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home heating tips

The last week or so has got cold hasn’t it? I’ve found myself chilly at home, noticing the draughts around the front door and through the cat flap. It’s in the winter that the house’s weak spots show themselves – the odd badly fitting window, the cold air under a door.

It makes me realise that my home is probably costing me more than it needs to heating wise, and that has got me thinking about all the other ways in which my house could up its game environmentally. There are so many areas where we could improve the green credentials of our home, from big projects like properly insulating your loft down to choosing washable dishcloths and sponges.

I’ve picked out five ways to make your home more eco-friendly, with something for every budget and enthusiasm level.

Replace your windows

One of the biggest ways to make an impact on your fuel bill and make your home more eco-friendly is to make sure your windows are energy efficient. Installing energy rated double glazed windows and doors means you spend less on heating and can and massively help you to reduce your carbon footprint as a homeowner. Click here to find out more about energy rated double glazing.

Get your recycling system sorted

We’re all guilty of neglecting our recycling from time to time. You know the feeling, the food waste bin is full and needs emptying so you just chuck the carrot peelings into the bin. It’s easy to do but just putting in a little more effort can make a big difference. One way to do this is to make sure you make things as easy for yourself as possible by having your bin and recycling boxes all in one place with the recyclables easy to sort. I have a brilliant recycling bin for this.

Make your kitchen refillable

Food shopping is one of the big culprits when it comes to wasteful packaging. After your next shopping trip, take an honest look at the amount of waste – carrier bags, plastic wrapping on fruit and vegetables, plastic bottles and cans – it’s a lot. One simple and actually very cost effective way to make your kitchen more eco-friendly is to find your local refillable store. Mine is Lesser Litter in Taunton. They sell all sorts from oil, juice, herbs and spices to pasta, flour and baking products. They even have a machine where you can make your own peanut butter!

Reduce plastic in the bathroom

Take a stock take of your bathroom and you’ll probably find a LOT of plastic – shampoo bottles, shower gels – most toiletries come in plastic bottles that then go straight in the bin. Consider making small changes, like switching from shower gel to paper wrapped soap, or using refillable containers like in the kitchen. Going eco-friendly in the bathroom can actually feel like a real treat, as you can splash out on delicious smelling products from places like Lush, in paper bags or refillable containers.

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This is a paid advertorial with Tesco

Today I’m talking about Tesco Clubcard Plus, giving you a three month update on my post from August. With Tesco Clubcard Plus you can save 10% off 2 in-store shops per month up to £200 each, so up to £40 every month* on your in-store grocery shop and 10% on selected Tesco brands, including clothing and homeware, but is Tesco Clubcard Plus worth it? Am I still using it and saving money? Read on to find out…

 

Being an ‘influencer’ is a funny old job, not least because a lot of the time you have no idea whether or not you’re any good at it.

I know I can write of course, I don’t suppose Penguin would have asked me to write my book if they thought I was rubbish at that bit, but I don’t always know the power of my words. Just because I write about something, does that actually influence people’s decision making? Do my words impact people’s choices?

I like to think yes, but it’s always nice to get feedback, like these Instagram messages I got after I posted this slow cooker pulled pork recipe.

how to be an influencer

That’s reassuring isn’t it? You know the power is in your hands if someone buys three pork shoulders on your say so. You can see what I did there though – lured him in with the cats and then boom, sold him the pork.

One of the easiest ways to tell though whether or not I’m an effective influencer is how much I influence MYSELF. I’ve worked with loads of brands and businesses over the years where I’ve tried a product or service and loved it so much that I’ve never gone back. It’s quite exciting actually, because since I started blogging I’ve got to try so many new things that I might not otherwise have known about, and hopefully that’s where I come in handy for you – testing things out so that you don’t have to.

One of the most recent things I’ve converted myself to is Tesco Clubcard Plus.

I’ll be honest, when Tesco first asked me to give Tesco Clubcard Plus a whirl back in August I was cautious – it’s £7.99 a month and although you’re free to cancel at any time I was wary of signing up for another monthly commitment. In fact, even though I could absolutely see the value in it when I tried it, I did initially cancel after my first month because I was worried about forgetting to use it.

I know, not the best advert right?

