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Category: Home & Garden

  1. Easy Ways to Boost Your Energy Efficiency

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    Do you want to make your home cheaper to run? Maybe you just want to be more energy efficient and friendlier towards the planet. Either way, there are things that you can do to make this happen and you’d be surprised at how easy it is for you to get a great result out of these small changes.

    Insulate your Loft

    If you have an attic then you really do need to get this insulated. Heat rises, and if your loft is not insulated then all of this will escape from the room and this can cause you real problems in the future. A lot of people are concerned because they believe that if they pay out for loft insulation, that this will cost them dearly and that they won’t be able to make this money back. This is not the case at all, and it can easily pay for itself in a couple of years.

    https://www.pexels.com/photo/apartment-architecture-blue-sky-building-358636/

    Upgrade your Boiler 

    Energy efficient boilers can make a huge difference to your energy bills. If you are ready for an upgrade then it really does make sense to invest in one that is energy efficient. You can also greatly reduce the carbon emissions that your home has as well, as boilers tend to count for nearly 60% of your carbon emissions. One good way for you to know if your boiler is energy efficient or not would be for you to look at the rating that it has. This is usually a sticker on the side of the boiler, and this will let you know what grade it is. The higher your grade, the more energy efficient your boiler is.

    Thick Curtains

    Sometimes, simple solutions are the best ones. If you are able to hang thicker curtains over your windows then this can stop heat from escaping and it can also help your home to feel way more snug as well. This is especially the case when winter comes along, as it can trap the heat in and it can also save you from putting the heating on as well. After all, the windows that you have in your home will be the main source of your heat loss and if you don’t get this sorted out then you may be wasting your energy conservation efforts. If you only have single glazing then upgrading this could be really helpful, and you’d be surprised at how easy this can be to get done.

    Automate

    Home automation systems are a fantastic way for you to save money. It doesn’t matter whether you want to invest in a multi room audio system or even smart lightbulbs, because they can really help you to cut down on your bills. The main reason for this is because they can stop you from wasting energy when you are not in the room. You can even set it to be on a schedule as well, as this is a fantastic way for you to really get the best result out of your lifestyle and your energy efficiency.

     

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    Easy Ways to Boost Your Energy Efficiency

  2. 8 Ways to save money on household appliances

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    We all rely and depend on so many household appliances nowadays that allow us to get on with our daily lives with ease.  But every now and then one of them will begin to fault or unexpectedly break on us.  Hopefully we’ve all been sensible enough to save an emergency fund to cover such situations, but even so or if budget is tight, there are several ways we can save money on household appliances:

    8 Ways to save money on household appliances

     

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    Buy quality in the first instance

    OK so not great advice if an appliance has just broke, but worth considering for your new purchase.  Quality often pays, so make sure you are buying a high quality appliance in the first place that will last longer and perform well.  It’s also highly recommended to buy an appliance with a good energy rating such as A or above as this will also save you money on your household bills.

    Wait for the sales

    If it’s not totally broken yet and you can hold out a little longer, then wait for the end of season or end of line sales.  This is where you’re going to find the best bargains, particularly if lines are discontinued and new ranges are coming into the stores.

    Check for imperfections

    If you’re buying in store then check for imperfections.  We managed to negotiate a substantial discount off a washing machine once as it had a few dents and scratches from being on display in the store for so long.  If you can find a mark or scratch then don’t be afraid to ask for a discount as the goods aren’t in perfect condition. 

    Try a deal hunting community

    There are now websites such as Latest Deals where people like you and I can share the best deals we have found online.  These can be items in the sales or a voucher code.  Check out their Dyson V6 deals page where you can save over 50% on a new Dyson vacuum thanks to people sharing the bargains they have already found!

    Buy second hand

    Check out Facebook Marketplace and eBay to see if you can find a second hand item.  Often people are simply redecorating and changing a colour scheme so you can grab used kitchen appliances, for example, that work just fine.

    Use Cashback sites

    Never underestimate the power of cashback sites.  Not only can they offer cashback of a certain percentage of your order for most well-known retailers, but they often have their own exclusive discount codes too.  Sometimes you can hit a double whammy and get a discount and cashback in one swoop!

