plenty of advice on the vehicle that’s best for your needs.

Don’t Forget To Check How Eco-Friendly The Car Is

It’s really worth looking into how eco-friendly a car will be. Even though this won’t help you save any money on the initial cost of buying it, you should find that it will be cheaper for you to run. For instance, environmentally friendly cars often pay lower road taxes. Plus, you can be happy knowing that you are doing some good for the environment!

Don’t Ignore Your Head

It can be very easy to listen to our hearts when we go shopping for a used car. You might spot a car that looks absolutely fantastic, but are you sure it’s the best option for you? Instead of following your heart in this case, you really should follow your head. This will prevent you from overspending on a vehicle that will be too small and not meet any of your other needs and requirements.

Pixabay.com

Do Take It For A Test Drive

Before you agree to purchasing any vehicle, you should always take it for a test drive. That way, you can get a proper feel for the car and can see how well it drives. If you notice any issues with it or it has very poor driveability, then it could be best for you to move on and look at another one.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Haggling

When you buy second hand prices aren’t always set in stone, so it could be well worth trying to haggle with the dealer. You might be amazed at the discount you can walk away with!

There are plenty of things to try to remember when you buy a used car, but these dos and don’ts are some of the main ones. Hopefully, if you follow these you will be able to find your ideal vehicle when you go car shopping!

Tips on Selecting a Heating and a Cooling System (HVAC System)

One of the main ingredients of productivity is a comfortable working space. In a 2018 report, comfort in a working environment was ranked above remuneration, on the most critical factors of productivity. These statistics indicate that having a well-controlled space, in terms of temperature, is key to a successful company. The report also pointed out that a majority of employees in the USA and other developed countries have a negative attitude towards work. Fortunately, a better approach to temperature controls can help employees in changing their view on work and more importantly improve their productivity. Heating and cooling is the best remedy for the unproductive environment and unsatisfied employees.

What is the relationship between productivity and office temperatures?

Did you know that over 25% of the global workers waste approximately 30 minutes every day due to unfavorable temperatures? This percentage represents the amount of money the USA and other developed countries waste due to unproductivity. Due to the complexity of the heating and cooling system, different institutions have tried to establish the connection between temperatures and productivity.

According to most of these reports, the optimal temperature for an office is 71 degrees Fahrenheit. In most parts of the world, temperatures are inconsistent and to maintain balance temperature, using heating and cooling is essential.

This is a guide on how to select cooling and heating systems that are in line with your company’s needs.

Tips on selecting a heating and cooling system

The most important factor you should consider when investing in a heating and cooling system is the size of your office. The golden rule in selecting a heating and a cooling system is to understand office needs and more importantly, which system can give the best results without overpaying. Other factors such as your office design and the age of your office can assist in the investing decision.

When investing in a heating and cooling system, you should also consider a system that offers the following benefits. First, any system should be quiet. A quiet system means that there are no distractions when people are working. Second, any system selected must blend well with the office décor, inside and outside the office. Although most of the heating and cooling systems are mass-produced, some few exceptions give investors value for money. In addition to the system blending with the company’s décor, any system selected must not take a lot of the office space, whether inside or outside.

The functionality of the system selected must be at par with the global standards. For example, the heating and cooling system must produce less moisture. Most of the earlier versions of HVAC were synonymous with a high percentage of moisture, but fortunately, modern makes are solving this problem. In addition to producing less moisture, any heating and cooling system must use energy efficiently.

Do heating and cooling systems need repairs? Yes, heating and cooling systems need repairs due to some reasons. Just like other systems, they are prone to some factors that can make them less efficient and consume more power. A faulty system is also a recipe for unproductivity and pundits point out that lack of a proper working system can lead to loss of money.

Three tips on hiring a professional to maintain a heating and cooling system

  1. Hire a professional that offers a holistic office evaluation

Unlike most repairs, heating and cooling systems repairs need a holistic approach. The main reason why a holistic approach is important is that most of the issues that affect heating and cooling systems are because of the environment. Therefore, a holistic approach helps in repairing a system and preventing future damages.   

  1. Compare rates with companies

Comparing prices is arguably one of the hardest criteria when hiring a professional maintenance company. Therefore, you should check if the company is justified to charge the fees they are charging. It is, however, advisable to hire a professional maintenance company that has a good repairing history instead of a cheap company with zero experience.

  1. Do a background check on a maintenance firm

Unlike three decades ago, doing a background check on a maintenance firm is essential. You should check the company’s rating and if the firm can repair your specific system model. Although there are tons of companies that deals with heating and cooling systems, very few can check and fix many systems.

