Dizzy Miss James - Travel / Food/ Lifestyle

TRAVEL ▪️ VEGETARIAN FOOD ▪️ LIFESTYLE

Clearing Up Your Outdoor Muck




Once you get into a regular routine, cleaning your home becomes an easy task. Spending an hour or two a week doing large jobs, and a little bit of time each day touching things up, you will be able to make the inside of the place sparkle with very little effort. Of course, though, the inside isn’t the same as the outside. Patios, windows, and other outdoor areas will be exposed to grime like no other, making the process of keeping them clean a challenge for a lot of people. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the tools you have available to help with this sort of job.


As one of the oldest tools available, brushes can be an excellent choice when you’re trying to manage the outside of your home. These are great for stone, wood, and metal, enabling you to add some friction to your scrubbing. Those with coarse bristles will be best for muck which is hard to clean and will be best for areas like decking and fences. If you want to clean your furniture, though, it could be worth using something a little softer. You should be able to find a good range of options at your local garden store.


A lot of gardens have some sort of tree coverage, adding a beautiful backdrop to the outdoor space. Of course, though, with a plant like this, you will often find leaves becoming a problem in the autumn months. To clear this debris, one of the best tools available is a simple rake. Designed to sift through grass and soil, they will pick up anything which they cross, making it easy to clean them up when they are making a mess of your garden. Like brushes, these can be found in most garden centers.


Windows are renowned for being hard to clean, especially when from the outside. There are loads of tools out there which can help you with this, ranging from sponges to special rubber bars, and you should be using a selection of them to handle your windows. It will be worth reading some guides before you start with this, as some methods will leave the glass streaky and unpleasant to look at.


As the last tool on this list, it’s time to bring out the big guns, using water to do your cleaning for you. A pressure washer has the power to do much more than any of the other tools on this list, with some being powerful enough to take the tiles off of your roof. Easily handling grime on patios, stone, and wood, these devices are great for a range of jobs. To make sure that you don’t cause damage, though, it will be worth looking at some guides before getting started.


Hopefully, this post will give you everything you need to make a start on the mess in your garden. There are loads of tools to help with this, making it incredibly easy to keep it under control. Of course, though, you will still have to do all of the work.


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Claiming Back Independence When Moving Home




Moving home is a major process in anyone’s life and can be pretty disruptive to your usual routine. So it’s not all too surprising that there are all sorts of professionals out there who make it their career to help you along the way. But seeing as moving home is such a personal step to make, many of us want to gain back a sense of independence when it comes to moving from one property to another. So, if you want some personal space throughout this stage in your life, here are a few ways to claim back your independence when moving home!


Property Searching



While it’s an estate agents role to help you find the property of your dreams, many of us feel pressured when making use of their services. We feel that we are being pushed towards particular properties that we’re not actually all too interested in, or we can feel that we are being a nuisance each time we ask to see something different. The good news is that most agencies now have online property search sites. This allows you to take matters into your own hands, easily changing your search preferences and browsing at your own leisure.


Moving from A to B



Moving from your previous property to your new property can be a relatively stressful process, so it’s not all too surprising that people tend to make use of professional removal services. This lifts a huge weight from their shoulders, as all they have to do is pack their belongings into boxes and then other individuals will come in, take them away, load everything onto a van and unload everything at the other end. But this can be costly and, generally speaking, you have to sign some sort of waiver to acknowledge that the removalists aren’t responsible for any damage that may come to your belongings in the process. Instead, why not save and be sure that everything is carried out correctly by doing it yourself? Try out Squab van hire - this will give you a large enough vehicle to get everything from A to B safely.


Decorating



Nowadays, increasing numbers of people are calling in the help of interior designers when it comes to decorating their new properties. Now, interior designers can be extremely useful. They have years of experience in the field and will know what kind of color schemes, features, flooring, lighting, and furniture may be able to compliment particular rooms in your property. But at the end of the day, nobody knows your personal taste better than yourself and what could possibly be more personal than your home? You don’t want to be railroaded into choosing a type of design just because it’s deemed fashionable or stylish at the moment. You want your decoration to reflect your interests and tastes as an individual. So reclaim the decorating process and choose your interior design yourself! Make boards on Pinterest and take clippings from decorating magazines for inspiration, but add your own personal touch to everything.


