Browsing Category: "Home and Living"

Throwing Shade: Go Low-Tech But Stay Cool

If you know all too well how unbearable it can be once summer hits you’ll already be looking at ways to keep your bills down and your air supply up! Depending on where you live, temperatures can quickly reach 90 Degrees Fahrenheit and it’s much harder to concentrate, sleep and eat when the sun’s at its zenith. One of the best ways to keep cool during the summer months is to stay hydrated. You should also always make sure you carry sunglasses, as even on cloudy days the sun can be powerful, and our eyes are incredibly sensitive.

It may also be worth keeping your curtains open at night, that way the cold air will alleviate the stuffiness in your house once the sun’s gone down. Try to get as much fresh air blowing through your home as possible by opening windows, doors, using fans to circulate and blasting the AC for a few hours so the filters to trap any dirt and debris that may be floating around. You may also have noticed a greater abundance of insects appearing, summer is often where you see the most wasps, bees, flies and beetles. Take precautions by putting up fly screens even if you don’t live in a rural area and check food is never allowed to sit out in the heat, not only will this spoil the flavor and texture but it could make you quite ill. While bees and wasps may look pretty buzzing around your flowerbeds, they have a nasty sting so always know where your tweezers, antiseptic insect bite cream and plasters are!

Brown Woven Umbrella

[Photo courtesy of nastya/pexels.com]

Take Cover

Parasols are great but if you want to make a real difference to the temperature in your home why not buy yourself an awning? The Department of Energy has stated awnings, or shaded covers can reduce heat by 30% simply because the sun rises and the linen cover takes the brunt of the heat while rays bounce off. While awnings aren’t as fashionable as they used to be; they do add a certain charm to your property as well as allowing you to sit outside comfortably. Before buying an awning always check to see if your property is suitable, maintain both the mechanism and fabric to stop cracks or holes appearing and never let children pull or raise awnings themselves as they could get their fingers trapped. Avoid any accidents by using an awning pole, a device similar to a loft pole which attaches to the hook on the underside and lets you pull down the striped sail from a safe distance.

Vacant Swing Near Grey and Green Tree

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

Get Planting!

If you’re very lucky, you’ll live somewhere with lots of trees which isn’t just good for your health because trees take in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen, but they also act as a natural barrier and so quite often the temperature in the shade is at least ten degrees cooler than out in the open! However, lots of us believe that as long as there are trees somewhere nearby, we’ll automatically stay much cooler! Sadly, that’s not always the case as depending on where those trees are placed, that’ll decide how much shade you get. If you have no trees close to the house, it may be worth thinking about planting some young saplings now. Choose trees that grow quite quickly like poplars, maples, birches, and willows as well as those that are famed for their leafy, green appearance, so they’ll give you plenty of shade.

To save a significant amount of energy, or at least figure that’ll be noticeable on your next bill plant trees on the south and west-facing sides of your property. Everyone knows that south facing gardens tend to get the most sun, so by creating a tree line there you’ll reduce the heat dramatically. Remember, trees are a natural way to cool down your entire home as well as encouraging wildlife into the neighborhood. When planting always check the property boundaries before you start digging and as long as you don’t cross over onto your neighbor’s land you’re fine.

However, we do suggest being courteous as not only do you not want to start a turf war but it means if you block their beautiful view now they could do the same thing to you later on.

bed, bedroom, chair

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

Have A Ceiling Fan

It may seem a bit old-fashioned, almost colonial, but high ceiling fans do a fantastic job of keeping the air moving while cooling down rooms you spend the most time in. In fact, the more people you put somewhere small the hotter the overall room temperature gets. This is because we each have our own perfect temperature! Some people feel much colder than others but in a big group heat becomes the dominant force and as it rises things then get fairly uncomfortable quite quickly as people begin to sweat.

Ceiling fans aren’t as ugly as they used to be and now come in a variety of shapes and sizes they’re also quieter than you’d expect. Remember, these fans are designed to keep you from melting so if you’re going out turn the fan off! If you really need your AC on, and let’s face it in mid-summer plenty of us see it as a lifesaver try to look for one that’s as silent as possible. There are also some great quiet ac units out there that won’t make you feel like you’re standing in the middle of an airfield instead of your living room every time you turn on the remote control!

art, brush, color

[Photo courtesy of Tookapic/pexels.com]

White Out!

