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Sustainable Idea for Your Next Home Renovation

sustainable energy from solar panels

Solar panels

As a homeowner, it’s only natural that you constantly want to upgrade your home.

Investing in the time and money that comes with owning a house is a long-term project that you take pride in, and seek to evolve more as you grow older.

Over time, little problems grow bigger and furnishing styles become out of date. Changes will always need to happen, however, they can be sustainable. Make your house a little greener with these sustainable renovation ideas:

Solar Panelling

Energy solutions are getting expensive. While solar paneling may seem like an investment, it’s one that will save you money in the long run, especially if you opt for the full-service in-house from the company who fits them.

Whether you are looking to generate energy for electricity or heating, solar panel energy is one of the fast evolving technologies on the sustainable market. The number of solar panels that you need for your household is dependent on the number of people in your home, how much energy you use and the power of the panels you select.

The panels are low maintenance and come with technologies that allow you to store excess energy that you don’t use. This investment is a cost-effective improvement that will power your house into the future.

Renewable Heating Ideas

As the weather extremes worsen and heating costs soar, there is no time like the present to seek out renewable and sustainable heating solutions.

Insulation should cover every part of your house, from the roof to your walls and floor! Any gaps left during this process could see your energy bills soaring and even creating further costs as moisture gets through. Whether you choose spray foam or covers, reviewing insulation regularly will help you to save some money come winter.

Who knew you could help save the planet while keeping your house warm?

Heat can be generated from the ground, and now there is an affordable way to generate that into your home.

Renewable, low in carbon, and very eco-friendly; ground source heat pumps are ideal for homeowners with a lot of land.

Pipes are laid in loops underground to extract heat from beneath the surface and generate it into energy to heat your home from the ground up. Once the pipes are down, the soil that covers it will still be able to grow into your vegetable patch or grass, so you’ll never have to think about it!

Reusing Materials

As a society, there is an urgent need to acquire new things, particularly when it comes to home renovations. However, materials, be it bricks, wood, stone or soil, are waiting to be reclaimed.

For your next home renovation, get creative with how you source the materials, you’ll be surprised by how much money you save. Re-used materials are a great addition to older homes, ensuring that you are creating a fitting look with the style that age already achieves.

However, you shouldn’t rule out re-used materials with new homes too. Creating a country home feel or industrial look is effortless with resourced materials.

When finding materials to reclaim, remember that no matter where you find your goods, you will have to get permission before you take them – even if they appear to be abandoned.

Get creative, resourceful and sustainable with your home improvements. From solar energy to innovative heating installments, you’ll soon reap the benefits of these eco-conscious housing solutions.

5 Reasons To Buy A Second Home

Have you ever considered how buying a house is going to make your future feel secure? What about buying another one? Most people believe that when it comes to home ownership, we only ever get one shot at it. The thing is, if you’re in a privileged position that you can afford a second home, why not get one?

Putting your money into property is a smart decision. You might not want to live in a second home – speaking to The Mortgage Centre about being a landlord is a good place to start here – but that doesn’t mean that you can’t have one. There are a lot of great reasons that you should think about buying another house. Here are some of those reasons to help you to consider it properly:

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  1. The investment. Is there really more of a reason than this one? Of course, but it’s the best one! You get to put money into something that is a tangible asset. It’ll add value and validity over time, and putting your money into other options may not be as good an idea as putting it into a house. A house will grow with you and you can choose to sell it or take equity one day is totally your choice.
  2. The taxes. There are plenty of ways that you can write off the tax in your home and avoid tax penalties as a homeowner, and once you know what they are, you can be sure that your reason to buy a second home solidifies. You can get benefits on the interest payments of the house loan, and you will be able to reap the rewards that come with paying for a house like your new one! 
  3. The chance for retirement. When you have a house, it’s a gift to yourself in retirement. By that point, the chances are that you’re going to own your home outright by then, and that’s a gift in itself. You need to be able to enjoy your retirement, and a second home gives you a brand new space to enjoy – perhaps you’ll buy it abroad? If not, you can make it a fixed source of income to supplement your retirement income you have saved and ready to go. 
  4. A vacation rental. Speaking of a second source of income, you could follow the footsteps of many others and buy a house that is rented out and acts as a second source of income for you. You can invest in a property that is in a popular spot, and this will be the perfect addition to your future. 
  5. You can move between two. If you choose to buy a property in another city, you can choose to live half of the time in one city and half the time in another. It’s totally up to you and will save you money in hotel costs. It’s a great option if you want to move around and travel. 

Buying a second home should be on your radar, and you now know why!

