December 2015 archive
One of the most important pieces of kitchen furniture is the sink; it is also one of the busiest. Therefore, it is important to give proper consideration to finding the best one. This can be quite tricky, when you are looking at the various sinks available at PlumbTile, so to help we have put together a list of some tips that will help you make the best decision.
Consider The Purpose
Before anything else you need to think about how you intend to use you kitchen sink. A double sink would be something you should think about if you are a keen home chef. It will enable you to wash up dishes while draining food at the same time.
Consider The Space
You need to think about the size of sink that suit the dimensions of your kitchen. Although a particular sink may have caught your eye, if it does not fit under your window, in the corner or on the island unit, it is no good for your kitchen. Corner sinks in particular are a space saver and a good choice if you have a odd shaped kitchen.
Consider The Size You Need
Think about the size of family you have or how many people share your house with you. If there lots of people living in your home, a double sink may be a good choice to handle all the utensils, pans, pots and crockery you have to wash up.
Think Of The Taps
Last, buy by no means least, when it comes to choosing taps, an integral and important part of any sink, you need to think not only about the type of spout, but the height of the taps also. Be sure to ensure that the spots of the taps you choose fit all of the bowls that are part of your sink.
Your teeth will naturally change in colour, no matter how well you take care of them. The food and drink that you consume will play a role, as will certain lifestyle habits, but you can reverse the process by having your teeth whitened.
Here are just a few benefits of doing so.
A full set of shining pearly whites is bound to raise your self-esteem. After all, it’s far easier to smile when you know that your teeth are flawlessly white. That’s great, because smiling really does make you feel happier. Whether you’re out on the town, giving a presentation at work, or simply meeting up with some friends for a coffee, you’ll feel much more confident after having your teeth whitened.
One of the best things about having your teeth whitened is that it can be accomplished very quickly, and with a minimum of effort. There are several methods available, but almost all will simply involve applying whitening gel to your teeth at night. As you sleep, your teeth will become whiter. The treatment won’t last forever, but you’ll be able to pick up some more gel at your dentists to repeat the process.
Feeling confident about your smile is one thing, but that’s an effect likely to go into overtime when other people react to you more positively. It might only be a minor concern, but having your teeth whitened does make you more attractive, and people are likely to take note. This is one of the reasons why people often have their teeth whitened before having a family photo taken, or prior to events such as weddings and birthday parties.
The tooth whitening process is extremely affordable. People used to have to rely upon expensive veneers to make their smile look its best, but now they can enjoy fantastic results for a far lower price.
Having your teeth whitened will make you both feel and look your best, and it’s a quick and easy process. If your smile could do with a bit of a touch-up, whitening is certainly the perfect option.
As mums we all know that waiting for the next time we can get some time to do exactly what we want for once can feel like a lifetime away. For that reason it’s important that you make the most of 2016 and plan a few events to get the ladies together. A great idea of something you can look forward to in-between taking your children to all of those birthday parties and music lessons is to book a trip away to the Cheltenham Festival.
You might think that racing is a past time best enjoyed by old men gathering around a cold, muddy track. But Cheltenham Festival holds a Ladies Day every year where women gather to enjoy a more glamorous day full of good fashion and champagne. Ladies Day is the day of the year where what the women are wearing is often as important as the races. The track is often one of the best places to see the latest fashion, as last Spring the biggest trend on the day was the woollen tweed coats and vintage jewellery that have proven massively popular later on in the year. That’s why going to the races is a great excuse to treat yourself to a new posh frock and a pamper session.
Of course as well as enjoying all of the glitz and glamour of the big day, you’ll also want to get involved in the excitement and put on your Cheltenham Festival Bet. If you’re not a regular horse racing fan, it’s understandable that you might find this bit a little intimidating. But worry not, if you don’t feel confident that you can understand the confusing terminology spoken at the race track then you can bet on the Cheltenham Festival here on your mobile phone. By using the Coral website on your phone, you can see clearly exactly how much you’ll get in return if your horse wins. The website even has easy to understand explanations on how to put a bet on each way and other special ways of betting. The best thing is that if your Cheltenham Festival Bet does come in you don’t have to worry about losing your betting slip. Your winnings go straight into your account once the result is declared.
