Essential Baby Prep Steps (That Don't Involve Buying Products)

Any prospective parent knows that the process of preparing for a baby tends to involve an awful lot of shopping. After all, you’re introducing a new life, with very specific requirements, into your home; that’s why you have endless lists of items you need to buy, often requiring multiple shopping trips.

While those purchases are indeed essential, it’s not just shopping that is required for a new baby. You’re about to undertake the most life-changing experience of your life, so you have to take steps to ensure that your life is ready for the radical overhaul it’s about to go through.

Below are a few of the steps that all new parents should consider-- and don’t worry, you’re not going to have to make yet another shopping trip to tick these things off your to-do list!

#1 - Precook Your Meals

The first few weeks of your baby’s life are going to be inherently stressful. Sleep deprivation may become an issue, and you’ll be struggling to adapt to your new role as a parent. The last thing that you’re going to want to have to think too deeply about is food, which is why precooking and freezing meals can help make the first few months far easier to cope with.

There’s a wide variety of different meals that can be cooked and frozen, so all you need to do is reheat them as and when they are needed. Throughout your pregnancy, try to cook and prepare two of these per week. If you don’t have the freezer space, then you can always ask friends or family that live nearby to store precooked items for you.

#2 - Organise Your Finances

Many parents find that the process of learning to budget for a new arrival is a time-consuming and exhausting task. There’s always the possibility that you will forget to make financial allowances for important expenses, which can add to the stress you experience during pregnancy and the fourth trimester.

Take the time to peruse tips on how to budget for a baby and ensure that your finances are ready for your bundle of joy. You want to ensure that your finances are in tip-top shape, so do this as early as possible, giving you the space to relax and look forward to your impending arrival.

#3 - Think About Self-Care

Self-care is a term that is used to describe beneficial behaviours that make you feel good. It might be something simple, like taking the time to carefully wash and deep condition your hair, or something more elaborate such as going for a massage.

It’s incredibly easy to forget about self-care during the first few months of your baby’s life, so make some provision that will allow you to take a little time for yourself. Book a perinatal massage or plan an evening out with friends; something that allows you to take care of your needs and well-being, which in turn will improve life for your baby as well.

To Conclude

There’s a lot to think about when you’re expecting a baby. Remembering to go through the above list will ensure that you’re as prepared as you can be as you go through one of the most exciting periods of change you will ever experience.

Time To Improve The Feng Shui Of Your Living Room

We’re approaching summer at the speed of light (read: the speed of earth’s rotations), which means now is the perfect time to look at your living rooms and think, “hmmmm, how can I improve the feng shui here to create a space that is light airy, gorgeous and practical?” After all, that is what will create a strong and happy energy in your home.

Luckily for you, we have pulled together a list of essential feng shui decorating tips that will most definitely help you get started.

1. Wave Ba-Bye To Clutter
Having a living space that is free from unnecessary clutter is pretty much the bedrock for good feng shui. This really can’t be stressed enough. Clutter and feng shui just don’t get on. Your living room is not big enough for the two of them. Coexisting in harmony is impossible. So, first things first, keep a clean and clutter-free living room. It is just one of those things that will make you more comfortable in your home.

2. Let Natural Light In
Natural light is another founding member of good feng shui energy. The good news is, you don’t need to get the sledgehammer out and knock a hole in your wall. Even if you only have one smallish window in your living room, decorating with mirrors is a great way to improve the natural light in your home.

3. Practical & Beautiful
This is another key thing to take on board when creating a warm, relaxing and inviting space. It is finding that balance between beauty and practicality. A great example of this is having a beautiful wood burner, which not only offers a lovely natural focal point but has a purpose. So go to UltimateFires now and take advantage of the end of season sales going on. It isn’t just stuff, though. Designing a room that’s pretty at the expense of practicality is bad for feng shui. If you’re constantly worried about kids messing up your space, the feng shui will be wrong.

4. Colors Matter Big Time
The first three points are the pillars of feng shui success. Now comes the specifics and that means the colours. The reason this is so important is the colours you choose become an “expression of light” and thus a huge mood influencer. This is something you need to embrace in all of your decor, which is where this article will be of huge help. It’s not something we can just brush over lightly.

