12.11.2018

Add a little luxury to your home with these home upgrades

It’s okay to treat yourself every now and then, and if this is the case, then why not treat your home? It’s always nice to add a little bit to your home here and there to make it better. There are some simple things that you can do, and there are some things that are far more luxurious. When you step into the home of some people, you are immediately wowed by all features that their house has, but this could be yours too. If you are looking for something to do around the home, why not upgrade it slightly? You don’t have to add all the features on our list, but one or two will certainly push you up on the luxury scale. So, let’s take a look at some of the things that you could add to your home to add a little luxury to your life.

A Skylight


One of the features that you could add is a skylight. This can go in your bedroom, kitchen, or really wherever you want it to. You might be wondering how a skylight is going to add luxury to your life, but the answer is simply: have you seen them?! They are beautiful additions to any home and make the space feel lighter and airier. Skylights are all the rage right now with more and more people adding them to their homes.

As well as this, if you are worried about going green, a skylight is a great option. They reduce the need for artificial light which will reduce your carbon footprint. So, it’s an upgrade for your home, and you are saving the environment.

Pool

The next item on our list is something that most people dream of having, a pool. This can be in your garden, or you could build an extension and put it in there. Either way, adding a pool to your home could feel like living the ultimate life of luxury. There are different sizes to consider here, as well as whether you want this in the ground, or above ground. Make sure that you think about this carefully, as you don’t want to be regretting your decision later. You can also consult a professional when you are considering this, and they will be able to advise you on what is best, given your unique situation.

Hot tub

Instead of, or who knows, maybe as well as a pool, you should consider adding a hot tub to your home. There are a variety of sizes here, but if you have a family you are likely going to want a hot tub for four people, rather than one that only fits two. You can use this as somewhere that the whole family can relax at the end of a stressful day. You will find that there are many benefits to this, including reducing stress, having a better nights sleep after you have been in it, and minimizing chronic pain.

Outdoor Fire Pit


Have you ever wanted to have a fire pit in your garden? This is going to look beautiful and you can fit it in with the aesthetic easily. Whether you want it to feel like you are on a beach surrounded by sand, or you want it in the corner with its own little space, anything is possible. You can make these totally your own and anyone who comes to your home is going to be in for a real treat. This is going to provide you with a cozy area to spend the evenings, for you and your entire family. It doesn’t matter if it is pouring rain as long as you make sure that you have a shelter for it, a fire pit is going to be great all year round.

Outdoor Kitchen

You might have guests over a lot and like to entertain them outdoors on the patio. If this is the case, then you should think about adding an outdoor kitchen to your garden. These can be as big or as small as you want, but it will allow you to spend more time with your guests, rather than running in and out all the time trying to cook and entertain. It will be nice for you to be able to stay around and talk to your friends, rather than missing half of a conversation.

This idea is also going to be great if you love to have a family bbq. You will find that this makes grilling for your family a lot easier as it will always be set up. There will be no more fiddling around with coal or gas trying to get your bbq to light as your outdoor kitchen will be ready and waiting for you.

A Game Room


Finally, you can think about adding a game room to your home. Whether you want to convert the loft, the basement, or you have a spare room that isn’t being used for anything, any of these will do. It is likely that if this idea is something that appeals to you, you already have a lot of game equipment scattered around your home. Move everything like this into your room, and slowly build up your collection. You can add a foosball table, a big TV, and any other game related items that you find while you are out and about.

It will be nice to have a space in your home dedicated to playing games and having fun. Your inner child will love this, and if you have children, they will love this too. Go nuts decorating this too, make it exactly the way that you want it to be with posters, the color wall you want, and comfy furniture, ready for hours of gaming.

We hope that you have found this advice helpful, and now know some of the ways that you can add a little luxury to your life. These home upgrades are great for anyone, and if you have the cash lying around to complete one or more of these, then go ahead and treat yourself.


12.06.2018

How to Make Your Next Move Your Easiest Ever



Moving to a new house can be a pain in the neck. From organizing, packing, safe
transportation and unpacking, to organizing once again when you’re settled in, a
joyous milestone in your life can easily become a nightmare, unless you learn how to
handle this move like a pro. With a few handy tips, you won’t have to worry about a
thing, but move with ease and enjoy every moment of it.

