How To Give Your Home Curb Appeal

There are a lot of ways you can go about improving your home. some people like to start with the interiors and work their way through the house to the garden and beyond. Others like to start with the shell, the outside of the house and that’s where the phrase ‘curb appeal’ comes into play. You want your house to look great from the street outside.

Have you ever walked past a house and had a moment’s pause to admire the roses? How about the shutters on the windows that perfectly frame a beautifully decorated Christmas tree? That right there is your own appreciation of other people’s curb appeal. But how do you get that for yourself? If you are planning to sell your home, or at least upgrade it, you want others to appreciate your efforts and marvel at the house you’ve worked so hard on. First impressions matter and by taking a few of these amazing tips into consideration, you could make a fantastic one.


  • The front door: The first thing people see when they get to the doorbell is the front door. Peeling paint, broken letter boxes or a door covered in mud is not one that looks inviting and warm. If your home is a neutral colour on the outside, how about a blast of bright paint on the door? A bright colour makes your door stand out and look fantastic at the same time.
  • Solar lights: Installing outdoor lighting in a low-voltage makes an impact on the curb appeal of your house. By adding accent lighting to your flower bushes and trees, you’ve illuminated the gardening you’ve done and lit up the path for guests. Plus, it looks beautiful – and that’s what counts.
  • Nature: Adding a little greenery around the front porch doesn’t do any harm to the curb appeal of the house. You may have flower beds up the pathway toward the door, but some impressive large potted plants or rosebushes in pots would look beautiful too. Keep them tended to though, as dead plants don’t invite guests in!
  • Shutters: Install shutters on your downstairs and upstairs windows on the exterior of the house in a colour that compliments the walls. There is always an option to call in professionals such as to help you redo the entire house from top to bottom if you need the house to be fixed up fast.
  • Outdoor art: Fountains draw the eye from passers-by and you could give your front yard a little glitz by adding some freestanding art alongside it. The bubbling sounds from the fountain can sound soothing to those going past, enticing them to look at the house.

Curb appeal isn’t something that most think of when they want to renovate their home. They start with kitchens and living rooms to make the house look great. By starting from the outside of the house, you create the warm and inviting place you dreamed of having. Beauty comes from within; but a pretty exterior never hurt!

Ways to Make Cooking Quicker and Easier than Convenience Food


You’ve just spent 8 hours at work and another 30 minutes driving home, the last thing you want to think about is what to cook for dinner, but you’re hungry and so is your family. You have to do something. You don’t want to make microwave meals again, but takeout is expensive, so you do, again. It doesn’t have to be like this! There are lots of things you can do to make cooking a healthy meal quicker and easier than convenience food.

Make a Meal Plan

Write down every meal you would like to eat for the next seven days and the ingredients you’ll need to make them. Pick up all the vital ingredients when you’re next at the store, print a recipe off the internet and you’ll be prepared to actually make meals for a change.

Invest in a Good Set of Knives

Peeling, chopping and slicing takes a lot of time when you’re working with poorly made blunt knives.Invest in a good set of chef quality knives from Cut It Fine and you’ll see an immediate difference in your chopping abilities and the amount of time it takes. You’ll be able to chop veggies and meat in less time than it takes to cook a microwave meal and you’ll never have to resort to quick fixes again.

Cook in Bulk

If you really can’t spare 20-30 minutes to cook up something nutritious through the week, why not do a spot of batch cooking at the weekend? In just two or three hours you could cook enough soups, stews and sides to feed the whole family for the week and all you’ll have to do is heat it up.

Use a Slow Cooker

If the main reason you don’t cook much is that you’re too tired after a full day of work, invest in a slow cooker and it will transform your life. You can out the meat and veggies of your choice in the slow cooker before you head off to work and when you get home, you’ll have a nutritious hot meal waiting for you. You can’t get easier than that.

Make Oven Meals

If you hate slaving over a hot stove, don’t! Seek out recipes which can be put into one pot in the oven and left alone until their ready. There are lots of these recipes on the Good Housekeeping website, so take a look and see if there’s anything you fancy.

Use Your Leftovers

Okay, so leftovers aren’t always very appetising, but if you’re looking to make a quick and healthy meal, they’re a boon. After all, most of the work has already been done, all that remains is to heat them up and add a few extras to make your meal a bit different to last night’s and you’re good to go.

Now you know creating homemade meals doesn’t have to be a hassle, start experimenting more in the kitchen, chances are you will get to enjoy your time there and if you don’t at least you’ll have eaten well.


