115 articles Articles posted in Home

Why Nitrile Gloves are a Home Essential #GloveIsAllYouNeed

Nitrile GlovesAs you’ll know if you read my blog on the regular, I’m far from a domestic goddess. Housework is not massively high on my list of priorities, however we do like to maintain a good standard of cleanliness even if tidiness isn’t our forte! One thing that I do like to keep a stash of at home to help me with my domestic duties is disposable nitrile gloves – they’re something that I find absolutely essential for so many things, so I thought I’d share a few uses for them with you here:

Oven Cleaning

This is one that I learned the hard way – oven cleaner is VERY caustic and if it gets on your skin can cause blistering and irritation. I once got oven cleaner on my hands and my skin was in a bad way for days afterwards, so now I make a point of never even going near oven cleaner without wearing a good pair of thick nitrile gloves.

Cleaning Up After Pets

Even though we have a long poop-scooper, I always wear a pair of gloves when I’m cleaning up after Maureen, just for an added layer of protection. Animal droppings can cause myriad health problems and ensuring there’s no bacteria transfer is really important. We have also now added two budgies to the family, so gloves are worn when cleaning out their cage.

First Aid

This one, thankfully, is a much ‘fewer and farther between’ use for gloves, but nitrile gloves are so important when doing first aid. As well as ensuring that my hands are sterile when dealing with cuts and scrapes, it gives me an added layer of protection too, as I’m a bit rubbish with blood!

Car Maintenance

Another thing I’ve blogged about in the past is that I try to do as much car maintenance myself as I can. This means that changing batteries and bulbs, filling up oil and water and even changing wheels and spark plugs are all within my remit, and it it MESSY work! I discovered, after too many times of ending up with ground-in grease on my hands, wearing nitrile gloves while doing car stuff protects me from dirt and grease.

Hair Dying

Although I don’t tend to dye my own hair anymore (TOO risky!), Sausage has had pink, blue and purple dip-dyes for the last three years running, and gloves are absolutely essential for this. The ones that come in the box dyes are worse than useless, so I always end up raiding my own stash of gloves instead, so that I don’t end up with multi-coloured hands.

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.

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.

Get The House In Order Before Christmas

Get The House In Order Before ChristmasIt’s that time of year when our thoughts are filled with festive plans; where we’re going for Christmas dinner, what’s happening on Boxing Day, who will we see the New Year in with? If you’re someone who likes to host, you may also be thinking about getting your house into shape before the masses descend upon you for eating, drinking and general merriment. But what can you do to spruce the place up without spending a fortune? Here are some ideas:

Flooring

It doesn’t matter how perfect your paintwork is, if your flooring is worn or dated it can ruin the whole look of a house. One of the most economical and hardwearing ways to improve things is by putting down some laminate flooring. It won’t cost a fortune, it will last for decades and you won’t have to worry about someone spilling a glass of Christmas mulled wine on it (which you KNOW will happen if you put a new carpet down instead!)

De-Cluttering

Another thing which can massively improve the look of a house is de-cluttering. If you get rid of stuff you don’t want and keep surfaces as clear as possible, it can even make your rooms look bigger and improve your health because of the reduction in collected dust. If you sell anything of value, you could even make yourself a few quid in the process!

Woodwork

Sprucing up things like skirting boards and dado rails can give the room a much fresher look, and sometimes they simply need a wipe down with a wet cloth or Magic Sponge to get them looking nice again. Look at the bottoms of doors and the areas around handles which can often get grubby over time, especially if you’ve got kids or pets.

Sofas and Cushions

If your sofa cushion covers and throw cushion covers are washable, taking time to stick them through a wash cycle will have two positive benefits – as well as looking cleaner, they’ll smell nice too, which can make your whole living room smell nicer. If they’re compatible with fabric softener, opt for one of the strong smelling concentrated ones for maximum effect.

Carpet Cleaning

If you don’t have the option of ripping up your carpets and laying laminate (if you live in a rented property, for instance), hiring a carpet cleaner is a good alternative. It won’t cost much and will revive the carpets, leaving them looking cleaner and smelling much fresher. You can get spot stain removers and even anti-pet smell solutions which can get your carpet looking and smelling as good as new.