 

5 Alternative Materials for Modern Home Renovation

Gone are the days when houses were all built using bricks and mortar – these days, there are MANY alternatives to the usual house building materials when embarking upon a home renovation. Many of these alternatives are much better for the enviromnment and some even go back to old fashioned methods which seem like they should have dissapeared long ago! With this in mind, I thought I’d take a look as some surprising materials that you can use when renovating or building your property:

GRP Grating

Some of the materials whioch people are now using in their homes were originally designed for more inductrial settings. GRP grating is a non slip flooring constructed from fibreglass, and is an ideal and cost effective alternative to traditional grating materials like wood, mild steel and stainless steel. It’s got many different uses and you could use it in many different ways when renovating your space.

shipping containers home renovation

Shipping Containers

Years ago, Husband and I say a programme on the TV where people were using shipping containers as the bones of their home and we loved the idea! Instead of needing to build from the ground up, shipping containers were placed on a foundation and bolted together, then made livable on the inside. I’ve since seen loads of people doing it and some companies even pre-fabricate them and deliver them ready to go. It’s super green too as you’re recycling old materials.

Bamboo

If you’ve spend any time on the internet in the last decade, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen those crazy videos of the builders using bamboo scaffolding to climb up and down huge buildings when on site. However, bamboo can be used for more than just scaffolding. Thanks to its composition, bamboo is extremely durable. It has no rays or knots, unlike wood, so it can withstand more stress and it’s also better suited to glueing than hardwood.

Straw Bales

Taking things back to several hundred years ago, lots of people are building eco homes using a combination of straw bales and lime plaster. The process can take a while and it’s not always cheaper if you’re paying someone else to do it as not many builders have the specific skills needed but the result is fantastic. The combination of materials is also a good insulator and is said to keep buildings warmer than your average building materials.

Wood

Although timber based homes are not commonplace in the United Kingdom anymore, their significance is again being realised. Those living in the large cities among the noise and pollution feel the need to spend a few days in a relaxed environment that will allow them to live a calm and healthy life. Wooden houses offer these advantages and accordingly there has been a growing demand for wooden houses in the UK as a second or holiday home.

Great Reasons Why You Should Live At Home As A College Student


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Living away from home and at your university can be exciting and add to your experiences. However, staying at home can be just as fun- and beneficial! Statistics show that UK universities had 1.9 million students living in both provider-maintained accommodations and private halls last academic year. This means rent prices are going up (as demand increases) amongst other accommodation issues. Yes, staying at home does sound cool, but there are so many perks you’d be gaining! Here are a few.

Save more money

As a college student, living on a budget is essential. Imagine how easier your time in school would be when you don’t have to worry about rent, paying for maintenance fees, or even food? Well, that’s what staying at home does for you. It is considerably cheaper and budget-friendly staying at home. You can save more money and avoid failing in debt like many college students.

Improve and keep healthy friendships

It’s a common misconception that college students who stay at home don’t make any friends. Even though you may stay at home, you can still meet and befriend many new people. It also helps you keep the friendship fresh and healthy as you can avoid more “bad” friends and limit your exposure to peer pressure. Additionally, it also encourages healthy space between you and them as you are not easily accessible- unless you want to be. 

So, don’t hesitate to take the time to make new friendships and build your existing ones; staying at home shouldn’t make a difference. 

Avoid flatmate troubles

If you’re staying out of the house, you are most likely going to get a flatmate. A flatmate or roommate is an excellent idea as they can help share the expenses and take away the loneliness you may feel if you were alone. But it’s usually not so rosy. Some studies show that the constant issues with roommates affect the academic success of students. Although this gives you an opportunity to learn to handle conflict and cope in stressful situations, they are often avoidable.

Stay close to family

Although the university is a time to explore on your own, you miss being around family occasionally. Having family close by makes you feel safe. Staying at home may be an excellent choice if you have a tough time with social anxiety or are uncomfortable constantly being around new people. It is also a good idea to stay at home if you deal with illness and need assistance from someone you trust. 

There are so many advantages to staying at home. However, it may not always be possible to do so- like if there’s a significant distance between your home and school. Fortunately, university accommodation options such as the University of Suffolk student accommodation offer students an accommodation experience that feels just like home! But if you do school closer to home, these four reasons should convince you to live at home.