Do you recall your eighth-grade science lessons and how your teacher told you how snow reflects the heat instead of absorbing it due to it’s lighter color? The same principal applies to our roofs so if you want to lower the temperature below you should mix it up above! It’s often why you’ll find buildings and roofs painted white or yellow in hotter countries so that the encroaching heat doesn’t seep inside. Believe it or not, a report by Climate Change Research suggested that if all buildings and roads in the US were painted white the energy saved could run into millIons of dollars.

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Home and Living: Oops, I Forgot! Not With These Quick-Thinking Tips

We all have those oops moments when we realize that we’ve forgotten something quite important! Unfortunately, as you get older, these will happen much more often. As our brains age, it is ever so easy for things to slip out mind. These forgetful moments can range from not being too important to things that can ruin our daily plans! However, there are certain ways you can make sure that these moments don’t cause too much trouble. In this blog post, I’ve written about some of the things we all commonly forget. There are also some great tips that can help you out of the various sticky situations!

Checklist, Check, List, Mark, Reminder, Checkbox

[Photo courtesy of Tumisu/pixabay.com]

Online Passwords

Diary, Journal, Pen, Notebook, January, Desk, Office

[Photo courtesy of stevepb/pixabay.com]

These days, most of us use computers and mobile tablets every single day. And you will hopefully have put a password on them to protect them. You will also need passwords to access your social media accounts, emails, and any other online accounts that you may have.Ideally, you need to have a different password every time. That way, if someone finds out one password, they won’t be able to access all your accounts. Unfortunately, that means that you will have a lot of passwords to remember, which can make it ever so easy to forget them! So what do you do if you forget a password and can’t access your laptop of online accounts? There should be a link on the website you’re trying to get into to request a password reset link to be sent to you via email or SMS. Can’t get into your computer? You can always take it to a computer service store; they can usually offer password recovery services.

Key, Stone, Floor, Texture, Brown, Lock, Lost, Mislaid

[Photo courtesy of aitoff/pixabay.com]

Keys

There is nothing worse than getting home to find out you don’t have your front door keys with you and are locked out! Most of the time, we don’t pick them up on the way out because we have misplaced them. But you never have to worry about misplacing them again, as you can now connect your keys to your phone. That’s right! There are now key trackers available that you stick onto your keys and then connect via Bluetooth to your smartphone. That way, next time you can’t find your keys, you just need to open the tracker app, and it will tell you exactly where they are! Some scientific studies show that getting stressed once you realize you’ve lost something actually makes it harder to find them. So, next time you don’t have a clue where your keys are, take some deep breaths so that you can stay calm and find them in no time at all!

Gift, Birthday, Loop, Heart, Mother'S Day, Greeting

[Photo courtesy of congerdesign/pixabay.com]

Birthdays

Birthdays seem to come around so often, and at times it can be very difficult trying to keep up with them all. Only just realized that it’s your relative or friend’s birthday tomorrow and don’t have any time to go shopping for a gift? No problem! One way around this is to always keep a stash of birthday cards at home in a drawer. That way, you always have a card ready for birthdays. Do you often buy the birthday boy or girl a gift? Just because you’ve left things so late this year, doesn’t mean that it should be any different. You might want to find an online florist who offers next day delivery like https://www.flowerbud.com/calla-lilies. Simply order a bouquet online, and you can relax knowing that your friend or relative will receive them in twenty-four hours. Of course, if you realize that you have completely missed the birthday altogether, there are ways you can make up for it. A belated birthday gift will always go down well as it gives the receiver a chance to extend their birthday celebrations! This can be something as little as a box of their favorite chocolates to a more extravagant gesture such as taking them out for a meal in a chic restaurant. It’s probably best to go that extra mile with their belated gift, as you did forget their birthday!

Blister, Medicine, Pills, Doctor, Blister Pack

[Photo courtesy of stux/pixabay.com]

Daily Medicine

Lots of us take medicine on a daily business. This may be for a long-term health condition, such as taking beta blockers for high blood pressure. It could also be for something less life-threatening but equally important, like the contraceptive pill or an everyday vitamin supplement. Whatever tablets you may need to take, it’s important that you don’t forget. Forgetting to take even just one dose of medication could weaken its effect and leave you at risk of certain health conditions getting worse. The best way to remember about your daily dose is to set a reminder on your phone. This is especially useful for women who take the contraceptive pill, as it needs to be taken at a similar time each day. You can also buy a seven-day pill box. This is split into seven sections so that you can put in all your medication for the week ahead. You can find them on sites like http://www.rehabmart.com/category/medication_helpers.htm. Leave this somewhere visible, such as in the kitchen or on your bedside table, so that you will always see it and remember to take the tablets.

