Friday, October 13, 2017

Perfect Parenting In 4 Simple Values


Forget Crystal Maze, Fort Boyard or It’s A Knockout, the biggest challenge in life is trying to raise good kids. That is the responsibility that falls on our shoulders as parents. It is teaching them how to behave and how to think so that they can flourish in life and be successful in every way, not just in the capitalist focussed way society operates.

The good news is, this endgame is one that parents all over the world share. We all want to be the parents our kids need us to be; parents that teach them the right values. The tricky part is knowing what values are the most important and, let’s be honest, why.

So, without further ado, here are the values child experts believe we should be placing the most emphasis on. Hopefully, it’ll help.


It Starts With Respect
Almost every single good character traits stem from respect. Just think about it. Respecting authority will keep them out of trouble, respecting others encourages kindness, and respecting themselves is where self-esteem, self-worth, self-confidence, and ambition all comes from. Where there is an absence of respect is where laziness, disobedience, bullying, and loads more issues come from.

Responsibility For Their Actions
As parents, we want to be there to protect our kids when they, you know, screw up. But doing so will only teach them that they can do anything without suffering any of the consequences. This can’t last forever. The worst part is that sometimes life-changing results can stem from a lack of responsibility, whether it be a drunk driving arrest, teen pregnancy, drug addiction, inability to hold down a job, failure to finish school and more. This is what has happened to a lot of young people who got into trouble.

Manners Maketh Man
This has to be one of the most important values a parent can teach a child, not just because manners can take them a long way in social situations but because manners also have a direct link to higher IQs. That isn’t all, though. Manners are also associated with people that are more reasonable and more thoughtful, neither of which is easy to put a black mark against. Yes, manners come in the form of putting your knife and fork together at the end of a meal, but they also come in the form of consideration when talking to others; having consideration for their thoughts, feelings, and beliefs.

Quality People Always Win

To be born a natural ability or skill is great. It puts you ahead of those around you, although through very little of your own doing. You see, most people, whether that be teachers, coaches, employers or friends would prefer to be around people that are respectful - people that have quality - than people that are naturally good at something. Skills can be taught, but attitude, happiness and personality cannot, which is why being a person of quality will always triumph against those that produce quality performances.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Turning a Useless Garage Into Something to Be Proud Of

Why don't you use your garage? Perhaps you don’t think your garage is convenient enough so you leave your car outside on the road. Maybe it’s a little too small for your needs so you just use it as a storage room for personal belongings instead of your vehicle. Or perhaps you simply don’t have a use for it because you have plenty of space elsewhere.

If you feel like you have a useless garage then don’t despair—there are plenty of ways to turn it into a usable space that you can be proud of. In this post, we’ll be covering some of the most inspirational ways to use your garage even if you don’t want to store your car in it. Take our your notebook because you’ll want to write down these ideas. After getting through all of them, we’ll be surprised if you haven’t already drawn up some plans for your own garage!

Before You Start
Before you get started with your garage conversion there are a couple of things that have to be mentioned. Firstly, all of the following ideas will greatly depend on how much space you have. If you don’t exactly have a huge garage then don’t expect to get much mileage out of it unless you use it for something simple like storage or a small home gym. Secondly, you’re going to want to speak with contractors and designers to help make your dream a reality.

It’s actually important to get out a notepad or at least create text document, in order to record your thoughts and ideas. Sometimes you’ll have a flash of inspiration where you think up an absolutely amazing idea, but then it’s lost the next day because you didn’t write it down. Saving inspiration is important, so try and collect it with whatever method is most convenient for you.

You also can’t forget the exterior of your garage. The Garage Plan Shop has plenty of unique and wonderful exterior garage designs to pick from and it’s the perfect place to look for inspiration. Both the inside and outside of your garage deserve some attention, so try to equal effort into both of them. However, seeing as this is a post about converting your garage, we’re only going to cover the interior part and not the outside.

Keep in mind you will also need planning permission if you plan to carry out a large-scale garage conversion. This isn’t usually something you need to worry about, but it’s worth checking with the local authorities if you have permission to even carry out work on your garage. If you turn the garage into another bedroom or a self-contained apartment, then you may need to notify the authorities to register it.

So without further ado, here are a couple of fantastic ideas to get you started with your garage conversion.

