Giving Your Home an MOT

When we first move into a new home, we spend a long time getting the décor just right, making improvements and changing the home to suit our needs and tastes. Then, aside from the odd repair, improvement or replacement, we mostly leave it alone. This is fine; sometimes, it’s nice to simply enjoy our homes as they are, without planning the next phase of changes. You certainly wouldn’t want to spend your life constantly decorating and living in disarray.

But, this means that our homes can quickly become tired and dated, not to mention inefficient and wasteful. We spend a lot of time at home, cooking, cleaning, eating, entertaining and generally living. If you’ve got kids or pets, things can wear out and become dirty or broken even more quickly. So, once a year it’s a good idea to give your home an MOT, just like you would your car. Use this as an opportunity to check that it’s still in good condition, that you’re not wasting money on your utilities and that everything is working at its best. Performing these checks and making a few small changes once a year could save you vast amounts of money, by spotting problems before they become expensive to repair or replace. More importantly, however, they could keep your home and the people in it safe and happy. Here are a few of the things that you should add to your home MOT checklist.

 

Outside Areas

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It’s always a good idea to start with the first thing that you see. In the case of your home, it’s the front garden and entrance. Doing your outdoor areas first also means that you don’t need to worry about walking mud and dirt into your newly refreshed home. Nor will you have to carry any gardening equipment through.

So, start by taking a good look at the outside of your home. Start at the top. Roof tiles can become damaged over time by weather damage and sunlight. A leaky roof can be expensive to repair, as well as leaving you with a cold and damp home. If you’re not comfortable checking your roof yourself, hire a roofer to help.

The next step is your guttering. This can also become blocked and damaged over time and should be cleaned out regularly to prevent trapped water seeping into the bricks of your home and causing expensive to repair damage to its structure.  Again, if you’re not comfortable getting up there yourself, hire help.

Continue working down your home by getting your windows cleaned and checking that the seals are all clean and undamaged. Replace any that need it. Then, all that is left in your door and gardens or drive. Your door is your homes best defence from burglars and unwanted guests, so make sure that it is safe and secure, as well as undamaged, just like your windows.

When it comes to the garden, a good clean up should be your first step so that you know where you stand. Then, take a good look around. Do you need to spend some time removing weeds? Or replanting? If you’ve got a pond or pool, check the PH levels of the water and give it a good clean.

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Matt Damon Is Right – We Should Downsize!

Matt Damon is a legend for a reason. He’s one of the youngest Oscar winners ever. He’s famed for his persona and personality. And, in 2015, he survived on Mars for months by farming potatoes. More recently, he starred in a film called Downsizing. Apart from being another Damon triumph, the movie has lots of parallels with modern life.

Let’s face it – who doesn’t want to downsize? Life can be hectic at times, especially for families. Sometimes, it’s better to have a small amount of quality than a great deal of quantity. In today’s society, it’s a theory that’s difficult to remember but Downsizing does it perfectly.

So, with that movie firmly in mind, let’s apply it to the home. A person’s house should be their castle, but a fortress is far too big. Here’s how to minimize it and everything else on your property.

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Simple Floor Plans

Walking through a modern living room is like trying to get out of a maze. It’s impossible to head in a straight line and find an exit. The reason, aside from the clutter, is the complicated layout. To try and mix feng shui and natural elements, homeowners scatter furniture and accessories all over the house. Minimalist houses are much less complex and far easier to navigate. Why? It’s because these properties stack belongings on top of one another to create extra space. A coffee table with a lamp is a prime example and one to keep in mind. Bookcases and high shelves also work wonders. Items that double as storage are fantastic space-savers, too, as are minimal walls.

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Want To Change Your Lifestyle? Start Right Now

January is always a time of the year that is filled with hope and inspiration to make some changes to your life, and generally, your actual lifestyle can be top of the list as it covers such a broad area of things. Lifestyle can be your health, your fitness, what you eat and how you act. But collectively making your lifestyle a priority can mean that you improve many other aspects of your life, which is why so many people consider it rather than just focusing on one area of it. However, it can often feel overwhelming, so I thought I would share with you a few simple tips and areas to help you get started.

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Drink more water

Water is nature’s natural detox, and so it can be one of the best things you do if you are serious about changing your lifestyle. As a busy mom, we can often forget to keep ourselves hydrated, focusing on our children instead, so a great tip is to have a bottle of water close to hand to ensure that you are reminded to drink the water yourself. More water can help with skin tone and condition, better sleep and even give you more energy.

 

Be more active

Often the thought of exercise can be one of the last things we want to do, but mentally, this can be great for your mindset and also how you feel physically. You don’t need to be heading to the gym each day, you can just try and be more active. Heading out for a walk or a run is a great place to start. You could even add insoles to your runners for extra support and comfort. Websites like biopods.com have a great selection. Being active each day, even if just for five minutes, could dramatically change your lifestyle, and it is definitely something you can start right now.