While it’s comforting to have these different professionals around when moving home, remember that you don’t always have to engage directly with their services. You really can do most of the work yourself if you please!



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A Facelift For Your House



It may sound weird, but sometimes our homes need a bit of a facelift. After all, the outside facade is the first thing anybody sees when they visit. What this means is that even if you have the most immaculate and on-trend interior, if the front of your home is shabby (and not in a good way) it can let you down. Luckily, it's pretty easy to give the front of your house facelift, and you don't have to be a qualified surgeon to do it. Keep reading to find out more.




The Front Garden



The front garden is an essential part of making the facade of your home look good, and if it resembles more of a meadow than anything else, it might be time to get the strimmer out. Yes, that is right, weeding and cutting the lawn in the front are both regular essentials. Although if you are looking for lower maintenance options, there are other possibilities that you can pursue.




One is to remove the grass completely and replace it either with slabs, stones, or even fake grass. The advantage of going with fake grass is that you still get the look of a natural garden, but without all the work it takes to keep it in check. No watering or mowing is needed, and you can say goodbye to weeding! However, going for something more modern and cultural with a Zen feel made from rocks, and low maintenance plants such as cacti and succulents can also work very well.


The House Frontage



Whether your home is built of brick, stone, or wood looking after the front wall that faces onto the street is a significant part of ensuring your frontage looks its best. First of all, check to see if any climbing plants are still healthy and in condition. Also, check to see if they are overgrown or becoming too heavy for their support, in which case they need to be trimmed back to give a neater appearance. Trimming them will also stop them doing any damage to the front of your home.




Then focus your attention on the actual walls themselves, are in good repair? Do they need cleaning or painting? Of course, depending on the materials that the walls are made from you have different options available to you here.


For example, if you live in an older stone building, then it may be best to get the facade sandblasted. This is when a high power wash is applied, and it strips a fine layer of stone from the top, leaving a clean, fresh surface underneath.


However, if you have a home that has been rendered or painted, then you may need to repaint the frontage, something that is relatively easy to do. Although as it often includes working at height, some householders do prefer to get a professional in to do this for them.


The Driveway



Next, if you are lucky enough to have a driveway, it also means that you need to take good care of it to make the front of your house look the best it can be.


Driveways can be tricky though, as there are several factors that play into their appearance. For one, the surface of the drive itself needs to be in good condition, as any cracks or potholes will not only damage your car but also look unsightly.


Also, weeds seem to adore sprouting in any cracks in a driveway surface. In fact, because they are so hardy and can push their way up through concrete and asphalt, it's a good idea to use a potent weed killer before you do any repair work.




Of course, these solutions are based on the assumption that you wish to keep the driveway you have, but you may want to try something new instead?


If this is the case, then look carefully at all of your driveway options before you make your choice, and consider not only the aesthetics and cost of the project but also how hardy your choice will be. The reason being that the more water and weather resistant the surface of your driveway is, the longer it will last and the less maintenance it will need. Something that can make keeping it looking its best a lot easier in the long run.


The garage



For many of us, another aspect of the front of our homes is the garage. Unfortunately, because it is regarded as a functional space, the garage is often neglected and overlooked when it comes it it’s appearance. This is a fallacy however because as most garages are street facing they are in fact as important as any other part of the facade of the home.


With this in mind, take a long hard look at your garage and assess whether there are areas that could be improved? The walls may need repainting or cleaning, or perhaps the doors need replacing?


Luckily, if the latter is the case, there are a wealth of designs to choose from such as these sectional garage doors, as well as wooden barn-style doors, and solid doors. Something that means finding a door that matches the look and style of your home is super easy. Replacing your garage door can make a huge difference to the look of your home.





The doors and window



Lastly, it's time to take a look at the doors and windows in the front of the house. These are both features that can contribute significantly to the look of the facade of your home.


For some households, it may be enough to have the windows professionally cleaned inside and out and removed any mould that is starting to form around the frames, and this is often the most cost-effective option. Other homeowners may choose to repaint windows and doors to give their house a more updated feel.


Still, others may decide that nothing short of replacing the front doors and the windows in the front of the house will do. An action that can have a huge impact and make it seem as if the front of your home has received a real facelift and make it look it’s very best.




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Why Going Green At Home Could Save You Money



Your home is your biggest expense, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t save money while living in it. There are plenty of good ways to be frugal at home that will not only save you money but are good for the environment too.