BUT…

Then I RESUBCRIBED. View Post

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Christmas is decidedly different this year for sure.

Normally it’s my favourite time of the year. I start buying Christmas presents in about August and by mid-November my shopping is pretty much done. December it then set aside for festive jollity – outdoor candlelit carol concerts, Christmas fairs that smell of mulled wine and spices, and delicious and extravagant meals out with friends.

2020 is a different kettle of fish though isn’t it? December this year is going to be about chilly walks in the park with friends and a thermos and the odd dinner sat in a pub beer garden, huddled around the patio heater for warmth.

Christmas shopping has been harder too with shops locked down during November making it more difficult to choose gifts. I know that online shopping is a Godsend for a lot of people, but I really like to be able to see things in real life when I’m buying gifts. You get a much nicer feel for things then.

And then there are all of those Christmas sundries that honestly, I’ve not even thought about yet. I’m thinking Christmas chocolates, crackers, gift tags and Christmas cards – all the bits you pick up through the year because you spot them in the shops. Only if you’re not in the shops…

With Christmas cards I thought I might try something a little different this year and design my own online. I’ve made homemade wrapping paper before, so I knew I had it in me.

I use a programme called Canva a lot when I’m designing graphics and images for my blog and social media, so I thought it might be fun to try my hard at using it for something more personal.

Canva is so easy to use, and gives you loads of options for the size and shape of your design, as well as providing lots of free graphics and images. Alternatively you can upload your own images and create Christmas cards that feature family photos, pets, or your own festive scenes.

Another thing you can do with Canva is to upload your own custom fonts. You do need a premium membership for this but Canva offers a 30 day free trial so if it’s for a special occasion like Christmas then a premium Canva membership doesn’t have to cost you anything.

I browsed the free fonts at Font Bundles and picked out one called Albertho, which I thought had a nice festive vibe. I downloaded the files easily, and then uploaded it to Canva.  It was very simple to do, just go into the list of fonts and click ‘upload a font’ at the bottom of the list.

All I had to do then was pick a Christmas card template, upload my own image and change the font for Merry Christmas. I went for a picture of one of my cats, Humphrey. I’m not sure if you can tell but this was taken in winter when we had a lot of snow – Humphrey is gazing out at a snow covered garden.

It looks good right?

Free fonts for Christmas cards

What’s nice about designing your own Christmas cards like this is that you have a lot of flexibility over how you use the designs. You can print them out if you want to and turn them into real life cards to send in the post, or if you want a cheaper and more straightforward option you can simply save your designs as pdf documents and email them out to friends and family.

Canva also have a selection of Christmas card designs where you have the option to order directly from Canva, once you’ve completed your designs. Canva will turn your designs into premium Christmas cards and deliver them straight to your door in just a matter of days. (These seems expensive I know but it’s cheaper for bigger quantities.)

The beauty of using a programme like Canva is that it’s very easy to personalise your Christmas card designs too, just making copies and adding different names. Everyone gets their very own individual card then, for very little extra effort.

In my card for example, I could easily change the photo too, perhaps choosing a cute baby picture or a snowy scene for the non-cat lovers in my family. (Although to be honest then if they don’t love cats I might not even send them a card.) It couldn’t be easier though to design your own, easy, bespoke Christmas cards with Canva and Font Bundles.

Happy Christmas and here’s hoping for a much better 2021!

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I like to think of myself as an open minded kind of woman. I may be in my forties now, (early forties though mind), but I’ve had fair share of sexual encounters and unusual experiences in strange places. In fact I think sometimes that the older I get, the more adventurous I become. There is something about age that really does boost your confidence – you’re clear about what you like and don’t like and don’t have the inhibitions you had when you were young.

My friends and I often joke that if we had the bodies we had when we were 20 with the confidence that we have now, that we’d be unstoppable.

Anyway, back to me being open minded.

I remember in fact going to a stand up comedy event on a boat in London a few years ago. The comedian was doing a bit of a improvised musical number and asked the audience to contribute items from their handbags for inspiration, to be incorporated into the song.

I pulled out a roll of bondage tape.

I’d had a few drinks by this point in the evening and I remember thinking it was hilarious that while other woman were throwing packets of tissues and lip balms onto the stage, I was throwing a roll of purple bondage tape. The comedian took it very much in his stride – a real pro.