Shopping List, Post It, Grocery, List, Note, Reminder

[Photo courtesy of Tumisu/pixabay.com]

Meal Ingredients

Started cooking and realized you don’t have a main ingredient? Yep, that’s annoying alright! If you can’t leave your kitchen to nip to the shops, you are going to have to get creative to work around the missing ingredient. There are always some alternatives that can be used in place of certain foods. For instance, did you know that lemon juice works well as a substitute for salt? And you can always use vegetable oil instead of butter. Food bloggers are really inventive when it comes to substituting ingredients, so have a search on these blogs to see if they have any suggestions. Forgot to get some meat for your meal? Why not enjoy a vegetarian version? After all, we are all now advised to have at least one meat-free day per week.

Now, I can’t quite remember what I was going to write my next blog post about…

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How To Be The Greenest Parent Around

As a parent you want to instil all the best possible values into your kids. The importance of sharing, the importance of gentleness and kindness, the importance of respecting your elders, the importance of cherishing and looking after the world around you. A love of the natural world is something that a lot of us would like to see in our children – a respect for our beautiful green planet and an interest in learning to take care of it. Luckily there are things you can do to encourage this love.

adventure, clouds, colorful

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

Go For Locally Sourced Food

Brown Fish Fillet on White Ceramic Plate

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

Locally sourced food is fresh and delicious and it’s also great for the environment because it hasn’t travelled over vast distances to reach you. Of course not all food can be sourced locally, like tropical fruits, but whenever possible, go for local options in the grocery store. You should also try to go for organic free range meat – this is a lot kinder to the animals and it’ll also be a lot more pure for your body as well. You should also remember that you need to stop buying bottled water. Sure it’s convenient but it’s bad for the environment in pretty much every way, from the huge transportation costs to the wasted plastic bottles, so you should purchase a water filter and use that instead.

Stop Wasting Water

beverage, drink, fresh

[Photo courtesy of Breakingpic/pexels.com]

We’ve all done it: we stand by the sink brushing our teeth and staring idly into space as the faucet runs. We spend too long in the shower, we use too much water when we’re washing up dishes. It’s extremely easy to waste water in general! Make sure that you cut down on this – leave post-its around to remind yourself to get out of the shower in good time and keep the water off wherever possible.

Use Natural Cleaning Products

The importance of using natural cleaning products can’t be underestimated. The truth is that in this day and age there is simply no need to keep a lot of dangerous chemicals in your home – and that applies even more when you have kids. You don’t want to have to worry about your babies ingesting anything harmful so why not go for non toxic cleaning products made from natural substances? Look online to find the best natural cleaners from companies that sell non toxic products like Jessica Alba’s Honest ranges, to cleaning solutions that you can use in your own home – did you know that you can use vinegar to unblock sinks and baking soda to clean up stains? There are a lot of natural cleaning solutions out there – put down the bleach and get researching. You know those chemicals give you a headache anyway! You’ll also find that using natural detergents will be the best possible thing for sensitive baby skin.

Lower Your Energy Bills

ball, bright, close-up

[Photo courtesy of Pixabay/pexels.com]

The importance of lowering your energy bills is two fold. Firstly, we all know that it’s great for your wallet, meaning that you can treat yourself at the end of the month – but we also should remember that it’s also great for the environment. Fossil fuels are being used up at a pace that’s far more rapid than they’re being created and as such we need to start using sustainable sources of energy. If your house isn’t equipped with solar panels, watermills or wind turbines then your only real solution is to cut down on your energy use. Simply, you should make sure that you turn off lights when you leave the room and that you don’t leave your electronic equipment on standby. You should also make sure that you change your lightbulbs to LED ones, which last for much longer and use considerably less energy. Ensure that your house is properly insulated to keep the heat in, thus lowering your heating bills, and put rugs down on your wooden or tiled floors, to prevent still more heat from being lost. If you can feel a draught then why not make a draught excluder?