How a Dishwasher Changed My Life

Photo by Scott Umstattd on UnsplashPhoto by Scott Umstattd on Unsplash

When we moved here, to our little house in the countryside, I had to accept a few things in order to get the lifestyle we wanted. Firstly, I would have to do a fair bit of driving to get the girls to school. Nights out would either need to be very sober or cost a lot more if we factored in taxis. We’d have to accept that our internet went about the same speed as dial-up, circa 1997. And, perhaps most horrifyingly of all, I would have to accept that there wasn’t space in our kitchen for a dishwasher.

I’d never had a dishwasher until we lived in the house before this one, and getting one at the last house felt like all of my dreams had come true at once. You see, I’m not naturally domesticated, and the washing up was my BIGGEST nemesis. I absolutely hate washing up. And so does everyone else who lives here, so it would often go undone for days at a time, which as you can imagine, is a less than ideal situation.

I won’t lie, I had a bit of a meltdown at Husband and told him that something needed to change, so he put his thinking cap in action (as well as chucking a bit of cash at the situation!) and worked out that we could have a dishwasher if we did a bit of shuffling around in the kitchen.

We’re seriously lucky that we have some super handy and practical people in our family, so after a call to Husband’s aunty (although you could just hire a plumber) we worked out that we could put the dishwasher where our washing machine currently stood and do a bit of a retrofit with the pipes to move the washing machine along a different wall altogether.

We have a galley kitchen, so it wasn’t immediately obvious that we’d be able to do this, but sometimes it takes a new pair of eyes, and someone with a bit more expertise than yourself, to come up with this sort of solution.

Husband’s aunt and uncle ordered all of the parts they’d need and came round one evening a few months ago to get it all done. It only took them two or three hours, and by the time they finished, we had a shiny new dishwasher, ready to go, and a washing machine that actually worked MUCH better in its new position because the floor was more level and it was closer to the dryer, too.

It sounds dramatic when I say it’s changed my life, but I cannot understate this fact enough. Instead of permanently living in limbo between “don’t use the kitchen, I’ve just spent hours cleaning it” and “we’ve got no clean plates, we’ll have to have a takeaway”, the kitchen is permanently clean and tidy and we ALWAYS have things to eat and drink with.

This has also had other knock-on effects too – we eat far fewer takeaways, so we’re saving money and being healthier, both of which are really positive. It also means that the rest of the house is tidier, because there’s a place for all of the dirty plates, cups and cutlery to go. I also enjoy cooking SO much more now. Before, I’d cook a roast or bake a cake and then be faced with the reality that I had to hand wash every single item I’d used in the process. Now, it all goes straight in the dishwasher, nothing is untidy, and I can just enjoy the whole experience of being creative in the kitchen.

If you don’t think you have space for a dishwasher in your kitchen, it could be well worth getting a plumber or kitchen designer to have a look and give you a professional opinion as to whether there might be a way, and if you’re as undomesticated as me, it could genuinely change your life!

Staying Toasty Over the Winter

Photo by Sergei Solo on Unsplash

Yes, it’s on the way, alright! The mornings have a definite chill to them and the leaves are turning a lovely shade of russet. Aesthetics aside, the thermometer will start to head downwards and you’ll be eyeing up thick jumpers in shop windows. So, when the cold season comes around for real, should you pick up that thick jumper or turn the thermostat up?

That full tank, courtesy of Supersaveroil.ie, came pretty cheap over the summer, but you shouldn’t be so smug about it – you have to make it last until March! Here’s some good ideas to help you to do just that.

Add some new insulation

You could lose up to 60% of your hard-earned heat via the roof and walls of your home, so they both need to be insulated. You’ll need to use at least 10” of insulation material in the loft and you should examine your windows to look for – and fill in – any cracks.

Lower the heating by at least a degree

Just a degree lower can reduce your fuel oil usage by 10% and you shouldn’t even notice this, especially if you’ve used some insulation and less heat is escaping.