I was dating a younger man at the time, who was very open-minded sexually and interested in exploring more of a BDSM angle in our sexual relationship. I’d been shopping in London with a friend that day and we’d visited a very high end sex shop, so I thought I would kick things off by buying him some bondage tape.

I’m not saying it was a first step to me becoming a femdom or anything, but you know, never say never. There was plenty of fun even just in messaging him to let him know what I was bringing home with me, let alone actually having my hands taped behind my back and my mouth taped over. I’ve got lots of years left in me yet, so who can say what will happen next?

I think that’s the thing with sex isn’t it? It shouldn’t be a source of shame or anxiety or anything negative like that, it should be a space where you can feel safe exploring your own sexuality, discovering things you enjoy and that give you pleasure, whether that’s being a kik mistress or the plain old missionary position. Often we don’t even know what floats our boat until we try, both sexually and generally in all areas of life, so an open mind is vital.

There are no rights and wrongs with sex. The only one thing that matters is that both, (or all), of the people involved consent and feel comfortable. Or uncomfortable of course, if that’s what turns them on! If everyone is clear on the expectations and the boundaries then surely anything goes?

 

 

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Finding love - older dating online

No is definitely the answer! You’re never too old to fall in love and find happiness. In fact, I’m 42 now, (not old I know), and single and I am definitely still looking to find love.

I’ve been in love eight times in my life. I have Googled this, (many times), and it seems that eight is pretty high compared to the average. But then can you ever really have an average love? Can you compare yourself and your own experiences of love to anyone else’s? One of the things about love, the thing that makes it so hard to capture and define, is that it’s different for everyone and every time.

If anything, I’d say that my experiences of love have got more intense as I’ve gotten older. It wasn’t until I was in my mid 30s that I had my first experience of real heartbreak, the kind that can catch you unawares and make you bend double, like you can’t catch your breath. It’s like a real punch in the gut isn’t it? You can’t see a way out, you can’t imagine how you will ever feel happy again.

I had a similar feeling after a break up recently, although not quite as intense. Still though, it was much more emotional than any of the relationship break ups I had in my teens and twenties.

Over the last couple of months I’ve tried my hand at online dating – what other options do you have in a global pandemic? – but I can’t help but feel like I’m not really on the same page as the lightweight, hook up type apps that so many people seem to use. I find myself wondering about the alternatives – is there a service that caters more for older dating online, that focusses more on what really matters in a relationship rather than being based on the superficial.

I’m intrigued too about how we grow and how our expectations from a relationship change as we get older. What ARE the things that really matter to us? Is it more about companionship, and finding someone who can fit into your life around existing work and friendships? Maybe you do still want that passion, and actually you feel more confident about yourself and your body than ever?

I wonder if as you get older, you feel confident about giving more of yourself? Perhaps the life experiences that have gone before you shape you, or maybe it’s that creeping sense of time ticking away, creating a sense of having to throw yourself into love with more abandon, to seize any chance of that elusive everlasting love.

Whatever the case, I’ve certainly not given up hope of finding that happily ever after. I may have had a few false starts but I’m still optimistic, I believe in true love and I’m not going to judge every new person by the standards of the last.

I still feel like The One is waiting somewhere for me, however old I may be.

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Wood cabin yurt

With the pandemic still in the air, the idea of living off the grid is becoming less of a pipe dream and more of a serious plan for a lot of people in the UK. But is it possible?

Living off the grid is ideal for people who aren’t interested in the amenities of the modern world and want to live a simple life away from it all.

There are lots of ways to live off the grid, whether it’s a caravan in the woods or a house at the base of a mountain. If you’re going to live in a house, a conveyancing solicitor in Newcastle, Somerset, the New Forest, or wherever you decide to live, can help you out.

In this post, we’re going to give you 10 things you need to consider before you start living off the grid. But, before we do that, we’re going to briefly touch on what it even means to live off grid, and why on earth you’d consider doing it. Take a look…

What Does ‘Living Off the Grid’ Mean?

Our modern world is a cold and challenging place. It’s so far removed from how we evolved to live. It’s become so cut off from nature, that moving away from it all to live in the middle of nowhere seems like a comfortable alternative.