5. Know About Bagua
This is basically a quick way of saying the feng shui energy map of your space. So, when it comes to working out where everything in your living room should go, it is super-important you understand the bagua of your living room. Once you know how your home slots into this map you will find it much easier to redecorate as you’ll know which shapes, colours and materials will offer you the best energy.

6. Balance Is A Must

Shapes and colours are crucial. We’ve covered that. However, to go too far one way won’t work. An all pink area to max out your love energy will be too overwhelming in the same way an all blue area will not produce good feng shui in your career space. You need a subtle cocktail of colours in order to create good feng shui.

These Style Templates Can Turn Your Home into a Wonderland

Image via Pixabay

Creating a fairytale home that lives up to all your wildest dreams of design, style, and comfort, is a bit of a job. It’s not the kind of thing that happens overnight, but it is the kind of thing you can make progress on every day, so that you find yourself constantly moving towards a more aesthetic and pleasing home.

One of the best and easiest ways of ensuring that you are able to achieve this is to have a style template for your home. Not only does this allow for consistency in your decorating, it also makes it easier to find examples in magazines and blogs to orient your vision towards.

It also cuts down the decision making process somewhat, as you know exactly what features to focus on.

Here are three home-design templates that can help you to create a magical living space for yourself.

Antique, old-world

An antique, old-world theme is one of the most consistently enduring design aesthetics going, with many people longing for the sense of stability and history that comes with period architecture, design, and so on.

By all accounts, this is the reason behind the popularity of smash-hit period dramas such as Downton Abbey.

To capture an antique, old-world style, keep your eye on antique auctions, shops and markets. Traditional Dutch time pieces, rugs, solid wood cabinets, chandelier style lighting, and stone and wood floors are all classic features you can implement to capture this style, as are regency style sofas and oil paintings.

The aim with this template is to capture the vibe of the European aristocracy of yesteryear, and to make sure that any dinner guests who turn up feel like they’re about to get caught up in the plot of Pride and Prejudice.

Modern, minimalist

If there’s an opposite to the antique, old-world style, it’d have to be the modern, minimalist aesthetic typified by Swedish furniture catalogues and Scandinavian noir crime series’ like The Killing.

Metallic finishes, un-ornamented wood in whites and blacks, plastic, white-lights, glass, and polished stone are your best friends in achieving this style. Whereas the antique, old-world template is largely about flowery ornamentation and the sense of living in a place with “history”, the modern aesthetic is all about capturing the sensations of open spaces, simplicity, and cleanliness.

Proper storage space is a must in pulling off this style. Craftily hidden boxes and wardrobes are the way forward. Your aim here should be to leave as many clean, empty spaces as possible, to accentuate the shiny furnishings.

Natural, rustic

A natural, rustic style is all about capturing something of the forests and fields; a sense that you might be living in a log cabin on the edge of undisturbed wilderness. This style is especially suited for small homes in rural settings.

Unsurprisingly, simply wood furniture and log-features are a must for pulling off this style, and fireplaces score extra points.

Ornamentation should be kept quite simple, traditional, and wild. Prints of natural scenes, pinecone arrangements, and animal-skin rugs are all great options.

If you do happen to live in a rural environment, large windows can also be a great way of “letting in” the landscape around you and helping you to feel more immersed in it.

Save Your Home From the Sun

Living somewhere sunny can be great for your health. It lifts your mood, ensures you get plenty of vitamin D, and helps you get outside and exercise. It's not necessarily so good for your home, though. The effects of the sun's strong rays can cause damage to your home both inside and out, so you need to be careful. If you don't take steps to protect your home, the sun could do anything from cause colours to fade or things to warp to even starting fires. Here's what you should do to protect your home from the sun.

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Use UV-resistant Paint

Using the right type of paint can make a huge difference if you want to protect your home. UV-resistant paint helps to block the sun's rays so that it can't have an effect on your home. You can use UV-resistant paint on the exterior of your home, as well as other places that you want to protect from the sun. Usually, rather than buying a coloured paint with UV protection, you will be looking at buying a clear topcoat to add to your exterior paint. It can protect the paint you've already applied to the exterior of your home or perhaps the siding if you choose to have that.

