Five Updates You Can Make To Your Home*

*This is a collaborative post*

Carrying out occasional updates to your property can help to give you that feeling you had when you first moved into your home. That buzz of excitement of getting the keys, walking into your home and knowing you have a new space that's yours to do with as you want. If you're looking for some inspiration to help transform your home, here are five updates that you can make to your home.

Build An Extension

There are many factors to consider before building an extension on your home. It's a big project, and it's not something that everyone has the opportunity to do on their home whether that's due to a financial limitation or for lack of space on the land. If you find that there may be a chance that your property boundaries aren't correct, then a solicitor for a boundary dispute would certainly be worth the hassle. That could well be the difference between you being able to go forward with your extension or not. If you're building an extension, you first want to work out what it is you want that new space to be because the floor space may dictate what is possible within the extension.

Then you want to ensure you’ve got the budget to complete the works and to factor in any consequences of having the extension done while living in your property. It may require temporary accommodation, and you’ll need to inform your neighbours about the plans so that they are in agreement with what you are doing. 

Paint Your Cabinets And Touch-Up The Walls

Paint is great for making even the most worn cabinets and walls, look brand new. Sometimes, all that’s needed is a fresh coat of paint, and that paint doesn’t need to cost a lot of money. Painting yourself can be a very therapeutic thing to do when it comes to decorating, and it can also save on you having to fork out the money to replace cabinets and cupboard or desk drawers that are still perfectly functional. Your walls will certainly suffer from bumps and scratches, whether that’s something you do directly, your guests or any furniture you may move around the process. It’s a normal thing to happen, but these scuffs can end up making it look worn, so keep a pot of paint in your garage to do touch-ups every now and then. 

Switch Up The Soft Furnishings

Soft furnishings like the throws on your sofa, the cushions on your bed and even the curtains or blinds that hang on the windows can become a bit of a bore to look at. Especially if you’ve had the same cushion cover or blind design in your home for the past several years. Finding the right designs and patterns that last a lifetime is pretty rare, and even if you do, it’s nice to give your home a change of appearance every now and then. Soft furnishings are not as expensive as replacing a sofa or something bulkier, so look at every room and see what you could replace or update. Rugs can help add that extra layer of comfort and can make neutral walls or flooring, look more interesting. Cushions and throws are great at masking a worn sofa, so that if you didn’t have the funds to pay out for a new sofa now, it can provide you with a temporary solution. 

Incorporate Some Technology

Technology has truly transformed the way we live our lives, and that also comes down to the functionality of our homes. Incorporating some technology is one update you can do to your home to make it easier for your household to navigate a daily routine. But it’s also worth having if you ever decide to sell your home. Maybe it’s replacing the thermostat with a smart meter or having remote-controlled lighting or blinds. Alexa is a feature in many people’s homes and also can be connected to devices around your home.

Ensure Everything Has A Home

We can easily create a lot of clutter in our home, and unless everything has a home, things will end up strewn across the floor or in places where it shouldn't belong. So always have an attitude of everything having a home and if it doesn’t get some storage. Storage is a great way of making sure everything is placed either on display or hidden away. Multi-functional furniture that also acts as storage space is highly recommended.

So what are you waiting for? That’s five updates that you can be doing to your own space right now!

*Contributed by Sam Jones. Header photo source.

Old Dogs, New Tricks*

*This is a collaborative post*

They say you can't teach an old dog new tricks, well that might be true but nevertheless we recently decided to try our family dog on a new dog food which I'd heard rave reviews about. 

It's certainly safe to say that changing your dog's food is not a quick or overnight thing and our nine year old German shepherd Kaiser is already a notoriously fussy eater as it is, so much so that even all his pet treats have to be chicken flavour! On top of this he also has a very delicate stomach so we have to be very careful with what we give him as even the slightest change can give him an upset tummy. Stress is another factor that hugely affects pets and unfortunately the loss of my dad in December has taken its toll. That said Kaiser seems to have bounced back a little since the birth of my daughter in May whom he adores.

