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Top Reasons Why Dogs are Good for Kids

Top Reasons Why Dogs are Good for KidsIf you know us, you’ll know that we’re a family animal lovers. Husband and I got Chuck in 2006, just a couple of months after we got married and he wa a huge part of our lives for 13 years. We’ve had other pets over the years, too – Happy the hamster, Maureen our Staff-Frenchie-Boxer cross, Bagel and Biscuit the budgies, plus various dogs we’ve fostered over the years.

We’re huge believers that pets make a home complete and that it’s great for kids to have pets too, as it teaches them responsibility…even if it is always be cleaning out Bagel’s cage instead of Sausage! With this in mind, I thought I’d share some reasons that dogs are great pets for kids (and why investing in scratch-proof flooring is a good idea if you want one!)

Bonding

Having a pet helps to build family bonds as animals are often the focus of family activities. From walking the dog together to grooming or feeding the pet, these simple but enjoyable tasks allow everyone to slow down, enjoy each other’s company and communicate with one another.

Exercise

Having a dog means that you have to go for walks. Come rain or shine, dog need exercise, no excuses. You have to remember, that as well as for their physical health, dogs need exercise for their mental health. When they’re at home, they can’t sit and read a book or watch the TV, that’s their equivalent of getting out and having a sniff around the neighbourhood! But all this is great, as it encourages you to be more active, too.

Responsibility

The daily commitment of caring for an animal is a great way to teach kids the importance of dependability and responsibility. To be a dog’s provider is an honour that requires a lot of patience and work. We make sure that Sausage and BB help to keep Maureen’s water bowl clean and refilled, put her food down, and make sure her bed is nicely plumped up for her to rest in.

Mental Health

It’s actually been scientifically proven that spending just 15-30 minutes with your dog can help you feel more calm and relaxed, reducing stress and increasing happiness. Playing with your pup increases your brain’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, both of which are neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and tranquility. Just having a dog around can give your mental health a huge boost.

Comfort

Having a dog can be a huge source of comfort in so many situations. When my kids are ill, Maureen (as did Chuck) will always be the first one to sit with them while they’re recovering on the couch, she’s always there with face licks when the girls are crying and she lets us know if anyone o much as breathes wrong within a 100m radius of the house. She’s a huge source of comfort for us all and loves nothing more than a snuggle with her pack…except maybe for a 5 mile walk where she gets to chase pheants!

Getting the Best Broadband Deals for You Right Now

Getting the Best Broadband Deals for You Right NowPhoto by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

You have to look at what you can do to save money and get the best possible outcome from the decisions you make. This means you are going to have to think about what you can do to get the best broadband deals, and there are a lot of things that will help you to achieve this. Make sure you focus on the right choices that will improve your broadband usage right now.

There are so many factors that can help you make the most of the broadband you are using, and getting this right is crucial. Now, when you are choosing a modern broadband package, there are a lot of factors that you are going to need to get right, and this is important to keep in mind right now. Here are some of the best ideas you need to use to get the perfect deal for your broadband today.

What Deals are Available?

The first thing to look at is what deals are available when it comes to choosing broadband options. This is something you have to make sure you get right moving forward and there are a lot of things that play a part in this. Getting the right deals can help you to save money, as well as making sure you have the best possible broadband connection. This can be essential for improving your broadband usage and making your life easier in the process as well.

No Contract Broadband

There are a lot of factors that play a part in helping you to find the right sort of broadband, and the best thing you can do is to look at no contract broadband deals. These are an increasingly popular form of modern broadband deals, and an excellent way of being able to get the broadband you want without having to enter into lengthy and potentially expensive contracts. No contract broadband is broadband that has a rolling contract of 30 days, and this is something to think about.

Choose the Right Provider

If you can choose the right provider you are going to be able to fix so many issues and ensure that you have the perfect broadband deals for you moving forward. This is something you need to make sure you get right, and there are so many great things you can do that will help you with this. Looking for the best broadband providers is important, and there are a lot of things you can do that will help you when it comes to finding the perfect supplier. Consider what they have to offer you, and what you need to look for when it comes to broadband providers.