Space- Saving Ideas For Children’s Rooms

As the smallest members of the family kids are often stuck with the smallest bedrooms in the home. Which can be problematic when they have so much stuff! While most of us would love bigger homes that’s not always possible, however, there are ways you can work with what you have. Here are some of the ways you can maximize the space in your child’s bedroom.

Get Built In Furniture

The great thing about built-in furniture is it can be customized. It can even be built into awkward places allowing you to use all of the available space without any being wasted. Whether it’s a sloping roof, a boiler cupboard or just a funny shaped room you’re working with, opting for bespoke fitted furniture could be the solution your issues. Plus unlike regular desks, wardrobe and other furniture they can built from the floor to the ceiling, so offer a lot more place to store items. Handy for all of those toys, books, clothes and million other items kids own! Using baskets and storage bins on shelves and putting drawer organizers into drawers can help you use the space even more efficiently.


Choose The Right Bed

Very small rooms can work well with furniture built underneath. You could go with a specially made piece to fit your space exactly, or opt for a cabin style bed on the highstreet. You can find these with wardrobes, drawers or a desk under them and steps going up to the bed on the top. At the very least, choose a bed which offers storage. This gives you an extra place to put things. It could be a divan bed with drawers, or just a standard bed frame where you can store boxes and things underneath. If your children are sharing a room, opting for bunk beds can save space. There are plenty of designs for both boys and girls bunk beds online which look stylish as well as being practical.


It doesn’t take long for kids to grow out of their clothes and shoes, change their preferences with toys and crave more challenging books. For this reason, new things will be coming into the home often so it’s important to be decluttering regularly and throwing away things they no longer need and use. It can be tempting to want to hold onto things for sentimental purposes, but the reality is they’re much better off being sent to someone else who will use them. Charities, shelters, nurseries and other places are always in need of donations, and you can be safe in the knowledge that they’re being used and appreciated by other children. Rather than sitting around, gathering dust and taking up space at home! Getting rid of the old makes space for the new- so when birthdays, Christmases and other events crop up you’re not drowning in a sea of your child’s possessions!

Does your child have a small room? Do you have any tips and tricks for maximizing the space?

Dress For Happiness: How To Wear Your Clothes Well



Our clothes say a lot about us. They may suggest the job we do, the salary we earn, and how confident we feel in the world. Clothes can also be deceptive. They can enhance our best bits and hide the parts of us we’re not comfortable with. They are both a reflection of our state of mind and have the power to alter our emotional state. For example, if you get ready in the morning and your clothes feel tight because you’ve gained a couple of pounds, this can cause you to feel deflated or worse. And the opposite is also true. Pulling on those skinny jeans after a few months of a healthy eating plan can make you feel elated.

It goes without saying that it takes a lot more than clothes to make us truly happy. However, clothes do have the power to lift our spirits. So, it’s certainly worth bearing this in mind and taking steps to ensure our outfits work for us.

The Fit

Our main goal is to feel comfortable and attractive in what we’re wearing. The first step in achieving this is to buy garments that fit well. If your clothes feel a little tight or cling in the wrong places, you’re unlikely to feel at ease. If you have a few items like this in your wardrobe, it’s worth considering replacing them. Don’t wait until you’ve lost those few pounds; it’s important to feel good today. Constantly pinning your happiness on a future date is counterproductive. True happiness comes from living in the moment.

As well as ensuring a good fit, opt for clothes made from quality materials that are cut well. Well-made clothes drape properly, improving the silhouette and overall look. You may pay a little extra in the short term. However, their longevity will make them an economical investment.

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Most women have areas of their bodies that they’re not 100% happy with. The tendency is to dwell on this rather than appreciate all the good things about themselves. Clothes should enhance and accentuate your good bits and draw attention away from the parts you not so enamored with.

Get to know your body shape and find garments that complement it. For example, if you have an hourglass shape, enhance your curves by using belts creatively. If you’re an apple shape, draw attention away from your midsection and accentuate your shoulders and legs.


Accessories are your friend. They can transform your outfit choices, enhancing, disguising, and focusing attention. The simple act of changing the accessories you wear with an outfit can change the overall look completely. Select them carefully, particularly when it comes to shoes.

Diet And Exercise

It goes without saying that clothing will only take you part way. Achieving a body that you’re happy with is down to making positive lifestyle changes. In some cases, though, despite making changes to diet and exercise, there are still some stubborn areas that are difficult to change. For example, the stomach area can be problematic, especially after childbirth. Cosmetic procedures such as tummy tucks are becoming more popular as women seek to remove excess skin and achieve a sleeker more toned appearance. If this is something you’re considering, companies like Belcara Health can advise.