4 Qualities to Look for In a Moving Company


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If you are moving into a new house, you wouldn’t be able to move all your stuff without hiring a moving company. Movers exist so that you can transfer all your belongings from your old place to the new one safely and without any inconvenience. A good moving company wouldn’t let your stress about anything and will take over the moving process so that you can sit back and focus on more important things. However, when it comes to hiring a moving company, the process is a bit tricky. There are plenty of movers out there, and choosing the one that is best suitable for the job can be complicated. That is why it is highly recommended that you do plenty of research before hiring a property clearance expert:

Excellent Reviews

The first thing you should look for in a moving company is good reviews. If the company is rated well by its customers and people have shared their good experiences openly, then you shouldn’t hesitate to give it a try. Luckily, we live in a modern world where you can access reviews for any business online. To read the reviews about companies you have shortlisted, you can simply go to their website or check their social media pages. Also, you must not just check the overall rating; you should also read the detailed reviews to get an idea of the kinds of services they provide. If the majority of the reviews are positive, then you can move on to the next step.

Experience

This is something most people don’t even pay attention to when they are hiring a mover, but that is not how it should be. A good moving company also has plenty of experience in the field and are experts at what they do. A mover that has been active for several years would have definitely learned a lot from their mistakes and would have improved their services over time. They know what things to avoid and how to handle tricky situations when they are faced with one. Your belongings are always safer with an experienced mover compared to a moving company that is just getting started.

Licensed and Insured

Another important thing you must keep in mind before hiring a moving company is whether they are licensed or not. A company that is not licensed is not legally allowed to move your possessions from one place to another. They might be cheaper than the other moving companies, but all they will do is cause trouble for you. Make sure that the company you are hiring is licensed but the relevant authorities and has a trained team of staff working for them. Apart from that, a good mover also has excellent insurance coverage, which can pay for the damages in case of an accident. You must never go for a company that doesn’t have insurance coverage because if anything gets damaged during the process, you won’t get any compensation.

No Hidden Rates

Another quality of a great moving company is that they have no hidden rates and will tell you upfront how much they charge. There are plenty of movers out there who only tell you about the hourly rate they charge, and when it comes to billing, they will add all sorts of extra charges in the receipt. So, it is highly recommended that you go for a company who are upfront about their extra charges and are not fooling you in any way.

Five Ways to Feel Safer in Your Home

Since the beginning of the pandemic, many of us have spent more time at home than ever before and for many people, this has turned their thoughts to safety and security. During a recent survey, 70% of respondents admitted to implementing smart technology to bolster their homes’ security capabilities, which proves that we’re all looking for ways to feel safer. Here are five tips for increasing your home security:

Doors and Windows

If you have older doors and windows, they may not be providing you with the best security available. Changing your units for high security doors and windows can give your home an added layer of protection which will allow you to sleep safely in the knowledge that you’re locked in tight.

Alarms

If you’re looking to make an investment then installing an alarm system could be a great idea. The downsides are the cost, however, and if your budget doesn’t stretch this far then research shows that even a dummy alarm could be an effective deterrent! In one survey, 82 offenders were canvassed in Southern England. They found that 84 per cent rated the presence of an alarm outside a property as a deterrent.

Security Lights

Installing security lights around your property is a cheaper alternative to alarms, but can still be a really effective deterrent. While some types of lighting could increase your risk of being burgled (lights which are on 24 hours a day will actually help criminals to see their way and avoid noisy obstacles), motion sensor lighting which only comes on if a human walks past are a really effective way to put potential burglars off.

CCTV

A CCTV system is an extremely effective way to deter burglars. It doesn’t matter how many lights are left on, how many people are home, or how close your neighbours are. You’ll capture everything with a CCTV system – and the thieves knows that too. Modern security cameras are easy to install and will often store footage in the cloud. Some can even alert you on your mobile if sensors are tripped!

Get a Dog!

Having a dog can be a great early detection system for people coming too near your home. When Sausage was very small, Husband worked shifts which included overnights and Chuck was the best, most reassuring security system I could have had. Someone only had to burp too loudly near the house and he’d be up at the windows letting me know. It gave me a tremendous sense of security, knowing that he was keeping his eyes and ears open for us and it got us all through that time knowing he was there.

How Can I Stop My Child Being So Messy?

Messy kids bedroomAlthough it can be normal for your child to make some mess, it can be frustrating when you know that, ultimately, it means more work for you. You may want to find ways to help them become a little bit more organised with their possessions, to cut down on the amount of fetch and carry, alongside wiping and other cleaning, that you then have to do throughout the day. No matter whether your child is 2 or 12, they can be taught to break their messy habits.

