Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Open Road: Plan Your Family's Next Big Adventure

Just because summer has left, it doesn’t mean that family vacations, adventures, and road trips need to be forgotten until next year. If you have a car, caravan, or an RV; you have the means to take the kids away, even if it’s just for a night, or over a weekend. Braving colder weather conditions is all part of the fun, and the focus can be on quality time with one another, and plenty of physical exercise and activities, so you can make some great memories.

It can be as simple as popping your fingers down on a map and heading out on a Friday evening, or Saturday morning, with plenty of supplies in tow. So, if your family are missing the fun of summer; keep the momentum going, and utilize your weekends more. The following are some tips, ideas, and advice on taking a road trip with your loved ones; for those who love an adventure.
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Supplies
You can forget about expensive meals, that you’d have to pay for if you were on vacation in a hotel; a road trip is all about the food and snacks you pack up yourself, and the process of cooking them. A cool-box is a great investment and will keep any meat you intend to BBQ, or heat over an open fire, cold and fresh. Soda and beers can also be kept at their ideal temperature, so you’ll be able to quench your thirst after a long drive during the evening. Picnic baskets full of sandwiches, potato chips, and snacks, will also be the perfect addition to your adventure, so stock up on what you know will satiate everyone’s appetite. Don’t forget; if you’re planning a campfire, take your ketchup and relishes for burgers and hotdogs (you’ll kick yourself if you forget).

If you’ve packed up the trunk of your vehicle with the food you’ll all devour later in the journey; you’ll also need to ensure there are enough snacks and drinks in the car. Kids will love the added surprise of you pulling out some of their favorite treats along the way; make sure you also have enough tissues and wipe to deal with sticky fingers, and potential spillages (there might be bumps in the road; literally). Disposable BBQs or campfire supplies are also a must; the novelty of cooking simple meals, outside over a fire will never wear thin, so it’s worth investing in the right kit, especially if you plan to make this a regular thing. Check out All Recipes for some inspiration on what to cook up over your campfire, and ensure that your adventure is full of delicious food.

Assuming that you’re going to camp, or your caravan or RV provides adequate accommodation for your whole family; you’ll want to make the trip as comfortable as possible. You don’t have to stick to separate sleeping bags and pillows aimed at camping; you can add a cozy touch by bringing the bedding you utilize at home. Pillows or cushions in the car will be a great touch for passengers to take a nap on and throw in a blanket or two for added warmth. Don’t forget to take extra clothes, more than what you’d normally wear each day, as there’s a risk of getting muddy and wet (remember; it’s an adventure). Towels will also come in extra handy, especially if it decides to rain. Storybooks, games, and music will all add to the fun, and they’re a great insurance policy if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Basic toiletries, a torch or two, and a smile will go a long way on your mini vacay; so make sure you pack accordingly!

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Transport
You’ll need to ensure that your car or vehicle has plenty of room to fit the whole family inside comfortably, alongside all those supplies mentioned earlier. If you get the bug for regular road trips and expeditions; it might be worth investing in a larger vehicle, or RV, so that you can save money on future vacations, and enjoy more staycations; seeing the sights as you drive. Check out sites like Loan Center for details on how you could invest in new transport and ensure that your family are safe and comfortable during your road trip adventure together. You can get the kids involved in cleaning your mode of transport before you set off, and after you’ve returned home for some extra pocket money. You’ll want the interior to be as clean and fresh as possible for an enjoyable trip.

Consider popping some blackout stickers on the windows in the back of your car or RV; this will ensure that the sunlight doesn’t get in the eyes of any little ones, and the temperature of the vehicle stays consistent. Put your favorite radio station or music on; however, make sure that the designated driver can concentrate properly and isn’t distracted by any loud noises. Tablets and iPhones can be utilized to keep kids quiet; put one of their favorite movies on and they’ll stay quiet and well-behaved for as long as needed.

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Image via here

Destinations
You’ll need to choose a place, or places, that are within reach so that you can get there and back successfully within the space of your weekend. This is why it’s great to have a planned destination in mind before you set off, so you can work out how much time it’ll take, where to refuel, and how much time you can spend there, in advance of your journey. Maybe there’s a location that’s sentimental, and you want to show your kids, or perhaps there’s a festival or event happening that your family will love, or maybe you just need to escape into nature, and a forest or coastal setting will be the perfect place to do so.

As long as you’ve packed all the right gear, have enough gas in the tank to get there and back, and can’t wait to spend quality time with your family; you’ll have an adventure to remember, every time you set out on the open road.

