General, Self-Care

3 Ways you can do More to Make Your Family Happy

It’s impossible to play happy families on a 24/7 basis. Kids are bound to fight and their parents are bound to lose patience after a long and tiring day. Still, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a happy family as a whole. Sometimes, parents have to compromise to make their little ones happier, but there’s still room for the grown-ups to have a little personal happiness too. That means you’re just as much a part of your family as your children and you should be aiming to make sure every member of the family is happy. Here’s how to do more to ensure that becomes a reality.

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Take time off.

First of all, you need to remember to take time off. That doesn’t mean you should ditch work or school, but you should use the weekends, evenings, school breaks, and vacation days to do the things you love with your family. Take a trip with the family at the weekend. You could go camping or even head to the museum if you want a free outing. Taking a vacation or a “mini-break” doesn’t have to be costly but you’ll receive as much as you put in.

In fact, taking time off is something you should do on your own too. You don’t want to drive each other crazy in your household by spending all your time together. Taking time off stretches to having a long soak in the bath after a stressful day. You need to practice self-care to safeguard your mental health. Remember to unplug from time to time; don’t look at your phone screen before bed.

(Related Post: What does self-care look like for you?)

Improve your home life.

A happy home leads to a happy family. You should aim to make your home as cozy and welcoming as possible. Let everyone have a say in the theme of their room, make the backyard something worth playing in! My favorite thing ever, was when we lived in Dallas and had a hammock in our backyard! We were lucky enough to have two trees perfectly spaced to cinch the hammock straps. I honestly miss those tress SO much.

Of course, there’s every chance that the problems with your family’s home life are deeply rooted. Perhaps you’re tripping over each other because you’ve outgrown the house (as is natural when kids seem to double in size with every passing year).

You might want to consider that it’s time to move to a bigger house that’d be better suited to your family’s needs. It’s important that you and the family feel comfortable in your home. Whilst making such a big change might seem scary, it doesn’t have to be a stressful overhaul. You could look into a professional moving and storage company to help you relocate. Make sure you plan every step of your house-move so as to get the help you need and take all the stress out of the event.

Communicate with one another.

Most importantly, a happy family is one that communicates well with one another. Make sure you swap stories about your day. Ask the kids what they’ve been up to and tell them about your day too (but don’t bore them with details about work). You should let your children and partner know that they can talk to you about anything, good or bad. Open communication is everything.

Christmas, General, Self-Care

6 Easy Ways to Lose Holiday Pounds

The holidays aren’t even here yet, and many of us have already started to pile on the holiday lbs. Shops start selling Christmas treats earlier every year, and we want to fit in as many as possible to make the most of them before they leave the shelves in the new year, so we start buying them as soon as we can. Then, there’s the fact that most of us no longer pound the streets for hours searching for the perfect Christmas gifts, burning off hundreds of calories in the process. Instead the only activity our Christmas shopping brings us is the clicking of a button. So, we’re eating more, working out less and have already gained some holiday weight when we enter December. At this point, many of us give up. We’ve gained weight already; we want to be able to enjoy the holidays without worrying, so instead let’s take a look at ways to lose the Christmas lbs when it’s all over.

Have a Cut Off

Most of us buy way too much Christmas food. Then receive even more as gifts. Try to stick to a limit, and give yourself a cut off date. Allow yourself to indulge until the 2nd of January, then have a clear out. Any treats left in the house, give away or put in the bin if it’s past its best. Then, start eating these healthy weekday dinners that you can make in the crockpot.

Calorie Count

To lose weight, you need to burn off more calories than you consume. 1lb is around 3500 calories, so you need to eat 500 calories less every day to lose 1lb in a week. The best way to ensure you do this is by calorie counting. If you struggle, use an app to help you track your consumption and buy an activity tracker to measure what you are burning off.

Drink Less Alcohol

Alcohol can actually affect your weight over Christmas more than food, and won’t even fill you up. On average a 175ml glass of wine has around 160 calories, that’s about the same as half a burger or 15 minutes running at high intensity. To lose weight in January, try to have an alcohol-free month.

Get Help

Calorie counting, dieting, and exercising can be confusing. Especially if you are busy and tend to eat quickly and on the go. Get help from isolatorfitness.com, and you won’t have to worry about working everything out and regulating yourself.

Enjoy the sales

A full day of sales shopping could burn off 1500 calories. So instead of shopping online, brave the cold and get out there into the January sales.