Games Room
If you can’t enough of your games, then why not turn your garage into a fully-featured games room? With so much extra space at your disposal just think of the possibilities on offer. You could add a huge television, little gimmicky appliances like an energy drinks fridge or unique lighting fixtures that give your games room a party vibe. With the additional space, you could even add arcade machines that are full-sized and ready to swallow your money for plays. Seeing as it’s in your garage, this also makes it easy to deliver large machines and pieces of furniture inside.

Kitchen Extension
Sick of cooking in a dinky kitchen then why not convert your garage into a kitchen extension? If your garage is next to your garden, then you could knock down the wall and convert it into a sliding glass door. That way you can cook inside and immediately serve it outside. This will allow you to host some of the most amazing barbeque parties or garden meetings, and you’ll be surprised at how much functionality an extra kitchen can offer.

Another Living Room
If you have lots of guests visiting throughout the year or just lots of kids that like to bring their friends home, then why not add a separate living room? Because it’s in the garage, it makes it easy for guests to come inside and sit down for a drink or relaxing afternoon. You could even keep it completely open or replace the sliding garage doors with glass panes to let more sunlight in. Simply throw in some basics like a sofa, television and wooden floors and you can easily (and cheaply) turn your garage into another living space.

Utility Room
Do you find that you’re running out of space inside your home for utility appliances like a dryer and washer, then why not move them into your garage? You don’t even need to renovate the inside of your garage much because the appliances are utilitarian. They aren’t going to be shown off to people and you’ll use it often, which means there’s no need to tidy up the garage too much. You can also stick a sewing machine in your utility room conversion or add bike storage for your family. As long as it’s useful, you can throw it in a utility room.

Home Office
Working from home is something that almost everyone wants to do, but few manage to get far. It helps to have your own personal office if you plan to start a business from home. Even if you don’t, it’s still helpful to have a quiet and private space for you to get some work done. Your garage should provide plenty of peace and quiet to let you focus on your job and it doesn’t take long to convert it into a home office. You should already have most of the equipment and furniture such as a desk, an office chair and your computer. All you really need to do is move the stuff into the garage and you’re all set.

Another Bedroom
A garage is really just another room in your home and if you manage to seal up all the drafts and add a few windows, then it can turn into a perfectly functional bedroom. You don’t need to use the entire garage if you don’t want to, but if you have that in mind then there’s nothing wrong with installing wood or carpet floors and lining the ceiling with something more sturdy and attractive. Adding another bedroom is fantastic if you’re planning on growing your family, or if you have guests that regularly come over to stay the night.

Home Gym
Most people would kill to have their own personal gym at home. It beats having to travel to the local gym and you can add whatever equipment you want without fear of it being used by someone else. Since you have so much space to play with, you could even add speciality equipment such as punching sandbags or even a fighting ring if you like boxing.

Cinema Room
Movie buffs would love to have their very own private home cinema setup. If you have a garage that isn’t seeing much use and a passion for TV and film, why not throw a projector in there alongside a screen and a comfy chair? There are plenty of fantastic ways to utilise all the extra space as well. For instance, you could add your own little bar so your friends and family can make their own drinks, or you could install a vintage popcorn machine so people can get their share of snacks during whatever you watch. A cinema room can also easily be converted into a games room, making it a dual-use place.

Children’s Playroom
If you’re planning on having kids, then you’ll understand the importance of creating a safe space for them to play until they’re older. A garage makes the perfect space because it’s large, open and can be completely cleared of any crawl-height obstacles that could injure them. You could even install smart cameras to help keep an eye on your child. Just make sure the floor is smooth and everything is safe.

Indoor Pool
This is an extravagant idea for people that want something a little more special. If you’re serious about converting your garage into something unique, then consider an indoor pool. An indoor pool will allow you to use it whenever you please, it’s also private because you won’t have people staring at you from their balconies and you can even open it up to your garden for easy access during hot summers.

Better Storage
And lastly, let’s not forget that you can always use your garage as a storage room. However, if you’re going to throw your belongings in there then it’s never a bad idea to clear it up a little, add some extra shelves or even hang a few things to make the most of the space. Since you hardly have to change anything, you could still use your garage as a place to store your vehicle in addition to everything else.

Everything You Need To Know About UV Rays And Your Home

If I told you this blog post was about your home and the weather, you’d probably assume I’m talking about wind, rain, snow, etc. These are the bad weather conditions we tend to associate with our property as they bring about various problems.

