Category Archives: House

How To Plan A Dinner Party To Celebrate Your Engagement

Once you’ve announced your engagement, it’s time to celebrate. And what better way to do that than with a vibrant dinner party for the two families to enjoy together. This may be one of the first times your parents have met your partner’s parents. Perhaps you can invite siblings and their partners over too. A dinner party gives you all a chance to get to know each other better.

As well as a chance to pick up some helpful tips for planning the wedding, you may be entertaining your future family for the first time. Preparing your home for such an important meal can take time, so it might be best to start a day early. The dining room may be seating more people than usual, so dust off the spare chairs. If your table extends, now is the time to open it up. If there still isn’t quite enough space, consider adding a small table on the end. You can usually find good tablecloths in larger sizes to help make the tables look like one.

Dressing the table is really important if you want your meal to look elegant. Consider a vibrant colour for your table runner to add interest to the surface. You might choose attractive table mats as place settings. Consider using some along the runner if you’re bringing hot dishes to the table. Each place setting should have the correct cutlery set up. This may include your dessert spoons and starter forks.

If you prefer to seat people in a particular way, why not create some place setting cards? This will help people find their seat more easily, and you can then manage the seating arrangements. A candelabra or vase of flowers can help bring a sense of formality and occasion to the table. Finally, fold your cloth and linen napkins to help dress the table in a stylish way.

Choosing your wine and other beverages doesn’t need to be too tricky. Once you’ve decided on the menu, you can pick reds and whites accordingly. Usually, the label on the bottle will help you find the right drop to accompany each dish. Generally speaking, Chardonnay goes beautifully with chicken breasts. A Burgundy will accompany a beef dish such as Bourguignon very well. There are many more options in both red and white wines to suit all tastes.

Desserts at a dinner party should be elegant and indulgent. Tiramisus and cheesecakes are often good choices. A cheeseboard with crackers is often very popular after a meal. It can be served just before the coffees if you prefer. With a larger party, it could be a good idea to serve two platters or boards so there is one at each end of the table. Side salads could also be served this way.

Dressing for such an important event is lots of fun. You can pick your favourite evening outfit. Be sure to wear shoes too! If you’re hoping to deliver an elegant event, why not spoil yourself with an appointment at the hairdresser? A big family dinner party can be one of the best ways to celebrate the coming together of two families. Bon Appetite.

Here’s How You Can Save For A House Deposit

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We all want to get our foot firmly on the property ladder. However, these days it isn’t quite so easy and most properties require a hefty deposit. But don’t be disheartened, saving up for one isn’t quite as impossible as you may think. Desperate to buy your first home? Here’s how you can save for a house deposit.

Invest Your Money

There is no point just keeping your cash in a current account. These types of accounts don’t get that much interest added onto them. So it is a better idea to invest your money in high-interest investments. Things like stocks and shares can help you increase your money quickly. However, they can be fairly risky at times. For a low-risk investment, place your savings in a high-interest bank account. As this will give you higher returns than a current account.

Downsize While Your Rent

If you are currently renting a house or apartment, consider looking for a smaller place. Do you really need a three-bedroom flat while there are just two of you? After all, you will be paying a lot of rent for that spare bedroom. That’s extra cash that could be put towards your deposit. If possible, it is a good idea to look at the market’s current best rental apartments to see if you can get somewhere smaller for a good price.

Help-To-Buy Schemes

The government has set up a couple of help-to-buy schemes over the past couple of years. The schemes are in place to help first-time buyers buy a new-build home. You will need a smaller deposit than if you were buying a home without one of the schemes. There are also a couple of schemes that help buyers get their first mortgage. Have a look online if you think you may be eligible for one of these schemes.

Budget Your Money

Sitting down at the beginning of each month to plan your money can help you make significant savings. Take a look at your regular incoming and outgoing money, and use these figures to see how much you have leftover each month. Each month, put a large part of this leftover money into a bank account to save for your deposit. If you are strict with yourself, you will be very surprised at how much you can save!

