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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

How To Ensure Your Child Gets More Fresh Air


Today, most of us live in a world which is far from being connected with nature and the great outdoors, meaning our children today are often sat in a car, an air-conditioned classroom, and stay indoors on their gaming devices - rather than be exposed to nature and get the abundance of fresh air they need to develop.

Getting fresh air has measurable benefits for children in terms of their physical health, especially in terms of receiving their daily dose of Vitamin D, which is provided from exposure to sunlight and assists in them growing strong bones and also lowers their risk of cancer. Some studies have even shown children who play outdoors are less likely to have visual issues, later in life, such as nearsightedness.

Exposure to fresh air helps your child to get a good night’s sleep and is instrumental in regulating sleeping patterns. Of course, the term “fresh air” doesn’t relate purely to the air that your child is breathing into his or her lungs, it captures an essence of physical activity, play, and social interaction - though there are certainly health benefits associated with your child breathing in an abundance of replenishing oxygenated air.

Time outdoors has proven to lower the risk of hyperactivity and depression. The American Academy of Pediatrics notes that children spending more time watching TV and playing video games than playing outdoors, tend to have shorter attention spans - which is, perhaps, because children that play outside in places like PDPlay areas are more likely to engage in ‘creative play’ and use their imagination… they are in the active position of creating entertainment rather than the passive position of receiving entertainment (e.g. watching TV or playing video games).

There are three basic principles to follow in terms of encouraging your children to be more active and spend more time outdoors.

GO WITH THE FLOW

There’s no need for things to be too rules-based, as an example, if your child is playing an organized sport one minute but then starts chasing after a butterfly - go with their curiosity and allow them to discover what they want to discover.


CHALLENGE THEM

The age-old game of “tag” is a great way to keep your children active. It is a mental and physically stimulating game that creates an element of competitiveness which allows you to bond… without it being too rigid and formal. Often, children love to embrace challenges, but they don’t want to feel the pressure of competitive sport - make it fun, keep it loose, and you’ll encourage them to participate much more.

TURN OFF THE TV

Kids aren’t born lazy. They are conditioned to be lazy, because as human beings, we all look for the path of least resistance, and for many of us, the easiest way to be entertained and quasi-stimulated is through sitting staring at the TV. Whilst the TV can certainly be a good tool to use from time to time, particularly when you are too busy to engage, it shouldn’t become habitual to the point that children get home and see it as the ‘only option’ or ‘preferred option’. There’s a whole world to explore but children need to be encouraged to get up and explore the world, rather than watch it, from the comfort of their arm chair.

A House With History, Or A Decorating Nightmare?

We all look for different things in properties. For some, a contemporary space is essential. Such individuals look for crisp, clean homes. It makes sense. A new house is a blank canvas on which to paint your style. Plus, you can ensure there won’t be any unpleasant surprises with the condition of properties like this.

For some of us, though, the bonuses aren’t enough to sway us away from period properties. If you’re after an old house, you’ll look out for character and features. A wood beam here, an authentic window there. Rather than look out for pristine properties, you’ll want something with history.

While old properties can work wonderfully, they can often have a few problems, too. Old houses just weren’t designed to the standards we’re accustomed to. Instead of being crisp and sharp, most old houses are a little wobbly. ceilings are often curved, and floors are sometimes uneven. While part of the character, these touches aren’t always practical. Which is why we’re going to look at a few ways to smooth the slopes in your old home.


The floors

For the most part, carpet covers a multitude of floor sins. But, if you’re attempting to lay tiles, you may stumble across issues. Trying to lay any hard flooring on an uneven surface can be incredibly tricky. In this instance, it’s worth turning to concrete. A layer of concrete on top of your original flooring is all it takes to even things out. Head to companies like rollingercompanies.com now to find out how this could work for you. Bear in mind that, once a concrete layer is in place, it won’t be easy to remove it. Make sure this is what you want before taking action!

The walls

Uneven surfaces and wonky ceilings aren’t too tricky to maneuver when painting. But, if you want to lay wallpaper, things get much more complicated. The main issue is that wallpaper will show those slopes and uneven angles much more clearly. Plus, you’ll find it difficult to pattern match on a wonky wall. The good news is, sites like thebestwallpaperplace.com have some fantastic solutions. In extreme cases, you may need to plaster the surface. Again, this will give you a smooth foundation to work with. Or, you could use textured wallpapers which hide a multitude of sins. Have a think about which would work best, and then get to work. 

The windows

The windows of old properties are often the most charming feature. But, they aren’t without their issues. Old window panes and glass fittings aren’t designed with modern standards in mind. The panes certainly aren’t double glazed. In a drafty old house, the heat which escapes through your windows will make a huge difference. But, you don’t have to get rid of those beautiful classic frames. You could head to sites like www.diynetwork.com, and find some simple solutions. Many companies will also replace single panes with double glazing, and leave the frame intact if it’s in a good condition.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Avoiding Home Makeover Horrors - Lessons To Swear By

Ever watched a home makeover TV show where the couple were devastated by the finished result? It happens in real life too. A disastrous home makeover can be difficult to bear, as well as expensive to put right. Want to make sure you avoid a home makeover horror? Take a look at some of these top tips for getting it right.
Photo: Pixabay

Don’t rush into things

There are some great reasons to give your home a makeover. Want to increase the value? Make the most of your available space? Give a room a lighter and airier feel? These are all good reasons to give your home a makeover. Want to know some bad reasons? Making changes because you’re bored or because you’ve seen something great online or on TV could put you in way over your head, and might even lead you to do something that could decrease the value of your home. Plan any changes to your home carefully and take your time to make sure that you get what you really want out of it.
Opt for classic styles rather than jumping on trends