You can also start turning off your radiators 15 minutes or so before you go to bed. They’ll still be warm for a while and by the time they’ve cooled off you’ll be fast asleep with your hot water bottle!

Bleed all the radiators

You should do this at least once a year. Radiators develop air pockets and this prevents them from working properly – you’ll have to turn up the heating to get the benefit. Try to bleed them two or three times a year and especially before winter sets in.

Go retro

A great way to get the most out of your heat is to place old-fashioned insulation panels behind all your radiators. These panels look like stiff metallic bubblewrap and what they do is reflect heat back into your rooms, as otherwise it’d seep into the walls and simply get lost.

Try to service your boiler twice a year

Boilers are very complicated machines – they can develop airlocks, let in water, accumulate soot and sometimes, manage a combination of all three! Any one of these problems can reduce your boiler’s efficiency by up to 8%, so effectively, you’re wasting 8% of your fuel.

You should have a service at the end of spring and at the beginning of winter, ideally. However, if you can only manage one service, the autumn one is the one to book so you can identify and sort out problems before you’re left with no heating on the coldest day of the year.

Keep your supply safe

Fuel poverty is a problem in Ireland, with around 400,000 households spending more than 10% of their annual incomes on heating their homes. This has the knock-on effect of making fuel theft more common, so you’ll need locks on your tank at the very least. You should also keep your tank as hidden from view as possible and use motion-sensitive lights and alarms. You can also install tank sensors that alert you on your phone if oil levels suddenly drop.

5 Things to Look for When Buying Property Overseas

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Buying a property overseas is a major decision, but one more people than ever before are opting for. There are places abroad where the properties are much better prices, give better rental yields, but if you decide to live in them yourself, give you a better way of life. The cultures and rules can be very different to in the UK though, so you need to be certain that you can abide by the laws of your adopted country before moving there.

Why Do You Want The Property?

This is the first thing you need to know as it can affect the type of property you choose and which country you decide on. Are you intending to live in it yourself? If so you need to ask yourself about the sort of lifestyle you are after. Do you want calm and peace or to be in the hustle and bustle of a big city? Do you want to be by the sea or tucked away in the countryside? Do you want to live with the locals or be in a holiday resort with other expats?

Perhaps you are buying the property as an investment for the future, and in the meantime will use it as a holiday home for family and friends. Or maybe your aim is to rent it out to a long-term tenant so that you can reap the benefits of the income.

The All Important Location

The importance of the location you choose cannot be underestimated. People have different tastes and interests and you need to find somewhere that is suitable for you.

If you want to live in a tropical paradise you may opt for somewhere like Bali or Java. Both of these islands are in Indonesia and neither of them will cost you a fortune to live there. They have all the local amenities you would expect, and some of the friendliest people in the world. They also have delicious local foods, markets selling locally made crafts, watersports galore, and many other activities suitable for all ages.

If you have a thought of moving to Australia or New Zealand, you might have to reconsider, as they are extremely hard to get accepted into. You have to have a trade o profession that they have a shortage of, such as doctors or dentists, or be very rich indeed. There are a few other exceptions, but the list of those grows shorter every year.

Somewhere such as Singapore could be ideal, although such as Singapore is a bit misleading because this place is unique. It has the most stable government in the whole of Southeast Asia, who actively encourages businesses and immigration. With some of the lowest tax rates in the world, excellent education and the highest quality healthcare, Singapore has been accredited by several worldwide organizations for its high standards.

Apartments in areas such as Tampines – you can see some interesting Tampines facts here – are comfortable, reasonably priced and convenient for all the delights of Singapore. Of course, there are lots of other places like that and it is up to you to do your research and find the perfect place for you.

European locations might seem an easy option, but even they have restrictions on immigrants from outside other EU countries. For instance, Spain will not accept driving licenses from some other countries, New Zealand being one of them. Any New Zealander moving to Spain should take a driving test before using the roads.

Choose your location with care. The house or apartment you live in will be the home you make it, if you have got the location right.