However, what if I told you the sun was just as bad for your home as all these cold and wet conditions? It seems unlikely, but periods of super hot weather where the sun is beating down on your home can be problematic.

It all revolves around UV rays produced by the sun. If you’re unsure what these are and how they harm your home, don’t worry, all will be explained in this article. Along with this, I will also provide some advice on how you can prevent UV damage in your home.

UV Rays Explained

UV stands for ultraviolet, and it’s a type of radiation given off by the sun. Immediately, just the word ‘radiation’ sounds menacing. The UV rays from the sun are responsible for changing the color of our skin when tanning, as well as leading to sunburn and causing skin cancer.

To make matters worse, no one can see UV radiation with their naked eye. It’s not something you should confuse with heat or brightness. Just because the sun is bright and it feels hot, that doesn’t mean the UV rays are powerful. Different areas of the world are subject to different levels of UV radiation from the sun.

UV Rays And Your Home

There are two main ways that UV rays are bad for your home. The first is that they can cause damage to your property, and the second is that they can cause damage to you and your family inside your home. In this respect, it almost makes them more of an issue that wind, rain, or ice.

Let’s start by looking at how UV rays damage your property. Here, there are pretty much two main issues once again. One of these issues is slightly less significant than the other, so I’ll get it out of the way first. Much like UV rays change the color of your skin, they can also change the color of surfaces and objects in and outside your property. Constant UV exposure can cause your roofing or exterior walls to fade in color. Likewise, it can lead to things inside your house changing colors, such as furniture, walls, or even your children’s cuddly toys. One of my children once left a teddy bear by their window for months, and it ended up turning pink as though it caught sunburn!

The more serious property damage issue mainly revolves around your roofing. It’s proven that UV radiation can break down certain materials and cause cracks to occur. As your roof is the highest point in your house, it’s going to be getting the most UV radiation out of everything. Consequently, you could end up with lots of structural issues on your roof as the UV rays cause small cracks to open up which leads to leaks and loads of other bad stuff. This is particularly an issue for flat roofs.

As for how it harms your family in the home, well, it’s pretty much the same way UV rays harm you outside the home. The problem is that people don’t realize this still happens when you’re inside. Primarily, this is because we assume we’re protected when we’re not outside. Unfortunately, UV rays can still make it into our home thanks to our windows. So many studies back this up and show that certain windows allow UV rays to pass through and damage our skin. When you’ve got little ones in the home a lot, this is the last thing you want to worry about.

Protecting Your Home From UV Rays

You’re aware of the dangers of UV rays, but how can you protect your home from them? Essentially, you have to address the main places at risk. My advice is to get a roofing contractor in to assess your current roof. They can check for signs of UV damage and help come up with a solution going forward. I think it’s beneficial to maybe get a new roof that comes with UV protection if yours is already suffering. It’ll last longer, and you’ll have fewer problems in the future.

Next, turn your attention to the windows in your home. If I’m honest, it surprised me that there aren’t any UV-protected windows out there. At least, if there are any, I couldn’t find them. Instead, companies are selling UV protection window film. This is a clear piece of film that you can use to cover your windows and prevent this harmful radiation from entering your home. Apparently, this film keeps out 99% of UV rays, which should ensure your interior doesn’t fade and your family remains well-protected.

You can also get something to coat surfaces and reflect any UV rays too. Things like UV-resistant coating are great on pieces of wooden furniture or even on the window frames outside your home. It might even help keep the exterior walls from fading too.

My only other piece of advice is to make sure you use sunscreen on your children even if they’re inside.  Slap on some SPF, and you can protect their skin from UV radiation. There’s no downside to doing this, the sunscreen will just give an extra layer of protection from the 1% of UV rays that the window film doesn’t block out.

I hope you’ve found this article useful and a little bit informative. It’s not something we talk about much, especially regarding our home and weather. Like I said right at the start, most people are concerned with bad weather conditions. But, it could be the sun that’s causing more damage to you and your home. If you haven’t taken steps to protect your home from UV rays, then I highly suggest you do. You’ll protect your kids and also save money by not having to buy new furniture because it faded.

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Do's and Don'ts Of Buying Gold Online

Image by head.chicago via Flickr

Perhaps you have noticed that many are making forays into the gold market. Individuals everywhere are buying gold. Indeed, the enthusiasm that some people have is almost palpable in certain circles, and perhaps you may have been bitten by the bug too. If this is true, then you need to be aware that one of the most convenient ways to buy gold is online. However, it is not without its pitfalls.

