**“Warner Bros. provided me with a swag pack to facilitate this post. The opinions I share are my own.”**
A new Nancy Drew movie is coming out and if you love Nancy Drew as much as me you will be excited! The new movie is called Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase. Now you can enter to win a swag bag.
Swag Pack includes: – Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase – film t-shirt – Nancy Drew Escape Room Sticker Sheet (4″x6″) – Nancy Drew – Earbuds & pouch
About Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase Theatrical
After the death of his wife, Carson Drew decides to leave Chicago behind and make a fresh start with his daughter 16-year-old daughter Nancy in River Heights. Nancy is asked by Flora to help solve the ghostly activity at her home, the Twin Elms mansion. Can she help explain the creaking footsteps, exploding lightbulbs and the ominous creature? Is it the handiwork of high-school bully Derek Barnes? Or is it possible that the ghost of original owner Malcolm Colfax is back for revenge? Recruiting her best friends George and Bess, along with local “mean girl” Helen, Nancy Drew is on the case!
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircasestars: Sophia Lillis (IT and “Sharp Objects”) as Nancy Drew Sam Trammell (“True Blood” and “This is Us”) as Carson Drew (Nancy’s father) Linda Lavin (“The Good Wife” and Alice) as Flora Andrea Anders (“Joey” and “Better Off Ted”) as Hannah (Nancy’s Aunt) Laura Slade Wiggins (“Shameless”) as Helen Zoe Renee (“The Quad”) as George Mackenzie Graham (The Purge) as Bess
In Theaters March 15
Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase Escape Room & Mystery Match Blog App:• Welcome to the Interactive Nancy Drew Escape Room – to escape, you must solve riddles and find items to uncover the three numbers needed to open to door. Good Luck! • In the Mystery Match Video Puzzle, use your mouse to click + drag puzzle pieces to unlock clips from the film.
To Enter Leave a Comment and tell us of you have ever read a Nancy Drew book and if so what is your favorite book. Follow us on instagram or Twitter and let us know your name in the comments and that you followed .Use #NancyDrew and #TheHiddenStaircase to spread the word! We will pick a random comment to win.
Each household is only eligible to win Nancy Drew and the Hidden Staircase – Theatrical Pack via blog reviews and giveaways. Only one entrant per mailing address per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you will not be eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.
Having a baby is one of the scariest, most incredible things you will ever do. Your life changes forever, your priorities switch in an instant. No longer are you the most important thing in your life, you now have this precious, tiny baby to protect and look after. Their happiness becomes your number one priority. However, that’s not to say you should stop caring for yourself too. In fact, when you’re a parent it’s more important than ever, since you now have your little one depending on you. Here are some of the ways you can take care of yourself, get in a good place in your mind and ensure everything runs smoothly over the pregnancy and first few months.
Batch cook meals before the birth
When your baby arrives, the early days will be all about caring for them and sleeping whenever you can! The first few weeks and months while you get used to things are particularly challenging, and preparing healthy and home cooked meals will probably be the last thing on your mind. However, nutrition is key, you need the right foods for your body to heal and also to produce good quality milk if you’re breastfeeding. One thing you can do is batch cook meals ahead of time. Most things will be good in the freezer for many months, so you can spend a few months towards the end doing this. Make batches of your favourite meals (including plenty of veg and nutritious ingredients where possible), then divide it into portion sized Tupperware containers and freeze. Once your little one arrives, you have easy access to food that unlike takeout won’t cost you a fortune and isn’t full of hidden nasties. Pop in the microwave and you’re good to go! At the start, friends and family will often look after you by bringing over meals for you, but this won’t last forever. Having a few months of meals cooked and ready to go can really make your life much easier during this time. Invest in some good boxes, and be sure to label everything- writing on it what it is, and the date it needs to be used by. If you cook a number of different meals it will stop things from getting boring, there’s lots of information on batch cooking and recipe ideas on sites like Pinterest.