Watch The Costs

You need to be aware that each country has its own set of costs when it comes to buying a property, and agent’s fees are sometimes handled differently. In some countries, it is the seller or owner that pays them, and in others, it is the buyer or the person renting that has to settle their bill. This can be a huge cost and more than the legal bills or local taxes.

If you have purchased the property to rent out, there could be maintenance costs, and who is going to pay the local taxes every year? As an example, in Spain, there is a yearly tax for rubbish collection that is usually paid by the landlord, but not always. You need to agree on everything with any tenant because these tax bills will be in your name as the owner.

Legal Experience

If you intend to use a property lawyer for the deal, you need to be certain that they are qualified to operate within the country you are buying in, and that they are experienced in dealing with international transactions. The alternative is to use a legal firm in the country itself, but beware of any language barrier because sometimes things get lost in translation. It is worth the extra cost of hiring a professional translator to attend any meetings with you. This translator or interpreter should be independent of the law firm you are using, as you will need them to translate any documents and paperwork as well.

Tax Implications

If renting out is your preferred option, you need to speak with a local tax expert. The tax systems vary greatly from country to country and you can end up with huge fines and penalties if it is not done correctly.

The laws regarding inheritance have to be considered as well, as there can be tax implications where these are concerned.

Legal and tax advice for the country you have chosen are crucial if you do not want to end up on the wrong side of the law.

Buying Property Abroad

The prospect of owning some property in another country can be an exciting one and should be totally trouble free if you go about it in the right way. Check the places out by spending some time there first, and take a look at things like the infrastructure as well as the properties. A good local bus service, for instance, can be a boon so that you can get around without having to drive everywhere.

Speak to people that already have property in the area and you will find the benefits and pitfalls, and don’t give up if your first location choice turns out not to be right. The world is a big place and there are plenty more locations you can consider.

Four Excellent Tips on How to Buy the Best Memory Foam Mattress

You may not often go to buy a mattress, but it sure is an important thing. This guide will make you save money and time and will help you in choosing a mattress that suits you best.

The first thing that you need to know is that there are many types of mattresses. Also, statistics say that people who tried memory foam mattresses and innerspring mattresses have, in the end, chosen the memory foam. They made this choice based on lots of aspects, such as motion isolation, pain relief and longevity. The memory foam ones are proven to last longer and have a way superior motion isolation than the innerspring ones do.

Can you buy a mattress without being tricked?

If you know how to manage this whole buying thing, you can avoid being tricked by the seller. That’s why it’s important for newbies to do some digging before.

Your mattress should meet your needs

It really depends on the bed you want to buy the mattress for – is it the bed in which you sleep in every night, or is it for the one placed in the guest room? Because if you’re looking for a mattress for the second choice, then you won’t really need a durable one. If you’re choosing a mattress for your bed, you should go for the one with memory foam, since it’s been proven to last longer. If your bed is a king-sized one, make sure you make the right measurements to have enough space, especially if you’re sleeping on the same bed with your significant other.

Do your homework

There are plenty of memory foam mattresses reviews on the internet, so all you have to do is dig a bit. See the opinion of other clients and make comparisons. If these reviews are verified by a third party, is even better – they’re more trustworthy, because they’re made by the clients.

There are also some rating sites which can also be helpful. You should take your time with these and read as much information as you can. It’s also a good idea to take notes to be sure of what you’re buying.

The types of memory foam

These mattresses come in all shapes and sizes. When choosing one, you should know about the various densities, but it’s good to also keep in mind that some of them consist of petroleum and others in plant-based oils. If you don’t want to deal with the chemicals, which are toxic or synthetic, you can always rely on plant-based mattresses.

The traditional mattress is the most common one and it’s made out of petroleum-based polyols, which are also known as synthetic foams.

The gel mattress can help you in preventing the heat retention, which represents a problem with the traditional mattress. The gel can be mixed with the foam, or can be found merely in the support and comfort layers. They’re primarily used to make the mattresses feel cooler. You should choose recycled mattresses, as they’re the best choice in this category.