Install New Windows

People don't often think about putting new windows in their home, unless one of them breaks. But, as John McCarter Construction says, new windows could offer better UV protection for your home. You can get new windows designed to filter UV light, which will help to protect not just the interior of your home but you too. It's important to be aware that without extra UV protection, you could still be affected by the sun if you're sitting inside. You can also get a UV film that you can apply to your windows to make the UV protection better.

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Get Sun Shades or Shutters

Instead of new windows, you can also control the light that comes into your home with various window dressings. Shades, shutters, blinds or curtains can all help you to control the amount of sunlight allowed into your home. They can also look great, so they're a good option if you're decorating your home. You could have anything from wooden shutters on the exterior of your home to roller blinds inside. Some offer extra UV protection, and you can also control how much light comes in with products like venetian blinds.

Move Your Furniture

Your furniture, particularly fabric or plastic furniture, can become damaged if it gets too much sunshine. If the sun is particularly strong, and perhaps magnified in some way, it could even get burnt or set on fire. One way to protect your furniture is to move it around now and then so it's never in the sun for too long. You can also avoid putting it in direct sunlight if you want to prevent fading and ensure your home is safe.

Take steps to protect your home from the sun and you won't have to pay to fix any damage. Keep your home looking good by taking good care of it.

Does Your Garden Deserve A Complete Overhaul?

If you feel that it has been a long time since your garden was how you want it to be, you are not alone. This is something that can easily happen over time with any garden, and it is often enough to make the whole home feel a little less complete. However, it is never true that all is lost, and there is always plenty you can do to fix the garden space if you so desire. The truth is that oftentimes it will require a complete overhaul, and if you have realized that that is what your own garden needs, it might be something of a shock. Nonetheless, with the right approach you can make sure that it all goes as smoothly as you like. Let’s take a look at how to make that happen.

Clearing The Area

Probably the first thing you will want to do is to clear the area completely. In order to give your garden an entirely new look, you will need to start from scratch, so that means getting a little dirty on your hands and knees. You will want to trim the lawn down as much as you can, get rid of any plants that are dead or on their way out, and declutter the garden of anything that shouldn’t be there in the first place. You will also want to look into clearing the space of any animals that you might find in a humane way. This would require getting snake catchers in, or even rodent control experts, as long as you can get your garden clear of all pests before you start work on it. This will make the process of renovation much easier and smoother to carry out.

Plotting Your Design

The great thing about garden design is that you are free to do whatever you feel like doing. It doesn’t matter what you want, chances are you can easily make it happen. This will be the next essential step in your garden overhaul: to plot out your design as perfectly as you can. Depending on how you like to work individually, you might choose to make a rough plot of just where you want different things to go, or you might be much more detailed than that. You might even want to sketch out the entire garden if you are a particularly pernicious planner. As long as you are doing it in the way that is best for you, you can be sure that you are going to be happy with the end result.

The Importance Of Taking It Slow

Another hugely useful truth about garden renovation is that you don't need to rush it. You aren’t living in it as such, so it doesn’t matter if it takes a long time to complete. This is worth bearing in mind as you work on the garden, as you don’t need to rush it and can go at whatever pace you like. In all likelihood, this will only lead to a better garen, and you will be much more likely to end up with the garden you were hoping for.

The Popular Design Trends Which Devalue A Home!

Homeowners are unique yet have one thing in common. The trait which runs throughout all property owners’ blood is the desire to make money. Whether it’s a family home or a “flipper,” the owners want to make as much dough as possible. To do that, you may try and implement popular and stylish design trends. Great idea because a modern property is worth a lot more than a dull, dilapidated home. However, before you unsheathe the paintbrushes, you should be aware of the trends which have the opposite effect.

These are the interior design styles that devalue a property.

Garish Colours

Winter is over, spring is here and summer is on the way. It’s a great time to be an Aussie, especially as the northern hemisphere freezes over! But, don’t let your enthusiasm for the inevitable warm weather cloud your judgement. Yes, bright, light hues are perfect for the summertime, but some are less appealing than others. Any painting company worth their salt should agree that bold colours are very risky. They may work, but they may not if the scheme is too gaudy and ostentatious. Typically, it’s best to stick with neutral shades of white and cream.