Turn Your Home Green

White Ceramic Flower Pot With Green Cactus Plant on Brown Wooden Surface

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

No, we don’t mean that you have to paint all your walls green – although admittedly it’s a very peaceful and natural colour that your whole family would enjoy, so you could probably consider it. Rather, you should try to be as green at home as you possibly can. When you’re redecorating, use non toxic paints and paste, and make sure that you use sustainable materials wherever possible – if you’re redecorating a baby’s room, for example, go for a felt mobile instead of a plastic one. It’ll be just as pretty and it’ll be a whole lot better for good old Planet Earth. Go for good quality furniture made from recyclable materials that will last you for a long time instead of the homeware equivalent of disposable fashion, and remember that there’s no better home decoration than plants. Not only do they look extremely pretty, but they also produce oxygen and improve your home’s atmosphere. They’ll provide your kids with an example of having something to learn to look after, and they’ll bring a little piece of nature inside. You could go for a small herb garden on your kitchen windowsill – it’ll look good, smell fragrant and gorgeous, and you’ll feel incredible when you can use homegrown herbs in your cooking.

Lead By Example

Man and Woman Sitting on Rock Mountain during Daytime

[Photo courtesy of Unsplash/pexels.com]

Probably the most important parenting tip of them all is to lead by example. You probably already know this all too well – if you’ve ever let a single curse word slip past your lips in front of your kids after stubbing your toe then you’re probably aware that they pick up on everything way too quickly sometimes! If your kids see you recycling and walking instead of driving and respecting the natural world then they’ll learn to do the same thing and you’ll end up with an environmentally conscious family that you’re incredibly proud of. Take your kids hiking with your dog, send them on treasure hunts in your back yard and teach them to be gentle with insects like snails and spiders (even if you’re scared of them!). That way they’ll grow up with a real appreciation of this beautiful world that we’re lucky enough to live in.

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Why A Good Bed Is The Secret To Health In The Home

There’s a lot of things that we know are harmful to our families – bad food won’t help with health or weight. A lack of exercise is going to zap their energy and turn us all into couch potatoes. Too much screen-time can result in headaches. We know all of that.

While a ninja blender can cut up your fruit for a smoothy and a treadmill can get us running – there’s one piece of furniture that might be overlooked in our pursuit of health in the home.

It’s the bed. There are plenty of health benefits to owning a good bed, and on the flipside, a lack of sleep or interrupted sleep could be disastrous for the health of you and your family. BedTimes Magazine took a look at the benefits of a new bed:

“Through our research, we found that new bedding improved sleep quality by 62% and sleep comfort by 70.8%, and reduced back pain by 55.3% and back stiffness by 50.7% over a four–week period. We also found that lower back pain was much more prominent for those sleeping on cheaper beds and older beds. But regardless of their personal bedding systems, participants experienced immediate reduction in pain and stiffness and improvement of sleep comfort and quality when sleeping on new mattresses. The reduction in pain and improvement in sleep became more prominent over time, and participants improved regardless of age, weight, height or body–mass index. Moreover, when participants were assigned to high and low pain groups based on initial evaluation, both groups experienced a significant reduction in pain when sleeping on new mattresses. Even those who reported minor problems sleeping showed significant improvements in sleep quality and comfort—at levels similar to those who were poor sleepers.”

[Photo courtesy of Jennifer C./flickr.com]

They did the hard work, so we don’t have to, and it’s clear that new bedding or a new bed entirely is going to have immediate benefits to our health as well as our sleeping habits.

What do we look for in a good bed then? Firstly – it needs to be solid and stable. Your mattress needs a good support so it can support you! A creaky and shaky bed isn’t going to help, and you may feel like you’re napping on a sinking ship! As for the perfect bed? It doesn’t exist – you simply need the right one for you. A good mattress goes a long way, and this is the Best Memory Foam Mattress – a good mattress is going to gift you an hour of sleep that a lesser mattress will take away. Most mattress types have their cons as well, so try to get a mattress that you can try out as everyone is different.

[Photo courtesy of  Didriks/flickr.com]

Of course, you need pillows that keep your neck and head in line with your body for comfort and some breathable bedding is a good idea. A number of sets for different temperatures will help.

A good bed – it could do wonders for your health and for your bedroom!

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