Archives for April 2014

The Multifunctional Uses of your Bedroom

The Multifunctional Uses of your Bedroom

The home is a sanctuary, but there are times when an escape is needed within the home. A bedroom is a multifunctional space that wears many hats within the home. It is has a range of uses from a work space to a place to rest your head at night.

Entertainment

A lot of our entertainment consumption is done within our bedrooms. Whether it is through MP3 players, laptops, stereos, or television, some form of media is being streamed. Almost all bedrooms have a television that allows us to unwind and watch our favorite show at the end of the day. All cable providers offer their customers cable services that stretch throughout the home. Many offer deals to help you save on their services like www.saveontvdirect.com/direct-tv/texas/. The bedroom can be used as a space to consume all your media.

Work

Most bedroom décor involves a desk making it a space to complete business or homework for those that are still in school. Bedrooms can be a good place to get this work done because it is a quiet atmosphere and equipped with the features that help get work done.

Relaxation

The last thing that a bedroom is commonly used for is a relaxation space. When a person needs an escape within their home they usually migrate toward their bedroom. This is a great space to take a comfortable nap and lounge with any form of media.

Achieving the Perfect Space

When you think about it, every person really does utilize their bedrooms for all these functions. However, the only way this space is used for all of these functions is if it has to right design and sets the right tone for all of these things we use it for.

  1. Choose the right colors for the room. Neutral colors or calming colors should be used within the bedroom. You want the colors to create a calm and relaxing tone over the room.
  2. Get rid of the clutter within the room. Don’t have your room filled with things that you do not need or things that are old and broken. Bedrooms free of clutter also create a space that draws people to make good use of and spend time in.
  3. Accent the rooms with candles, flowers, and potpourri. The fragrances create a space that is perfect for working relaxing, and streaming media.
  4. Set up small areas in the room for each function. Create a good work space with a desk and comfortable chair. Have your bed be comfortable and in view of the television. Also have a chair or nook of some sort filled with comfortable cushions and pillows to use your computer, listen to music, or watch television.

With simple decoration it is easy to make your bedroom a space for multiple functions.

Whether you need a place to entertain yourself, a place to work, or a place to go and relax, the bedroom is one of the only rooms in the home that allows you to do all three things. Our bedrooms have so many uses in our home that we do not recognize. It is important to decorate and design our rooms in a way that makes it easy to use for all these functions.

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The Advantages Of Being A Foster Parent

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Everyone needs a little help at some time in their lives. The chances are that this will happen more than once; going it alone is not easy in this world. Often, circumstances are beyond our control and it is the kindness of others that enable us to keep going and eventually move on; back to normality.

Children are especially vulnerable to circumstances changing for the worst. Maybe their parents are divorcing or are suffering with chemical dependency, perhaps their mother or father are ill and need taking care of themselves. The child may have been removed from an abusive situation and is awaiting adoption. Whatever the reasons; sometimes children need to be taken away from their home and relocated, whether it is temporary or permanent.

Social Services are tasked with providing protection for these children. The system is not perfect; indeed it is not fit for purpose in some cases, but it is all we have. The department employs foster carers to take in children when they are needed. Fostering for many people has become their career. If you are considering becoming a foster carer, there is information here detailing some of the benefits to you.

The Advantages

Fostering is a well paid job, and your employer is trustworthy, so there is never any concerns about being paid on time. In this day and age, there are many unscrupulous employers out there waiting to take advantage of people.

Becoming a foster carer brings job satisfaction that is second to none. Being able to take in a vulnerable child, make them feel secure and happy, and give their parents, who may be going through a tough time, peace of mind, gives the ultimate in job satisfaction. You are appreciated and remembered by everyone whose lives you touch.

As a Foster parent, you will meet many interesting people from all walks of life. It is not only the poor that need help sometimes; anyone can be struck down by illness or events beyond their control. You will probably see the best and worst of humanity during your time working in this profession.