Greenhouse-Like Conservatory

Ah, nothing beats sitting in a cold conservatory and getting out of the scorching heat. Unfortunately, lots of annexes don’t fit the bill because the conservatory acts like a greenhouse. Rather than let the hot air out and the cold air in, a den traps the heat. As soon as you walk in, it’s like walking off a plane in an exotic country. Of course, the last thing homeowners want is a house which is a massive sweatbox and will think twice. As a result, you may have to lower the value of the property to encourage buyers to make an offer.

Oversized Fixtures & Fittings

Many homes have large furniture and equipment because the owners want to create a focal point. Yes, it’s dominating and catches the eye, but it also takes up a lot of space. Buyers tend not to care about rooms such as the living room as they like it cosy and comfy. However, the bathroom and kitchen are different matters as people need space to cook and do their thing. So, gigantic kitchen tops and a massive tub may look the part, but it could turn out to be wildly impractical. Use the Goldilocks method and opt for fittings which are just the right size.

High-Tech Software

Is your house a homage to Steve Jobs? Do you have the latest gadgets and gizmos? If so, you may want to remove them before putting the property on the market. They may seem cool to you, yet potential buyers see them as a hindrance. Firstly, there’s a chance they may never use the software. In that case, they don’t to pay for features they find pointless. Secondly, there is the issue of overheads. Gadgets use electricity, and electricity costs money. The more the house has, the higher the energy bills are likely to be.

Be careful before making a change because it could have the opposite effect!

Doing Christmas Without Breaking The Bank

‘It wasn’t like that back in my day, we just got a stocking with a lump of coal and an orange if we were lucky.’ We’ve all heard that from an elderly relative at Christmas time before. Sometimes I wish it were still like that. These days it’s all ridiculously expensive toys and it sometimes feels like it’s a competition to see who can spend the most. Your kids will tell you that they absolutely can’t live without the latest fad toy, which just happens to cost hundreds of dollars. The amount that people spend on Christmas presents is going up every years, and that’s before you’ve even thought about all of the food and drink. The price adds up fast and you often find yourself starting the new year in a bunch of debt. But you can avoid it if you start saving up some extra money in the lead up to the holiday season, here’s how you can do it.

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Reduce Your Bills

One of the biggest expenses in the household is your energy bills, so it makes sense that you should try to reduce them if you want to save some cash. Filling the house with energy-efficient products can save you so much more money than you realize. Everybody knows that a ceiling fan is great for cooling you down during winter but not a lot of people know that most fans spin both ways and if you reverse it they can actually heat the home up as well. Putting thicker curtains in will also help you to keep that heat in so you won’t need to have the central heating going for as long. LED light bulbs are another quick switch you can make which will save you hundreds of dollars a year. Now take all of the money that you’ve saved and put it into a savings account, you’ll still be paying out the same amount every month but now a huge chunk of it is going towards your Christmas fund.

Look For Deals Early

Prices are going to shoot up as you start getting closer to Christmas. When demand increases, it’s only natural that the price will too. Looking for deals on Christmas presents now, before everybody else starts their shopping, is a great way to save money. The earlier you start, the cheaper it’ll be, and you can avoid all of the crowds as well.

DIY Decorations

Decorations are a Christmas expense that people often overlook, but they’re still pretty expensive considering most of them are just bits of flimsy plastic. If you make them yourself you can save money and it’s a great family activity to do together. Making a wreath to go on the door is a simple, fun decoration that you can do easily. Get the family together and head outside to find all of the bits and bobs to go on it and then get to making. There are all sorts of great tutorials for DIY Christmas decorations online, so there’s no need to waste money on them.

Christmas doesn’t have to break the bank this year, you just need to be smart about it.

Improving your exteriors: 5 tips for making the outside of your home as attractive as the inside

When it comes to selling your home, it can be pretty frustrating when you’ve got the inside of the home looking perfect, but people are put off by the outside. Even if you’re not planning to sell, having the outside match the inside is important. It shows you’re taking care of your home, as well as simply looking good. But never fear; if the outside looks a little less than desirable at the moment, then you can easily do things to change it. Here are some ideas for you.


