Category Archives: Home

The Top 10 Scams to Watch Out for This Valentine’s Day

As with all occasions and holidays, St Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity for scammers to do their work. Here are 10 scams to watch for not just on that date, but at all times.

Identity Theft

There are so many possibilities when it comes to identity theft scams as we blithely share information online that gives away a lot about us. In fact, it’s perhaps best to say that it will happen to you in some form during your life. Just be careful what you share, and who with.


A famous and prolific scam, phishing is where unscrupulous persons try and get information out of people using social media. Those ‘questionnaires’ you see on Facebook that look like a bit of fun? Take a step back, as they are usually mining information.

Loan Scams

Persons with bad credit are a target for scammers, and if you’ve been looking for a loan – perhaps to take your other half away for a Valentine’s break – you will have seen many ‘guaranteed loans for bad credit.’ Walk away from them, as 99 out of 100 are not real lenders.

Fake Websites

Before you buy that item, you’ve been looking for at a knockdown price, remember this: if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. There are many fake websites offering all types of products, so look for the padlock icon and check the status

Credit Card Scams

That email or SMS – or even a phone call – saying there is an anomaly on your credit card is likely to be a scam. If they ask for your account details don’t give them, and certainly don’t give them your password or even a hint.

eBay Scams

eBay is a great pace to shop for bargains, and there are many new and used items for sale that are entirely genuine. However, it’s also a hotbed for scammers as it is difficult to tell the genuine sellers from the fake offers. Always check feedback and ask the seller a question about the item.

Credit Repair Scams

Credit repair companies exist that can help you with your credit rating, yet this is a market that is rife with false claims. Always research the company carefully and use one of the many searches that tell you the authority of a website.

Debt Collection Scams

You get an email about a debt that you shouldered years ago, but you don’t remember it. These can be quite frightening and intimidating, and often the temptation to pay a usually small amount is too much. Don’t, as the debt more than likely isn’t real.

Fake Products

This one goes back to the ‘if it’s too good to be true’ adage. A Rolex for $100 is never going to be a genuine Rolex. It’s a simple as that.

Fake Competitions

Finally, Facebook and social media are full of fake competitions in which you will win nothing, but give away your address, email, phone number, and probably have to set up an account with a password – a password you use elsewhere.

Be vigilant and enjoy your Valentine’s Day.

Solar System Projects For Kids

When teaching children, whether you are a teacher, home educator, or just a parent who wants to supplement your kid’s education with additional learning opportunities, it may feel as if enough is going on down here to worry about. Planet Earth is a vast and busy place planet and as it is where we all live, what happens here is of most concern to us all without adding the other planets in our solar system into the mix.

We appreciate that you may feel out of your depth talking about outer space. However, there are some huge benefits from making the effort to do just that.

Greater Understanding of Why Life on Earth is so Important

One of the biggest benefits of learning about the solar system for children, as it is for everyone, is helping to understand why life on earth is so important and needs protecting. There are currently no other planets in our solar system that can sustain life of any kind, let alone human beings. Therefore, Earth is our home. Although it is good to learn about this home, by learning facts about the other planets, stars, and bodies floating in space, your children will gain a better appreciation for why the Earth is so important.

Great For Teaching About Size and Distance

Considering facts about other planets can help children understand distance and size. Take Olympus Mons, for example. It is known as a shield volcano and not only is it the largest volcano in our solar system, but it is the largest mountain. Discussing the fact that it is 72.000-ft tall may go completely over the heads of your children. And rightly so. Just as it would if you told them that Mount Everest, earth’s biggest mountain, is 29,000-ft tall.

However, when your children know the sizes of them both and you point out that Olympus Mons is around 2 and a half times bigger than Everest, they might start to understand the difference in size.

Greater Appreciation About the Harmony in the Universe

Another important benefit of learning about the solar system is that your children will gain a better understanding and appreciation for the harmony that exists in the universe. How each planet and planetary body has a place and important role. This can help them to have greater appreciation too for the hot topic that is climate change.

Key to Understanding Life-Critical Cycles

Finally, when kids understand more about the solar system, they understand more about why things work the way they do on earth. They can also learn more about the position of different planets to Earth and how their position plays an important part in the cycles that keep the earth a habitable planet.

Although it may feel out of your comfort zone, it is incredibly beneficial for children to learn about the solar system, because even if they do feel small and insignificant compared to the large vastness of space, the planets and other bodies that make up our solar system have a hugely important role to play and keep the planet spinning and life living.

Take a look at these great solar system projects for kids.

Why You Need to Maintain these Areas of Your Home Exterior

Owning a home is something we all aspire to, but when we reach that achievement, it can be easy to be overwhelmed by the maintenance that is required. The good thing is there are professionals who can help with all areas of home and garden maintenance, although there are some jobs that could be done if you are competent at DIY.

We’ve looked at areas of the home that do need maintenance either every few years or more regularly and we’ll advise which you can do yourself and those that are best left to the experts.

Exterior Woodwork

The exterior woodwork on your home most likely takes the form of doors and windows, and other fixtures and fittings. It will also be painted with either a colour or a protective coating. The problem is that year on year of rain, wind, snow, and sun takes it out of the paint, and can damage the wood. This is a job that we suggest is best done by a professional as they will be able to fix any damage and also know the right paint or protection to use for the best results.

Roof and Gutters

One of the most common areas of damage to the interior of the house comes when you fail to maintain your roof and gutter. These work together to effectively get rid of rainwater in the most efficient way. If, however, your gutters get blocked – by leaves, other debris, even dead animals can be the cause – this will cause pools of water to rest on your roof. If left unattended to this will not drain away and will simply seep into the loft area. This is a professional job that should be done once a year at least and these people – – come highly recommended by Atlanta residents and commercial businesses.

Paved Areas

If you have paved areas – perhaps paths and a drive – you will notice them become dirty over time, and some of the paving stones may even crack. To remove the dirt is simple: you need a pressure washer or a company that washes pavings and you will see an immediate and quite amazing improvement.

To replace broken pavings may be a professional job depending on how they were originally laid and what amount of repair work is required, so we recommend you talk to a local paving expert who will be happy to give you a competitive quote.

Garden Maintenance

Finally, there is your garden to consider. Not everyone is a keen gardener and in these days of busy working lives many people don’t have the time to maintain outdoor spaces. This is a problem because you not only want your garden areas to look neat and tidy, you want them in a state where you can use them when you need to without having to tidy up first. Local gardening service providers are your answer, so talk to one now and see what they advise.

Reasons to Spring Clean You Hadn’t Thought About

With springtime in full swing, have you started cleaning your home? There are many great reasons for giving your house a good clear out and clean just before summer. The decluttering and clearing out of rubbish can allow you to make better use of the space available in your home, while also helping you to have a clearer mind. If you intend on putting your house up for sale any time soon, a good deep, spring clean can help improve the kerb appeal of your property and encourage greater interest.

These are the most common reasons for spring cleaning your home, you were probably aware of already. There are, also a number of other benefits you can get from putting the effort in to give your London property a deep clean – that revolve around pest control, explains Mickala from Best Pest Control.

Sealing Entry Points

While you spring clean and declutter your home, it makes sense to check the structural quality of the property. Checking the doors and windows in your, gives you the opportunity to identify any gaps that are ideal entry points for small pests. Sealing these gaps is generally very easy and just involves using caulk to fill in the gaps.

Eliminate Attractive Leaks

Most pests that enter your home uninvited, need to find water so they survive long enough to bug you. If there are any leaks in your home, they are likely to find them before you. Unless, as part of your spring cleaning schedule you make time to go around and inspect all the water pipes and sources for any leaks. Even if you can’t find the leak itself, you can find the effects of the leak in the form of built up moisture on the walls, ceiling, and flooring around those sources of water.

Removal of Sources of Food

If you are not in the habit of wrapping up opened food containers and packets, it may be time you started. Open food containers and boxes are like a huge jackpot for hungry pests. Ants and rodents are particularly bad for finding ingenious ways of getting to open food sources.

When you are doing spring cleaning, therefore, it is vital you deal with any opened packets, boxes, and containers. Get rid of the old and out of date stuff and use lidded containers instead or bags that can be easily clipped or sealed shut.

Removing Clutter Means Removing Hiding Places

Pests love cluttered houses, because there are lots of places for them to take up residency without being found. Insects and small rodents like mice and rats find these kinds of areas especially appealing.  When you are spring cleaning, do you take the time to go through any piles of old magazines or boxes with an assortment of items that haven’t been looked at in months?

When you do, you will not only benefit from a tidier and less chaotic household, but one that is not potentially the new home for unwanted animals.

Transform Your Home With Aluminium Bi-Fold Doors

Even when you don’t have the budget to completely remodel your living space, you can still open it up by making a few upgrades. One of the most effective ones is installing aluminium bi-fold doors. These doors are great at not only making a room feel more spacious, but also enhancing its aesthetic appeal. They brighten up a space, giving it life by increasing the amount of natural light flooding the space.

However, in order to maximize the transformative quality of these doors — in making your home look and feel spacious — there are a few things that you can do. The following are tips that will come in handy in helping you transform your home by not only making it look spacious, but also enhancing its aesthetic appeal.

Position the doors to create a wider and appealing view

Aluminium bi-fold doors are perfect for use in small rooms. This is so especially in cases where any other doors like french doors will only make them seem cluttered and confined.

If you have a small room that is facing a garden or a great view, do not squander the opportunity. Install bi-fold aluminium doors on the side that is facing the garden or the view so as to create an airy and more-spacious feel to the space. This works even in cases where the garden is small or even when your outside space is empty. Since these doors are largely made of glass, they will create the illusion of continuity that will make the space to feel more spacious than it actually is.

Create a premium high-end feel in your space

While bi-fold doors are made with different materials, not all of them create the same look or feel. In some cases, even the color of materials can create a drastic effect that can sometimes cheapen the overall look and feel of your home.

Bi-fold aluminium doors are manufactured with precise engineering. They always have a premium look, and installing them in your home can give it a boost as far as aesthetic appeal is concerned.

However, it is important to be aware of the fact that some color choices can affect how great the doors look. Generally, you can’t go wrong with anthracite grey as a color choice. However, if you choose to go with black or white-framed bi-fold doors, you should keep in mind that you run the risk of creating a UPVC-like look. Such a look might not be ideal as far as installing a good aluminium bi-fold door is concerned.

Install the doors in a corner for a dramatic look

You can also get creative when it comes to making your space look unique. A great design concept that you can take advantage of involves using bi-fold doors in a corner, in such a way that the two doors meet at a corner point. This is a dramatic effect that is bound to give your space more character. It will also make it feel more spacious. This is so especially if the corner is positioned in a place that has the potential of offering a great view.

Opt for bigger leaves and narrower frames

Aluminium bi-fold doors have a magical effect on spaces because they allow a lot of light into the space. However, these doors are not wholly made of glass. They have aluminium frames that offer the structural support necessary to make the doors sturdy and functional.

If you intend to install the doors in a small room, there is really no need to worry about the size of the leaves or the frames. However, if you are planning on installing them on a large space, it is recommended that you opt for bi-fold doors with larger leaves and which has narrower frames. In such a case, even if a narrower frame is not an option, going for a design that has fewer than four frames is recommended. This is because having too many frames can end up compromising the look of the doors by making it look cluttered. You may also end up with the frames blocking a significant portion of the light, something that will reduce the degree to which it will transform your space.

Therefore, if you are remodeling large spaces, it is always a good idea to maximize the transformative effect of these doors by using bi-fold doors with larger leaves. And if you need to learn more about how best to use these doors in your home, you can consult any of the leading suppliers of bi-fold doors.


3 Easy Tips For Acing A Mortgage Pre-Approval

If you are planning on buying a home, getting a mortgage pre-approval is recommended. This is because, with a letter of pre-approval, you will be able to know your budget as far as the type of home you will get. Getting armed with a pre-approval is also great in cases where you are competing for a home that is in high demand. This is because a pre-approval will give you an edge over other potential buyers since it demonstrates both your seriousness and ability to purchase the home.

However, before applying for a pre-approval, it is important to get your financial affairs in order. This is because the amount that the lender will pre-approve you for will depend on your financial status. Your financial status will also determine the terms of the loan, especially when it comes to the interest rate that will be applied on your loan.

Given how important the process of pre-approval is, it is imperative that you take all the necessary steps to ensure that you not only get the desired amount, but also the best terms possible. The following are tips that will come in handy in improving your odds of success.

Pay attention to your credit score

Your credit score will play the most important role when it comes to determining the amount you will be pre-approved for. It will also play a role in determining the interest you will pay since your credit score is generally an indication of how risky you are to the person providing the mortgage.

Therefore, if you have a bad credit score, make sure that you improve it before applying for a pre-approval. To do this, pay off any small outstanding debts, and start paying your bills on time. You can even apply for a review of your credit score. Do this even if your credit score is already good because improving it even by the smallest of margins will play a huge role in the pre-approval process.

Reduce your debt-to-income ratio

A debt-to-income ratio is simply an indication of the share of your income that goes to pay off debt. If this ratio is high, it usually implies that you carry more defaulting risk. This is because in such a case, you theoretically have little to no money left after taking care of your debts. This then decreases your chances of successfully paying off the mortgage.

To avoid getting pre-approved for a lower amount, or receiving a high mortgage rate, you can pay off some of your debt. If you have several credit cards, you can cancel some of them. Increasing your income will also help.

Shop around

If pre-approval success means getting the best possible terms on a mortgage and getting the highest amount possible, shopping around is a significant key to success. Not all lenders are the same, which means that they apply different methodologies in assessing risk. Furthermore, some lenders will offer you better terms if you demonstrate a willingness to walk away. Knowing you have options will also help with your negotiations, something that will definitely help to get you better terms.

Even with these tips, you may still find the process challenging. In such a case, don’t be afraid to ask the lender for help or for clarification. There are also teams of mortgage experts, like Think Plutus, who can give you all the help you need to get the best mortgage terms.


Factoring Pest Prevention into Your Weekly Clean

Pests tend to thrive when the weather is warmer. Hence, you may have a few unwanted guests in your home or garden every week. They will be rummaging around for food and water and possibly looking for some shade as well.

Common pests found in the house include ants, termites, as well the stingers such as bees and wasps. Rodents such as mice, rats, raccoons and bats can also be a problem. You can prevent them from getting too comfortable by including a few basic tasks in your weekly cleaning.

We asked Diamond Pest Control for some expert advice on the best weekly pest control options. Here are a few of the pointers they gave about your weekly cleaning and pest control.

1.    Check Your Home for Easy Access Points for Pests

Points, where utility pipes enter your house, can admit pets especially insects such as wasps and roaches. Use silicone-based caulk to close up any crevices and small cracks. Steel wool is good for stopping larger gaps. Pests are unlikely to work through the steel wool to get in.

Termites are easy to detect as they leave a trail of mud tubes behind them. If your softwood sounds hollow when you tap and the paint is cracked and bubbling, termites are the culprits. Also, ensure there is no rotting wood especially around roof shingles.

Check the landscaping as you clean the outside and ensure the grass is cut low. Shrubbery and branches should not be nudging the windows or walls. Prevent leaves and other vegetation from collecting in the gutters. That can be home to quite a few pests.

2.    Weekly Vacuuming is Essential

There some chores that you must do daily such as disposing of garbage keeping the kitchen clean. Give your house a thorough vacuum at least once every week. If you have pets, seal their food in plastic containers.

Have the pets checked regularly for fleas and other vermin. Also, ask your vet for advice on remedies for preventing ticks and fleas.

3.    Dehumidify Your Attics and Basements

Inspect under sinks for damp areas and repair all leaking pipes. Areas such as basements, attics and crawl spaces could use regular dehumidifying. Check these areas out every week as you give your home the weekly do-over.

Keeping your home clean may help to keep many of the common household pests away. However, it is important to check the hidden corners as you do your weekly cleaning. Some of the chores mentioned may not be performed daily but you can factor them in once a week.


Pests are not just annoying. They may make you ill or cause structural damage that would cost a small fortune to repair. Additionally, they can be a challenge to get rid of once they get in. The best remedy is to consult with pest professionals to eliminate the pests.

They will not only eradicate the problem but also advise you on how to keep your home pest-free. Pest professionals will also assess the extent of the problem and prescribe effective measures to solve it. Ultimately, prevention is always better than cure.



Learning Guitar Doesn’t Have to be Expensive

Many parents are obsessed with finding a natural talent in their children or teaching them a skill that becomes second nature to them.

Musical talents and gifts are easy to identify and nurture. One of the skills that children can learn from a young age, is playing the guitar.

Guitar is a beautiful musical instrument and those who learn how to play it as young children have a beautiful skill that they can show off or use to earn a living when they grow up.

Learning how to play the guitar is a long process. It requires commitment and to have all the necessary resources. It can be expensive, but it does not have to.

Here are some tips on how you can save money as you teach your kids how to play guitar.

Buy a child friendly guitar

There are many types of guitars that are available. For beginners, and especially children, it is important that you buy a child friendly guitar.

With a child friendly guitar, your child will be able to easily hold it and play it as required. To get the best guitar, it is necessary that you consult the experts and those who have proper knowledge in guitars.

Gibson Guitars is one of the leading guitar shops. Here, you can get the best guitar for your child at friendly prices.

Free online classes

With the internet, many people want to showcase their skills on the numerous available sites. There are many experts who not only showcase their skills but also teach them to their subscribers. Some charge for their time, while there are many others who will let you learn what they know for free.

