Three Energy-Saving Tips to Help You Afford a Little Extra Heat

Creating a cozy home this Christmas doesn’t have to mean cranking up the thermostat. That said, you might like to have the freedom to heat things up now and again for a little extra cosy factor. Whether you’re eco-conscious or on a budget (or both) these tips could help you snip some off your energy bill here and there, giving you a little extra leeway this winter.

Lower Your Thermostat When You’re Not at Home

Lowering your thermostat temperature when there’s nobody home is a no-brainer if you’re looking for ways to reduce your energy use, without impacting your lifestyle. If you’re home during the holidays, you won’t be able to take advantage of the regular nine-to-five schedule of the working week, but you may still find opportunities to schedule temperature decreases throughout your holiday period if you have a holiday line-up of activities planned ahead. You can manually reduce the temperature before you walk out the door, but you may not always remember. Unless it’s an established habit, it’s better to rely on a pre-set if your heating system allows. A system boiler may have a service timer, meaning you can set a range of temps to suit your needs at various times of day according to your family’s schedule.

If your holiday period includes a few days away on holiday somewhere else, take advantage of this time to save on your energy use. Turning your thermostat down for even a few days will make a big difference. Just bear in mind that the thermostat should be high enough to prevent the pipes from freezing.

Run Cold Washes

While many of us choose to run hot laundry cycles as standard, this is not strictly necessary. Most of your family’s regular-use items will wash clean with cold water. What’s more, your clothes are likely to last longer if you wash them cold than if they are subjected to hot temperatures on a regular basis. If your usual laundry routine involves hot washes, you could save up to 90% of the energy you normally use by running cold cycles exclusively. Of course, a hot wash might be necessary on occasion, especially for muddy clothes or soiled items, but it can be useful to group those things together for a hot wash once per week, rather than setting the cycle to hot as your default. The occasional warm cycle shouldn’t make too big an impact if you’re making a conscious effort to stick to cold cycles the rest of the time.

Avoid Using the Dryer

Regularly using the dryer is one of the most reliable ways to guzzle energy. While it may sometimes be necessary, especially for heavy items in winter, you can save a significant amount of energy by only using the dryer as a last resort. Other indoor drying methods may take a little longer but they can be effective if you arrange your space right. For example, hang your clothes on a drying rack in a room with a dehumidifier running. A dehumidifier uses relatively little energy and can dry your clothes overnight. Heated drying racks are another great option. Hot tip: place a bed sheet over the top to trap the heat!

If you plan to spend the Christmas season at home, these tips will help you save a little extra on your energy bill so you can crank the thermostat up when it counts.

Creating a Cozy Home This Christmas

Christmas is fast approaching. You might already be shopping for gifts or planning your home decoration. The streets are lined with lights and other displays, Christmas music is playing in stores and festive markets are thriving. If you’ve got kids, you might be planning fun events like visiting Santa or going ice skating, and letters to Santa might already be written. 

One of the best things about Christmas is getting cosy at home. Nothing beats cuddling up on the sofa in our PJs with a Christmas movie on Netflix. Sipping hot chocolate and indulging in our favourite festive treats. It’s warm and comfortable, and part of the season that most of us love. 

But, sometimes, getting cosy at home is harder than we’d like it to be. If your home is cold and sparse, or your rooms are particularly large, you might struggle to feel warm and cosy. You might even have a hard time filling it with Christmas cheer. So, let’s take a look at some of the things that you can do to create a cosy home this holiday. 

Add Some Texture

Texture is a crucial ingredient when it comes to creating a cosy home. Add texture with cushions, heavy curtains, throws and blankets, and rugs on engineered wood flooring. Try to use different materials, such as velvet, wool, and cotton, and include some reflective surfaces to maximise the effect. Colour can also add the appearance of more texture. Use multiple shades of the same key colours in your decor, layering them to add depth and texture to your rooms. 

Keep it Warm

It’s almost impossible to feel cosy and comfortable when you’re cold, and there’s very little worse than being cold when you are at home. Be sure to get your boiler serviced, bleed radiators if they need it, and invest in, or make draught excluders. Add throws and blankets to your sofa, and don’t underestimate the power of a hot water bottle and slippers. 

Use Festive Shades

Christmas and cosy go together like peas in a pod. So, make the most of the connection even before you decorate for the holidays. Add accessories and soft furnishings in festive shades such as red and dark green. 

