Essential Holiday Items Your Kids Don’t Want to be Without this Summer

I am pleased to introduce Lisa Bradburn from What2Buy4Kids.  Here is her guest post about getting prepared for the Summer:

9 Essential Holiday Items Your Kids Don’t Want to be Without this Summer

Wet wipes. That’s all I could think, after the first long road trip with my kids. I had the food and the games and the drinks. I had even remembered a rubbish bag. Why didn’t I remember the wet wipes? Learn from my mistakes! As a mum of three and ex-school teacher turned toy hunter (yes, that really is my job), I am well versed in how NOT to organise a trip away!

These days, I start packing about 6-8 weeks in advanced. That might sound extreme, but I do it for two reasons:

  1. No last minute panic
  2. I get so excited each time I spot the bag in the wardrobe, in which I hoard the holiday essentials; packing in advance builds the momentum.

Over the years, I’ve made a note of the things I need on every holiday and – more importantly – the things that make my kids really happy when we go away. Here’s my list of 9 essential things my kids can’t be without. What would you add to it?

1. Car Journey Games in a Tin voted this the toy of the year 2014. It has seven ingenious car-themed games and is recommended for kids over the age of 8. When you’ve not much more than the back of a car seat to stare at, in-car entertainment has to perform! I like this tin version because everything can be contained and it slides under the seats really easily.

2. Their favourite books and some news ones! 

Take paperbacks because their weigh less. You’ll need these in the car, hotel and at the beach or by the pool, so I put a couple in the car and a couple in my day bag for easy access. No matter what age, kids find books really calming. Whether you’re reading to them or they’re reading to themselves, a good book will help your children feel relaxed and settled. That’s important when you’re going somewhere new.

3. Loads of PJs!  

Is it the late mornings or the relaxed evenings that see our pyjamas take a real wearing? I always need more than one pair. In fact, I often take three for each person or prepare to do lots of washing.

4. Emergency first aid and ‘cosmetics’ kit           

I prepare one just for the kids. It contains high factor sunscreen, insect relief, Calpol, those crafty wet wipes, fun plasters and an extra sun hat, folded up inside. In short, it’s my grab-and-go medical insurance for trips away!

 5. An extra comforter – like that special ‘noo noo blanket’

Because there are so many places they’re needed! In the car, the plane, the hotel room, on days out… So, like the books, I have a few stashed in various places.

6. Their own back pack 

The minute my kids were old enough to carry a mini backpack (there are some really cute ones here), I fastened one onto their backs so fast….! I think this is great for introducing a sense of responsibility – which many kids are so keen to grasp – and it also means I don’t have to carry so much stuff! So, in go the books, the comforter, some snacks and their own mini water bottle.

7. Pillow pet or neck cushion  

Pillow pets are super-soft squidgy pillows made to look like animals. Neck cushions go around your neck. I prefer the pillow pets because they’re more versatile – your kids can use them as a sleeping pillow when lying down; the neck pillows only really work when you’re sitting in a car or plane. Whichever you choose, they really help kids snooze off and get comfy.

8. Beach towel 

I’ve used spares from our accommodation and taken extras from home, but nothing really beats a proper beach towel. The kids like them because it’s something special that’s just for our trips away. I like them because the bath towels don’t come back sopping wet and full of sand!

9. Talc!

A mother’s secret weapon: talc gets rid of sand in an instant! It’s in my day bag and the door of the car for dusting off little feet before they clamber all over my seats! I thought about adding it to my kid’s packs, but this is one item I appreciate more than they do!

Selling Clothes

7 Steps To Selling Clothes On eBay

Bay is a land of sellers and buyer. Anything you have to sell, there is abound to be a buyer… if they can find you. With selling clothes on eBay, the ball game can be completely different. In such a busy, almost saturated market place, it can seem almost impossible to dent the power of the ‘power sellers’ to get your products in front of the right eyeballs But it can be done and with the right clothing lines, exhibited and marketed on eBay to the right customer, you could soon have a blossoming business on your hands.

Step 1: develop your idea

OK, you have aspirations to sell new clothing on eBay… take a look on there now and see who is doing similar to you. What are they offering and at what price? How is there feedback – what are customers saying? Don’t just opt for the tittle-tattle of negative reviews but learn from the positives; list what reasons customers give for being happy with the service and product…e.g. as described, fast postage, great rates… and emulate these (obviously, avoid any negatives if you can, but stuff doesn’t always go according to plan!)

