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Monday, May 29, 2017

Prepare Your Home for Dangerous Weather


People are more concerned about intense weather these days than ever before. Blistering heat, too much sunshine, thunderstorms and heavy rain… but what’s the use of worrying about these things if we’re not going to prepare our homes for them?

If you’re concerned about inclement weather, then you should be taking steps to prepare your home now. It will help you be safe and comfortable, as well as protect the longevity and value of your home!

Equipment that will keep you safe

Having the right equipment in your home will help you fend off specific dangers that may occur during inclement weather. If power and gas gets shut off, you need a way to keep warm and connected to the outside world. If there’s a heatwave, you need to ensure you can keep cool.

Backup power generators are a good investment. A supply of blankets will help you keep warm and dry if water is getting into the home and the heating has gone down. While most homes have spare blankets, you may want to consider getting smaller blankets that allow you to be more mobile. Flashlights, along with a good supply extra batteries, are definitely recommended, because power supplies - and, therefore, the lights - are often the first things to go when there are strong winds and severe rain! Make sure you have spare batteries for your mobile phones in case the power outlets fail you.


Strengthening your household

If intense weather hits your neighborhood, then there’s pretty much a guarantee that structural flaws within your home are going to be exposed, and probably not in a pleasant way! The most obvious problem buildings are older homes, though you shouldn’t assume that your more modern home is an invincible fortress. Homes that were built a few decades back may not be properly bolted to their foundations. If earthquakes or severe winds hit, this can cause a lot of damage. Consider talking to a foundational expert!

There are other areas are easier to deal with, but you’ll still need help from the experts. The most important areas to consider are your roof and the walls, as these are going to take the brunt of this weather. You may be surprised to learn how many roofs out there are no longer suitable for dealing with heavy rain. You should know when to get your roof fixed and when to get a new roof completely. As for walls, there are surprisingly simple ways to get them strengthened.


Have an emergency plan

When you have a family in your household, the stakes are, of course, much higher. Not only this, but it complicates things a bit more if intense weather creates an emergency situation such as a flooding or even fires.


Your family needs to have an emergency plan in place in case the weather gets too much to handle. Let’s say you need to evacuate. Is there an agreed-upon exit, along with a place where you’ll all reconvene? You also need to know where the shutoffs for your gas, power, and water facilities are, in case these things pose further risk to you all under the circumstances. First aid kits, too, are essential!

Preparing for emergency and dangerous situations is a must for everyone. With these simple tips you can start planning for your own safety.

xoxo,
Therese

Friday, May 26, 2017

Live Off Your Land? That's The Good Life


If you have a large enough garden, you might want to think about using it for more than just a private place to sit outside. Instead, you can develop it into a place where you can grow your own food and essentially live off the land. There are many advantages to this type of lifestyle. But before we get into that, there are a few questions that you’ll need to ask.
The first is what are you going to grow and produce. You might just stick to fruit and vegetables. But if you want to take things one step further, you could also keep livestock. Understandably, this will be more time-consuming and costly. But it might be worth it because the advantages of living off the land extend to every type of food that you can produce yourself.
No Chemicals, No Growth Hormones
It would amaze and shock you to learn the process that is currently used by farmers to produce vegetables, crops, and livestock. They use a mixture of chemicals and hormones to ensure that each grows as large as possible. If you’re buying your fruit and veg from a store, it’s very unlikely that it will have been grown naturally. There is even evidence to suggest that some organic-labeled produce still uses certain chemicals to boost the process.
Unfortunately, the effect that these chemicals and hormones have on our bodies are still unclear. Some people believe that the diseases that we see in animals like cows have been created due to the conditions that we keep them in and there is evidence to support this theory. As such, by growing your own food, you can guarantee that you are indeed, consuming natural produce.
Cheap And Cheerful
You might think that growing your own food is going to be expensive. In fact, it can be quite cheap. In the long run, it could certainly cost you less than buying from a superstore, and it can work as an investment. So, you might buy broiler chickens. A few chickens will lay enough eggs to keep you completely supplied. As such, you’ll never have to buy eggs again. Sure the chickens need feeding and looking after. But when it’s all added up, you’ll still be saving a fair amount of cash. Particularly, if you grow lots of your own produce. Vegetable seeds are certainly cheaper than buying the veg in the store.
Rewarding
It is quite satisfying to know that the food you’re eating wasn’t just prepared by you. It was grown too, and everything on your plate might have come from your garden. How wonderful would that be, knowing that you are no longer a slave to the supermarket? That’s what makes this the good life. It’s the complete freedom it brings you that means that you no longer have to rely on others to provide food. You can provide everything you need for your family yourself.
 