Take advantage of your nesting instincts
Another thing that’s well worth getting sorted ahead of time is your home. If your current place is too small for a baby and you know you’ll have to move in the near future, moving before they’re born is always going to be the best option if you’re able to. You can get set up in the new place and have their nursery set up (even though they won’t need it right away) just to have peace of mind that everything is sorted. A lot of women get ‘nesting’ instinct before having a baby where they feel a strong urge to clean and get organised- take advantage of this! Having your house clean from top to bottom and fully organised will make it much easier to stay on top of when your baby arrives. Plus, since they’re so sensitive and delicate you’ll want to make sure the home is free of germs, mould, dust mites and other harmful things. It can be worth using natural products or those that are free of powerful chemicals. Consider things like cushions, throws, sofas and carpets which are traps for nasties. Hiring a carpet cleaning company and putting your soft furnishings on a hot wash are ways to resolve this. Organise things like drawers and cupboards so you know where everything is. But importantly, don’t over exert yourself. It’s tempting to want to start pulling out furniture and really getting in there, but you have to be careful while you’re pregnant. Rope in friends and family to help.
Hire extra help
Having your house in order will make it easier to stay on top of the cleaning and housework when your little bundle of joy arrives, but getting through everything is still easier said than done when you’re looking after a newborn. Don’t be afraid to utilise different services out there to make everything run more smoothly for you. You could have a cleaner or maid come in, a few times a week and make sure the house is clean and tidy for you. You could have a laundry service come and wash and iron all of the clothes, this is useful when you have a new baby and are going through lots of clothes. You could even hire a nanny a couple of days a week to watch the baby so you can catch up on some rest. If you have the means to be able to do this, it can make these early days and weeks much more manageable. One of the hardest things is functioning without sleep, and trying to get everything done around the home while also caring for your baby. So utilising the help and services that are out there is a smart move. It could be something you do just for a few weeks, a few months or on an ongoing basis. If you don’t have a close network of friends and family to help you out it can be particularly worthwhile. You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, you’re not expected to be able to do everything! If paying for a company to come in and provide you with a much needed service works for you, then go for it.
Get your finances in order
Having a baby is an expensive time. Not only do you need to potentially move house and buy a new car, you also need to purchase everything they need. Furniture, a pram, baby clothes and much more don’t come cheap and will all add up. On top of this, you’ll need to take at least some time off work meaning your pay is reduced. For this reason, it’s important to be prepared with your finances. Budget carefully, and work out how you’ll afford your bills when you don’t have your full income coming in. It could be worth establishing a side hustle early on, something like freelance writing can be done from home, with no upfront costs and no physical strain to your body. If you already have an established blog, you could look into ways to monetise it. That way you have a way of earning money right up until your baby is born, it’s even something you could return to afterwards if you’re not ready to straight back into the world of employment. Depending on your situation and where you live, you might be entitled to some help from the government so do look into this and see what you’re eligible for. It can make things much easier to know you have at least some income while you’re off work.
Start exercising again- when you’re ready
There’s a huge amount of pressure on new mums to spring ‘back into shape’ after having a baby. With the media focusing on celebrities who seem to shed the excess weight within weeks it can leave you feeling under pressure to do so. But don’t feel that way- most women take some time for their bodies to return to something that resembled their prior shape. There’s no shame in this whatsoever, after carrying a baby for nine months it’s going to take some time! You don’t want to start exercising as you feel like you need to return to your old body quickly, instead, see it as a way to build strength and help yourself recover. Listen to your doctor’s advice, don’t rush it as it can be dangerous. Once you’re repaired enough to start doing exercise then just do what you can, start by taking your baby out for walks in the pram. Later down the line, you could get a jogging stroller such as https://parentingpod.com/best-double-jogging-stroller/ to up the pace and even go hiking. But it all takes time, start small and build your way up. Make exercise part of your life, very few new mums have the time or energy to hit the gym every day. Take your baby to classes,there are lots designed for mum and baby. You could take them for a paddle in the swimming pool once it’s safe to do so.
Looking after yourself mentally and physically is important when you’ve had a baby. These tips should help you to get things in order before the birth, and ensure a smooth transition afterwards.
Spending more time outdoors is a fantastic way to preserve and improve mental health and wellbeing, as well as physical health. Getting outside and enjoying some fresh air and sunlight is great for seasonal depression, can lower blood pressure and stress, and improve your vitamin D levels, amongst other things. Even getting out for a short amount of time each day is better than not getting out at all!
