Giving Our Living Room Some Life Again

This is a sponsored post.

As I’ve mentioned before, we are currently in privately rented accommodation and have been for almost seven and a half years. According to our contract, we aren’t allowed to make too many changes to the house and when we leave, we will have to make sure the house is returned to its original state.

I don’t know about you but my carpets have certainly seen better days. We’ve lived here as long as we have and have had two kids weaning, potty training, playing in this house. The carpet is brown in colour as it is but age has not been kind to it. Whilst we are planning on moving when we possibly can as we need more space, I have been considering seeing if we can get the carpet replaced – at a cost to us. If we aren’t allowed, we will of course be getting a professional carpet cleaning company in but I’d love the opportunity to spruce my living room up a little.

Obviously I’d like to do this on a budget as two kids, their various clubs and just our day to day living isn’t exactly cheap so I’ve been looking for cheap carpet for if we are allowed to make the changes.

Christelle BOURGEOIS
I’d be looking for a much nicer colour than the brown we have, of course, and something that doesn’t seem to pick up every bit of dirt and stain incredibly easily – no matter how quickly I get to a stain on this carpet, it is just so obvious on this colour. Flooring Superstore are a brand I’ve been looking at, simply because they offer such a wide variety of options – there are many colours including beige, grey, purple and cream – although I don’t think I’d be choosing cream with my two clumsy kids! I also love that you can shop by price – there are four categories which are budget carpets, essential carpets, premier carpets and elite budgets so there is something to suit every budget.

With us also continuing to look for a new property due to space issues, carpet is definitely something I’ll be considering for those. We are hoping to buy in the not too distant future and nothing says making a home your own than ripping out all the old carpets from the previous owner and replacing them with brand new ones that you have chosen yourself. Either way – if we stay here (and I am allowed to) or move – I’m looking to get some new carpets to make my house look fresh and new again.

Have you ever bought new carpets for your home? How did you make the decision of which one to choose?

 

 

Our Travels In The UK | Weston-super-Mare & Cheddar Gorge

This year, we are making it our aim to visit plenty of places in the UK during the school holidays. As Jack is at school and Steve works at said school, we are very restricted on when we can go away but we are determined to get away at least for a couple of days each holiday.

It has taken me a while to get round to writing this and publishing it but the first place we visited this year was Weston-super-Mare in the February half term. We went down on the Friday and returned home late on Sunday. So what did we do?

We booked into a Premier Inn because we find them super affordable and perfect for our needs. The room was spacious, the kids loved their beds and we loved the breakfast the next morning!

When we got to the hotel, we took a few minutes to relax before getting our bags from the car. We then chilled out in the room for an hour before heading into Weston-super-Mare itself, driving around and taking a look at the old pier before visiting the Grand Pier and heading onto the beach. We also grabbed some chips to eat on the pier and they were so good!

We were very lucky to be on the beach just as the sun was setting which was a beautiful sight to see and I managed to get some great shots of my little family!

We then headed back to our hotel room and to the restaurant next door for our dinner. Unfortunately we weren’t very impressed with our meals – my burger was completely burnt (now I like chargrilled as much as the next person but this was just burnt) but it filled a gap that we had. Then we talked about our plans for the next day which was to head to Cheddar Gorge.

Our Trip To Cheddar Gorge

The next day we were up and early, ready to give Cheddar Gorge a visit. We knew that there was going to be a lot of walking – in and out of the caves and of course, up those many steps to Jacob’s Ladder. We thought we would tackle the caves first.

We loved seeing the little goats just chilling on the cliffs, such a cute sight to see as we parked up!

The caves were absolutely fascinating – we learned so much and the kids loved looking at everything. Steve was really interested too and we made plans to stop at the cheddar shops before we left. We saw the replica Cheddar Man which was great – do you know the story?

