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Friday, March 24, 2017

How To Make The Outside of Your Home Look Fabulous

They tell you to never judge a book by its cover, but when it comes to houses, people inevitably make snap judgments about what they see on the outside. And the strange thing is, homeowners often spend a great deal of time and attention making the interior as good as it can be, but forget about the outside. If you make your home’s exterior look good, it will always be a welcoming environment to come back to, as well as making a great first impression for any guests that come to visit.

Paint the Front Door

This is probably the simplest thing you can do, but it’s amazing the number of people who overlook painting the front door. Why not try a strong, bright color to really grab people’s attention from the moment that set eyes on your house? Start by sanding off any rough edges and then a couple of coats of paint should do the trick. Add the finishing touches by putting up a nice shiny house number or name if you would prefer.

Get the Lighting Right

You can place a light on either side of the door to add a sense of symmetry. Consider some lanterns which will give your house a timeless feel. Lighting generally should be used to highlight the most positive features of your home. Remember, good garden lighting is generally unseen.


Windows that are tired and dirty don’t give off a great impression, so make sure yours are cleaned on a regular basis. If you’re looking at putting in new window frames, make sure they match the brickwork of your home. Also, keep the window panes themselves looking nice and shiny.


Many people see their roof as being purely functional, but there are so many different styles that you can experiment with. Unlike other simpler jobs, it is worth calling in the professionals so contacting a roofing company will be your best bet. When you are looking at a house, your eye is often drawn naturally up to the roof so getting this right will really make all the difference.

Add Some Greenery

Some potted plants next to your front door can really add a beautiful natural feel to your porch. You could put up some hanging baskets with colourful flowers to add some light and fragrance to the area. A lot of people put up some draping ivy that extends around the house.  

Install an Impressive Entrance Gate

If you have room for it, it could be a nice idea to have an entrance gate that keeps in style with your house. Wrought-iron electric gates tend to look good with new-build houses, while a white-painted gate is best suited to an older and more classic-looking home.

Spruce Up the Facade

Ugly brickwork can be repainted, re-pointed, or rendered to make it look fresh once again. Keep you paint colors simple and classic (unlike the front door). Try to keep it in line with the period of your home as well as the other houses on the street.     

These are just some ways on how you can make your home exterior fabulous. Whats your favorite? Comment down below!


How To Pay For Those Big Purchases

It’s always daunting when you have to lay out a large amount of money in one go. Especially if it's your first time making such a large purchase. Unfortunately, when this much money is involved, the stakes are high. You’re at risk from debt, dodgy loans, and even bankruptcy if you don’t do your homework prior to making a big purchase. Here’s a guide to the various ways you can pay for those big purchases. Whether it’s a holiday, your first home, or your first car, take a look at these simple suggestions to get to grips with the buying process…

Loans: The Pros and Cons

Taking out a loan is one way for paying for your holiday, new home, or a new car. People usually like to do this if they don’t have the cash upfront at the time of buying, but will have it coming in later. Obviously, the great thing about a loan is that you can borrow money almost instantly in most cases. Meaning you can book your holiday or put a deposit down as soon as you like.

If you’re taking out a personal loan from a bank you need to have a good credit rating, otherwise, they won’t lend you any money. Personal loans can be a good way to go as the interest rate is usually set at a fixed amount and you can repay the loan over a larger period of time in smaller instalments. This is one of the negatives about taking out a loan, the interest. Wherever you borrow from, a bank or a lender, you will have to pay interest. So in effect, you will be spending more than you would have been, to begin with.

Paying A Deposit: The Pros and Cons

Paying a deposit is, in essence, paying part of the value of your purchase. Deposits are used to secure purchases. The amount of deposit you have to pay depends on what you’re buying. If you’re booking hotel rooms the hotel may ask for a 20% deposit upfront, which isn’t refundable if you make a cancellation. This is so they don’t lose too much money if you pull out last minute. A deposit for a car can be thousands of pounds and means you can drive away with it. You do however have to pay back the rest of the value in fixed installments. Similarly buying a house usually involves putting down a deposit of around 10%. The remaining price is then calculated into installments that must be paid over the years. You can get some great tips for first time home buyers from a financial advisor. They will be able to ascertain how much deposit you can realistically afford to pay.