The plant-based ones and quite new, and are more eco-friendly. They consist of soy-based polyols and are more natural. They also allow the airflow to make its presence felt through the mattress.

Rubbish Clearance Upcycling Classes Are Gaining Popularity In London

Upcycling rubbish clearance seems to have hit London with a splash! Everyone seems to be getting in on the fun, from those just hoping to save an old family heirloom to others who staunchly believe in using upcycling as a springboard to a zero waste society.

In fact, upcycling has become so popular in England’s capital that upcycling classes are now popping up all over the city. The mantra of the movers and shakers in this London movement seems to be, “Renew Don’t Buy New!” Rubbish clearance is no long considered “junk.” It is now the muse of a burgeoning waste free culture — and judging from the before and after photo galleries online, Londoners have discovered their creative mojo!

Before you decide to take an upcycling class, you should know that the activity is highly contagious and its “chicness” is spreading like wildfire. Among the most popular upcycling classes are those that teach participants how to upholstery and reupholstery old furniture that was being discarded as rubbish clearance. In some cases, you’d never guess how raggedy the old furniture was after the “upcycle” is complete — but of course the first thing you learn in upcycling classes is to take a “before picture” for proof!

Some Londoners who take their first upcycling class just want to save money (or make money) by rescuing their own rubbish clearance. However, many take that first class and then end up getting hooked on the tranquility these upcycling projects bring them. Some people claim it’s a zen experience. Others thoroughly enjoy meeting interesting and eclectic people. In this regard, it’s almost like a pub experience, only you have something to show for it, other than a pint breath! Some students who meet up in these classes end up collaborating on other upcycling projects together.

Upcycling rubbish clearance is also a source of pride as participants end up with a really cool object that was salvaged from an old piece of junk. They can show the “before picture” and talk about how their upcycling creation would have ended up in the landfill rotting away producing greenhouse gases and leaking toxic leachate into the ground water! They can talk about how they breathed new life and new vision into an old piece of junk. They can say they renewed the soul or spirit of the object or perhaps reincarnated it into a higher purpose!

Sometimes upcycling classes show up in the most unexpected places. Last February, the Royal Air Force Museum hosted an upcycling class with volunteers from the Loop at Grahame Park, piloted by Groundwork London and the London Community Reuse Network (LCRN). This group is funded by the European Commission’s LIFE+ Programme, not something you’d normally expect to see at the Royal Air Force Museum but it was a marriage made in heaven.

Some of the patrons who came to see the Royal Air Force Museum ended up taking the upcycling rubbish clearance class while people who came specifically to take the class ended up enjoying a museum they probably would not have visited otherwise. While participants in the class learned how to decoupage and tips on how to stencil, perhaps the greatest thing they learned was the joy of experiencing something new with a diverse group of people.

At the London Upcycling Show last November, there were many different upcycling classes offered, as well as inspiring upcycling exhibits. Rrubbish clearance that had once been thought of as useless was transformed into something that people highly desired. Afro Retro showed people how to convert Christmas jumpers, often tossed in the rubbish clearance bin after the holiday, into something more fashionable that could be worn year round. ThinkFOUND Furniture showed people how to make furniture out of scaffold boards.

The London Upcycling Show also featured unique and challenging upcycling rubbish clearance competitions with cash prizes. However, the camaraderie forged during these events meant so more more than the money prizes! Many contestants from last year are already planning the to attend the third London Upcycling Show coming up this fall and it promises to have even more participants. While some Londoners originally though that upcycling was just a fad, the growing success of events like these are proving that upcycling has staying power!

If you live in the UK and want to find an upcycling class in London or elsewhere, just Google it! The Old School Club, started by an entrepreneurial Mum, offers upcycling classes on sewing and upholstery. They even offer special upcycling classes for kids and upcycling parties for adults! London’s Obby was recently offering seventeen upcycling classes in their mix. Some people even seem to be turning upcycling rubbish clearance into a “money hobby!” Gumtree recently listed thirty-six upcycled living room furniture pieces for sale.