Make Healthy Leftovers

It’s not just the snacks and treats that can last long after Christmas. You might find yourself tucking into the leftover turkey for weeks too. Try some healthy recipes like soups, salads or a healthy low-fat curry.

The most important thing is not to carry on eating at the same holiday pace well into January. Let yourself fully enjoy the festivities. Then, stop. Even returning to your normal diet and increasing your activity levels slightly should help, any extra is a bonus which will help you to lose your holiday weight faster.

Family, General

6 Things Every Kid Should Do Before They Grow Up

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

Sadly Peter Pan was nothing but a story. The idea of being forever youthful sounds idyllic at first glance with your days spent playing with your pals, building forts and baking cakes, but take a deeper look and you have the teenage angst, peer pressure and school work to contend with.

As a responsible parent, you want to ensure that your little darlings have the most enjoyable childhood that they possibly can. You want to fill their days with joy, create happy memories and prevent them from spending every waking moment in front of a video game or on social media. While your kids still have no wish to head onto Facebook and would prefer to be outside frolicking in a field rather than indoors in front of the tv, it’s up to you to harness this innocent enthusiasm.

However odd it may sound, children of a certain age love spending time with their parents. Before they hit their teenage years, kids enjoy being with their family, relish going off on adventures with their mum, dad and siblings and love sharing new experiences. Take a look at the ultimate bucket list for kids and see how many things you can do with your children before they start to grow up.

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Head To A Beach

Every adult has memories of childhood summers spent on the beach with their families. It’s up to you to make these memories simply idyllic. You want your child to reminisce about skipping stones across the sea, collecting seashells and rock pooling. Encourage them to head out into the shallowest waters, hunting for crabs and shrimp. See if your little cherubs can build sandcastles, dig a moat and bury either you or your husband up to your neck in wet sand. On hot, balmy days when on vacation, there can be nothing better than whiling away the hours on the beach as a family with an ice cream or two. Sand in between your toes never sounded so good.

Visit An Aquarium

Unfortunately, it’s not possible to book a day out scuba diving and head down into the deep of the oceans for a family day out to swim with the sharks, the stingrays and the legions of tropical fish. What you can do is venture to a SeaQuest Aquarium to take in the majestic beauty of the seas, without strapping on a wet-suit. Every good aquarium has thousands of species of aquatic creatures to marvel at. Your kids might witness feeding time for the penguins, observe leather-back turtles somersaulting through the water and see jellyfish lighting up the darkest depths. You never know, you may even discover the whereabouts of Nemo and Dory. A visit to an aquarium is awe-inspiring and educational and warrants a place on the ultimate bucket list.

Ride A Bike

Although this may seem the simplest of objectives to put on the bucket list, it’s a vital one. Learning to ride a bike can be the easiest of tasks for some children, but for others, it can seem like a mammoth undertaking. The joy of removing the stabilizers from your offspring’s bike is a momentous moment for both you and your child. The sense of freedom they feel when launching themselves off on two wheels for the first time is huge. They no longer need the support of an adult and can transport themselves to the park, the shops or to a friend’s house. This first taste of freedom is only the start of your child maturing and growing up.

Build A Treehouse

You don’t have to be a child to enjoy building dens and fortresses of any kind. However, when you’re not quite a teenager yet you’re old enough to venture off into the woods or forest on your own with pals, creating your own haven for you and your pals is life-affirming. Encourage your child to hot foot it into the forest and build their very own treehouse. They may be in their final year or two of role-playing games and could create a castle fit for a king, a dwelling fit for a dragon keeper or a secret lair fit for a troll destroyer. Whatever the motive is behind the build, the treehouse will be a cherished memory for your child forever.

Enjoy The Snow

Snow is still a rare occurrence in many parts of the world. The excitement of seeing the white flakes falling from the snow-laden sky lingers into adulthood. When in the throes of youth, snow is the ultimate pull factor to get you outdoors. Your little darlings can spend their time making snow angels, building snowmen and having the ubiquitous snowball fights. No childhood is truly complete without rolling the perfect snowball and planting one square on the back of a rival. Wrapping up warm with a hat, scarf, gloves and a coat before venturing outside to experience the joy of the icy cold climate and feeling your fingers almost succumbing to what feels like frostbite is what childhood memories are made of.