Add Lighting Options

Lighting can have a massive effect on the atmosphere in our rooms. Bright overhead lights can make even smaller rooms feel open and spacious. Dimmer, soft lighting can have the opposite effect. They can make a room feel smaller and more romantic. If you want a truly cosy atmosphere, nothing beats candles and fairy lights. 

Bring the Outside In

What’s the first Christmas decoration that you think about? For many of us, it’s the tree. So, why not bring more of the outdoors in to create a more festive atmosphere? Bring natural elements in with wreaths and other displays. 

Make the Most of Festive Scents

Most of us have scents that we associate with Christmas, as well as colours and decorations. These scents can help your home to feel more festive, as well as cosier. Think mulled wine and cinnamon, winter spices, vanilla, Nordic pine, and other Christmas favourites. 

How Can You Commemorate Your Baby’s Birth?

Baby Lying On White Fur With Brown Blanket

There are few things more wonderful and exciting that the birth of your baby. The only problem is that it can often feel like the time flies by far too quickly. There’s so much going on that you end up in a whirl of excitement and exhaustion that can often leave you struggling to take note of the little moments that really help you appreciate this amazing time in both yours and your baby’s life.

It might not be easy, but it’s important to take some time and slow down just a little. It’s so fleeting that, if you don’t, you’ll find that it’s gone before you even notice. But what can you do to preserve those memories and make sure that they aren’t lost in the whirlwind that the first year of your baby’s life?

Here are just a few simple ideas for commemorating the birth of your child.

A newborn photo shoot

They say a picture paints a thousand words and that’s definitely true. You can tell stories about your baby when they were first born for years to come, and you probably will, but you’ll never quite be able to capture exactly what they were like in that tiny moment when they were firstborn. A newborn photoshoot is a great way to help preserve that moment. If a newborn photoshoot sounds cheesy or unpleasant then don’t worry, photographers who specialise in newborn photography take great care to make sure that your baby is both safe and comfortable. Whether you want a little photo to stick into an album, or you want to be able to put them up on the wall in some a4 frames, there’s no better way to preserve the first days of your child’s life than a photograph.

Footprint moulding

Footprint molding is fantastic because, unlike professional photoshoots, this is something that you can do at home. You can usually buy the clay that you need at plenty of different stores, and all you need is your baby’s foot, or hand, to be pressed into the clay gently. After that, you’ve got a lovely mould of your child’s foot that you can use as a decoration in your home. Something you might want to do after that is to take a new mould of their foot every year so that you can see how much they’ve grown.

Home video

There’s an amusing stereotype of the dad obsessively filming everything that their baby does from the moment it’s born. Of course, that can understandably get a little irritating but here’s the thing. Do you really think you’ll ever look back and think “gosh, I wish we had less video footage of the first days of our child’s life?” Probably not! Now with smartphones, taking a high-quality home video of your baby’s first moments is easier than ever! You can see their first moments in full motion, rather than just a static image.

It can often feel like these kinds of things aren’t that important but the truth is that time flies by a whole lot faster than a lot of people realise when they have a baby. It’s always a good idea to do what you can to preserve those precious memories when you can.

Top 3 Kids’ Playhouses

Playhouses are toys which children seem to never tire of. They take prime place in most people’s gardens and as long as tit’s not raining outside, you’ll usually find your little one enjoying themselves whilst playing with their favourite toy.

If you’re looking for a playhouse to buy your child in the near future then you will evidently have a lot of things to consider. Before you make your purchase, you may want to contact a company like New Lawn for artificial grass installation to improve safety. After all, there are so many different types of play houses available on the internet and in stores all over the UK and these differ on a whole host of different factors, such as price, size, appearance, features included and more.

Here’s some information on a few of the top kids’ playhouses available for purchase at the moment, which will hopefully provide you with some ideas and inspiration for when it comes to buying one for your child.

Smoby Duplex House

smoby playhouse

This kids’ playhouse will literally blow your mind. It is a two storey house which features a staircase inside that leads to the top floor which is deemed to be a relaxation and rest area. This area is protected by a security fence so you need not worry about the levels of safety. In addition to the exciting upstairs, the Duplex House also has a kitchen area, a barbecue area that comes with accessories, a living room with a table and two stools, a gateway with a bell and more. It’s not hard to see that the level of fun which can be had is immense. The product is actually easy to assemble., even with all these features.