Jumping on the latest trends is great for your fashion, but not so much for your home. If you rush out to try every trend that’s out there, you’ll be forever making changes to your home. Rather than giving your home a makeover to keep up with the latest trend, choose a classic interior style that will stand the test of time. Save your money and buy home accessories instead that suit the latest home trends - these are much cheaper to replace and can help you keep your home up to date easily.
Seek professional help

A home makeover is a great idea until someone gets hurt. Sure, home makeovers look easy on the TV, but in reality, they take a lot of work. Get the professionals like the team at Million Dollar Makeovers to carry out the work for you. This way you’ll get your dream results and can avoid injuries or poorly executed work to ensure you get exactly what you’re looking for.
Find ways to save on your costs

Home renovations can be expensive, with the cost soon adding up to stretch your finances way over your budget. Some home makeover ideas are cheaper than others, and you need to be sensible with your spending to stop it from becoming a nightmare. Work out how much you can afford and work backward from there - this will allow you to separate the tasks into ‘must-haves’ and ‘nice-to-haves’ so that you can prioritize the things that you want and save costs on the others.

Home makeovers are a great idea when done correctly. Plan it all out carefully so that you know exactly what you’re getting into, how much it will cost and how long it will take. The last thing you want is to have to abandon your project halfway through because you’ve run out of money or steam, so avoid these common home makeover mistakes and do what you can to achieve your ideal home.

Spare Room, Less Ordinary: Alternative Ways to Use the Space

When you have a house, you want all the different rooms to be used in the best way possible. If you have a spare room and you don’t just want to keep it as your standard bedroom as you rarely have guests to stay, there are plenty of better ways that you can use the space. Struggling for inspiration? You have come to the right place! 

Game Room


There is nothing like playing some games to take your mind off your stresses and worries so you could create a space where you have access to all your favorite activities. Perhaps you are a poker fan and you want to put in your own table. You may be more of a video game fanatic and choose to set up a TV, comfortable chair, and your favorite console. Otherwise, some classic arcade games may be more of your thing or perhaps a pool table. The range of options is endless! 

Home Office

With more and more people working from home or starting their own businesses, a home office is always going to be a great use of space. When you are undertaking a big conversion project, you may want to call in the professionals like The Renovation Company. The basics include a desk, chair, filing cabinet, and bookcase, but you will also want to lay the room out in a way that encourages work.

Home Theatre

A home theatre is something that the whole family can enjoy, giving you the opportunity to relax with your favorite TV shows and movies. All you will need is a few comfortable chairs and a big-screen television and you are pretty much good to go. Some pillows and blankets are also useful now that the nights are drawing in and the temperatures are dropping. The beauty of a home theatre is that is can be created in a room in which you don’t have a huge amount of space to work with.

Gymnasium 

For the health-conscious, creating a home gym is a very practical use of a spare room. To start off with, you may only need a few basic pieces of equipment like gym mats, dumbbells, and an exercise ball. Over time, you may decide to start accumulating bigger pieces of equipment. To create a real gym feeling, you could add a television in the corner of the room and a speaker system so you can enjoy your favorite tunes while working out.

Hobby Room


If you are a keen practicer of a hobby such as arts and craft or music, having your own room to practice and create is perfect for many people. A wooden floor is a good base as this is where paint and other materials are most likely to spill. You will also need plenty of storage space to keep your range of different equipment.

These are just a few of the most popular uses for a spare room, so why not try out one to make a real improvement to your home?

What Do Homebuyers Want?

When you are preparing to put your house on the market, there are probably a few changes you need to make to your home. These will ensure that it is an attractive property to all the house hunters who are looking to buy somewhere new. And then someone will snap it up quickly at your asking price. There’ll be no need to reduce your price or sit on a property that doesn’t sell for months or even years.

Some things that you should do to your home are quite obvious - for instance, you should ensure that the house is clean and tidy whenever anyone comes around to view the property. But there are some things that aren’t quite as obvious. Want to know what homebuyers want from a new home? Read on to find out!

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Struggling To Get A Good Night's Sleep? Follow These Tips


A lot happens to our body while we’re sleeping, so it should be no surprise that a good night’s sleep is incredibly important for our overall health. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that could affect how well you sleep; Stress, a new baby, a snoring partner, and too much light can all make getting quality sleep near impossible, and leave you tired and cranky the next day. If this sounds familiar, then follow some of the tips below to try to help you to sleep better.

Sort Your Sleeping Pattern

Your body runs on cycles, including a sleep/wake cycle; If your sleeping pattern is irregular, and you’re going to bed at different times every single night, then it’s no wonder that you can’t get to sleep. Set aside six to eight hours every night where you intend to sleep, and try to get to sleep at the same time every night, even weekends. If you’re struggling to sleep, then leave the room for a while, and try to sleep again when you’re tired. 

Avoid Naps

If you’re setting aside time to sleep at night, then you should try to limit the amount you sleep during the day. Everyone needs to have a nap now and then, but you should avoid making this a regular thing. If you do feel the need to nap, then be sure that it’s no longer than around 25 to 30 minutes. Any longer than this will affect your sleep at night. 


Stay Active During The Day

One of the biggest reasons why people can’t get to sleep at night is because they are still filled with energy and just aren’t tired. To avoid this, you should try to stay as active as possible during the daytime. You don’t necessarily need to be hitting up the gym and doing large amounts of exercise, even walking the dog around the block will burn off some energy and help you to sleep easier. 