Fly A Kite

It doesn’t matter whether your child makes the kite or whether you purchase the finest stunt kite on the market for them, the act of flying something and being in control is often a new experience for a child. Untangling the strings, keeping hold of the grips and seeing mum or dad launching the kite high up into the air as your child pulls the strings down sharply trying to catch that all-important gust will be one of the most striking memories for anybody. Flying a kite a la Mary Poppins allows the family bond to grow stronger as you all seek the common goal of seeing your kite soaring high up in the sky.

Being a kid nowadays can be tough. The lure of Facebook, technology, and video games can be too much. However, if you make it your mission to fill your child’s time with life-affirming and enjoyable activities, you’ll be making lifelong memories for the entire family.

General, Home Improvement

7 Little Things That Make a Home Even Homier

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

Do you ever walk into your home and get that nagging feeling that, despite the fact you’ve lived there for three and a half years, it still doesn’t feel like you have completely moved into your home? There are still some things missing but you cannot quite put your finger on what.

It must be tiny because, well, you get that warm and fuzzy feeling in your belly when you walk through your front door, you feel comfy and cozy and everything else, but there is a teeny tiny bit of wiggle room to make things that little bit homier, that little bit more perfect.

Don’t worry. You are not alone. We all experience these moments. Actually, we all experience them more than we may care to admit, but that’s because our home’s are works in progress. They are things that we perfect over time. A space that adapts to who we are. Space’s that we learn how to dress and fill and make flawless.

With that in mind, we have pulled together a list of incredible bits and pieces that will transform your home into something so much better.

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1. Coordinating Dinnerware Set

This is one of those things that warm your heart from the moment you open the cupboard to the minute you clear the dining table. There is something so wonderful and quaint and charming and cute about having a dinnerware set that matches. Plates, bowls, side dishes, cups and saucers, gravy jug and everything else that you could possibly imagine. Yes, it is a super grown-up thing to do, but that doesn’t mean your choice needs to be boring. You need to pick a set that pleases you and, who knows, maybe even celebrates your personality a little bit. Make sure you invest in a sixteen-piece set minimum. As an absolute minimum. Of course, the more the merrier. That’s how the saying goes, right?

2. Make Your Cookware Match

We all love cooking. It’s that chance to create something special for the family, for guests, for yourself, for whoever. But it can feel like a bit of a chore, which is why you need to battle back against this feeling. That could mean plugging into a cooking playlist on Spotify. (I’ve actually got a Spotify playlist on now!)

(Related post: Teaching Kids To Make Healthy Food Choices)

A simple investment in a matching cookware set will please your more than you could ever realize. You can imagine it now. You walk into your kitchen and the first thing you see is a full set of copper saucepans, with glass lids that actually fit, and a stockpot, and a couple of frying pans, as well as all the utensils you could ever need, from masher to ladle. You don’t need to go down the copper route, though. Any full set of matching cookware will give you this absurd happiness and help you make your home feel even more like a home.

3. You Need More Rugs

Rugs aren’t a new thing. They have been kicking about since well before Spinning Jenny’s were ever invented. At first, it was about keeping the warmth in, and now they are used to make home’s that little bit warmer and comfy and cozy. You may not have realized it until right now, but it could be the one thing your living spaces are missing – luxurious, thick, shag-pile rugs. Don’t leave it at though because there are plenty of ways you can use rugs to really rev up the cozy levels, starting with layering. Yup, putting rugs on top of rugs. It may sound insane at first listen, but it works wonders, especially if you lay a natural and neutral hand-woven rug down beside your bed and then drop a sheepskin one on top. You get an extra layer of coziness and fantastic look. The other thing you can do is break convention and put down rugs where you never thought to, like using a Persian rug in your bathroom. Not only will this add a little bit of something to an otherwise bare space, it will also mean you don’t wince every time you wake up to go to the bathroom and skip across the freezing-cold tiles.

4. Creative Seating Options

Yeah, sure, we all love curling up on the sofa, pulling the blanket up and under our chin, and watching whatever we haven’t yet seen on Netflix. However, your home will get that little bit of wow if you add some alternative seating options around the place. It could be something as simple as throwing an oversized bean bag with a microsuede cover into a corner of your kitchen or buying some velvet accent chairs to go around your dining room table. However, it could be that you get a little more hands-on and build a window seat to fit into your bay window, or a little reading nook under the stairs, or secure a hanging chair to the ceiling in your bedroom. Watching television is something we all do from time to time, but that’s because we want to get comfy. Change this up a bit and you’ll find yourself curling up with a book and a glass of red in no time and, let’s be honest, what could be more cliched and cozy than that?