As with everything else in life, knowledge is power. Here are some do's and don'ts if you are planning to buy gold online:

1. Do fully investigate your dealer.
One of the first things you should understand about buying gold is that there are some dealers that are not regulated. There are many honest gold dealers out there, but there are also a number of fly-by-night bandits that will do everything in their power to rip you off. Here are some positive signs that you are talking to an honest dealer:

  • has an established track record
  • has a physical address
  • will ensure physical delivery of your gold items

If you are looking for a trusted dealer, check out! They are among the dealers that offer both gold and silver bullion and can help you navigate this tricky investment field.

2. Don't take the bait if a dealer engages in high-pressure sales tactics, tries to get you to purchase something you aren't interested in, or extends offers that seem too-good-to-be-true.

These are all "red flags" that should tip you off to the fact that your dealer is probably not trustworthy.

3. Do study the current prices of gold.
It is important to realize that gold has what is called a "spot price" so it is important to understand what the typical asking price over spot price will be from an online dealer. Generally, a good asking price from a trusted specialist will usually be from 2.5% to 3.5% above the spot price for one-ounce gold bars and 4% to 6% for one-ounce gold bullion coins.

4. Don't entertain offers from dealers that are either too low in price or too high in price.
Dealers who advertise gold at just 1% above the spot price are almost always going to have an ulterior motive in mind. They are often only advertising the low price just to lure a person in and then try to sell them on collectible gold coins with incredibly high mark-ups. Don't take the bait! Alternately, if a dealer's price is higher than normal, feel free to shop around and look at the offerings of other gold dealers.

5. Do consider buying gold in large quantities.
The great thing about buying gold in large quantities online is that you can have the gold transferred to a non-bank vault provider. This can have a number of benefits, including the fact that when it comes time to sell your gold, you will no longer have it re-assessed. When you actually have your gold in hand, many buyers may have a tendency to question the condition of the bank and you will often need to have them appraised once again. Moreover, the same principle holds true if you have a gold-backed IRA. Transferring the gold will be much easier because the vault company can guarantee the gold is in a superior condition.

These factors are just some of the information you should be aware of when buying gold online. If you are ready to invest in gold online, make sure to thoroughly check several gold dealers to make sure you will find the right fit for you.

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Fundraising With The Family - Organizing Your Own Charity Event


Are you and your family interested in doing some fundraising for a charitable cause?

Lots of families have many reasons for getting behind a charity. They might have used their services before and want to give something back to the organization. Sometimes, schools team up with a charity and encourage all of their pupils and students to do some fundraising activities and challenges for their chosen charity.

Whatever your reason, it’s always good to do some fundraising for a charitable organization. But if you have never organized a fundraising event or activity before, you are probably wondering how you go about organizing and planning it all. Well, don’t worry - I’ve gathered some together some information from those who already have experience putting together charitable events. Here are some of the things that they had wished they’d known before they planned their very first fundraiser.


Think About The Purpose
Sometimes a charitable event isn’t just for fundraising some extra cash for the organization. Sure, that’s part of it, but there are other reasons for hosting a big event too. For instance, the charity might want to increase their visibility. In this case, the event will also have the purpose of spreading the word about the charity and ensuring that more people become aware of it. If this is the case with your event, it’s important that you don’t forget about both purposes, as it can be all too easy to just focus on collecting money and donations. Once you are aware of both purposes, you can then come up with a goal and figure out how to achieve it.

Plan A Budget
Putting a charitable event together isn’t going to be completely free - you are going to have to pay for various things like the venue, catering, and entertainment. You can take the money for these things from all the donations you receive, but then this will minimize the amount going directly to the charity. So, before you start to look into a venue and catering options, you need to figure out how much you have to spend on the event. The best way to do this is to create a budget. Once you’ve got a budget in front of you, you will find it easy to work out how much money you should allocate to various aspects of the event. Plus, the budget will help you from going over budget.

Get Corporate Funding
You will probably realize, fairly early on, that organizing a big charity event is going to be extremely expensive. There is one way you can get extra money to help - you just need to find a company who is prepared to sponsor the event and provide some corporate funding. The best way to approach a company and ask about funding is to send them a sponsorship letter. This should detail the event for them and let them know how their money will go to good use for the charity. It’s a good idea to use a template to write this, and you can get the template here: to ensure that you don’t forget to mention anything. It’s a good idea to send your letter to a few different companies as not all of them will jump at the chance to sponsor a charity event. If you pitch the event to a few companies, you will have more chance of attracting the attention of one.

