Top Tips for Revamping Your Backyard

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

With summer now just around the corner, this is the perfect time to start revamping your garden so that you can spend some quality time with your family in the backyard over the warmer period of the year. This can be achieved in many different ways, but ultimately you will want to create a bright, attractive and fun space that is great for the kids, but also somewhere that you can chill out or socialise with friends.


Social Area

One of the most important parts to address is the social area. All gardens should have a space where you can sit down and enjoy food and drinks together whilst soaking up the sunshine. Raised decking is a superb place to do this as it can look fantastic and perfectly blends the indoors and outdoors together.


You will want to have a table large enough so that you can enjoy family BBQ’s, as well as enough chairs for the family and a few additional guests. It is worth installing a clear glass balustrade if you have raised decking and young children, as this will make sure that no accidents occur and it can also look great too.


Outdoor Lighting

You may also want to consider outdoor lighting for this social area. This allows you to enjoy being outside once the sun goes down, plus it can also help to create a welcoming ambience and accentuate certain areas at night.


Lawn Games

Another way to revamp your garden is to invest in some fun lawn games that you can play as a family. This could include skittles, croquet, bowls or any other type. Kids love to spend time playing in the garden, so consider joining them with games that are great fun for everyone. You
 may also want to invest in some outdoor storage so that these games and any other toys can be stored away whenever not in use. This keeps the garden looking tidy and attractive.


Non-Plant Surface

If your grass often looks scruffy and unattractive, consider constructing a non-plant surface through the garden to create contrast and to improve the look of the overall area. This could be a gravel path, pebbles, bark chips or paving slabs.


Fresh Paint

Applying fresh paint to the perimeter fencing, garden shed and furniture is a quick and easy way to revitalise the entire backyard and you could even try bold new colours to revamp the garden.


These simple steps will transform your garden and ensure that it is where you and your family create many happy memories this summer.

How to choose windows for your baby's bedroom

Want to choose the right windows for your baby’s bedroom, then here are a few tips to help you:

Opening
First and foremost, you’ll want a window that your child can’t open, whether it has handles that are out of reach or are fittedwith locks. Look at options where the windows open at the side or top. If you do have locks fitted, keep the keys where only adults can reach them, but in an easily accessible place in case you need them quickly. You may want to baby proof your windows in other ways, like installing window stops or guards, but remember the latter must have a release mechanism in case of an emergency. 

Safety
When choosing your windows look at the options for strengthened glass or having a protective film installed – so there is no risk of the glass shattering.

Quiet
To minimise sound pollution and to ensure your baby has a good night’s sleep, consider installing double or triple glazing to keep the noise levels down. It will help you all to have a peaceful night’s sleep.

Warmth  
In addition, you’ll want to consider how the window will contribute to the warmth of the room, but allow for ventilation too. Look to see if windows have a good energy efficiency rating, as the better the rating, the more the windows will retain warmth, reduce drafts,  cold spots and the build up of condensation.



Frame materials
UPCV windows have a reputation for lasting a long time, whilst wooden windows suit properties of a more traditional style and are often considered more environmentally friendly too. Aluminium and steel frames also have a reputation for lasting a long time, can be built to a slim design and suit a certain sort of property down to the ground.    

Easy to clean
You’ll also want a window that’s easy to clean, just in case of mucky finger marks. Something you can wipe clean easily is just the ticket. 

Aesthetics
Once the safety and practical considerations are out of the way, you’ll want to consider the look and 
aesthetics of the windows too and choose a style and material that fits in with the rest of your home – especially if it is a period property.  

Permissions
If you’re planning to install new windows, then give time to consider whether there are any permissions you need in place beforehand. Remember, if your property is in a conservation area or is listed, there will be restrictions on what you can do, and youll need listed building consent. Some new windows even require planning permissionIn addition, if you’re in a leasehold property, then you may require the permission of the freeholder or a maintenance company.  
If you’re not sure what windows to choose for your baby’s bedroom, then ask the advice of the professionals, the team at Buckingham double glazing can help you find a window that’s fit for purpose and gives you peace of mind too.