How To Enjoy ‘Mum Time’ When The Kids Are Out The House

As a Mother it can be hard to get yourself some free time for rest & relaxation, we spend all day dealing with work and kids and even when you don’t have the kids with you, it’s likely that Dad requires some attention too. But every so often you’ll get some peace and quiet, maybe Dad has taken the kids to the cinema to watch a film. You’ve got the house to yourself for a few hours and you’re going to enjoy it. So this brings up the question of what to do when you have your Mum time.

First off, we have the go to for anyone looking to relax: The humble bubble bath. It’s really understated how much a nice bath can take the edge off, especially when you’ve been running around after your children all day. Draw a nice warm bath, maybe light a candle & put some music on, then hop in and relax with a nice glass of wine. Really as a Mother, you never get a nice bath uninterrupted, it’s likely that if you have a long bath one of your children will want you whilst you’re in there, so finally getting to enjoy a soak without being dragged out half way through is amazing!

Next up, we have an unconventional activity for mothers, video games. Games are often seen as the activity for Dads & teenage boys, but Mums can enjoy gaming too. If you can get a hang of the controller (or even just play a mobile game), you’ll fall in love with games for the same reason the boys do. Gaming is a big stress reliever, whether it be getting some anger out by shooting some zombies, or getting engrossed in an amazing story gaming can be an amazing way to cut loose, especially with all the options available, if you have a smartphone you can get yourself a free game to play to distract you for a while.

Have the girls over, so often when you’re a parent it can feel you spend more time with your children’s friends than you do with yours, so a free house is a perfect opportunity to catch up with some old friends, have a cup of tea and talk about life, maybe even split a takeaway and a glass (or two) of wine and just enjoy hanging out with your friends.

Catch up on all the TV you’ve missed, you know how it is, the kids have control of the TV until dinner time, so you’re stuck watching cartoons all day, then when your partner gets home from work they take control of the remote, so it can be hard to actually get to watch what you want to watch, so why not take advantage of the alone time with no competition for the TV, put on whatever you want & get caught up on everything you’ve missed.

6 Things You Need To Consider When Booking Your Wedding

Photo by Beatriz Pérez Moya on Unsplash

Although planning your wedding is an incredibly exciting thing to do, there are lots of little details you need to think of to ensure everything goes without a hitch. Whether you’re planning a small get-together for just your closest friends and family, or you’re planning a massive celebration bringing together everyone you know – ensuring you’ve prepared everything well in advance is vital to having the perfect day.

With that in mind, here are 6 things you need to think of when booking your wedding:

  • What Is Your Budget?

Before you start planning any aspect of your wedding you need to ensure you’ve set yourself a budget. This doesn’t mean setting one budget for the whole wedding but instead looking at things in more detail.

This will ensure that you’re not going to go over your budget before you’ve managed to book everything and put the final details into place. For advice on setting yourself a wedding budget, you can view this handy guide here.

  • Where Do You Want To Get Married?

Although most people choose to get married close to home, other’s prefer to book themselves a destination wedding. Whilst most choose to book their destination wedding on a glorious island, you can pick absolutely anywhere you like. Whether you want to get married in the Scottish Highlands, in a gorgeous American National Park or on a beach in Jamaica, you can make your wedding whatever you want it to be.

  • What Kind Of Venue Would You Like?

Once you’ve decided where you want to get married, you can start to think about your venue. Of course, you’ll need to think about your budget and how many people you want to attend, but the best way to decide which venue you want to book is to visit the venues firsthand. Once you’ve visited a couple you’ll be able to get a good idea of what it is you want, giving you more of a chance of making an informed decision.

  • What Time Of Year Do You Want To Get Married?

Depending on your budget you’ll have to choose whether you want to get married during peak wedding season or not. Whilst the latter is definitely cheaper, often it’s harder to get a hold of services like photography, catering or even a venue that offers a wedding package. Taking the time to work out which option is best for you will help you avoid any surprises during planning.

  • Will You Be Hiring A Band?

Once you’ve started to get the framework in place, you can start planning the details of your wedding, including whether or not you’re going to have a band. Whilst a lot of people opt for having a DJ at their wedding reception, hiring a band could be a great touch. For more information on hiring a wedding band, you can visit this site here.

  • What Kind Of Food Will You Have?

Another important decision to make when planning a wedding is deciding what kind of food you’re going to have. Whilst you can opt to have catering provided for your venue, some couples prefer to have something a little bit more personal. Whether that’s hiring food trucks or creating your own personal menu, you can tailor your food to you.