Cut Out Light & Noise

If your partner snores or your neighbor's dog likes to howl at night, you are likely to struggle to get to sleep. If this is the case for you, then you might want to check out the earplug reviews here to find the best product to block out the noisiness. Light can also affect your sleep, as your brain assumes that, when there’s light, it’s daytime, and you should be awake. Investing in some blackout curtains or blinds will help with this. 

Lavender Your Life

Lavender is an incredibly relaxing and calming scent, which is why it’s often used to help you sleep. Try using a lavender scented spray on your pillow or a lavender scented body lotion to get you into a calm and relaxed state at bedtime. It really can work wonders.

It’s normal for you to have a sleepless night every now and then, but if you’re struggling to get to sleep every night, this is a problem. If this is the case for you, then you should consult your doctor to see if they can help.

Picking A Trusty Steed For Your Next Family Adventure


Once upon a time, the perfect getaway was leaping on the first plane out of your hometown and enjoying the vibrancy of some city you had never before considered; lazy mornings spent in bed and late nights spent at a plethora of restaurants and bars. But the moment you birth kids that all changes, and fit changes for the better because the moment you become a parent the family road trip becomes a rite of passage you simply cannot get enough of. 

Life is not about the destination, it’s about the journey, remember. That’s what you get from a road trip; you get the chance to bond and laugh and smile and sing and create memories that will stand the test of time. However, that all depends on one thing: your noble steed, or as we call it today, your car. 

Too cramped, uncomfortable or bored and your hopes of an adventure through the wilds of wherever becomes a nightmare you wished you had quashed at its inception because the whole thing will be a misery. 

Of course, no one goes out to purchase a new car simply because they enjoy a few road trips a year. That would be insane (albeit slightly cool). That said, if you are in the market for a new motor and you do get a thrill from hitting the tarmac with your significant lover, your kids and a boot full of tidbits, then you should absolutely consider the road trip worthiness of your choices. Luckily for you, we’ve done the legwork. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

A City Break In Among Gothic Towers Of Central Europe

Europe is the continent that brews the modern day Western culture that we see today. Such a rich history that is admired from all four corners of the world. This is due to the fact that many cultures, peoples, and senses of being are packed in tight, squashed together so that identities are strengthened. No more so than the city of Gothic architecture, fantastic beers, and large open green landscapes just outside the city walls. Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, is an incredibly iconic city. You see it in movies as a strange, spooky yet ultimately romantic place. River boats cruise down the arteries, while people drink, eat, laugh and debate in the cafes, restaurants, and parks. This city is not to be confused with Eastern Europe counterparts, as due to its location it's entirely unique. With such countries like Germany and France on its western flank, and Romania and Hungary on it's east, it's a mesh of influences. 

Photo by Mary Kar

Getting there

Many people intent on traveling and exploring Europe, will often find that landing in either Berlin or London is the best options for all public transport and continental trains run through them. However, with the age of short burst flights and a wave of companies ready to make them, you should be focusing on cheap flights to Prague directly. It's by far the fifth most visited city in Europe, and thus the four million people that are drawn in are more than likely to be made way for. The prices can easily range in the two figure mark, but also shoot up to around 400 euros for those looking to pay for convenience and a little better than economy class.

Why it's iconic

Much like the countries that surround the Czech Republic, the nation has a vast history of Christianity. There are many different sects, but the most abundant is Catholicism. This is Prague is called the city of spires, as the gothic towers of churches and cathedrals loom high in the sky and can be seen for miles. The architecture isn’t the only mind-blowing experience, but the way the city has navigated its lifestyles around the Vltava River is akin to parts of Venice. The riverboats cruise gently downstream, and at night, the buildings, shops, homes and street lights leave the city truly a wondrous sight to behold.

Source Nillerdk

Food culture 

The Field is one of the best restaurants in the entire city, and it's little wonder it has three Michelin stars. It's simple and humble, with decor purely there for function rather than to please the eyes. Its cuisine is a wondrous mix of gamey animals, with hearty, rich recipes that are not only designed to taste splendid but to fill you up. The bistro culture is widespread around the city, as cured sausages with spices, herbs and salts can be accessed almost anywhere. The soups and broths will warm you from the inside, with a rustic slice of bread to be your other companion. Indeed the city is cold for most of the year, so the food has taken inspiration from the surrounding landscape mostly inhabited by farms.

A city break in this gothic outpost in the center of Europe is one of the most cultured experiences on the continent. The architecture is famous the world over, the culture is unique, and the food will put a smile of joy on your face. 

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

14 Things That Could Decrease The Value Of Your Home


As difficult and complicated as buying a home may be, selling your home can only ever be more difficult and complicated. Even if you’re ready for the challenge, your home may not be. Unfortunately, there is a lot that can affect the value of your home, some of which you can’t even control. Regardless, it’s always better to be prepared in these situations, rather than get your hopes up, only to be disappointed with the offers on your house. With that in mind, here is a list of fourteen things that could be bringing down the value of your home:

1. Messy House

While clutter won’t directly the value of your home, it does give potential buyers an excuse to offer smaller amounts in the selling process. This is because a cluttered home suggests that you don’t take care of your property, meaning that there could be damage that hasn’t yet been noticed. To avoid this, make sure that your home is clean and tidy for inspections and viewings.

2. Pebble-dash

Pebble-dash is a style liked by very few people, which explains why pebble-dashed properties sell for a lot less than similar ones without it. It’s also common knowledge that pebbledash was used to cover poor quality bricks, which might also put people off buying. Luckily there are solutions for pebbledash, so have a look and see which one is for you.

3. Bold Exteriors

Any type of bold exterior, including pebbledash, could easily put off people from buying your home, or, at the very least, decrease the amount of money that people are willing to offer for it. You might absolutely love having a lime green door or bright red walls, but other people might not, and this will cause problems. Therefore, if you want to sell your home, I’d start taking action to make everything a little more neutral.

