15 March 2018

3 DIY Home Tasks You Should Probably Never Attempt

Make no mistake about it, DIY tasks are super fun to do. It’s really rewarding to start with nothing and turn it into something. Or, to have a few things lying around and make them into something good and functional. Doing things by yourself is ten times better than calling someone in to do the job for you. Sure, they might add a professional touch, but when you’ve done something it feels more personal to your home!

In a dream world, we’d never have to call anyone in or pay a contractor to do work for us. We’d live and breathe DIY, conquering task after task around the home. However, this isn’t a realistic reality. In all honesty, there are plenty of DIY home tasks that you should probably never attempt. These tasks are either too dangerous or complex for you to tackle, and you’re better off getting people in to do them for you. Sometimes, you just have to swallow your pride and call for help!

It pays when you’re aware of your own limits. Don’t try and do any of the things listed in this guide, or you’ll run the risk of damaging yourself or your home.

Replacing a Roof--

Whenever anything involves your roof, alarm bells should start going off. There’s an obvious danger here; you’re high up on top of your house, with no safety procedures in place. It’s more than likely you’ve never been up on your roof before, which means you have no idea how to position yourself or the safest way to get the job done.

Then, you have to think about the actual task itself. Removing roof shingles/tiling is no easy feat, and where do you put the old ones while you’re on the roof? More to the point, how do you get all the other tiles up there, and how do you install them properly?! The reality is; you’re better off finding a roofing company and giving them a call for a quote. They know how to do this job, and do it well. Let them get the ladders out, and trust that they know what they’re doing. It saves you from risking your life, but also installing the new roof incorrectly, leading to leaks and damages to your property.

Sanding Down Wooden Surfaces--

Let’s say you get a new oak dining room table, and you think it could do with being sanded down a wee bit on the legs or something. Alternatively, imagine your wood flooring has become a bit bumpy and needs to be smoothed out. This is fantastic, it’s a chance for you to show off your DIY skills and get sanding away.

Well, you might want to hold on just a second if you care about the quality of your furniture/wooden surfaces. Anyone can sand something, but can you sand it properly and professionally? Many pros are adamant that you should leave this job to them. It can take years and years to properly develop your sanding skills, and it’s really easy to mess up and ruin an item or furniture or leave horrible marks on your floor. By all means, if you don’t really care about something and want to take the risk, then get sanding. There’s nothing wrong with sanding down your own wooden creations, like a new wooden chair you built. But, when you spend a lot of money on something - like your floor, sideboards, or a big table - then you shouldn’t attempt the task. Call in the professionals and let them use their equipment to give your wooden surfaces the smooth finish they need and deserve.

Knocking Down Any Walls--

This is one of those tasks that you probably think you can do, and that you want to do because it saves money. Why bother paying someone to literally break down a wall in your home? It seems absurd to spend money on a task that’s essentially just smashing a wall and making a mess. Well, the problem is, it’s a lot more complex than that.

Firstly, do you have any idea how hard it is to smash down a wall? You need some really heavy duty equipment, and probably won’t even be able to lift it up, let alone wield it with enough power and skill to break through the wall. Secondly, there are certain walls that you can’t knock down because they’re load bearing. This means that if the wall comes down, so will the top half of your house. Well, it might not be that dramatic, but you’ll definitely compromise the structure of your home. So, you need a professional opinion to ensure the wall can be taken down, to begin with. Finally, you may think that the professionals cause a mess when they knock down walls, but it will be nothing compared to your attempt. They do it in a neat and controlled way, minimizing mess. You have no skill and experience, meaning it only takes one swing of a sledgehammer to knock a chunk of wall out that then flies into your TV. The more you think about it, the more it makes sense to stay far away from this DIY home task.

I’ll finish things off by taking all the way back to the start of this article when I said DIY tasks were super fun to do. I know, this entire post seems like it’s designed to discourage you from DIY, but I promise you that’s not the case. There are so many DIY tasks you can do around the home with varying degrees of success. Some of these are fairly complex and require you to hone your skills through multiple attempts. All I wanted to do was remind you to know your limits with regards to DIY. You may want to try and do everything, but there are certain things that you should leave alone. It could simply be too dangerous for you to attempt any of these tasks, or at the very least your attempts will ruin parts of your home.