This year Ladies Day is being held on the 16th March during the annual Cheltenham Festival. Tickets for the most glamorous Club enclosure start at £75, but if you just want a more casual Cheltenham Festival bet then you can pick up a ticket in some enclosures for as little as £30. If the sound of dressing up in your finery sounds good then make sure you get a group of mates together and book some tickets now, as the early bird prices stop at the end of January.
A garage used to be a kind of afterthought. It was something that would be tacked onto the side of a house. Its uses were functional. It was where you parked the car. If it was bigger perhaps it incorporated a workbench. Tools were stored in it and that was about it. These days garages have become ever more closely linked to the house in more ways than one.
A garage today is virtually another room in your house. There’s a lot you can do to utilize your garage as a family friendly space, as well as using it for many other purposes. So whether you are refurbishing your property or building from scratch, here are some great ideas for getting the most out of your garage.
Thinking about the floor.
At its heart a garage is still the prime space for vehicle or boat storage. So you’ll want your floor surface to be functional and easy to clean. At the same time, as you’ll be using the floor for any number for projects, it will make sense to have a good smooth and level platform. A good self-levelling concrete finish on the floor should be acceptable. Polishing the floor will give you an ultra smooth result. Ideally any garage floor will be at the same level as the house. This will make the transition and moving of objects easier and smoother.
Open up the possibilities
Have a think about how a garage could incorporate other functions. For example it could take on the role of your utility room. Washing machines, sinks and dryers can easily be incorporated into the space. That means you may well be able to free up space inside the house. Other items that work well inside a garage area include freezer and spare fridge options. Again using the garage for this function frees up space inside the kitchen.
Apart from the obvious tool and bench facilities, have you thought about creating a spare room or space for hobbies in the back of the garage? If you have the space it might be practical to erect a stud wall and make a separate room. This space could make an ideal home office, or used for any number of activities.
Due to their functional nature, garages have in the past been sidelined as cold spaces. But there is no reason why a garage could not be insulated and even heated to some degree. Wall insulation simply means erecting a simple timber stud on the inside wall and lining it. As soon as you have created an effective barrier to the outside wall, the area will instantly become warmer.
As the garage tends to be the leftover area, it can quickly become cluttered and difficult to negotiate. Using clever storage solutions on the ceiling and walls can take a lot of pressure off the area, allowing it to be a more functional space. For instance, both kayak and mountain bikes can be stored effectively on wall racks. These are easy and quick to install.
Getting in and out.
The modern garage also lends itself to a side entrance to the house. Therefore you want to ensure that it is secure. As the garage effectively is seen as a part of the house, it is essential to ensure that it visually integrates with the rest of the building. Stylish and secure garage entrances by Silvelox, are a great compliment to any house and garage design.
Garage doors have come along way from the sparse metal pull up and push down varieties of previous decades. It is now possible to have design incorporated with security. This means that you can have a garage that looks visually stunning as well as offering you security and peace of mind.
As the garage becomes an entrance in its own right, it makes sense to consider having a pedestrian door incorporated into your design. That will make it much more convenient to use. You won’t have to open the entire garage up to have access to the house.
If you are looking at building a garage then it makes sense to think how you could incorporate any space above it into your design. It might be possible after all, to add another floor and link that area back into the house. That could give you further living and sleeping areas. They could even become separate and self contained accommodation in their own right. You could form a guest unit or even fulfil the romantic idea of a garret above the garage. Perfect for the budding artist in the family.
With a little bit of forethought and planning, it can be possible to turn the idea of a garage around. Whether you are renovating or designing a new build, your garage could offer you a myriad of fascinating possibilities.
There are more than a few choices to consider when weighing up how to finance your new set of wheels. Most people won’t have the cash outright so there’s plenty to think about when it comes to car finance, including your credit history, interest rates, and whether you should own the car outright or lease a vehicle. If you’re in the market for a new ride, here’s everything you need to know about finance options for your car.
