How to Keep Your Home Safe This Summer

With the holiday season soon approaching, it’s likely you’ll be leaving your home in search of sea, sun and sand. With this in mind, I spoke to PlumbNation about the best way to keep your home safe this summer whilst you’re away.  Smart home technology has moved on leaps and bounds in recent years, and thankfully there are some brilliant security gadgets to choose from. With a bit of planning and a few low-cost updates, you can enjoy full surveillance control over your property without always having to rely on the neighbours!   

Install a burglar alarm

Just the sight of a burglar alarm can deter a criminal away from your property. Thieves are looking for the easiest time, so a bells-only alarm is a great option for homes in heavily populated areas. These alarms will sound a loud noise when triggered – attracting you or your neighbours’ attention to the house to scare off the intruder. For more isolated homes, dialler burglar alarms are a more suitable option and contact you or nominated friends & family when your alarm goes off. This allows someone you trust to investigate the issue further.

Trick of the Light!

Interior lighting is a great way to prevent intruders from targeting your property. Timer light switches work by turning your lights on and off at certain times of the day to give the impression that you are still at home. If burglars think you’re on the sofa watching the telly, then they’re much less likely to try their chances! Plug-in timers tend to be the cheapest and easiest option for lamps, however Hive Active lightbulbs can be controlled from your smartphone and allow you to set a schedule for them through the Hive app.

Get smart

Smart home security systems are a great way to keep an eye on your property whilst you’re away. The Honeywell Evohome wireless security system connects your phone to a number of security gadgets around the house – instantly alerting you to any disturbance detected.  Simply use the Evohome app to access data from your pet-friendly motion sensors, security cameras, glass break sensors and indoor and outdoor alarms. Alternatively, Ring security is the latest market innovation that offers full surveillance control over your home. Every Ring device features a wide-angle lens, a sensor, a built-in microphone and a speaker. This allows you to see, hear and speak to anyone on your property.

Avoid the tell-tale signs you’re away

Nothing says “I’m an empty home” more than a vacant drive and a pile of letters on the doormat. Ask a friend to remove any junk mail or milk bottles from around your door and have a neighbour park their car on your drive whilst you’re away. If you’re away for over a fortnight, you may want to ask a friend or family member to mow your lawn. An unkempt garden or driveway is a clear sign that no one is home. Last but not least, do not leave a message on your voicemail machine that you are out on vacation. Burglars may call up a house to check if anyone is home.

Opt for a security light

Security lights are a great way to improve the security of your home. Whilst it may not prevent day-time robberies, security lights will draw attention to any suspicious night time activity. This will illuminate anyone that attempts to tamper with your property or vandalise it.

By following these simple tips and tricks, you can relax on the beach knowing your property is fully protected this summer.


Feeding Brussels Sprouts to Dogs

Brussels sprouts are like marmite; you either love them or you hate them. They are a vegetable which divides people worldwide and they are a vegetable loved by just as many as those who despise their very existence. Brussels sprouts are known for their ever-so-slightly bitter taste and strong, pungent smell but, if prepared properly, they can be quite delicious.

#1: Can I Feed My Dog Brussel Sprouts?

As with anything, if fed in moderation, Brussel sprouts are absolutely safe to feed to your dog. As a vegetable which is related to the broccoli family, they are high in nutritional value and are perfectly safe – these little balls of veg-based dispute are very rich in dietary fiber and vitamins, two things which your dog absolutely needs to benefit from a balanced diet and aid development.

In addition to these, Brussel sprouts are packed full of antioxidants, which help promote overall health in both yours and your dog’s bodies; antioxidants fight so-called ‘free radicals’ which are linked to cancer and can damage cells. Antioxidants do this by protecting the body’s cells and stop them from being damaged. Also, antioxidants work wonders to reduce inflammation and improve overall blood circulation.

#2: Do Dogs Like Brussel Sprouts?

Dogs will eat almost anything, and this is no different when it comes to Brussel sprouts; your dog will have no problem with eating them at all. You don’t need to just feed your dog Brussel sprouts, though. Why not mix it up a bit and feed a whole medley of vegetables?

Vegetables, in moderation, are very good for dogs and many pet owners do not feed enough of them. You can safely feed your dog small amounts of other vegetables such as carrot, parsnip, courgette, peas, and spinach, to name a few; most leafy green or mixed vegetables are perfectly fine for dogs.

#3: Don’t Feed Them Raw

Although dogs will eat most things, raw Brussel sprouts are an exception to this. If you are going to try and feed your dog Brussel sprouts, then ensure that you cook them first. Cooking the sprouts makes them much more palatable and easier to eat; your dog is not going to enjoy eating a solid ball of vegetable, no matter what you serve it with.

When preparing Brussel sprouts for your dog, avoid cooking them in large amounts of fat, butter or with seasonings; simply boiling the sprouts in water and allowing them to go soft is good enough. By cooking them in fat, you are eliminating all the health benefits associated with them.