How to Freshen Your Kitchen for Spring

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

As the weather slowly gets better and we approach a much brighter and cheerful time of the year, it is worth freshening your home to fully embrace the warmer months. One of the best areas to do this is the kitchen - during the spring, this becomes a crucial part of the home where you will be cooking up a range of fresh and tasty meals for family and friends and possibly socialising whilst you do so.


Here are a few ways to embrace the spring in your kitchen, all of which are about adding colour and making it a fresh, airy and light place to be.



Deep Clean

The first way to freshen this area of the home is a deep clean. This will involve cleaning out all of the cabinets and throwing away anything that you no longer need (you should also do this in the fridge and freezer). All the surfaces should also be cleaned and cleared. This will improve the look, feel and also the smell of the kitchen.



Replace Blinds

The summer is all about warmth and fresh air. Embrace this by getting new roller blinds that make it very quick and easy to allow in plenty of natural light and fresh air - this will make an enormous difference to the space. You should also select a bright colour to add to the light, airy feel that you want. For the widest selection, you should shop at specialists, such as Direct Blinds.



Kitchen Garden

It is dangerous to have your kitchen filled with plants, but if you have a large enough windowsill then you could add some colour and life with a small herb garden. This will also come in handy whilst cooking, as you can simply grab a few herbs whilst you make your dish. Herbs also add a wonderful fresh aroma that will make the kitchen an inviting area.



Replace the Lighting

The lights are often an overlooked element in the kitchen, but they play an enormous role in how the space looks. When used correctly they can brighten the space and accentuate certain areas. Consider replacing your current lighting with something more modern - pendant lighting is a popular choice for kitchens.



Counter Stools

If space permits, some counter stools are a great way to freshen the kitchen. They add colour, but
more importantly, it encourages people to socialise in this area which the cook of the house is sure to appreciate.


These tips will freshen any kitchen and make it a bright, colourful and airy place to be this spring.

How to Accessorise the Fashion Trends this Spring

The warmer weather is finally on its way, which means it’s time to overhaul your wardrobe, ditching the chunky knits in favour of the latest spring trends. Whether you’re heading to work or on a night out with friends, you can effortlessly incorporate these trends into your life, bringing style and sophistication to your wardrobe.

To help you along the way, we’ve put together some of the hottest trends of the season, telling you how to make the biggest impact with these outfits, and how to accessorise them in style!

Add Colour to Bold Prints

Patterns are a must this spring, which is why your accessories will also need to be bold. Team your vibrant clothes with an equally vivacious piece of jewellery – beaded chokers are a great ideaThere aren’t any rules when it comes to this trend, which gives you the perfect excuse to go all out. 

However, if you don’t want to overload yourself with too many colours and patterns, why not opt for a colourful necklace with a plain top and patterned skirt?

Make the Most of Your Pins

Miniskirts are another order of the day this spring so be sure to emphasise your legs with chunky sandals. Not only will these help to elongate your limbs, but they’ll also create maximum impact. 

Simply team this getup with a simple top or wrap, so you draw all of the attention to your stunning stems!

Get the Trekker Look with a Fringed Handbag

Firstly, the idea of this trend isn’t to look like you’re about to go exploring in the Australian outback. Instead, it’s all about adding a chic touch to a neutral, casual outfit. A fringed bag in brown is sure to do the trick, as it will help you to nail this trend without looking too Crocodile Dundee. Use it as a contrast to khaki tops and white shorts. 

Accentuate Your Waist in Loose Clothing

Floaty outfits are something else that will be bursting on the scene this spring, but you needn’t lose your hourglass figure within them. Opt for an earthy brown belt to pull the look together whilst defining your waist in the process. It’ll also help to remove the risk of any flyaway layers, keeping the look refined and elegant. 

Whatever your style, there’s sure to be a fashion trend to suit you this spring!

Romantic night out? Where to turn for trusted Babysitters.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Anyone have any Romantic plans for the Weekend?

I wish we did but our lovely Liv is poorly again with an ongoing issue. She has trouble with her lungs and immune system going into overdrive which means she gets very poorly whenever she catches a cold, this has seen her in hospital with lung infections amongst other things and she is now under consultant care, scary!

