Gardening: A Simple Definition

The simple definition to the question of what is gardening is that it is dependent on your own perspective. It's funny, but gardening means different things to different people. Some people think of it has the backbreaking work of weeding and laying patios. While others see it as planning when to plant things and designing the layout if the garden. But however you define gardening there are a few constants that it is important that your address.

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Lawn

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The first is the lawn. Nearly all domestic outdoor gardens have some type of grass lawn. It provides spaces for activities, or to sit and enjoy the fresh air. Laws are relatively easy to maintain, in fact, grss is one of the only pants that thrives better the ore that your cut away at it. That doesn't mean that you can't run into some issues with keeping your lawn as green as healthy as you would like. If you live in an unusually hot and arid client, keeping your lawn green and lush can be tough. It will need a lot of watering and some plant food to get it to be as healthy as possible. Just make sure that you observe any hose pipe bans or water conservation laws in your areas. A good way of doing this is by using grey water. Grey water is when you use the water once to wash up or bath in and then save it and use it on your garden.

Plants

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The next thing you need to address is the plants in your garden. Most of us make do with the plants that are already there. But if you have a particular look you are going for then you may want to add in some of your own plant and foliage choices. I've seen some fantastic city roof gardens with lush jungle-like plants that work well. Or if you have a larger garden you may want to include a vegetable patch or rah card so you can eat as well as grown your own produce.

Seating

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Another thing that is a pretty universal item to see in gardens is a seating area. Whether you go for a grand patio or a rustic bench, it's important to have somewhere to enjoy the fruits of your labours.  You can go for a nice table and chair set, which makes alfresco dining a breeze. Or you can dot gazebos or pergolas around your garden for some quiet space perfect for contemplation.

Maintenance

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One of the most important thing about a garden is that unfortunately it rarely looks after itself. You will need to perform regular maintenance activities like pruning, wedding and water for your garden to look its best. Little and often is the way forward here, rather than trying to get everything done in one go. Try to think of it as active and outside time, rather than as a chore and remember that you garden is alive and will need some TLC from you to flourish.

Three Massive Errors Other People Make When Moving - So You Know What To Avoid

It's a well-known fact that moving home is one of the stressful things that people can go through. If people know you're going through a move, then you're going to hear that a lot. People seem to take great joy in telling you that fact, repeating it over and over until you feel like snapping at them for it. In fact, hearing it becomes one of the most stressful things about moving almost.

With all that said, moving isn't fun, is it? With your new home bought, there's going to be endless upheaval, never knowing where things are. You have to update a seemingly endless number of companies with your new details. It's no wonder that most prospective renters tend to spend days leading up to the move desperately scouring the internet for moving tips. Every little helps, right?

So, let's add a few more, but with a different twist. Rather than telling you what you should do, let's focus on the things you definitely shouldn't. By learning from the mistakes of others, you can make sure that you avoid them. And you can laugh at their naivety. Schadenfreude is a powerful emotion, after all.

Error Number One: Moving Gradually

There are almost certainly a bunch of ideas online about moving gradually. Take your time, they say. Don't do it all in one go; it's too stressful! There's that word again.

But moving bit by bit makes you complacent. You think: well, half of the work is done. You forget what's been moved, or don't move enough because you're sure you've got more time to figure it out. Then the actual date of final departure comes, and you realize how much left you have to do.

Make a plan for one moving day. Take a few items over beforehand if you want, but the general bulk should be kept altogether. It's a lot harder to lose track when you do things like that.

Error Number Two: Forgetting The Basics
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There's a simple checklist of things that you need to have active before moving into a new home.

  • Electricity and gas. It goes without saying that you're going to need energy, but ask yourself if you have full control. Do you know who to contact if there's a problem? If you're on a meter, do you have all the keys you need and money loaded onto it?
  • Water. Make sure you know how to turn it off from the moment you move in.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. These are an essential safety feature, so make sure you know that they're working before you settle down for the first night.
  • Trash collections. You're inevitably going to accumulate a lot of trash during a move, so don't miss a weekly collection from the off.

Error Number Three: Not Being Ruthless

Most of us accumulate junk drawers and other clutter, and we think when we move we have to take it with us. What if we need something? Well, assess every item. If you haven't needed it in the last six months and can't think of an immediate need for it in the move, get rid of it. Every extra item is one little bit of extra stress- and we all know you've already got enough of that, don't we?