You’ll cut costs, get all natural food and have a truly wholesome meal on your dinner plate at the end of each day.

Whats your ideal sustainable lifestyle? Comment down below!

xoxo,
Therese
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Is Your Home Ready For Summer?

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Summer is almost upon us. On top of adding to your summer wardrobe and make last minute holiday preparations, you may want to start preparing your home for the hot months ahead. Here’s a little checklist of some of the preparations worth making to make your home more cool and comfortable.

Replace winter curtains

It’s time to take down those thick winter drapes. Opting for some light thin fabric curtains or blinds will allow you to let more breeze in at night and prevent it getting too hot indoors during the day. Blackout blinds and curtains meanwhile can be great to have in a bedroom facing the morning sun – there’s nothing worse than getting woken up at 4am on a weekend because of the sunlight. Those that live near water may also want to consider mosquito net blinds to keep out the critters.

Get lighter bedding

Those heavy duvets and thick winter throws may be too uncomfortable to sleep under in the summer. To help sleep through those hot nights, a thinner summer blanket could be a good purchase. You can buy these online from companies such as Dunelm.

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Fix up your air con

It’s likely you won’t have had the air conditioning on much during the last few months. Build ups of mold and dust can often occur during these periods. A HVAC repair and service company may be worth hiring to check that it is working properly and not clogged up. If anything, a service could be worth investing simply to give the filter a clean. Too many people will turn on the air con after months without use and end up pumping bacteria and dust into the air as a result. This can make a lot of people ill and there have been many links to Legionnaire’s Disease as a result of dirty air from air con units.

Empty the freezer

It’s time to make room in your freezer for those ice lollies and frozen barbeque meats. If you’ve currently got freezer drawers full of peas and forgotten microwave meals, now may be the time to use these up. You can then start shopping for summer frozen foods. If you don’t have an ice dispenser, buying a few bags of ice could be worthwhile for keeping those drinks chilled throughout summer.

Tidy up the garden

You’ll probably want to be out in that garden regularly throughout the summer, so get all those time-consuming garden maintenance jobs out the way early. Clear away the winter debri if you haven’t already, mow the lawn and trim back any plants that need trimming. If you’ve got a pond, spare a day to give this a clean and remove any weeds. Patio areas meanwhile may need to be cleaned and decking may need to be repainted.

As well as being a period of heat, summer can also be a time when the storms hit, so it’s worth preparing your home for a storm too. Fix up any loose fence panels and tackle any trees that look like they could be toppled the next time a storm hits.

Summer can also be a prime time for nature-spotting from one’s garden. Ponds can be great for attracting wildlife such as frogs and birds – if you’ve always wanted one in your garden, now could be the time to get such a project underway. Setting up a birdfeeder meanwhile can be a great way of attracting birds to your garden.

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Buy solar lighting

Some people may want to host a few garden parties during the summer. Others may simply want to dine al fresco and sit outside for a few drinks late into the night. To make the most of these evenings, it’s worth getting some garden lighting, otherwise you’ll want to escape indoors as it will be pitch black. Solar lighting is the best option for this – these lights are powered by the sun and so don’t require any electricity cutting down on energy costs and the need to trail cords into the garden. You can get motion-sensitive solar lighting and even mood lighting that runs on solar power. Lanterns may be another alternative.

Get exterior heating

It can also get surprisingly cold in the evenings, as there’s often no cloud to trap the heat in at night. For this reason, having some form of exterior heating can be useful. Patio heaters are one option and can be run off gas or electricity. You can find these in many DIY stores and there are also many places to buy them online.

Those wanting a more natural source of heat may prefer to buy a chiminea or build a fire-pit. As well as providing heat, these provide a natural source of light and can give off a warmer ambiance. Load up on firewood early so that you can stay fueled throughout the summer. If you’re going down the fire pit route, you may want to start construction on this now so that you can make the most of the summer evenings.