Many pet owners often overlook feeding their dogs vegetables, yet it is something which is completely safe in moderation (as with most things) and can enable your dog to enjoy a whole host of health benefits and get some extra nutrients into their body. Although Brussel sprouts may not be the obvious vegetable of choice to feed your pet dog, it is likely you will have some left over if you ever prepare them (they’re not the most popular vegetable!) and, in this case, there is no harm in having your dog finish them off.


How to stay safe when travelling abroad with your family

Family holidays provide the perfect opportunity to escape the day-to-day routine, build memories and spend some relaxing time together. While most holidays pass incident-free, there is always a risk that something can go wrong, with challenging repercussions for you and your family.

 No trip is without risk, but there are steps you can take to ensure you feel better prepared should something go wrong while you’re away. Check out our short guide to the most common holiday accidents and what you can do if something goes wrong.

 Holiday accident risks:

 Food poisoning:

 Trying out the local cuisine is often a holiday highlight. However, differing food hygiene standards and warmer climates can increase your chances of getting food poisoning. Food poisoning risks include meals left warming for too long, dishes prepared in unsanitary conditions and unclean drinking water.

 Road traffic accidents:

 Many holidaymakers hire cars when they are abroad to see more of the area they are visiting. Driving in another country can be dangerous though, as road regulations and conditions and driving practices may be different to those in your own country.

 Slips, trips and falls:

 For many families, spending time at the pool or near water is a holiday highlight, but wet surfaces can be slippery, increasing the risk of an accident. Busy hotels can also lead to maintenance issues, which raise the risk of an accident.

 Different countries have different approaches to, and standards of, health and safety. This could result in uneven pavements and steps, for example, which would present a trip hazard.

 Accidents on excursions:

 For many holidaymakers, booking a day trip or excursion is a hassle-free way to see the best of a destination or experience new activities. While most day trips are entertaining, illuminating and pass trouble-free occasionally things can go wrong, particularly when people are trying new sports.  

 What should you do if something goes wrong?

 Make sure you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)

 If you are travelling in Europe, you must carry an EHIC. The card entitles EU citizens to free or reduced cost state-provided medical care in 27 European countries.

There is no charge to apply online for an EHIC online, and it is valid for up to five years.

Travelling without an EHIC is not recommended. Should you become injured and you don’t have a card then you may have to cover your medical costs upfront. 

Make sure you have holiday insurance

Many people incorrectly assume that having an EHIC means you won’t need holiday insurance.  

Having an EHIC card gives you access to state-funded care, but it’s important to remember that the standard of national healthcare systems varies between countries, the care won’t necessarily be free as in some countries patients pay a proportion toward their treatment and, in an emergency, the nearest medical facility may be privately-run.

Travelling without insurance can be extremely costly. The average medical claim costs £1,300, with some running into six figures. Despite this, research suggests a quarter of UK holidaymakers travelled without an insurance policy between 2016 and 2017.

Travel insurance is a competitive market, with a variety of policies available to suit a range of needs. The average annual policy costs £37. Remember to do your research though and read the small print. Taking the right policy out ahead of a family trip could help you avoid a hefty bill and additional worry at what is often an already traumatic time.

 When can you make a holiday accident claim?

 If you have had an accident while on holiday and can prove someone else’s negligence was responsible for your injuries, then you may be entitled to make a holiday accident claim.

Strict time limits on holiday accident claims under English and Welsh law mean you have three years from the date you were injured to start a claim. However, if you need to include a foreign party in the action then that time limit may be shorter.

What should you do if you have an accident?

Anyone injured in a holiday accident should obviously seek medical treatment as soon as possible. Report your accident to your tour operator, holiday representative or hotel, as appropriate.

Where possible, keep a record of your medical notes. Gathering evidence from the scene of your accident, such as photographs or the contact details of eyewitnesses, can strengthen any future compensation claim so we would recommend that you do so, where safe and possible.

Seek the advice of a solicitor who specialises in holiday accident compensation claims as soon as possible.

What is the process for making a claim?

Holiday accident compensation claims can be complicated and your eligibility to start a claim is dependent on many factors, including how you booked your holiday.

Give yourself the best chance of succeeding by making professional legal guidance and support a priority.

Who should you contact if you have had an accident while on holiday?

 Being injured in an accident while on holiday can be devastating and many holidaymakers in this situation are unsure where to turn for advice. Thompsons Solicitors’ personal injury specialists will talk you through the process. After learning more about your case, we can advise as to whether you should start a holiday accident personal injury claim. Our friendly solicitors will offer your family professional support throughout the process.

 If you believe that you may be eligible for a holiday accident claim, call our experienced team on 0800 0 224 224.


Tips to make children like fruits and vegetables

There are many things that you can do to make your children like fruits and vegetables. Usually, they do not like these two kinds of food. Since these kinds of food are very good, making the children like fruits and vegetables is very important. Here are some tips that you can do.

  • Ask your children in choosing menus.

Give the options of fruits and vegetables in the list for them and discuss the pro and cons in choosing the menus.

  • Get your children involved in the process of the making and the preparation of the food.