Most people looking at purchasing a car will likely take out a loan. The options are either a secured or unsecured loans. If you were to default on a secured loan the asset (car) can be taken as security. A car loan that is unsecured may have a higher rate of interest to compensate for the lender having less security. Depending on the company you take the loan through, different criteria will apply, with different levels of flexibility. Many car loan companies like Zoom Car Loans , for example, offer loans with no deposit needed.
Personal loans are taken out directly from a financial institution, and theoretically can be used for any number of big purchases, which may or may not include a car. Some of the benefits of a personal loan over a car loan include the flexibility to resell the vehicle before the loan has been paid in its entirety, since most personal loans are unsecured. Personal loans are usually available in varying amount of between $1000 to $10,000, depending on the lender, and can be taken out with either a fixed or variable interest rate.
There are benefits for each type of rate depending on the current interest rate, and whether or not it is expected to fall or rise. Because personal loans are generally unsecured, they are also beneficial for those wishing to buy a used car, without having to use the value of the car as collateral against the loan. The trade off for this flexibility is generally a higher interest rate.
Car Dealer Finance
For the sake of convenience, many people take out a loan directly with the dealership where they’ve purchased the new or second hand car. Often however, it may not be the best deal, and could include additional fees such as loan insurance for the dealer, as well as other fees and commissions. It’s always a good idea to explore your options.
Credit Card and Home Loan Redraw
While it might seem impulsive, buying a car on a credit card may not be as bad as it sounds. If you’ve got a credit card with a favourable interest rate, i.e. less than 13 per cent per annum, and plenty of available credit, buying a car with your credit card may be both convenient and practical. It can make sense especially if you only need to borrow a certain amount, which may be lower than a lender’s minimum.
Another way to finance a new car could be with your home loan’s redraw facility (usually only available on variable loans.) As long as there is enough equity in the home, the benefits of this option include a much lower interest rate than a personal loan.
Have you taken out finance for a new or used car? What option did you go with? Share your experiences below!
With ocean levels rising and weather patterns shifting all over the world, the environment has never been more important to the next generation. As a family, it can be helpful to discuss the issues and lead by example and you’ll find a handy guide to global warming for kids at Persil.
Another helpful tip is to use games and creative ideas to help explain this topic to youngsters. Here are some simple ideas you can try at home.
When you’re trying to teach complex concepts like global warming for kids, it helps to start with your local environment or a smaller space that they can understand. Games like being blindfolded and guessing what a leaf or flower is by smell alone teach an awareness and appreciation of the environment. Kids will also love getting to stay up later than usual to go for a night walk around your local park. You’ll be amazed at the different animals you can see and hear!
A simple way to carry on learning about the environment while indoors is to collect items to draw, sculpt or make into a collage during a nature walk. Another creative idea is to raid the recycling box the day before collection and see what creations they can make with ‘junk’. As they’re creating, draw attention to where each item came from – was it originally food packaging, a newspaper or junk mail? At the end of the project, you might both find yourselves shocked by the amount of packaging used for every item, and be thinking of ways to reduce waste.
This is an easy way to get kids discussing environmental issues with one another. A simple way to learn about resources with a group is to fill a bowl with sweets and pass it round, telling them to take as many as they like. The last to get to the bowl are likely to have far fewer sweets. Ask how they feel about this, leading to a discussion about the unequal distribution of resources. There are also plenty of online options available that can challenge older kids, teaching everything from climate change to all about the air quality index.
Let Them Discover
Once you’ve fostered an interest in the environment, kids can try self-directed play and pursue their own particular interests. You might want to suggest a project to complete, like a book identifying types of tree. Fun books like The Little Boy with His Head in the Clouds can also cover the topic of global warming for kids in an accessible way. After reading, ask them what they thought and whether they want to do some more research or come up with a creative response to what they’ve read. As well as learning about global warming, they’ll also be learning simple analysis skills.