Image: Kaboom Pics

Whether you’re looking to enjoy extra savings to put towards home decor projects or you want to book your next holiday, some money-saving wisdom can be really valuable. Take a look at some great ways that going green can save you money at home.

Reduce food waste

Food waste is a growing global problem. If you’re guilty of throwing out leftovers or you have too many expired foods lining your rubbish bags, then you need to find ways to actively reduce your food waste.

Better meal planning can help you work out exactly what to buy each week so that you don’t waste any excess food. By knowing what you need for different dishes, you won’t be tempted to waste money on junk food or snacks, and you’ll become better with your portion control. Meal planning will not only save you money, but it can help to tackle the food waste problem while also making you make healthier food choices.

Cut your energy bills

High energy bills can take their toll on your finances, but excessive energy use can also harm the environment. Take a closer look at electricity pricing and you’ll be surprised by what you see. Start by changing providers to make sure you’re getting the best deal, then aim to reduce your monthly spend by turning off appliances, reducing your heating use and changing your technology habits to help bring your bills down and become a greener household.

Remember that you can also switch phone and TV providers to save money, while also getting rid of services you no longer want or need.

Recycle your clothes

If you’ve got too many clothes at home, or you’re guilty of overshopping - then you need to start changing your habits. Clothes that come from mass-production shops and trend-led clothing can be bad for the environment, and plenty of unwanted clothes end up in landfills each year. Recycle your clothes through stores like H&M as a way to get vouchers in exchange for donations, or simply give your unwanted but wearable items to charity.

Building a capsule wardrobe is an excellent way to reduce the number of clothes you buy - focusing on classic, timeless pieces that will ensure that you always look sleek and stylish. It is possible to dress like a celebrity on a budget, but you need to become more sensible with your spending. Sleep on big purchases before you commit to buying to help you make wiser shopping decisions.

Once you get into the habit of money saving, you’ll soon discover other ways of reducing your spending. Making greener decisions will help you become less wasteful and able to make wiser decisions about your spending to benefit both you and the environment. Start thinking of ways you can go green to help you save money at home.



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Six Things You Absolutely Do Not Want In Your Home (And How To Deal With Them)


Your home should be a calm cove in the stressful sea of life. However, if you find things in your house that you don't want to be there, it can be anything but! Luckily, once you have identified the unwanted item, smell, or visitor, there is usually a solution to fix it and to prevent it recurring. Read on for more information on this.

Unpleasant Smells

A smelly home is not a happy one, and if you have unpleasant and unwanted whiffs in your house, it's best to deal with them as soon as possible. Of course, to sort them out correctly and get rid of them, so they don't come back it is necessary to work out where they are coming from. This isn't always the most pleasant of jobs either, but it is worth it as you have a much better chance to eliminate the problem entirely if you find the source.


Places in the home that may be the source of that nasty smell may include the kitchen floor, especially the space underneath appliances like the fridge and freezer. This is because it is very easy for food to fall down there when you are using these items and then get trapped. Then, if you don't move these appliances regularly and clean underneath, the food can start to rot and create a very nasty smell.




Also, drains and places where water is used can be a source of smells in the home. This is especially the case if a drain becomes blocked because then the water and the waste that it is washing away is unable have nowhere to go. Luckily, in most cases keeping such drains free of debris and cleaning them regularly with a pipe cleaning solution is enough to keep them dirt and odour free.


Lastly, the unpleasant smell may be coming from your soft furnishings, especially if you have little ones that wipe their sticky fingers along them, or pets that like to snooze on them.


To deal with this in the shorter term, it can be most useful to spray a room freshener. Although it's always best to select one that doesn't just mask the smells but also traps them as well.


For a longer-term solution, it may be necessary to wipe the fabric down, or even take the cover off the couches and wash them. Of course, it's always best to do this with caution because it is incredibly easy to shrink couch covers and then have a devil of a job trying to get them back on the sofa and to look half decent. For some specific advice on this check out the video below.




Pests

Another thing that you do not want in your house is pests. Sadly,  pests come in all shape and sizes and protecting your home from them, as well as getting rid of them once they have settled in can be tough. In fact, the solution to a pest infestation is usually particular to exactly what type of bug or rodent that is living in your home rent-free.


