Cleaning

Living With White Textiles and Linens: Q&A

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

If the last few years of interior design trends can be described in a single word, that word would probably be “white”. While “Scandi” undoubtedly gives “white” a run for its money, most Scandi-style involves large amounts of white, so it seems fair to award white the crown.

White has been the interior design staple for years now. The color (or lack of color) has conquered the interiors world, quite unlike anything has ever managed before. It’s impossible to browse through images of stylish homes these days without seeing an abundance of white; it’s on the walls, the furniture, and – most importantly for what we shall be discussing – the textiles.

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Is white hard to live with?

For those who have not yet jumped on the “all white, all the time” bandwagon, their immediate response to this trend is to question how feasible white furnishings are. White, after all, holds no prisoners; if a speck of dust lands on it, one naturally assumes that this will be apparent for all to see. Surely white is difficult to keep clean?

For some items, that’s simply not the case. White furniture, for example, is just about as simple to maintain as furniture of any color. One of the major advantages of white furniture is that it tends to have a matte finish, which helps to disguise dust and dirt. Shinier items of white furniture are difficult to maintain, but only in the same way that glass furniture pieces are.

As for white walls, yes, they require maintenance– but in truth, so does every wall color. White is not special, or different, in this regard. There’s no wall color on this earth that can disguise handprints, mess, or just signs of people walking past it on a daily basis; dark colors are just as likely to suffer from the issue. So while white walls do need to be maintained, and may perhaps need to be recoated more often, they’re no trickier than average.

There is, however, an area in which white is difficult to maintain: textiles and linens.

Why are textiles and linens so difficult to maintain?

White textiles and linens look fantastic, but there’s no doubt they require extra work when compared to other colors. There are a few reasons for this:

The white itself shows up any mark of dust, dirt, or lint. This problem is less obvious on textured textiles (such as a fluffy white rug) but is still an issue.

White has to be very white to look good. It has to be pristine, crisp, as close to its hex code as possible. Maintaining this crispness in textiles and linens can feel like an uphill battle.

The reason for this is the material. Textiles are naturally porous, and they don’t have the multiple layers of paint that walls and furniture can use to prevent the process of color degradation. With textiles, the color is relying on a few layers to produce that “true” white color– and, in time, this tends to become problematic.

Why do white textiles and linens degrade?

There are many reasons why white textiles and linens are prone to degrading. If you are experiencing this issue, then the following may be the cause of your woes:

The washing process

Washing is tough on fabrics in general, but particularly tough on white, which tends to need a closer “true” color to look good. If you lay a red tablecloth on your table, then the shade of red doesn’t truly matter; if it loses pigment during the washing process, it’s just a lighter shade of red.

However, if you lay a white tablecloth on that same table, it can only be one color to truly look good: brilliant white. If the pigment moves from this brilliant status, the tablecloth is no longer white– it’s cream or ivory. These are nice enough colors, but if you want a white tablecloth, then they’re not what you’re looking for.

Repeated washing of white textiles and linens tends to lead to the color fading, which – as explained above, in white’s case – means that the color is changing.

Sunlight

We all love sunlight; the way it makes us feel, the boost to our Vitamin D, how it illuminates our homes and somehow makes them look bigger, brighter, and all-around better.

However, sunlight does have a downside: it can cause white textiles and linens to degrade at a frightening pace. The UV rays from sunlight tend to cause white textiles and linens to turn a dirty shade of yellow; worse still, the damage is often permanent. This is particularly problematic for items like white curtains, or rugs that are displayed in the center of a room and thus receive a lot of light.

Continued use

Finally, the reason that your white textiles and linens degrade is use. Of course, all colors degrade, but as discussed above, white is far more noticeable when it begins to lose its as-new luster. The bright white cushion you bought will, in a few short weeks, begin to resemble a light cream cushion– and there’s very little you can do to bring it back.

The above conclusion may lead you to wonder…

Is there no point in having white textiles and linens, then?