The reality is, living off the grid is a lot of hard work. That said, at least that work is all about keeping yourself and your family alive without the help of companies, the government, or any other modern crutch most of us rely on.

Living this way also reduces the amount of damage you cause to the planet, especially if you put in the work to make your new off-grid home sustainable. In order to live off the grid you’ll need to:

• Produce your own power
• Have a water source
• Grow your own food/forage for it
• Learn how to deal with waste and sewage
• Be prepared for all weathers
• Know how to fix and build things
• Be content living with your family and seeing no-one else

We’ll touch on how to prepare yourself for all these things later in the post. If that list looks like the sort of life you want, living off the grid might be the choice for you.

Woodland Tipi and Yurts review

Why Would You Want to Live Off the Grid?

So, we have an idea of what all this entails, but what are the actual advantages of doing it? The main reasons people choose to live off the grid are:

• It’s healthier because everything you eat is grown, foraged for or hunted
• There’s less pollution, freeing your lungs from the city smog
• The only stress you’ll have is making sure everyone in your house is fed, watered and looked after (no more deadlines, meetings and presentations)
• You’ll save money because you won’t spend anything on utilities, rent, food, etc.
• You get to live in nature every day, which benefits your mental health and overall life fulfilment
• You’ll be more responsible for your environment
• You get the satisfaction of knowing you’re completely self-sustainable and not reliant on anyone else

10 Things You Need to Start Living Off the Grid

Now that we’ve gotten the persuasion part out of the way, you probably have a better idea of whether you actually want to live off the grid or not. If you’re on board with the idea, consider these 10 things before you decide to take the plunge:

1. Find a location

Starting with the obvious, you need to find the place you’d most like to live, taking into account it’s going to be your new home for the foreseeable future.

You need to consider aesthetics, availability of water, how much land you can afford to grow crops on, whether there’s anything to forage, etc. Basically, everything we mention in the next nine points are things your new location has to be able to accommodate.

If you live in the UK, you’ll need to buy a piece of land to live on, and you might even need to pay council tax, depending on the size of the land. The best way to sort this is to speak to a local conveyancing solicitor.

2. Decide who you want to live with

This, again, is different for everyone. Some people see living off the grid as a completely solitary thing with just you or your immediate family. Others would rather build something like a commune.

If there are people in your life you just can’t live without who you want to live off the grid with, you can all do it together. It’s actually a lot easier doing so with more pairs of hands to help with all the hard grafting.

3. Choose what you want to live in

Most of you won’t even think twice about this; it’s house or nothing. But, others might want to live in an RV as it’s a lot cheaper and has the benefit of running water, a sewage tank and a generator all built in.

It’s also a lot quicker than building a home from scratch. However, it’s obviously not as comfortable and would be much harder to live out of if you have a family. Assess your situation and needs, and go from there.

4. Acquire planning permission

If you don’t fancy living off the grid in an RV and you’d rather build a house, you have to take planning permission into account.

Even though you own the land, the council has a say in how it’s built. You have to submit a planning application to the council with all your plans for the site and the supporting documentation.

If they approve it, you can get started. If not, you’ll likely have to make changes to your plans and spend a lot of time dealing with the council until you finally get your approval. It’s definitely worth reading more before you decide to live off the grid.

5. Create a power source

Even though people live this way to get away from all the stresses of modern life, it doesn’t mean you have to live completely free of modern technology.

You can generate power to your home and enjoy modern appliances, mobile phones, laptops, and other technology to keep one foot in the real world. This really helps to make life off the grid more convenient. Your choices are:

• Solar panels on the roof of your house/RV
• Wind turbines
• Hydroelectric power

Solar panels are probably the most cost-effective, and produce the most consistent energy out of those three. Remember that all the above power sources require batteries to store the energy, and you need to install enough batteries to power your appliances.

6. Find/collect water

When you pick a location, you need to make sure you buy land next to a water source. You’ll need this water for drinking, cooking, washing, and basic necessities.

If you’re not able to buy land near a water source, you can collect rainwater or bore water and purify it to make it consumable. You’ll need a water tank to store it and, if you choose to collect bore water, you’ll need a geological survey to find out where to look.