Step 2 Sweetheart Playhouse

sweetheart girls playhouse

This playhouse is the ideal option for any little girly girl. It boasts a pale pink framework which goes beautifully with the purple thatched style roof and the bright pink door and window shutters. Moreover, above the door there are three bright pink hearts which completely makes this toy cuteness personified. The playhouse also comes with electronic features in the form of a phone and a doorbell. In addition to this there is a range top which doubles up as a barbecue grill, a clock and a window flower pot.

Little Tikes Picnic on the Patio Playhouse

picnic on the patio little tikes playhouse

It says it all in the name – This playhouse is the perfect option for children who want to sit outside and eat strawberries and sandwiches in the sunshine! It sort of takes the role of a toy kitchen as well, which is an option extremely popular amongst children. It boasts an oven, burners, cupboards and a 19 piece accessory set which includes play food and tableware! There’s also a pretend phone with this product and an electronic doorbell which makes a massive six fun and exciting sounds.

Home Maintenance Jobs That Will Save You Money On Renovations And Repairs

Doing repairs and renovations on your home is expensive, so you want to avoid it if possible. There are some simple tricks that you can use to avoid a full renovation but eventually, you’ll have to spend money on the house. Sometimes, you don’t have any other option but a lot of the time, repairs can be avoided with a bit of simple maintenance. If you’re waiting for problems to occur and then fixing them, you’re making life a lot harder for yourself. It’s a lot easier and cheaper to fix those problems when they’re small by doing regular maintenance. These are the regular maintenance jobs you should be doing if you want to save money on home repairs and renovations. 

Check Roof Tiles 

Roof damage is a big problem in the home because it’s going to cause leaks and then you’ll have a damp problem to deal with as well, and that will be expensive to fix. But you can avoid that easily if you just check the roof tiles every now and again. It isn’t difficult to replace a roof tile when it comes loose but it’ll save you a lot of time and money in the future. If you don’t replace those loose tiles, you’ll start getting bigger holes and that’s when you have a real problem on your hands. Get up on the roof and check every now and again, especially after bad weather to avoid any disasters. 

Unblock Drains 

Blocked drains are another big issue around the home because a buildup of water can cause problems with your plumbing and also lead to damp. Using a drain unblocker on all of the sinks on a regular basis is the easiest way to stay on top of it. However, that isn’t always enough to deal with the blockage so you might have to call a professional company like Drainboss and have them do it for you. They’ll also be able to do a survey of your pipes so you know if there are any major problems that you need to be aware of. 

Repair Woodwork 

If you have wooden windows and doors on your home, they’re going to wear over time and the wood will become damaged. If you leave it and don’t make small repairs, the wood will degrade until it’s completely unworkable and you’ll have to replace it completely. It’s simple to fill small gaps and splits in the wood and then repaint, and it’s a lot easier than replacing the entire thing if you neglect it. 

A Fresh Coat Of Paint 

If you don’t want to pay for a full renovation but some of the rooms in the house are looking a bit tired, the easiest way to freshen them up is to give them a new coat of paint. It’s a simple job to do yourself and it won’t cost that much, just make sure to prepare the walls properly and you’ll get a good finish. 

If you stay on top of these basic maintenance tasks, you won’t need to renovate or repair the house anywhere near as often, and that’s going to save you a lot of money.  

How To Look After Your Body And Mind As A Busy Mum

Let’s be honest, being a Mum can be pretty hard. By the time you’ve finished with all of the chores that you have to do, and your work, and you’re all done making bathtime fun with your kids… finding the energy to enjoy some time to yourself – whilst looking after your body and mind – is pretty futile.

What are you going to do, anyway, when you just want to curl up into a ball on the sofa? Starting those new fitness moves you’ve seen on various blogs and insta all of a sudden doesn’t seem so appealing OR easy!

But there ARE many ways to look after your body and mind when you’re a busy Mum, and here are some of the best of them.

How To Look After Your Body And Mind As A Busy Mum

Water. Lots and lots of water

OK, we’ve heard this one floating (sorry) around a lot, but the truth is that water can help you to look after your body AND your mind. Not only does it give you more energy to take on that big-scary-Mum-day, but it also keeps your skin clean, and your body cleansed.

We need water for a multitude of reasons, and being dehydrated just isn’t good news. Ditch the coffee (OK, not all of the time) in favour of a water bottle, and try to keep one in your bag when you’re out and about.

