Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Make The Most of Winter



With winter now starting to creep in, it’s time to embrace this crisp yet cosy season, as whilst it might be
one of the least pleasant times to be outdoors - it’s the perfect time of year to cosy up with your family
and share the sense of connection that comes from this time of year where we all seem to go into
hibernation mode.


Of course, one of the greatest challenges in terms of making the most of winter is found in your ability to
keep warm, and in that vein it pays to find a top rated propane supplier to ensure your home has the
heat it requires to feel homely at this time of year, as there’s nothing worse than being in a cold drafty
home when it’s bitterly cold outside.


The further challenge with winter is that it can lead to people feeling a little down in the dumps, due to
the cold nights, short days, and lack of sunlight -  which causes some people to be affected by the
condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).


That said, winter can be a wonderful time of year, so let’s take a look at some of the best ways to
squeeze the most from winter.


  1. BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING
Whilst it might be cold outside, today, you can feel smug perusing deals from the comfort of your warm
bed with your laptop - rather than battling it out with the masses, waiting in line, in the snow and ice.


Whether you buy your gifts online or brave the sales, given the enormous discounts some retailers offer,
it makes sense to buy your gifts from the Black Friday or the Cyber Monday sales, if at all possible.


The alternative of online shopping is to queue up for a number of hours battling freezing weather and
somewhat ferocious bargain hunters as they elbow their way into the best deals.  Indeed, the ferocious
nature of this experience is more fitting to that of a late night rock bar - yet somehow, even the most
gentile people can turn into viscous bargain hunters that will do whatever it takes to secure their
bargains.


In this sense, it might be a lot wiser (and certainly more comfortable) to enjoy the Black Friday sales
from the comfort of your bed, with your laptop and a mug of hot cocoa!  This way you can also get
around many more shops than you would be able to in person too.


2. THANKSGIVING
For many, thanksgiving is a time for cosying up with family and great food, much the same as Christmas
Dinner, though if you’re wanting something a little more extravagant, you could head to
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is well regarded as the official start to the holiday season.


Held in New York, this is the largest parade in the world, which combines huge fifty foot tall balloons,
floats, marching bands, cheerleaders, performers and more - with the special guest of Santa along with
his reindeers and elves… this is a great place to celebrate the start of the festive season and the whole
of New York seems to get in the spirit.  That said, perhaps not the best option for those that don’t like
crowds.


There are many alternatives to New York, however, as most small and large towns throughout America
have their own celebrations - big and small, with many people focusing on the feeling of gratitude and
togetherness.


3. MAKE THE MOST OF THE COLD WEATHER
There are many wonderful places to go ice skating at this time of year, even in large cities, and if you’re
in an area where there’s snowier a frozen lake - what better way to enjoy the winter weather than being
out in the snow and ice?


Just be sure to wear warm clothes and take sensible precautions, in terms of your winter activities… for
instance, when having a snowball fight, you will want to ensure you’re only picking up snow rather than
snow mixed with more harmful things like grit, stones or dog poo.


4. BUILD A SNOWMAN
Building a snowman can be a great way to express creativity and connect with your own sense of
childhood wonderment, whilst enthusiastically engaging with your own children.


The core ingredients you’ll require to build a traditional snowman are a carrot for his nose, coal for his
eyes and buttons, a twig for his pipe, and a hat / scarf to keep him warm.  To connect with the true
magic of building a snowmall you might want to consider watching the classic film, The Snowman,
beforehand.


5. HAVE A SNOWBALL FIGHT
Kids love a snowball fight.  Needless to say, you need to be a little careful with this one, as there can be
all sorts of things in snow (e.g. stones and dog waste), but having a snowball fight is a great way to
bond and connect as a family in a fun and challenge based way.


6. GO SLEDGING
There’s nothing more fun, adventurous and exhilarating than finding a steep hill then hurtling yourself
down the snow and ice at speed.  As long as you are reasonably sensible,
sledging can be a fun and injury free sport.  The best option, if you have a child, s to go down together
with him or her sitting on your lap - at least for the first few attempts.