It’s natural to wonder this; if white textiles are going to be so problematic, should you just abandon your plans and embrace a world of more color?

Not necessarily; but you are going to have to change your habits. When it comes to white textiles, you don’t just have to focus on cleaning them, as you do with other colors– you have to also focus on preserving them. The better you treat a white fabric or textile, the longer it will last.

How can white textiles and linens be preserved?

The first preservation method is an obvious one: avoid the sunlight. Your white textiles should be vampiric; kept far away from direct sunlight. This can be difficult with cushions, rugs, and especially curtains, but it’s an essential step if you don’t want to have to replace your furnishings on a constant basis. You can tuck curtains away from the window during the day; hide cushions until the midday sun has passed, and roll rugs to protect them from damage.

Of course, there’s no denying this does somewhat ruin the aesthetic. This won’t matter so much if you’re doing it during the day when you’re at work, but what if you want to enjoy the room and protect it from sunlight?

By far the best option is to use UV filtering film on your windows. This film is nearly invisible to the naked eye, but it provides all the protection that you need to keep your white looking bright.

Aside from sunlight, the biggest problem facing your whites is the washing process. We’re all well aware of how we should separate white laundry from colors, but this alone is not a strong enough step to help preserve the strength of the white pigment.

You need to ensure you take the relevant steps to protect the fabric. This is best done with a very gentle washing process, which should include elements of the following:

  • An all-natural cleaner such as Better Life, which contains far fewer synthetic ingredients that can cause damage to the fabric. With Better Life and similar products, your whites should last for a lot longer thanks to the absence of overly-strong chemicals that may damage the fabric.
  • Wash your whites at a low temperature to help preserve the quality of the fabric. Fabric suffers more at high washing temperatures, which is obviously an issue you are expressly trying to avoid.
  • Don’t use your dryer on white fabrics. Dryers are generally bad for fabric anyway, but they are particularly ruinous for white, so you should air dry wherever possible. However, due to the UV issues mentioned above, it’s inadvisable to dry your whites in direct sunlight– choose a shaded spot in your garden and let the wind do the bulk of the work for you.

Should you use bleach on white textiles and linens?

This is something of a controversial one. There are pros and cons to using bleach on white textiles:

PRO: It will work

Bleach, well, bleaches the color from anything it comes into contact with. That means that it will indeed give your white textiles the boost that they need.

CON: It will damage the fabric

As we have discussed a few times now, properly maintaining white textiles is all about protecting the thin layers of fabric; the layers that, if compromised, can cause the white to lose its colors. Bleaching is a harsh process, and it will inevitably damage the fabric.

So it’s fair to say that while bleach is effective, it has substantial downsides. However, it may be a good course of action; if you don’t intend to keep a piece for much longer, then bleaching is a good choice. For example, if you know you’re going to have to replace your white tablecloth soon anyway, using bleach on it for one final dinner party is a decent option for an instant improvement.

To conclude

The above should help you live with white textiles and linens, helping to capture one of the key interior design trends of the last decade and preserve it, too.

Living with White Textiles and Linens: Q&A - The Southern Smiths: Is it doable?
Cleaning, Self-Care

Reading Nook for Mom

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

Mom’s are the busiest people in the world. Even busier than Kings and Queens – no, really. Mom’s are running around after their children 24/7 and when you throw in a husband and a house to run, there’s very little time to sit down and just reflect. Mommy Bear had cold porridge for a reason: she put Daddy Bear and Baby Bear first. The thing is when you put yourself last all the time that starts to show. You end up forgetting how to employ self-care in the quest for the perfect family life and the most impeccably tidy house.