Save Your Money Wisely

You need to place your money in bank accounts that have a high-interest rate. This way, you will get a higher return on your money than if you had just left it in your standard current account. Visit your bank and ask them about the various accounts they have, and what their benefits are. It is also worth asking about ISAs as these often have much higher interest rates than all other bank accounts. Plus, you can save your money in an ISA tax-free.

Don’t be put off from saving for a deposit. It will take a long time and will require you to be disciplined with your money, but it will certainly be worth it in the end!

Outside Home Improvements Which Add Value!

One of the top things homeowners should consider when they make improvements to their home is how they can add value to the property. Making outside improvements can often add more value than you think. Here are some top things you should do to ensure your property sells for more.

Build a garage

A lot of buyers are looking for a garage to keep their vehicle in when they are looking for a new property. Not only is it good for keeping the vehicle safe so it doesn’t get stolen, but it also protects it when the weather is terrible. People also use it for storing old belongings or outdoor equipment. Therefore, you should look into building a garage if you have the space so that you can increase your property value. Talk to local companies who will be able to build one for you.

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Extend your driveway

If you want to add value to your property, you should consider extending your driveway so that more vehicles can fit on there. Houses with large driveways sell for a lot more than ones which don’t have any space for parking. There are many companies out there who specialise in driveways and patios and will be able to complete the task at hand quickly and safely. And by having a larger driveway, the property value will increase and you can reduce the cost of your car insurance by parking on there.

Tidy your front lawn

As we have talked previously, you should ensure that your front lawn is looking tidy if you want to increase the value of your home. Why not plant some flowers which will help it to look more attractive to potential buyers. Make sure you regularly mow it to keep it looking great. If you don’t have time, you might need to hire a gardener to do it for you.

Install a home security system

Another way to increase your property value is to buy a home security system to go on the outside of your property. It’s great as it will alert you if someone is trying to break into your home, and if you aren’t there, the neighbors will be informed something is going on. Therefore, it will deter thieves which makes it more attractive to potential buyers. As this article talks about, you are more likely to receive a higher offer as it creates a real sense of security with potential buyers meaning your house value will increase.

Sort your back garden

You should make sure you sort out your back garden as well when you are doing outdoor home improvements. As this feature explains, your back garden being landscaped well can add up to 28% on your home value. Make sure you tend to the lawn to make it look more attractive. You could get a gardener to come and take care of it if you don’t have the time.

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Doing the following not only helps you increase the value but makes you happy to live there.

 

Buying A House? Don’t Forget The Survey

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There is a lot to arrange when you’re trying to buy a property. You will have to view a number of different properties to find the one that could be your dream home, and you will also have to sort out your finances.

However, there is one important part of buying a house that quite a few people forget. And that is getting a survey. Survey are there to help you make a decision when it comes to choosing a property. They will bring up any problems with the property’s structure. And also let you know if any major repairs will need doing on the building work in the near future. They are a great way of preventing any surprises cropping up once you move in!

If you are considering buying an old property, then a survey is especially worthwhile, particularly if the roof is thatched. They aren’t as necessary on new builds or modern homes, but it is still worth one having one done. Especially if the building has been empty for a long period of time before you move in.

There are four main types of surveys. Most buyers usually only get one carried out on a property, but you can choose to do more if you want to know as much as possible about the house.

A Condition Report

This survey will tell you about the overall condition of the house, without getting too bogged down in the particulars. It is a very basic survey that can give reassurance to those who aren’t too clued up on property. The results will be presented in a colour-coded way. Green means everything is ok with the house. An orange result raises some cause for concern. If the result is red, then some serious repairs will need to be made as soon as possible.

A Home Buyers Report

Slightly more detailed than the condition report, this survey will tell you about any major problems. And also about the home’s valuation. However, the report isn’t intrusive, and the surveyors won’t go into a lot of detail while inspecting the property. But it still provides a lot more information than the basic condition report.