5. Add A Few Antiques

Modern living is great. The open plan living spaces, the big insulated windows that let in natural light, contemporary furnishings, and sparkly appliances. It is all amazing. But it can also feel quite sterile and neat and tidy and not that homely. Not always, but sometimes. The best way to rectify this is to add some antiques (even if they are fakes). It will give your home that warm glow of yesteryear. It could be a brass standing floor light, those copper pots and pans we spoke of above, a chesterfield-style sofa, those old Hollywood-inspired tripod-spotlight-things or a well-worn kitchen table that celebrates the chipped paint look we love to call “country chic”. You’ll be gobsmacked at how amazing this can work in your favor, bringing a new layer of warmth to your home without eating into the modern-living you wanted to enjoy.

6. Hang Some Artwork

This is one of those investments that should never be overlooked. But not just the artwork itself, the way you present and hang it too. What we mean is, yes, gorgeous art from some super-talented artist will make a splash amongst your decor, but so will thick wooden frames. It could be that simple. It could be as simple as you taking a walk, snapping a few pictures on your iPhone, editing them to black and white, getting them printed and hanging them in mounted frames, especially if you create a gallery out of different sizes. It is one of the most simple yet effective ways to make a home feel that much homier.

Of course, you don’t have to go down the framed artwork route. You could get those wall decal stickers that seemed to be all the rage (like that gorgeous tree decal in the stairway of the Brown’s home in Paddington), or you could buy some wallpaper that depicts a beautiful image, like rays of sun bursting through the trees of a forest. It is simple and yet so incredibly wow. Yeah, that’s the only way to describe it, wow.

7. Upgrade Your Bed

Your bed is where you spend a third of your day, and so it kind of falls within the bell curve of “super important”. It is the thing you wake up in every morning and crash out on at the end of every day, so if it is a creaky old thing with springs poking out all over the shop then it is hardly going to make your home feel perfect.

That is why you need to upgrade your mattress. If you want to go the full hog and upgrade your bed, then do so, but the mattress is the important part. So, first things first, do your research and find out what matters in a mattress. Everyone has different preferences, but we can’t recommend a memory foam mattress enough. The support, the comfort, the being able to roll over without disturbing your bed-partner, oh the beauty. So, yeah, get yourself – or your kids if they are complaining – a new mattress (from a well-known seller) and enjoy the little things, like a great night’s sleep.

There are two sayings that everyone tends to nod their heads along to when spoken: There is no place like home and it’s the little things in life that make the biggest difference. That is why you need to combine the two and take your home into a whole new realm of homeliness. You won’t regret it, your kids will love it and your guests will start asking you what the secret is, which are these teeny-tiny little tips, of course. Nothing strenuous, just the little things.

Family, General, Self-Care

7 Ways to Add Comfort to Your Home This Christmas

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

Christmas is a time of love and positivity. It’s a time to enjoy your family and your friends. It is a time that is often filled with many get-togethers. This is why it is important to make sure that your home is as comfortable as possible. After all, you want everyone to feel at ease when they come around to visit.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at some top suggestions to help you out.

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Put up your Christmas decorations

If you have not put up your

Christmas decorations

yet, then there is only one place to begin. Your house is not going to feel very festive if you don’t have any Christmas decorations up, is it? If your decorations are a bit old and dated, or they don’t match together very well, consider buying some new ones. Or, you could even have some fun making your own!

Make sure your home smells amazing

 

If you are going to make your home comfortable, you need to ensure it is comfortable for all the scenes. Ensuring your home smells nice is an important part of this. You will have, no doubt, noticed that there are many Christmas scents on the market today. Cinnamon is a popular choice at this time of year. However, cinnamon can be a rather strong smell and it does not appeal to everyone.

If you are one of these people, there are plenty of other relaxing scents you can add to your home. Good examples include bergamot, vanilla, mandarin, lavender, and chamomile. My personal favorite is cranberry!

Needless to say, there are numerous ways to add these scents to your house. Burning essential oils in a diffuser is a good option to consider because it will have an aromatherapy effect as well. Of course, you could also opt for a scented spray or candles.

Focus on textures

Layers and a mix of textures are pivotal if you are trying to create a comfortable ambiance. Think about ways to add more textures to various rooms in your home. This shouldn’t be too difficult. You can invest in some new throws and cushions, or what about a plush and fluffy rug for your living room? Little touches like this can make a massive difference.