Starting from choosing fruits and vegetables when you are shopping. This will be interesting for the children. Also, you can also tell them the benefits and advantages of eating the fruits or vegetables that they have chosen.

  • Start with a small portion.

If we want to introduce a certain fruit or vegetable to your children, start with a small portion. Give a small portion and let your children decide how many portions that they want to eat. Do not forget to give praise if the children eat the portion that they have made.

 Megan Hodges

  • Always give your children choices and let them choose by themselves.

Enrich the taste of fruits and vegetables to your children by introducing these two kinds of food.

  • Include the fruits and vegetables in the cooking process of food that the children like.

For example, if your children like stew, include carrot, potato and squash in the stew. This makes there is not only meat that is in the stew, but there are other choices in it. If your children like pizza, make fruit as its topping besides the topping that they like. Also, you can make snacks such as carrot cake or carrot muffin, squash bread, broccoli pancake or cream apple soup where fruits and vegetables are cooked so that they are not like the real shape.

These are some ways that you can do to make your children like fruits and vegetables. Those two kinds of food are very useful for their body. So, make sure that your children like those two kinds of food so that your children will get the substance that they need for their growth.

In short, do not make your children burdened and overwhelmed by the demand for eating fruits and vegetables. Try to change the negative stigma to the taste of those two kinds of food. Always ask your children to get involved in every process that you do. Do not force your children to eat a certain fruit or vegetable if they have tried it and they did not like it.

Finally, do not be disappointed or frustrated if your children just like some fruits or vegetables. There is still another way. You can give your children the additional vitamin, which contains fruits and vegetables that are very useful for their body. So, do not be worry, mommies.

About the Author: Carol James is a writer and senior editor. She has MA degree in social sciences and writes articles, reviews on the different actual subjects. So, if you have any questions regarding the writing, feel free to ask her and visit her company’s page EssayLab.

Guest Post Submission

Coastal Stays vs Country Stays

With miles and miles of glorious coastline and countryside, we’re spoiled for choice in the UK when it comes to choosing a destination for our next break. But how do coast and country breaks compare? And do we prefer to feel the sea breeze in our hair and sand between our toes, or is the peace and quiet of the countryside much more appealing? I love a stay in the UK and am quite prone to both coastal breaks and country breaks but which would you choose?

The team at Cottages in Northumberland, a coastal cottages and country breaks holiday lettings agency based in Northumberland, is here to reveal the pros and cons of being beside the seaside and escaping to the country…

Coastal breaks

With breath-taking sea views, delicious food and plenty of family-friendly things to do, it’s no wonder that a staggering 38% of the top ten holidays involved trips to the beach last year, according to research compiled by the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA).  I myself even stayed on the coast – at a holiday park that was right on the beach so I didn’t have far to go.

And these aren’t the only things that the coast has to offer holidaymakers. A coastal break is also therapy for the mind, body and soul: relax by listening to the sound of the waves crashing against the coastline, sleep well from fresh sea air, and soften your feet with a walk along the beach. All things my family love.

Heading to the coast is also a chance to relive happy memories. From eating take-away fish and chips, making sandcastles on the beach, and rolling up trousers and sleeves to paddle in the sea, the percentage of trips to the beach last year shows that all the way through life, people love heading to the coast. Jack is super keen to get to the beach already after just a few hot days!

Coastal breaks do, however, have their drawbacks. More expensive than their countryside counterparts even in the off-peak season (from around £450 for seven nights, compared to £360 in the countryside), taking a coastal break in peak time also means that the town or village where you choose to reside will be much busier people-wise than a stay, at any time, in the vast, open countryside.  This is something we have trouble with – the expense.

Country breaks

While seaside breaks become part of our lives at a young age, escaping to the countryside is very much the idyll of these two types of holiday.  I’ve only been on a couple of country breaks but I’ve really enjoyed them.

For many of us living in the UK’s densely populated towns and cities, the main draw of a break to the country is to fulfil our desire for peace and quiet. But the pleasures of the countryside don’t stop there, rural stately homes, picturesque landscapes, Britain’s darkest skies, and an abundance of walking and cycling routes all make the countryside the best places to relax and unwind from the stress of everyday life – especially if you’re at a place which barely gets wifi or signal, haha!

Country breaks are also a great opportunity to get closer to nature. Dig out your binoculars and observe beautiful birds, butterflies, hedgehogs, foxes, rabbits, and even deer in the countryside. There are so many beautiful things to see.

While this all certainly sounds worlds away from urban life, the remoteness that comes with a countryside break is something that some city-types may find unnerving. And we don’t just mean that people-wise! If your smartphone is in your hand at all times, you may find an issue with the distinct lack of Wi-Fi and phone signal in the countryside, I know I have!  You might also find yourself travelling much further to pick up the evening’s dinner than you might at the seaside due to the lack of supermarket superstores and express shops alike.

So, what’s it to be? Whether you see the seclusion of the country as an advantage or prefer the thought of old-fashioned seaside fun, there’s a world of choice at your fingertips right here in the UK.