A Building Survey

Possibly the most expensive survey to get, building surveys are certainly worth the investment. The surveys are extensive and will provide you with a very detailed report at the end to help you consider whether the property is worth buying. These surveys are worthwhile if you are looking at a very old property or are considering doing a lot of building work once you have moved in.

An Asbestos Survey

Asbestos Surveys are especially important in old buildings that may contain asbestos. This poisonous material was once used widely in construction until it was found to be harmful to humans. This survey will look at your property to see if there is any asbestos in it. If so, you can then organise for it to be replaced with a safer material.

Thanks to these surveys, you can feel much more confident about the next property you purchase!

Useful Tips & Tricks For A More Organized Home

Are you a hoarder? Do you have lots of lovely stuff but just not enough room for it all? Don’t worry; you’re not alone – to some extent we all love to hoard. Be it furniture or clothing, we all have items that we’ve had for years and just can’t seem to bear to part with. The problem is that if you fill your home with items that you no longer need (or want), it’s impossible to create a tidy and organised space. If you want a beautiful home to be proud of you have to get organised – it might seem impossible but it’s not.

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Focus on one room at a time

Going through your whole house at one time choosing what to keep and get rid of is extremely stressful and overwhelming. Instead, start with one room at a time and work through the items in there. You’ll find that by working on one area at a time that it will be less overwhelming and easier to manage. You can choose to do one room a day or get your entire house done in a weekend; it’s up to you.

Be ruthless

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It’s never easy parting with belongings, but if you want a lovely home that’s neat and well organised, you have to be ruthless. Any items that you no longer need or use get rid of. There’s no point keeping things just in case you need them – be ruthless and get rid of anything you no longer need. Just think, the items that you get rid of might be able to help someone else. You see, there’s a silver lining to everything, even getting rid of your old junk.

Consider using self-storage

If you have items that you want but have no use for at the moment, then consider using self-storage. While it’s important to get rid of junk that you don’t need, valuable items that you just don’t need right now are worth keeping. Instead of chucking them out, use a company like Fox Moving and Storage to keep these items safe. They won’t be cluttering up your home anymore and will be safely stored away, giving you the best of both worlds. Just make sure that before you start using self-storage that you can afford the monthly fees.

Be smart about storage space

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As someone who likes to hoard, it’s essential that your home has plenty of clever storage space. If you lack storage, get creative to add more to your home. If your home has plenty of storage space, you’ll find that keeping it organised is much easier. If you don’t have space to store all your bits and bobs, your home is never going to look good. So it’s crucial that you’re smart about storage space and do all that you can to ensure you have plenty of options. From wardrobes to attic storage, there’s lots that you can do.

Once you’ve taken these tips on board, you’ll find it much easier to keep your home organised. Be ruthless and get rid of any junk, store what needs storing, and most importantly, be smart about storage space.

How To Update Your Bathroom Without Replacing It

Our bathrooms are one of the rooms that get frequently used in our home. The same can be said for the kitchen. So it is no surprise that both those rooms are the ones that can add value to your house. Especially if you are considering selling it anytime soon. However, as expected, both those rooms can cost quite a lot to replace. Out of the two, the bathroom is the one that can be made to look different without the need of replacing your existing bathroom suite. If it isn’t bad then why not consider these tips to update your bathroom.

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Think about the accessories

One sure fire way to make the bathroom feel different is to add some new accessories. This can be even better if you stick with a colour scheme or theme. A great theme for a bathroom is nautical and there are some fabulous ideas on websites like Pinterest to inspire you. If you want to stick with a colour instead then this could work with the towels, toothbrush holder and cup. You could even add some vases or flowers to brighten the room up.

Add a new towel rail to make the room feel different

A great way to make your bathroom look updated is to add key features. One way of doing that is to consider a wall mounted heated towel rail. They can look very sleek and modern and give your whole bathroom a new look. There are a lot of different choices out there. So it’s worth checking out websites like http://www.bathroomradiatorsuk.com/electric-towel-rails.html to see what is available.