Get the temperature right

The chances are that you are going to be relying on your central heating a lot throughout the Christmas period. After all, it is cold during this time of year! It is important to make sure your home is a comfortable temperature if you are going to be having a lot of guests.

(Related post: My December Goals and November Update)

A lot of people don’t like too much artificial heat, so to speak, as it can make a property feel stuffy and some people also get sore throats when the central heating has been blasting all day. So, it is important to keep this in mind – what you find comfortable may not be comfortable for everyone else. If you do have a fireplace in your living room, now is definitely the time to make use of it. This will add warmth and comfort to your living area, which is exactly what you want when you are entertaining family and friends.

Light your house well

A lot of people don’t realize it, but lighting is actually one of the most important aspects when it comes to creating the right ambiance in a home. If your property suffers from a lack of natural daylight, you need to figure out different ways to maximise this. Of course, the most obvious solution would be to get new windows installed or skylights. Not everyone has the time or money for this, though.

Adding reflective pieces to your décor can work wonders. Mirrors and metallic surfaces will ensure the daylight bounces back into the room, which can make a massive difference. It is also important to consider the artificial lighting you have in each room as well. Ensure there are numerous lighting options – relying on a harsh overhead is not ideal. It can give you a headache! Instead, use a mixture of overhead lighting, lamps, and spotlights to create the perfect ambiance.

Add some plants around the house

Another way to make the house more comfortable and boost the atmosphere is to add some plants. My favorite for this season would be adding a pine wreath over the fireplace, and some potted poinsettas around. Of course, plants look stunning, but there are many other reasons to consider adding them to your home. Indoor plants will also boost the mood, and they will improve the airflow in the room in question too, which works to make the environment a much more comfortable one. Who knew plants could be so useful?

Make sure there are comfortable seating options for everyone

There is nothing more awkward than inviting people to your house but not having enough room for everyone to sit down. This is why you need to consider your seating options in advance and make sure you have plenty of backup solutions for when you do have visitors.

This does not mean that you should simply wheel in the office chair and take some dining chairs from the kitchen. After all, your guests aren’t going to be very comfortable sitting on these, are they? There are plenty of comfortable and affordable seating options that you should consider. A good example of this is a beanbag. Nowadays, you can get beanbags in all sizes, meaning they can accommodate more than one person. The Comfy Sack products are great examples of this. This is a great way to add some more seating solutions without losing the comfort you have achieved by following the other points that have been mentioned in this post.

You now have plenty of different ideas on how to add some more comfort to your home throughout Christmas! Use the suggestions above and you are guaranteed to have a welcoming, cozy and warm house. The only trouble is that your guests won’t want to leave.

Family, General

3 Time-Tested Tips for Helping to Boost Your Child’s Intelligence

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

All mothers should do their best to promote intelligence in their children from a young age. In most instances, that means working hard to ensure your kids don’t sit in front of the TV continually during their spare time. With that in mind, take a look at some of the straightforward advice below and then try to implement some of it into your routine. Working parents often find the idea of sitting down and relaxing somewhat appealing. However, you have children now, and you need to consider their best interests.

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Arrange lots of educational trips

Instead of sitting in front of the television on the weekends and during school breaks, it’s sensible to arrange some educational outings as a family. That could mean visiting historical sites, ancient ruins, museums, and more. It all comes down to the interests and passions of your kids. However, as the parent, it’s your job to make your little ones feel excited about activities of that nature, even if that means you don’t have much time for yourself. So, make sure you uncover as much information as possible before you take the trip, and keep mentioning it to your kids. Let them know why the site you plan to visit is essential, and educate your loved ones as much as possible.

Related Post: 5 Ways to Make Time For Yourself

Fill your home with interesting artwork

Contrary to popular belief, extensive knowledge is not the same thing as intelligence. Rather than teaching your kids in-depth facts about different subjects, it’s better to show them how to learn the information unaided. Also, you’ll want to encourage creativity and original thought as much as possible. The best way of doing that involves introducing your children to the arts.

That could mean letting them hear influential music or making use of artwork around the home that might spark a conversation. You can get affordable prints online, and companies like Artware can assist when it comes to framing and other issues of that nature. The level of creativity your children exhibit is a better measure of their intelligence than how many questions they can answer on a test.