Declutter first

To make your next move go as easily as possible, it would be wise for you to start
decluttering in time. Namely, don’t wait until the last minute to start picking what
you want to bring with you to a new home in Brisbane, what goes to goodwill or
maybe to some of your friends. You’ll save yourself and everyone around you the
additional stress. So, instead of waiting two days before the move to start
decluttering, do it at least two weeks in advance. Look at all of your belongings and
start making piles of things that you’ll take with you, things that you want to recycle
or throw away and those that you’d gladly donate. If you have too much stuff, think
about organizing a yard sale, and make some money along the way as well. Ask your
friends if they’d like to have something you don’t find cute or worth you interior
anymore. This is a great way for you to make room for new furniture and wardrobe
in your new Brisbane home.

Lists go a long way

Lists are literally your best friends in the time of the move. Whether you decide to make one in a spreadsheet on your computer, use an app on your mobile phone, or maybe use the old-fashioned way and put everything on paper, as long as you list all of your belongings you need to pack, it’ll help you immensely. Furthermore, you can make a list of all the small tasks that need to be done. Hiring movers in Brisbane, formal change of address, forwarding mail, cancelling utilities, and anything else that is of great importance that you think you might forget to do without writing it down. Aside from lists, having a folder with all the important documents, such as mover contracts, should also be among those lists so you don’t lose it during the move.


Rent a truck

Rent a truck
While you may have thought of asking your friends to help with the transportation, or you want to use your car, you should know it can potentially cost you a lot more than renting an inexpensive truck in Brisbane. You’ll probably pile things up that will easily tumble down when you go over the first bump in the road, if your car isn’t big enough. Don’t risk breaking some of your precious crystals, glass or other fragile items, because of the lack of space in a small vehicle. Instead, opt for affordable truck rentals in Brisbane that will offer plenty of room for all of your belongings. Moreover, trucks that you rent will allow you to transport all of your belongings safely from one point to another, and thanks to a hydraulic tailgate lift they have, you won’t have to worry about moving even the heaviest furniture.

Go green

If you’re using every possible opportunity to save the planet, your move shouldn’t
be an exception. You’ll most likely spend an obscene amount of newspaper, bubble
wrap, and cardboard, which is why you should consider opting for reusable plastic
bins that you can find in various home d├ęcor and furniture stores in Brisbane and
put them in the closet until you find time to deal with the stuff inside. Avoid using
cardboard boxes and rent plastic bins to store the rest of the stuff, while you can use
older linens to wrap breakables.

Take inventory

You don’t want some of your belongings to magically disappear during the move, so
make sure you have a record of all the household items. It would be a good idea if
you had a spreadsheet of all the stuff in each box. This means that you’ll have to
label all the boxes either with numbers, letters or just with the type of belongings
that’s inside, and put on paper what each of the boxes contains. This way, you’ll have
the exact number of boxes written down as well as all of the items from your old
Brisbane house. Furthermore, to avoid accidentally throwing your wardrobe or
valuable items in the trash, don’t use trash bags for storage. Pack everything either
in boxes or in reusable bins for better organization.

Pack an overnight essentials bag

In the middle of all the moving fuss, you can’t forget to eat, sleep and stay clean and
fresh. Therefore, pack a small bag of essentials that you’ll have within arm’s reach,
because you’ll need to change clothes, brush your teeth, do all the hygiene-related
activities, and all of your stuff will be in boxes. So, instead of rummaging through
everything to find a clean pair of sweats or cleaning supplies and toilet paper, have a
bag with essentials ready for moving day.


Moving can be very stressful, which is why you should do your best to make it a
piece of cake. Just make sure you start decluttering on time, make a list of
everything, keep an inventory, rent a truck, protect the environment while you’re at
it and pack a bag of essentials to help you go through this move fresh and clean.

12.05.2018

5 Things to Remember About Your Child's Development



Children seem to grow up faster than we can blink. They look like they’re rushing through life, constantly
developing and getting better, and while it’s a joy to see them learning so quickly, it can also be a little
overwhelming. For first-time parents, there’s a lot to think about and you’re not always sure what to
expect. Luckily, years of research and experience have piled up, and now you’ve got science to back you
up. We know what to anticipate and what things we can do to help our kids along, and we’re here to
share. If you’re interested in what you can do to make sure your child grows up healthy, here are five
tips to help you out.