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Image from PEXELS














Winter's Coming: 5 Ways to Winter-Proof Your Home

It may seem like Summer was only yesterday, but with only 13 weeks until Christmas (that’s just 95 days), it’s time to start preparing for Winter. The Winter months can be long and harsh, so the more prepared you are, the easier it will be to enjoy it. One of the most important things to Winter-proof is your home. You’ll want to be able to come in from the cold to a nice warm house, where you can feel comfortable. Similarly, having a dry, warm home will keep those nasty cold symptoms away from the whole family. So, what do you need to do?

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Bring Garden Furniture Inside
Winter often brings with it heavy rain and winds. The type of wind that blows garden furniture around might be rare, but if you’re expecting heavy winds, it’s best to bring the furniture inside if you can, or tie it down in the garden. Furniture blowing in heavy winds can cause lots of damage to a property, so it’s not worth the risk. Bringing your furniture inside will also ensure it doesn’t rust or get damaged in rain and snow.

Check Your Roof
When it comes to leakages, we often find them too late. If you can check your roof before bad weather sets in, you’ll have a clear window to get any damage fixed and avoid damp getting into the house. Don’t attempt to fix problems yourself; it’s much wiser to pay for a roof repair service and have the peace of mind that it’s been done properly. Climbing onto a roof can be dangerous, so always ask a professional to do it, instead of risking it yourself.

Fill in Cracks
Before Winter sets in, take some time to go around the house and look for any cracks or holes in the walls and cavities. Not only will they let damp into the house, but they’ll also allow drafts through making it harder and more expensive to heat your home. Large cracks can even allow rodents to climb through. If you spot any cracks in your walls, be sure to fill them up before it gets cold and wet.

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Rough Door Mat
It may sound like a simple thing, but it could save you hours’ worth of cleaning. During the Winter months, we tend to trample through mud, sludge, snow and everything else dirty. It’s difficult to keep that mess out of the house but a rough door mat at the front door will help to catch the majority of mess your family may traipse through the house.

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Upgrade Doors and Windows
If you’ve noticed that you get drafts from the doors or windows, it could be time to upgrade. Other signs will include a build-up of condensation on the glass or damp spots around the windows and doors. Upgrading will ensure you stay warm and your family doesn’t have to put up with damp in the home.

There are many other things you can do to prepare for a change in the weather, including stocking up on some cosy throws for the sofa so the Winter nights are a bit more magical.







Barbecue Tips to Check Out in 2017

Thinking of inviting your friends or family over for some grilling and perhaps drinks? Chances are you probably want to make that day memorable and if so, we look forward to helping you meet your goal.

You could host your party in different ways and usually it’s easy to be overwhelmed by the many different options you have to sort through just to narrow down on what seems to work out best for you.
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Well, we went all out to fetch for simple and wonderful barbecue ideas that will save you all that hustle and make your special day just as you want it: special and memorable. So let’s get down to them:

Give Your Party a Theme

Away from the typical BBQs often chocked up with barbecue chicken, hot dogs, hamburgers and other related bites, there are a range of other themes you could opt for. Popular ones include 90’s themed parties, cool themed summer barbecues, Surf and Turf barbecues, nautical barbecues, all white parties, just to name but a few.
You could as well pick out a color scheme you feel works out well with the mood of the party. Getting yourself a theme will help to pick out appropriate menu options as well as decor.

Decor

Mostly we tend to keep our backyard barbecues pretty casual which is okay but if you want to make it special and worth being remembered you could add some decor to it. Start with the tables as they are an important element of a barbecue party.
Blend sizes, colors and textures and also don’t forget to layer the tablecloths. Centerpieces are a great addition too and on top of that plan for appropriate lighting. Paper lanterns, citronella candles, votive candles, tiki torches, home-made lanterns are all great options you have at your disposal.

Menu+ Side Dish + Special Drinks

Barbecues are mainly centered on food. If you get it wrong, your whole party will probably be whack. So on top of all the grilled bites, add some side dishes such as salads, appetizers, summer fruits, veggies, and of course drinks. Remember there could be some non-meat eaters too so having a variety ensures everyone is well catered for.
If it’s a smaller party, throw in some details such as baguettes in place of the typical bread. For drinks, you could go beyond the usual beer and perhaps add some special drinks such as cocktails for your guests.

Entertainment

Have a variety of entertainment options to keep your guests engaged during the barbecue. Good music is of course almost a must. Typical backyard games like badminton, cards or volleyball are nice options too. If there will be kids, provide activities that will keep them busy and entertained: water balloons, water guns, slip and slide, name it.

A Mini Drone

A mini drone is probably the coolest addition to your barbecue ideas list. In fact, you no longer need to dig deep into your pockets to lay your hands on one. A mini drone is inexpensive and best of all far easier to use. You definitely would wish to keep the memories of your party and what better way to do it than capturing as many cool images and videos as you can.
With a mini drone, this becomes even more fun to do as you can fly it over your party and capture different moments during your barbecue party. If you don’t have one yet, you could check out the top mini quadcopters with camera and pick one that looks good to you.