Step 2: open your eBay ‘shop’

If your idea has legs and you decide to give it a go, you will need to set up your shop. Some people set up a personal account but others opt straight away for a business place on eBay. There is no more to pay in terms of a business account and, if you are serious about building a business on eBay then this could be the better option for you. However, take a look at the terms and conditions, as well as linking PayPal to your business shop – this is the safest and simplest way for you to be paid by customers; it protects them and you.

Step 3: buy your stock

There are many wholesalers out there online and it is now relatively simple to open online accounts and start buying. But, before you spend hundreds on items, start with small quantities and increase stock as you start to sell. Research in magazines and online fashion sites to see what styles are in, as well as their predictions for what is coming up in the next season… and get in first with some well-chosen pieces.

Step 4: create your shop

You have the business account on eBay, you have your stock… now all you need to do is start selling it but first you need to make sure you have everything in place. When that first order comes in, you want it ready to go, with a fast but efficient turn around. The biggest issue that sellers face is charging for postage and packaging that is accurate but without leaving them out of pocket. You can buy postage direct online, but be mindful of the package size and weight; it is essential you get these right, as they can differ from item to item.

Step 5: describe your products

Accurate descriptions of your products are essential, not just from a buyer point of view but from a legal point of view too. You last thing you want is negative feedback when a customer is disappointed and neither do you want your credentials called into account by eBay! Describe your items accurately, giving as much information as possible to the customer but, always ensure that you monitor your eBay shop regularly as customers like to ask questions… but want a quick response (it can make all the difference as to whether you get a sale or not).

*Don’t forget specific washing or care instructions, if there are any! Nothing worse than buying an everyday dress to discover it is dry clean only…*

Step 6: take pictures… lots of them… and good quality ones

But, don’t go over the top. We have all seen the rather wonky photographs of a top hanging rather lacklustre on the mannequin or, an amateur model showing the item off but failing to show the item as it really is. Poor pictures put people off; they are the first thing that a prospective customer sees and based on this impression, will decide whether to open up the item description or not. Each item should have a main photo, followed by 2 or 3 others to show the garment off to its true potential.

Step 7: enjoy the experience!

Selling clothes successfully on eBay is a marathon not a sprint. Start slowly and get it right, is more important than going for the mass approach of selling, where in your confusion, things get forgotten with customers being dissatisfied.


Incredible Autumn Blog Posts To Inspire You

Here are our 7 incredible autumn blog posts that will convince you that this time of year is great for families. People always seem to have a preference as to which season is their favourite.  Generally, our friends and family favour the summer sun to drizzly autumn.  I actually like all the seasons almost equally and enjoy them all as they come around each year. Spring is wonderful.  We really enjoy the ever-increasing lighter evenings.  The motivation to get the house and the garden tidied is more prevalent here too.  Summer is fab because we get to soak in that lovely sunshine as well as to enjoy those longer days.  Winter has the promise of Christmas.  It is a time of meeting up with family and friends.  Although, I am not so keen on the ice.

Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year though.  We start a new school year and get back into a routine after the summer holidays.  I absolutely love enjoying that first homemade hot chocolate of the season.  The weather is cooler but warm enough still to enjoy a walk in the fresh air.   Usually in wellies to splash in the puddles.  We get to see the leaves falling from the trees and walk through them, kicking them as we go.  The nights draw in, meaning we get to snuggle up in the warmth of the living room and watch good TV shows and films.  Autumn is a great time of year.

Hearty, Warming Food for Autumn

I am always inspired to eat warming foods in the autumn.  We really enjoyed this delicious dairy free and egg free apple pie.  Each year, we pick up fallen apples from my Gran’s tree to make several of these pies during the autumn.  This incredible recipe, passed down through the generations of our family, inspires us to appreciate the fresh food we have available to us.

Halloween is in Autumn, of Course!

We can’t forget that Halloween happens during this season.  The shops are full of Halloween items from early on in September and social media makes sure we remember.  You can’t seem to escape the fact. We are often inspired by the wonderful makes and creative ideas shared.  These fun 15 Marvellous Monster Crafts are very inspiring to make with little ones.  (We may have a mention in this post too with a craft that was all H’s idea!).  This links to other great autumn blog posts too.