Clothes won’t bring you true happiness. However, they have the power to lift your spirits and make or break your day. Choose them wisely.

They Call It “Home Staging,” But What Does That Actually Mean In Practice?

When it comes to selling your home for your asking price (maybe more), there really is a secret sauce – at least according to people in the know. Recently, HGTV collated some advice from experts in the industry for how to kill it as a homeowner and sell your house for a fortune. Here’s what they had to say.

Secret #1: Show Off Your Half Empty Closets



You would have thought that the mere fact that you have closets would be sufficient in itself to act as an advertisement for your home. But it turns out that that isn’t enough. According to experts at HGTV, closets shouldn’t just be present, they should also be half-empty, to indicate just how spacious your home is. Closets that are full to the rafters with junk don’t look good and leave potential buyers with the impression that you lack adequate space. Make sure the stuff in your closets is neatly organized in such a way that best shows them off.

Secret #2: Send Agents Out Into The Field

When you’re trying to maximize the sale price of your home, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on development in the field. Often it’s a good idea to keep track of multiple listing services that will inform you of the selling price of other properties in your area. Getting an agent to do this can help you find out what competition you’re facing down the street and how much other homes in your neighborhood are selling for. If they’re selling for more than yours, find out why and see if you have grounds to raise your own prices. Don’t be afraid to raise the asking price if you’re getting a lot of interest, or if you live in a boom town, like San Francisco.

Secret #3: Get Rid Of Personalized Items


If you want to be able to call the movers sooner rather than later, then it’s a good idea to remove all the items in your house that reflect your own personality. It turns out that buyers don’t like it when sellers have things like their pets and their weird stuff on display when they come to look around: it makes it harder for them to see how they will change the house to make it their own. Consult an expert home stager about how to make the house more neutral and inviting.

Secret #4: Don’t Upgrade Too Much



When it comes to making home improvements that increase the value of your home, there’s a fine line between upgrades that yield positive returns, and those that will never pay off. By all means, do cheap repair work to sort out a leaking gutter or a patch of mold on the wall, but don’t spend a fortune on new kitchens and bathrooms – it’s not worth it. Massive makeovers tend not to generate the kind of returns that people expect because of the fact that the value of your home doesn’t just depend on what it’s like inside. It also depends on things that are out of your control, like the level of crime in the neighborhood and the quality of local schools.

Keeping Your Skin Fresh: Ways To Feel Good This Winter

Through the winter, it’s particularly difficult to keep your skin in good condition. The cold air and wind can strip it of its natural oils, which makes it more easily damaged. That means that you might have to make a few changes to your skincare routine to keep feeling and looking good…

Keep Hydrated

During the winter it’s easy to forget to drink water. We tend to go for hot drinks instead when it’s cold outside but the sad truth is that a Starbucks coffee won’t be nearly as helpful as good old water at keeping your skin in top condition. The skin is an organ and it’s made up primarily of water – which means that if you’re dehydrated, your skin can start to look dull and lifeless. Make sure that you carry a reusable water bottle with you during the day and that you put drinking water into your daily routine.

Cover Up

We all know that you have to cover up to stay warm in winter and to protect your skin from the winter in the summer, but we never think about protecting our skin in the winter as much. Make sure that you wear a warm scarf and if you’re out in the cold wind, pull it up over the bottom half of your face to stop yourself from getting raw red chapped skin. The same applies with hats – not least because you can lose a lot of body heat through the top of your head so it’s important to wear a hat to stay warm and cosy.

Invest In Skincare

During the winter it’s important to keep on top of your skincare routine. If you have oily skin you might not think that you need to keep moisturising, but oily skin can still be dehydrated. If your current skincare regime isn’t working for you and your skin feels sore and dry, try out a new company like Bioderma skincare – look online to find out which brands might work for you. Ensure that you moisturise carefully before you go to bed, and put on eye cream to save the delicate skin around your eyes from getting too many wrinkles. Use an oil based cleanser to remove your makeup every evening before you go to bed or when you get home from work – even if you have oily skin, this should be effective at rehydrating your skin.

Change Your Makeup Routine


Check to see if the colour of your foundation is still working for you – many of us need to go a couple of shades paler in the winter when there’s less sun, although you still need to wear sunscreen with a high SPF under your makeup. It’s harder to stay dewy and fresh faced this time of year, so make sure that you use a blusher that makes you glow, and try strobing to highlight different parts of your face like your brow bone, your cheekbone, and the bow of your lips. Make sure that you keep chapstick in your pocket so your lips are always smooth and unchapped.