4. Bold Interiors

The same goes for the inside of your home as it does for the outside. Haven’t you ever noticed that the walls of homes that just been sold are usually white or cream? That’s because it’s neutral, and no one can complain about a neutral home. Because of this, you should consider getting rid of any bold colors or wacky wallpaper. 

5. Dated Fixtures

If your door or cabinet handles or your taps are old or dated, then potential buyers could use this as an excuse to give a lower offer. Luckily, these are things that can easily be changed. It won’t even be too expensive, so you have no excuse not to.

6. Old Appliances

If you’re selling your home with all of its appliances, then you might want to take a look at them before you have any viewings. If your oven is rusty or your freezer doesn’t stay cold, then you’re not going to be able to charge extra for them when selling your home. In fact, you may as well charge even less, so that the new tenants have the cash spare to get rid of them.

7. Your Yards

Your front and back yards give potential buyers some indication as to how you have looked after your home while you’ve been living there. If the grass is freshly trimmed, you have a clean patio, and a thriving flower bed, then they will know that you’ve looked after it well. On the other hand, if your grass is overgrown, and you’ve got weeds everywhere, then they won’t be too pleased.

8. Pests

Never try to sell a home if you’ve got pests; As soon as any viewers notice, they will be out of there for a shot. Instead, use this exterminator, and get the problem sorted before you do anything else.

9. Structural Damage

Structural damage is a huge problem and is one that you are going to want to get fixed if you want the best price for your home. Usually, the cost of repairs is likely to be less than the value deducted in the selling process, so it makes sense to get it sorted as soon as possible.

10. Your Neighbours

If you’ve got unpleasant neighbors, then you are probably happy to be getting away from them. Unfortunately, if those viewing your home notice that your neighbors are less than friendly, then they may not want to buy your home at all, and will likely offer much less if they still do.

11. Noise Pollution

If you live near a busy pub or club, an airport, or a train station, then prepare to sell your home for a lot less than similar properties in different areas. Unfortunately, the noise pollution caused by these is going to knock a large amount of money off your property’s value. 

12. Bad Schools

A lot of people looking to buy a home either have children or will want children in the future, so will be looking for a property near a good school. Unfortunately, if the school’s closest to your home have a bad reputation and bad reports, then you might find that people will make smaller offers to compensate. 

13. Electricity Pylons

Electricity pylons are incredibly unsightly, but they are also a hazard, especially to small children and pets. If you’ve had an electricity pylon built near your home since you moved in, then it will have likely affected the value of your home. The same goes for cell phone towers and even wind farms.


14. Potholes

Potholes can cause a lot of damage to your car, which is why most people avoid them when driving. Unfortunately, if there is a large pothole in your street, then it’s a little harder to avoid. This could mean that people offer less money for your property. To avoid this, contact your local council and explain the situation; They may get it repaired for you if you’re lucky.

It’s always good to be prepared, especially with something as important as selling your home. Hopefully, this list means that, for better or worse, you know what you’re getting yourself into when you sell your home.

Moving Country Made Easy For The Whole Family


Even though you might think you are all settled in your home right now, you have no idea what the future may hold for you and your family. One day, you might have to consider moving house. More often than not, the main reason for moving home is a new job or career opportunity. But what if the reason you need to move takes you further than you had originally expected? Like, abroad for example.

No matter your reason for moving abroad, it will always be a daunting prospect. After all, you will be leaving your usual life behind and set up a new one for your whole family in a completely foreign country. Does that sound really off-putting? It might do at first, but there are various ways you can make the big move a lot easier for you and your family. Still not convinced? Read on for some great tips that can make this a totally smooth transition!

Give Yourself Plenty Of Time

This is a big move and one that you will need to spend lots of time preparing for. You’ll need to get mentally prepared as well as physically prepared with all your belongings. Once you’ve made the decision to move to a different country, you should sit on it for a couple of months to ensure that this is definitely the best option for you and your family. This will also give you time to iron out any worries and to try and find answers to all the questions you might have. It also leaves you with plenty of time for finding a moving company to help you out and arrange any storage that you may need for some of your belongings.


See If Work Will Cover Costs

If you are moving abroad because of a job transfer or a new position at a foreign company, you should always ask them if they will cover the cost of moving for you. Most reputable companies should cover all of the costs you incur from moving. If not, it’s worth seeing if they are able to offer you a contribution to compensate the expense you will incur. Before you do approach the company about any compensation, you should have a general idea of how much you will need to spend on the move. Ideally, you should take a look at MoveBuddies.com to get an idea of how much a moving company will charge. Don’t forget that you should also factor in travel costs, including airfares.

Explain To The Kids What’s Going On

This isn’t just a nerve-wracking time for you and your partner - your kids might be really anxious about the big move as well! After all, they will be leaving their school, relatives, and all their friends behind. So, in order to reassure them, you should be very transparent with them and explain to them what is going on in as much detail as possible. Even if you think that they are too young to fully understand, you should still try and be transparent with them. Kids usually understand a lot more than what we might think!


Visit The Country Before You Go

Even if you have previously visited the company on vacation, you should still make a trip for a week or two before you move to get a proper feel for the culture over there. Rather than doing all the usual tourist things on this trip, you should spend some time exploring the expat community. There will be some expat groups and clubs that it’s worth checking in with so that you can speak to people who have previously been in your situation. They can answer any questions that you might have and can put your mind at ease. It’s also worth taking a tour of potential schools that you could send your kids to. Their new school won’t be so alien to them once they arrive for real! This trip will also be a great chance to take a look at some permanent accommodation.