Making the most of the broadband choices that are available on the market is something that is really important for the future. You need to make sure you are doing what you can to find the right deals for the future. There are so many factors that you need to consider when it comes to making the most of this. Think about what you can do to achieve this, and work toward making sure you get the best possible broadband deal moving forward.

5 Tips to Financing your Next Home

Everybody, once you become an adult, you would love to enjoy your private space. Having your own home is a dream come true for most people in the world. However, as we all know, that does not come easy. You have to be ready to work for it.

Money is the main factor that can limit you from making a down payment or paying the new house in full. You may need some help in this area. This article focuses on giving you five tips 

that you will need the next time you are making an investment of this magnitude.

Do you need a new home?

Any dream is achievable. However, you have to sit down and analyze whether you require this new home or not.

One of the things you have to analyze is your income. Most lenders will give you reasons why you should take a mortgage. You should nevertheless think about the risk that you are about to undertake. Even if you qualify for a particular mortgage limit, it does not mean that you can pay it off in time.

Thus, if buying a house can wait for some time, you had better do so.

Preparing to acquire the property

Once you think that you are ready to invest in a new home, you have to think of ways of investing in this new asset. If you do not have the ability to pay in full, then your other option is to look for a mortgage.

Before you even start the process, ensure that you prepare beforehand. For instance, you could try to work on your credit score. If it is low, then you lower your chances of getting a mortgage. However, if you can work on getting up, then you can increase your chances by a considerable margin.

A good credit score, by the way, can range between 650 and over. If it is below that, you can work towards improving it.

Look for various borrowing options

Here is where many people make mistakes. You can get the wrong option if you do not shop around to see the various options available. There are many lenders in this space, which means that you have to be keen when making a decision.

Here are the mortgage options you can consider:

– Use a private lender

If you have a poor score on your credit, you can look for a person or a private business that offers that. This is a good option for people that do not have documents required to acquire a mortgage.

– Make a deal with a homebuilder

Most home builders provide in-house mortgages, which you could also use. Nevertheless, you have to be keen when agreeing with these types of lenders.

– Using FHA mortgage

Most federal banks support these loans because they are affordable to many. Even when you have a bad credit score, you could get the mortgage as long as you make a 10% down payment.

Other financing options include rent to own, using your retirement account and crowdfunding.

Final remarks

Before you make any purchases, you have to ensure that you analyze your current situation. For instance, with a new home, you may have to adjust your current budget to help pay for the mortgage you just committed to repaying it. 

Remember also that people take years to finish paying off a mortgage. Therefore, ensure that you make the right decisions and consult professionals in this area.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Making Our Current Home Work for Us

Making Our Home Work for UsPhoto by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Next week, Sausage starts senior school. She turned eleven a few weeks ago and suddenly seems so grown up. She currently shares a bedroom with her sister, which was their choice when we moved in, but a lot can change in the space of four years and I think Sausage is craving her own space. It will be even more important when she has homework to do and needs a quiet place to do it, so we’re having a re-jig of the whole home, to make it work for us.

We have three bedrooms in our home – one for Husband and I, one for the girls and another which is used as an office/dressing room/junk room. Sausage is going to have the room that Husband and I are in so that she and BB have rooms which are the same size, while Husband and I will move into his office and the dining room will become the office.

Both girls would like their bedrooms decorated too, and their colour choices could not be a better illustration of their differing personalities. Sausage wants her bedroom to be purple with black accents, and BB wants hers to be even more pink than it already is! Everyone says they look alike, but I always counter that with “…but their personalities are VERY different!” We’re buying a new bed for Sausage as she’s currently in bunk beds with her sister, and she’s looking forward to choosing one.

At the moment, what we call “the dining room” isn’t actually used for anything close to dining. It’s where Sausage’s budgie, Bagel, lives, as well as the family’s bikes. Our shed isn’t massively secure, so we keep the bikes inside, but this will definitely need to change. As well as a bed, we need to invest in some sort of bike storage for the home, like a shed or lockable bike box to keep everything safe and secure.

We need to do a few other things around the house, too. Our kitchen floor needs replacing and we have the tiles, we just need to get around to actually laying them! Our upstairs bathroom is in a state of disrepair, just because it’s quite old, so we’re hoping our landlady will take care of some of that this year too.