Many UK companies are catching the upcycling spirit as well! Clearabee is one of the best examples of this. Clearabee offers several rubbish clearance services. However, instead of taking the rubbish they clear to the landfill, or fly tipping it as so many others do, they make a concerted effort to divert the rubbish they collect from the landfill. They give top priority to upcycling whenever possible, following by resale/reuse and then recycling. In fact, Clearance upcycles, reuses, or recycles ninety percent of the rubbish they clear, giving them the best track record in the entire UK.

Using the services of Clearabee is the same as supporting upcycling, reusing, and recycling! Wouldn’t it be grand if one day our great great grandchildren read an old newspaper article from 2018 on “waste removal” and ask, “What’s that?” The London upcycling bug heads us in that direction for sure!

Ways to Jazz up your Shed

A shed is a main focal point of your garden and can sometimes look a bit boring or out of place if not maintained properly.  Instead of being something picturesque to look at, it can become a bit of an eyesore. In reality – it doesn’t need to be that way.  When people look around your garden shed, they should be looking at it because it looks great and ties in with your garden and personality.  We have put together some ways in which you can jazz up your shed and make it your own.

First Step is, Choose the Right Shed

There are lots of sheds out there, so make sure you choose the right one for your project.  Wooden sheds are usually the most popular.  These are easily adaptable, and have a traditional, rustic feel that people seem to like.  You can check out Buy Sheds Direct’s range for some great and affordable options – and this will also make sure it is of the highest quality and incredibly durable as they’re one of the top recommended companies.  A shed is an investment in your garden, once you have put all that work into it – you don’t want to have to go changing it.  Once you purchase your shed, it will be with you for a long time.

Don’t be Afraid to Be Bold

Don’t be afraid to be bold when it comes to selecting a colour.  Wooden sheds are easily painted, and you can choose whatever colour you like.  You can choose a colour that reflects your personality, and or go with something vibrant to make it stand out.  Although traditional wood can look beautiful and traditional, a lick of paint to mix things up definitely won’t hurt.  Alternatively, you might want to use your garden shed as a bit of a haven, in which case – you might want to select a nice cream or pastel colour if you are more traditional.  The good thing is, you can always repaint – the look isn’t permanent.

Add a Window Box

A window box is a lovely touch to a garden shed and can definitely jazz it up.  Choose your favourite flowers – and use them to fill up a lovely decorative window box.  If you have chosen a light coloured shed, you may want some vibrant flowers to offset this and add character and colour.  This could also be a nice gardening project for you in the summer time and give you an excuse to spend more time outdoors.

Include Some Lighting

To create a nice atmosphere, it could be a good idea to add some lighting to your shed.  You can get some great outdoor lights that can be used, however an increasingly popular trend has been fairy lights.  It will have the Hansel and Gretel approach – and look like something out of a fairytale.  If you are having a garden party or a barbeque in the evening – this can be a great way to set the tone and draw attention to your beautifully decorated shed.

Create a Pathway

People will be more likely to look at your creation if they can see something leading up to it.  A beautiful pathway can be a great way to draw attention to the focal point of your garden. There are lots of different options when it comes to this.  You can get some great stone pathways that will define the shed even more, and they are also relatively cost-effective as well as easy to maintain – so there is little work for you to do.  This can also improve the look of your garden in general.

Create a Landscape around your Shed

If you want to make your shed stand out, you need to make sure that the surroundings are right.  You could do things simply like mowing and shaping your lawn, or else you can go for something a little different and create your own vegetable patch.  There is nothing better in terms of a garden project like growing your own vegetables.  You can cook food with vegetables from the garden, and it can be a great activity for the kids too!

Showcase a Workspace

If you like a little bit of DIY, or some great garden projects – there is no reason why you can’t showcase this outside your shed.  It could be that you are potting plants or doing something else that will place focus on it and show off your lovely plants!

A shed doesn’t need to be a simple storage solution for your garden, it can be much more than that.  Put your own stamp on it, and it can be a great talking point for guests and visitors.