Below, we’re going to talk you through some fun ways you can spend more time outdoors:
Go On Family Walks/Hikes
How about starting by planning regular family walks and hikes? You don’t have to start hiking if you’re not used to walking together yet. Simply walking to the store rather than taking the car can be a great start. When you all feel ready, you can start taking longer walks and investing in the correct equipment to help you, such as walking boots and waterproof jackets. This can be a great way to enjoy the outdoors while bonding and spending quality time together.
You could even go on night walks together in your pyjamas. They are a great way to wind down before bed time and relax.
2. Ride Bikes
Riding bikes can almost make you forget that you’re working out at all. It’s a great way to burn some excess calories and energy, as well as see lots of cool, beautiful scenery and visit new places. There are bound to be lots of bike trails that you can try out near you – see if you can find them online, use an app, or buy a book. Just make sure you invest in the proper safety equipment so that you don’t end up hurt! i
3. Take More Trips To New Places
Planning more trips to new places gives you the perfect excuse to spend more time outdoors. What’s better than exploring a new town or city with the people you love? Take in the scenery and get in your steps as you walk around a new and exciting place.
4. Create A Space Where You Can Relax Outside Your Home
You won’t always be able to go on a trip somewhere, so why not create a space you can use to relax outside of your home? Places like Patio Productions do outdoor furniture that is great for all kinds of seasons, so you know you’re investing your money in something that will last. You might also want to include coffee tables, heaters, and other accessories so that you can enjoy your outdoor area whatever the weather. Go out and eat your lunch, enjoy a book, or just chat to your loved ones!
5. Go Camping
Camping is a fantastic way to get back in touch with nature. You can leave your technology, like phones and tablets at home, and simply enjoy your surroundings and the company of the people you love the most. Depending on how long you’re planning on camping for and the weather conditions you’ll need to make different arrangements. During the height of summer, for instance, you may not need to invest in an expensive tent. However, if it’s likely to rain, making sure you have a tent that will protect you and your belongings is a must.
6. Have A Picnic
Plan a picnic and head to a park or an outdoor area you really love to enjoy it. Just make sure you pack your items properly to avoid them going warm or off. You don’t want any of your picnic guests to fall ill!
7. Walk A Dog
If you don’t have a dog, this doesn’t mean you should get one. You can always volunteer to walk dogs from shelters who don’t have owners to walk them regularly. You will make their day, and you might just find a dog that you really want to adopt. Walking a dog is not only a great way to get outside and get some exercise, it can be massively therapeutic!
8. Go To The Park
Head to the park and play on the swings. Alternatively, sit on a bench and people watch. There’s always fun stuff happening at the park!
Having a nature journal or a scrapbook is a fantastic excuse to go outside more. You can use it to detail where you’ve been and what you saw, as well as include photos you’ve taken, and even pressed flowers and leaves. It’s a wonderful hobby that can give you a sense of satisfaction!
10. Work Outside
If the weather allows, you could always find a place to work outside. If you have appropriate seating, then you can sit, if you have a picnic blanket, sometimes that will do! Kids can do homework while you complete any outstanding work. Working outside may not be something you can do all day, but it can give you a healthy dose of sunlight and fresh air and make you feel more positive for the rest of the day.
If you can’t go right outside because of the weather, a conservatory can give you a great place to enjoy nature and sunlight without being subject to the elements.
11. Take Up An Outdoor Hobby
If you want to try something new, why not take up an outdoor hobby? Archery is a great hobby, as it’s a lot of fun, includes elements of fitness, and isn’t an outdoor hobby where you are required to harm living things. Then, there’s geocaching – a hobby fit for the whole family! All you have to do is get the coordinates and then go and find treasure left by the previous group. When you find the treasure, you can put it back for others to find, or take something providing you leave something else in there. It’s a lot of fun for people of all ages!
Which of these ideas will you use to spend more time outdoors? Leave a comment and let us know what you’re thinking – as well as any of your own ideas below!
If you have recently added to your brood you are relocating due to work, the chances are you will need to look for a new home to call your own. You may have loved the time you have spent in your current property but feel that now is the time to move on to pastures new. However, it’s not easy to simply pick up sticks and move to a new home when you have a mortgage and need to sell the one you are currently in. To maximize your profit and ensure that you achieve the optimum price for your pad, you need to implement a plan that sees your home appear irresistible to potential buyers. Take a look at these three simple ways to leap up the housing ladder.