This is connected to kids’ own research and involves designing a product that solves a particular environmental issue they’re concerned with. They can sketch out their designs, making them as imaginative as possible, and even create miniature models of what their idea would look like. Kids might also enjoy creating an advert, video or article explaining their product. It’ll tech them to think of positive solutions to future problems and even equip them with some basic skills which will stand them in good stead at school.
People exist at every end of the spectrum. There are those of us who are forever laughing, giggling, and happy, and there are those of us who are terminally grumpy. But most people sit somewhere in between on the spectrum and that is the healthiest place to be. If you are normally a happy, go-lucky, sort of person or even just one who has the normal ups and downs but suddenly find yourself feeling irritable all the time there may be a few factors that are affecting you.
You’re not getting enough sleep
There are a few theories on sleep. The first one says that you need “X” amount of hours per night, usually between 6.5 and 8. Although there are opponents to this theory who think that less sleep is more energising, most do agree that your body does need quite a few hours to cycle through sleep patterns, download the day, and refresh your body. The actual number of hours are where there is disagreement, but we most often hear somewhere around 7.5 on average.
Another theory is that, once you’ve established how many hours your particular body needs to sleep it is the “quality” of those hours. And, to get quality, you need to sleep and wake at the same times each day. In this way your body gets a into a rhythm and it knows when to prepare for sleep and when to prepare for action. You’ll have to experiment with both of these theories to find out what is optimum for you, however, if you are only clocking 4-5 hours per night, you’ll definitely need to do some work. Try to improve your sleep by investing in some new pillows and a top quality mattress.
You’re not getting enough “me” time
It seems logical that going down to the pub with friends a few times per week should cheer you up. And who doesn’t like getting down to a club on Friday nights every now and then? But for an introvert, too much socialising can be debilitating. Many believe that an extrovert is outgoing and introvert is shy, but the truth is that it is less about socialising and more about how you recover. When an extrovert is tired, such as after a long week’s work, he or she gets revived by going out with mates. But, for an introvert in the same situation, it is staying in and having “me” time that is replenishing. It doesn’t mean the introvert stays in all the time. Introverts can be very social people! However, they do need to build that alone time into their week in order to feel rested and relaxed.
You’re bottling up your feelings
While there are many social rules about keeping certain emotions under wraps, especially in public, the fact of the matter is you need to have some sort of outlet for these bottled up emotions or you will end up feeling very irritable. In countries such as the the U.K., they tend to pride ourselves on keeping the public and private sphere separate. It is when you can not let your hair down in private that things can go awry. If you do not have a significant other or friend that you can show your true self to, you may be what’s known as “emotionally unavailable”. And it’s not just about crying, but about being able to be transparent in all your feelings. You need a psychologically safe environment in which to reveal your true self. So, for example, if you are in a relationship where you don’t feel you can tell your partner what is bothering you, think about the reasons for that. Often it stems from feeling criticised as a child or in a previous relationship. It is important to look into this in order to lead a more fulfilling life.
You’re not prioritising effectively
You’re feeling irritable and three things are happening; your toddler is having a meltdown, you’ve been working from home and have a deadline, and you haven’t exercised in weeks. How are you going to prioritise? Logic might tell us we need to push hard to get our deadline met or pick up the child first but this is where we need to stop and think. On an aeroplane, they always tell you to place the oxygen mask over your head before helping others and that’s great advice for life. If you are not healthy, you can not help others and you certainly can’t be productive in a work environment. Any parent will tell you that a meltdown can not be stopped until a toddler runs through it. While you are waiting, do some deep breathing and find your shoes. When all is calm, place the toddler in his pushchair or simply get his shoes on if he’s a walker and get yourselves out into the fresh air for half an hour. Thirty minutes are not going to make a difference to your deadline and your head will be clearer for work when you return. Plus, presto, calm and happy child who will sit and play while you work. If you are irritable, find some ways to prioritise yourself and you’ll feel better instantly.
You’re not going with the flow
Are you the proverbial “control freak”? Seriously, life is for fun. If you find it too difficult to enjoy yourself because you want everything to be perfect, maybe you need to learn to relax a little. Go for a run to push down and calm those nerves, let your friends choose the restaurant for once (and enjoy it once you get there), or even buy some work clothes that do not need ironing. Just do something each day to push yourself to let go of perfection a little.