I think the only room we’re not doing anything to is the living room! However, once we get all of the moving around and rearranging done, our home will work a whole lot better for us.

Sausage and BB Design Their Dream Home

It’s been pretty rainy and rubbish here for the last few days and after the madness of last week (Sausage turned 11 on Tuesday, so we’ve had playdates, sleepovers, shopping days as well as a barbecue at the weekend for our friends’ 40th) we’ve opted to spend some time chilling at home. You know what kids are like, though, and even chilling at home means finding pretty constant ways to entertain them, so I thought I’d ask them to tell me what their dream house would be like, and write about it here!

A Personal Lift

While brainstorming their ideas, both girls decided that their dream home would have bespoke passenger lifts – Sausage to transport her dozens of dogs and BB to get her pushchairs upstairs because she wants a dozen babies!  I can see my retirement years being spent doing a LOT of baby sitting and dog sitting…

Walk-In Wardrobe

Despite neither of my kids being massively girly girls, they both LOVE clothes, and another thing they agreed on (I can’t believe they’ve agreed on so much to be honest!). When Sausage mentioned that she wanted a massive walk-in wardrobe, BB decided that she definitely wanted one of those, too. They’d better both have good careers for all this stuff!

Conservatory

I’m not sure what it is about the women in our family, but we all love a conservatory. Maybe it’s the feeling that you’re sitting outside but manage to be warm and dry at the same time? Either way, both girls decided that a conservatory would be high on their list of demands when designing their dream house.

Theatre Room

In all honesty, we’re only just at a point where BB will sit still for long enough to watch a whole film. She’s okay at the cinema because she can’t get up and wander off but at home, it’s a struggle. However, she’s recently decided that she does like watching movies with us (even if we have to spend ten minutes convincing her beforehand!) and both girls agreed that a theatre room would be a great addition to their dream house.

Indoor Swimming Pool

They might not be overly keen on school swimming lessons (who likes being given two minutes to get your school uniform back on to your still-damp body?!) but both girls love being in the water. My dad kindly bought them a pool for the garden this summer and they’e had great fun using it so far, so they agreed that an indoor pool that they could use all year would be a must-have in their fantasy house.

What would your kids have in their dream house?

How to Add a Touch of Luxury to Your Home

Photo by Sidekix Media on Unsplash

With house prices on the rise and wages seemingly stagnating, more people than ever are choosing to renovate and extend their current properties, rather than moving elsewhere. There’s scope to add value to your home when making big changes and a lot of this potential lies in the quality of the finish, so with that in mind, we thought we’d talk to you about 5 ways to add a luxury feel to your home:

Bathrooms

Anyone can go and buy a budget bathroom from a massive store and give their washroom a nicer feel, but the luxury possibilities of a bathroom are one of the biggest draws for a buyer. Lots of people will consider buying a house with terrible decor everywhere else, as long as the bathroom has amazing fittings. Insignia Steam Showers are one example of high-end fixtures that will really add value to your home.

Curtains

Cheap window coverings might do for a while, but thick, luxurious drapes will make your home feel a million bucks. Opt for soft colours like light grey or mink, which are neutral but elegant and this will give every room the feel of a high-class hotel room.

Ornaments NOT Clutter

While we aren’t suggesting minimalism for your home (it’s not hugely practical for families, is it?), decluttering your rooms and then dressing them with carefully chosen ornaments and other dressings will help to give your house a “put together” feel, rather than making people feel like they’ve walked into a jumble sale!

Kitchen

A kitchen is another huge expense, but you don’t have to rip it out and start again to give your kitchen an update. My gorgeous friend Jen from Love Chic Living, and person I turn to for all of my interiors inspiration, actually painted her kitchen units and replaced her tiles and you wouldn’t believe that it’s even the same kitchen. Read her post to see the completed makeover.

Plants

Plants…well cared for plants, make a room look great. However, if you’re the sort of person who could kill the hardiest cactus from 100 paces, why not opt for some fake foliage? There are some incredibly real-looking fake plants out there these days, and apart from a little flick over with a duster every now and then, you don’t need to do a thing to care for them.