(Related Post: Finding a Balance Between Careers and Motherhood)

A good book before bed is possibly one of life’s biggest pleasures for a Mom who is pulled ten ways from Sunday every day. A book gives her time to get out of the family chaos for a while and into another world. It’s a way to escape, relax and yet not even move from her own home. The problem? Nowhere comfortable to sit and read. Your children get the run of the lounge, with loud cartoons on the television and Lego on the floor to step on. Your husband gets the run of the garage, where he and his friends have an old sofa and Foosball table. What about you? Well, you need a reading nook, and I’m going to tell you exactly how you can perfect one.

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Self-Care

2 Easy Ways to be Healthier

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

We should always be looking to become healthier people. But are we? Well, no, not all the time. If you’ve grown up with a tendency to snack or live off a diet of junk food, it is a hard cycle to get out of. But if you do manage to break the cycle, you will reap the rewards. Healthier people are usually much happier. Their mind and body aren’t weighed down with all the processed foods that the average person’s diet is. So to help you know what to do to become a healthier person, we’ve listed some of the things you’re going to need to focus on.

Diet Supplements

Some people swear by diet supplements, and for good reason. If you don’t follow a strict diet, like the one listed above, the chances are that you’re not actually doing much good for your body. We need a certain amount of vitamins and minerals a day to keep our bodies at normal function. A processed food diet just isn’t going to cut this. So if you’re interested in how supplements can boost your diet, here are a few interesting facts.  One interesting supplement is inositol. Our body does produce it naturally. But sometimes we might not produce the normal levels needed. What it does help to do is help people suffering from PCOS, and protects against cancer. So it really is a handy supplement to get a little bit extra of. More info on it can be found at websites such as LifeExtension.com.  If you’re always feeling a bit tired, sluggish, and maybe even a bit depressed, it could be due to the fact you’re low on vitamin D for one reason or another. You can get supplements from your local pharmacy or even supermarket that will help to bring this backup.

Diet Trends

There are so many different diet trends out there for you to find. Getting into your own routine can sometimes be a bit challenging, but you’ll often find a perfect diet out there for you. For example, the paleo diet is pretty easy to follow, and the health benefits of it are amazing. It might be hard for you to jump right into something like this, so try doing the diet for five days a week. The paleo diet follows the premise that you can only eat the foods that our caveman ancestors would have. So lean meats, fruits, and vegetables, as well as other things. You’d have to cut out carbs, and definitely any other sugary foods or processed foods. It is all organic and nutritional foods. The meals you can create with it really aren’t that bad either. But it is a strict diet, so doing it for five days a week, to begin with, to ease yourself in is going to help.

(Related Post: The Benefits of Healthy Food Alternatives)

So there you go, just two ways in which you can make steps towards being a healthier person. All you need to do is have the commitment to make sure you’re sticking to it!

Self-Care

4 Ways Your House is Causing Your Back Pain

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

In the course of their lives, more than 80% of Americans will experience mild to severe back pain at some point or another, and you have a fifty-fifty chance of developing back pain within a year. It’s a startling statistic, but if you’re currently sat reading this with a hot water bottle resting against your sciatic nerve, then you probably know what I’m talking about.

For the most part, a lack of exercise and a lot of excess weight can contribute to back pain, but did you know that the furniture that you have in your home can make things worse for you? Back pain comes in many forms and for many reasons, but if you can eliminate some of the causes, then you absolutely should. If you don’t adjust your lifestyle, your backache can turn to chronic back pain. Here are some of the most common back pain contributors that your house has to offer you, and how to change things to suit your spine:

Toilets.

Did you know that the place you install your toilet roll holder can be damaging for your back? You likely don’t think about that when you’re on the ceramic throne, but if you are pulling off spectacular gymnastics just to reach for a wipe, then you need to have a rethink. The cheap way to fix this is to ensure you have enough toilet paper when you sit down to do your business. The expensive fix is buying a toilet roll holder that is freestanding and within reach!

Beds.

When was the last time that you replaced your mattress or your bed? I thought so. You should be changing your mattress every three years and your bed set every ten years with BestBedsBoutique.com. You need to be comfortable while being well-supported, and if you can achieve that with the perfect mattress then you should. Add on squashy pillows and fluffed duvets and you have a bed to be worshipped!