Cheddar Man is a human male fossil who was found in Gough’s Cave in Cheddar Gorge, Somerset, England. The skeletal remains date to the Mesolithic (ca. 9100 BP) era and it appears that he died a violent death. Experts believe that the man may have also been suffering from a bone infection. He was excavated in 1903 and he is Britain’s oldest complete human skeleton. The remains are kept by the Natural History Museum in London in the new Human Evolution gallery and a replica is in place in Cheddar Gorge itself.

We also headed to the museum across the road which was quite small but kept everyone interested for a while.

Before heading to Jacob’s Ladder and tackling the many steps, we thought we’d take a little walk around the area, grabbing a bite to eat for lunch and buying some cheese and some cider from the shops there. It was very scenic and extremely beautiful.

We finally decided to tackle Jacob’s Ladder and the Lookout Tower.

To get up to the Lookout Tower, you need to climb the 274 steps that make up Jacob’s Ladder. You’ve then got to climb the 48 steps to get to the top of the tower. The climb is definitely worth the effort – there are some fantastic views of the Mendips and the water meadows of the Somerset Levels.

The 274 steps can be a little daunting and we were very grateful for the four strategically placed breaks in the steps to catch our breath – we definitely took advantage of these! After the tower, you can continue on the cliff top walk – we did a little way but turned back as, by this time of the day, Olivia was exhausted and neither me or Steve fancied carrying her over rocky ground.

Olivia and I decided not to head up the Lookout Tower but Steve and Jack did and took in some amazing views. Jack had home learning to do which was read a book in a random/unique place – he certainly did, choosing to read at the top of the tower!

After descending, we took a slow drive back to the hotel, exploring the area that little more and taking in the landscape. As you can imagine, both kids quickly fell asleep as they were so tired from all the walking!

We headed back to the hotel room before heading out for dinner then went back and fell asleep very easily before heading home slowly on the Sunday.

Weston-super-Mare and Cheddar Gorge were fab places to visit and a great start to our travels around the UK. Have you ever been to either?

Common Garden Problems- And How to Fix Them!

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Is your garden looking a little worse for wear? Maybe it’s not been touched since last summer, or perhaps several years have gone by where it’s not been given any attention. You might have moved into a new home and inherited a neglected garden. Either way, getting it back up to scratch will provide you with a place to sit and relax and to host friends, and somewhere for your pets and kids to play. Here are some common issues, and how to fix them.

Overgrown trees

Established trees in the garden can be a wonderful addition to the space. They look nice, and can provide you with added privacy and shade. However, when trees grow too large it can become a problem. They might block out so much light that the inside of your home looks dark and dingy. They might have been planted in the wrong place and so make your garden feel smaller than it is, and in some cases the roots can grow so large that it can affect the foundations of your house. In some cases, giving the tree a good prune and cut is all it needs, but if it’s affecting under your home, it will need to be cut down. Find a local tree surgery company and see exactly what needs to be done. In some cases, cutting down trees will make the garden feel so much better and you can always plant some more suitable varieties or just some shrubs to stop it from looking bare.

Pests

We should all be doing what we can do invite wildlife into our garden- birds, amphibians like frogs and toads and pollinators like  bees and butterflies can all struggle to survive in more built- up areas. However, when we invite wildlife in, it’s the good kind that we want! We don’t want pests that will enter our gardens (and possibly our homes) and cause damage, spread disease and generally be a nuisance. Pests like rodents, termites, aphids, spider mites. slugs and locusts can all be detrimental to our plants, pets, property or our health. Sometimes, biological control can work well. For example, encouraging ladybirds into the garden with various plant and planting schemes will naturally keep aphid levels down. If you’re going to use pesticides, be careful that you’re not going to harm other creatures in the process. Things like slug pellets for example can be fatal to dogs and cats, but there are other varieties which are safe to use. So do your research.

Cherry Laithang
Weeds

Leave your garden for a few weeks and weeds will quickly take over. These species are highly adapted to live in our soil and climate, they can establish very quickly without much in the way of nutrients or space! It’s why you’ll find dandelions thriving even in the cracks of your patio, or various weeds poking up from small breaks in weed barriers on the ground. Again, be careful of chemicals if you’re going to use weed killer, it’s advisable not to spray it on a windy day since the toxins can fall onto other plants. Used carefully, it can be helpful to get things under control. From there, each week you could go up and pull up any weeds that have sprouted by hand.