Are You Ready To Buy A House?

Buying a house is a big step to make. It’s the time when you can exercise your true independence, with all the choices and decisions on your side, as well as have all the say in where your money goes. And because of that, it’s something a lot of people look forward to in their life! We can’t blame hordes of young couples and burgeoning families for having huge house plans, right down to the shade of the skirting board around the edge of their lovingly cluttered living room.

But there’s a lot you’re going to have to go through before you get to this stage; mainly, you’re going to have to be able to manage every facet of buying and running your own household without anything to go easy on you the way a rented apartment is easier to manage! And whilst getting both you and your house ready to sell is hard, being ready to buy a new home is still going to be twice as hard! After all, there’s a much bigger chance of a loss occurring here, and that’s never a good start to settling down!

So let’s stop and ask ourselves a few questions before we take the leap into buying a house. Here’s some of the best ones to consider first (but this isn’t an exhaustive list by any means!).

A sight a lot of people dream about… Not something you’d want to make a mistake over purchasing however!

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Are Your Bills All Paid Up?

Because if they are, it’s a good sign you’re managing daily living from month to month, and you’re unlikely to experience any trouble in continuing with this lifestyle. And if that’s already comfortable on your budget, then maybe you could upgrade a little? Move up in life with the size of your home, and finally get those sea views from the top window you’ve always wanted? After all, being able to afford the amenity consumption you’re going to be using for the rest of your life at such a steady rate already is always a good sign! Don’t worry, the amount of money you’re paying out rarely changes.

So if the bills coming in and out of your household are paid immediately from your direct debit, and you’re still storing about 20% of your income away in a savings account, you’ve got some breathing room to get used to standing in a bigger living space with bigger living responsibilities. But of course, only you know how finely you’re cutting it each month with your cash flow, so this readiness is completely up to you to decide. Just let yourself think about this symbolism for a while…

Could You Afford a Mortgage?

Mortgages. The scariest monster of the real estate world. The idea that stops a lot of people from finally going all in with their savings on a house of their dreams. The mortgage is the loan that guarantees you’re going to be living in comfort in a space you’ve been building up to your whole adult life; you know, as long as you have the ability to keep up with repayments and the right projection when you head down to the bank with your current credit score.

So, can you afford a mortgage? With all the different loaning options and repayment amounts out there, who is to really say? Well, your local bank is going to have a huge stake in this, as well as any trustworthy lender you can find online. And most of these people run on the same loan calculating formula, even if you don’t know what that is. Sometimes it feels like you need to have at least ten degrees in the finance sector to understand anything to do with money and how it makes the world go round!

But there’s a quick check you can make yourself here, as long as you have the information at your fingertips. Open up your email account and get some of your records out: it’s prediction time for your household! Use a mortgage and loan calculator to make sure you’re in with the right chance for affording that home you saw in the estate agent’s window, the one you’ve been practically drooling over every time you passed it in the street, and sneakily checked no one had put their own interest down on it yet.

Are You Itching for a Change?

Change is one of the most revitalising things in this world, and that means a lot of people are itching for it. However, a lot of people can’t afford to scratch such a tremendous itch like this, and likely won’t be able to for a long time. And that’s an unfortunate reality of the real estate world, and one you’re probably worried the most about, even amongst all the changes you’re going to have to adapt to when you actually do move.

But when people want a change, and truly want one, they’re going to go out of their way to make sure it happens. And whilst that might not take the form of being able to move and live elsewhere quite yet, it’s still an effective process that’ll change the way they think about their home. Take a leaf out of their book! If you’re in a position to buy a house, and you absolutely know for sure it’s what you want because of how stale your current surroundings are, this is the time for you to make your move. It’s a little point, but it’s often your emotional and spiritual wellbeing that tips people over the edge when it comes to purchasing a house of their own.

Feeling Ready Yet?

There’s no harm in not being sure, but make sure you don’t take too long to think about it. Ruminating over the same decision for years on end is never a good way to live your life! Take your chance now if you know you’re in the position to make the right household change.