ALWAYS sit down with your kids when they’re doing homework

Lots of parents use “homework time” as an excuse to get a break from their mothering or fathering roles for an hour. However, that is the most critical time of the day to take an interest in your child’s activities according to experts like those at Scholastic.

Make sure you always sit down with them and offer assistance. You should also ensure your child understands the relevance of the homework and how it’s helping them to prepare for life in the real world. Parents who don’t do that will struggle to gauge how well teachers at the school educate their kids, and they’ll have little idea about the types of subjects and information they cover.

After reading this advice; you just have to take steps to ensure you alter your approach to your kid’s intelligence in mind. All mothers and fathers should want their loved ones to grow into well-rounded and empathetic adults with advanced problem-solving capabilities. People who use some of the tips from this article should notice an improvement in their results.

Family, General, Self-Care

Aging? Health Tips For A Great Life

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contribured posts in my disclaimer.)

Aging comes for us all, and as we develop and mature, we define what it means for ourselves. Some people are happy by middle age, and some people find it troubling. It’s best to understand how you will be affected by it and plan for that, to make the most of your time there. You’ll be maturely aged for a good proportion (maybe half) of your life, so it’s important to take the issue sincerely.

If you are aging, or are cusping the border of being middle-aged or older, you should keep your health in top consideration. You should also consider your attitude, and plan accordingly. The way you craft these formative years will help your quality of life, so you must approach it from many different angles. This article will help you develop and refine your responsibilities for you aging, so be sure to take as much value from these words as you can. We can only help they hope you live a more wholesome, fun, connected and beautiful life. After all, it’s the least you deserve.

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Carve Out Your Beliefs

Not everyone takes the problem of life sincerely when they are youthful. There are too many things to see, too many people to meet, too many experiences to have. While you should by no means slow down in your middle-aged years, it’s important to develop more of a sense of who you are. This could be a religion of your choice, becoming intensely focused on a discipline, or defining yourself through some form of professional competency.

No matter who you are or what you choose, you must understand that your beliefs will form a large part of your identity. Now you are older and less inclined to fall into trend-like thinking, you have a great amount of opportunity to define what YOU mean to YOU. Developing this and understanding who you are more intimately will help you become more comfortable in yourself, and more at peace as you age. It’s the best way to overcome the worries and insecurities of middle-aged life and will give you a profound sense of love and appreciation for being part of the world around you.

Manage Your Health

It’s important to understand that your health is never a given. You must work towards it, and keep a constant eye on it. Health conditions which occur might have subtle symptoms, one’s easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. Understanding the different most common health conditions to reach your age group can help you diligently plan against them. For example, irritable bowel syndrome affects many middle-aged people, and so you can read more at resources such as this website, which can help you overcome the issue in a complete and prompt manner.

Managing your health might also mean finally wising up and eschewing the bad habits you have accumulated in your youth. For example, drinking to excess every weekend is never advisable, but it’s certainly not advisable when your body is unable to recover as well. Drinking can age you and generally make you feel terrible, so improving your body from this perspective can do a world of good for your internal sense. Smoking is another factor that ages your body well past its natural state.

If you can, use all your fiber and wisdom accumulated from your youth to stop these habits, and if you find it difficult, consider getting professional help. You will only experience worsening health conditions as the years play out, so it’s best to stop this problem from the root, as opposed to needing years of medical attention.

You should also keep your weight into consideration. While we all find it easier to put on weight as we age, it’s important to maintain safe levels of body fat percentage and get a good exercise regimen in. As well as keeping your cardio levels up to help your heart, a good stretching routine can also help mitigate the most damaging effects on your body becoming less flexible. Before long you’ll be feeling fitter and able to stretch better than you did as a youth.

Make Your Career Work For You

When we’re in the midst of our youth, it’s likely that our careers are something we hold dear. Developing our professional competence, raising our paychecks and getting promoted to positions we feel challenged in is a wonderful ride to experience, but as we get older we might not find that constant stress and responsibility so rewarding. Maybe we will. In any case, it’s important to make your career work for you at this point, as opposed to the opposite which occurs if you’re not careful.

If you feel uncomfortable or unhappy in a job, this is your time to use your impressive resume and skill set developed in a new and more welcoming light. If you are able to do this, you might just live out the middle and later chapters of your life more satisfied and excited for each new working day than you did in your youth.