Deposits are a good way of securing a purchase and taking it ‘off the market.’ They allow a buyer to pay for their purchase in more manageable amounts rather than a big chunk. The problem with deposits is that it allows people to buy things they really can’t afford. Just because you can just about scrape together a deposit, doesn’t mean you can afford the repayments.

Saving Money: Pros and Cons

Good old fashioned saving up is a good option for some. The downside is that it can take a long time, and you may never be able to afford some larger purchases without help. The massive positive is that whatever you do buy will be yours outright. You won’t owe any money or have to pay any installments.
Big purchases definitely affects ones financial capabilities. Some purchases are unavoidable and one must decide well on how he can pay for it. Weighing all the options is the best and do what works well for you!


Get Ready for Your Golden Years

You might be young, fancy-free and full of energy right now, but the fact is we all get old, and if you want to enjoy your golden years in good health, comfort, and style, you need to start preparing for them right now.


Here are some simple tips to get ready for your golden years and ensure they are as good as your life is now:


It seems like exercise is touted as the answer to most problems in life, but when it comes to being fit and healthy in your old age, staying active now really does matter. Not only will regular exercise help you to stave off a number of diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis as you age, but aerobic exercise can also stave off degeneration of the brain, which leads to Alzheimer’s.

Practice Yoga


As well as aerobic exercise and weight training (good for the bones) you might want to start practicing some light yoga. As you will probably know, falls are a real health hazard to older people, who are much less able to heal from the injuries they sustain. Yoga can help to prevent falls by increasing your balance and flexibility.

Save Money

You won’t be able to enjoy your golden years if you’re unable to retire due to a lack of funds, which is why you should start saving for a pension right now if you’re not already. Ideally, you should save a percentage of your income which is equal to half of your current age if you want to have a comfortable retirement.

Purchasing an endowment insurance provides you both savings and protection because it will pay out a lump sum after a fixed period of time, or upon your death depending on which you choose, so buying such a policy alongside your pension could be a good idea if you want to be able to afford those little luxuries you enjoy now as you age.

Live Within Your Means


You shouldn’t stop doing the things you enjoy now so that you can be more comfortable when you reach your golden years, but you should try to cut down on the unnecessary expenses which don’t really make you all that happy now anyway. The money you save can be used to pay into your pension, put into savings or go towards buying a house, which will give you some security in the future.

Cultivate Hobbies

Retired people who have lots of hobbies tend to feel happier and live longer, healthier lives than those who leave work and have nothing to replace the time with other than watching TV and slowly wasting away. Of course, you can always take up new hobbies when the time comes, but if you cultivate a few key interests now, you’ll be ready to jump right in and really enjoy your golden years without boredom.

Start a Travel Fund

If you’ve always wanted to see Angkor Wat or visit London, but you’re always too busy with work to take a long trip, save a few dollars each month and by the time you retire, you’ll be able to visit all those places you’ve longer to see.

What are you doing to ensure your golden years are some of the best? Comment down below!


Doll Up Your Kitchen And Make It More Livable

If you use your kitchen a lot, you’ll be intimately familiar with the fact that it isn’t always an ideal space to cook your meals. No matter how good your organization, the actual implement you need always seems irritatingly out of reach. Here are some ways to make your kitchen more livable.

Create More Counter Space

Before you move into a new kitchen, it always seems as if there is plenty of counter space. But once you put a microwave, a toaster, a drying rack, a kettle and your coffee machine on the side, there isn’t always much space left over.

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There is a good solution, though, if you’ve got the space. Just install an island complete with built-in butcher block and hob. With the addition of an island, you’ll free up space for all the stuff you need and still have space left over.

Install A Pantry

Most people don’t have a pantry. Instead, they store all their durable food in cupboards. While this might seem like a good compromise, cupboards rarely provide enough space. Worse still, it’s difficult to organize food when it all has to be crammed into a cuboid space without dividers.

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The reason the wealthy invented kitchen pantries in the past was precisely because they wanted them to stay clutter-free. They needed a kind of closet in which they could both store and organize all sorts of different foodstuffs, especially spices.