Spend A Little
To facilitate the sale of your humble abode, you need to get it fit for sale. This means dressing it in a way so that it exudes a lifestyle appropriate to your target market. If the bathroom suite of your property is a rather fetching shade of avocado green, swap it for a more modern white suite. If your kitchen cabinet doors are falling off their hinges, either swap them for new more modern doors, or change the units altogether. It’s important that your home is a dwelling that is ready to move into. If it appears to need lots of renovation work, a potential buyer will try and knock you down on your asking price. You need to maximize this in order to leap up the housing ladder.
If you are wondering how you can work out the best list price for your home, head to a site like William Pitt that will provide you with three instant online valuations for your dwelling. This will give you an excellent ballpark figure to help you understand what you might be able to achieve.
Declutter And Decorate
Sometimes your home may be structurally sound but still has a few too many personal touches making it difficult for potential buyers to see how they can put their own stamp on your property. Whip out the white paint and cover the deep damson hue in the dining room and the lemon yellow in the kitchen. By creating a blank canvas you will be showing anyone viewing your home just how simple it will be to move in and get decorating themselves. Most buyers want to do a little something to a new home, so make this easy for them.
Get rid of the toys adorning every shelf and put any unwanted junk in your loft rather than on the floor in the corner of the living room. No matter how small your property might be, you need to make it appear spacious and livable.
Don’t Be Greedy
Just because you may need a certain sales price to get the house of your dreams doesn’t mean this is attainable. Look at the ceiling price for your property and don’t list above this. Any savvy buyer will know the prices and property forecasts like the back of their hand so don’t be too greedy otherwise you won’t get footfall through the door.
Selling your home is a balancing act between achieving the optimum price and selling quickly. Use these ideas to facilitate your next move up the housing ladder.
Losing your hearing is generally something that happens gradually as we age but it can happen at any point in our lives young and old. At first we notice that we’re not following conversations particularly well, especially when there are several people talking, then the television volume levels creep up, finally we have to admit that we’re struggling.
It’s not an easy admission to make to yourself, even harder to admit to other people but as with all medical issues, the sooner it gets dealt with, the sooner you can find a workable and practical solution. The good thing about hearing issues are that there are solutions out there and they’re not as cumbersome or as obvious as you might think.
If you are recommended to wearing a hearing aid, you’ll want to know which one is the right one for you. You can learn more here and from our handy guide below.
In the ear options
When you’re looking for a little discretion and don’t want people to focus in on your hearing aid, there are some very smart, very discreet options out there that will suit you down to the ground.
These hidden aids are still powerful but they’re not the cumbersome versions of yesteryear. They can be placed just inside the ear and are generally the color of your own skin tone to be even more hidden. There are several different versions so talk to your hearing specialist about which option will answer your needs and help your hearing and self-confidence.
Behind-the-ear options are still on the market but if you have an image in your mind of large, unwieldy contraptions with lots of wires, think again.
These days their modern designs mean they are much smaller and tuck behind the ear very snugly.
Like the in-ear versions you’ll be able to choose from a range of wiring options and colors and will be pleasantly surprised at how easy they are to operate remove and replace.
Worn on the body
If you currently wear glasses you might be able to have your hearing aid fitted into the arm of your glasses that sits behind your ears. Combining your aid with your glasses is the perfect way of providing a two-in-one solution and means that wearing your hearing aid will become as natural as putting on your glasses when you get out of bed in the morning.
A discreet and stylish option that means no one will need to know that you’re wearing one.
For those who can’t wear hearing aids in or behind the ear there are other options available such as bone conducting devices that are attached to the skull and packs that are worn on the body. Talk to your specialist to decide which device will work best for you.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described earlier on, don’t panic, it’s more than likely that there will be a workable solution for you that will suit your style, budget and lifestyle down to the ground.
Have a look on lifestyle blogs that discuss hearing loss for some reassurance and take back control today.