Have A Physical Before You Leave

You don’t want to be surprised by any unexpected illnesses or health conditions once you move abroad, so it’s a good idea to go to your doctors and have a quick checkup. Ask for a full physical for your whole family, so that your doctor will give you all a thorough once-over.If you are moving to a country that has a problem with diseases such as malaria, typhoid, or yellow fever, they will also be able to give you advice on how to stay safe and healthy in your new country. 

Take Language Classes Before You Move

One thing that makes people very nervous is if their new country has a completely different language to their native one. If this is the case, then you should sign up for some language classes before you leave. Ideally, spend a couple of months before you move at these classes so that you know all the basics before you arrive at your new home. It’s also a good idea to find a language school at your destination so that you can keep up with these lessons. It’s super important to try and learn the language rather than just sticking with your own, even if you just socialize with fellow expats at first. Learning the language can really help you with getting around your new town or city and it also makes things like shopping and going to the doctors much easier. 


Don’t Always Be The Tourist

It’s perfectly fine to do the usual touristy things in your new destination for the first few weeks, especially if you have never visited before. But once you have seen and done all the usual stuff, you should start to work on settling in and embracing the destination’s local culture. That means you need to start finding some local friends outside the expat circle. It’s also worth shopping at local supermarkets rather than using ones that stock food from your home country. All of these things might seem like little things to do, but they can help you settle in quicker and get used to your new home a lot longer than if you simply tried to hold on to your home culture.

Accept Homesickness

You will find that you might feel homesick, down, and depressed in the first few months at home in your new country. This is absolutely normal and isn’t anything to worry about. These feelings should pass over time, especially the more you are able to settle into your new destination. When you do start to feel homesick, you shouldn’t try and ignore these feelings as that will just result in you bottling them up and they could express themselves in more unsettling ways. If you find that your homesickness starts to turn into a depression that you aren’t able to shift, then it’s worth seeing a doctor or counselor. They will be able to help you work through your feelings and they will also be someone who you are able to openly talk to without fear of judgment.


Give It Time

You shouldn’t expect to feel completely settled into your new home after just a couple of weeks. In fact, settling in is a process that could take longer than a few months! But generally speaking, most people will start to feel properly settled in after a year. So, as you can see, it is really important that you give yourself plenty of time to get settled in. If you feel very homesick and down in the first few months, it’s important that you give yourself more time. Try and push past them if possible, as they shouldn’t be around for too long. The more active you are in your social life, the quicker you will find that you can start to feel really settled in your new home!


Limit Contact With Home At First

Thanks to online tools like social media and Skype.com, it is now easier than ever to keep in touch with all your friends and family back home. It might be very tempting to chat to people back home as often as possible once you get there in an effort to combat loneliness and homesickness. However, that really isn’t a good idea. Ideally, once you arrive in your new country, you should try and limit contact with back home to once a week. Otherwise, you will only get more homesick and will end up missing everyone back home. Once you start to feel right at home in your new country, you can then start to increase how often you speak to everyone back home. Rather than spending a couple of hours skyping someone, you could always head out and try to make some new friends or start a new hobby!

Moving abroad can be very difficult, especially if you have your whole family with you. But all of these tips should make it a lot easier for you hopefully!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Fossil Fuels Or Renewable Energy? How To Cut Household Bills


The cost of running a house is high, and it’s about to get higher. As usual, the cost of energy is increasing and forcing homeowners into a vulnerable spot. To fight back, you may be looking into alternative methods to power your property. Green and renewable technologies are popular, for example, because they save money and the planet. However, even though fossil fuels get a bad rap, it is possible to use them without breaking the bank. 

Here’s what homeowners need to know about powering a property on an affordable budget.

Renewable: Plan For The Long-Term

One thing that is unavoidable with clean energy is the price of the initial investment. Solar panels cost, on average, more than $5,000 for around 20 square meters of a property. Turbines are even more expensive because they need a plot of land, power cables, and maintenance work. If you do want to cut costs, you can’t expect it to happen overnight. The high price of the equipment and installation means the prices won’t come down for another five years. Still, if you plan on staying in your current home for the foreseeable future, it will pay off over time. 

Fossil Fuels: Be Smart

Being clever doesn’t refer to you but your house. Don’t get offended but lots of homes are dumb in the sense they don’t use smart technology. From the best smart thermostat to automated lighting, a steady stream of electricity costs less. Usually, the high cost of energy is down to overuse or constantly starting up the central heating. Applications and smart meters allow you to regulate everything from the lighting to the heating and even security. That way, there is no reason to create more power than you need and pay the price at the end of the month. 

Renewable: Become An Entrepreneur

Don’t assume you are the customer and the seller is the client. That is the dynamic for now, but you can flip the script if you like. How? Well, you do it by creating excess energy from renewable sources and selling the power back to the companies. Or, the local authority may give you a fair price to offset their budget costs. The great thing about clean energy is everyone wants a piece to help the planet. So, the more you have, the more money you can make to reduce the cost of living. And, Mother Earth doesn’t get hurt in the process.

Fossil Fuels: Don’t Turn On A Switch

It’s easy to flip a switch but much harder to create energy yourself. However, a little bit of elbow grease goes a long way financially. Take a fire as an example. With a log or coal burner, you can heat up the whole house without using the central heating. That way, there is no need to fork out on the high cost of electricity. Getting a fire started takes time yet it’s worth it in the end. Plus, with coal, it will burn all night and into the morning. 

Ultimately, cutting energy costs needs a mixture of both to be effective.