Get An Aerated Tap

Old-fashioned taps didn’t come with an aerator to inject little bubbles of air into the flow of water. This meant that people had to use a lot more water just to get the same coverage when washing vegetables or doing the dishes.

Aerated taps not only look good, but once they’ve been installed by a plumber can also save you a lot of money. The average aerated faucet costs about 40 percent less than it’s non-aerated brethren.

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Set Up New Lighting Fixtures

The last thing you want to be doing in your kitchen is chopping under low light. As a result, many people are now installing miniature lights under their cabinets so that they can see what they’re doing. Others are putting lights underneath wall sconces or even hanging lamps from the ceiling to about two feet above their island or breakfast bar. Most showroom kitchens use multiple sources of lighting to look their best, including lighting from the ceiling as well as from under the cabinets themselves.

Reface The Kitchen Cabinetry

Kitchen cabinetry can easily destroy the atmosphere you want to create in your kitchen by looking cheap and ugly. But replacing it can be very expensive indeed. (Who know wood could be so pricey?)

Fortunately, there is another option: replacing the front of the cabinets with new fittings. All this involves is taking the old facing off and putting new facing on. As a result, it’s much cheaper than pulling all the cabinets out and starting again. Some people take off the doors of their cabinets and fit them with glass panels.

These are just some ways on how you can make your kitchen more inviting and livable. If you use your kitchen a lot, you should definitely give some of this tips a try and you will not regret it. Whats your favorite gadget in your kitchen? Comment down below!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Beautiful On A Budget: How To Save Money As You Craft

Crafting is one of the best hobbies out there - it’s productive, calming and it keeps your creative juices flowing. It can also get a little expensive unless you cut yourself off and do your best not to spend too much on supplies! Here are some tips on how you can keep crafting and save money at the same time...

Involve Your Family

It’s always better to pull your kids into your crafting hobby instead of pushing them towards other more expensive hobbies - crafting days can be times of a lot of fun, even if you’re the mom of toddlers and there’s paint everywhere by the evening! Teaching your kids to enjoy crafts like knitting and painting will also help to encourage them to have a creative streak, which will help them throughout their lives - creative people tend to be happier than un-creative ones, as they have an outlet to let their feelings out.

Re-purpose Household Items

Crafting is great partly because it means that you can utilize household supplies that you might otherwise have thrown away, whether that’s unraveling sweaters and using the wool to make new items, cutting up old dresses to make quilts or even using cardboard cereal boxes to store your supplies (or re-covering them so that they make attractive holders for magazines or desk supplies!). Make sure that you don’t waste anything by considering whether or not you could use it for your crafting hobby before throwing it away or recycling it.

Look For Deals

One of the best ways to save money in any part of your life is to make sure that you look out for deals where you can. Check out coupon websites like and make sure that when you’re out in stores, you keep an eye on any deals that might be going on that particular day. However, it’s important to remember that deals aren’t always total bargains - at the end of the day, the retailer wants you to spend money, they’re not giving you a gift! So you should make sure that you only buy items that you’re absolutely sure that you want, instead of filling your home with supplies you don’t need but just bought because they were fifty percent off. You probably already know that crafting supplies can end up taking over your house in the end unless you’re careful!

Use What You Make

One of the best things about crafting is that it’s a productive hobby. Whether you make decorations for your home, scarves to keep yourself and your family warm for the winter, or scrapbooks and photo albums that you can gift to people for birthdays and for Christmas, it’s great to know that you can use exactly what you make in a productive way. Before you start a new project, make sure that you consider what exactly you’ll be using the end result for - and if you aren’t totally sure how it could be useful, put that idea to the side for the time being and start something else.

Crafting is amazing. You can have a lot of fun and be able to use what you make after your project. At the end of the day you make your own so that you can skip buying a store bought item and remember that handmade items cost more than the mass produced ones. What are your current crafting project? Comment down below.


Let's Separate The Wheat From The Chaff

You may be wondering where we are going with this blog title.  This is a pretty well known phrase used by farmers when talking about grain.  The chaff is the husk which surrounds the grain and is the part which needs to be thrown away.  The wheat, of course, is the valuable bit which can be used to make a variety of things.