Find last minute deals on summer garden gear

You’re best buying summer gear in winter when companies are eager to shift it from the shelves and so bring down the prices dramatically. However, you may still be able to get a few last minute deals in the early months of summer.

It’s worth looking out for coupons for hardware and garden stores. You can find these online and in many magazines and newspapers – they could help to save costs on a new swing chair or an electric barbecue. Father’s Day deals can also be great for grabbing garden tools such as new lawnmowers, trimmers and power tools.

Rushing to the shops during a sudden heatwave isn’t recommended. The high demand may cause many shops to run out of stocks, whilst others may take advantage of it by raising their prices.

Is your home summer ready? If not, follow these tips so you can save time and money!

xoxo,
Therese



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Making The Most Of A Rainy Day (Without A Rainy Day Fund!)

There is nothing quite like some rainy day activities. Whatever your opinions on them, that they're a bore, or they're not particularly inventive, don’t come crawling back when you’ve got no money and a handful of kids to entertain! They're a complete life-saver for when you're out of pocket, and it makes me think of simpler times like when I was a kid playing a board game up my grandparents in their old living room, time seemed to just fly by. So, have a look at these simple ideas for a fun-packed rainy day!
Arts & Crafts

The staple part of any afternoon in the house! Arts and crafts are cheap, keep children’s attention, and makes the time fly by! You can get a whole bunch of ideas on craft websites, but I made some crowns from pipe cleaners, and they didn’t look half bad! Of course, with it being a staple part of a rainy day, you need to be careful that everything is done under supervision. If you’ve got young kids using staple guns you need to keep a close eye on them. Safety takes priority when you’ve got children using sharp and dangerous items!
Have An Afternoon Tea

Baking treats don't have to cost a whole lot of money. Baking some sweet treats for a themed afternoon tea is a great way to get children involved and to get their hands dirty! Learning how to bake is a handy life skill (of course) and the kids will be having so much fun they won't realize they’ve learned something!
Have A Family Movie Day

The whole box set thing works for adults, but if you have loads of kids to entertain, you can't go wrong with Frozen or a Disney collection to pass the afternoon. My personal favorite kid's film afternoon is Despicable Me, followed by Despicable Me 2, and (obviously) Minions! Make some snacks, and turn your living room into a movie theater for the afternoon. Shut the curtains, and off you go!
Make Some Fortresses!

Who doesn’t love a fortress? Use a room that you don’t mind getting cluttered, and put loads of pillows, blankets, towels and cushions down to make a bunch of forts. Get involved with the playing! You know you want to! Use some clothes pegs to attach the towels and pillows, and you’ve got a whole afternoon of adventure sorted!
Have An Afternoon Of Puzzles

Jigsaws, board games, checkers, chess, whatever you’ve got! It gets everyone using their brains, and if you’ve got some competitive children in your midst, you can split people into teams and set up a tournament with quarterfinals, semifinals, and you can fashion out some little trophy for fun!
A Fashion Show

If you’ve got to spring clean the wardrobes, get the children to put on a fashion show. Put some music on and place some lamps in the hallway to get a bit of atmosphere and it’s time for them to strut their stuff! A very handy way to de-clutter and get rid of old clothes!

Entertaining the family should not cost much. With these tips you can have a good time on a rainy day!
Whats your favorite? Comment down below!

xoxo,
Therese



Renovation Complications: Issues That You Might Come Up Against

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Most of us have an idea in our minds about what our ‘dream home’ would look like. How many bedrooms, what the garden would look like, the kitchen, all of the decor and finishing touches. Unfortunately, not many of us have the funds to make dreams a reality. In order to find your perfect home that’s built and ready to go, not only do you need to be very lucky but also very rich. Finished homes, especially those to a high standard come with a huge premium on top. Thankfully though, there are ways to make your dreams a reality. If you buy a run-down home for cheap, as long as it has potential you can renovate and make it into whatever you want. You get to adjust the layout, choose all of the fixtures, tiles, doors and everything else. You’ll save a ton of money in the long run compared with buying a house that’s ready to go. The only issue is it’s a LOT more work. Renovating is rarely plain sailing, and there are a few issues that can be costly and time-consuming to fix. Here are just a few of them.