Be Inspired to Get Outdoors, Despite the Cooler Weather

I think that this blog by Coombe Mill is fantastic.  Each time I visit this blog and check out their Instagram hashtag, #CountyKidsFun, I feel so inspired to get outside and do something fun.  Making the most of nature, whatever the weather, is something that I know makes my children happy.  We try to do this as much as possible during these autumn months. This month, we have particularly enjoyed reading about their Magic Photo Frames to explain perspective.

Using All Your Senses During Autumn

We always try to take in our surroundings by thinking about what we can see, smell, hear, touch and taste.  92Three30’s autumn blog post, Autumn Fun with the Forestry Commission has lots of really interesting information about this time of the year.  After reading this, I feel like I know more about why leaves are different colours and I’ve found some amazing walks that we can go on.

Lots of Ideas for Fun with Family

Each autumn, I start saving money ready for the big spend at Christmas.  This means trying to find activities to do as a family that do not cost too much.  The more free activities, the better at this time of year. The Diary of a Frugal Family has a comprehensive post of 80 ideas for things that families can do during autumn that are free or very low cost.  80 Ideas for Family Fun this Autumn is a blog post I know I’ll return to so that we can do these activities as a family.

Making Indoors Cosy and Warm

I really enjoyed reading Five Ways to Bring Autumn into Your Home by Monkey and Mouse.  Bringing in treasures from outside is something my children do regularly.  Actually, they often fill my coat pockets with leaves and twigs at this time of the year too.  Autumn is a great time to feel cosy in your home.  Monkey and Mouse also run an Instagram hashtag #WhateverTheWeatherKids, which is full of wonderful photos all year round.

Getting Crafty During Autumn

There are so many inspirational craft activities but we particularly liked this Home School Stained Glass Window idea from Inside Martyn’s Thoughts.  This is a great way to use all those leaves that children seem to acquire over these cooler months.  Going out and gathering different coloured leaves is lots of fun too.  I think this stained glass window idea has such a lovely effect.

Can you Recommend Any Inspiring Autumn Blog Posts?

I think you’ll agree that autumn is a wonderful time of year.  Getting out and about to enjoy the changing environment is such a wonderful thing for children to experience. There are so many amazing ideas from so many wonderful bloggers in this post.  What are your favourite things to do during autumn?  Which is your favourite season and why? Do you have any favourite autumn blog posts that you could recommend? You can follow Dillydrops on Twitter and by clicking any of the social media buttons in the sidebar.  It would be great if you could share this blog post on Pinterest and to anyone that would find this useful. Thanks!


Weeks Of Gratitude

I have read many posts for 52 Weeks of Gratitude from This Enchanted Pixie over the past year and I have always had in mind that I wanted to join in. I think it is a great idea to focus on the positive things that have happened during the week. So here goes, here is my gratitude list for week one:

  • That my children get on with each other so well.  They surprise me sometimes with how much they work and play nicely together.
  • My little Floppy dog, who is always there to keep me company.
  • The children were in bed on time the other night so I was able to watch Silent Witness with no interruptions.
  • Imaginative conversations with H, which include talking about aliens, animals and dinosaurs as well as many other things!
  • S and his Science experiments.  This week, he has done experiments with snow, eggs in vinegar and has made perfume.
  • That the snow didn’t settle on Saturday.  I only like the snow when I don’t have to drive in it!
  • Having some time to myself while H is at Nursery.  As she has just started her 15  funded hours, it is nice for me to be able to have a little break.  I don’t usually get much of a rest from the children so those few hours this week have been good for both of us.
  • Although I suffered from accidentally eating something with milk in this week, I am grateful that this is my first problem since September.  I used to have daily stomach pains so I feel glad that nowadays that I only suffer once every few months.

Once I started thinking about what to put on my list, I kept thinking of other things.  Although I have not included everything that I thought of, this list has made me realise how many wonderful people and things I have in my life.   I am looking forward to writing my Week 2 list already.

Life Skills

Ways To Prepare Your Child With The Life Skills They Need The Prompt

Although my children, at eight years old and three years old, are still quite young, I have been thinking about ways that I can help them to practice life skills they may need as adults.  I think there are certain skills that children can be learning from a young age.  Here are my top five.