There is no denying that we live in a scary world. With social media and the News available 24/7 online, we are constantly bombarded with all of the horrible things that happen daily around the globe.

This has such an effect on our view of each other and risk factors, for example, if you need a babysitter and have no Family or trusted friends local or available, where do you turn?

When I was younger my Friends would simply pop their name and number up on bulletin boards and in local shop windows and that was enough. People would call up, book them, trust them and off they went.

Unthinkable in this day and age, for both the employer and employee - imagine, no record of where the sitter had gone or no assurance that your Children are safe.

So where exactly do you turn if you need to leave someone in charge of your precious Children? 




Check out www.sitters.co.uk trusted in childcare since 1967, they offer complete peace of mind for all of your Childcare needs.

With easy online booking, sitters available nationwide at competitive rates, they are very popular amongst fellow bloggers and friends, my non technology friendly Husband could even manage that himself! They only work with childcare professionals who are able to provide exemplary references in the childcare professions.

I don't know about you guys, but I am in the habit of checking reviews online before trusting a company, that's why I was pleased to see that Parents are actively encouraged to give honest reviews about each childcarer they meet, allowing Parents some peace of mind and also accurate assessments and appraisals of all sitters

So when my Husband decides to break the habit of a lifetime and surprise me with a romantic break, I won't need to hire a babysitter, the only thing I need worry about is what outfit to wear!

What more could you ask for? Except maybe a date, spa break, night away . . . . .

Things you should be keeping in the fridge that you don’t.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

When it comes to refrigerators, it can be difficult to know where to begin. Although the internet is awash with articles about the foods you should definitely keep away from your fridge, there’s very little information about what food isacceptable to be refrigerated. Below, we've rounded up our list of foods that you should be keeping in your fridge that you probably don't already. 

Takeaway foods

After a weekend binge, you might be tempted to put the remains of your pizza or takeaway dish in the microwave or oven to save for later use – but doing so can be detrimental to your health. Leaving foods out in the open, or in places where there’s little protection from rising temperatures or flies, can cause bacteria to form and also cause the food to go off much quicker than if it was stored elsewhere. Wrap up your takeaway leftovers in Tupperware dishes and store them at the front of your fridge for easy access.

Condiments 

It's a subject that's sparked debate in recent times, but do you really need to store your ketchup bottle in the fridge? Condiments such as mayonnaise, jam, pickle and sauces have labels suggesting they're best kept in the refrigerator after opening, but many of us avoid this and leave our condiments in the kitchen cupboards. However, although condiments such as ketchup could be kept safely in the cupboard for a couple of weeks, it’s best kept in the fridge and eaten within an eight-week period.

Some fruits and vegetables

There's a lot of discussions involving fruits and vegetables when it comes to refrigeration, but the simple truth is that different items have different rules. Any fruit or vegetable that gives off an ethylene gas should be kept away from other items, as it will encourage them to go off more quickly. Apples, avocados, mangoes, pears, peaches, plums, prunes, quince and tomatoes should be kept away from your refrigerator at all costs, but foods like leeks, peas, radishes, summer squashes, grapes, cherries, cauliflower and carrots should be stored in a fridge in order to keep them fresh and extend their lives.


Beverages

Whether you’re hosting a party or you just like bottled drinks, the chances are that your fridge doesn’t have enough room for everything you want to put in it. Usually, drinks are relegated to the garage, outdoors, or they’re left warm, only to be cooled down with ice before serving. It is, however, possible to refrigerate all of your beverages by purchasing a commercial fridgefor your home or workplace. Although it may seem like an extravagant purchase, having a second fridge in your home offers more flexibility and means that you will always have enough space to store your bottled and canned drinks.

There you have it – just some of the things that you should be putting in your fridge that may not be in there already. Remember that food hygiene is important – clean your fridge regularly, never let raw meats contaminate, and always eat your food before their best before date to ensure you stay healthy.

Make home security your new Year’s resolution.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Were now well into the New Year, and it has been revealed that by this time, nearly half of all Brits have failed to keep to their New Year’s resolutions.

With these figures coming to light, why not make a resolution that you can keep this year by simply keeping up-to-date with your home security.