7 Easy Ways to Have the Greenest Front Lawn

The grass isn’t greener on the other side; it’s actually greener on your side.
Nothing is better than walking outside on a warm, summer day and smelling green, freshly-cut grass.
Greener grass is the goal of every lawn owner, and there are a couple tips and tricks to achieving it.
Here are seven easy ways to make sure you have the greenest lawn, so fresh and green in fact, the color of your neighbors face might match it.
#1 - Proper Hydration
One of the best tips for keeping a lusciously green lawn is keeping it properly hydrated.
Now, this doesn't mean just some light sprinkling a couple times a week, it means a good soak daily.
The recommended amount is about one inch of water, so depending on the climate and amount of sun your lawn gets, that can vary the amount of time your lawn requires to soak it up.
This can also be helped by the time of day you water your lawn. Many say the best time is early in the morning when there is less wind and sun.
It's also important to test out how much water each area of your lawn is getting based on where your sprinklers can reach because if some areas of your lawn are getting more water than others, it can result in discoloration.
At the same time, it’s important to make sure you don’t over-water your grass, after all, you want a nice front yard and not a marshland.
#2 - Don't over or Under-Cut
Each type of grass has different recommended lengths for the best appearance, and it’s important to find out what that is for your lawn.
This is because over cutting or not cutting enough can affect the overall health and appearance of your lawn.
Keeping the blades on your lawn-mower nice and sharp is also a good idea for a healthy and green lawn because it makes sure that it cuts it quickly and effectively and no unnecessary pulling is happening.
#3 - Fertilize
Lawn fertilization is a very important part of the green and healthy grass.  
Soil provides nutrients to your grass, but over time those nutrients get used up and need to be replenished. A fertilizer helps with this, along with many other beneficial things.
Some of the benefits of fertilizing your lawn include reducing weeds, helping with new growth, helping with recovery from people walking on the lawn, and replacing nutrients lost over time.
You can fertilize your lawn yourself, or there are many lawn services that can do it as well.
#4 - Keep up with Weed Control
Nothing ruins a beautiful, green lawn like some nasty weeds.
The problem with weeds, however, is that they can be a pesky pest to get rid of. Dandelions, for example, can survive winter, spring, summer, and fall.
The best way to make sure that weeds don't infest your grass or keep on infesting it is to rip them out from the root and spray them with a synthetic or organic herbicide spray.
The key to remember is to use the sprays only as needed and to take the proper care when doing so.
#5 - Be Aware of the Seasons
Each season brings new weather and temperatures which means new ways to help maintain the appearance of your lawn.
Spring is the time to get those weeds under control, helping them to not come back the rest of the year.
Summer is the time for growing and keeping your lawn well-watered by turning on the sprinklers at the right time, which as mentioned above is usually the early morning.
Fall is a time to take out dead plants and prepare for the spring, and one of the ways to do that is aerating the lawn to liven up the soil.
And winter means fertilizer and mulch to also prepare your lawn for good growth come springtime.
#6 - Watch Your Pets
Pets can sometimes mean yellow spots on your nice green grass.
Training your pets to not pee on the grass is a great way to avoid that. Set up a different area outside that is their designated bathroom area, and train them to use only that area when they have to go.
#7 - Get to Know a Little Chemistry
One of the expert ways to truly make sure your lawn is green all year round is to familiarize yourself with a little chemistry.
For example, the PH balance of your lawn is actually pretty important, and each type of grass needs a different PH level from their soil.
Depending on the type of grass you have you can look up what that level should be on the internet, and then do an at-home kit to test it.
Another chemical knowledge has to do with your fertilizer, and what minerals and chemicals are good for your lawn in each season. Spring fertilizers have different chemicals than fall, and each is important in their season.

10 Ways to Absolutely Nail Your Next Dinner Party

Throughout our lives, we all tend to experience a range of different dinner parties. To the ones that we throw ourselves and those thrown by close friends and families, to those that we don’t really know, you can learn a lot. You learn from throwing your own and you take notes about what kinds of things others do. And all of this information can help you to make sure that you get your next dinner party right. But sometimes, you may find that you’re inundated with information and that you’re trying to taking in as much information as possible, that you don’t always know where to start (or remember everything that you swore you would)!

The truth is, throwing a dinner party can be hard work. If you’ve never thrown one before, or even attended one, you may wonder exactly what you’ve got yourself into. This is largely because you’re trying to take on everything at once. When you see the bigger picture with your dinner party, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed. At the same time, when you’re trying to remember the tips you wanted to make note of, you may find yourself getting confused. So, it’s much easier to break it all down. Because it can be a lot of fun to throw a dinner party and enjoy some time with your family or friends. But in order for you to actually enjoy it on the night, you have to take the right approach. So let’s make sure that you can do that.