You’ll be glad that you did because when you’ve got more energy, you feel like a goddess with super healthy skin.

Steer clear of the wine

Whilst most of us like to enjoy a glass of wine every now and again, it really doesn’t serve your body – especially your liver. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with alcohol in moderation, but if you’re going overboard, then it’s not great.

Unfortunately, a few Mums do turn to the vino for stress relief, but it could be impacting upon your sleeping habits (it’s hard to get into a deep sleep as a result), and making you feel a little more groggy the next day.

If you think that you’re stuck in a habit with this, then it’s a good idea to get in touch with an organisation like help4addiction.co.uk. Alcohol is also a depressant, which isn’t helpful in the long-run (lecture over).

Take some time out

The most important piece of advice in this entire guide is to take some time out, just for you. That’s right, nobody else, just you.

You want to go for a walk to think things through and listen to music? Do it! You want to take yourself out for dinner? Do that too. Whatever you decide to do, it’s a good idea to be alone for a while sometimes, just so you can get your thoughts together. Taking a step back could be exactly what you need.

Don’t stress, we’re not telling you to take yourself on a solo trip to the Bahamas for a few weeks. Just for a coffee (sorry, water), or to the park to read a book, or wherever it is that you can do to collect your thoughts.

Talk about your feelings

A lot of the time, we’re under this immense pressure to uphold the world around us as Mums. We think that admitting that things are hard, or that we need help, or that we’re simply not feeling good, shows that we’ve failed in some way.

If this sounds like your thought process, then you could look after your mind simply by saying, ‘I need a bit of help here, so that I can take some time to heal.’ That doesn’t mean that you’re running away from things, just because you need to spend an evening talking to a friend.

It simply means that you’re a human being, who feels things and sometimes struggles. Talking about this stuff is important.

Find your own self-care

OK, so we could talk about self-care until the cows come home, but the truth is that different things work for different people. Whilst there are some things that are guaranteed to help a little, like getting enough sleep, it is purely subjective.

You will find things that lift you up, and make you feel like your mind and body are in a good place. Just because Rachel at the school gates told you that yoga was like, really cool, doesn’t mean that you have to love it.

So…

If you want to look after your body and mind as a busy Mum, then remember these simple things… but ultimately, do what makes YOU feel great!).

5 Secrets To Success For Work At Home Mums

When you’re a mama, it’s always going to be important for you to find a job that you love. For you to be able to do work that gives you the money you need, but then also fits in with your lifestyle. Because you won’t always want to be on the go or spending hours away from your children each day.

This is often why the idea of working from home can work so well. It allows you to work in your own time, be a lot more flexible, and be in control of your own income. Yet, when you’re new to this, or you have no idea exactly how you can work from home, it’s difficult to know how to get started, or even how you’ll make it a success. So let’s take a look.

5 Secrets To Success For Work At Home Mums

  1. Set Working Hours

To start with, you need specific working hours in place. Because it helps you to be organized for the right amount of time each day. Yes, working for yourself is flexible, but it can be chaos if you do not stick to a schedule.

  1. Create An Office Space

Next up, you need somewhere to work. If the dining table or sofa is just too distracting, then you need to designate an office for yourself. Look at different home office ideas and get creative. It may be time to transform that unused spare room or garage space into a working mecca.

  1. Aim For Productivity

The next thing you need to master is productivity. Here, the ideal is to be able to have those set working hours and get everything you need to get done, within them. And so, you’ll want to hone in on your focus, avoid distractions, and create systems that help you to work smart.

  1. Get Comfortable

Now, some will tell you that you need to get all dressed up to feel professional and get yourself into the most productive headspace for work. Of course that can work, but sometimes the energy you need is already within you – and a true passion for what you do will encourage you to keep working, no matter what. So absolutely get comfortable if you want to. Look for smarter sweat sets and deals on crocs, cosy jumpers and outfits that make you relax. Because you need to be comfortable if you’re going to get a lot of work done in a short space of  time.

  1. Set Boundaries

Finally, you have to make sure that you have boundaries in place too. Yes, it’s nice to be able to work from home – but it’s important to remember that this is a lifestyle thing. And that your family comes first. So you need to be able to switch off in the evenings and not work too hard at all times. This is why working hours can help. But not only that, you need to set limits for yourself, so that you know when to switch off work mode, and get back to mummy mode again.

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