7. CLEAR SNOW FROM THE DRIVE
This might sound like hard work, but there’s something fantastically rewarding about clearing snow from
your drive, and even more so if you are able to help other people - particularly elderly people.  This is a
time of year where you can be a good neighbour and strengthen your ties with the community.


If you have children, they often love to get involved with this activity too, and it can create a great sense
of contribution and self-esteem within your child.


8. CREATE SNOW ART
Snow can make for a wonderful blank canvas that kids love to decorate.  The simplest way to make
“snow art” is to add some food colouring to a bottle of water (in a squeezable container like washing up
liquid) and encourage them to squirt in whatever pattern they wish.  Then, you can take a photo of the
artwork to ensure you have a lasting piece of art that doesn't melt away in a few hours.

Alternatively, you could create snow angel; as an instant form of personalised art.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Are You Ready For The Christmas Season? Here’s What You Might Forget

Winter is upon us, and that can only mean one thing, Christmas is well and truly nearly here. With a few
precious weeks of planning left, are you ready for the big day? Some people are super organized when
it comes to the festive period. They have already bought all the gifts, they have prepared their social
schedule for the christmas period and they are ready and waiting to enjoy it. Whereas others can
leave things to the last minute. Heading to the shops on Christmas Eve in the hopes of buying
everything they need. Then there are some of us that fall in between those extremes. Half organized,
half not. But I guarantee that many of us will forget one important factor of this season. So I thought I
would share with you some of the things you are most likely to forget, hoping they prompt you, just in
case.




The Christmas feast


The main feast itself is different for everyone around the world. The people in the UK enjoy a big turkey,
the Philippines and people in America are likely to choose a Ham. Maybe the Australians will throw a
few shrimps on the BBQ. Some traditions are similar across the cultures, and others different. But there
can be a lot of pressure placed on this big feast for the whole family to enjoy. One of the biggest things
people can forget is the main attraction of the feast, and that could be your meat or your vegetarian
option. A great tip is to organize and order your food in advance. That way you know it’s taken care of
leaving you one less thing to worry about.


The christmas lights


So many people love to decorate their homes at christmas, and honestly the inside is normally all taken
care of at your chosen times. But, what about the outside? Many people love to ensure the exterior of
their home is just as festive, but can often forget or put off the timing to actually put them up. Until it is
too late. This is when looking into someone doing the Christmas Light Installation for you could be an
option. Booking them on a specific day and letting them take care of the awkwardness and hard work. Job done.


Your social schedule


There is no hiding from the fact that over the christmas and holiday period there will be a lot more social
gatherings that you are invited to. It can be easy to forget when things are and when you plan to do
things. That visits to see Santa with your children. The christmas drinks with work. So that you don't
forget, why not make a note of each thing in your diary and plan ahead. It can avoid you feeling red
faced when you happen to double book or miss something important.


Your home security


During the festive period can be a time where burglary can increase. This is mostly down to you not
being in your home as often while visiting family and friends. Or even just having items ready to be
gifted being stored in your home, sometimes highly priced items at that. So it’s easy to forget that you
need to make sure your home security is up to scratch. Your home security could also be threatened just
by uploading your whereabouts and what you are up to on websites like Facebook and Twitter.
Broadcasting when your home is vacant for unwanted eyes to see. It’s always a good idea to check you
have the privacy levels on high.


Sending our your festive greetings


Sending out a Christmas card or a holiday postcard is something many people enjoy to do. But quite
often it can be something you don’t think about until it’s too late. Perhaps you have missed the cut off
for your Christmas post, or just didn’t get organized this year. It’s one of the most common things to
forget. Perhaps you have sent out your cards but forgotten a few family members or loved ones. A great
tip is to keep a list of everyone you want to send a greeting to, ticking off as you have completed them
will ensure no one gets left out.


That one present


Finally, just like you can forget to send cards to someone, you are always likely to forget that one
present for that particular person. Just like you do with cards, keep a list handy of who you need to
consider buying for. It’s a great way to keep on top of things and also budget for the festive season
ahead.

I hope this helps you navigate your way through the busy Christmas period.