Consider a feature wall

If you have a wall that is painted then why not make something of it. You could paint it a different colour to match your new colour scheme. Or if you are happy with the colour then why not add some photographs in frames or something different like mirrors or framed prints. A feature wall can be what draws the eye into the bathroom. It can give the roll a whole different feel.

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Look at the little details in your bathroom

Sometimes it’s just looking at the little details that can make a big difference to how your bathroom looks. It’s noticing things like mold developing in the bathtub seal or shower. It’s making sure everywhere has been cleaned. This room gets used so often, and although you may regularly clean these things need a little more work. There are some great DIY remedies online to help solve some of these issues.

Make big changes elsewhere in the room

If replacing the bathroom suite isn’t an option then consider changing some of the other big features instead. Things like flooring or a new sink unit. Even wall mounted shelves or mirrors can make the bathroom feel totally different. It means spending some money, but not as much as it would be to have the whole room remodelled.

I hope this has inspired you to update your bathroom.

4 Home Improvements That Help Homes Sell Quickly

If your home has been on the market for quite some time, it may not be selling because it doesn’t have the wow factor. So how do you add that all-important extra-special something that makes it irresistible to buyers? One of the easiest ways is to carry out some home improvements that can improve the overall quality. Potential buyers don’t want to see a badly decorated house or one that needs a lot of work doing to it. If you take care of all the hard work, your home will sell quickly and at the price you want. Ready to attract buyers with your home? Here are the five home improvements you need to do.

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Increase Curb Appeal

If your home looks scruffy from the outside, people are just going to walk right on by. So you need to boost its curb appeal. Sort out your front garden so that it’s blossoming with lots of flowers. Paint all your doors and window frames so that they look as good as new. Install some new garage doors so your garage looks very secure. You’ll be amazed at how effective taking care of the outside of your home can be!

Add An En Suite

If you have a big master bedroom, it is always worth adding an en suite bathroom to it. This may be a pricey investment, but it will certainly add a lot more value to your property. And buyers love to see en suite. It adds a touch of luxury to your home as well as practicality. After all, who wouldn’t want to roll straight into the shower first thing in the morning! It also provides privacy if the next homeowners ever have guests staying over. Thoughtful finishing touches such as heated towel rails can make all the difference, too.

Clean Your Carpets

Carpets can be terribly worn and torn after years of use. And these are some of the first things that viewers will notice. Especially if they are starting to look grimy! So it is a good idea to get on your hands and knees, and start scrubbing! You can buy special vacuum cleaners that can deep clean, as well as many cleaning solutions that you just need to rub into the carpet. If you can’t be bothered with all this effort, hire a professional carpet cleaning company to do all the hard work for you!

Redecorate

When looking around a property, potential buyers will be trying to imagine how they can put their own stamp on it. If you have a very distinctive style of interiors, they could find it difficult to see their very own style in the rooms. So before you have any viewings, it will be worth redecorating and creating a neutral environment. All you need to do is paint your walls white and remove any vibrant patterns. It could also be beneficial to remove and distinctive pieces of furniture.

Once you have made these home improvements, your house will be irresistible to buyers!

Utilising space in your home

We’ve been in our house15months now and still have lots of little bits to sort out.  When we moved in I saw potential in 2 little spaces in our kitchen one been the understairs cupboard and the other been like a utility that was called the “coal house”.  The previous owners used both as junk storage.  This is what I have done and it hasn’t cost me much money either.  Just proves you can do a lot with small spaces without breaking the bank.

The utility

This room once was a storage room, painted in a dark horrible colour that made it look dull and dirty, which housed a wooden storage unit full off rubbish, a washing machine, fridge/freezer and general junk. I gave it a lick of white bright paint to make the room look bigger.