It’s also important to be aware that January is a primetime for thieves, as the shorter days offer a great level of camouflage to let them access your home unnoticed. But these opportunists are also aware that there are is guaranteed array of Christmas gifts in the majority of households such as laptops, tablets, smartphones and other valuable items.

With this in mind, make sure your home is not an easy target for burglars and secure your property with a little help from the security experts at Yale.

Let there be light
Exterior lighting is a great addition to upgrade your outdoor home securityA sufficient outdoor security system makes it very difficult for thieves to remain undetected during the darker nights, offering a sufficient deterrent for thieves staging a potential break-in.

Thieves also target outbuildings as they hold an array of expensive items including tools that can be used to make it even easier to break into your home. Using heavy-duty padlocks to secure outbuildings, alongside anchor locks and cables to secure valuables can help to strengthen your outdoor security system and prevent thieves from taking expensive products.

Birds eye view
There’s also the option of fitting a wireless home alarm or CCTV system to your home to keep an eye on your property whilst you’re away. The high-tech versions that are now on the market can quickly alert you to an intruder remotely and also work as an additional visual deterrent to make burglars choose elsewhere.



Leading smart home systems can now link with your smartphone so you can check up on your home security on the go. Yale’s range of smart CCTV systems have a range of additional features including HD video recording and enhanced night vision, meaning you can be safe in the knowledge that your home is being securely protected whilst you’re away.

It’s what’s inside that counts
A really simple way of updating your home security system can be through replacing your cylinder in your lock. With each household in the UK said to have lost at least two spare keys on average**, it’s hard for us to work out who exactly has the keys to our homes, so replacing the cylinder can be the most-cost effective way of protecting our homes for potential burglaries. 

Outsmart the criminals
There’s also the option of installing an even smartersecurity solution by upgrading your lock to a Smart Door Lock. Yale’s new Conexis L1 Smart Door Lock can help to enhance your home security by giving you complete control over who has access to your home. Even the worry of lost keys is a thing of the past as, with the Conexis L1, your smartphone becomes your key.

For more information on how to keep your home secureplease visit www.yale.co.uk

Eat Healthier by Growing your Own Fruit and Veg this Summer

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

For anybody wanting to make a positive change in their life, they should consider starting to grow their own fruit and vegetables this summer. In addition to being a fun and extremely rewarding activity, growing your own produce is also a terrific way to save money on you grocery bills, eat a healthier diet and also do your part to reduce your carbon footprint.


Getting Started

The advantages of growing your own fruit and veg are clear, yet many people are still hesitant. This could be because they do not know where to begin or perhaps feel that it will be too difficult, but it is actually very easy to get going and before you know it you will be cooking up dishes filled with vegetables that you have nurtured yourself – this makes any meal much tastier.


Picking a Spot

Firstly, you need to pick a patch of grass in your garden which is a few square feet. This should be somewhere that gets plenty of sunshine (where you sunbathe may be a good option). Many plants will also require shelter from the elements and protection from animals, so investing in a protective tunnel is also worthwhile .These are available from specialists like Premier Polytunnels.


Preparing the Ground

You will then need to clear the ground by getting rid of perennial and annual weeds; you can find guides for 
preparing your plot onlineYou will then be all set to start growing your own vegetables. There are many different types that you could consider, with some being easier than others and ideal for first-time growers. 


The Key to Success

The key to success when it comes to growing your own fruit and vegetables is persistence and patience. Produce does not grow overnight and it takes a lot of care,but ultimately it is very rewarding and studies have even shown that it is an activity that brings mental health benefits. This is furthered by getting outside each day where you can enjoy the sunshine and fresh air.


A Healthier Lifestyle

One of the main benefits that growing your own fruit and vegetables bring is that it encourages you to eat a healthier diet. You are much more likely to get your 5 a day and work meals around fruit and veg when you have worked hard to grow it yourself and you do not even have to pop to the store to get it. So consider start growing your own this summer and you will soon be reaping the rewards.

Getting Your Garden Ready for the Summer Months

With summer slowly getting closer, now is the perfect time to start preparing your garden for the warmer months of the year. You will want your backyard to be looking its best as soon as the sun comes out; this way you can maximise the time you spend in the garden and get your friends round for the first BBQ of the year. Here are a few tips for preparing your backyard for the much-anticipated summer.