7. Generate heat

When you build your house, you should consider how to insulate it as much as possible, so that hardly any of the heat you generate escapes your home. The best options for heating your home are:

• Heat pumps
• Biomass
• Portable heaters

Heat pumps are the most efficient of the three, as they use either underground heat or heat from outside to warm up your home. Biomass is the burning of wood or organic matter, and portable heaters are electrically generated heaters.

8. Grow, hunt or forage for food

There are no supermarkets when you live away from modern conveniences, so it’s time for you to learn to procure your own food. You can grow vegetables, fruits and grains, or raise livestock for dairy and meat. Make sure there’s arable land to grow on when you buy a plot of land.

You also have the option to forage for berries, mushrooms and other wild plants or animals. Foraging is completely legal in the UK, as long as you’re not trespassing on private property, but hunting animals requires a license, which can be difficult to get hold of.

 

9. Drainage and waste disposal

Improper disposal of waste can cause problems with the land, nature and environment. The two best ways to dispose of waste are:

• Composting toilet: many of these are waterless, compact in size, and don’t smell
• Soakaway: a simple hole dug in the ground filled with coarse stone and rubble. It allows surface water to percolate into the ground.

10. Consider the cost

All of the things mentioned above cost money. So, before you make any rash decisions about living off the grid, you should do a full cost-analysis. Think about:

• The initial investment: land, house, equipment, appliances, septic system, power, water, etc.
• The daily costs: household items, maintenance, internet, taxes, etc.

The daily costs are nowhere near as huge as the costs of living in a modern city. So, once you’ve made the initial investment you won’t have to worry too much. Also, depending on how connected you want to be, you could still work on your laptop to make money.

Should I Pack my Things Then?

As you can see, living off the grid is either something you’re comfortable with, or it isn’t. Lots of people have considered it as a thought experiment but would never actually do it.

However, with COVID-19 convincing people to move to rural areas to get away from overcrowded cities, who knows; this might become a more popular way of life. So, if you want to give it a go, now’s the time to buy your plot of land before someone else gets in there before you.

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Christmas is just around the corner and if you need to start looking for a gift for your teenage boy, there are actually many different kinds you can buy. But if you really want to make him happy, you’ll have to go one step further and purchase something that he’ll truly appreciate. A good idea is to consider your boy’s hobbies or interests. 

Does he love sports? Is he fond of playing games? Or perhaps he’s someone who can appreciate gadgets? With that, we’ve compiled the most popular Christmas gift ideas for teen boys that will surely make them smile this holiday season.

Sports Jersey 

For the sporty teenage boy, a great gift idea would be a nice sports jersey. This can be personalized with the name and number of a specific player they admire. To make the jersey even more special, you can include the name, birth date, and the jersey number of the person being honored. Add a personal touch by customizing the jersey, which will surely make your teenage boy appreciate the thought that went into getting this gift for him. 

Gadgets

With so many gadgets and technological innovations hitting the shelves every month, you’ll be spoiled for choice when choosing a gift for your teenage boy. From a stylish laptop bag to a portable, wireless, and waterproof backpack, digital cameras, MP3 players, and iPods, there’s a wide array of choices you can make depending on what your teenage son likes. These gadgets can be particularly helpful now that online classes are also being implemented. 

Electric Skateboard

If you need a unique gift that will truly “wow” your teenage boy, an electric skateboard is a great option. These are easy to use and are extremely fun to have around as a birthday or Christmas present. If your teenage son doesn’t have one yet, he’ll most likely be interested in learning how to skateboard on something a bit more unique from the ordinary skateboard. No extra skills are required when using an electric skateboard, which makes this a popular gift option. 

Wristwatch or Smartwatch 

For the time-conscious teenager, a wristwatch can be the perfect gift they can wear and appreciate every day. There are different brands, colors, and materials you can choose from to fit your teenage son or nephew’s personality. 

You can also consider getting a personalized wristwatch by engraving the recipient’s name on it, or a message or symbol. You can also design the band yourself.  