The Only Guide To Healthy Teeth And Gums That You'll Ever Need

We all want healthy teeth that shine brightly whenever we smile. But getting perfect teeth takes a lot of work. You can’t just ignore your teeth and expect them to look great. You need to take good care of them to ensure they stay in top condition. So how do you get a winning smile for all your holiday pictures? By following this ultimate guide to healthy teeth and gums!


Brush Your Teeth

The best way to ensure your teeth and gums stay happy and healthy is to brush them frequently. The minimum you should be brushing is twice a day. First thing in the morning and last thing at night. If you have time in your day, it is also worth brushing after every meal to ensure you don’t have any bits of food left between your teeth.

Little Extras

Don’t forget using little extras when you brush your teeth, like dental floss and mouthwash. These can really make a difference to your oral hygiene. Flossing can help you reach those small bits of food that your toothbrush can’t reach. And a good antibacterial mouthwash can help slow down tooth decay and plaque build-up.

Visit A Dentist

If you ever have any toothache or other problems with your teeth, see your dentist. He or she will be able to quickly treat the problem. Even if you don’t have any issues, you should still aim to have a checkup with your dentist every six months. This way they can ensure your teeth are in top condition. If necessary, they may even recommend some work to help your teeth look even better, like braces.


Cut Back On Sugar

Many people have bad teeth because of their diet. Sometimes, if you eat a lot of sugar, there is no amount of brushing that can save your teeth. So it is a good idea to cut back on unhealthy foods and swap them for healthier alternatives. So next time you fancy a snack, don’t grab a chocolate bar. Instead, how about celery dipped in hummus? Not only will these healthier options be better for your teeth, but they can also help your overall health.

Stop Smoking

Smoking is not only bad for your health, but it can also have a negative effect on your teeth. Regular smokers will find that their teeth discolor and turn yellow. These stains can be removed by a dentist, but if they get very bad, there can be no going back. That’s not all, though. Smoking can also increase your chances of gum diseases, including certain cancers. So to be good to your teeth and gums, stub out that cigarette! You’ll feel a lot healthier in the long run.

Looking after your oral hygiene is very easy and doesn’t take up too much time. So there really is no excuse! The better your teeth look and feel, the more self-confidence you will have. You’ll love flashing your pearly whites at the camera as you will have so much to smile about!

3 Steps You Need to Take to Plan a School Summer Fair

When it comes to planning a summer party, there is a lot to do! There is, even more, to sort and organise if you are organising a summer fair at your child’s school. There comes a time as parents when we can get roped into helping out. It is nice to be involved with the school, but it can be a little time consuming. So if you are part of the parent and teacher department, the time will come when you will need to organise an event. So here are some ideas to help with planning a summer fair.

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Recruit and Delegate

First of all, you need to have a good team of people around you. If you need some more volunteers, then make sure that you get some. Hold meetings or put sign up sheets by the classroom doors. This can take a little while, so make sure you make it a first priority. If no one comes forward, then it is time just to start making assignments. Encourage people to be involved with their child’s school by asking them to sort something for the fair. Something like helping to decorate or stack chairs away is an easy task to assign, for example.

Then you need to organise and delegate who will be taking charge of what. If you have been left in charge overall, it doesn’t mean that you have to do every single thing for the event. Have sub-committees and divide up the work. It will make things run much more smoothly. Plus, it will help you to be able to relax a little more and not spend every waking hour thinking about the fair. We are all busy but can all fit in time to do something small. So share out the work.

Plan a Main Event

It is a good idea if the summer fair has some kind of theme. It could be all decorated in a certain way, or have things happening that tie in with the theme. As part of that, having a fun main event is a great way to attract people to come and spend the day. There might be stalls and food, but that isn’t enough to keep people engaged. Think about something that people can get involved in. Could there be a mini-Olympics for people to join in with? Could there be a bake-off competition or perhaps even a portable ice rink for people to skate around? Think outside the box to create a fun event for all to enjoy.

Have Refreshments

One sure fire way to get people involved in the summer fair is to have plenty of refreshments. If there are lots of yummy food and drink to try, it creates a real buzz around the event. Could you try a ‘mocktail’ bar (it is a school after all)? Then people could pick the ingredients they wanted to create a drink. Then you could have a caramel apple stall, cupcake stands or even hot dogs. Having plenty of food at a summer fair keeps people happy.