Bedroom Storage

One of the first considerations you may need to make when trying to get your child to be a bit tidier is the storage they have available to them. Items which are small, stiff, or even difficult to reach may prevent your child from tidying. An idea to resolve this issue can be to swap out their existing bed for a cabin bed, like those found at roomtogrow.co.uk, as this may have storage attached. A cabin bed is not overly tall, meaning your child will be able to reach the drawers and cupboards, as well as the under-bed space that they may use. This can also help to keep all items in one place, rather than you constantly going through a number of different furniture pieces to look for missing socks or other supposedly lost items.

Rules

A good parent knows that they cannot be fun all the time. Rules and boundaries are important for your child to be able to grow up with a good sense of morals, and know which behaviours are acceptable. You may have a list of rules within your household, that you expect your children to follow. Adding rules about tidying up can help them to understand that these tasks are important. If you choose to add penalties to breaking these rules, such as missing a day out, or no time on a games console, it is important that you stick to what you say, otherwise your child will think that they can continue being messy with no consequence.

Set an Example

Children of all ages can learn through copying any behaviours they have seen, which can either be useful or problematic. If your child sees you leaving mess around the home, they may think it is also acceptable for them to do so. Likewise, if your child sees you putting your books or clothes away, and helping out, they may think that is also what they should do. Setting a good example can be vital to your child’s development, as well as not allowing them to be influenced by any bad examples they may see from their friends, other adults, strangers on the street, or even via the media.

There may be a number of reasons why your child is messy, and each reason will vary from child to child. By finding ways to help promote cleanliness, and giving positive reinforcement for jobs well done, you may be able to replace these behaviours with those that promote a tidier and more hygienic lifestyle.

Making Money At Home For Your Loved Ones

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The pandemic last year hit many of us hard for many different reasons. There are many people around the world who have lost jobs, been put on furlough, or have had to close down their small businesses during the time where people had to stay at home. 

One of the important things to try and do during these difficult times is find new ways to make money for yourself and to support your loved ones. There are many methods for making some extra money at home whether it be via a hobby or setting up a passive stream – and here we have some ideas for you to try today. 

Sell artwork 

One of the first things you can try to do this year is sell some artwork. Whether you are a dab hand with a paintbrush, delicate with a pencil, or you take amazing photographs – people will pay to have these framed in their homes as decoration. Set up your own Facebook page or an Etsy site and it will allow you to sell your work to people and make some extra money doing something you enjoy. 

Create a YouTube channel

One of the most lucrative and wide ways to make money in the modern world is to start a YouTube channel and share content with the world. When you create a YouTube channel you are able to share any type of content you want from makeup tutorials to crime stories and more. You can choose whatever subject you love and share it with the world. The great thing about YouTube is that you are able to put your video out there into the world and over time you’ll start to make passive income as people view it. It is a useful way to make money but can also become a great hobby for you to destress and enjoy. 

Trade currency 

If you are looking for a more investment focused way to make money, trading currency is a great idea. The forex market has been the most lucrative market in the world for years and recently cryptocurrencies such as Polkadot (DOT) and Bitcoin have been introduced which are growing rapidly in popularity over time. Take the chance this year to start trading on the forex market and see what a difference it can make to your income over the years. 

Take on freelance jobs 

If you have a specific skill that you want to share with the world, one helpful way to make some money this year is to join a network such as Upwork and look at signing up for freelance jobs posted by others on the site. This can be a great way to make money at your own pace when you have some free time and it will ensure that you get some income when you need it most and you won’t be tied into doing work every day if you don’t have the time. 

Consider some of these methods of making money this year for your loved ones and start to invest for you family’s future.

Cost-Effective and Sustainable Tips for Your Home

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With the economic impact of COVID-19, it’s prudent for you to cut down costs on important things such as your home by reducing expenses. This helps you to save some money and reduce the strain on your finances. As a plus, you can consider going sustainable, which also allows you to contribute to the environment’s good. Are you wondering how to get started? Here are some cost-effective and eco-friendly tips for your home. 

  1. Lower your thermostat

One way to save money while keeping your house sustainable is to reduce your thermostat, especially when you clock in for the night or are away. According to calculations by the UK Department of Energy and Climate, reducing your thermostat from 19° to 18°C might bring down your overall dwelling temperature from 17° to 16°C. This helps to reduce your heating requirements from 2490-2250 degree days, giving you a 10% reduction. Although this sounds very technical, it’s quite easy to implement to achieve the optimum temperature for your home. To make it easier for you, incorporate a programmable brand to adjust the heating/air conditioning according to a planned schedule.