    Search voucher sites

    If the above isn’t finding what you need, then search online voucher sites to see if you can find a general code for the retailer you need.  There are also handy shopping browser extensions that can do this job for you so you don’t even have to search.  They simply tell you if there’s a voucher code for the site you are already on, saving you the hassle of searching.

    Find a B-Grade store

    Search your local area for a B-Grade appliance store.  These stores sell ex-display item, appliances with marks or returns.  They should be in perfect working order, but they’ll be a fraction of the original cost.

    With a little savvy shopping we can all find a bargain and a way to save extra money when replacing household appliances.

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    8 Ways to save money on household appliances

  3. Important things to consider when choosing a pet for your family

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    Kids love pets.  Just look through their bedrooms and I’m sure you’ll find stuffed animal toys, farmyard books and movies with lovable animal characters.  Choosing to add a pet to your family has so many benefits for your children such as teaching them empathy, responsibility, to be caring and look after others as well as so much more.

    However, taking on a pet is a big responsibility and it’s important to choose the right pet.  Here are some things you should consider when choosing a pet for your family:

    Important things to consider when choosing a pet for your family

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    Your home

    Firstly, are you allowed a pet?  If you live in rented accommodation then you may not even be allowed a cat or dog.  It may be OK to have a caged pet such as a hamster or mouse.  If you have outdoor space then a rabbit or guinea pig may be allowed.  It’s best to check with your letting agents or landlord as you don’t want to buy a pet only to break the rules of your contract and have to either move or give it up for adoption.

    Your lifestyle

    Next think about your lifestyle.  Can you cope with pet hair everywhere, potential wear and tear to furniture or a litter box inside?  Is there someone at home to take a dog for walks in the day or let them out to go to toilet, or do you work 12 hour shifts?  Have a good think about the responsibilities and challenges of each animal before making any rash decisions.  The animal will need to fit into your life as much as you need to fit into theirs.

    Health care

    Do you have access to a nearby vet to ensure their vaccinations are up to date and for any health care issues?  It’s common for most pets to require regular treatment for worms, fleas and parasites.  Will you be able to provide this care each month and not slack?  It can be as simple as purchasing some chewable worming tablets for dogs, but you need to commit to taking care of your pets health as well as your own.

    The cost

    Health care, food, and pet insurance all comes at a cost.  Tally up exactly how much your ideal pet will cost each month to see if you can afford it.  If you are already struggling with finances then another mouth to feed probably isn’t the best idea right now.  A pet is also a financial commitment so you need to be aware of the costs and have enough disposable income to dedicate to the proper care of your pet.

    The most important thing to take home from this article is to do your research.  There are lots of tips for first time pet owners online so you can research the exact pet you’d like and see if it’s right for your family.  Never just buy an animal on a whim.  They are living breathing things and deserve to be properly cared for in the right environment.

     

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    Purrfect Pets with Victoria from Lylia Rose

    Important things to consider when choosing a pet for your family

  4. How to improve your bathroom on a budget

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    If your bathroom is feeling a little tired and dated then you may want to consider an update.  Whilst refitting an entire suite might seem costly, it doesn’t have to be.  Perhaps you can just make one or two improvements to totally freshen up the feel of the room.  If you have more cash to splash then replacing larger items can totally transform and modernise your bathroom.  If funds are tight there are still plenty of ways to start creating the bathroom of your dreams; you’ll just have to be a little more savvy.

    Here are several tips and tricks to improve your bathroom, even on a budget:

    How to improve your bathroom on a budget

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    DIY

    One of the best ways to save money is to do it yourself.  If you have a husband who is a keen DIYer then he may be more than willing to learn a few new trades and complete the work himself.  That’s exactly what my husband did when we wanted to install a new sink unit.  He watched tutorials and taught himself some basic plumbing so we didn’t have to hire a plumber.  Of course, if you have no idea how to install a grundfos shower pump or are totally refitting an entire bathroom, then you may need to call in the experts.

    Reduce the tiling

    The cost of tiles and having to pay a contractor to lay the tiles for you can really start to add up.  Instead, consider tiling a smaller area.  Ensure the areas which will get splashed are covered, but ask whether the other spaces really need so many tiles.  A lick of bathroom paint on the rest of the walls may be just fine.

    Consider an ex-display

    You can save a small fortune by buying an ex-display bathroom instead of brand new.  Many of these will have minor imperfections, but some none at all.   There are dedicated websites for selling ex-displays that can easily be found with a quick Google search.  Or checkout your local bathroom stores to see if they have any ex-displays for sale.