Disadvantages

Some of the children that you take under your wing will have endured a tough upbringing. This is not their fault, but it will have had an effect on them. Expect to go through difficult times until they settle in with you. This can take a long time and sometimes it is more than you can handle. The child may be taken from you and located elsewhere, leaving you with a sense of failure.

Letting children go when you have become attached to them is heart wrenching. The child may stay with you for a very long time, maybe even years, before a suitable home is found for them. It is not uncommon for Foster parents to ask if they can adopt a child. This is rarely allowed, however, as you are far more valuable as a Foster carer.

The advantages of being a Foster parent far outweigh the disadvantages. For someone who has a natural empathy with others and a desire to help, it is the perfect profession. If you would like to become a Foster parent yourself, contact your Social Services agency who will give you all of the details. You will be glad you did.

How To Get Fit And Keep Up With The Kids In 3 Months

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Keeping up with young children is hard work, and many of us have had that chest pounding feeling of doom as we fight for breath after a game of football, or after chasing them on the beach. There comes a time in every parents life when they decide something must be done about their fitness levels so that they can play with, and still be around for, their children.

If you are one of these people, here are my top tips on how to get fit and keep up with your kids in 3 months. Its not going to be easy and the level of success will vary according to individuals, but it is guaranteed to raise your fitness levels.

Stop Smoking

Quitting cigarettes is the one thing anyone can do that is guaranteed to improve their health and fitness. Remember I said this wouldn’t be easy? Unless you stop smoking, any other steps are irrelevant. Luckily there has never been so much help around to help you quit. Nicotine replacement is the best way to help you quit the habit, and it comes in several guises.

Nicotine patches have been around for over twenty years now and have proved to be effective. One patch per day is all that is required to give a low dose of nicotine to help with the cravings.

Nicotine gum is a useful tool for those times when the cravings seem too strong to bear.

Electronic cigarettes from LastCig.co.uk and other online shops will give you a dose of nicotine and allow you to go through the motions of smoking without the dangers. The e-cigarettes use harmless vapour and don’t make your clothes smell in the way real fags do.

Stand Up

If you decide that, for eight or ten hours a day, you will not sit down the results are incredible over a few months. This is hard if you work, but you can still fit it into your routine when you get home. By not sitting in front of the television, you will find yourself doing other things instead. All of this extra activity burns more calories than you normally would so it helps to shed a couple of pounds.

Join a Gym

Gymnasiums have become big business over the last decade and are opening up in all towns. Joining your local gym is the surest way to improve your fitness after quitting smoking. Gyms are so popular now that working out has become a social pastime. Don’t be tempted to call in at the local carvery on the way home because you feel you have earned it, however, or all of your hard work will be undone.

Walk to Work

Not just to work, leave the car and walk everywhere within a reasonable distance. If you have managed to lay off the cigarettes, you will find there is a lot more breath available for exertion. This way you are saving on precious fuel too that is wasted during short journeys.

Keeping up with your children isn’t easy, and it won’t get any easier in the future. They will keep getting fitter as they head for their prime years, while you are going to battle to maintain your fitness level and not let it deteriorate. It is a battle you can’t win as age creeps up on you, but it is good fun trying.

How to Afford Life’s Biggest Expenses – Mortgage, Marriage and Children

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There are three most important, and largest, financial decisions that we will ever make in our lifetime; buying a house, getting married and having children. All three of these decisions can seem like a completely daunting prospect at first, especially when it comes to saving, but this guide should help put your mind at ease.

Mortgage

Moving house is one of the most stressful things we’ll ever do in our lifetime, and buying it doesn’t help with that stress. A lot of people worry that they will never be able to afford a mortgage and, therefore, have to live in rented accommodation forever. However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some of our top tips for those looking at buying a new home:

  • Pick a place – We don’t mean you have to pick your perfect home right away, but you do need something to work towards. Pick the area you want to live in and then look around for houses in this area. This way you’ll get a better idea of exactly how much your new home may cost, and how much you need to save for it. Don’t forget that house prices can rise and fall drastically, so add an extra 10% to your savings budget – just in case.