Housework.

No one likes to get down on their hands and knees to clean, but if you have cleaning equipment that has you hunched over while you use it, then you need to adjust what you are doing. Bending, reaching and carrying heavy equipment like vacuum cleaners can cause some real aches and pains when you are cleaning. Think of it as a sport, with stretching as your warm up and use your equipment wisely. Invest in fancy gadgets like this one if you don’t want to do it yourself – the money is worth it!

Hard Floors.

The way you walk can impact your back. Hard floors that have no give in the same way that carpeted floors do can make each step that you take quite stressful for your lower back. Use rugs and rubber mats where you can and if you have the cash, you should install softer surfaces like cork!

Your back is supporting you the best that it can, the least that you could do is look after it!

4 Ways Your House Is Causing Your Back Pain - The Southern Smiths: Figure it out, and then fix it!
Cooking, Self-Care

The Benefits of Healthy Food Alternatives

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

We aren’t always the best at putting healthy alternatives into our diet, are we? There’s so much temptation around is no matter where we go. Even with the best intentions, it is hard to stay focused on a healthy diet. Nearly all of the people who attempt it fall within the first week. But this is because getting into the routine of a healthy diet is like getting into a routine at the gym. You have to give it a few weeks before you can go the week without thinking anything of it. It will then become natural to you. So to try and show you why healthy alternatives are the way forward, we’ve listed some of the benefits for you, and a negative that binge eating and unhealthy foods can do to you.

(Related Post: 3 Health Tips For The New Year)

The Bad Foods

We might as well start with the bad foods first to try and highlight how good the good foods truly are for you. We are terrible at giving into bad foods. Frankly, it is because some of them are known to be addictive. Because of the way in which certain chemicals within chocolate, or crisps, or other such junk foods react in our brain, we get addicted to the feeling of happiness eating the junk food gives us. So actually breaking the cycle of eating them is harder than you might think. For a food to be addictive to us, you know it can’t be too good for you. There are times of the year where we eat a lot more than we should of, the holidays being the main one. We overindulge because we feel there is a reason to. But the short-term effects of this are weight gain, higher cholesterol, not enough energy, and crankiness. As good as junk food might make us feel, it does give you a little binge eat hangover which can make you a little more touchy than you realize. But there are plenty of holiday eating tips out there to help you try and reduce your calorie and fat intake at a time when it will usually be highest. If you carry on binge eating, the long-term effects are really bad. Weight gain and possible obesity is the main one. This can lead to health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and long-term high cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

The Good

If you switch your diet up and cut out all the foods full of additives, high sugar and salt content, and fat, the first thing you’re going to notice is your energy levels will be increased. That sluggish feeling we seem to get on a daily basis will soon fade away. You’ll also notice your weight will drop. The benefits of this being less chance of developing the issues we mentioned in the above paragraph, and it can actually help to improve other functions within your body. Your cardiovascular system will improve when it isn’t clogged up with all the cholesterol from all the fatty foods, and your digestive system will also improve. It is so much easier for our digestive system to process the organic foods you will be eating, the processed ones often clog the system up, and most likely are the reason you have a bad belly a few times a week.

The Benefits of Healthy Food Alternatives - The Southern Smiths: Beat your habits!
Family, Self-Care

Ready for a Baby? Here are Some Things you Need to Know

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

So, you and your partner are thinking of starting a family? That’s a big deal, and it’s something that couples both fear and look forward to at the same time. To put your mind at ease, you need to take the right steps now rather than later. It’s the only way to make sure that you don’t start creating problems for yourself. There are so many areas of your life that can be improved in order to set the ground for the family you’re about to start. Read on to learn more about those key changes.