Broken slabs and rotten decking

Patio slabs are built to last, but over the years the wear and weather can take their toll on them. Broken slabs can really bring down the look of the garden, the same is true of rotten decking. You might be able to patch things here and there, but in some cases it might be best to just start from scratch. Rip out your current patio and throw it into a skip, and have a new one fitted. If you’re a dab hand at DIY you might be able to do this yourself, otherwise have a gardening company come in. The patio is where most of us tend to spend our time in the garden, it’s where furniture like garden swings and table and chairs are placed. So if this area looks a mess, it’s going to affect the look of the entire garden. If you’re not good at maintaining your wooden decking, go with a composite type which is a blend of wood and plastic and won’t rot. Otherwise, stick with patio slabs.

A thinning lawn

A bald and patchy lawn can be caused for a variety of reasons. From people standing on it when it’s wet, to it being flooded in the winter to urine from pets, and general wear and tear from kids running around. Achieving a lush green lawn isn’t as difficult as you might think, and in most cases you won’t need to rip it up and start again. Use a scarifying tool or rake to remove all of the thatch (dead grass) and then using a garden fork, create lots of holes to aerate the ground. Purchase a fast growing grass seed blend and scatter it down between March and October and keep the ground moist. Within a month you’ll have some decent growth, and after six weeks you can give the grass it’s first cut. The more its cut, the more it will be encouraged to grow, and before you know it it’s back to looking good again. If your lawn dies each year due to flooding problems then the issue is with your soil. It’s best to take it all up and start again. Make sure you lay down enough high quality top soil so that the lawn has nutrients and drains freely to stop it from going boggy.

Overgrown ponds

Overgrown ponds are an eye sore and bad for the creatures that live in them. Floating weeds can quickly cover the surface, trapping too much co2 and creating a toxic environment for wildlife. If you don’t have time or the energy to maintain a pond, have it drained and filled in. Otherwise, do some research and find out exactly what’s involved in keeping it ship shape.

Best Ways To Fund Your Small Start-up Company

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Starting up a new business isn’t always easy, and it can be a really daunting prospect. Often, many potential entrepreneurs are put off by the stress of securing funding, but the fact of the matter is that it actually doesn’t have to be all that difficult, and life is just too short to keep putting things off. If starting up a company of your own has become a dream of yours, you should without a doubt give it a go. You see, despite climate scientists concluding that global emissions must peak by 2020 and be net zero by 2050

Create a business plan

By creating an in depth business plan you will more likely manage to secure the funding you need, and have a full awareness of how much funding your new business will realistically require to get on its feet. Every company leader must have vision. The idea for a company starts with a vision, along with dreams of what the business could become. Consider what is going to make your business different to its competitors, consider why it is your business will succeed over other businesses. If you need to seek advice from experts, do so. Just ensure you have a solid business plan, and a solid vision of what you want your business to become, before you get started.

Consider instant business funding

In order for most new businesses to get going, a loan of some sort or other will be required. Fewer and fewer banks are granting loans to small and new businesses, but fortunately there are alternative funding options out there. SME Loans can offer you both merchant cash advances as well as unsecured business loans. For each, the application process is incredibly quick and simple; it can be completed entirely online in just a few minutes, saving you from any lengthy telephone calls or extensive paperwork. Once your application has been accepted, you can expect to see the funding in your bank account within as little as 24 hours. With a merchant cash advance specifically, a fantastic advantage is the super flexible repayment process.

Your monthly repayments will be calculated in accordance with your revenue generated through card sales only; if one month, for example, your earnings are less than is typical, your repayment for that month will in turn be less, meaning you should never be struggling to meet what you owe. Furthermore, there is no fixed repayment periods, no interest and it is completely unsecured, meaning you are not required to secure the funding against any valuable assets. With an unsecured business loan, the repayment plan is personally tailored to you; working with your financial situation, repayments will be made over a period of between 1 to 3 years. It is also worth noting that the approval rate is high and no collateral is required from you with a unsecured business loan.