  • Save 1% at a time – A deposit on a new home can be extremely expensive, we’re talking tens of thousands of pounds, and this thought alone can make it seem impossible. Instead of trying to tackle the whole load at once, break it down into 1% lumps. Say your deposit is £20,000, each 1% would be £200; much more manageable. Every time you save up £200 you’ve conquered a whole percent of your deposit!

Marriage

Next on the list is marriage, which is supposed to be stress-free and full of bliss. The rising costs of weddings are causing a lot of people to end up in debt, however, which is not the way you want to start you new life together. If you’ve been looking at three stone engagement rings for weeks, but are now worried that you’re not going to be able to afford the ceremony, then here are our top tricks:

  • Book in advance – Everything seems to go up in price the longer you leave it, so it’s best to book as much as you can in advance. Most venues, caterers and cake makers, will accept a deposit for the time being and let you pay in installments. This means you can secure the price they’re advertising in 2014 and not get married until 2016; when the prices have gone up again!

  • DIY weddings – Do it yourself weddings have grown extremely popular with young couples around the world. We’re not saying you have to do everything yourself, but there are some things you can do to cut costs. How about making your own table decorations? Maybe even your own food? Work out what you, your friends and your family can do to help towards the cost of your big day.

Children

Finally, the biggest expense in our life; children. It is estimated that children cost us nearly a quarter of a million pounds to raise, up until the age of 18. Although being 18 doesn’t necessarily mean that their financial obligation stops there! If you are thinking of having children but are unsure how you’ll afford them, then follow these great tips:

  • Vouchers and coupons – There are plenty of new baby clubs, children clubs and reward schemes that are set up just for parents. These can provide you with plenty of money saving offers, vouchers and coupons against the things you use the most. Make use of these handy freebies!

  • Childminding – One of the biggest expenses in a young child’s life is the cost of childminding, especially if you’re a working parent. The government have various schemes available in order to help you with these costs, so find out what you’re entitled to before forking out.

We hope these tips and tricks have put your mind at ease about life’s biggest expenses, if only a little bit. Remember, these three decisions are supposed to be happy times in our life, so enjoy them!

A Guide to Setting Up an Impressive Guest Room

If you’ve got a spare room in your home, and you’re thinking of setting up a guest room; look no further than this post. This post will guide you through setting up an impressive guest room, so you can wow your guests time and time again with your wonderful style and hosting skills. Let’s take a look at the kinds of things that’ll make your guests feel at home:

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Go Neutral

A neutral coloured room will please any guest you have stay over in your guest bedroom. Different colours can actually alter the mood of a room, so bear that in mind when decorating it. For example, red can sometimes signify anger, while blue can give a feeling of calmness. There’s nothing to say that you can’t paint the room bright pink, but if one of your husband’s friends stay over they might not have the best time relaxing. You’re making a safe bet when you choose creams, whites, beiges, and browns.

Try Different Textures and Styles

To make the room look a bit more interesting, you can try mixing different styles of furniture and textures. Textures in any room give a feel of luxury, especially if they make you want to stroke them as you see them. Different styles of furniture give a nice homely feel, rather than making everything match.

Reading Material

It’s nice to leave your guests some kind of reading material to enjoy. You could leave out a few of your favourite books, or even some magazines. You could perhaps even have a bookshelf filled with all of your favourite books, doubling the room up as a library.

Drinks and Snacks

If you want some bonus hosting points from your guest, you could have a stocked up mini fridge in the room. Things like fruit, water, and nuts would make sure your guest is always hydrated and full.

Games Consoles

Why not double up the guest room as a games room and have an Xbox or Playstation in there, along with a big TV?

Plants

Plants give any area a bit of life, so even if you choose fake plants because they’re less maintenance, your guest is sure to love the look they give the room. Whether you go for a big leafy plant or a small flowery plant, the room will look lovely.

Artwork

A few pieces of cool art arranged on the wall will give the room a unique feel. You could go for one big interesting piece, or perhaps group pieces of different sizes together. You can even create a kind of ‘headboard’ using art on the wall behind the bed!