Spring Clean
The winter months can transform even the nicest garden into a bleak and miserable space. You will want to spring clean the entire area by picking up debris, trimming back the bushes and getting rid of any pesky weeds.


Lawn Care

The lawn is perhaps the most important part of the garden and will make a huge difference to how the area both looks and feels. You should re-sow poor patches, aerate to encourage root growth and neatly mow it to a tidy length.


Fresh Paint

After months of harsh conditions, the garden fence and gates take a severe beating and look worse for wear once the summer comes round. Counteract this with a fresh coat of paint when the weather begins to improve; this will make a huge difference to the appearance of the entire area. You will also want to thoroughly clean any patio or pavements too.


Thin the Trees Out

If you have a backyard that has plenty of large trees, it is worth hiring a professional to thin these out. Not only will this make the area look much tidier, but it could also let a lot more sunshine into the backyard and allow you to stay out much longer in the summer. Tree surgeons like UK Landscapes will be the most efficient way to do this.


Getting Ready for Socialising

Finally, you will want to get the space ready for socialising or relaxing in. This will involve cleaning off your outdoor furniture (or investing in new items) and perhaps decorating to make the area more appealing.


With these steps, your garden will be revitalised and you will be ready to spend as much time as possible in it once the summer rolls around. The secret to getting the most out of your garden is getting it ready for summer well in advance, as otherwise,you could spend the majority of the warmer months working on the backyard instead of relaxing.

How often do people change their Social media and dating profile pictures?

Thursday, 22 December 2016

How old are your online profile pictures?

A recent survey commissioned by an online local services marketplace has found that the average online profile picture is 2 years old, is that the case for yours?

If I'm honest mine are all older than that!

Conducted by
www.bidvine.com, the survey asked 2000 British online dating and social media users how old their profile pictures where.

Bidvine say "Social media is one of the first things that many people check when they get up in the morning, and even though the majority of people update their social media profiles daily, their profile picture can be up to 4 years old."

When I started reading the survey results I thought they weren't that surprising to begin with. For example the results showed that those using dating apps such as Grindr or Tinder were more likely to frequently change their profile pictures - around every 2-3 weeks in fact. Now I expected this, my theory was that my Single Friends are out a lot more than me so regularly have pictures or selfies with their hair and make up done so would change their profile picture more regularly. 



Although that theory was then tested as the results showed that dating websites seemed to have the oldest profile pictures, with users from Plenty of Fish keeping the same profile picture for 3.2 years and Match.com users changing them every 4 years!

The results also surprised me for Facebook and Instagram, with users only changing their profile pictures on average around every 5 or 6 months, I would have thought this would be a lot shorter given the amount of profile changes on my friends lists alone.

The below statistics were found by asking members of the public when they last changed their profile pictures on a range of social media accounts, apps and dating website.

Ranked from most to least changed, here are the results:

1. Grindr – 2 weeks

2. Tinder – 3 weeks

3. WhatsApp – 2.5 months

4. Facebook – 5 months

5. Instagram – 6 months

6. SnapChat – 8 months

7. Twitter – 1.8 years

8. LinkedIn – 2.1 years

9. Plenty of Fish – 3.2 years

10. Match.com – 4 years

Surprisingly 11% of those polled admitted that the pictures they use for their online profiles were taken more than 10 years ago.

Mine aren't quite that old, however I do tend to swap between 3 pictures, one of our wedding (8 years ago), one with my Sister in law (5 years ago) and this one of me with Liv which is 3 years old.



Participants in the survey were also asked this question - “If you don’t change a profile photo regularly, why do you think this is?”

The majority (62%), stated that they struggled to find pictures they were happy with, while nearly half (49%) admitted that they wanted to appear younger to others looking at their profiles.

I also found it interesting that 1 in 4 people would not want their boss to see their current Facebook profile picture.

For me I am rarely in pictures, I am usually the one taking them! In the rare occasion that I am caught in a picture I'm usually not happy with how I look so I am happy to stick to the same ones with my lovely Liv looking little!

Let me know how old yours are in the comments below.