Social Connection

As we get older, we understand that social connection is all that really matters, especially with that of our family and friends. A mid-morning with our children or even grandchildren will take a value that all of the gold in the world could not replace. For that reason, keeping close to your family when you can is important. It’s important to play a positive and frequent role in the lives of your family members. If you are wise about the times you visit or ask them to visit, you will be a lovely addition, rather than a hindrance.Remember to give your family space, as they must craft their stories on their own two feet. However, remember to always be there for them, during the good times and the bad.

Also, it’s great to get in the habit of making new and inclusive friends. This could be a guitar playing community, a crafts hobby group, or a reading group you have formed yourself. This will help you enjoy the presence of like-minded people, and this alone can keep you happy and comfortable with your lot.

With these tips, your aging life is sure to be the best stage of your story yet.

Aging? Health Tips For A Great Life - The Southern Smiths: Have a fun, wholesome life!
General, Home Improvement

Garages: An Extension of Your Home?

(This post has been contributed to. You can find out more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer)

There is no getting away from the fact that family life is far from straightforward, especially when it comes to our homes. The chances are that when you purchased your current property, you were under the illusion that it would make a perfect home for you and your future family. But now that you have lots of little ones running around, you most probably wish that it was a larger space – almost every parent feels the same.

If your family home lacks space, you could opt to move to a larger property. However, if you love the location of your home and the neighborhood, then you may not be inclined to move house. Instead, you may be trying to take advantage of the space that you have – every single inch of it.
The fact is that one space that few families utilize is the garage when it can be transformed into a usable space that the whole family can make use of. Yes, it might be cold and dark right now, but with a few simple alterations, you can transform your home’s garage into a livable space and somewhere that will give you and your family the extra space that you need.

The question is, of course, what does it take to transform a garage into an extension of your home? For everything that you will need to do to make your garage a livable space, read on.

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Pick a use for it

The first thing that you need to do is pick a use for your garage. Think about the space that your family lacks, and then go from there. If it’s a bedroom that you need, it might be better to move another room into the garage and put the extra bedroom in that space instead, but any other room your garage has the potential to fair well as. Whether your children need a playroom or your teenagers need a study space, whether a gym is called for or a relaxation room – whatever space your home needs, your garage can offer you it, it’s just a case of taking the time to transform the space. If you are stuck for inspiration, you will find plenty of ideas online on sites like Pinterest.

Insulate it

One of the main turn-offs of spaces like garages is the fact that they tend to be rather cold and drafty. The good news is that this does not have to be the case, while a garage can be drafty and cold, it does not have to be, good insulation can ensure that your garage is a warm and comfortable space.

There are plenty of ways that a garage can be insulated without having to change the entire space; it’s just a case of getting creative, that’s all. If you are unsure if your garage could be insulated, it is worth contacting an insulation specialist to arrange for them to visit your home and see the space that you are working with. However, nine times out of ten, garages can be well insulated, it’s just a case of thinking outside of the box in some instances, that’s all.

Revamp it

The next step is to revamp your garage. If you and your family are going to want to spend any time in this space, it needs to be somewhere that has a nice look and feel to it. If it does not already have a window in it, then it could be worth considering having one fitted – a skylight could be a good option for allowing natural light into the space.

(Related post: Helping Kids Thrive )

If there are any issues with your garage, such as damp, for instance, it is important to have them dealt with as soon as possible. Or, if your garage door is not in the best shape, it could be worth calling in the experts to take a look at your garage door, and making any necessary repairs. Think carefully about what you want your garage to look like and what atmosphere you want it to have, and then design a space that makes your garage somewhere that you and your family want to spend time in.

Have flooring installed

One of the most important things that you need to invest in when it comes to transforming your unloved garage into a space that you and your family love and get plenty of use out of is having flooring installed. Under the flooring, consider having underfloor heating put in place, to help ensure that your garage is kept wonderfully warm at all times of the year.

After all, the last thing that you want is to spend a lot of money and put a lot of time into creating an amazing space, only for it to be too cold for your family to use. That is why investing in underfloor heating – or at least some heating – is vital. If you like the idea of underfloor heating, it’s important to be selective about the flooring type that you choose, as not all flooring is compatible with underfloor heating.

Think about cooling

The fact is that garages can be very cold places in the colder months of the year, but in the summer months, they can turn into ovens, just like our homes can. Bearing that in mind, it could be worth considering whether it might be wise to invest in some form of a cooling system for your garage, to ensure that even in the warmer months, it is still a usable space. No one likes to roast in a room that’s too hot, which is why if you want your garage to get plenty of use, investing in air conditioning for the space, could be a good idea.