1.  Help them to get to know food.

I am from a family of farmers and my Mum is a trained cook so from an early age, I was learning about food.  I knew which meat came from each animal, how wheat and barley are grown and harvested as well as the processes involved in getting milk from cows from the farm into the shops.  I knew how pigs and chickens were cared for.  I helped my grandparents and parents to grow our own vegetables in the garden.  I tasted freshly grown peas, potatoes, fresh runner beans, cabbage, plums, pears, apples, lettuce and had fun finding the weirdest shaped carrots. My children don’t see the farm much as I did but I like to talk to them about my experiences as well as to take them to local public farms to see the animals. We have grown our own fruit and vegetables in our garden. We also make most of our food from scratch, due to our food intolerances.  I think that this helps my children to understand what they are eating.  I think getting to know about different foods is an important life skill for children to start learning at a young age.

2.  Learn how to sew.

I think that learning how to sew is useful for any child.  We always have fun sewing and we have made all sorts of things over the years. Starting with felt has been the best thing for us, as it doesn’t fray like some other fabrics.  This week, I worked with H to make a parrot and S made a storage pocket mainly on his own.  They both designed these themselves.  I think this skill is important as they will both be able to repair their own clothes when they are older.  Also, if they want to become vets or surgeons one day (H’s dream job at the moment), they will need sewing skills to help any animals or people that need stitching up.

3.  To learn how to communicate effectively.

I have met too many angry people over the years.  Most of them only show anger due to not knowing how to handle their own emotions, thinking their way is the only way or not being able to communicate their feelings effectively.  As children, I think it is important to experience a wide range of emotions and to talk about the emotions they are feeling.  I also think that it is important to validate every emotion and to not deny a child of feeling the way they feel.  Being told that you should not feel sad about losing your favourite toy, to ‘man up’ or be told that you should feel differently to the way you actually feel can bring about a lot of frustrations.  This can affect how people behave as children and adults.  Communicating feelings effectively by talking them through and being allowed to feel the way you/your child feels helps them to learn this important life skill.

4.   To learn how to fix things.

As the daughter of a joiner, I have spent many years with Dad making a variety of wooden objects and helping him to do DIY around the house.  S has recently started creating wooden boxes and other items with his Granddad to help him to know more about how to use tools that will help him when he has his own home one day.

5. Encourage them to read, read, read…

I believe that reading opens up whole new worlds for children and adults alike.  If you read, you can learn all sorts.  Pretty much anything you can think of has been written about.  Having a love of reading unlocks so many doors for so many people.  I think that this is a very important skill to have.


Home Improvement Ideas You May Not Have Considered

When you search for home improvements, you will undoubtedly have had advice such as wallpapering and investing in new furniture. The problem is that it is all a bit boring and mundane, especially when to make a house feel like a home, it needs a touch of personalisation. That is why below we have listed five of our favourite home improvement ideas that you may not have thought of that all of the family will love.

Add Art to the Walls

Adding a touch of creativity to your walls is a great way to bring a warm homely feeling to your home. Whether you look to buy in stunning paintings or get the whole family involved in making their own creations. Young children are sure to love getting stuck in with this and will take great pride in seeing their art proudly displayed in the house. As they grow up, their designs will be the ultimate keepsake as a reminder of their childhood.

Make the Children’s Bedroom Fun

For families with young children, it is important to make their bedrooms as fun as possible. This is their space and you should allow their creativity to run wild. Do not get hung up on traditional designs, as there will be plenty of time for their bedrooms to be turned into their own private study when they are teenagers. Invest in fun furniture such as bunk beds, especially if the room is shared, and toys designed to stay in their bedrooms. Not only does this provide a fun place for your children to play in, allowing them to have almost free rein in their room should help to keep the rest of the house in order (in theory, anyway).

Artificial Grass

Installing artificial grass in the garden is great for a number of reasons, not least for families with active children that love to run around and play. Real grass can result in muddy clothes and dirt all through the house – with a synthetic surface, there are no such issues. On top of this, having artificial grass also completely eliminates the necessity for a lawnmower. This means that in the summer when the sun is shining, you won’ have to worry about the grass growing. Instead, you can sit back and relax and work on your tan in a low-maintenance yet highly attractive garden.