When It's Time For Your Kids To Leave The Nest


Even if your kids are only very young right now, you might be worried about the day that will come when it’s time for them to move out. It’s something that most parents are anxious about - the fact that one day their kids will grow up and be ready to leave the nest. You might wonder how they will cope on their own in the big, wide world. Thankfully, there is plenty that you can do to help them land on their feet when they start to carve out their own path in the world. 

One of the first ways you can offer them a helping hand is by assisting them when they are ready to move into their own place. Here are some great tips to do just that!

Help Them With The Deposit

These days, more and more adult kids are living with their parents because they just can’t afford to rent or buy their own place. Because of this, most parents are contributing a little to their children's first deposit. No matter whether they are going to rent or buy, your child will need to be able to put down a deposit as a downpayment on an apartment. So, if you are able to, it’s worth seeing if you can contribute something to help them save up. It doesn’t matter if you can only spare a small amount - after all, every little thing helps!

Organize Storage For Excess Stuff

There’s a chance that your child won’t be able to afford such a large apartment when they first moved out. If they are moving to student accommodation for university or college, then they will be living in very small quarters! So, they won’t be able to take all of their belongings. If you are unable to store it in your home, then you can help your child organize some storage for everything. Bulk storage can often work out very reasonable, and it’s a safe and secure option for all the belongings they can’t take with them. 


Offer Them Your Car

If your child wants to carry out their move on their own, it’s important that you let them and don’t insist that you help them out. After all, this is their first chance at doing something for themselves completely independently! However, it would be a nice gesture to lend them your car for the move. That way, they won’t have to spend too much money on using an expensive moving company.

Bring Some Cleaning Equipment

If your child does want you to help them move out, then don’t forget to take some cleaning equipment with you. Once you get to their apartment, you can help by getting on with all the cleaning that will need to be done. You can do all this while they are busy unpacking all their things. 

Don’t be nervous about your children growing up and leaving the next - it’s perfectly natural and will be a great chance for them to embrace life as an adult!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Little Changes That Can Make Life With Kids A Lot Easier


Let's face it, as utterly wonderful as life with kids can be, it can also be a source of some serious stress. Kids can often be something of a handful, and that's putting it lightly. It can often feel like you're pretty much run off your feet trying to figure out how you can go about keeping your kids happy, well-fed, and safe without becoming completely overwhelmed. Of course, it doesn't need to be such a challenge. Here are a few incredibly simple changes that you make to your life that will make life with kids a whole lot easier.

Unbreakable glassware

Every parent has had that moment: you're getting on with some important task, and you realise that the kids have been uncharacteristically quiet for a long time. Just as you think that it might be too good to be true, you hear a crash. Next thing you know you're sweeping up piles of glass while you're kids are huddled in the next room feeling guilty. The amount of broken glasses, bowls, and plates in any given family home is probably pretty ridiculous. Which is why you need to check out SwishPlastic.com.au. These glasses are incredibly high quality, they look great, and they're plastic which makes them virtually unbreakable! That way you can be sure that your kids aren't going to destroy them when you're not looking. 

A daily to-do list


Staying on top of everything is a serious challenge and one that you have to be willing to rise to unless you want to end up buried in unfinished tasks and huge piles of mess. The best way to deal with these kinds of things is to be as organised as possible. Make sure that you create a daily to-do list that's organised by how important each task is. That way you're never going to end up getting overwhelmed by everything you need to do since you can break it up into bite-sized chunks that are much more manageable.

Home safety

Keeping your kids safe at home is often a major priority for many parents. After all, kids love to get into every nook and cranny in the house and put themselves in harm's way. Things like locks on drawers containing anything dangerous, as well as putting things like foam on the door frames to stop any little hands from getting squashed are incredibly small and simple changes, but they can help to stop you worrying too much about your kids hurting themselves. After all, even the best parent can't be watching their kids every second of the day.

Hopefully, with these tips and others like them, you'll be in a position where you don't have to spend every minute worrying about your kids, and you can just get on with spending time with them. Remember, if you're a bit more relaxed and happy then your kids are probably going to pick up on that and feel more relaxed and happy as well. That way all of your lives are going to get just a little bit more pleasant.

When Home Maintenance Equals Health Maintenance

How far do you go to maintain your health? For most, health is synonymous with regular exercises and a balanced diet, preferably without added sugar or fat. In fact, it wouldn’t be exaggerated to say that most of us probably keep an eye on the calories too and make sure to avoid second helpings when they can! With the rise of fitness trackers, it’s becoming incredibly easy to keep track of your activities every day and to make sure that you are not being too lazy. Additionally, if you’ve got a smartwatch – especially the latest Apple watch – you’ve probably noticed that the clever device has an in-built reminder that pushes you to stand up and regularly walk, even if you work in an office. So, it seems that there is no way you can improve your health even more. But you would be wrong to think that there’s nothing left to change. In reality, there’s something that all fitness aficionados have forgotten in their health plan, and that’s their home maintenance. What does home maintenance have to do with health? Read on to find out! 


Looking after the air quality

You probably know everything about air pollution, and maybe you’ve already decided to reduce car drive and walk more – which will keep your pedometer and the people who measure the quality of the air outdoors satisfied. But have you ever considered indoor air pollution? The air in your home can transport pollutant, contaminants and unwanted bacterial particles, consequently putting your health at risk. You can find houseplants that are recommended to purify the air, such as Boston fern or bamboo palms, which are great to get rid of formaldehyde, for example. Additionally, you need to ventilate your home regularly to avoid the presence of humidity and mold formation. Finally, if you’re using an air-con system, you should book a yearly AC maintenance to ensure that the unit doesn’t spread contaminated air. If you live in a humid home, you should consider the addition of a dehumidifier too. 