Learn to deal with stress for their sake


Studies show that children respond to stress even in infancy, and prolonged exposure to tense,
overwhelming situations can impact their development. They don’t need to be the target of that stress
either—simply the fact that it’s happening in their family (and particularly if it’s happening to the
mother) can lead to slower growth and physical and mental impairments in the future. However, it’s not
merely the presence of tension that you need to worry about. After all, life is taxing and there’s no way
to avoid the fact that bad things will sometimes happen, but the way we deal with them is what makes
all the difference. Putting your child first is a very natural response, but if you end up damaging your
own mental health or neglecting things around you in the process, you’re not really doing them any
favours. Create a safe, loving environment by taking care of your own needs and learning a few stress-
management techniques.

Encourage learning through play


Allowing play time is not just about entertainment. There’s an interesting Chinese study about the value
of pre-academic activities and play time in kids 2-4 years of age. It basically shows that children of
mothers who put value in both things and allow them in equal measure end up with better cognitive
and socio-emotional development than children who were only encouraged to focus on traditional
learning methods. Finding a good playgroup in Hong Kong is not just the matter of fun for these
mothers—it’s all about providing kids with a safe environment in which they can develop their skills
through games, adventures, and exploration. A lot of us can actually learn from this example because
playing is absolutely crucial. Allowing them to go outside and indulge in play activities will help them
develop their motor and logic skills, and encouraging them to find friends and share their toys will teach
them how to socialize from an early age.

Let them learn things on their own


There’s a lot more going on with your child’s brain in their infancy than you might think, so it’s not a
great idea to “save learning for later on.” This is when a large portion of their ability to see, hear, and
feel things develops, and providing them with chances to crawl around the house and explore things in a
safe way is a much better way for them to learn and grow than being constantly overprotective. When
your child grows up a little, it’s equally important to allow them a certain measure of
independence—helicopter parenting is very harmful in the long run, so allow your offspring a chance to
learn and develop at a steady pace.

It takes a village to raise a child

Other family members, teachers, and even doctors are an important aspect of our kids’ lives, and you
shouldn’t be the only figure they can rely on. While parents are the most important, influential people
for them, close relationships with other responsible caregivers can promote emotional development and
give your child a better environment in which to thrive. Encourage them to nurture their bonds with
grandparents and cousins, and don’t be jealous of their time and affection. Being exposed to influences
from their peers isn’t a bad thing at all.

Healthy habits are learned early on

The most interesting thing about our children is that they learn a lot more from the things we do, rather
than the things we say. Most parents do make an attempt to teach them some good habits from early
on, but unless they engage in those same habits themselves, it’s likely that the kid will rebel. You can’t
expect them to eat their broccoli and rice while you yourself are wolfing down a whole pizza and living
on a diet of coffee and takeout every day. The same thing goes when it comes to physical activity—if
you want them to be into sports and avoid childhood obesity and diabetes, then make sure to become
an active person yourself.

Patience, nurture, and a safe environment in which they can thrive are the essentials of healthy growth
and development. Provide your children with love, lead by example, and make sure the whole family is
given all they need, including yourself.

12.01.2018

The Best Carpet for your home


Choosing carpeting can be a stressful decision. When you walk into a carpet store and there are thousands of samples to see and feel, it can be overwhelming! It is important to carefully consider which type of carpet best suits your home. Carpets come in variations of color, scheme, feel, and rigidity. The following are some important things to consider when purchasing carpet for your home.
  1. Will it be easy to clean?
Choosing a type of carpet that will remain clean is important. The carpeting in your home always ends up catching the majority of dirt that finds its way into your home. Whether it be from the bottom of your children’ shoes or off your dog’s fur, carpets have a way of capturing everything. Picking out a style that will be easy to clean can be the difference in your carpets appearing new for years to come and having to replace them frequently.
  1. Will it look appealing?
Nothing can bring together a room quite like a handsome carpet. For most people, this is the most important thing to consider when picking out a new carpet. The carpet you choose should fit the environment of the room. Are you shopping for your child’s bedroom? Choose a shaggy, off-white option that will create a comfortable and stain-proof environment. Shopping for your living room? Choose a short and boldly colored carpet that will withstand wear and tear and impress your guests for years to come. Most carpet installers in Durham will work with you to ensure that the carpet you select is a great match for the look you desire.
  1. What is your budget?
Carpet is already one of the cheapest flooring options available. If you are picking out carpet while on a budget, take into consideration the different styles and materials to save a few extra dollars. Nylon, being a very durable and resilient option for carpeting, is one of the most expensive materials available. Olefin, on the other hand, is the least expensive option available but will not last long. If you are looking for a great middle-price option, consider Polyester. The naturally stain-resistant option comes in a variety of styles and won’t break the bank!
  1. Does your carpet come with a warranty?
Before purchasing a carpet, research the available warranties. Carpets are known to rip and tear. If you are caught without a warranty, this can mean replacing the entire room. Choose a warranty that is clear on what is covered. While many manufacturers like to advertise their decades long warranty to give the appearance their carpet is indestructible, many warranties exclude anything outside of an obvious product defect.