We’re not going to tell you to don your scrubs and grab a paintbrush, because those are the home improvements that everyone seems to speak about. It’s always about stripping the walls, and changing them completely. Or it might be about adding a new sofa into your living room, or removing a stain that has been sat in your carpet hidden by the rug for far too long now. It’s the new year, so we’re going to inject a little bit of excitement into our home improvement article. We’re sure you can all agree that it has been a hard few days adjusting back to normal life after the rush and excitement of the Christmas period, and everything just goes a little bit dull, doesn’t it? So, here are some of the home improvements that we think you should make, how you can easily do them, and how to make sure you have fun whilst doing them!
Ew, it’s cold. Have you not just muttered this to yourself!? Yes, the comfort of your home can be all too inviting at this time of year, but there’s nothing better for you than some fresh air and the great outdoors. Plus, whilst you’re busy doing what we’re about to suggest, you actually will work up a sweat. If the sun is out as well, you’ll be getting all of that vitamin D goodness that’s going to make you feel like a million dollars. Anyway, enough about your feelings, how can you make your garden look pretty? Well, one thing we think you can do is focus on your front lawn, and have a look at some metal fence materials. If you section off the front of your home with a painted metal fence, it already looks smarter. A gate at the front to open is also super cute because you can put little sign posts on them. We just think it looks so much smarter, and the only task you then have to do is mow the lawn, and maybe put a few hanging baskets out! As for the back of your house, this is where the creative side comes out. Think about all of the colours you can use with flowers, and all of the garden ornaments you can place around to add some character. A garden is definitely a work in progress, and you’ll find yourself out there every week or so tending to it to make sure it’s perfect.
Now back into the comfort of your own home, but don’t worry, we’re not going to tell you to strip the wallpaper and put something new back on. We think you should take an interest into upcycling, and whether there’s anything you could do it to in your home. It’s the process of taking something that was ready for the bin, and making it look brand new again. There are plenty of upcycling articles on the internet to talk you through the process in much more detail than we would be able to. But generally, it’s a fun little project, and you can truly create some masterpieces with it.
If you love helping and working with kids then a career with children is a great option for you. There are a few ways you can start a career working with children, it isn’t always easy to get into a new career, but here are a few tips to help you on the way to the career you want.P
Becoming a school counselor is very rewarding if you enjoy helping children. It’s not easy to become a school counselor as you will have to gain a qualification to do so. When doing your qualification you can do a school counseling masters online, which will allow you to stay at home while studying and which will make it easier to work around your current job. Working in a school also has its advantages, you will have school holidays off as school won’t be open and you will also get to work with alot of children that you can impact as they make their way into adulthood.
If you want to work with young children then becoming a nursery teacher is a great option for you. To become a nursery teacher then you will need to have a early years teacher qualification and a background check done to make sure you have no child-related convictions. Being a nursery teacher means you in charge of getting the children ready for when they enter school. This means you are the one that gives them the best chance of success in school and gets them ready for there future education.
Become a childminder
If you want to help look after children and become a big part of their life then becoming a childminder is a great career option for you. If you want o become a chilminder then you need to register first, once you are registered you will be able to childmind children and look after them for as long as you are needed. Becoming a childminder is a great career if you want to be your own boss. If you are a childminder you will be self-employed and you can set your own rates to charge for your services, this adds a range of flexibility to your career to work it around your life and your home situation. As a childminder, you can also choose if you would like to mind children in your own home or at the families home which adds a further degree of flexibility to the job role.
Working with children is a rewarding role especially if you love children and helping them. Helping children at any point in their life is going to play a big part in there future so when you are teaching or looking after a child you need to remember that you are there to guide and help those children to be the best they can be. With these tips, it will give you some great ideas to fulfill your ambition to work with and help children.
Whilst you’ll never have to pay a water bill again, you will have to make some initial investments, plus you’ll need to be certain that you live in a suitable area. Here are just several ways to take your water supply off-grid.
Dig a well
The most traditional way of obtaining water is to dig a well. This involves digging a hole that reaches below the water table, allowing you to access groundwater. A well can cost several thousands to build. Getting planning permission in most urban areas is impossible and you probably don’t want to attempt to build a well if you live somewhere elevated (the lower, the better). It’s ideal for rural homes in areas that may not receive much rainfall.
It’s also possible to harvest rainwater. This is commonly done by collecting water in rain barrels. You can buy specialist barrels from companies such as Tanks Direct. Rainwater harvesting is great option if you live somewhere that receive regular rainfall, plus you don’t need planning permission for barrels.