Marketing Method
Now you need to figure out how you are going to spread the message about your event so that as many people as possible attend. If you want to keep your marketing costs as low as possible, then you should turn to social media. It’s free to set up a Twitter or Facebook profile for your event, and you can then start to invite people to like and follow the page. You need to encourage your fans and followers to share the event so that even more people hear about it. There are other marketing methods you might want to choose as well, though they will cost some money. For instance, you could print out some flyers and posters. It’s also a good idea to send out a press release to your local newspaper and radio stations to try and get some press coverage.

Give Yourself Plenty Of Time
It is super important that you start planning your event well in advance of the planned date. This way, you can take your time, and it won’t be such a rush getting everything ready for the big day. Ideally, you should start your planning and organizing about six months before you want the event to take place. This way, you have plenty of time to look for sponsors, a suitable venue, and to sell tickets if it is going to be a ticketed event. It’s a good idea to use an online planner, like the one from, so that you can set yourself deadlines and stick to your established timeframe. Make sure that everyone else who is helping to plan the event is aware of this timeframe and any deadlines so that no one ends up causing the planning stage to be delayed.


Do You Need To Outsource?
Hopefully, you, your family, and all your friends who are helping to organize the big event will be able to pool all of your skills and knowledge, and will have everything that you need. But if you are lacking any specific skills or experience that you need, you might need to outsource and hire someone who can help you. For example, some people like to hire a catering company if they want to put on some food. Others like to outsource their marketing to an agency as it can take up a considerable amount of time.

As you can see, quite a lot of time and effort needs to go into a fundraising event. But it will all be worth it when you can make a big difference to a charitable cause!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Best Ways to Pamper Yourself During the Winter Months


Image via Pexels

The winter months can be cruel and unforgiving, but there’s no reason why you should have to give into the blues just because the weather’s turned gloomy.

Instead of sitting around and feeling sorry for yourself, why not arrange to enjoy some heart (and body) warming treats after completing your day’s work?

Here’s a look at some of the best ways to pamper yourself during the winter months.

Warm things up
This may sound pretty silly in its simplicity, but really, don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. When the world is cold and gloomy, there are few pleasures as sincere and welcome as slipping into some pre-heated pyjamas, or getting under the covers of a bed which has had an electric blanket priming it for your use.

There are many different devices which allow you to preheat items in your home for your comfort, ranging from towel warmers such as those sold by Home Spa Select, to general-purpose, old-school oil heaters which you can leave your socks on during your bath.

Whichever methods you turn to, don’t hesitate to warm things up.

Enjoy some wintry dishes
Certain foods just seem “right” for winter and strange, at best, at any other time. A lot of this has to do with the fact that these foods are deeply embedded in our cultural associations of the colder months of the year, ranging all the way back into the dim mists of history. Still, a lot of these dishes are absolutely delicious, so enjoy them while they’re available everywhere!

Examples could include mulled wine or pumpkin soup — classics designed to fill the belly and warm the blood on those icy nights.

Prepare for Christmas
Even if Christmas is still a while away, there’s no reason not to lift your spirits by getting involved in the Yuletide festivities early. Whether you’re planning to invite a large number of relatives over to feast and make merry, or are having a smaller, more low-key celebration, there’ll be some planning to do.

Researching potential Christmas gifts for loved ones can be a great, uplifting way of spending some time. Throwing yourself headfirst into the carols, ornaments, children’s stories, decorations, and myths of the season can not only be a brilliant way of enhancing your own excitement for and appreciation of the season, but also an ideal occasion for family bonding.

Begin planning your adventures for next summer
So, you’re the kind of person who thrives in sunny climes and environments. Perfectly understandable. And maybe looking out the window and seeing only grey skies or snowy plains brings you down.

If so, why not lift your spirits by planning your next summer adventure well in advance? Get your mind away from winter altogether by researching the beaches, villas, mountain-peaks and tropical island paradises that you’d most like to explore and enjoy during your next warm-weather getaway?

You could even print off some of the top locations and pin them to your fridge to give you a little boost whenever you walk past.

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