Carpet has always been a favorite for homeowners due to its comfortable feel and dazzling appearance. However, with so many types out there, finding the carpets for you can feel like searching for a needle in a hay stack. Reach out to your local flooring store today for more information about available flooring and carpet options.

Avoiding an Electrical Catastrophe this Christmas

Leaves are falling, it’s getting cold outside, the children’s Halloween costumes are packed up and stowed away. We all know what this means; the holiday season is upon us. People are beginning to decorate their homes for Christmas (depending on whether you are a pre- or post-thanksgiving decorator). For most, this is the most exciting time of the year. Unfortunately for many, decorating can mean disaster.

The amount of electricity used during the holidays to keep your house the brightest in the neighborhood is often much more than your house was built to handle. Especially in older buildings, the electrical system that your house runs on is only meant to support everyday activity without an additional thousand red and green lights illuminating your home. Additionally, when family and visitors come into town, the electricity demands from appliances and other electronics in your home spike. People often forget this and end up damaging their homes electrical system, starting a house fire or losing power by going overboard with electricity usage.

An average outlet inside your home contains 15 amps of electricity, which has the ability to support around 1,500 watts of energy consumption. To give reference, one string of incandescent Christmas tree light requires about 400 watts to light up. This means that only 4 strings of lights can safely be used per outlet. When this number is exceeded, you may “trip your breakers” ––a safety measure designed to prevent you from going over your homes electrical capacity. If your homes breakers are old or just malfunctioning, plugging in too many lights can mean short circuiting your homes electrical system and causing serious damage. If this happens to you, reach out to a close by electrician. Electrical repairs are never a D.I.Y. project; serious training and experience are required to properly repair electrical issues.

If there is simply no room to cut back on your Christmas lights this year, consider some more efficient options. LED Christmas lights are sold almost everywhere regular lights are and use less than 20% of the energy that traditional incandescent lights so. With this kind of energy saving, you could have up to 20 strands of Christmas lights safely plugged into one outlet. LED lights also last much longer than regular incandescent lights, so the extra money spent ends up paying dividends when your house remains well-lit all through the holidays. For those of us whose home resembles Clark Griswold’s in National Lampoon’s Family Vacation, consulting with a local residential electrician and using LED lights can ensure your holidays are safe and budget friendly.

The holidays are a time to spread joy and cheer. However, thousands of homes across the country suffer from electrical issues every holiday season and hundreds experience fire damage from short circuiting over-used outlets. Your family could be one string of Christmas tree lights away from a disaster this December! Take the necessary steps to ensure your family remains comfortable by being considerate of your energy usage.

Gifting a golf card

Christmas is right around the corner, and if you’re stuck on what to get for the golf pro in your life, consider a golf cart! Holiday shopping can be hard. Keeping up with the latest gadgets, staying in the know about your kid’s favorite accessories and sports teams… By the time you start thinking about your husband, parents, or in-laws, you’re just plain worn out! If you have a golf fanatic in your family, a golf cart is a great gift that they will treasure for years to come, and they’ll think of you every time they use it
Why Should I Gift a Golf Cart?
Whether you have a golfer in the house or know someone who lives in a golf-cart friendly neighborhood, there are a variety of reasons why gifting a golf cart is a great idea. Obviously, your golfer will love the ability to tackle the course anytime, and you could even ride along for an afternoon of fun together! Does the person you’re shopping for live in a community with a neighborhood pool? Just imagine the stress-free life of loading the kiddos up after a day of swimming and carting them home with the sun shining down and the breeze drying them off on the way. No more stripping out of wet suits and laying layers of towels down in the car.
Plus, it’s just plain fun to ride in a golf cart. During warmer winter days and especially throughout the rest of the year, you can use your golf cart in neighborhood parades, to pick up kids for playdates, or even just explore the place you live.
Should I Buy New or Used?
This one is up to the buyer. Like any savvy shopper, determine your budget first and then look to see what you can afford. Your local golf cart dealer likely sells new and used carts, all of which are meticulously maintained to give every buyer plenty of options. From neighborhood cruisers to light off-roading carts and custom carts, you can find exactly what you’re looking for. Want a cart with your husband’s favorite sports team decaled on the front? Interested in ordering a camo cart for your hunter or fisher? Make your wildest dreams come true for a Christmas gift experience you won’t soon forget.
Can I Buy a Service Package, Too?
Some dealers also offer golf cart maintenance plans, which means not only can you see your golf fan’s face light up when they see their new cart, but you can give them even more to love when they learn their preventative services are covered.
If you’re stuck on what to get the golf lover in your life, you can’t go wrong with a golf cart. Whether you choose a new one, a pre-owned model, or create a custom ride that will turn heads for years, they’ll be sure to love your thoughtfulness. Plus, now you have a reason to call “Shotgun!” for those evening neighborhood cruises!