Another popular item are smartwatches, which are like miniature gadgets on your wrist that can track your physical activities, the calories you’ve burned, the number of steps you made, and the like. This can be pretty useful for a teenage boy who loves to exercise and keep fit

Video Games

Video games have always been a favorite among the young. Classics from various consoles such as “Super Mario” (Nintendo), “Final Fantasy VII” (PlayStation), and “Sonic the Hedgehog” (Sega) are just a few of the most popular games that have captured whole generations of young people in the past. This continues today with games such as “World of Warcraft,” “Fortnite,” “Minecraft,” “Valorant,” and even new mobile games such as “Genshin Impact” and “League of Legends: Wild Rift.” While many of these games come for free, there are still tons of others you can buy for your teenage boy. If not the video games themselves, then you can purchase downloadable content, premium content, or get in-app purchases if they’re mobile games. Since gamers tend to be very specific about their choice of entertainment, find out what your teenage son loves to play or what’s in their wish list. 

If they’re more inclined toward console games, an alternative is to get them a customized video game controller set—a gift that will surely last for years. There are many shops that make custom designs with a variety of themes for PlayStation and Xbox controllers so be sure to pick one that your teenage boy would like. 

Conclusion

Giving Christmas presents to your kids is not just about getting them a material item. It’s also about showing gratitude and respect, especially if done with care. Exerting effort into getting your teenage boy a gift can let them know how much you care and know about them, as well as their interests and hobbies. 

In today’s world, gift trends are constantly changing, and have evolved from traditional items to modern-day gadgets. There’s always something for everyone and if you look hard enough, you can get something that your teenage boy will surely love and appreciate. 

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Advertisement feature – the best homemade chicken korma with Simply Cook

Chicken korma recipe kit Simply Cook

Things are a bit slow on the ‘eating out with friends’ front at the moment aren’t they? (She says, making the understatement of the year.)

It’s a shame, because eating out with friends is one of my best hobbies. If 2020 has made me realise anything it’s that I’m actually a lot more sociable than I give myself credit for. I do enjoy my own company, but I miss seeing people so much.

What’s surprised me the most is that I miss everybody, not just good friends, who I’ve made an effort to see when I can, but all of those other people, the people you maybe only see once or twice a month at events or groups, but who you always enjoy a chat with. These kind of small interactions seem inconsequential but they have a big impact.

And I miss the food. I’m not going to pretend it’s ALL about the people.

I miss eating things I’ve never tried before and having someone else cook it AND wash up for me. I miss trying new flavours and generally eating things that aren’t chicken nuggets and jacket potatoes and spaghetti Bolognese. You get stuck in a rut when you’re at home all the time don’t you? Eating out isn’t just good fun in itself, it inspires me to cook different things at home too.

Today though I did COOKING! Hoorah!

I made a Moghul chicken korma using a spice kit from Simply Cook. There are three individual pots of specially blended pastes, powders and potions* each in recipe box, along with a recipe card with a handy tear off shopping list so you know exactly what to buy to create your delicious, restaurant quality dinner. View Post

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Dining rooms and dens are becoming relics to most American households.  We only use a dining room for eating on holidays, and a den is a place that doesn’t get much attention since it doesn’t often have a television in it, are two rooms that could use a spark of inspiration.  If your family needs a place to cut loose and have fun and has some extra space you can use- then you’re well on your way to set up the ultimate party room!

Entertainment

This new area is the room to house all of your gaming systems!  You can even invest in some older systems, allowing you to play games without using a simulator.  If you have more than one kid, setting up a place for gaming and having fun is necessary.  This move will give them somewhere to spend their energy if they’re bored, as well as ensuring the games aren’t strewn all over your home.  Having these games in a public area of the house will also allow parents to join in and have fun with their kids.  Cable isn’t as popular anymore, but you can put in a Roku or Firestick will enable you to watch any apps you want or even go online.

Chargers

This new area is the room to invest in chargers and extra outlets.  You can tuck powerstrips under couches or through cushions to allow easy access for charging phones, Nintendo Switches, or other portable devices.  This planning will allow for minimal interruption while enjoying your party room.  Set up phone chargers and game chargers that will stay in this room as a rule so that there’s no chance of them going missing later. 

Comfortable Surfaces

Go for furniture that your family will want to sit on and use.  Some people go for fun theater seats, while others go for gamer seats.  Sofa reviews can help you pick the best match while also ensuring you find furniture that can handle your family accidentally spilling or making a mess.  Ensure that your seating isn’t just a classic couch; mix it up with retro bean bag chairs or other seating that is more flexible with space.  It’s better to keep the center of the room empty if someone’s playing an active game where they have to move around.