During the winter, you can decide to set your thermostat to 20°C when you’re up and about and reduce it when you are not at home. In summer, you should keep your house warmer when you’re not around and set it to 26°C when you want to cool it down. Another trick you should apply is to make your indoor and outdoor temperature similar, as this will reduce your overall cooling or heating bill. It’ll also be best to avoid setting your thermostat at a colder temperature when your air conditioner is on, as it can bring on avoidable bill increment. 

  1. Embrace solar power

Electricity is vital to running your home smoothly, as it’s needed for daily activities such as cooking, laundry, ironing, entertainment, etc. What better way to get electricity than going solar? Solar power helps you save more by significantly cutting down your monthly electric bill, allowing you to take care of other expenses. What’s more, it helps you to reduce greenhouse gases, toxic waste and water pollution that cause significant distress to the environment. It’s also a reliable energy source that doesn’t require cumbersome maintenance procedures. 

You can switch to solar power by going for Photovoltaics or PV, the common solar technology for home use. Remember to ensure that your house is suitable for its installation. Despite the initial high costs of installation, it’s worth it for your home and your pocket in the long run. However, if you’re not financially ready, you can opt for community solar, which involves a group of people sharing electricity generated by harvesting solar energy. You can visit www.choosesolar.com to learn more about how this solar option works. 

  1. Use fluorescent light bulbs

One way to save energy and cut down costs in your home is to replace your incandescent bulbs with fluorescent bulbs. Incandescent bulbs generate a lot of heat instead of producing more light, resulting in higher bills. They provide just 15 lumens per watt of input power, while fluorescent bulbs, on the other hand, produce about 50 to 100 lumens per watt of input power. 

Fluorescent light bulbs produce less heat which makes them more efficient than incandescent bulbs. For instance, a 20-watt fluorescent light bulb is equivalent to 100-watt incandescent light bulb, making it more cost-effective for every area of your home that needs light. They’re also available in various colours and designs that add a touch of beauty and elegance to your home. 

  1. Regulate the use of water

Regulating the amount of water you use in your home helps reduce your expenses and wastage. This also goes a long way to protect the environment in the long run, as it conserves water bodies. Managing your water usage in the home is essential in cutting down water bills by reducing the cost and energy used to treat water and wastewater. You can limit water wastage by replacing old toilets with modern ones that use less water. Additionally, you should look out for water leakages in your home and fix them immediately. It’ll also help if you use low flow showerheads, as they help restrict the flow of water you use when taking a bath. 

It’s possible to adopt eco-friendly practices in your home while saving up extra money. By trying out these tips, you’ll be on your way to living a sustainable and budget-friendly lifestyle.

Fun Ideas for Renovating Your Child’s Bedroom

Traditionally, kids’ bedrooms have been decorated blue for a boy and pink for a girl. But what if you want to move away from gender stereotypes and go for more adventurous décor inyour child’s bedroom? This opens up a world of opportunity to create something unique and magical.

Here’s some fresh ideas to get the creative juices flowing.

Go for bright, invigorating colours

Bright colours are generally frowned upon in adults’bedrooms, but with kids’ rooms the rules are more relaxed. It’s easy to paint the walls in exciting colours but what aboutadding colour to the ceiling or floor? They’re usually kept in neutral colours, but they don’t have to be.

Paint the ceiling with a starry or cloudy sky or go bold with one vibrant colour.  You’ll need a step ladder and long armed roller to make it easier to paint, but other than that it’s fairly cost effective to do.

Modern vinyl flooring has created the opportunity to addbright colour to the floor, with lots of child-friendly options. For this idea there’ll be vinyl flooring fitting costs, but it shouldn’t be any more expensive that fitting a new carpet.

Use pattern and shapes

The use of pattern and shapes in children’s bedrooms can be particularly effective in creating a new bold style.  Try painting large squares, circles and triangles across the four walls, or thick stripes that stretch the length of the room.  All you’ll need to achieve this look is some contrasting paint colours and a few rolls of masking tape. 

You can easily complement this with stripey or geometric bedding and curtains.

Create a theme from scratch

Creating a theme in a child’s bedroom needn’t be difficult.  You don’t necessarily need to buy a whole set of matching items from a shop to create a theme.  

For example, to create a pirate theme you could paint the room sea blue, hang a large Jolly Roger flag on the wall and paint a toy chest to look like a treasure chest.

Add a playful feature

Kids’ bedrooms are not just a place to sleep, they are often used as a space to play and learn. So why not add a playful feature to enrich your child’s room?

Go big with a bed that looks like a treehouse or install a mini-climbing wall. Or keep it simple with a play-tent, swinging chair or chalkboard wall. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!