Are you getting married soon? What did you have to consider before booking your wedding? Let me know in the comments section below.

When Do You Know it’s Time to Get Help?


Everyone does it, right? Everyone gets so drunk sometimes that they can’t remember where they put their keys the next day. Or their car, for that matter… Maybe. But how do you know when it’s gone too far? How do you know when it’s gone from Friday night fun to something more serious, like alcohol abuse or addiction? How do you know when it’s time to get help? Read below to begin understanding alcohol treatment with Amethyst

Let’s Get Serious

Before going to far, you should understand that at times, alcohol consumption can become a life threatening situation. If you begin noticing these symptoms in someone, you should immediately call 911:

vomiting
seizures
slow breathing
irregular breathing
blue tinged or pale skin
low body temperature
unconsciousness

You can find more information for alcohol poisoning at this link

Do I have a “problem?”

No one wants to ask that question. But it’s an important question to ask. And honestly, you’re pretty awesome if your putting in the will power and courage to ask that question of yourself. Seriously. This is important stuff we’re talking about here. As seen above, alcohol consumption can become a life threatening situation. Alcohol poisoning can seem extreme. But there are long term health risks too:

high blood pressure
stroke
cancer
mental health problems

Just to name a few. Check out a more complete list here

Signs and Symptoms

There are some tell tale signs that fun Friday night drinking has morphed into alcohol abuse. Such as when the following occurs:

Consumption interferes with work/school
memory loss
accidents

While the above are symptoms of alcohol abuse, symptoms for alcohol addiction include:

person can no longer control how much or when he/her drinks
the need to take in more alcohol to get the same buzz
withdrawal symptoms occur when drinking stops
drinking becomes the main focus of life

You can check out a more complete list for both alcohol abuse and addiction by following this link

It’s Time

If you notice the symptoms for alcohol abuse or addiction in yourself or another person, it’s time to seek out help. It’s a difficult process. Where do you star? An article from the South Florida Reporter offers the following suggestions:

Ask more to know more
Have an open mind
Connect with others
Accept and Commit

Follow this link in order to read the article for yourself.

Strong You

Kicking addiction is hard. But you’re stronger than the addiction. It takes great strength to take the steps that you have already taken in order to seek out information about alcohol abuse and addiction. You CAN do this.

Find link to photo here

A Country Girl’s Guide To The London Underground

You don’t need us to tell you that our capital city is about the best place for staycations. It has enough to keep anyone occupied. If you can’t afford to go overseas, then, a trip here may well be the ideal compromise. The trouble being, of course, that any trip to London involves the underground. While London locals are like ducks to water when it comes to getting around, outsiders often end up more like drowned fish. Though the systems are easy enough once you know how, a country girl in a big city can soon feel overwhelmed about which train to get.

Whether you’re hitting London solo or travelling with friends, the tube itself has the ability to ruin your trip. At least, it does if you don’t have a few navigation tricks up your sleeve. Lucky for you, we have some pointers which could see you gliding smoothly through the underground sea.

Get your bearings before you go

Picture Credit

No matter the reason for your London visit, the chances are that you know roughly where you need to go. It may be that you’re planning excursions to specific landmarks. You may even have bought London theatre tickets in advance which mean you need to be in a set place by a certain time. Either way, these are the clues which can help you solve the underground maze. All you need to do is get your bearings before you go. When you know where you need to be, then, you should head online to look at the many underground maps available. While this is no replica for the real thing, it ensures you at least get a feel for which line you need. All without the pressure you’d feel if you were working it out in the moment. That alone could save you.

Buy a day ticket

One of the best things you can do is buy an all-day ticket. If you plan to hit different destinations, this could save you a fortune anyway at just over £12. It can also ease a great deal of pressure. With a day ticket to hand, you can rest easy that hopping on the wrong underground isn’t the end of the world. No guard can fine you for your mistakes if you’ve paid for the privilege of riding any underground train that day. As such, you’ll be able to stay calm, get off at the next stop, and try again.

Picture Credit

Give yourself plenty of time

If you need to be somewhere fast, you’re more liable to hop on the first train which comes along. And, most often, that’ll get you lost. Even your day ticket won’t be able to save you from missing your prior engagement if this happens. Don’t let it. Instead, buy yourself plenty of time. Get the tube at least an hour before you think you need to. That way, you won’t rush onto the wrong train and end up getting totally off track for the duration of your trip.