How to Reduce the Stresses of Moving, by a Serial Mover

How to Reduce the Stresses of Moving, by a Serial MoverThe average person has moved house 5 times in their life, which means that Husband and I are WELL above average – I’m currently in house number 14 and I think Husband is around the same! If moving this many times has taught us anything, it’s that there are a few things that you can do to reduce the stress of moving house. Happy Beds recently conducted a survey of 2,000 people from across the country to find out how buying and selling has affected their kip and discover what moving issues are keeping them up at night.

Mick Fallon from Howells Solicitors has said that ‘the secret to minimising stress when moving home is to make the process as simple and straightforward as possible.”

The top reasons given for loss of sleep and moving stresses are damaged furniture, scratched walls and not being able to fit their furniture through doorways. Here are a few things that we do to reduce stress:

Keep a Box of Essentials

There’s nothing worse than getting everything moved in and realising you’ve got to dive through 20 boxes to find the kettle or your toothbrush! Think about the things you’ll DEFINITELY need once you’re in and keep them all to one side. Being able to enjoy a cuppa after a long and stressful day is worth it’s weight in gold.

Get Help

Husband and I have done so many moves and so many combinations of how we’ve moved, from packing everything ourselves and driving the van, to hiring a company to do all the driving for us, and there’s absolutely NO doubt that delegating as much as you can makes the process less stressful. If you’re lucky enough to have family and friends nearby who can help, try to draught as many as them in as possible to help, and if you can afford to hire a moving company to do it all for you, DO IT!

Pack Snacks!

Moving house is tiring work and by the end of the day, you’ll probably be starving, but not really in a position to start cooking. Pack a bag of snacks containing things like bottles of water, Pot Noodles, packs of dried fruit and other non-perishable stuff that doesn’t need to be refrigerated or require cooking. If you were feeling particularly hungry, you could also slip a couple of takeaway menus in the bag so that you can just order something for yourselves!

Declutter in Advance

Clearing your home of any old, unwanted or unnecessary items before your move can save you time and stress, but it can also save you money! By donating, recycling or throwing away things you don’t need, you’re cutting down on the amount of stuff you need to move. The less stuff you have, the fewer hours you need your removals team for.

How to Use a Video Wall in Your Home

Take a number of smaller screens – televisions, computer monitors, etc. – arrange them in a continuous display to form one large screen, and you have a video wall. Sound simple? It is! But the flexibility gained by using several smaller screens instead of one large one allows you to put a video wall in nearly any room in your house! Below are some of the more common arrangements.

Lounge/Living room

Most people use their lounge more for television and film watching than just about anything else. But the old “tv-and-sofa” configuration is tired and a bit blasé. Shake things up by installing a video wall! Mounting the screens flat against the wall saves space, and with a large enough setup, you can easily transform your lounge into a mini-home cinema.

Kitchen

If you’re getting much of your culinary inspiration from cooking shows and instructional videos (and let’s face it, who isn’t?), then adding a video wall to the kitchen makes perfect sense. Add a few screens above your preferred countertop, and you’ve got the ideal way to watch that one video on how to properly slice an onion – for the 100th time.

Game Room

Avid about your video games? The latest high-tech screens forming a giant wall in your game room will certainly improve your experience, if not your abilities. Video games and video walls are the perfect fit, allowing you to get the most out of any game.

Home Office

Another common application of a video wall is in the home office. The multiple screens in a video wall allow you to pull up the most recent project on one screen, presentation on another, and that last-minute memo from your boss as well.

These are only a few of the many options for video walls in your home. You could add a smaller video wall to your bedroom for a lazy night in, or even install one in a sheltered patio or glasshouse. You’re sure to find a perfect place for a video wall in your home as well!

how to use a video wall in your home.

How to Use a Rug in a Child’s Bedroom

You’re finally ready to move your daughter or son into their own room – but it needs a bit of redecorating, first! Adding a rug is one of the easiest ways to personalize your child’s room, while adding some function and comfort as well.

These days, rugs are available in a wide variety of materials and colours. Remember to choose something that is comfortable on your child’s skin, particularly their knees. Consider a rug that has a particular design on it to add an element of fun and adventure to the room – a rug with a built-in roadmap, or perhaps a forest scene. Or you may opt for something classic and quality, like a beautiful wool rug.

For more information on these and other considerations for rugs in a child’s bedroom, see the infographic below from Land of Rugs: