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  1. Whether you’ve just moved into a home, are looking to sell and maximise profit or are settled and wish to improve your living space for yourself, there are lots of ways to make home improvements that will increase the value of your home.

    If you’re making the investment in order to turn a profit in the short term, then it’s wise to check the value of your home with a local estate agent and ask them what value your proposed improvement will bring.  Some streets have a ceiling price and houses will not sell for more than this, no matter how many improvements you make.  It’s worth checking out the figures before committing to the build.

    Of course one or two improvements should absolutely add some value to your existing home; particularly if it’s not been improved greatly before now.  We are currently looking to extend the rear of our property to create a large kitchen family area and potentially have a loft conversion to give a double bedroom with ensuite.  Not only should both these options increase the value of our property for a future sale, but they’ll greatly improve our living space and the layout of our busy family household.

    Here are some of the best ways to increase the value of your home:

    The best ways to increase the value of your home property

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    Landscaping

    A well-kept garden can increase the value of a home by £2000, so just imagine how much a professionally designed landscaped garden could add.  Many home buyers look for a great sized garden and if there’s nothing  they need to spend on doing it up themselves, then that could be the persuading point of them putting in an offer on your property compared to one with overgrown grass, brambles and weeds.  If you’re not very green fingered then consider hiring a specialised company such as landscaping Mississauga to transform your outdoor space for you.

    Extension

    Adding an extension can add around 11 percent to the value of your home and start at around £20000 for a single storey.  We are currently in the process of getting quotes for a single storey extension to add a kitchen and family area to the rear of our home which will extend our current living diner in to a larger open plan space.  Not only should this project add value, but it means we can covert our old small kitchen into a downstairs toilet and utility room increasing our properties appeal even more.

    Attic Conversion

    Spending £20,000 on a loft conversion can add £40,000 to the value of your home.  It’s a great way to use otherwise wasted space and adds an extra room or even bedroom to your property.  We are hoping to convert our attic into a bedroom with ensuite to increase the size of our property and give us an extra private bathroom away from the kids!

    Garage Conversion

    Converting a garage to create more living space within the home can potentially add 15% to the value.  It’s a particularly good idea if you already have parking space outside, especially a driveway.  A garage conversion can create a dining room, extra bedroom, office space or playroom.  We currently use two thirds of our garage conversion as a playroom and the other third is my office.  I’d love to turn it into a self-contained bedsit one day that can provide us with rental income.

    The best ways to increase the value of your home

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    New Kitchen

    Modernising a kitchen is a sure fire way to bring a higher valuation price.  See what you can salvage to make the job less costly if budget is an issue.  For example, we were able to keep the kitchen units in our kitchen remodel and replaced the floor, sink, tiles and worktops to totally transform our kitchen into something new.  Friends and family were amazed the cupboards were the same as our changes made it look like a new kitchen overall.  A brand new kitchen could add 6 percent in value.

    Add a Conservatory

    A conservatory could add an extra 7% to the value of your home.  It’s a great way to link the house to the garden and to enjoy a beautiful garden whatever the weather.  It should match the style of the home to not look tacky and feel like a proper extension of the living space, rather than a separate building.

    New Bathroom

    Updating a dated bathroom is one of the best ways to add value to your home.  The less work a prospective buyer sees they need to do themselves, the more appealing the property.  Your bathroom may not even need totally replacing.  If the units themselves are in good nick, then consider simply changing the flooring and lighting to give a fresh updated feel.  If the tiles and vanity unit have a lot to be desired for, then perhaps it’s time to call in some expert bathroom fitters.

    Extra Bathroom

    An extra bathroom can increase value by up to 5 percent.  One of our biggest regrets was not purchasing a property with more than one bathroom and we long for an ensuite and downstairs WC.  We’re now looking into the possibility of adding both to our property and should we ever move again, it will be on our list of must-haves.

    If you’re looking to add more value to your property then there are plenty of ways you can invest your money wisely to guarantee a return.  Just talk to a local estate agent who has the knowledge to tell you which improvements will give you the best return for your money in your area.

    What to read next
    Get 100% renewable energy with Bulb and save lots of money (over £250)
    5 great reasons to get an attic conversion
    Features my dream home would have
    Eco-Friendly Design Ideas for Your Garden this Summer
    How to create the perfect outdoor patio seating area
    Space saving furniture ideas for a small bedroom

    The best ways to increase the value of your home

    Sources
    https://www.housebeautiful.com/uk/garden/news/a1822/well-kept-garden-increase-value-home/
    https://www.propertypriceadvice.co.uk/home-improvements/ten-of-the-best-ways-to-add-value-to-your-home
    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/property/online-estate-agent/home-improvements-that-add-value/

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  2. Welcome to my latest Lylia Rose scarf giveaway!

    If you love printed scarves, do pop over to my online fashion accessories boutique for a good browse where you'll find over 60 different designs in stock, perfect all year round indoors and out!

    They are just £8 each and 2nd class UK delivery is free.  They are just perfect as gifts for her. 

    Win this scarf in my blog giveaway:

    blog giveaway win a grey anchor print summer scarf

    More about the scarf

    These beautiful scarves could also be used as sarongs, head scarves or even as breast feeding covers!  These scarves have so many other uses too. Pop over and read Five Other Ways to Use Your Fashion Scarf for inspiration!

    Important information:

    - Approximate size of scarf 180cm by 100cm

    - Soft printed poly fabric

    - Hand wash only

    - The scarves are protected in waterproof poly packaging.

    - Dispatched in 100% bio-degradable environmentally friendly mailing bags.  

    - To keep waste to a minimum invoices and unnecessary packaging will not be added to your order.

    Don’t bin it!

    I really hope you’ll love your new scarf for years to come, but if you ever get bored of it, please don’t throw it away.  Landfills are too full of things that can be reused, reworn and recycled.  For inspiration on what to do with your worn out or unwanted clothes and textiles, please read my blog post: 13 ways to get rid of unwanted clothes (without binning them)

    Enter here:

    If you enter this giveaway you consent to be signed up to my newsletter to receive new blog posts, giveaways and shop news.  Subscribers are entered into a monthly draw to win a scarf from my online scarf boutique.  You can unsubscribe at any time, but only active subscribers will be entered into the monthly scarf giveaway.

    The full terms and conditions are below, but simply enter using one or more of the entry methods in the Rafflecopter widget below and remember, if you win your delivery address must be in the UK.

    Check out my Giveaways section for more amazing prizes!

    Suggestions of blog posts to read for one of the blog entry options:
    The top 3 ways I made money from home in 2017
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    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Please pin me:

    Blog Giveaway_ Win a Grey Anchor Summer Scarf

    Term and Conditions:

    • There will be one winner
    • The prize is the item pictured above
    • The prize must be claimed within 28 days of the first winner's notification email being sent.
    • There is no cash alternative
    • There is no limit on the number of entries per person, follow the instructions to enable multiple entries
    • Winners will be notified within 28 days
    • The winner must claim their prize within 28 days or it will be forfeited
    • All entries must be received by the date and time specified
    • The winner will be picked at random by Rafflecopter & notified by email
    • Giveaways are open to the UK only
    • The winner's name and county is available upon request
    • Entrants will be signed up to the Lylia Rose newsletter to receive blog posts and giveaways.  Subscribers are entered into a monthly prize draw to win a scarf of choice from my online fashion boutique -  You can unsubscribe at any time, but this will stop your entry into the newsletter giveaway.

     

     

  3. Keeping your business secure needn’t involve a complex series of alarms and protocols. Here are a few easy ways to secure your company.

    Securing Your Business Needn’t Be Complicated

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    Use effective passwords

    A strong password is still one of the most effective forms of security. Many traditional hackers still use password logins as the main point of entry – by having a strong password you’ll deter most cyber criminals. You don’t have to use complex arrangements of numbers and upper/lower case letters – growing research is finding that actual words can sometimes be just as secure, so long as they’re completely unrelated to your business. Throw people off course with fake security question answers and completely arbitrary usernames - the more random, the better. Regularly changing these passwords will make them all the more secure.

    Get on the cloud

    If you get burgled or hacked, it’s useful to have all your information backed up on the cloud. Storing data on the cloud is extremely secure – cloud servers have some of the most high-tech digital security available. Cloud technology also has many other benefits, allowing you to access data from any device and location as well as allowing multiple people to access the same file at once. You can shop around to find the most secure and best suited cloud provider for you.

    Use contactless access

    When it comes to letting authorised personnel into your company premises, some businesses use a digit code whilst others may have someone employed to monitor the entrance. This can all get very complicated – a much more convenient form of access could be to use a contactless card system or phone scan system. You can buy NFC tags which can be used to scan on entry and you can set up cards or an app to use in conjunction with this. No more complicated coded locks or manned entrance security systems.

    Invest in motion sensing lighting

    A simple deterrent for prevent burglaries at night could be to install motion sensing lighting on the outside of your business premises. Motion sensing lighting immediately makes it more challenging to break in undetected. By opting for motion sensing lighting as opposed to permanent lighting, you’ll save costs in energy. There are now even motion sensing light/security cameras on the market that only start filming when motion is detected to similarly save power.

    Use a security contractor

    If the nature of your company means that security is paramount, you could always hire a security contractor to handle all of this security for you. This could involve CCTV surveillance, background checks on new employees and even digital security monitoring. With all of this being outsourced, you can relax and focus on other business tasks rather than having to dedicate large periods of your week to security protocols. You should shop around for contractor that you trust and that meets your budget.

     

    More great business, blog and marketing posts:
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    Securing Your Business Needn’t Be Complicated

     

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  4. Egg donation is a highly successful infertility treatment, especially in infertility cases like diminished ovarian reserve or advanced maternal age. However, only a small percentage of patients can benefit from free treatment funded by the NHS. The vast majority of patients have to resort to treatment offered by private clinics. These can be very expensive especially in the UK, USA and Australia. Generally it is considered that egg donation treatment is more affordable in Europe (Spain, Poland, Greece, Ukraine, etc.). Many British patients decide to travel to Europe to undergo an egg donation cycle in one of the affordable clinics there. Egg donors and IVF treatment is cheaper in European clinics though still it can drain your family budget.

    Here is a bunch of ways to save money for your egg donation program. The sooner you start saving money, the sooner you will be able to start the egg donation cycle and become a mother. Do not let your finances stand in your way to your dreamed motherhood. These saving tips will help you when it is time to pay for your egg donation program at your chosen clinic.

    5 Ways to Save Money for Egg Donation Treatment

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    1. Do not spend more than you earn. This is the most important rule of saving. Forget about your credit cards. It is estimated that consumers who use plastic to pay for their food spend 30% more on average than customers who pay in cash. Every week withdraw enough cash to spend during the week. Try to avoid using your debit card for small shop purchases. It is easier to keep track of your cash than ‘plastic money.’
    2. Concentrate on your basic needs, not wants. Prioritise. Certainly, bills, food and home utilities belong to your needs, but think twice if you really need another pair of shoes or a new watch? Stay focused on your long-term goal of saving for your egg donation treatment and medicine.
    3. Cut down on eating out and travelling.  Buying ready meals, lunches or even coffee to go can cost you up to £600 every six months. That is £100 extra that you could save each month. Take your own coffee to go, bring your own lunch to work and learn to cook and prepare meals in advance so your fridge is always full and you will not be tempted to order take away a few nights a week. What is more, if you are planning to have egg donation program at one of the European clinics, you can combine your annual holidays with a initial consultation with a doctor in a clinic in Spain, Greece or any other destination. This way you will kill two birds with one stone.
    4. Save money on your utility bills. Find out if you can switch to a cheaper electricity provider or a mobile phone provider. Consider quitting your Netflix or Spotify accounts for a few months until you save enough for your treatment. 
    5. Go teetotal. Avoiding alcohol will not only help you save money but it will be highly beneficial for your health. Being teetotal increases your chances of getting pregnant during the egg donation cycle and having a healthy pregnancy. Iced tea, ice coffee or juice? Pick your favourite drink. Your body will thank you later. 