Use Colour

You’re not likely to be as adventurous with colour on the outside of your home as you are with the inside, but it doesn’t mean that it has to be blank and boring; you can still use colour. It could be colour in the flowers and planters that you have in the backyard, or colour on the front door, garage door, or shutters. Do take into consideration the style and colour of the surrounding homes, though, so that it doesn’t look tacky and out of place.

Think Practicality

If you’re looking to sell up, then potential buyers will be looking to move right on into your home. So any changes that you make need to be ones that will benefit them and serve a purpose. If you have a pool, then looking into something like glass fencing for pools can be a good thing as it can serve a purpose for safety, as well as looking good and dividing up the backyard space. Think about seating and cooking outside perhaps, as well as decking or a patio space; what would work best, add value, and serve a practical purpose?


Consider Rendering

If your home exterior is currently brick, then thinking about having it rendered could make your home look much more modern and stylish. Even if it is just the front of the home, it can make a difference. You can even get coloured renderings so you don’t even need to bother with getting it painted. So it could be an easy way to make the home look more stylish and modern without having to do too much work.

Add a Porch

If the front of your home is looking a little worse for wear, then how about adding a porch to perk things up? If the space is plain and lacking then it can really brighten the space up, as well as improving the kerb appeal of the front of your home. Alternatively, changing the front door or front windows could make a similar difference, depending on what kind of budget you are looking at.

Check Restrictions

Before you start on any major works, it is a good idea to looking into the rules and restrictions of what you can and can’t do. Your property may be listed, for example, or it may be attached to your neighbors and therefore have certain restrictions in place. So better to be safe than sorry and check this kind of thing first.

Find Some Time To Make Your House Shine

If your home is starting to feel a little old and tired then it’s time to get inspired. Whilst you may have been living in your property for a few years and have children who leave the place in a tip, there’s no reason as to why you should simply let your house slip into disrepair. You need to find some time to make your home shine. But enough of the rhymes - here are some pieces of advice to help you improve your home’s appearance.

Freshen up the place.
Before you start knocking down walls in the house and adding conservatories or other extensions, consider more basic improvements you could make to our home. Perhaps it looks like a lost cause but the problem might simply be that your interior is outdated and in need of being “freshened up”. Start by decluttering and cleaning the place so as to get rid of unwanted belongings but also to make the house more spacious; minimalism always improves a home’s aesthetic as well as being practical.

And you should look to scrap wallpaper or tatty carpets if you want your home to remain fresh in the long-term. Wooden flooring is timeless and also easier to clean and maintain than carpet. As for your walls, you should paint them a neutral color, such as white, so as to both make the home look “newer” and to naturally brighten it up. Of course, if you don’t have faith in your DIY talents then you might want to check out sites such as for professional painters who can help you out. The point is that you should strive to keep your home looking new on a permanent basis.

Add some personalizations.
This is your home and it should feel that way. If your humble abode is lacking that special spark which could really make it shine then maybe it just doesn’t have that homely vibe you’re looking for. A pretty aesthetic isn’t enough to achieve this; the aesthetic has to reflect your interests and preferences. It has to feel as if it’s your house rather than a pretty show home in which you’re a guest.

As we’ve discussed before, personalizations such as photographs will help to change this vibe straight away, but you can get a little more creative than that. You can make some artwork and hang it up around the house to really put your own mark on the property; even the kids should be involved, whether they’re as good as Van Gogh or not. It’s about making this place feel like one-of-a-kind; it should feel as if it belongs to your family.

Don’t forget the outside of your home.
Finally, if you want your home to really shine then it needs to make an impression on the outside too. The exterior of your property needs to look as great as the interior. As suggested over at, you should start by making improvements to your garden such as a fresh flowerbed or some new plants. That untamed lawn isn’t going to incentivize you and the family to spend much time outside. Some plants around the front of your property could help to spruce up the place with some vibrant natural colors too. And a repainted door is always a great way to make a good first impression.