Sleeping Arrangements

Sofa beds are great because they can be a comfy sofa one minute and a cosy bed the next. Your guest can choose whether they’d like to curl up on the sofa and read a good book, or relax in bed watching the TV with their complimentary fruit and water.

Follow the tips on this list to create your very own impressive guest room that just about any guest will love!

 

The importance of maintaining your own swimming pool

If you are lucky enough to have a swimming pool attached to your property, then you will need to understand that your swimming pool will need the right maintenance to ensure that it can be enjoyed all the year round.

There are a number of important elements that you need to consider if you are maintaining your own swimming pool, and these can be broken down into weekly maintenance and any other repair work that may need to be completed.

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One of the areas which swimming pool owners tend to stay away from is the chemicals used to ensure that your swimming pool is safe to use. However, if you follow the correct instructions it needn’t be difficult. You can purchase swimming pool chemicals from 1st Direct and you can also find a useful guide on the website that helps you determine which chemicals are right for you. If this does not appeal to you, then some swimming pool owners actually hire swimming pool maintenance professionals.

Weekly maintenance

If you want your swimming pool to sparkle all year round, then you need to ensure that the following weekly maintenance tasks are completed:

Checking and balancing the pool chemicals and shocking the pool if necessary

Surface skimming and bottom debris removal

Cleaning the skimmer baskets

Brushing down all pool surfaces

Backwashing

Cleaning the pool deck of leaves and other debris

Cleaning and inspecting the pool equipment

Of course, once reading this list of weekly maintenance tasks you may feel that you cannot dedicate the time to performing these tasks yourself, then do look into hiring a professional. There are a number of swimming pool maintenance professionals in your locality that could serve you. Like with all other service hiring scenarios, it is best to get quotes from a number of service providers, as well as researching their company and acquiring recommendations and reviews.

If you feel you do have the time, then great. These weekly maintenance tasks are a great way for you to become accustomed to your own swimming pool. Getting to know how your swimming pool works is an important first step, as with some other things in your home, your swimming pool can break. So, it is important that you can recognise any potential repairs that may need to be made.

Repairs

The weekly maintenance tasks are all things you can do for yourself; however any repairs to your swimming pool should be made by a professional. These professionals will investigate any pool leaks, plumbing issues, pool automation problems, chemical feeder imbalances and faults in salt based chlorinator systems, as well as much more.

There are a number of swimming pools repairs that should be dealt with by a professional, and these include:

Resurfacing

Equipment replacement

Filter and Pump repairs

Lighting system upgrades and repairs

Valve repairs

Heater and motor repairs

Plumbing repairs

Equipment Installation and Upgrades

As you can see, it is essential that your swimming pool is maintained as effectively and as efficiently as possible. If you have the time to check over your pool every week, that is great. Any understanding that you gain from learning about your own swimming pool will always be an advantage to you. However, any repairs that need to be made will require a professional, to avoid any long term damage to your swimming pool.

 

The Importance of Home Improvements

Having a beautiful home on the outside is as important as having a beautiful home on the inside. The onset of Spring often inspires many of us to decorate our homes as the need for the new takes priority. Many people often forget to factor the outside of their homes for works that need completing. It is vital that the outside of your home is as wonderful as the inside to prevent costly repairs in the future. By investing a small of money and time, you can potentially save yourself a small fortune in the future by taking care of the little household repairs now. Hold the decorating for this year and look at what needs doing outside.

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 Roofing:

 Repairing any minor damages to your roof can potentially save you a great deal in the future. While clambering onto the roof may not be your idea of fun, it is always best to ensure that your roof is in perfect condition to avoid leaks and floods within the home. Should you need the advice of professionals, take a look at Frisco roofing company who may be able to help. Whilst roofing isn’t exactly glamorous, think about the future. If you want to sell your home, having a functional roof will appeal much more to prospective buyers than freshly painted walls.