Jesus Kiteque
Try out crowdfunding

This will not be an option for everyone, but over the years crowdfunding has grown in popularity and its popularity is set to continue in years to come: in the US, the volume of global crowdfunding platforms skyrocketed from $530 million in 2009 to over $2.8 billion in 2012. It is a great alternative funding option for those with new, innovative ideas that members of the public are willing to back. Not only can crowdfunding secure you the funding required to kick start your new company, but it can also be a great way to test whether or not your business idea is going to be popular enough to be a success. Furthermore, it’s also a brilliant way to advertise to a wide target audience.

Tap into your personal savings

If you have savings available to you, why not put them towards starting-up your company. It may seem risky, but if you are confident and passionate enough about your business plan, it could well be worth it. You could also ask family members for financial support, with the promise of paying them back as soon as you can.

Use a credit card

Using a credit card to fund a business start-up can be risky and should be approached with caution; if you fall behind on your payments your credit score will of course suffer. However, if you use your credit card carefully and responsibly, it can be a great way to solve cash flow problems and can help your business idea become a reality.

Seek out a business partner

If you know someone who might be interested, a friend or a family member for example, then getting a business partner on board can be a great way to make funding a new company much easier. Make sure your business partner is equally passionate and someone who you can trust. Don’t be afraid to have a contract professionally written up to avoid any potential issues in the future.

There are many more ways to secure funding for a start-up company other than with traditional lenders, and with such a wide variety of alternative funding options out there, you have no reason to keep putting off your dreams and visions of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

Helping Family Members Gain Their Independence Back

I was recently commisioned by Premier Care to give my thoughts on the following topic. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I’ve mentioned in the past that my grandparents are now struggling to do the things that they once were. My in laws are also registered disabled and my father, before he passed away, had not long been registered disabled and struggled too. As such, accessibility is of massive importance to me.

Whilst I can’t claim to know everything that there is to know about accessibility – there is so much left for me to learn – what I do know is that we should aim to help those who struggle to do the day to day things that others take for granted.

One such thing is bathing. Now I don’t know about you but I love a bath. The thought of this routine being of difficulty to me is quite sad so I can only imagine how people like my Nan feel and how my father felt. Towards the end of his life, he ended up doing strip washes as he could no longer get in and out of the bath, something he used to love.

Something I have been looking into is companies who offer a solution to this – walk-in baths and easy access showers. If finances were to allow, I want to ensure my family members can have a pleasurable bathing experience without having to worry about slipping and falling.

One such company is Premier Care- take a look here to see what they have to offer. They are the UK market leader and offer a variety of products so that everyone can have an accessible bathing experience, no matter what.

Their walk in showers have been specifically designed to allow everyone to enjoy a comfortable and relaxing shower with complete confidence and safety. They have ultra low access and thermostatic control. There are a number to choose from so you can choose exactly the one to suit your needs.

The walk in baths have also been designed to make it easy to get in and out of them with ease with low level entry and easy carer access, should that be needed. They have grab rails, slip resistant surfaces and thermostatic controls – some also have reclining seats. There is a range to choose from, with you being able to choose the best one which suits your needs.

So why do I think accessible bathing is a must? Why wouldn’t I? Everyone deserves the opportunity to be able to bathe or shower in comfort without the fear of them slipping or falling and doing themselves an injury, especially if they are unsteady on their feet or cannot use them that well. I know that, for some of my family, the loss of their independence has been a tough pill to swallow and anything that can help make their day to day life that little bit easier is always something I am going to look into and champion.

I am still looking into options at the moment – whilst I’d love to just waltz in and convert my family members bathrooms, unfortunately I cannot do that without their permission and big changes aren’t something they take to well. But I am hoping that with my helping hand, I can help them gain a little of their independence back.