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It is not a very big room but it is big enough for what I need it for.  There was no worktop there when we moved it, but I said I wanted to add a worktop to be able to put things in there e.g the microwave to keep the worktops in the kitchen free.  So to save a bit of money I phoned round kitchen places to see if I could get a pieces (I only need 1metre length) for as cheap as possible,  Well after phoning round I managed to finally find a company that had a perfectly sized piece for…FREE.  There is still plenty of room aswell both on top and underneath.

Understairs storage cupboard

Again, when we moved in this room was used as a junk room,  We cluttered the room with dog food, alcohol/Beer – Obviously most important thing, coats, ironing board and anything that would fit really.  Then I thought one day I want to maximise this space and make it in to something that was useful.  I said to my dad, can we make this room into a pantry?   He didn’t see why we couldn’t.  With me and my fiance working full-time it was difficult to find time to help my dad get it sorted, other than weekends but we always seemed to have something on.  Finally a few long months May bank holiday Monday arrived and my parents said they would come round and help get it started.  This is what it looked like before, a shell that we used as a junk store, coats, paint, alcohol, ironing board, dog stuff and more….

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After a few weeks of cutting and prepping wood and painting it all to give it a nice finish.  Then it was time to cut some battens to create the supports to fix the brackets on to.  It’s not a difficult task but took a good few hours to complete, lots of drilling, screwing and sawing later, These are the end results.

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As you can see we made sure there was plenty of spare room at the bottom for the alcohol.

I am in love with my pantry/understairs cupboard (Sad I know), but it has given us so much more space to utilise in other cupboards and drawers.

What spaces have you changed in your house?

Homemade Wax Tarts

Who likes candles?

Well I love Yankee candles, or any candles for that matter. I got given my first set of small sampler Yankee candles for an engagement present 2 years ago and the obsession grew from that day. I just love the smell of all the different aromas and sizes you can buy.

Here is my collection

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My favourite has to be Beach Flowers.

I don’t like waste at the best of times so when my first Yankee candle finally stopped burning but there was still lots of wax in the bottom I was certainly not going to just throw it away, so I was trying to find ways of not wasting it, so when my friend found a little trick to not waste the remaining candles I was over the moon.

Here is what I did and they are so easy to make and do:

1) Crush the candle up in the jar

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2) Put the jar with the remaining candle in a jug of boiling hot water and leave to melt, stiring  slowly.

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3) Then pour the liquid carefully into cupcake cases, Caution as jar will be hot

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4) Leave to set and then remove from cases, you can then put them on a burner with a small candle underneath and wait for the aromas to surround you.

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You could even save up lots of left overs and mix different ones together and experiment.

Have you got a favourite Yankee Candle Scent?

Have you bought your own house?

Last year, my fiancé of 7 years, Tom, and I decided to buy our first home together. We had been looking for 12 months for our perfect property, and actually lost count of how many we viewed. As both sets of parents live locally, we wanted to stay within a reasonable distance from them.

Buying a property is stressful, exciting and expensive but it is all worth it in the end.  Eventually, after months of searching on Rightmove, Zoopla and local estate agents, we found a house that we really liked. We viewed it about 3 times before making any decisions, taking our parents with us to get their opinion.

Luckily, both my dad and uncle are surveyors, so they were able to give it a once over before we decided to make an offer. It took hours to decide on a figure, and when we finally did put an offer in, it seemed like ages before we got a response. We were so shocked when our offer was accepted a few days later! Then all the hard stuff started; organising a solicitor, a surveyor, house insurance… I never realised how much there was to do when buying a house!

Eventually, after a very long and stressful 4 and half months, we finally exchanged contracts and completed and were able to sign for the keys the following week. It was such as relief to get those keys in our hands. IMG_1697

Sadly, it didn’t all finish there as we had to have building work done in the kitchen before we could move in as the main RSJ beam had to be replaced. IMG_1732

We also found out that we had bad wiring. Having the whole house rewired took a further 1 month, but eventually we moved in to our new home on the 8th December, just in time for Christmas.

Have you bought a house? I would love to hear your first home stories!

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