 Painting Exterior Fencing:

 Whilst simply painting the exterior fencing will not ensure that you never need to replace it, painting fencing means that you will prolong the life of your fencing overall. The great thing is that good quality exterior paint is reasonably priced and is a task that be can be completed by all members of the family. Get everyone involved and turn it in a fun chore for all the family. Failing that, bribe the rest of the family with promises of chocolate once the task at hand has been completed!

 Kitchens and Bathrooms:

Hold on painting the dining room for the fifth year running and take a look at your kitchen and bathroom. Understandably, these are the rooms that cost the most to remodel and redecorate, but are the two rooms that need updating the most in comparison to the rest of the home. Is the bathroom or kitchen functional? Are there  aspects of either room that could do with updating or modernising? Take a look around at the basics of each room and assess if they need doing sooner rather than later. Painting and wallpapering can come later.

 Windows and Doors:

Should you have old style windows and doors, it may be worth updating and investing in PVC. Old style wooden or aluminium style windows also tend to lose a lot of heat, meaning that you could actually save money overall by investing in new windows and doors. Your heating bill will be reduced dramatically as well as giving your home a brand new look from the outside.

 Basic home maintenance is a must, for the savvy homeowner that wants to see a profit on their biggest investment. So, put the paintbrush down and take note of the exterior home improvements that need fixing today.

Stately Ideas For The Living Room of Your Humble Country Cottage

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The living rooms of countryside cottages conjure images of humble rural retreats with floral curtains, plump settee and brass ornaments. Imagine how awed visitors will be when they wander into your pride and joy to find it looking like the Lord’s Manor!

Cottages are the perfect type of home to decorate with upscale furnishings. They simply exude charm throughout, from the awkward brickwork to the exposed beams. Arranging your décor to compliment this other-worldly charm can have stunning effects and with the choice of designer furniture available together with antique shop bargains, creating your interior design masterpiece should not be too difficult.

Marble Fireplace

A good place to start is the fireplace. Most old cottages still have the original built-in fireplace which is something of a rarity in today’s age of modern high-rises and artificial gas and electric heaters. Given its talking points, it makes sense to feature the fireplace an eye-catching focal point of your living room and a sleek marble mantelpiece is a dynamic and opulent statement. There is also plenty of space to showcase charismatic ornaments.

Book case

To really exude the stately feel, a library is a must. Sadly, most cottages do not have sufficient space to dedicate an entire room to a book store, but you can neatly build a library into your living room alcoves. Integrating bookshelves into the architectural elements of your rooms makes good use of bad space and provides a noteworthy backdrop to the haute couture of your home.

Seating

When it comes to seating, the undisputed legend of an Englishman’s country manor is the vintage leather chesterfield sofa and chairs. A firm favourite since the early 1800’s, the Chesterfield has become an iconic symbol of quintessential British-ness and is a charismatic presence in any room. This finely crafted leather furniture provides the same standard of comfort and reassurance today as the Earl of Chesterfield envisioned when he commissioned the first one to be made.

Writing bureau

Antique writing bureaus are a work of art in their own write and will add a touch of classic elegance to your living room. Antique furniture has a story to tell and wooden bureaus with drop down tables, envelope compartments and sunken ink pots provides bundles of inspiration and a yesteryear ambience. Ask at your local antique dealer to keep their eye out for one.

Rug

Carpets in a stately mansion is unthinkable, so you should think about a rug in your cottage as an alternative. Laminate flooring is a stylish alternative, but you can add class with the rich colours of a classic oriental rug. As with the writing bureau, you are better to go with a worn antique rug rather than new machine-woven products as they have more quality and character and enhance the other-worldly charm of your cottage.

Fancy Organising A Barbeque This Weekend? Here’s Are Some Great Tips To Ensure Your Family Love It

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Everyone loves a good barbecue, and if you haven’t seen a lot of your family members for a while, this could be the perfect opportunity to give them a call and get them round for a few hours. Eating outside is a brilliant way to socialise with anyone if the truth is told, and it always allows you all to enjoy the sunshine and have a quick beer. With all this in mind, I’m going to give you a few tips and tricks today in the hope of helping the occasion go off without a hitch. Don’t get me wrong, there’s very little you can do to mess this up, as everyone expects you to burn the food anyway, but you might need some help when it comes to planning the event, or building your own barbecue.