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Self-Care

3 Health Tips For The New Year

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

You have a pain in your neck and an irritating itch on your leg; the little things like this can often brush by us and we forget to take care of ourselves. When was the last time you went to the doctor and got all of the health checks you need? It’s understandable that life gets hectic, but your health should be a priority. More often than not we tend to neglect our health needs and they can worsen over time. Take a few minutes to consider the small things that are bothering you and see if these tricks and tweaks make you feel any better.

(Related Post: 4 Essential Health Checks For The Entire Family)

Natural Nutrients

If you’re feeling groggy or tired you might not be nourishing your body with the nutrients it needs. Try creating a diary for a week and see how the food you are eating can affect your mood on a daily basis. Perhaps dairy makes your skin flare up or starchy carbohydrates give you a bloated belly. Once you pinpoint the foods that are making you feel dreary you can begin to cook dishes which agree with you and make you feel energized. Consider taking a multivitamin each day to provide your body with the different minerals it might need. Ensure you’re consuming calcium-rich foods to keep your teeth and bones strong too. An array of rainbow-colored foods on your plate will be sure to provide you with the nourishment you need to keep fighting fit.

Never Ignore Injuries

Exercise is an excellent way to keep yourself strong and it can have positive effects on your mental health too. Carry out daily physical activity to maintain good heart health, but make sure you’re feeling well enough to do so. If you’re suffering from a long-standing injury you might want to check with your doctor before starting a workout regime. Perhaps you’re suffering from ongoing pains after a car accident or feel you may be suffering from whiplash. Visit a professional such as Full Spectrum Chiropractic, who can help you recover from injuries such as this. As long as you tend to any minor pains as soon as you can, you can be sure your body is being looked after well. Only carry out exercise you feel capable of doing, if you’re pregnant you could take up specialist yoga classes to keep your body strong and supple. Never push through a pain or injury and take special care when starting up a new regime.

Brain-Power Practice

As well as your body, your brain needs stimulation to keep it busy. Consider doing a daily puzzle or downloading a mind game app on your phone. You can improve your cognitive skills and memory by carrying out daily brain exercises that will keep your mind feeling marvelous.

Take care of your body and listen to what it is telling you. Nourish yourself with fresh foods, enjoy a brisk walk in the park and always get your aches and pains seen to by a professional. You will soon be back in tip-top form and your whole family will be feeling fit forever.

Home Improvement

Styling Your Home For Future Selling

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

You won’t keep your current home forever. Eventually, for whatever reason, you will choose to move on. Or, you will be forced to. Even if you live there your entire life and you could, when people retire, most move. They don’t stay in the large, and often expensive, homes where they raised their children. They look for somewhere fresh to hang their hat. Somewhere new where there’s a community similar to them. Or, you’ll move halfway through your life for a job opportunity that was far too good to resist. Yes, this is a distinct possibility, and this is why you shouldn’t necessarily think of what you want when you decorate your home but rather what a future buyer would want.

(Related Post: Checklist for Building A New House)

The good news is that these two ideas often intersect. One crosses over with the other because you are a home buyer. You’re just like them, and you might find that your ideas for what makes a home great are similar to your future buyer. We all want to live somewhere that’s beautiful, stylish, practical, safe for kids and the list goes on.

Of course, there are other ideas that may not overlap with the wants of a future buyer. For instance, you might have a teenager. At a certain point, they may express interest in painting their room black. Should you allow them to do so? While you should let your kids be free creatively, you must be aware that no one wants a black room in a home. As well as being dark and depressing, it is also a devilish pain to paint over. Consider this before granting them their wish.

It’s also not just about what a future buyer wants or doesn’t want. It’s about convincing them that they want to buy your home. How do you do this? Well, that’s what we’re going to discuss today. Throughout this article, we’ll look at options of how to make your home look more aesthetically pleasing, more expensive, the features that buyers love and options for decorating in a way that is going to give you a unique edge over the competition. When you’re selling your house one day, the competition is going to be other homeowners. So, let’s start by looking at the question of how to make your home seem more expensive than it actually is.