Use a purification system
Rainwater is some of the safest water to drink, however it can still contain contaminants that you may want to filter out. By using a good quality rain barrel that is kept sterile you can avoid contamination. You should avoid collecting runoff from a branch or roof, as this is likely to pick up dirt or bugs. There are purification systems out there available from companies such as Culligan Water that can heat and filter water to help get rid of any contaminants in order to ensure that your water is as healthy as it can be.
Install a septic tank
Without pipes connected to sewerage, you’ll need a septic tank. This is a tank in which your waste goes – this can be collected by a waste company on a regular basis. Installing a septic tank is likely to require planning permission. Tanks are usually place underground in a location that can be accessed by a vehicle in order to collect the waste when the tank is full. Make sure that the tank has some ventilation to avoid odorous gases building up.
Recycle your greywater
Greywater is waste water used when showering or using the sink (this does not include waste water from the toilet). It’s possible to recycle this water and use it for processes such as toilet flushing and watering plants. This involves installing a greywater recycling system, which is a costly job but one that is worthwhile in the long run. Sites like Aquaco offer more information on greywater recycling for those that want to make use of this feature.
When you’re doing home renovations, you probably think about how much value they’ll add to your home. It’s always worth considering because if you can increase the value of the house, that will offset some of the costs of doing the work in the first place. You can think of it as a long term investment. But when people are doing work in the garden, they don’t always have the same mindset. Most people know that a nicely kept garden is more attractive to potential buyers because it improves your curb appeal but it won’t add that much value to the house. If you really want to invest money in the garden, there are plenty of other additions that you can make to the garden. Next time you’re doing work on your outside space, it’s worth considering some of these additions.
A garage is a big priority for a lot of people when they’re looking at houses. It’s a good security feature because people can park their cars in there. It’ll reduce your car insurance as well if you don’t have to park your car on the street. If you aren’t bothered about putting your car in there, it’s a good place to store all of the junk that you don’t use on a regular basis. Building a garage is pretty expensive though and you might not want to spend that much money right now. If that’s the case, you could consider putting a carport in instead. There are some great companies like Stylemaster Patios who can install a covered area for you to park your car in. It’s not quite the same as having a full garage but if you’ve got a nice car and you want to protect it from the elements, it’s ideal.
The way that the garden looks is important, but you need to think about security as well. The garden is a common entry point for burglars and if you’ve got low fences and a broken gate that people can open with very little effort, you’re just advertising your house to criminals. Good fencing is also important if you’ve got pets or young children because you don’t want them wandering off when they’re out in the garden. It’s not that expensive to get some new fences put in but it’ll make all of the difference. If you put higher fences in the garden, you can also use them to grow plants up which makes for a far more interesting aesthetic than plain fences.
Consider Removing Trees
Trees in the garden are great, as long as they’re not blocking the light. If you’ve got a nice patio area where you can sit and relax, it’s no good if it never gets any sunlight because there is a massive tree in the way. If you’ve got a tree that is blocking all of the sun, you should consider getting rid of it so you can get more use out of the garden. It’s also worth thinking about the light inside the home as well. Getting more light into the house is tough, especially if you’ve got rooms with small windows. Often, there isn’t a huge amount that you can do about it but sometimes, you’re not getting much light because there is a tree or a bush directly in front of the window that stops all of the light getting in. If that’s the case, you should trim the tree or, if necessary cut the whole thing down.
Everybody knows that cutting the grass is a pain, especially if you’ve got quite a big garden. If you don’t do it regularly, the garden will look scruffy but doing it every week or two is a big undertaking. Brown patches and dead lawns are a big problem as well and you’ll have to spend a lot of time and money nursing the grass back to health. You can get around that and massively cut the amount of time you spend maintaining the garden by taking up the lawn and putting artificial grass in instead. Not everybody likes the idea but there are some good artificial grass companies out there and often, you can’t really tell the difference between the real stuff and the artificial stuff. It’s so much easier than managing real grass and a lot of people see that as a big bonus when they’re looking at houses.