Clear The Way: Decluttering Your Home For A Renovation

One of the biggest issues a lot of people face during a renovation is clutter. It doesn’t matter how much
time you put into preparing your space for the work which is about to be done, you’ll struggle a lot if
you’re unable to clear the way a little bit. Like any kind of clear out, though, a job like this can be a
challenge in itself, with most people finding it hard to get rid of the items they’ve collected over the
years. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some tips which will make it easier. With all of
this in mind, creating a good canvas for your renovation should be a simple matter of getting on with it.


person standing near closed door in hallway


Choosing What To Remove


When you’ve owned something for a very long time, it’s easy to feel attached to it, even when you don’t
really use it. This leaves a lot of people holding onto things which the really don’t need, simply because
they haven’t asked themselves the right kind of questions throughout this process. Below, you can find
some examples of the questions you should be going through with your possessions, ensuring that you
can get rid of as much as possible, without accidently chucking something which you will need in the
future.


Is It Useful? There are a lot of items in the world which don’t perform any sort of function. While these
goods may look good or remind you of something from the past, having them around will often be a
waste of space. This makes it important to asked yourself whether or not you’re likely to use an item
going into the future. A novelty coffee mug, for example, will usually be enough to make you smile, but
will rarely be good enough to replace your normal hot drink vessel. When you use something all the
time, it will be worth holding onto it.


Does It Hold Sentimental Value? If the question above proves to be a negative, it will be time to move
onto the next area. When an item doesn’t provide any functionality, it should at least hold some
sentimental value, providing your with a strong reminder of people or a time you care deeply about.
There is a fine line between merely liking something and it holding this sort of feature, though. You’re
the only one who can decide what is important to you, making this an area worth seriously considering.


Will It Go With The New Look? If the piece you’re looking at doesn’t have any uses, nor does it have any
sentimental value, there is one last check to take it through. Ornaments can often match a
range of different styles. This means that your renovation could open the doors for old possessions to
take on new life, but you will have to be careful to make sure that the appearance of these items fall
nicely in line. It can be hard to predict whether or not this will work, often making it worth simply getting
rid of something unless you really like it.


Getting Rid Of It


Once you have an idea of what needs to stay and what can go, it will be time to think about how you’re
going to get rid of it all. There are loads of ways to handle this sort of work, though most people will
simply opt to throw items in the bin, wasting the chance to benefit further from their efforts. Below, you
can find a couple of examples of the best ways to handle this side of the job once it rolls around. Of
course, though, this part of the job will be completely up to you, and it will be worth researching the
options in your area.


Selling It On: While you may not want something anymore, this doesn’t mean that it won’t have any
value at all. In fact, instead, a lot of the items which people throw away can be great money makers,
giving you a little extra towards your renovation budget. This is best handled through websites like eBay,
as this will save you a lot of time, while also exposing as many people as possible to the range you have
on offer. If you don’t have time for this, you could think about giving your items to a local thrift store.


Recycling: Of course, there will always be items which aren’t good enough to sell or won’t have enough
value to make it matter. When you’re dealing with something like this, your best option will always
be to recycle, though you may need to do some research before you go down this path. Each local
government will be able to process different materials. For those on the list in your area, you will be good
to go, but some will have to go in the regular bin. This sort of effort is much better for the environment.


Staying On The Fence


Finally, as the last area to consider, it’s time to think about the possessions which you’re really unsure
about. When you don’t know whether or not you’re ready to get rid of something, it’s worth keeping it for
a little while to make sure that you don’t make a mistake. Self-storage can be a great way to handle this
sort of issue. You can discover more about this sort of product all over the web, while also learning how
to handle it efficiently. Of course, though, you have to remember that you will be paying for this over time.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time you put into your next renovation.
A lot of people make the mistake of trying to handle a job like this with a full home, almost always
causing damage to items which they like. It doesn’t have to be this way, though, with a good old clear
out being enough to limit this risk, while also giving you a clean canvas to work with in the process.