Health Issues To Watch Out For

Our health is valuable to us, and so we should try to look after it as best we can. Part of that is be educated about things that are good for us and the things that are not. It is also important to be aware of anything that is risky to our health. To help you build your knowledge on health, read on for a basic guide.



Bacteria are microscopic organisms that are present just about everywhere. In fact, we have bacteria all over us, and inside us as well. Bacteria sometimes get a bad reputation, but in fact, there are lots of positive jobs that they do for us. For example, in our intestine, there are good bacteria that help us to process and digest our food efficiently.

However, there are some harmful bacteria as well as helpful one such as e.coli and chlamydia. If you have e.coli you will probably know about it very quickly. But it isn’t always easy to tell if you have a bacterial infection, like chlamydia. So you can get a test and find out that way. Then if you test positive, order treatment online.

To protect against bacterial infection you can do several things. The first is to use an antibacterial hand wash or gel, which will kill them on contact. The second is to always make sure that you teach the kids to wash their hands after going to the toilet. This is where a lot of bacteria can be picked up. Thirdly, ensure that you always eat in restaurants that have a high hygiene rating. As they will be aware of the risk of bacterial contamination and will have put processes in place to stop this and protect their customers.


Viruses are even smaller than bacteria, but unlike bacteria, they do need a living host to be transmitted. That means they cannot survive for any significant amount of time outside of the body.  Whereas bacteria can. Bacteria can cause even multiple and thrive outside of the body, and that is one to the things that make some bacteria so dangerous.


Once viruses get into your system, they take over a cell and make it replicate themselves rather than what the cell was originally being used for. Some particularly nasty viruses include Flu and HIV.

Happily, the spread of the virus can be stopped with good hygiene. Hand washing, coughing and sneezing into a tissue can help stop the transmission of viruses from person to person.

For some viruses creating a barrier hat stop bodily fluids passing from one person to another can also help to stop transmission.


Most people are now aware that smoking is a massive health risk. Smoking tobacco can affect the lungs and heart. It can lead to COPD which is where the sufferer has trouble breathing and getting enough oxygen.

Smoking is also linked to a higher rate of lung cancer. Cancers are an illness that results from a malfunction within our cells. They are caused when the body’s repair system is triggered and goes wrong. So anything that causes the body’s repair system to trigger often increases the chances that something will go wrong. This is why some people also believe that taking antioxidants is good for you. As they clear up the free radicals in your system and stop them damaging the cells.

The best course of action for any smoker is to give up. In fact, they can decrease the risk of smoking-related diseases to similar of that of a person that has never smoked, over a certain amount of time.

Of course giving up smoking isn’t as easy as all that. That is because nicotine the main ingredient tobacco is addictive. It fools your brain into thinking that it needs it, to survive. When in fact, we can function perfectly well without out. It is just uncomfortable while going through the withdrawal process.

There are products available to help with this, though. You can try e-cigarettes which delivers a dose of nicotine in water vapor. What this does is bypasses all the harmful chemicals that are added to a cigarette. Which is what is mainly responsible for disease.

Or you can give nicotine replacement products a go. Available in lozenges, inhalers or patches, these deliver a steady supply of nicotine, so it makes it a lot easy to break the habit of smoking. Of course, you will need at least some willpower this way too.

Sedentary lifestyle

When watching out for your and your loved one’s health, it’s important to keep an eye on how much activity they are getting. Leading a sedentary lifestyle can lead to all sort of problems like weight gain, depression, and stress on muscles and bones.

Try to build activities into daily life at home that encourage everyone to get up off the sofa and move around. Cycling is a great aerobic activity as it running or walking. Or why not attend a fitness or martial arts class as a family group?

If you would rather exercise separately, then the gym is a positive option. Or there is swimming or why not try an exercise video, so you can workout at home.

Mental health

Mental health can be a tough one to watch out for because no one really now what is going on inside another person’s head. Our individual experience is so subjective that it can be difficult to define what we are feeling, let alone what the feeling of someone close to us are.

Even so, there are some signs that you can look out for if you are concerned about someone you love’s mental state. Sleep is a good indicator. Sleeping more or less than usual can signify a change in mental health. The same goes for the amount they are eating.

A classic sign of poor mental health is when a person withdraws from their friends and family. A depressed person may also stop doing things that they enjoyed up to that point. It is always worth having a conservation with the person that you are concerned about. Ask them if they need some support or help with the issue that they are going through.