Go Overboard

Don’t be afraid to make significant steps here!  Instead of a television, go for a projector screen!  Instead of just regular speakers, bump it up to surround sound!  This room can be where your family goes to enjoy movies theater-style, or where you all get together to play group games like Among Us while ensuring nobody’s looking at each other’s phones.  It’s okay to go over the top with this room because it’s meant to be fun.  If you want a stuffy and plain sitting room, you can do that, but that kind of space can be boring for kids and can hinder your ability to bond with them. 

Set Rules

There’s nothing like video games and fun to make kids want to start fighting with each other.  Set rules for the room that will help keep the fun attitude.  Some could be simple, as no video games for half an hour if there’s fighting, or can be fun like whoever wins has to hand off the remote to the next person, instead of whoever loses.  This room is still a part of your home, and you should do what you can to help keep it in order.

Let Everyone Help

Don’t make all of the decisions on your own!  Talk to your family members about what they’d love to see in an entertainment room, and take what they say to heart!  Kids are inventive and fun, and you might be surprised about the ideas they give you.  If something is out of your budget, you can tell them it’s something to work towards.  If you have little kids younger than seven or eight, ask them to draw out what they’d like the room to look like.  You could frame that and use it as art for the room or take it to heart as inspiration.

A Mini Dry-Bar

Keeping a mini drink bar that’s always stocked with waters, sodas, or juice can add a fun touch to any party room.  You can achieve this with a small mobile island or counter space, a mini-fridge, and a cabinet for glasses.  If you can put in a sink, that would be a perfect finishing touch; otherwise, include lots of napkins and wipes you can store in the cabinet.  This plan will make the room feel like its own private club while also encouraging your kids to drink more.

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More Than Just TV

Partying isn’t just hanging out and playing video games!  Ensure that the room’s laid out so that it can be used in many ways.  Keeping an open central area, you can set it up so that your kids can go indoors camping, make an impromptu dance floor, or set up a bunch of sleeping bags on the floor and aim a projector to the ceiling so you can watch a movie in a new way.  This room is where your family will go to blow off steam and enjoy each other’s company.  Lean into the fun of it, and make a space where everyone can connect and have fun.

Although it may seem like a massive undertaking, redesigning one room is a small step to help bring your family closer together.  A party room can be anything your family needs it to be and will help you bond with your kids as long as you spend time together.  It doesn’t have to be a fancy home theater, or have the most massive television screen you’ve ever owned, take the time to make a space everyone wants to use!

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Is the look of your living room getting you down? Are you in need of a change but do not have the extra cash to revamp your living room design? Creating a new look for your living room does not have to put a hole in your pocket. Many budget-friendly design ideas can give your living room the needed upgrade while also saving you a bunch of money.

7 Budget-Friendly Ideas To Design Your Living Room

Get Friendly With Nature

Fix up your living room by adding no maintenance greenery. Plants are an easy way to decorate your living room with style. Pick out plants that have different shapes and colors to add texture to your living round. Plants add a natural feel to any room and can fill in empty spaces. Use plants as table centerpieces, to decorate shelves, or to hang in windows. If having real plants is not your thing, you can still decorate with faux plants to achieve the same results.

Rearrange What You Already Have

Transform your living room by rearranging your furniture. Try taking time to clean up your living room and organize any clutter. Remove all the things that don’t belong and think about ways you can rearrange the furniture you already have. A helpful tip would be to place furniture in a way that naturally promotes social interaction and communication.

Put a Stamp On Statement Pieces

If your budget allows it, think about adding a statement piece to your living room. You may not be able to afford much, but finding a piece of furniture can help add a pop of color, texture, or attractive upholstery, that could create a whole new look for your living room. Think about adding a new sitting area by finding a unique piece, like these occasional chairs from April & Oak.

Roll-On New Paint

Maybe all your living room needs is a little paint job. Painting your living room is a budget-friendly idea that can completely transform the style of your room and create the desired vibe. Pick out trending colors, like emerald green and hues of black, to add an accent or color block wall.