Maintain The Luxury Of Your Home Swimming Pool All Year Round

Sometimes, there is just nothing better than a dip in the pool on a long summer day. In any home with a swimming pool, it becomes the focus of so many activities. Swimming, obviously, but it is also a social focus. Any party that you hold on any half-way warm day will end up in there. A barbecue just isn't a barbecue if it doesn't end up with a quick swim, or a long relaxing soak with a few drinks.
Of course, you want to get the full use of a swimming pool - there's no point having it if you aren't going to get the most of it. It may be a new installation or you’ve moved to a new home, but the basic pool facts remain the same. You need to make sure it is well maintained. For any number of reasons, not least health, a pool needs to be kept correctly. This means making sure it is always clean, that the water is well filtered and that any damage done is repaired in quick time.
Skimming Where You're Swimming
The most important part of keeping a pool clean is regular skimming. Even if you keep it covered when it isn't in use, things can get on the surface. When they're there, they're easy to remove. Once they sink, they can become stuck on and a breeding ground for bad stuff. Remove all leaves, insects, and any other debris by hand or by net every couple of days.
Clean The Filter
All swimming pools have a filter, and they're essential for sifting out any small bits of dirt and other nasties that inevitably get in. The filter can easily get clogged if you don't clean it often enough, but don't do it too often. When you see an increase of about ten pounds per square inch in flow to the pressure meter, that's the optimum time to clean. A little amount of dirt in there actually helps filter other bits.
Repair Any Leaks Before They Become A Drain
If your swimming pool starts to leak, it can compromise the safety of the whole pool. Losing pressure will affect how everything works, and if things can get out where they shouldn't, they can also get in. The moment you become aware of a leak, have it repaired professionally. It will only get worse and more expensive the longer it is left.
Paint Your Pool To Maintain Performance
It's often lost on people that the surround of a swimming pool needs to be painted. The fact of the matter is, it is filled with moving water, and this wears down any finish on the pool. It's not something that need be done too often. People used to do it once a year, but now it is just a matter for when it starts to look like it needs it. Make sure to use specialized protective pool paint, which will be epoxy- or chlorinated rubber-based. Otherwise, you'll ruin the pool and need to do it all again.
There are other things you need to do to keep your pool up to muster - ensuring it is chlorinated, checking the pH level and so on. Keep on top of these and you can have a cool pool no matter how hot things get.

Advice For Parents: Finding The Right Primary School For Your Child


Where does the time go? It seems no time at all since your baby started walking. And now he or she is off to school. It’s a big step for both of you and one of your first milestones. Finding the right primary school for your child is a daunting task for parents.

Pre-primary is the first year of compulsory school for children, though some may be enrolled in kindergarten already. Every child is guaranteed a place at their local school. However, you can still apply to a school outside of your locality.

Information Gathering

The first step is to gather as much information as possible about the schools in your area. Look through as much data as you can, including academic ranking. This will provide you with the stats. However, word of mouth recommendations are invaluable. It’s hard to record every parameter with numbers. Some things, such as happiness, self-confidence, etc., cannot be measured. Not everything can be plotted on a graph. So it’s important to talk to friends and family. Ask them about their children’s schools and what their thoughts are. If possible, speak to their children too. Ask them about what they do in school and whether they enjoy it.

When you have begun to narrow down your options you can look into those schools in a bit more detail. Start with their websites and consider the following:

  • What are your first impressions?
  • What picture of the school do you take away with you?
  • Was there anything that really stood out?
  • What is their unique selling point?
  • What do you think they can offer your child?
  • What policies do they have in place on things like bullying and inclusion?
  • What extra curricular activities are offered?

Another consideration is whether to look at state or private primary schools. This is a very personal choice and will depend on your family’s circumstances. Both types have much to offer. Though, private schools are usually associated with higher grades and a better standard of education. It is important to look at both options and decide which would be best for your child. And how you can help them succeed.


Visit The Schools

Once you have gathered your information, the next step is to visit the schools you’re considering. Enroll for one of their open days or give them a call. Walking around a school and speaking to teachers and students will help you get a feel for the place. It will help you to work out whether it will be a good fit for your child.

Put together a list of questions before you visit, so you don’t forget anything. Starting school is a big step and a daunting time for children. So it’s a good idea to ask how staff help new students to settle in. What do they do if they seem lost or unhappy? How do they help to reassure them?

Also ask about class sizes and how many teaching assistants they have. This will give you an idea of the learning environment.

Some schools carry out parent surveys. If this is available, it’s a good idea to ask for a copy. It may fill in some of the blanks for you.

Other factors will be personal to you, such as whether there are morning and after-school clubs available, etc.

Choosing a school is a serious task and one that is very personal to your family. Gather as much information in the early stages as possible, to narrow down your choices. A visit to the school will then help you determine the best choice for you and your child.