Hill's Pet Nutrition is a world known pet food which has clinically proven nutrition that can transform your pets life. We opted to try Hill's Science Plan Canine Adult Light Large Breed with Chicken which seems tailor made for adult dogs like Kaiser who require fewer calories because they are less active. As Kaiser has got a little older unfortunately his back legs have started to wane and as such he is indeed a lot less active than he was. The product is formulated to maintain an ideal weight and contains clinically proven antioxidants and L-carnitine which help to turn fat into energy. The high fibre content helps to control hunger between meals.

The advice with this dog food is to introduce it gently, mixing it at first with some of your pets usual food. As is the norm for Kaiser, he was a little stand-offish when I first gave him some of his new food to try. He played with it for a short while whilst he became familiar with the taste but this isn't to say he didn't like it, just that it was something new and alien to him. After some coaxing and encouragement he tucked in.

I can't honestly sit here and write genuine feedback on the results yet because it's taken a while to get Kaiser to transition. That said, I have read many positive reviews and so have high hopes.

The only negative really is the cost. At over £35 a bag it is a little on the pricey side but then Kaiser's original dog food wasn't exactly a bargain anyway! As the saying goes, you get what you pay for and as many pet owners will tell you, nothing is too much when it comes to their beloved pets!  

Great Options For Home Improvements*

*This is a collaborative post*

Whether you're planning to put your house on the market or make it more comfortable to live in, there's а lot to be gained from making home improvements.

Improvements in your home could involve:

  • Repairs of existing structures,
  • Remodelling certain parts of the home to give them а facelift,
  • Making additions to your home to enhance the quality of life,
  • Home improvement projects in order to create а house more energy efficient or environment-friendly,
  • Making your garden into a little paradise with the help of Alice's Garden.

To choose а home improvement project can seem pretty daunting. But armed with а few handy home improvement tips, you may be well on your way to the perfect home of your dreams. The majority of these tips are simple to follow and will make deciding on home improvement projects а breeze for you.

- Before deciding on а home improvement project, you need to determine why you think your house needs it, how much you should be spending on it, and what is the result you would be happy with.

- The first home improvements you should consider are fixing ones. Attend to any ceiling issues - like peeling paint, the plumbing job you are putting off or that loft insulation that is now necessary. This holds true whether you intend to reside in the house yourself, put it on rent, or put the house on sale.

- Remodelling your kitchen or bathroom is а intelligent home improvement move if you're planning to put your house on sale. This increases the value of the house immediately, and if researched correctly, can be carried out with very little investment.

- Home improvement projects that involve remodelling need to be well thought out, so that they do not look weird on or in the house. They are generally done to improve lighting, provide more room, or glamorize the house. For instance, if а kitchen wall is broken down to create an open kitchen, it immediately makes the house more friendly and social. But adding extra walls badly, will cut out light and make things smaller. 

- Making additions to а house like adding а deck, а pool, or an outdoor storage area are usually the result of what the family wants but may also be excellent selling points if the house goes up for sale. Additions to the home should be considered as home improvement projects if there's extra outdoor space which by itself doesn't enhance the value of the house. A good idea for an improvement in the exterior areas of the house is also to consider the neighbourhood and just make changes and additions that would blend in.

- Helping а house improve its energy efficiency is also а great idea for а householder, since not only does it cut down on the gas and electricity bills, it's а terrific thing to do for the environment. Improvement in the insulation of the house can be a long-lasting blessing. Investing in а house so that it partially harvests solar energy could be another method of improving the home for the future.

It is obvious that home improvement projects should not be carried out on а whim. It is essential to evaluate why а particular home improvement project is required, and what is gained from the investment. While home improvements that involve fixing increase the comfort in the house and its durability and are therefore essential, the other sorts of home improvement need to be carefully evaluated before embarking on them.

*Contributed by Sam Jones. Header image by Theme Photos on Unsplash

How To Make Your Wedding More Personal*

*This is a collaborative post*

When you get engaged, it’s safe to say that you’re going to be really excited. When you’re in love and you’re looking to spend your life with this person, there’s nothing better. Not only that, but the initial honeymoon period of getting engaged is so lovely too. However, you don’t always think about the planning side of things at first but when the haze wears off, you start to think about everything you have to do and it can be exhausting. Instead of overwhelming yourself, you definitely have to make sure that you’re planning a wedding that you love. A wedding that’s for you – and is about you and your tastes. You have to make it personal. Let’s take a look at how.