Plant Pots

Whether outside in the garden or placed in various rooms inside the house, getting creative with the plant pots that you use is a great way to inject colour into your home. Most homemakers settle for a generic plant pot design and stick to it for all of their flowers. Think outside of the box and embrace individuality. In fact, this is another area where the children can get involved with their own designs and spruce up your plant pots.

Home Exterior

Lastly, with so much time and effort spent on the inside of the home, it can be easy to forget about the outside – and we are not talking about the garden. Consider giving your front door a fresh lick of paint, a new knocker and, if you have not already, an outside light to illuminate your house to visitors in the evenings. Other decorations that you can place outside are garden gnomes that can sit in the front garden or just by the door, flower beds along the side of the house and a small fence and gate at the top of your walkway.


Great Nights In That Will Put The Pub To Shame

Wintertime is upon us, and no one really feels like venturing out and braving the weather just to go to the same old local. While the pub or local bar might not be appealing, we have to remember that it’s important to socialise and keep in touch with friends, even if all we feel like doing is hibernating! Why not organise a night in with friends? It’s cheaper, more creative and guaranteed to warm everyone’s spirits during this cold time of year. Here are some ideas for how to host an unforgettable night in with friends.

1. Homemade Non-alcoholic Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres

Sometimes you have to put the kids to bed and get down to business with the grown-ups! Non-alcoholic ocktail parties offer much more than the pub and at a fraction of the cost. Choose an exotic non-alcoholic cocktail or two and all pitch in for the ingredients. At the party, start by learning how to mix each drink, and then taste test each other’s until you find the optimal measure. Make sure to pair them with some tasty snacks and juicy gossip!

2. Crafts and Scrapbooking Evening

We all take loads of priceless photos over the holidays, but then get so busy that we don’t even find time to import them from our cameras, let alone organise them. A scrapbooking or crafting evening is always a blast, and gives you the chance to organise your memories and share them with friends at the same time. We love Sunshine Scrapbooking supplies, as they feature high-quality paper and are based in the UK. Kids love crafting as well, so take advantage of your little helpers!

3. Pizza and Movie Night

Who says having people over has to be a party? There’s nothing wrong with inviting some good friends over and enjoying a classic film and some delicious food. Decide on a night in advance, along with the menu and film to prevent disputes and save time (especially if kids are involved!). When the day arrives, order delivery from your favourite pizzeria, get out some extra blankets and snuggle up with your best friends.

4. Juicing/Smoothie Party

Everyone is trying to avoid excess alcohol, sweets and fatty foods post-holiday season, so it’s no wonder our social lives take a dive. Who says you can’t have a fun get-together and be healthy at the same time? Juicing and Smoothie parties are perfect for diet seeking mums who want to find some great new flavour combinations and meet up with friends, too. Between juicings, you can browse juice recipe books like The Reboot, by wellness advocate Joe Cross and help each other stay motivated for a fit and fresh.

5. Karaoke Party

Have you been avoiding the gym this winter? No worries! Nothing gets the blood pumping and heart racing like a karaoke session! It doesn’t take much to get friends and family on their feet with a Karaoke UK karaoke machine, and belting out a tune is sure to put everyone in a great mood.


Ways To Give Your Bedroom A Boutique Hotel Feel

From those little chocolates the maid leaves under your pillow through to the expensive toiletries in the bathroom, the finishing touches in boutique hotel bedrooms should leave you feeling utterly pampered and special. Of course, such nights away from home aren’t only expensive, they can also be rare and difficult to plan if you have little ones. Those chocolates wouldn’t last long under the pillow if you had a toddler in tow, would they? With this in mind, this post is all about the dream updates you could make to your very own bedroom to make it feel as if you’re staying in one of those exclusive boutique hotels, all without leaving your home. And as it turns out, the very best things to have in your bedroom begin with a ‘b’…


According to research carried out by London estate agents Marsh & Parsons, adding a roof terrace or balcony to your home could boost the value of your property by up to 12 per cent. There’s something very cosmopolitan about sipping your morning coffee in the sunshine and a glass of wine under the stars on your very own balcony. Depending on the size of your additional floating space, you could add a small bistro table set for intimate morning breakfasts with your other half. Of course, if you do have small children you’ll need to consider safety first.