 

Look at what you eat

What we eat can really huinder our lifestyle choices, and often, being busy means that we can grab on the go and sometimes they may not be always the best choices for our health. You could try a different diet, perhaps cutting out gluten or focusing on a plant based lifestyle. Or you could choose to have a more balanced diet, where you nourish your body with what it needs. Websites like healthline.com have some great tips. Don’t let weightloss be your motivation, more having more energy and feeling good.

 

Dress to impress

Sometimes how we look can seriously impact how we feel, so even if you don’t feel like it dress smart and look good. Of course, don’t be impractical, even if you just make an effort with your hair, or put on your favourite shirt instead of your sweats it can instantly lift your mood.

 

Take some time out to focus on your mindset

Finally, take some time out to focus on your mind and thoughts. A positive outlook can be really beneficial for feeling productive and getting things done. It can feel hard at first, almost like you’re forcing it, but once you get into the swing of things your outlook and thought process naturally changes.

I hope that some of these tips help you get started on your lifestyle change.

Add Warmth To Your Home This Winter

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Winter is now upon us, and at this time of year many people want to add warmth to their home – often in the form of soft cosy fabrics that transforms the interior from feeling like a cold house into a warm and inviting home that makes them feel cosy and protected from the bad weather.  There is, of course, a balance in terms of saving energy, as energy bills can spiral out of control at this time of year.

This article therefore explores four simple things you can do this winter to ensure your house feels cosy throughout winter, from an aesthetic perspective, that doesn’t involve increasing your thermostat.

CHOOSE YOUR COLOURS CAREFULLY

If you want to add a feeling of warmth and cosiness to your home, then you need to choose warm colours, such as those associated with fire.  The reds, yellows, oranges, and certain shades of purple bring instant warmth – whereas cooling colours such as blues and greens take warmth away.

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Furry Friend Fitness: Keeping Your Pet In Shape

 

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Looking after a pet is much more than simply enjoying the company of an animal which will always be loyal to you. When you take on this responsibility, you also commit to something almost as important as having a child of your own. They will rely on you in every aspect of their life, with areas like fitness and health being completely at your hands, but you’re not alone, and you don’t have to struggle. To help you out, this post will be exploring some of the key areas of pet fitness, and the ways that you can achieve them for your creature.


Exercise:
Keeping any animal in good shape will take at least some exercise. Some animals, like fish, don’t need this help, as they will do it on their own. Birds, reptiles, and mammals, though, might need some persuasion. Each species will have a unique set of acceptable exercises which you will find easy to perform. To find out about them, you’ll have to do some research for the particular pet you have.


Health:
Next, it’s time to think about health, and how you’ll keep your animal on top of their game in it. A big part of this is routine, and regular usage of options like Heartgard for dogs or an alternative for your pet can give them a huge boost. Along with this, though, most pets should also go for regular vet checkups to make sure that they don’t have anything going wrong which you can’t see. [Read more…]

Top Reasons Why You Should Get a Dog for your Kids

If you are considering getting a dog then you’ll have a lot to think about. After all, you have to think about whether or not getting a dog is right for you and you also have to think about what breed of dog you want. Of course, a dog isn’t right for everyone and if you are not ready to give one a home then you need to make sure that you do everything you can to accept this and not get one anyway in hopes that it will change things.

Responsibility and Care

If you are worried about getting a dog because you don’t always want the responsibility of walking it or even grooming it then you can get your kids involved. It’s important for your kids to learn how important it is to walk the dog and even feed it on time. This is the ideal way for you to teach your kids about responsibility and it is also the best way for you to show them that they do in fact have responsibilities and that their responsibilities are theirs to bear. A dog can also help a child to feel grounded and it can also help them to take initiative as well, showing them that another living thing actually depends on them.

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Dogs are Great for Parents who have an Only Child

If you are not planning on having more than one child then you should consider getting them a dog. There have been a lot of studies done that show that children feel less lonely when they have a dog and in some instances they even view their pet as a sibling. Some children even learn how to share their parent’s time between the dog and themselves and they also learn how to respect another living thing. This is a great and valuable life lesson and it is the best way for you to teach your child, from a young age, how important it is to be considerate of other living things.

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Great Benefits of Dogs and Children Growing Up Together

Most children are going to love dogs; they are cute, cuddly, and fun. But there are many reasons why growing up with a dog can actually benefit a child, or a family in general, as a result. Both physically and psychologically, a dog can be a massive help at home. If you’re not convinced, then take a look at a few of the many ways that a dog could help in your home.

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Always Have Companionship

Growing up isn’t always easy. But having the consistency of always knowing your dog is at home, can be reassuring to children as they grow up. Having a dog to play with and cuddle can be a great way to feel comforted as a child, especially if they’ve had a hard day at school or there are issues in the family. Having a pet can help them to relax and it has even been shown to relieve stress.

 

Be More Active

There are some pets that are really low-maintenance. They need food, cleaning occasionally, and then you just leave them be. So while a pet like that may be appealing, it isn’t a pet that is going to encourage your children to be particularly active. So if you want to get them off the computer or consoles from time to time, then having a dog that needs to be walked is a good way to do it. The time spent outdoors with the pet dog can be fun, and will get them in a healthy routine that will set them up for life.