Termites for example, which can be incredibly destructive to a home can be deterred naturally by planting things like catnip and vetiver grass around the perimeter of your house. You can also help to minimise and prevent termite infestations naturally by buying furniture and wood products that are made of pine, as this is wood that is termite resistant.




Mice, on the other hand, don’t care what wood your furniture is made from. In fact, they are much more excited about all the tasty morsels that they can pilfer from your kitchen or your bin. This is the reason why it is essential to keep your kitchen as clean as possible, and your bins as far away from your home, as you partially can to prevent attracting them in the first place.




Of course, once they have taken up residence, you will need to take more extreme action. One way of doing this is to buy some humane traps which catch the mice, all ready for you to release them into the wild away from your home. Although, don't use cheese as bait here, as most of the little squeakers tend to prefer chocolate, making it much more effective!

Clutter

Unless you're going to be selected for the next season of Extreme Hoarders, see the video below for a clip, you don't want lots of clutter in your home. For one it uses up valuable space, and look unsightly. It also can be dangerous as well, if allowed to build up to an extreme level, and it can make a great breeding ground for some of the pests that were mentioned in the section above.



With that in mind, regular clear outs of the items in your home are essential to stop clutter building up. It is also essential to have an overarching organisation system for documents, clothes, and other things in your home, as this can stop things getting out of hand.


Also, one way to prevent clutter in the first place is to embrace a more minimalist style of living like the person in the video below does. Minimalism is all about having only the items that you need, and it can naturally help you rid your home of clutter. There are various methods to achieve a more minimalist look that you can use, such as the Konmari method which emphasises using certain principles to decide whether to keep an item or not. 





Polluted Air

You may not be able to see it, but another thing you certainly don't want in your home is polluted air. Sadly, there are a lot of things that can affect the quality of the air in our houses including dust, animal dander, dust mites, and other allergens.


To cleanse the air in your home of such things it is essential to open the doors and windows regularly and allow the air to circulate about your home.


Regular dusting and vacuuming are also essential, and by using a machine with a HEPA filter, you can help trap the dust particles and allergens and stop them from moving around your home. In a similar vein using an air purifier with a HEPA filter can also significantly raise the quality of air in your home, something you can find out more about here.

Mould and Damp

Only Fungus The Bogeyman would want a home that was full of damp and mould! In fact, for the rest of us, such things are a colossal no-no! The reason for this is because damp can not only encourage mould but can also damage items in your home.




Mould can be an issue that you do not want. Damp can wreck soft furnishing. It can also cause more serious structural problems where wall or floorboards that have got wet and won't dry out start to rot and become unsafe.


Damp can be caused by many different reasons. These include not airing out your bathroom once it has been used, as well as the more pressing issue of rising damp, where your home foundations suck up water and transport it into the walls.


In particular, rising damp is something that can be tough to rectify in a home, and usually, needs the attention of a professional who can install a damp course and waterproof the foundation, so they are not as absorbent.


Damp is, of course, a condition that encourages the growth of mould as well, as while many moulds such as Penicillium, which as a rule are not harmful to humans, there are other like Stachybotrys that is. In fact, Stachybotrys can irritate mucous membranes in the nose, mouth, and eyes, creating a particular problem for those that already have an issue with their breathing, such as asthmatics.


Luckily, to kill Stachybotrys is pretty easy as all you need to do is scrub it will hot water and soap. Although it is recommended that you use gloves and a mask while doing this, so you don't inhale any of the loose spores. Remember too, to scrape the mould off before you start to scrub for the same reason. Otherwise, you will just be spreading this around your home and creating a higher risk to your family.

Toxic Chemicals

Lastly, most people aren't too keen on having a house full of toxic chemicals and would think twice about storing or using them within their home. However, what many folks forget is that many of the everyday household cleaning product that we use contain precisely these.


In fact, in a typical kitchen or bathroom cupboard, you can find all sort of toxic chemicals such as Ammonia, Chlorine and Perchloroethylene. Which is why the directions on the bottle always state to use them in a well-ventilated area.




Of course, there is no law that says you have to use such products in your home, and you can, in fact, replace them with more natural solutions instead. You can even create these yourself from things like lemon juice, vinegar, and baking soda as they do in the video below. Then you can efficiently detoxify your home and make it a safer and more pleasant place to live.




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