Mini bar

Three things that are great about a mini bar; you have almost instant access to a refreshing beverage when you need it, someone comes and refills the bar for you, the magical fairies leave snacks for you too! Okay, so fitting a mini fridge might not be an option and if you do so you might well find it soon fills up with cans of beer. Instead, why not channel that boutique room vibe with a drinks tray, set up with your favourite miniatures, mixers and a stylish selection of snacks. Setting up a mini bar tray is a great way of playing at being away, particularly if you have a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary. If you have guests staying, why not treat them to a personalised mini bar tray in their room?

Bath in the bedroom

A large roll top bath has become a signature installation at many top hotels but it’s not an addition that’s entirely practical for all. Often it’s the creative positioning of such bathtubs under sky lights or in the eve of the window that makes them a lovely light and airy place to bathe. If you’d like to create a similar feel without navigating past your bath on the way to your wardrobe, you could consider adding an en suite. There are three options here: sectioning off some space from your existing bedroom, converting space from an adjoining room or adding an extension. Whichever you plump for, using bi-fold doors to allow free flow of light can help you achieve the freedom feel of a boutique hotel space. These from Vufold  are wood trimmed, which look far more luxe than UPVC counterparts. A word of warning however, this type of bedroom upgrade isn’t likely to appeal to shy couples.

Bespoke storage

Somehow, even the most compact of space is made to look special within boutique hotel bedrooms and that’s largely due to clever furniture choice that often incorporates bespoke storage space. From beautiful wooden bookshelves that make use of little nooks and crannies through to fabulously carved blanket boxes that sit at the end of the bed, furniture that’s made especially for your room makes it look and feel personal and unique. It’s true that this type of upgrade can be expensive if you can’t count a joiner among your inner circle of friends but there are ways to lower the cost. Furniture makers who specialise in recycling old furniture will often work with you to source and customise items on your behalf. If you fancy getting involved in the world of furniture customisation yourself there are a host of Youtube channels dedicated to the topic and many local colleges now offer classes too. Is it time you upskilled to upcycle?


Home Improvement Tasks That Are Often Overlooked

When it comes to home improvement, there is always a plethora of tasks to complete. However, some tasks should take precedent over others and some can often wait until later. Either way, the last thing you want to do it completely overlook any given home improvement-related task. The following is a closer look at four of the most commonly overlooked home improvement tasks.

1. Roof Inspection

Given that roofs are large, intimidating, and can often be costly to repair, many steer clear of inspecting the roof altogether. However, leaks and other damaging issues that can occur in an instant and can continue to worsen over time. Therefore, by avoiding inspecting your roof, your problems will only increase and become costlier. Be sure to have a professional inspect your roof at least once a year to ensure there are no significant issues.

2. Fix Broken Appliances

In addition to that, broken appliances are also often overlooked with regards to home improvement. Nevertheless, many people have a home filled with broken/malfunctioning appliances. While many may believe they are fine to ignore, using a malfunctioning product is often the culprit behind highly damaging fires and much more.

However, by ensuring that all of your appliances are functioning at an optimal level, you will avoid these potentially hazardous issues. For those who may have broken appliances in their home without a clue how to fix them, there are reputable companies such as Service Force available to help handle this for you. Companies such as this one will be able to give you a free quote and safety check before conducting any work, which can be beneficial if you’re unsure of whether you will be able to afford repairs.

3. Check Your Gutters

If you inspect your roof, this is a task you can tick off at the same time. You’re gutters are guaranteed to get filled with leaves and grime throughout the year. If you fail to clear them out, the mess is only going to accumulate and you’ll be left with a much bigger job on your hands. Aim to clean your gutters around Spring time.

4. Cut Down Tall Trees and Dead Shrubs

Gardening is either loved or loathed by homeowners. The idea of simply planting flowers and cutting the grass every now and again doesn’t seem too bad, but when it comes to the bigger tasks, things are often overlooked. If your front/back garden features a large tree, have it cut down either by a professional or by yourself. Tall trees will block out your home’s light (if in front of a window) and can be an eyesore when un-kept. The same goes for the plants and shrubbery. Ensure you dig up any dead plants or trim down your shrubs. This will keep your exterior looking presentable and will prevent overgrowth, or even plants growing in between the cracks in your home.