    Shop the sales

    Another great way to save money is to only shop items in the sale.  Many bathroom sets are so similar I’m sure you’ll be able to find something you like in a sale instead of paying full price.  Make sure you check cashback sites too as if you order online you may be able to get some of your spend back!

    Update the floor

    Vinyl flooring is actually pretty inexpensive.  We can usually replace our bathroom floor for around £25. It’s obviously not as hardwearing or beautiful as a tiled floor, but for a cheap and cheerful option that can be updated regularly, it’ll do.

    Spruce up the paint

    Sometimes all you need is a tub of paint!  Make sure you choose specific bathroom paint as this will be mould and damp resistant.  A fresh coat of paint or a new colour can really brighten up a room and make it feel as good as new.

    Invest in a bath screen

    Replace your shower curtain with a glass shower screen for a much sleeker look.  For a cheaper option, at least replace your shower curtain as soon as it starts looking a little worse for wear.  Your bathroom isn’t going to feel luxurious if you have an off colour sheet of mildew hanging within it!

    Replace the fixtures

    A simple and cheap improvement is to update your showerhead to a power shower or larger rainfall style head.  If your pressure seems low then check out these online tips to improve your shower pressure.  New tap heads can really enhance the visual aspect of the room.  Plus the best bit is these should both be easy tasks to complete by yourself.

    Freshen the grout

    One of the most unsightly things in a bathroom is black mouldy grout in-between the tiles.  Put in some elbow grease and scrub the mould away.  You may need to leave some bleach on first.  Do this regularly and your bathroom will look good as new without black mould ever building up to ruin the ambiance.

    Hopefully this will inspire you to make some impressive improvements in your bathroom without having to break the bank.

     

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    How to improve your bathroom on a budget

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  5. How To Camp In Your Own Back Garden

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    Everyone loves a bit of camping – nothing better than setting your tent up and kicking back with a campfire roaring in front of you. Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to arrange a camping trip, and some of us aren’t blessed with the ability to be able to haul a load of camping gear cross-country due to having too small a car – or no car at all!

    There is a solution to this though, simply go camping in your own back yard! You might say, “but that sounds like a rubbish idea, all I can do is put my tent up and sit there.” Well, that would be a pretty awful way to go about your back-garden camping experience wouldn’t it? I think you need to use your imagination a little more – because there are plenty of opportunities to turn your garden into the great outdoor experience you know it can be capable of!

    Here are a few of my sure-fire tips for turning your garden camping adventure from a crippling bore to a fantastic weekend for everyone involved!

    How To Camp In Your Own Back Garden

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    Shut yourself off from life

    You may be in your garden, but if you’re constantly nipping back into the house for supplies then are you really ‘camping’? Make sure you have everything you need and lock up behind you. That includes leaving the phones and tablets indoors – if we’re doing fake camping, we’re doing it the ‘real’ way!

    Set up your palace

    Getting everyone involved with the tent is the best way to get the job completed in no time. It’s important that you get a great tent, too, because there’s nothing worse than being confined to a cramped tent that gets damp at the slightest feel of rain! So for that reason, I’d recommend one of the Garden & Camping glamping tents – you really will notice the difference when you get a bit of festival luxury in your life.

    Build an awesome campfire

    We’ve all seen what a terrible campfire looks like, a few twigs of wood thrown together that burn out within the space of a few minutes… and you’re expected to cook your dinner on this? I could go into the many ways to build a great campfire – but that’s another article. I recommend you follow this guide for building the best campfire for your needs. Make sure you pick a spot that you’re not precious about though, because that fire will play havoc with the grass on your lawn!

    Push the food up to fifth gear

    So, you’ve got your fire blazing, time to get cooking! Think traditional BBQ food here (I use Dees vegan sausages) and you won’t go wrong – anything on a skewer is always great fun to cook because anyone can do it. All superb camping trips aren’t complete without roasting marshmallows on a stick, but I think we can do better than that, make some s’mores! That classic American camping treat featuring melted marshmallows squashed between two crackers… you’ll be picking bits out of your teeth for weeks but it’ll be totally worth it.  And yes, you can even get vegan marshmallows!

    There we have it four ways to turn your backyard camping experience into something you’ll be remembering for years to come.

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