Friday, November 9, 2018

Turning Your Home into a Relaxing Paradise

It’s a stressful world. We always seem to be on the go, rushing to work, dropping kids off, cooking and
cleaning, heading to the gym, meeting friends, and finding side hustles to make more money. We rarely
have time to simply be. To stop and think, or to enjoy being at peace. To relax with our own thoughts or
to do something for ourselves. Even when we do, there is something to worry about. We’re worried
about how we’re going to take the next step up the career ladder. We want to know
where the next promotion is coming from. We’re worried about how we are raising our children and who
they are becoming. We’re concerned about our carbon footprint and worried that we aren’t doing enough
when it comes to living a sustainable and environmentally friendly life. We’re stressing about our diets,
afraid that we are eating too much of the wrong things or not enough of the right. We know that we
should be getting more exercise, but there just doesn’t seem time, and with so much conflicting advice
and guidance out there, we just don’t know what we should be doing for the best. It’s no surprise that
even when we do get a little time off, many of us struggle to relax and unwind.


This is why it’s so important that your home becomes a relaxing space. It shouldn’t stress you out or
worry you. It should be where you feel calm, in control and at peace with yourself, if not the world around
you. Your home should be where you are free to be yourself, comfortable and happy in your
surroundings. It should reflect your personality, but it should also help you to expand it. It should inspire
you to be creative. It should be your own private paradise. If it’s not already, here are some things that
you might want to consider.


Take Out Insurance


Home repairs can be expensive and worrying about things breaking or needing replacing can cause
further stress and worry. Taking out a good home and contents insurance policy can ease your tension
and give you less to worry about while protecting you financially.


Declutter Each Room


A cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind. It can be impossible to relax when you are surrounded by
mess, and everything is untidy. You might always feel as though there’s something to do. So, spend
some time having a good declutter. Work from room to room, going through everything you own. Get rid
of any old papers that you don’t need and file the rest away neatly. Throw away any old or broken appliances. Sort through your clothes and donate any that you no longer want. Don’t forget things like
kitchen cupboards and your shed. Declutter absolutely everywhere and you might find that you feel
lighter straight away.


But, Don’t Be Too Tidy


That said, being too clean and tidy can add pressure. It’s equally hard to relax in a home that makes you
feel as though you can’t put a cup on a side or move a cushion. It’s ok to have a little mess if it makes
your space feel more homely. You should feel as though you can snuggle under a blanket without having
to fold it neatly straight after, and your home should make your guests feel comfortable.


Commit to a Deep Clean


Deep cleaning is perhaps as important as decluttering. You might do the basics regularly. You might
sweep your floors and clean your bathrooms every week. But when was the last time you wiped your
kitchen cupboards or cleaned your lampshades? You certainly don’t need to do these jobs all of the
time, but it can be a good idea to have a Rota, so a larger job gets done every week or month. Feeling
like you are on top of the more significant jobs can help you to relax.


Add More Plants


Houseplants are amazing. Especially big leafy greens. They improve the air quality in your home, as
well as your mood. The add color and depth and can play an important part in your décor. If you aren’t
great at keeping plants alive, stick to things like succulents that need less care and attention.


Find the Right Seating


If you want your home to be relaxing, above all else, it needs to be comfortable. Your bed should be
supportive and a joy to get into and your sofas should be soft and comfortable. It can also be a good
idea to add other comfortable and fun seating, that welcomes you in. Find out more about different
options and experiment with color and style.


Let in More Natural Light


Like plants, natural light is great for your mood and your health. Being exposed to natural light improves
your vitamin D levels, it helps you sleep, it calms you down, and it improves the health of your skin, hair
and nails. Your energy levels will get a boost, and you might find it easier to get up in the morning.


Letting more natural light into your home doesn’t have to mean installing bigger windows or French
doors. It can just be making the most of what you’ve already got. Lighter curtains that you can pull right
away from your windows, light frames and mirrors in smaller rooms can maximize the light that you let
in.


Add Candles and Lamps


Softer lighting is a great way to change the atmosphere and appearance of your home. Instead of
relying on harsh overhead lights, add soothing lamps and candles. Candles can also be used to change
the fragrance of your rooms.


Limit Electronics

Electronics are a part of everyday life today, and most of us wouldn’t be without them. But that doesn’t
mean that they have to be the focus of your home. Keep wires tucked away and things like chargers out
of site. Incorporate speakers and home hubs into your décor so that they aren’t as obvious and limit the
electronics present in your bedroom.