Affordable Yet Exquisite

There are various design options that will allow you to make your home look far more expensive and one day boost the offers of people looking to buy. Of course, long before that day comes, you’ll be able to benefit by dazzling guests and taking great pride in your beautiful home. But what type of features have this impact?

Well, the best way to do this is to make sure that you hit them immediately with something gorgeous and stunning. The first piece of your home that someone is going to see will always be the front door, so this would be the first change to make. There’s no need to settle for the dull and typical door anymore as you can see on huffingtonpost.com. Instead, you can choose something completely different and a more interesting possibility. You might even consider a glass front door. While people may shy away from this due to the potential security issue, it is worth pointing out that there are ways to ensure that glass stays strong, even during an attempted break-in. So, you can have the best of both worlds here.

You might even want to look into getting a beautiful image on your door, designed onto the glass. Options like this are available from sellers online so do explore.

Once guests enter your home, they will most likely walk through a hallway. It is suggested that you choose to use laminate flooring. Laminate flooring is very popular right now due to the minimalistic aesthetic and the easy to afford price tag. You can get exactly what you need for your home to bring the property into the modern age.

Since we’re talking about keeping the future sale in mind, it is worth pointing out that interior design styles are constantly changing and evolving. As such, it is in your best interest to explore the trends before you make any changes to your home. You don’t want to take two steps backward, styling your home in a way that you may love and modern buyers won’t.

As well as looking towards the option of laminate flooring, it’s also worth making sure that you do keep the overall design of the hallway minimalistic. Another popular concept currently trending in the interior design world is to keep things simple with your home design. Make sure that you aren’t overcrowding the space with furniture and accessories. There are two benefits to gain here. The first is that the home will actually look far more spacious. The second, arguably more important, is that it looks clean, clear and sophisticated. To accentuate this idea the hallways of your home should remain cream.

If you want to dress them up a little more, consider the option of wall decals or even some modern art. It’s a great way to give the area some life without it looking too intrusive.

A Little More Expensive

Of course, you can also explore design ideas that while expensive will lead to remarkable results one day and improve the price that people are willing to pay for your home a great deal. You’ll also love the way these options add more to your home.

You see laminate flooring is a great idea for an affordable flooring option, but one would be remiss if they didn’t consider the alternative of using the material laminate wood is used to emulate. Instead, you should opt for true hardwood or even something like marble/granite. And, if you are going to invest in flooring like this you should certainly consider the option of getting countertops to match. Only at worldstonegroup.com will you find the most magnificent examples of the type of materials we’re talking about here. Just imagine walking into a kitchen with beautiful granite countertops.

If you’re going to do this, you shouldn’t stop there. The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home for that potential future sale. You need to make sure that every aspect of it is absolutely stunning. Getting new light fixtures will ensure that the light bounces off your fresh countertops at just the right angle, perfectly accentuating the best features of the room. If you can write a blank check for the budget of your interior makeover, we would also suggest adding a breakfast island. This can be the centerpiece of the room, and while it will cost you a few thousand, it will look magnificent.

There are other options too that aren’t based on a change in aesthetic at all. Rather, you can choose to invest in new voice activation technology. We know what you’re thinking here. Are you talking about Alexa? Cnet.com says Alexa has serious issues and actually, there are far more superior systems on the market today that can be completely and seamlessly integrated with the home. We’re talking about the ability to craft each room to match the personal preference of the individual inside it. Celebrities and the rich have had tech like this in their home for years. Recently, it has become more affordable and trickled onto the mass market.

Unique Features

If you are working with a budget that is somewhat unlimited, you can think about adding some more expensive and unique features to your home like for instance a water feature. This is going to do wonders for the curb appeal of your property, and it has the potential to make your neighbors completely green with envy to the point where they might wish they could buy your home themselves.