Mold

Mould can either be a simple, cosmetic issue (and often crops up when houses have been unoccupied for a while) or it could be a sign of something more sinister. Leaks are one problem, and if a leak has been continuing for many months who knows what kind of damage it could have caused to the wood and structure of the property. Rising damp is another issue. You’ll know if it’s rising damp as the mold will be mainly on the lower part of the walls (rising damp rarely travels above one meter) and the walls will feel wet when it rains outside. This is more of an issue with older houses until proper damp proofing courses were installed.

Pests

Pests can be an issue in any property, but especially so in those which have been empty for a while. It doesn’t take long for them to breed and completely take over, so it’s something you might come up against when you’re renovating. If you notice signs of pests such as chewed wires, droppings or dead insects, your best bet is to call out a pest control company. Move all of your equipment into self storage, so you’re able to clear the property effectively and let them get to work.

Asbestos

Once hailed a wonder product, asbestos was used in many different things as it was heat resistant, added strength, and insulation. However, it was later discovered that when it was disturbed, and dust particles from asbestos were breathed in, they caused very serious health issues later down the line. For that reason, if you discover asbestos when you’re renovated it has to be removed by a professional company. This of course adds time and money to your project, but it’s simply not something you can get rid of safely yourself.

Here are just some of the issues that you may come across during a renovation that needs professional help. Having a safe and livable home is definitely a priority for you so don't skimp on the important things. Have you encountered any of these problems? Comment down below!

xoxo,
Therese
Wednesday, May 17, 2017

The Inconvenient Realities Of Homemade Products


There is something undeniable about the idea of being able to make your own products.

Take a look at all the things that you spend money on. There’s the personal care items; those that can be considered a necessity for proper function in the modern world. That would include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Shampoo. We can all agree that dirty hair is a no-go, can’t we?
  • Deodorant. Even the greenest, hippiest person on the planet wants to smell nice. Or at least, not smell bad.
  • Conditioner. That clean hair is going to need some love, isn’t it?
  • Body Wash. Sluicing yourself in water alone isn’t going to do it, so might as well infuse your body wash with delicious fragrances good enough to drink. Though, don’t do that. Just so we’re clear.
  • Hair Styling Products. Hairspray and sea salt styling sprays would be the go-to here. No point having cleaned and conditioned hair if you’re not going to give it a few extra ways to look its very best.
  • Makeup. It’s not essential, but it is nice. Nothing can disguise the fact you were up all night like a spot of under-eye concealer can.

These are just the very basics required to look like a functional human being in society.


Then you can expand the “products I don’t particularly want but know I definitely need” category to include the items you have to buy for your home.

  • Cleaning Products. Each room of the house seems to require different cleaning products, to the eternal chagrin of anyone who would rather spend their hard-earned cash on exciting things instead.
  • Cleaning Materials. Cloths, sponges, whatever the latest must-have accessory is, it all falls into this category.
  • Glass Cleaner. You’re not really an adult until you have tried - and failed, oh, so much failure - to clean glass using anything but a specialist cleaner.
  • Laundry Products. You’ve got the clean hair so you might as well have some clean clothes to go with it.
  • Dish washing Products. Be it dish washing tablets or just a dish soap for those without a machine, it’s unhygienic to do anything but use these.

And so on and so forth. Group it all together and you have a lot of things. Things that don’t necessarily excite you (makeup can get a pass on this, but no one is getting excited by a new dish washing soap…) but that you have to buy.

So you find yourself online and you see that everyone in the world (or so it seems) is now making these products for themselves. You dive into the blog posts and social media shares, all of which are extolling the virtue of these items. How exciting, you think, not only are these items super effective (apparently) but they also cost next to nothing to make! You could free up a whole section of your budget for things that you actually want to buy!

It would be nice if that was the end of the story, wouldn’t it?

Anyone who has ever experimented with these homemade products will be able to explain how damaging a thought process it is. It’s tempting - to an extent, you want to believe it’s possible to replace expensive products with cheap and efficient alternatives, so you try to believe it. Maybe you have even tried them out and had decent results.

However, it rarely lasts. The love affair with home made products might look good in blog posts and on social media, but it’s not going to continue into reality. If you’re tempted to give them a try, then be wary of these common issues that these “recipes” cause.

But first, one thing…

A note on chemicals. Some of these recipes will promise a solution to these at-home products which, according to the blogger/influencer, is chemical free. Doesn’t that sound great and somehow much better for you? Chemical free!