Know What You Want

First of all, you’re going to want to get in your mind exactly what you want. Because weddings are personal and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in different themes and trends. But here, you should aim to focus on what matters the most to you. If you want to get healthier before the wedding, go with it. If you want to get married abroad, that’s okay too. Just to know what you want, and keep that in mind so you don’t get swept away.

Stick To What You Can Afford

When you’ve got your thoughts in order, the next thing that you need to do here, is to make sure that you are setting a realistic budget. Because weddings can get very expensive. And if you do not want to get into debt over this is spend too much, then don’t – stick to what you can afford.

Keep It Intimate

From here, you may find that you want to think about keeping it a bit intimate, rather than going for something big. When you have a small wedding, it can sometimes feel much more personal – and you don’t have to spend a lot of money. Plus, you get to spend the day with those you love the most, and enjoy things on your terms.

Do It Your Way

But then also, you are going to want to make sure that you aim to do it your way. It’s okay to prioritize the things that matter to the most, and allocate your budget on that. Whether it’s wedding photo booth hire and a photographer, or food and drinks, invest where suits you best. Because then, you get to enjoy the things that matter to you the most.

Forget The Pressure

Finally, you have to make sure that you’re just not letting yourself get all worked up about what your wedding should be. Don’t compare yourself or what you do to others. Don’t let yourself judge what you want against what others have done. It’s not a competition and you don’t have to spend tons for this to be a success. So remember that. Don’t let the pressure get to you. Just enjoy things your own way and see what happens.

 *Post contributed by Sam Jones. Photo source Unsplash.

Ideas To Make Your Party Instagrammable*

*This is a collaborative post*

If you’re planning a party this year and you want it to be a little different, then you’re going to have to think outside the box. Watching people’s parties on TV make you see all the things you can do these days, themed parties, costumes, props, etc. and the standard of parties has increased and thanks to Instagram everyone knows about it. So, if you’re planning a party now, then you need to up your game and make sure it gets all over social media, and here’s how:

Serve Your Drinks Differently

Do away with the boring glasses and plastic cups and think how else you can serve your drinks. Try old soup cans to serve cocktails in fruit such as pineapples, melons or coconuts. Not only will your drinks taste amazing, but people won’t be able to help themselves snapping and posting online. 

Play Games

It’s always good to have things for people to do at parties, just as a back up in case there’s a lull as people are arriving and getting to know each other or games act as a great way of bonding as well, or simply for friends to have fun and of course take photos of. You can get huge garden games now quite cheap, and of course, you don’t have to be having a garden party to use them, what’s wrong with a giant Jenga in your kitchen?

Go With A Theme

You could go with a costume party as you’re guaranteed to get some great characters turning up and great photo opportunities. However, if you don’t want to go full-on costume party, then a theme will have the same effect. You could do a masquerade ball type party - although not as fancy, just ask everyone to wear masks. Or it could be a Haiwain theme which is always easy enough with flowery shirts and coconut bikinis, or just get everyone to wear one color? The ideas are endless.

Think Your Venue Through

When coming up with the venue, why not go for something really different? There's various ideas out there if you get looking. Perhaps you fancy a party at the zoo, on a barge, in a museum or even on a party bus. If you put your imagination to good use you could come up with something really unique! 
Don't forget if you're booking a party for the festive season to pre-book your venue in advance before everywhere gets booked up. There's many fantastic Christmas party venues London on offer such as the Absolute Pleasure Yacht based at Canary Wharf.

Get Some Props

Have you seen how many people are Instagramming with props now? It’s so easy and simple to do and to get them even more excited, have a look at this website, and get a photo booth for the party. 

Create A Party Hashtag

What better way to get everyone posting about your party than having everyone having a hashtag to include in their post? You’ll have to get creative with your name though as well, think of something fun and quirky that will get everyone talking.

Always Have Balloons

Balloons are such an easy decoration, and they are soooo instagrammable. Get some of the letter balloons and either spell out your party hashtag or get as many letters as you can so your party guests can create their own words to have photos with. Confetti balloons are another idea which can be a lot of fun, just not as much fun to clear up the next day. However, they do make for fab photos and slow-mo videos when you pop them over someone’s head.

*Contributed by Sam Jones, Photo source Pexels.

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