Giving no chance to pest and mold invasion

As a homeowner, your maintenance duties include undertaking the necessary renovation work in the flooring, ceiling and wall structure to avoid air or water infiltration that could weaken the building. A damp ceiling, for instance, can present the perfect environment for mold growth, without mentioning the health hazard of stagnant water. Besides, a breach in the wall can also appear inviting to unwanted guests, such as mice or bugs. Good thing, we have pest control experts to rely on. 

Messy home, messy mind

With time, clutter accumulates in your home. From old newspapers to unloved items that you’ve bought and never used, most households have too much unnecessary stuff that collects dust and takes a lot of room. That’s exactly why decluttering can be helpful. As the room cleans from all the things you don’t need; you’ll notice that your mind clears out too. In fact, decluttering has a positive domino effect. Clutter-free environment means clear thinking. 

In conclusion, it’s worth adding a new point to your health to-do list: Home maintenance. A clean home for a clean body, how does that sound to you? 

The Most Popular Mobile Game Types


By far and away, the most popular apps that people download are games. Whether you are an avid gamer or just an occasional player, there is bound to be something for you with such a wide selection out there. Here, we are going to be breaking down the most common different types that are available on the market.

Action

Action is a fairly broad category that encapsulates classic first-person shooters, arcade games or fighting games. But the one thing that all of these things have in common is that they require fast reflexes. Of course, there is an element of strategy as well, but unless you have those razor-sharp reactions, you are unlikely to be able to succeed when you are playing these types of games.

Adventure

Action and adventure are two categories that tend to be grouped together, but there is generally a difference between the two. Adventure games tend to be much more concerned with puzzle solving, though they also have elements of reflex testing as well. They are a little slower-paced, but they can be just as engrossing as their fast-moving counterparts.

Card and Casino

Now, you can have a casino in the palm of your hand from wherever you are in the world, allowing you to play a host of popular games such as blackjack, roulette and poker. You usually have options whether to play for money or just for fun, and many of them are linked to sports betting services, so it is worth checking out the laws against sports betting if you are planning on using any of these services. There is no doubt that card and casino games are some of the most popular out there.

RPGs

Role playing games (RPGs) tend to be more complex, and involve you steadily building up your abilities and taking your character on a journey. As smartphones become steadily more advanced, many more now have the capability of supporting these types of games, though it is likely that you will need an up-to-date model to get a full experience.

Sports


Sports games are pretty self-explanatory, and you can find different versions of all your favourite activities. The mobile versions of these games tend to be less complicated and merely focus on a single aspect of the experience. But there is no doubt that they can still be very entertaining for all sports enthusiasts.

Strategy

If you are into the more cerebral aspects of games, and you pride yourself on building strategies that work, these are the type of games for you. Many classic board games such as chess and checkers also fall into this category. But you could also be playing a big-scale army game in which you direct your troops to achieve your objectives.

Most mobile games fall into these categories, so it is worth trying all of the different options and variations out until you find the one or ones that are perfect for you.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Making Room: Building A Nursery

When you’re expecting a new baby in a home that doesn’t have enough bedrooms, you need to get creative. Not everyone has the luxury of a larger house, but the idea of selling the home you’ve worked so hard to decorate can be a step too far. The decisions that come with having a baby feel endless most of the time, but finding a space to fit the baby? That’s a decision that is also a necessity!


Designing your nursery space isn’t just about finding the right color scheme and giving your baby a beautiful set of cot bedding to sleep on. It’s about deciding whether to utilize a small closet space, like the ideas you find here, or whether you want to add to your home with the help of Siding & Windows Group and tack on a bedroom extension. Regardless of how you choose to do it, you don’t have too much time to make the big decision before your tiny baby comes screaming into the world. The real question is how you plan to design your nursery scheme! Knocking through a wall and building one onto the side of the house and your bedroom is a great way to start afresh and is a practical solution when you don’t want to sell your home. We’ve put together some tips below, so you can have the most beautiful nursery set up right on time.


Practicality. When you build your extension to your bedroom, make sure you add a lot of light. You need to ensure that the heating is adequate, you also need to apply the right blinds and curtains for night time and you need to ensure that the nursery isn’t too far from your own bed. Be practical with your design here so that when the baby is older, you can shut or slide the door over and keep it private.

Consistency. If you have a traditionally built home, you need to make sure that the décor in the nursery and the layout is in-keeping with the house. You want to be able to sell it one day and an ultra-modern nursery attached to an old-style home really won’t match!

Simplicity. The décor of the actual nursery is going to be individual to your taste, but you need to think about making it a child-friendly space rather than one that is complicated by design. Stay neutral with your colour scheme and jazz it up with accessories instead to make the nursery the place you want to spend time in.

Beauty. A nursery should be a beautiful and part of that beauty comes in the colour scheme you decide to use. Colours should be tranquil, nurturing and not too busy for the baby in the room. Lots of solid colours and soothing tones creates an environment that is peaceful.


Your nursery addition should match the rest of the house, and it should be a space that you want to spend time in. Make it beautiful and take your time planning it.

Buy or Build: What's The Best Option For Your New Home?


Buying or building a house, which is the best option for you? If you’re thinking about moving into a new home, then you might be at this crossroads. Well, I’ve got a few arguments in favor of both sides for you to take a look at down below. 
Buy

Buying a house is easily the most obvious choice out of the two. The main reason is that it’s just more convenient for most people. You haven’t got to organize everything from architects to builders, and so on, there’s less work on your behalf. 

Furthermore, it can take a couple of months to find a house, buy it, and move in. When you build, it could take up to a year, maybe longer. Some complications can occur, bad weather might prevent building from taking place on some days; a lot can go wrong. But, if you’re lucky, you could end up with a new house in a few weeks when you buy. 