The truth is that every family needs plenty of space, which when there is no more room in your home, can be a problem. However, by taking advantage of spaces like your garage, for instance, that get limited use, and renovating them, you can give your family the additional space that is needed, without having to move to somewhere new.

Garages: An Extension of Your Home? - The Southern Smiths: Learn what you can do to maximize the space you already have in your home!
Family, General

5 Great Tips For Bringing Your Home Back To Life

(This post has been contributed to. You can learn more about my sponsored and contributed posts in my disclaimer.)

It’s only natural that, after you’ve been living in one place for a long time, you’re going to start getting a little bored with it. After all, as the old saying goes, familiarity breeds contempt. The sad thing is that a lot of people end up feeling as though once the spark has gone, they can never get it back. It seems that no matter what you do, your home is never going to feel quite as new and exciting again.

When that feeling sets in, it can seem as though the only option is to pack your bags and find somewhere new to live. And sure, doing that might solve your problem for a while, but what happens when you’re in your new home for a few years and that same feeling of boredom comes creeping in? You’re much better off making the most of the home that you do have rather than going through all the stress and expense of trying to find somewhere new. With that in mind, here are a few simple things that you can do to help bring your home back to life.

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Take it room by room

The idea of making significant changes to your entire house can be a terrifying and overwhelming prospect. In fact, it’s often enough of a frightening idea that many people decide that they’d be better off not bothering and then give up before they’ve even started. If you want to take some of the stress out of the whole situation, the best thing that you can do is to take it room by room. After all, one room isn’t that much work is it?

Think about how you want the room to look and what changes you want to make. If there are any ideas that you have that you think might work elsewhere in the house, then it’s worth tucking them away in the back of your mind to use later. Don’t try and handle the whole thing at once. Not only is it going to be far more work that way, but you’ll be a lot less focused than you would be if you forced yourself to do it one room at a time.

Keep it simple

Just because you’re making some serious changes to your home doesn’t mean that they need to be complicated. Think about what each room needs to come back to life and then try and figure out what you need to do to achieve that. It might be something as easy and a new coat of paint or rearranging the furniture.

Of course, it might be something bigger like structural changes to the room itself but at least this way you can avoid going for huge projects that aren’t necessary when it comes to getting what you want out of a room. Never make things more complicated than they need to be. Not only is that going to make things more stressful, but it will take longer and be more expensive than it needs to.

Do it as a family

Of course, just because you’re trying to fix up your home, that doesn’t mean that you have to deal with the whole thing yourself. After all, if you’re trying to create the best possible family home, then it’s something that everyone should get involved in.

(Related Posts: Family)

You may need to direct your family in the right direction when it comes to them improving your home the way you want, but you can also discuss things together to figure out how to make the place better for everyone. The kids can even focus on how they want to improve their own rooms.
Any home improvement project, no matter how significant, is guaranteed to be a whole lot easier if you’re all doing it together as a team.

Plan ahead

When it comes to any home improvement project, if you try to wing it, things are going to go wrong. That’s not a warning, and it’s not a guideline, it’s a cold, hard fact. You can’t jump into any type of home improvement without doing some serious planning first.

Otherwise, you’re going to end up with no idea what you’re doing and making things even worse than they were before. Think about exactly you want to get out of your home and then do as much research as possible to figure out how to actually make that happen. Not only does planning make the whole project go more smoothly but it’s likely to save you a fair amount of both time and money as well.

Get professional help

Of course, just because you want to get more out of your home, that doesn’t mean that you’re equipped to do so. If that’s the case then why not reach out to a company like FrancisInteriors.com? They can work alongside you to help you figure out what it is that you want to get out of your home, and then they can take care of all the difficult stuff for you.

That way you get a home that is exactly how you want it without having ever having to get your tools out. Sure, you don’t get that same sense of accomplishment that you get doing things with your own two hands, but that’s often made much less significant by the fact that you didn’t go insane from in the process.

Making any kinds of significant changes to your home can often be pretty difficult, but that doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Remember that nothing worth doing was ever easy and if you really want to get the most out of your home, it’s worth putting in the effort. Not only are going to feel much more comfortable than you would if you’d just moved somewhere new, but looking around your beautiful home, knowing that it only looks that way because of the work that you did, is going to feel amazing.