Artificial grass is a great way to avoid the hassle of maintaining a lawn but if you’re not keen on that idea, you could replace some of the grass with decking instead. It gives you a great place to put some garden furniture for relaxing or eating outside in the summer. Splitting the garden into a couple of different areas also makes it appear a lot bigger which adds value as well.
A Good Sized Shed
A shed is always a good addition to the garden, especially if you don’t have a garage. You can store your lawnmower (if you haven’t already switched to artificial grass), barbecue, and all of your other bits and bobs. But a shed can be so much more than just storage. It can be a nice outdoor area to get a bit of peace and quiet for a while if it’s big enough. If you’ve got a bit of dead space in the garden that you’re not really using, build yourself a nice big shed there.
Nobody really understands why just yet but studies show that being close to the water has an incredibly calming effect on people. Swimming in the ocean or taking a dip in a relaxing tranquility pool will help you take a break from the stresses of modern life and find some tranquility. You’re probably not going to install a tranquility pool in your garden but you can get a similar effect from a water feature or a pond. There’s nothing more relaxing than sitting out in the sun listening to the gentle trickling of a water feature or watching the fish swim around in the pond.
If you make these additions to the garden, you’ll create a great outdoor space that you can get more use out of and it’ll increase the value of your property at the same time.
Elderberries are one of the most commonly used medicinal plants in the world. They have been used by Native Americans to treat infections, and the ancients Egyptians used them to heal burns and improve their complexions. Today, they are still gathered and used in folk medicine in Europe and North America. There are many reported benefits of elderberries, and there are studies being conducted that look into their health benefits.
Listed below are some Elderberry health benefits.
1. Helps Fight Colds and Flu. Elderberries have been used for centuries to help treat colds and flu. There is some evidence to support these claims from some studies. A systematic review from 2010 concluded that elderberries may have antioxidant antiviral effects. The study’s author stated that more research is needed. A double-blind, randomized control trial tested if elderberry extract could prevent people from experiencing cold-like symptoms after traveling on an airplane. People in the study were given lozenges containing 300 mg of elderberry extract and 150 mg of rice flour twice a day for ten days before traveling. Researchers found that the lozenges did not prevent the cold-like symptoms. However, people who have taken elderberry extract had less severe symptoms and their symptoms lasted for less time.
2. Reduces Wrinkles. Elderberries contain high levels of vitamin A. The ANA claims that Elderberries may soothe the skin, prevent or lessen the appearance of wrinkles, and reduce the appearance of age spots.
3. Can Help With Weight Loss. Like most fruits, Elderberries are high in fiber. In a German study, participants who take elderberry juice enriched with elderberry flower and extracts saw significant improvements in weight regulation.
4. Improved Digestive Health. There is more research needing to be done here. However, elderberries are a great source of fiber and can help improve digestion. The fiber can help treat other digestive issues like bloating, gas, upset stomach, and constipation.
5. Improved Heart Health. Elderberries are rich in potassium, so they can help regulate blood pressure and ensure that the blood vessels are relaxed. High potassium diets have been found to reduce the strain on the heart. Studies have found that people taking high amounts of potassium (not excessive) had 49 percent less risk of death by ischemic heart disease. Some sources claim that elderberries can help regulate cholesterol levels and boost circulation. Elderberries contain beneficial compounds called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins protect the inner layer of blood vessels from oxidative stress. This protects the cells from inflammatory stressors, improves circulation and reduces the risk of heart disease.
6. Strengthen Bones. Elderberries contain potassium, iron, and calcium, which are known to strengthen bones, increase bone mineral density, and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The anthocyanins may also prevent bone loss in certain. More studies need to be done, so you should consult your doctor before taking Elderberries for bone health.
7. Can Help Prevent Cancer. There are scientists from around the world who are testing the effectiveness of elderberries in cancer treatments, with some success. The success could be attributed to the quercetin in elderberries, which is known to stimulate the immune system and aid in treatment of cancer. Other studies found that elderberries could be a treatment for prostate cancer. This could be due to the berries inhibiting the hedgehog signaling, which is a biochemical process linked to cancer.
8. Helps Treat Diabetes. Studies suggest that elderberries can help lower blood sugar levels, and aiding with diabetes treatment. Research is limited, so it is recommended to speak with your doctor before changing treatments.