So, if your friends seem to be suddenly keeping a distance and are always “just a bit busy this week” when you ask to meet up, perhaps it’s time to look into a few of these issues. Doing so will not only help your social life, but it will also contribute to the maintenance of your mental health so that you can enjoy life to the full.
Image by Steve Webel via Flickr
Visiting China is just the same as visiting any other country when you decide to go on holiday. If you want to experience everything that the country has to offer, then you need to step outside of your comfort zone and immerse yourself fully in the country. It is not that hard to do and it just may show you a side of this wondrous country that the average tourist does not get to see.
Learn Some of the Lingo
One of the biggest problems when visiting a foreign country is communication. Generally, as English speakers we almost expect everyone to be able to speak our mother tongue, which in reality is not the case. Learn about Chinese history and dynasties as well as the language as it will help you out a lot when you visit China. It also allows you to venture further than the normal tourist hangouts. You do not have to be fluent, and there are many phrasebooks available on the market. You can even get pocket translators or applications for Tablet PC’s and Smart Phones.
Stay Further Away from the Tourist Areas
By staying away from the main tourist areas you will not only see a different side of the town or city that you are staying in, but you may just find that you also save money in the process. The further away from the tourists areas that you go, the less English will be spoken, so it will be the perfect excuse to start practicing your language skills. One thing to remember when trying to speak to the locals is that if you say things wrong, they may not understand you and laugh. Make sure that you do not let this put you off trying to communicate, as they are not rude when they laugh at you, remember you are not in Kansas now Dorothy, this is a different culture!
Find Out Where the Locals Go
By practicing speaking the language, you may just end up running into someone that can communicate with you. There are plenty of people interested in practicing their English skills, as well as teach their mother tongue, but China is a huge country, so you just need to keep looking. If you do find someone who communicates with you, then you can ask them the good places to go that have no tourists and only locals. You may end up seeing some weird and wonderful things on the menu, but if you have come all of this way it has certainly got to be worth trying, no? Whatever you end up eating for your main course, you will also no doubt save yourself a lot of money, with the savings from being away from the tourists.
Use the Local Transport
Another way to immerse yourself fully into the local culture when you are on China tours and holidays 2016 from thechinatravelcompany.co.uk is to use the local public transport to get your way around. Again, you will not only save a lot of money doing this, but you get to see a side of life in China that you do not get to see in your fancy hotels, restaurants and air-conditioned taxis. You can still get a taxi some of the time, but trying the local buses and trains is not only an experience but it will help you to get your bearings much quicker.
If you try to meet the locals and speak to them in their language during your trip to China, the chances are you are going to make some good friends along the way. You may also ignite a passion within you for this magnificent country, which sees you coming back to visit friends, and learn more of the language and culture!
Your washer and dryer are two of the most important appliances in your home. They’re what keep your sheets clean, your towels warm and fuzzy, and your clothes fragrant for the right reasons. You’ll want to do everything in your power to keep you laundry units running optimally. Here’s a guide on how to get the best out of your laundry machines.
Check the Labels
Image via Flickr by roundedbygravity
All the clothes you purchase come with inner tags that offer information about the material used. The manufacturers of these items suggest the best ways to launder the products they create. Foolishly, many people ignore those tags and instead fall into bad habits. Laundry is not a one-size-fits-all task. Pay careful attention to these instructions.
Take note of the labels for your most expensive items in particular. If something says delicate, it’s easy to separate the item into a separate load. The minimal cost of extra laundry detergent is an expense you get back in the end by increasing the lifespan of your washer and dryer. If something says dry-clean only, you can still hand-wash it, but such materials should never go in laundry appliances. They could liquefy, leaving permanent gunk in both machines.
Maximize Your Equipment
When you buy your appliances, do some research to discover which ones are the most energy-efficient. The government places such importance on this issue that they award the Energy Star to washers and dryers that consume the least amount of water and energy per cycle. You can save up to 64 percent less water and 75 percent less energy per cycle with Energy Star You’ll also save a modest amount on your utilities each month. Over the life of the machines, the amount of money you save might match your initial investment in the products.