8 Home Maintenance Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Winter


The holiday season is upon us and most of us are already planning decoration, putting together holiday menus and searching for gifts. However, if you want to have a pleasant, happy and smooth winter, make sure not to neglect the winter home maintenance chores. They might be not as interesting as decorating, but they are much more important. Let’s see what you need to tackle before winter hits. 

Check your heating system


You really don’t want to find yourself without a proper heating system in the middle of January, especially with young kids! So, before you start heating, make sure to call a pro to check your furnace and air conditioner. Unless you have a service contract, this undertaking will cost you some dough, but it’s nothing comparing to the price of staying in a cold home.

Reverse your ceiling fan


If you happen to have a ceiling fan, make sure to reverse it before the winter comes. This is something you can do by yourself by simply flipping the reverse switch that will make the blades turn the other way. This will cause the hot air to be pushed towards you and make your place nice and toasty. In some cases (if you have high ceilings), this trick allows people to turn down their thermostat a few degrees which means lower energy bills!

Check for draughts

Make sure your home is well-caulked and has all the necessary weatherstripping, especially around the doors and windows. A proper seal will keep all the warmth inside while keeping the cold out of your home! This allows you to conserve energy, lower your thermostat and do some winter money saving. In case your caulking and weatherstrips are old and worn out, replace them.

Inspect your plumbing

One of the biggest dangers of winter is frozen pipes that can burst any moment. So, if you’re planning to go away for the holidays or just spend some peaceful time at home, make sure to inspect your plumbing for cracks and damage. If you know your outdoor pipes are old, half-clogged and in need of replacement, don’t hesitate to tackle that project before winter hits. But if you don’t want to dig through your garden to lay new pipes, practical pipe relining can repair the damaged pipe and clear your drains without any disruption to your landscape! Plus, this method is a cheaper, safer and more durable alternative to pipe replacement.

Evaluate your roof


Grab the ladders and check your roof before winter sweeps through your city. Keep an eye on any loose, damaged and missing shingles and evaluate the overall condition of your roof. If you don’t know where to look, call professionals that will tell you all about your roofing and even inspect around your vents and chimneys. Also, if you live in an area with snowy winters, invest in a roof rake for removing dangerous snow buildups!

Replace alarm batteries


Sure, carbon-monoxide and smoke detectors should be regularly inspected all year round, but checking them again before winter is a great idea. Winter involves wood burning, cooking and candles which can all easily spark a house fire, so be ready for anything. Make sure every bedroom is equipped with a smoke and CO detector, together with your kitchen and living room.

Remove screens from windows

One great thing about winter is that there are no insects to invade your home, so you can get rid of those window screens. Once you take them off, you might get a little more natural light that’s very precious during the winter. Plus, you’ll also eliminate the risk of snow getting stuck between the window and screen that can sometimes damage your frame, sill and caulking.

Take care of your landscaping


If you notice any long branches on trees in your front and back yard, especially around your roof, gutters, garage and windows, make sure to trim them. The snow can overload these branches and cause them to snap, damage your property and even endanger your family’s lives. Also, if you invest a lot of time into gardening and plant maintenance, it’s a good idea to get some plant protection for your shrubs and other greenery.
Use these home maintenance tips before winter knocks on your door and you’ll be surprised how much safer and cozier your home will be all winter round!

About the author: Mike Johnston is a home improvement blogger and DIY enthusiast from Sydney. He is a regular writer at Smooth Decorator and contributor on several interior design, lifestyle, real estate and eco-friendly blogs. Mike’s goal is to create and share meaningful content that helps and inspires people.


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