Also, buying a house gives you the chance to improve on an existing property. You can make a few changes here and there, meaning you increase the market value. As a consequence, you can sell the house for way more than you bought it. 
Build

I think most families don’t even consider this as an option, which is a little strange seeing as it does have many benefits. However, there is one obvious issue that probably explains why so few build rather than buy; planning permission. Some people might not get the planning permission they need to build their new house, and they may not even have a location to build it, to begin with!

But, if you move past that, you will see some excellent positives in choosing this option. The first of which is that you get to completely design your house. You’ll work alongside some home builders and architects to come up with a plan for your ultimate dream home. Everything is built to your desires, it should mean you have a home that’s 100% your cup of tea, and you can’t fault anything. 

Building off this point, you also have a brand new house. It’s hard to find brand new homes these days, and the ones you do find are often overly expensive. Here, you get a new home that’s properly new and comes with no existing faults that need to be fixed. 

Lastly, don’t you hate it when you buy a house and then have to re-decorate it before you can properly settle in. You move, like, half your stuff in, and have to work around your boxes getting the interior design sorted, it’s a heck of a mess. But, when you build, you build your home and design it so you can move in and everything is already sorted!

Should you buy, should you build? In an ideal world, everyone could build their home from scratch. I love the idea of creating something designed specifically for you and your family. However, in a lot of cases, buying is more convenient. It’s a tough one, my advice is to look at both sides of the coin before you flip it!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Stay At Home Moms - How You Can Actually Get Your Work Done With Kids Around

You will have no doubt heard lots of success stories about mompreneurs - these are women who work for themselves from home while also looking after their kids. And on the surface, it definitely sounds amazing - after all, you can drastically cut down on your childcare costs and work from the comfort of your own home! 

Unfortunately, though, trying to work from home while also looking after the kids isn’t quite as idyllic as some mompreneurs might like to make it sound. It can actually end up quite stressful, especially those times you are working on a deadline and the kids are screaming!

Wondering how stay at home moms actually get anything done during the day? Here are some of their tips!

Work While They Nap

If your kids are still relatively young and take daily naps, it is worth trying to do some of your hardest work during these naptimes. That way, you will be able to work in complete peace and quiet, so it’s a good idea to do some work that requires your complete concentration. Working in quick spurts like this can help you get your work done at other times when your kids don’t require your attention, such as when they are playing or doing their homework.

Automate Your Processes

One of the main things that take up a lot of a stay at home mom’s time is all the admin that comes with working for yourself. This includes admin things like arranging your tax payments and following up on unpaid invoices. Thankfully, there are ways you can speed up the time it takes to carry out these processes - you just need to use software and computer programs that can automate them for you. For instance, you can get accounting software and a check stub maker that speeds up taking care of all your finances. Once you’ve automated everything, your working time will be drastically cut!

Structure Your Day

Throughout your day, it’s important that you have blocks of time that you can dedicate to your work and some blocks that you can dedicate to your kids. The best way to think about how you should structure your work is to take a look at your calendar and add a couple of family activities through the day. This might be things like baking cookies together. That way, your kids won’t feel like they aren’t coming second to your work.

Always Ask For Help When You Need It

There will be times when working from home and looking after your kids gets too much for you. And it’s perfectly fine to reach out for help when all the stress gets too much. You might want to get in touch with a local nanny who can look after the kids for you for a couple of hours so that you can focus on all your work. If your parents or your partner’s parents are free, they might be able to take the kids out for the day so that you can get on with all your business things.

So, that’s how you do it!

What Do You Mean, "No Screen Time"?

We live in a world that is digitally led and this digital uprising has filtered down into the activities that we do on a day to day basis with our children. This has led to an increase in the number of children who now spend less time outside and more time indoors in front of a variety of technological gadgets.


Wherever you look online, you’ll find article after scholarly article about screen time guidelines for our children that we should all be adhering to. There is a balancing act when it comes to screen time, and it has nothing to do with the internet options available in your area which often affect how much you can stream. Every parent across the world will have their own rules when it comes to the amount of exposure that their children get to television or tablets, but should we be looking at the official health guidelines instead?


Our children are surrounded by digital media all the time. Even if we don’t leave the television running in the background all day, they’ll see billboards that used to be paper are now digital screens. They’ll see adverts for games consoles and tablets. They’ll see the marketing of tablets aimed at children that are packed full of educational apps and games. Screen time is as much a part of our everyday lives now, as coloring books and crayons used to be. Adults rely heavily on technology to get work done, and we rely on Netflix and tv show and film streaming entertainment. In 2011, only 35% of adults owned a smartphone with an interactive screen. This number has soared to 95% in 2017. The reliance we have on the internet and our screens as adults filter down to our children – so they are bound to pick it up!


When you tell your children that it’s time to put the screens away, you could find yourself at a loss of what to do instead, and it’s so important that they know there is more to life than staring at an iPad. The screen time that our kids get tends to vary based on the activities of the day, or whether they are in school or not. There are plenty of other ways that your children can have fun without the crutch of an interactive screen to help. Check out the list below and try and implement some into each day you are with the kids:
  • Get messy in the garden and plant and water flowers
  • Visit a local beach and have a sandcastle building contest
  • Work on writing your own comic and illustrating it
  • Build a blanket fort
  • Got a trampoline? Go for a jump!
  • Fill water balloons and have a water fight
  • Go on a nature hunt
  • Cook together as a family for dinner

Filling the free time of your children without a screen to entertain doesn’t have to be hard. Simply think back to when you were a child – how did you entertain yourself?