One other way to lessen the amount of energy you use is to run multiple loads consecutively. Some people do the opposite, allowing the dryer to cool down between cycles. However, consecutive cycles allow your laundry to dry faster because the appliance maintains heat as long as it’s in operation. The second and subsequent loads will conserve energy since the dryer is already at the correct temperature. This strategy also reduces wear and tear on your dryer because it produces less heat.
Use the Right Products
Consumers have a tendency to choose a brand of laundry detergent and fabric softener and stick with them for a long time. Amusingly, there’s little difference between a brand name and a brand. In fact, analysts from Consumer Reports note that while Tide is a perennially strong detergent in their rankings, other brands with less consumer awareness provide much better bang for the buck. More effective products increase the lifespan of your clothing and linens.
You want to find a laundry detergent that works well but isn’t wildly overpriced like Tide. You should consider the wide variety of products from Amway as a viable alternative. These products are cost-effective, but they score well when compared against more expensive alternatives.
Smaller Loads Are Better
Human instinct drives you to try to wash as many clothes as possible in a single load. A person living alone can take care of all their laundry needs in as few as three loads: colors, whites, and towels. Don’t let the convenience of this tempt you, though. Your washing machine contains a lot of moving parts, and there’s a reason one of its settings is spin cycle. Once you shut the lid and start the machine, it spins the clothes in a way that mixes the water and laundry detergent to wash your clothes.
When you fill the loads too full, you make the laundry machine work harder. This situation is why your laundry occasionally gets twisted or stuck. Towels, blue jeans, and underwear, in particular, are susceptible to this. All you have to do to avoid it is run smaller loads of laundry. The machine will run safer and longer.
Keeping your washer and dryer running a long time isn’t that hard. Simply learn from the guide above and place a bit more thought into each laundry load.
When the holidays roll around each year, it can put some strain on families who don’t have a lot of extra money. Between shopping for gifts, buying expensive decorations, and trying to entertain friends and family members, the costs can really add up. Take away the stress and enjoy the holiday season with a few money-saving tips.
Image via Flickr by soapylovedeb
Make a deal with loved ones this year that you will only give handmade gifts. This can save a lot of money and allow you to showcase your creative skills. Even if you don’t consider yourself too crafty, there are fun gifts you can make that are simple and won’t require too many supplies. Some of the favorites are homemade bath products, such as sugar scrubs, bath salts, and lip balm, or tasty treats to enjoy. Younger kids can join in on the fun by drawing pictures for family members or designing personalized holiday cards.
Before you start shopping for gifts, be sure to set a budget and stick to it. One of the best ways to get deals on presents is to shop throughout the year instead of waiting for December. Stores offer better pricing on winter clothing and accessories during the off-season, so you can stock up on coats and other apparel to give when the cold weather hits. Just after Christmas, you can buy cards, wrapping paper, decorations, and other items for the next year at clearance prices. Find deals on lights for indoor and outdoor decorating at Christmas Lights Etc.
Take Advantage of Free Activities
Get in the holiday spirit by spending time together as a family and participating in local activities within your community. You could bundle up and walk through the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights and decorations, or host a cookie exchange with friends and family members. Check with local churches and community centers in your area to find out if they host any other holiday activities, since these are typically free to people who live within the community.
Visit the Library
If you and your kids love reading holiday stories during the season, you can check out books for free at your local library. Read them aloud together each night before bed to get excited for the big day.
During the holiday season, it’s easy to get caught up in the things you don’t have. One of the best ways to combat this is to volunteer in your community. Save up spare change and extra money throughout the year so you can give holiday gifts to a needy family in your area, or collect extra clothing items from neighbors and offer them to a local homeless shelter. Your kids can part with toys they don’t play with any more. You can also volunteer in person at shelters by helping to prepare and serve meals, organize donations, and do any other tasks needed.
Families can still make wonderful memories and have fun together during the holidays without dipping into the emergency savings account.