    These tips should help you save some money which you can use towards your medical bills and donor egg fees. Before you choose a clinic, remember to shop around, compare donor egg programs, and do extensive research, so you can choose a fairly cheap egg donor program tailored to your needs and budget. Good luck! 

    5 Ways to Save Money for Egg Donation Treatment

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  5. On our recent holiday to Fuerteventura we decided to do a couple of day trips to break the week up, explore more of the island and of course, have an adventure!  Bella and Reuben were ages five and three, so this limited us quite a lot to the trips we could do.  Most of the excursions are more suited to adults only or older children; however there were two that were very young family friendly, so we booked both.  One trip was to the animal park, which I’ll review in its own blog post soon, but the other was for a pirate cruise! In this blog post I will review the Pirate Tour in Morro Jable, close to Jandia, in Fuerteventura.  So if you’re looking for things to do with kids in the south of Fuerteventura, read on.

    Review Pirate Tour aboard the Pedra Sartaña in Morro Jable Fuerteventura fa

    We arranged the tour through our holiday tour guide, TUI, at the welcome meeting.  I had been emailed for several months before our arrival with excursion details and it was possible to book in advance, but we wanted to confirm exactly what was suitable for the little ones, particularly Reuben who had only just turned three.  She highly recommended the pirate ship and it sounded perfect for the kids.

    I’m pleased to say, it really was!  The kids and even the adults had a great time.  One of my most enjoyable activities on holiday is to have a boat ride to sea.  I love looking back at the island and the landscape, plus there’s a huge sense of freedom being out on a boat.

    Related read: Is Fuerteventura a family friendly holiday destination?

    bella Review Pirate Tour aboard the Pedra Sartaña in Morro Jable Fuertevent

    The entire trip was around 5 hours from 10.30am to 3.30pm.  So it’s a good half a day.  We were provided with lunch too and soft drinks and water were included.  There was alcohol for sale if wanted.  We enjoyed potatoes and salad, but for the meat eaters there was a chicken BBQ.  The potatoes were really delicious!

    The ship was amazing.  There’s something so magnificent about pirate ships.  I love all the ropes and sails.  They got some of the adults to help pull the sails up which was fun to watch.  Then it felt like a real pirate ship sailing out to sea!

    The main entertainer was brilliant.  He spoke English, French and German, so said everything in all three languages and then pretended to wipe the sweat from his brow comically exclaiming ‘phew’ each time!  He totally made the excursion so brilliant.  He entertained the children by playing a couple of games which ended up involving the adults and was quite amusing!  I won’t spoil what happens in case you ever go!

    Review Pirate Tour aboard the Pedra Sartaña in Morro Jable Fuerteventura De

    The seas surrounding Fuerteventura have lots of dolphins and whales and we were lucky enough to spot some dolphins!  One came right to the side of the boat and poked its head up.  It was an amazing moment which luckily Bella and I got to experience.  Unfortunately Ben and Reuben were below deck so they missed it.  The captain was great and every time he spotted dolphins in the distance, he headed that way and slowed down so we could all spot them too.

    After dolphin spotting, games and lunch, they anchored the boat and gave everyone a chance to swim.  The ship had a kind of trapeze swing to the side so the adults were allowed to swing into the sea.  It looked so much fun.  We hadn’t planned to swim, so didn’t go in the sea, but everyone who did looked like they had a blast.  If you didn’t want to swim or sunbathe on deck, then you could also fish off the front of the boat.  There was plenty to do for everyone, but personally I was just content being out at sea in the warm sunshine looking out for dolphins!

    Review Pirate Tour aboard the Pedra Sartaña in Morro Jable Fuerteventura

    I’d highly recommend this trip for any age.  There were a lot of families on board, as it is pirate themed with activities aimed at children, but there were some adults by themselves too.  I’d have had a great time even without the kids as the boat trip itself was great.  It’s a perfect way to catch some rays other than laying by a pool!  The kids loved it and I’m still so happy we saw dolphins in the water, in their natural habitat.  There’s nothing more amazing than that.

    To see some great photos of the boat and find out more, simply visit their website here: http://www.excursiones-barco-fuerteventura.com/index_english.html

    Family Travel Review_ Pirate Tour aboard the Pedra Sartaña in Morro Jable,

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