This saying works really well when it comes to your home and to projects such as up-cycling.  We are all guilty of a little bit of hoarding from time to time.  Keeping things in our homes which might come in handy one day.  The truth is though, those items will often sit around doing nothing, only to be thrown away in decades to come.  How many times have you asked yourself “why did I keep that?”

So, let’s get to it and give your home a huge overhaul, getting rid of any chaff you have been squirreling away over the years.

One of the best places to start is by working out what you are going to do with all the rubbish you end up with, trust us there is going to be plenty.  Your options are pretty simple.  You could use a skip hire company, although this can be expensive, you could find your local dump and run back and forth or you could use a company such as to help find someone to come in, whip your rubbish off and make the whole process a little more efficient.  

Start going through the garage and the loft but don’t just assume everything is junk.  You might have some pretty cool up-cycling products waiting to happen.  Again, take to the internet and see if you can find any inspiration for old boxes, ladders or other items which can be re-tasked. You might discover you can make gorgeous planters out of a broken wooden ladder.  If you happen to have some wooden pallets around, you could even create some awesome furniture which you could sell on Ebay! Handy if you are looking to boost your income a little.

You also need to consider which items could go to help a charity, school or other family in your area.  But try to give them quality things.  You need to be brutal with the bits you have.  It might help to make three piles.  Definitely rubbish.  Maybe worth saving.  Stuff for keeps.  Then have the rubbish removed straight away, pop the items you are keeping in smart, labelled boxes and finally tackle the maybes.  

It may seem like a chore, but regularly going through your garage, loft or basement will help you maintain better organisation and will ensure you are on top of all of your assets.  You may also discover that you have much more space than you imaged, which could give you room to create a home office or, better still, a little studio for all your DIY projects.

We all need to separate the wheat from the chaff, so take a little time this spring to regain control!

Monday, March 20, 2017

Outside The Box: Creative Home Decoration Ideas

When it comes to decorating your home, the great thing is that there's not one right way to do it. No matter what your tastes might be you're in a position where you can turn your home into somewhere truly beautiful, that reflects your personality and offers you a place where you can be truly comfortable and happy. Of course, as with anything else, it's easy to get stuck and feel unsure of what to do. If that's something that happens to you from time to time, here are some creative ideas to help you think outside the box when you're decorating your home.


Light it up

We all know how important lighting is to anyone's home. Lighting can make even the smallest room feel spacious and open, but it can also have the opposite effect if you're not using it properly. One thing that a lot of people are afraid to do is to get creative with how they light their homes. People always seem to want to stick with the same old lights and lamps that everyone else uses. Instead, why not make your own lamps from reclaimed objects, use LED tape to light up your staircases and cabinets, or maybe even find new and creative ways to get as much natural light into a room as possible. By doing something a bit different with your lighting you'll not only make your home feel more open and spacious, but you're able to do so while also making it totally unique.

Go vintage

What better way to make your home stand out than by looking into the past. With stores like IKEA all around the world, it's pretty easy for everyone to end up with furniture that looks exactly the same. By going vintage and looking for things with a little more personality, you're able to avoid that kind of issue altogether. Vintage stores are packed with furniture and decorations that have huge amounts of personality and history behind them, allowing you to bring a little of that into your home.


Make things from scratch

If you really want to have a home unlike anyone else then why not make a lot of your decorations from scratch? There are thousands of tutorials online on exactly how to make everything from wine bottle lamps to coffee tables, to unique decorations to hand all over your walls. Not only will it make a real statement every time you have guests, but you get to feel that certain satisfaction every time you look around and can see just how much of your home really is all yours.

Mix and match

Of course, not every design or decor choice has to be completely bizarre or unique. In fact, one of the best things that you can do is to take the more standard decorations and interior ideas that you have and mash them together. By combining things, you'll be able to create a unique style without all of the hassles that can occasionally come along with trying to find one-of-a-kind furniture and decoration ideas.

Decorating your home and being crafty is just one of the ways on how you can liven up your atmosphere inside your home. What decor do you like most in your home? Comment down below!