Each of these tips is special and if you apply them correctly, you will no doubt have remarkable memories of your barbecue party.  Take a little time to plan for each and more importantly, consult widely.






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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

The Luxury Touches That Make Your Home A Fun Place To Live

Unless you already own a luxurious mansion (lucky you, if you do); it can be a challenge to create your dream home on an average family budget. However, with some effort, planning, and creativity; you can add plenty of luxury highlights to your abode and ensure that you’re living in a sumptuous home with your partner and little ones. You don’t need to buy a new house, or completely renovate your current one, but being creative with what you have to work with will ensure your home is a fun residence, and any guests won’t want to leave. The following are some ideas for those who want to give their home a luxury boost for added appeal and plenty of fun.


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Go Big Or Go Home
Investing in the large items in your home, like your sofa or dining table, will set the tone for the rest of the house. Therefore, it’s worth saving your money up, or finding somewhere that you can pay for items in monthly installments, and choosing pieces that will make an impact, both in style, and size, in your living space. A huge sofa, filled with cushions and throws, is the perfect area for the whole family to enjoy movie night, and any guests will know exactly where to sit and enjoy a glass of fizz (keep that luxury theme coming).


The same goes for your dining table and chairs; the bigger, the better so that you can enjoy stylish dinner parties with family and friends, and you’ll have the space to decorate the surface with your best china and candelabra. A sizeable bed covered with high-quality sheets will add opulence to any bedroom, so look at what’s on the market and think about investing so you can wake up in style every day.


Fun Additions For Luxury Living
Often, it can be the extra items, which aren’t a necessity, that give a home its sense of fun, style, and high-end living. If your family enjoy various games; consider creating a games room in your home. You could add a modern poker table as a central feature of the room, or perhaps there’s a pinball enthusiast, so an old-fashioned pinball machine could be the star of the show. You’ll save money on expensive nights out, as you can invite your nearest and dearest over for games nights, and invest in a family bar so that nobody goes thirsty.


Replace your bathtub with one that has jacuzzi jets, or install a luxury shower that’ll wash you from every angle; these are the things that you don’t need but will wonder how you lived without them once they’re part of your home. Remember; it’s quality, not quantity, so think about the items your family will all enjoy and invest in the things you’ve dreamt of for years. Treating your living space to luxury touches will enrich the style of your home and boost your family’s lifestyle for the years to come. So, start thinking about the areas in the house that need a bit of luxury and start writing your shopping list!






Seeking a Cultural Experience? Try These Travel Delights

For many people, the very best part of traveling is experiencing the culture first hand and being able to learn from other people and other ways of life. It might not be for everyone, but if you’re someone who’s currently searching for a destination for your next culture-filled trip, here are some ideas. Each of them offers something unique, and they’re not confined to one continent either.


Xi’an, China
If you’re interested in culture and cultural history, Xi'an could make the ideal destination for you. It’s a Chinese city that’s home to some of the most stunning architectural finds on the planet. It’s something you really have to see for yourself to fully understand and appreciate. It might be a long way to go, but this is a trip that you’ll never forget about.


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Gdansk, Poland
These days, Gdansk is one of Poland’s thriving centres of culture. It’s a place that you should most definitely experience if you’re looking for a mix of modern and historic culture because Gdansk seems to get the balance just right. It has its own very unique spirit as well, and that’s as good a reason as any to visit the city if you’ve never been there before. It’s one of Poland’s true highlights, especially when it comes to culture.


Istanbul, Turkey
Historically, Istanbul, or Constantinople as it was formerly known, has been considered the point at which East meets West on the global map. And that’s something that still holds true to this day. Turkey has its own rich culture, and there is no better location to head to if you want to explore it for yourself and see things with your own two eyes. The streets of Istanbul are always busy and crammed with life and vibrancy, making it an ideal place to visit.


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Bangkok, Thailand
If you’ve never visited Asia, it’s something you need to do. There are so many different cultures to be found on this fascinating and exciting continent. And one of the most popular destinations for first-time visitors is Bangkok in Thailand. Thailand travel packages are available for you to make the most of. The country has many cultural and religious marvels to delight you throughout your stay. Some of the temples you’ll find are incredible, and Buddhism plays a big part in the Thai culture. It’s a great place to visit, and you won’t be short of things to do and see.


Cologne, Germany
Cologne is a city that often gets overshadowed by the other great cities Germany has to offer. It might not be Munich or Berlin, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit Cologne. And one of the main reasons why you should is the culture. It’s a historic city situation on the banks of the Rhine. Cologne Cathedral is one of Europe’s oldest and took roughly 800 years to build. These days, you can go inside and go right to the top of its spires.