Water features do require maintenance so be aware of this before you invest. But, if you don’t mind the cost of cleaning them out regularly, they will be a visual work of art. If you are adding one, make sure it’s in a spot where everyone can see it in the front yard of your home.

You can also think about adding a unique feature inside your property. In this case, we’re thinking about the possibility of something that you and the future buyer will love like a sauna.

Sauna systems are more affordable than you would think and can be the perfect way to relax. This is just one of the impressive features you can add to the bathroom of your home. Another possibility would be a king size shower. Imagine how awesome it would be to wake up in the morning and be able to walk into a shower with multiple nozzles, big enough to walk around in a while being sprayed with what feels like a waterfall.

This is a modern idea that will be very popular with future buyers as baths become more unfashionable in our rapid pace world.

We hope you take our advice and use some of these ideas to make the changes to your home that a future buyer will love one day and you’ll love right now.

General, Home Improvement

How to Keep Weeds Off Your Lawn

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

When it comes to family life, nothing beats a garden your kids can play in. Families in apartments and even in some homes would do anything for an outside space. And, those of us who have this benefit should remember how lucky we are. Every kid deserves the opportunity to play outside when they want to. Time spent outside is good for exercise, education, and a myriad of other things.

(Related post: 6 Things Every Kid Should Do Before They Grow Up)

But, if you don’t take proper care of your outside space, you’ll soon find that you can’t leave your kids to play there. The area will become overcome and riddled with weeds which you don’t want kids getting hold of. This is especially the case for those with toddlers. You don’t need us to tell you that your little one will put things in their mouth the moment they get hold of them. Certain garden weeds are toxic and could do real damage if ingested.

With that in mind, it’s essential to keep on top of the weed situation in your backyard. There is, of course, one small issue. Use of toxic weed agents can do just as much, if not more damage if your little one gets hold of them. So, you can hardly spray the garden in the same way you would have before. Instead, you need to turn to natural ways to whack weeds into shape. Luckily, we’re going to look at a few of the methods you might want to fall back on.

It’s getting hot out here

In truth, there’s no need to turn to toxic methods when you have a kettle and some water to put in it. Boiling water is a fantastic way of stopping weed growth in its tracks as it kills plant growth on contact. In no time, you’ll be able to rid yourself of those pesky weeds. All it takes is pouring water straight from the kettle onto the problem areas. This is especially useful for annual weeds at certain times of the year. It can be helpful in getting rid of perennial weeds as well. Even better, you should start to see results as little as an hour after use. The hot water will kill the plants if poured on the leaves and stem, and cause them to wilt. Then, you can pull them up easily.

Bear in mind, though, that this method is best left for weeds in pavements and oily areas of your garden. Boiling water will also kill your grass. So, pouring from the kettle straight onto those pesky lawn weeds would be a costly mistake for sure. Mud garden, anyone?

You’ve got the power

If hot water doesn’t heat up your weed battle, you could always attempt to overpower the weeds in question. This works exceptionally well on lawns, using a method called aeration. This service is offered by companies like Atkins and involves punching holes into the soil on your lawn. These holes then provide space and nutrients for your grass to grow strong and healthy. These, in turn, will help your lawn fight weeds. If you enjoy the results, it’s also possible to buy aeration tools of your own and keep the practice going. The method is especially useful in fall and spring. These are the times in which your lawn could do with a little helping hand for the coming season.

Equally, simple lawn care tips, such as watering your grass and mowing, can help tackle weed worries. The healthier your grass, the more chance it has of beating weeds to all that nutritional lawn-packed goodness.

Weeds which can’t breathe

Smothering weeds also seems to be a favorite non-toxic option. You don’t need us to tell you that any plant needs water and light to survive. Without these conditions, it doesn’t stand a chance. The weeds will wither, much like your houseplants do when you don’t put them near enough to the window. Only, in this instance, that result would most definitely be desirable.