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Give Yourself The Gift Of Time For Your Wellbeing

Sometimes, all you need is an hour to get away from it all, clear your head, and feel human again. Sometimes it can take longer! Of course, it’s important to make the most of any time you might have to yourself to maximize every moment. So make a plan, commit to the activity, and indulge for the good of you:

 

An Hour In The Bath

Not everyone is a soaker, so you might need a little incentive to stay in the water for this long. Add a bubbly jet spa, some tunes or a bathroom TV, and you can switch off completely for a full hour. The bubbles can gently pummel the muscles, easing away the stresses of the day. The water soaks and cleanses the skin to give you that wonderfully fresh and soft sensation. Now you just need to find the motivation to get out of the tub again.

 

An Hour In School

It’s not always about those little indulgences that help the skin or hair feel glorious. Occasionally it can be worth giving the brain a little stretch and workout too. You don’t have to sign up for formal qualifications. But adding a short course or two to your resume might even do your career some good. Why not choose something fun like cookery or paper folding? Pick a class, or sign up for something that will give your skill set a big boost.

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An Hour At The Gym

Ordinarily, most of us have a great excuse for avoiding the gym. Kids, careers, and housework can all get in the way of most things in life. It is, however, worth checking out some of the activities that are on at your local gym. They’re designed to be fun and engaging as well as benefiting your fitness. Why not schedule a class with a friend or two so you can make it into a social event. Your body and your physical well being will thank you for it. No doubt your friends will appreciate the motivating factor of having you there to spur them on.

 

An Hour With A Good Book

When was the last time you sat down and read more than a chapter? Perhaps you’ve forgotten who the main characters are or maybe just lost the plot! Fiction writing is good for the imagination and helps to sooth us emotionally as it offers an escape. Joining a book club can often encourage us to put in the time for some reading. You can head to a library and pick something from the shelf. Or maybe you’ve seen a review and fancied checking out a best seller?

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An hour of reading might not seem much, and it certainly won’t get you through a whole book. But if you can take some time out for a chapter or two each day or each evening, you’ll soon get to the end. Have you missed reading?

 

An Hour To Tell A Story

If you see a counselor or therapist, the timer is often set for an hour. You’re not likely to be doing all the talking during that time, but you are probably focusing on you quite a lot! If you need this time to work through complex life issues, why not book an appointment? Some types of therapy work quite well over the phone or on Skype too. Of course, if all you need is to bend an ear for a while, then why not phone a good friend or a family member? Tell your story, get your frustrations heard, and feel much better at the end of the hour.

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How Much Is Your Dog Costing You?

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If you own a pooch, you will already know that they can be very expensive to keep and look after. But are you aware of how much your dog is actually costing you? Here’s a rundown of some of the major costs and what you can do to keep them as low as possible.

 

Spaying Or Neutering – $200

One of the initial costs that many pet owners face is getting the animal spayed or neutered. This is really important as it can calm down most male dogs and also prevents female bitches from becoming pregnant. If your dog ends up pregnant then you will have to face a lot bigger vet bills and you will also have to care for a litter of puppies further down the line. And that is certainly something that you don’t want to be faced with! Don’t worry if this initial amount to get your dog spayed or neutered seems excessively high – there are things you can do to help make this cost easier to manage. First of all, you might want to find out how to get rid of debt to ease your current financial situation. As well as that, it’s worth seeing if there are any pe charities in your local area who can help with the cost of vet bills.

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Dog Training – $100

If you have a puppy or a very young dog then you will need to take it to a few training courses so that it can socialize with other dogs and learns good behavior. This isn’t particularly cheap, though, and it could easily set you back a hundred dollars or so. Can’t really afford that? Don’t worry – you can have a go at training your pup yourself. It might not be as hard as you would have thought! You should be able to train your dog to do simple tricks in the garden. There are quite a few good YouTube videos you’ll be able to use to help you do this. It’s also a good idea to take your pup to the local dog park as well so that it can meet other dogs and get used to being around them. If a dog isn’t socialized enough as a puppy, then they could grow up to become quite aggressive around other dogs.

 

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5 Ways To Freshen Up Your Home

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Do you ever feel like you home is just lacking, in some way? If you do, then you’re not the only one. Because so many of us will admit that when our homes just aren’t quite feeling right, it sets us off into a bit of a funk. And when this happens, you definitely have to think about freshening up your home a little. Whether you have a dog, or you just feel like the place needs a complete spruce, there are ways that you can easily improve the look and feel of your home in a few simple ways. So we’re not going to take a look at five different ways that you can keep your home looking and feeling fresher for longer.

 

Lay Out A Strict Schedule

Life is busy, we all know that. Whether you have children to look after, a job, or even both, you probably find that your agenda is all over the shop. This can often mean that you tend to get your cleaning done as and when you can. However, this may then also mean that you miss days, push things back, and forget where you’re at. All of the above can cause your home to feel less than fresh at times. So, you’re going to want to work on a house cleaning schedule that you can stick to. When you know you have set things to do on set days, you’ll find it so much easier to stay on track.

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