Of course, this is nonsense. There’s chemicals in everything. You probably drank a whole glass full of the chemical compound dihydrogen monoxide today. Absolutely nothing is chemical free, so do ignore usage of this term. Instead, we’ll use toxin-free, as this is more what people are getting at with these recipes.


PROBLEM AREA: Deodorant

You’ll find baking soda a regular feature of any recipe for deodorant. On the surface, that’s a really good idea, as baking soda does have deodorizing properties.

Unfortunately, it also… causes major skin irritation.

Some bloggers are honest enough to acknowledge this. They say it’s temporary and will pass, calling it a little uncomfortable. Firstly: it can be very painful indeed, leaving your skin sore and cracking, but secondly… it might not go away. Persisting in the hope you will “adapt” to an inherently abrasive ingredient is not a good idea.

What To Do Instead

Magnesium oil is a surprisingly effective at controlling body odor and you can make it for yourself. It tends to take awhile to build up to usage, though this is true of any trans-dermal use of magnesium. So go very slowly on the advice of a doctor and stop if the tingling becomes uncomfortable. Unlike the baking soda adjustment, you will adjust to magnesium.

If you don’t fancy the magnesium, then just look for any product on store shelves that says it is “aluminum free”. Plenty of brands now often kinder-to-skin alternatives to their regular line, so hunt around and you’ll find them.


PROBLEM AREA: Surface Cleaning Products

Let’s group all of these together as they tend to have the same issues.

The main ingredient credited with amazing cleaning power in these recipes is vinegar. Vinegar does indeed cut through grease, but it’s unlikely to do it as well as the store-bought products. To say it can be effective is true, but to say it’s a complete replacement is either a lie or being said by people with rather dirty homes.

The reason the ingredient list of the store-bought chemical is so long is because they tackle many areas. It’d be nice if there was a one-size-fits-all cleaner that could remedy all household ills, but there just isn’t. It takes more than acetic acid (remember how chemicals are in everything?) to cut through general household mess.

What To Do Instead

Use ecologically-friendly cleaning products or those containing plant enzymes, which use a blend of components to get rid of as much household grime as possible. If it’s cost that concerns you with cleaning products, then you might find it easier to buy from Better Life in bulk, which can reduce your cost-per-use down to very little.

PROBLEM AREA: Shampoo

Shampoo is a real favorite for the make-it-at-home crowd. Part of this is through a simple fact: many store-bought shampoos contain ingredients that can, and do, irritate the scalp. Wanting to get away from this is only natural if you’re in the affected group. The problems SLS and sulfates cause are very real.

However, baking soda has a habit of rearing its ugly head when it comes to shampoo recipes. Remember how baking soda is abrasive? Yes, it’s going to clean your hair and completely destroy it at the same time. Don’t use baking soda as a shampoo.

As for the other recipes (and particularly those involved in the “no poo” movement), maybe you will find one that works for you. Hair chemistry is a complex thing and some people will get on well with shampoo recipes. If, however, that doesn’t happen, then you’re not doing anything wrong by needing to return to store-bought brands. There’s something of a habit of guilting people into how bad shampoo is for them in the effort to turn them into homemade proponents, but here’s the thing: sometimes, your hair just doesn’t want to play. If you are hormonal (either in terms of period or the menopause), then your hair will be greasier than normal. That’s a problem a homemade blend probably isn’t going to shift.

What To Do Instead

Shampoo bars are a great invention that rarely contain the problematic chemicals; though, of course, read the labels for yourself. The anti-SLS trend is also becoming more popular for major brands, who are realizing that their consumer base don’t want to have to hurt themselves just to get clean hair (which is somehow a shock to them…?). Look out for anything that claims to be “low shampoo” or “SLS-free”.

In Conclusion

The above is just the beginning, but it’s all about applying the same principles. While there are some things you can make for yourself, it’s not possible to do everything. It’s not through laziness on behalf of women the world over that these products were developed; they were developed to fill a gap that homemade products weren’t fixing.


So if you find your homemade makeup doesn’t leave much of a color payoff, your floors aren’t as sparkling clean as you hoped, or your body wash isn’t doing much washing - then that’s okay. You tried; but there’s nothing wrong with needing to buy products. It’s a luxury that we have, after all - might as well make the most of it.