Jump On The Property Ladder With My Homebuying Tips


Getting on the property ladder and buying your first home can be quite difficult. Many people just avoid the problem altogether by continuing to rent well into middle age. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to ignore the benefits you get from owning a home. First, it’s a great investment, and if you put some work in, you can build up its value. Even if you don’t put any work in at all, you might still see it soar in value naturally on the property market. It all depends on the changes to the infrastructure when you buy. Once you buy a home, you will also be leaving a nice investment for your kids after you pass on. You can guarantee you’ll be leaving something behind. Owning your home is great security too. If you are ever made redundant, you’ll know you have somewhere to live.

With these benefits in mind, let’s look at some of the best ways to get on the property ladder.

Be A Great Little Saver


I recently worked out that I could save quite a lot each month without even trying. Okay, it does take some work because you have to cut back on certain things. However, once you plan a budget, you’ll learn you can live without these little things in your life and save a lot of money. Think about something that you know costs a lot each month. That might be alcohol or chocolate, maybe going to the movies? Anything like this, you should cut out for six months and then aim for a year. You’ll be amazed how much you save.


If you’re serious about buying a house, you might also be able to open a special saving account. These are funded by the government for potential homebuyers. You put in so much each month and they’ll add twenty-five percent to whatever you save at the end of the year.

Talk To A Financial Planner


One of the biggest issues with saving for a home is finding a goal and sticking to the plan to achieve it. This is where a financial planner could help a great deal. They’ll draw up a plan with you and then they will help you get there. Financial planners will look at where you need to save and cut back. They might also recommend some of the best loans on the market to buy your home. Essentially, they are a great source of information you can use to get insider knowledge on the market.

Buy A Fixer Upper


Finally, I don’t recommend you look for your dream home when you’re buying your first house. I know, if you’re pouring all that money in, you want it to be perfect and worth it. I get that, I do, but it’s probably not going to be. The house that you will be able to afford won’t be a dream come true. It’s going to have issues. That’s why you should buy a cheaper home you know has issues that are easy to fix. You’re looking for a house that has enough cosmetic issues to mean it’s selling for less than it’s worth. If you buy one of these, you’ll get on the property market fast and have money left over to fix it up.



5 Home Improvements To Help Protect Your Vehicle

One vehicle is stolen every 44 seconds, which shows you just how vulnerable they are. Whether you own a van, car, bike or even boat, it’s important that you take the necessary steps to protect it.

You might not think it’s at risk of being stolen, but everyone who’s ever had a stolen vehicle thought that too. Even if your car isn’t stolen, it can be damaged by the weather at any hour of the day. There are plenty of things that could go wrong, and it’s up to you to prevent them.

So, here are five simple ways to help defend your vehicle from theft, and the elements, by improving your home. Don’t hesitate!

1. Exterior lighting

It’s no secret that well-lit areas are a turn-off for thieves, so make sure your car is as well-lit as possible. If your road is unadopted, it may not include street lighting, which makes it easier for thieves to sneak about.


To rectify this, look to install some exterior, motion-sensing light fixtures. They’re easy to buy, available from all good hardware stores. They’re harder to install, but someone from the store would be happy to help you out.

You can buy lights like this that only activate at night time, between hours set by you. This way, if anyone comes near your ride, they’ll be lit up like a Christmas tree.

2. Build a garage and carport

A lot of modern homes have a garage, but for those that don’t, this is the most secure way to protect your vehicle. A garage with added carports is even better, providing an extra layer of protection from the elements, and a more tucked away spot for your car.

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As an added bonus, a garage can also add some serious resale value to your home.

3. Construct a driveway

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You may need planning permission, but it’s possible to convert your front/back yard into a driveway. This allows you to park closer to your home, and combined with the exterior lighting, is sure to deter even the most efficient of thieves.

Alternatively, you could ‘extend’ your home, with planning permission, to build a parking space. This means you’ll have to get approval from your neighbors, among other things.

4. Add high metal gates

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Not every property is set up for such an improvement, but if you’re detached or semi-detached you have a good chance. Metal gates are installed at the bottom of your garden, and stop people from being unable to simply walk up to your property.

5. Security systems

Basic security features like CCTV systems can give you full home coverage, of every inch. You’ll be able to scan the interior and exterior of your home for any intruders, so you can prevent a theft before it gets off the ground.

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These cameras can also be attached to the aforementioned carport and even the interior of your garage. Nowhere will be free from your gaze!

Conclusion

There isn’t one single major home improvement that comes cheaply, but all of them add lots of value. This value comes in the form of added protection, as well as more resale value for when you move on. If vehicle safety is your concern (perhaps you have a rough neighborhood) then these 5 fixes will put you at ease.