Get Your DIY On

If you’re someone with a creative side, think about awesome DIY decor you could do on your own. There are so many ideas you can find on Pinterest that are easy to do and don’t cost a lot of money. DIY wall hangings, garland, and customizable poster prints are easy ways to dress up your living room, and they are fun to make, too.

If you’re really into DIY and looking for new furniture for your living room, head over to a local thrift store. At a thrift store, you can find vintage furniture that you can repurpose and make all your own. Repurposing furniture is a cheaper option than purchasing furniture brand new. Plus, it’ll be completely one of a kind.

Swap Out Small Things

Look around your living room and think about any small things you can either relocate or change up. For one, if you have small decorations that are similar in color, you can add them to a cute vignette. You can also swap out the throw pillows on your couch for something new, pick out new drapes, or change out your light fixtures for something new and improved.

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Moving out is time-consuming and also requires that space be left as clean as it was found. All the activities that revolve around the process of getting a professional end of lease cleaning are not only thoughtful but also beneficial.

Saves Time and Energy

Moving out can be very hectic and time-consuming. It requires that you pack your items in an organized way and dispose of whatever you do not need. You will also be required to check to see if the property is in good condition before leaving.

Hiring a professional end of the lease cleaning company will take care of cleaning up your house and giving you ample time to pack. The energy to simultaneously ensure that all things are happening should be directed to packing and moving out. This action helps you save time and energy as you move out.

You Receive Back your Deposit Amount

When moving into a house, there is a deposit amount paid to the property manager or owner. This money is security meant to cater for any damages caused by a tenant or if the tenant breaches the lease agreement.

Professional end of lease cleaners know the right places to clean so that the house is as good as you found it. It makes it easier for the property manager to assess and reduces the chances of a refund dispute. If there is no repair to be made, you are guaranteed to get your bond or deposit back before moving to your new home or office.

Thorough Cleanliness

If you were to clean the house while moving out, you would probably take a lot of time to achieve the best results. You would also require to buy or have the proper equipment and costly detergents. Further, you would need a helping hand, or you would easily get tired and worn out.

Hiring these professionals to have better cleaning equipment and detergents and a checklist ensures that every place is spotless. They also have enough human resources to ensure that the work is done in a short time. Getting professionals will guarantee maximum cleanliness.

Right Scheduling

While moving out, it is possible to be occupied with office work or other activities. However, with professional cleaning services, you only need to call and make a booking explaining your needs and what time is convenient for you. The cleaning services will comfortably work with your timing and schedule.

Insured Services

An insurance cover ensures that you get compensated for loss or damage. The risk is shared depending on the damage, which is much better than catering for the damage alone.

Most end of lease cleaning companies and professionals are not allowed to operate without insurance. Companies that engage in end of lease cleaning in Sydney have a different set of laws and regulations from other states. Having insurance acts as a warranty that the cleaning service will be liable for any damages during the cleaning.

Hiring a professional end of the lease cleaning company will ultimately save you time, money, and energy. To find the best end of lease cleaning company, conduct proper research, ask for referrals and analyze the customer reviews.

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I went to Lyme Regis yesterday.

I went to Lyme Regis a lot over the summer, but I haven’t been since one particularly tricky weekend a couple of months ago and I’ve missed it. I think it might be my very favourite seaside. It has pebbles and sand, pretty fishing boats, colourful beach huts, a couple of eccentric book shops and a kiosk selling excellent coffee and bagels.

And the sea obviously. But also bagels. Did I mention the bagels?

Of course while I was there I had a paddle. You can’t go to the seaside and not have a paddle can you? It was freezing, but I took my socks and shoes off regardless, and the cold was surprisingly exhilarating.

Lyme Regis also has some rather lovely gardens, which climb up the side of the hill from the beach, and feature a small mini golf course. If Lyme Regis wasn’t already my favourite seaside town then the mini golf would seal the deal.

For some reason though I don’t normally walk up and into the gardens, but yesterday I did. I hadn’t realised that the gardens have a little sculpture trail, and so I was quite surprised when I came across this.

Persephone sculpture Lyme Regis

My first thought was ‘me after bearing two children’,* but then I read the sign that went with it and felt a bit taken aback, because it really did feel like it was written for me.

I felt like I’d been caught out. View Post

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