You Tube, is one such platform where you can find easy to follow lessons on video on how to play the guitar. There are other online platforms and websites, dedicated to children who want to learn guitar on the cheap.

To add to that, they offer credible lessons and ensure that every student moves at their own pace from beginner to pro.

You can buy a book

Another way for your children to learn guitar cheaply is through books.

Music teachers have been known to publish books on the skills that they possess. Learning how to play the guitar from a book is easy as your child can read and reread what they did not understand until they are able to hit the particular note perfectly.

Have your child join a music club

This is another cheap way that your child can learn how to play the guitar. They can join a school music club or a neighborhood club where they can pick up the skills together with their peers from numerous teachers.

When learning with others, it will be much easier to learn quickly and become a better guitar player.


Learning the guitar is a beautiful skill. It is important for children to understand that to perfect a skill such as playing the guitar, it is important that they practice consistently for good results.

Inexpensive Ways to Add Value to Your Home

Whether you’re selling your home in the near future or you want to add a few quick fixes for your own enjoyment, you’ll want to create a budget that you can live by. If you’re like most homeowners, you don’t have the necessary financial means to completely renovate your house, so what are a few inexpensive ways that you can add an updated look to your home? The cost and financial return of each project can very, but here are a few cheap ways that you can make a noticeable difference to your home and will be sure to add value:

Spruce up the kitchen.

The kitchen has always been considered the most important room of the home. For just a few hundred dollars, you can have your kitchen cooking in no time. First of all, make sure that all of your kitchen appliances coordinate to compliment each other. If the appliances don’t match, order new face panels for them. For instance, you’ll want to convert your white microwave and dishwasher to match the other stainless steel items that are featured throughout your kitchen.

One secret that many homeowners don’t know about the face panels on dishwashers is that they are white on one side and black on the other. So if your appliances are black and your dishwasher is white, simply take a minute to unscrew the panel and flip it around and you’ve coordinated your entire kitchen.

If you have a small budget and don’t have the financial capability of changing out the cabinets, then at least change out the cabinet door handles to a modern finish like brushed nickel. A small change like this can really add a polished look to your kitchen. Also, change out the light fixtures in the kitchen space. To make the kitchen look more spacious, install lights that make it look brighter. I also highly recommend changing out the kitchen faucet set.

Change out light fixtures.

If your recessed lighting lacks character, change out your living or dining room light with a more impressive piece. Also, a nice inexpensive method of sprucing up the look to your living room is with the ceiling fan. You can replace the old blades with new ones, all the while leaving the fan body in place.

Paint the front door.

What impression do you want buyers to make of your home when they step up to the front door? To give your home a solid appearance, opt for a new cherry wood look or something similar to give an amazing finish. Replace the old flimsy handle and lock set with something substantial that lets the buyer know that security is not a question with this home.

Building a room.

Okay, this one is not as bad as it sounds. In most real estate associations across the country, a bedroom is defined as a living space that has a built in closet affixed to the room. If you have a two bedroom house, but you have an additional living space that is used as an office, call a contractor to see how hard it would be to build in a closet. Most built in closet systems will range from $1500-2000. I know that sounds expensive, but by upgrading the status of your home from a 2 bedroom to a 3 bedroom has increased your value dramatically. Before, what would’ve been a home only fit for a small family has now opened up the possibility for a larger family with two or more children.

Retool the closets.

While we’re talking about closets, if your storage space lacks organization, spend the money to make your closets, pantries, and storage space more functional. This can be accomplished with a series of do-it-yourself wiring systems and can be installed in a weekend or less. If you’re not interested in selling this will still make your home more functional but if you are selling then it will give your home a customized appearance.

Replace the flooring.

If you were to blow your budget on anything then it may be this one. If you have room in your budget, replace the laminate flooring with something more appealing such as stone or tile. It gives a more polished look, and buyers appreciate the durability of a stone or tile floor. Find a friend that specializes in carpet and flooring work and offer to pay them for the help. The materials aren’t overly expensive, but the labor is, so if you can find someone that knows how to do it then I recommend going that route.

Pave your driveway.

This is another one that’s not necessary but will add tremendous value. The outer appearance of your home is extremely important. Paving your driveway is a simple home improvement project and, believe it or not, having a new driveway will make your home appear new as well. This will eliminate all of the worn cracks and ruts in your driveway and will be pleasing to any buyer that drives by your home. This is a simple project that a homeowner could easily do themselves.