#1 - Get Your Living Space Prepped Ahead of Time

The very first thing you’re going to want to do is to work on your entertaining area. Because there’s nothing quite like underestimating the amount of space that you have available. Sure, your guests will be eating at the dining table, but that’s only during dinner. It’s easy to forget that you need to have somewhere for them for welcome drinks and then after-dinner drinks too. So you’re going to want to prepare your living space to make sure you have enough room for everyone to sit.

#2 - Work out the Dynamics Well

So now that the panic is over about where you’re going to fit all of these people, you’re going to want to work out exactly who you’re going to invite. Choosing your guest list is a very important step. You need to make sure that you get the dynamics right, and that your guests will work well together. You don’t want friction or awkwardness, so be sure that you think about the people you want to invite and whether they will mix well or not.

#3 - Dress the Dining Table

Next, it’s onto the dining table. And this is something that you can sort weeks or days in advance. You’re going to want to plan out the theme of your dinner party and the decor that you want. That way, you can pick up the table pieces like napkins and place cards ahead of time. You can even dress it a few days before so that you have one less thing to do nearer the time.

#4 - Research Menu Choices

Now, we’re onto the section that’s all about your food and drink choices. Because you’re going to want to get these picked and planning out ahead of time if you want to make a success of the event! Dinner party menu choices need to please everyone, be easy enough for you to make, and be interesting and tasty enough to impress too. So get your research in early to give yourself time to weed through the options.

#5 - Choose One Showstopper

When you’ve done your research, you’re then going to want to make sure you choose a really stunning ingredient or recipe. For this, shucked oysters, truffles, or any other exciting ingredient should be the star. By having one showstopper, you can then downplay other courses for ease and cost-effectiveness.

#6 - Opt for Make-Aheads

Now that you’ve picked out a fancy ingredient or course, you can make sure that your other courses and nibbles are going to be simple. These impressive-yet-foolproof options are perfect. You need things that you can prepare beforehand so that you can still entertain your guests, and stay stress-free during the evening.

#7 - Select the Drinks

Finally, for this section, you need to get your drink pairings right. This means working out what you’ll serve at dinner, but also coming up with your welcome drinks choices and anything you want to serve after dinner too.

#8 - Consider Any Entertainment

Now, it’s onto some of the extra areas of planning - the bits and pieces that you may find yourself getting a little caught out on. Like the entertainment. You don’t always have to make sure that you have some form of entertainment in place, but it’s often nice to know whether you want to have background music playing or something small like that. You may also want to think of something to do after dinner, like games or music, so that everyone isn’t left hanging around. It’s a great way to keep the tempo up too.

#9 - Plan Your Look the Week Before

If you’re someone that tends to get into a bit of a rush about what you’re going to wear, you’ll find that planning what to wear well in advance, like the week before, will help. That way, you won’t be stressed out about what you should wear the night before, and on the day of your dinner party you will feel much calmer and in control.

#10 - Get Your Scrub On

Then, on the day of the dinner party itself, around preparing the menu choices and refreshments, you’re going to want to get your cleaning done. When you give the house a good scrub and make last-minute checks on your table decor on the morning of, you’ll feel much more peace of mind that everything is ready to go. And then you can just enjoy your evening knowing that you’ve pretty much nailed it already.

14 March 2018

7 Ways to Get Bright, White Teeth

Here’s how you can have a smile so white and bright people will be blinded (but in a good way!)
Nothing makes a better first impression than a beautiful smile.
For most people, a beautiful smile consists of nice, bright, white teeth.
But how can you achieve a movie star smile with an everyday budget?
Here are seven ways to make your teeth pearly white that everyone can do.
Whitening Strips
Although these strips may seem a little gimmicky, the results are actually very good and can help to brighten your teeth for up to a year without breaking the bank.
Most whitening strips are coated with a peroxide based gel that you place on your teeth for a few minutes each day. This means the gel will bleach away any unwanted stains and yellowness, and usually, you can tell a difference in just a few days.  
And the good news is according to Desert Hills Dental, a dentist in Farmington, NM, the FDA has upped the standards for the ingredients in these whitening strips ensuring that the enamel on your teeth won’t be compromised.
Good for your teeth and wallet-friendly? I would say that's a win, win!
Certain Foods and Baking Soda  
Some people prefer to take the natural approach when it comes to teeth whitening, and the good news is there are some fruits and ingredients you can probably find in your pantry right now to help you get the job done.
Foods such as celery, apples, pears, and carrots are known to help keep your teeth clean and bright by producing saliva, which your body produces to wash away food and other particles that could stain your teeth.
Brushing your teeth with good old fashioned baking soda and water is a natural way to slightly bleach your teeth and make them appear whiter.
Ask Your Dentist  