Last year, I spent around two months eating BBQ food thanks to investing in a top of the range gas model. However, as I soon found out, the newer devices simply don’t char your sausages in the same way coal and fire lighters do, and so this year I’m going back to basics. Considering this, take a few minutes to scan through all the information below, and you should come away with some great ideas that are guaranteed to make your day exciting and enjoyable for all the family.

Setting The Date

While you might want to make the arrangements a week or so in advance, this isn’t the best plan as weather can change quickly. So, it’s best to call all your potential guests and let them know you’re planning to hold a barbecue at some point over the weekend. Then, if it starts raining on Saturday, you can simply hold it the following day. Some rain or bad weather might be okay, but you want your guests to eat in the sunshine if possible.

Building Your Own Barbecue

This is really easy, and all you’ll need is some bricks, and some welding equipment from www.lincolnelectric.com or another major supplier. Basically, you want to lay the bricks in a right angled horse-shoe formation, and then place a steel plate at the back before welding your grills in place. Some people like to keep the grills mobile, but this will be too risky unless you have time to cement the bricks into place and create a really strong structure.

Selecting The Perfect Food

These days, lots of people refuse to eat meat, and so you’ll definitely want to have a vegetarian option on standby in case any of your guests take this stance. Other than that, you want to head out to your local butchers to get some of his best sausages, and then purchase some Dexter beef to make your own burgers. While this breed is slightly more expensive than you might normally buy, the difference will be noticed by all your guests immediately.

Once you’ve sorted all this stuff, there’ll be nothing left to do but get a couple of cans out, play football with the kids, and wait for the food to start cooking.

Have an amazing day! I only wish I was free to attend.

See you next time!

 

 

Quiet Country Evenings Can Be More Exciting Than You Think

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I think I can safely say that if there is one thing which puts people off the idea of living in the countryside it is the fear of being bored in the evenings. When we first moved here it was something I feared as well, but over time we have found some different ways of spicing up the evenings. 

Get Some Bingo Going On

I used to go to the local bingo hall with my Mum was when I was younger and I loved it. Our closest bingo hall is now a couple of hours away but it doesn’t matter anyway, as I can now play online whenever I want to. Internet bingo sites such as GameVillage Bingo provide excellent entertainment in the evening and let me chat to some friends while I play. As far as I am concerned bingo is a fabulous game and I enjoy playing it whenever I have a spare hour or two. I haven’t yet won a life-changing sum of money but I would have no idea what I would do with it anyway.  I have also tried other online games, like slots and roulette. However, it is bingo that I keep going back to time after time. I think my husband wants to give it a try as well, as I keep seeing him peering over my shoulder while I am playing.

Cook Something Exotic

Cooking has recently become a great passion of mine. I used to be a little bit afraid of trying out new recipes but now I will turn my hand to anything. One of my favourite things to do when it gets dark is look up some sort of wildly exotic recipe from a far off place like Indonesia or Peru. I feel quite bold and adventurous as I start to make something which I had never even heard of 5 minutes ago. Of course, one of the bonuses is that no-one in the house knows what it is meant to taste like or look like, so they can’t complain about it when they try it. Turning on the oven during a chilly winter evening can also help create a lovely cosy atmosphere in the house. If I can get the kids in the kitchen to help me make some snacks then so much the better.

Play Card and Board Games

The joy of card games and board games with the family is something else worth pointing out. We can easily get caught up in a riveting session of Monopoly or a few games of Pontoon when it’s dark outside. Because we usually play with the kids there is no money involved. We started off playing with counters such as beans and stuff but the young ones now like to wager things like their daily chores. At first I wasn’t sure whether this was a good idea but it doesn’t seem to do any harm and it definitely adds a bit of extra spice to the games.