There are cultural experiences to be found in every corner of the world, so don’t think that you have to visit the same old places that everyone goes to. The options above provide you with great alternatives.






Renting A Property As A Parent: Anxieties & Agitations

Parenting is a difficult job, whichever way you slice it. The one thing you want to do is to make sure that you have a roof over their heads at all times. It is very difficult now to do this, with the rising costs of mortgages, and the financial difficulties of single parents, or two parent families with a single income, the option of buying a home is completely out of the question. As a result, many parents have no choice but to rent a property. But is this a dangerous practice when you've got a family to look after?


The Concern About Being Kicked Out
You can be a model tenant and have a pristine home, but if your landlord decides to sell up, they only have to give you the usual prerequisite of 30 days’ notice. And with that comes the most stressful 30 days of your life. You will need to find a new place to live that's suitable for your family, but is also within a reasonable distance from schools and amenities, and this can be a very difficult time for anyone, let alone parents. Throw into the mix raising the funds for a deposit on a new property and it's a very worrying time indeed. Most people rely on the return of the deposit to fund the next place, but if the landlord decides to keep that deposit, it can be stress upon stress. In these circumstances it's important to know your basics when it comes to tenant law, and there are sites like Pro Law Firms where you can acquire legal help in this respect. A lot of landlords are very unfair in the modern world, so it helps to know your rights as a tenant, especially if you are being threatened with eviction.

Making A Suitable Home For Your Children
Something that many parents have concerns about is making a place that your children can grow up in. This can be very difficult if you are renting a property, because you have the tenancy agreement partially lodged in your mind. You know that you can't make alterations to the property unless you get explicit permission from the landlord, and throw into the mix something like the carpet being cream and your children enjoying the idea of making mess of these carpets, it can be very costly to make these repairs and can result in part of your deposit being kept by the landlord. In this respect, it's always best if you are on the hunt for a property to rent, that you spend some time getting to understand the type of person your landlord will be. It may not loom large in mind if you are desperate for a place, but you will get a good feel for the property when you look at the place and you will know if the landlord has taken some pride in the property by renovating it to a high standard, or is a type of landlord just out to make some money.

Making your home a place where you can truly relax is difficult nowadays because of the idea of renting, it means that we never truly feel like it is a place that is ours. But this is part of the modern world, and it's something to bear in mind.






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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Simple Ways to Save Money on Food

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Food, and indeed life, are expensive. The price of an average weekly shop in 2017 is considerably higher than it was in 2007. This is because of growing inflation, the rising costs of import and export and generally the growing costs of living. Unfortunately, healthy food always seems to be hit hardest when prices rise. Junk food stays cheap, but healthy ingredients and meals have their prices hiked. This can make it hard for us to eat well.


However, it’s important that you do. A healthy and balanced diet helps to keep you fit and healthy can help you to live longer and prevent certain diseases, boosts your immunity, helps you to sleep and looks after your skin, hair and nails. Eating well is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can save money on your weekly food shop. Here’s a look at some of the best.


Cook from Scratch
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Cooking from scratch is fun, it allows you to know exactly what you are putting into your body, it means you avoid all of the preservatives that are in ready-made meals, and it can save you a fortune. As long as you shop carefully, avoiding branded products and only getting what you need, buying individual ingredients is much cheaper.


Order In
If you’re not a great cook, ordering in a box of ingredients can be a great way of trying new things and shaking up your routine. It’s also a good idea if you want to make one special meal as you get sent exactly what you need and don’t have to buy whole bottles of herbs and spices which may end up spending their lives sat in the back of your cupboard. This shrimp rolls with roasted sweet potatoes Blue Apron recipe is an example of the kind of things you could eat, relatively cheaply by ordering a Blue Apron ingredient box.


Freeze
Freezing is one of the best ways to reduce waste and save money. Cook in large portions and freeze any extras for another day. Most food freezes well, but double check online if you’ve got any worries.


Try Local Markets
Shopping at supermarkets and large stores can be more expensive for some things. Try local fruit and veg markets and butchers to see if they are cheaper. Try to go early in the morning to get the best deals.


Buy Reduced
Most supermarkets have a reduced section, where they sell food that has had its price marked down. This is sometimes because it’s going out of date that day or because the packaging has been damaged. They wouldn’t be allowed to sell food that wasn’t safe, so don’t worry about quality. Go home and put it straight in your freezer to extend its shelf life.


Meal Plan
One of the most common causes of overspending on food is not having a plan. We walk around the shops picking up whatever we fancy. Only to get home and realize we’ll need to go back to buy things to complete meals. To avoid this, write a plan for the week and a shopping list to take to the store with you.


Eating well and buying nice food doesn’t have to cost the earth, you just need to be organized and prepared to try new things.