Overall, learning to properly take care of your home is a huge undertaking with many components. In addition to these tasks, there are many other tasks that are often overlooked and/or hastily completed. However, keep in mind that one’s home should be their castle. Although no one wants to deal with a Money Pit, ignoring regular, everyday maintenance issues can lead to just that. Therefore, in addition to conducting the 4 tasks mentioned above, you may want to employ someone to do a general check of your premises annually and offer you a list of recommendations to prevent any major issues. Other than that, you will be likening your home to a sitting duck in that there will definitely be major issues brewing, it is only a matter of when they will expose themselves.

Home Renovation

Tips For The Perfect, Hassle-Free Home Renovation

A total home renovation is no easy task. Taking on such a big project comes complete with pitfalls, risks and responsibilities, so in order to help you renovate your home in an inexpensive and quick fashion, here are a few tips and tricks for you.

1. Create a Budget

Before you make a start on any task, create a budget for your home renovation. Familiarise yourself with the costs and expenses that you can expect during the project. In addition to establishing your core budget, set aside some extra funds for any unexpected emergencies along the way.

2. Long-Term Savings over Short-Term Gains

When it comes to home renovations, every penny counts, so you’ll probably be looking for every possible way to do your wallet a favour and save money. But while it is commendable and wise to be economical and save, there is a wrong way of saving. The key here is to not compromise on quality. Luckily, however, there are numerous places that offer high-quality items such as wardrobes, door handles, and other fixtures and furniture that won’t ruin your bank balance.

3. Get the Right Tools

Another impractical way of saving money can be selling yourself short on the right tools you need for the job. While you could, technically, use your shoe to hammer in a nail, you don’t want to depend on sub-standard equipment to complete your renovation project. So remember: those boots are made for walking, not for hammering!

4. Settle on Decisions Before You Start

If you want the job to be completed without any complications or major delays, the best thing you can do is to make all the necessary decisions beforehand. Don’t leave it to the last minute to decide which material you want for your kitchen set, which kind of bed you want for your child’s room, or which bathroom accessories to go for. Make sure that there is a detailed plan before you start working — and make a note of it!

5. Style and Design

Speaking of having a plan, an important aspect of your plan will be the design of your house. While it is up to you whether you want to consult an architect or interior designer, you should have a good (exact, even) idea of what you want to change and how you want to change it. Start with a detailed floor plan of your house and work from there. If you are looking for inspiration for your renovation, the internet is a near-endless source to find great interior design ideas!

6. Don’t Forget the Outside

Most home renovation projects focus on the inside of the house — sprucing up the bathroom, upgrading the kitchen or re-designing your bedroom. The outside of the house, therefore, often gets overlooked. But remember that the exterior is the focal point of your house; it is the first and last thing your visitors see. So why not leave them with a good impression, and spend some time improving your home’s curb appeal?

7. Know Your Limitations

During the renovation, there are times when you can do-it-yourself, and there are times when you simply can’t and shouldn’t. While you might prefer to save a buck or two and simply DIY your home renovation, it is not always the best idea. So don’t bite off more than you can chew, as a botched DIY job can cost you dearly!

8. Communication Is Key

If you do decide to bring in a professional (which is recommended whenever the renovation includes working on plumbing and electrical systems), make sure they know precisely what you want. As with any working relationship, communication is of paramount importance; it can be the difference between excruciating re-builds and a seamless, successful renovation.

9. Don’t Live on the Site

Living on the site may seem like a good idea — no extra costs for a hotel, no living out of a suitcase, and you’re always there to keep an eye on everything. But the downsides to living in a home during renovation almost always outweigh the positives. In addition to being in the way of those working and potentially delaying the work, there are also fewer things more awkward than having to live for days and days without a fully-functioning kitchen or bathroom. So for the sake of your family, your house and the contractor, don’t put up a tent on the building site. In addition to setting up temporary residence somewhere away from the construction site, it is also a good idea to pack away your valuables, such as laptops, vases and paintings, before work begins.

10. Prepare Yourself

The prospect of a renovated house is exciting, no doubt. You can’t wait to see your “new” home all sparkly and rejuvenated, and to live in a home more to your liking. However, the journey will be a long one. It is a journey filled with frustration, anger, fear and lethargy, in some cases. So be fully aware what you’re getting yourself into; a home renovation, as mentioned earlier, is no walk in the park. In fact, it is more like an emotional roller-coaster ride, so strap yourself in: this is going to be a bumpy ride!