A great way to ensure that you have a bright, white smile is to leave it to the professionals and have your dentist perform a whitening treatment.
The nice thing about having your dentist perform teeth whitening is that it’s likely to last a lot longer and you know that they will use the latest and greatest methods to whiten your teeth while keeping them healthy.
Avoid Bad Habits
Smoking is not only a harmful habit, but it’s also one that will compromise the brightness and whiteness of your teeth.
According to WebMD, the tobacco in cigarettes causes brown stains that usually can't be taken off with tooth brushing alone, and can even be difficult for dentists to remove over time.
If a nice, bright smile is your goal, it might be time to quit smoking. Your teeth and body, in general, will thank you.
Be Careful What You Eat  

Just like smoking, there are certain foods that can cause staining that can compromise the brightness of your teeth.
Drinks like coffee, wine, and fruit juice can cause staining that is difficult to remove.
Another good rule of thumb that most dentists swear by is if the food will stain a white shirt, it will most likely stain your teeth.
The good news is that most of these stains take time to appear, so with moderation and vigilant tooth care you can keep your smile looking fresh and clean.
Good Daily Habits
This may seem like a no-brainer, but one of the most important keys to healthy, whiter teeth is making sure to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day.
According to the dentist in Farmington, brushing after each meal will, even more, guarantee that your teeth will be healthy, strong, and look bright and beautiful.
Switch Out Your Toothbrush
A new toothbrush will not magically whiten your teeth, but it will make sure that it is as effective as possible at removing food and bacteria that is in your mouth that can cause your teeth to dull and stain over time.
According to the American Dental Association, it's important to switch out your toothbrush every two to three months to make sure the bristles aren't too worn down or that your toothbrush isn't filled with too much bacteria.

Getting Ready for Guests

Do you have a guest room? Most houses do nowadays, and it’s either got a spare bed in it you keep made up out of habit, or you’ve put all the storage boxes in there because you don’t have any other room for them. Or maybe you’re going a more modern way, and like to use all of the space around you to enrich your life with your friends and family. No matter the way, you’ve got room to have a guest stay over, and you’re probably quite proud that they won’t have to stay on the sofa.

But being the perfect host is hard. So if you have some people coming over in the near future who need to use your facilities, it’s time to whip your house into shape. Here’s some tips on making sure you’re guest room ready and proud of the work you’ve put into it.

Clear Out the Closet

If you have a closet in the spare room, there’s a good chance it’s full of your excess stuff you’ve accumulated over the years. There’s no room in the garage for it all, and now you’ve got it all spilling out onto the floor and taking up valuable wardrobe space. So maybe having a guest arriving is just the kick you need to get your house into gear!

Sort through these boxes and pick out the things you want to keep and the things you can throwaway. Be ruthless in these decisions or you might just end up thinking you need to keep it all! If something is in good condition, see if you can sell it or donate it to a charity shop. You’ll be doing your bit for both people less fortunate and the environment this way!

Have Spare Sleeping Arrangements

You’ve only got one bed in that spare room, and you might have more than one or two guests. And to keep them off of the floor, it’s a good idea to have an air mattress deflated and tucked away to blow up at their convenience. Checking out some of the products reviewed on ChooseMattress can help you here, as well as just having a mattress repair kit in the kitchen drawer.

Make sure you’ve got spare pillows and blankets in the airing cupboard, and that they’re all plumped and fluffed if anyone asks for one. It can make you feel a lot better just to have these options available after all!

Prep the Bathroom

You never know how much toilet paper you can burn through until it’s only been a couple of days and you’ve already got an empty roll. With that in mind, and the extra people in your house, make sure you ready the bathroom with all the essential toiletries you can think of. Have some spare toothpaste and a brush ready as well; it’s something everybody always forgets.

Getting ready for guests doesn’t actually have to be stressful, and always remember that your house is perfect for hosting them.