9. Improved Vision. Health Elderberries are rich in Vitamins A and B5, which can help prevent serious vision ailments including macular degeneration and glaucoma. The antioxidants in elderberries may also help improve a person’s vision health in the long run.
10. Fights Inflammation. There are a number of studies that talk about the anti-inflammatory properties of elderberries. The berries have even been used to treat eye inflammation. They also help fight oxidative stress, which helps reduce inflammation in the body.
11. Improved Hair and Skin Health. Along with helping reduce the look of wrinkles, Elderberries are also used as a detoxifying agent and helps treat and prevent acne, scars, and boils. This is due to the anthocyanins in the berries, which is the compounds that give the berries their color. Distilled elderberry flower water is used to lighten freckles and improved skin health. The fruit extract applied directly to the skin can also reduce bruising and inflammation. The elderflower oil can also be used to treat your hair. You just need to mix the elderflower oil with your other favorite oils that are safe to apply to the skin and apple to the problem areas of the scalp.
12. Improve Brain Health. One study found that anthocyanins in berries, including elderberries, can help treat cognitive impairments and resultant conditions like Alzheimer’s. Studies also found that Elderberries are replete with quercetin, which is an important flavonoid which is critical for brain health. Quercetin reduces harmful inflammation at the cellular level. It also activates mitochondria in the cells.
13. Helps Treat Urinary Tract Infections. There is very little research on this subject. There are certain sources that claim that elderberry juice can reduce inflammation in the urinary tract and treat urinary infections.
14. Allergy Relief. Elderberry’s anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating properties make them a great natural remedy for allergy symptoms. Allergies cause inflammation of the sinuses, itchy, sneezing, watery eyes, swelling, and a stuffy or a runny nose. Elderberries are believed to be particularly good for people who suffer from hay fever because it strengthens the upper respiratory tract. Elderberries also have an anti-catarrhal action, which can help reduce congestion and runny nose caused by allergies.
Side Effects of Raw Elderberries
People can eat elderflowers cooked or raw. However, Elderberries need to be cooked to be safe to eat. Raw elderberries, seeds, leaves, and bark of the tree all contain a toxic substance that can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
With cold and flu season right around the corner, it is time to start thinking about how you are going to treat the symptoms and protect yourself and family from these illnesses. Making Elderberry Syrup is not a complex process and only takes a few hours at the most. Some natural stores also sell premade Elderberry Syrup and other Elderberry products if you do not have the supplies to make your own. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to make elderberry syrup. This recipe is easy and the elderberry syrup can last up 3 months in the fridge.
Things you will need:
At Least 2/3 cup of Elderberries (Fresh or Frozen)
½ cup of Honey (Local, raw honey is recommended)
Potato Ricer or a Herb Press or Your Hands Fine Cheesecloth or Nut Milk Bag Glass Jar Mini Funnel for Bottling
Small Glass Bottles
Steps: 1. Clean the Elderberries and place them in a pot. Add 2 tbsp. or more water in the pot. Simmer until juicy. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool until it is cool enough to be handled.
2. Line the glass jar with the cheesecloth or nut milk bag. Place the Potato Ricer on top.
3. Transfer Elderberries and juice into the Potato Ricer. The Elderberry Juice will drip through the nut milk bag into the glass jar.
4. Press the potato ricer to extract all the juices. If you are using your hands, you should really wear gloves because the elderberry juice can stain the skin.
5. Transfer the elderberry juice back into the pot and simmer to reduce the juices a bit. Remove the pot from the heat and let the liquid cool until it is lukewarm.
6. Add the Honey to the juices you have in the pot, and stir well.
7. Take the pot off the heat, and transfer the liquid with the funnel into the glass bottles. Let the liquid cool before using it. Store the Elderberry Syrup in the fridge and take a tablespoon daily for immune boosting properties.
Some recipes will also add ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and other herbs that are known for their health benefits, to add a pleasant flavor to the syrup. You should use what you have available, and adjust the recipe so you enjoy the flavour. With all the benefits that Elderberries offer, it is definitely worth trying to incorporate elderberries into your diet. Even a tablespoon of Elderberry syrup can provide you with some of the many health benefits listed above. No matter if you make your own syrup or buy premade made syrup from your local health food or natural store, the bottom line is that elderberries are great for your overall health.