Again, you need to bear in mind that this isn’t a practical option for lawn weeds. You would only manage to smother your grass as well. But, for plants on the periphery or sprouting from bare soil, this could be the ideal solution. You can even make this work in your flower beds by making holes in the paper for your flowers. Then, all it takes to achieve the desired effect is some wet newspaper, and mulch to spread on top of it.

The long haul

And, of course, you could always remove those weeds by hand. Sometimes, you can’t beat getting down on your hands and knees and tackling the issue this way. It’s undoubtedly one of the most reliable means of addressing the problem. If you get to the root of the issue (pun intended), then you shouldn’t have to worry about those weeds again for some time. Tools such as weeders can make this task easier to tackle, as can softening the ground before you begin. Make sure you aren’t leaving anything behind which could lead to regrowth, too.

Aside from keeping your lawn healthy, this is one of the only ways to tackle lawn weeds. And, after you’ve done this one, you’ll find that it isn’t quite the task you’re expecting. Weeds may spread fast, but you can act more swiftly by checking your lawn each morning. That way, you can pull weeds as soon as they appear, and save yourself being out there tugging roots for hours on end.

A final word

In truth, few of these are long-term fixes for weed growth. But, the same can be said for toxic weed killer alternatives. Even so, returning to these methods whenever you spot an infestation can ensure your kids are safe to play whenever the mood takes them. Even better, you won’t have to wait until the area is safe to let them out again. With a method like the boiling water technique, they can head back out in a matter of hours.

Self-Care

An Essential Guide to Early Menopause

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

It’s unlikely you expected to read about menopause today. We know the readers of our blog are between the ages of 19 and 35, so its unlikely menopause is on your mind. After all, that’s something that you know will happen… but not for a very long time indeed.

Most of us associate menopause with women over the age of 50, which is a fair assumption. The average age women go through the menopause is 51 in the US, so it seems like an issue that you won’t have to deal with for a long time to come.

Unfortunately, for some women, that isn’t the case. Menopause can literally happen at any time– and it’s something you need to be on the lookout for. Below, we’ll examine the most common questions surrounding early (sometimes called “premature”) menopause, as well as the answers you need to know.

What is early menopause?

Early menopause is generally defined as menopause occurring when the woman is under the age of 40. Some countries lower this age to 35, but the US generally considers menopause before the age of 40 as being “early”.

How common is early menopause?

Statistics show only 1% of women will go through early menopause, which sounds encouraging until you remember 1% of women in the US equals around three million women. So early menopause isn’t likely, but it’s also not a particular rarity.

What are the symptoms of early menopause?

The symptoms of early menopause are identical to the symptoms of menopause at an older age. These symptoms include:

  • Hot flashes and night sweats
  • Emotional changes (irritability or even depression)
  • Dry skin, eyes, or mouth
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irregular or missed periods

Is early menopause a problem?

Given that menopause is inevitable, the idea of encountering it sooner rather than later might not sound that concerning. If you have had your children and consider your family complete, then menopause isn’t that daunting a prospect. You will likely need some form of supplements such as those provided by The Healthy Choice to keep you feeling your best, but menopause shouldn’t have any lasting consequences.

However, if you go through early menopause before you have had the number of children you want, then this can be problematic. If you notice any of the menopausal signs developing, it’s vital not to dismiss them. Many women dismiss clearly menopausal symptoms (such as hot flashes)  as they assume they’re too young to be experiencing menopause– you now know that that’s not the case. Talk to a doctor if you experience any menopausal symptoms, no matter what your age. While the process can’t be stopped, you should have fertility options to ensure you don’t miss your chance of motherhood.

Can early menopause be predicted?

No, though there are a few indicators. Studies have shown that women who start menstruation early are more likely to experience earlier menopause, but not necessarily early menopause.

This means vigilance, and rapid response to symptoms is the best method of dealing with the issue.

In conclusion

Hopefully, the above has provided some useful information about a little-known health condition that can have wide-ranging consequences.