Don’t Waste Time In Your Garden Again With These Cool Hacks

Don’t Waste Time In Your Garden Again With These Cool Hacks

Gardening is supposed to be fun and cathartic, yet it can be stressful and time-consuming. Too many of us freak out because there aren’t enough hours in a day and there is too much to do. So much for a relaxing hobby!

Obviously, the key is to be efficient with your seconds to make life easier. However, it’s easier to say it than it is to put it into practice. What you need is a list of awesome hacks which can half your time in the backyard with minimal fuss.

As it turns out, you’ve come to the right place because below you’ll find such a list.

Feed The Soil

Most of the time you spend in the garden is dealing with the earth. If the ground isn’t fertile enough, then nothing will grow properly and your plants and flowers will die. So, it’s tiring work checking the PH levels on a daily basis. The good news is you don’t have to as long as you feed the soil regularly. As long as the levels are on point, all you have to do then is add mulch or compost every couple of days. Do it properly once and it’s plain sailing from there.

Don’t Choose High Maintenance Plants

The last thing you need is high maintenance greenery as it will force you to trudge out into the garden morning, noon and night. Instead, opt for the vegetation which can take care of itself, or only requires a small amount of your time. A “Blazing Star” is a prime example as it doesn’t need lots of water and usually grows in most soils. Thespruce.com has plenty of alternatives if you want inspiration. Anything which doesn’t need deadheading, pinching or staking should be high up on your bucket list too.

Invest In Equipment

Yes, the right tools will cost quite a lot of money depending on your needs, but forget about money and focus on time. Without a sprayer and spray nozzle from fertilizerdealer.com, you can’t cover the garden with nutrients in a matter of seconds. Instead, you have to do it by hand. The same goes for common tools such as lawn mowers. Don’t bother with the hand-held stuff; opt for the motorized version instead. The more machinery you have doing the heavy lifting, the less work you have to do. Just make sure you need it before splashing out or else you may break the bank.

Group Plants Properly

Typically, gardeners will group plants based on their features. For example, the space savers will go next to the flowers which only need a small amount of room. That way, there is no fatal competition. Although it makes sense, it means wasting time catering to every individual plant. It’s much better to put the ones with the same traits in one area and deal with them together. For instance, you can soak flowers which drink lots of water with the hosepipe and move onto the next group.

Are you a time-waster in the garden? Can you beat the clock?

9 Money Rules All Parents Need To Know

9 Money Rules All Parents Need To Know

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You can’t choose the time in which you’re born any more than you can choose the country or your immediate family. If you were born thousands of years ago, the concept of money would have been alien; you’d have to get by with your wits. Since you were born at a time when money makes the world go around, you have little choice other than to treat it seriously. Though there are people who live their life without dollars and cents, life, on balance, is probably better with it. But that doesn’t make it easy. They don’t teach this stuff in school, after all, even though they probably should. Below, we take a look at ten money rules every parent needs to know. It’ll make managing it much easier!

Keeping Tabs is Imperative

There are many things that can lead to poor finances, but there is usually one recurring element that underpins most money troubles: failing to keep tabs on spending. Indeed, the most healthy practice for sound financial health probably isn’t having more money…it’s just making sure that you’re spending the money that you do have responsibly. If you’re consistently spending more money than you earn, then you’ll quickly end up in a situation that can be difficult to get out of. Watch your pennies are going…you might be surprised at what you find.

There’s Good Debt and Bad Debt

When people hear the word ‘debt,’ their mind normally goes to a negative space. But this is not the right approach. There are two kinds of debt: ‘good’ debt and ‘bad’ debt. Bad debt would be spending more money than you currently have on something that won’t bring any lasting rewards; say, getting a loan to go on holiday. Good debt would be using a loan to take a course that’ll increase your chances of getting a better paying job. If you’re going to go in debt, make sure it’s going to be worth it in the long-run.  

More Than Your Paycheck

The majority of parents could do with a little extra money in their bank account. But they look at their paycheck, costs, and, yup, it’s just not possible. Or so they think. In actual fact, most people have access to much more money than they realize. If you and your partner are both working and have never asked for a raise, then it’s worthwhile talking with your boss. Most employers are eager to retain their best staff and are open to discussions about raising a salary, but they’re not going to just walk around the office and hand them out. Speak up!

It Pays to Save Early

You’re probably sick of hearing about saving, but it’s worth repeating simply because most families still don’t save. Indeed, a recent study found that most Americans would struggle to find $400 in an emergency. Now, we know that most families want to save, it’s just that they can’t because all their money is currently accounted for. But there’s nearly always a way. You can look at trimming down your avoidable expenses, or taking your lunch to work rather than buying it while you’re there. These are things you’d prefer to have, but when it comes to finances, the eyes need to be on long-term benefits. You’ll be much happier for your decision in twenty years when you have a large savings account!

There’s a Right Approach

The reason it’s important for families to take a hands-on approach to their finances is because there is no “one size fits all” approach that applies to all families. Everyone’s circumstances and needs are different. You’ll know how much you need to spend on, say, education, and will need to adjust your budget accordingly. You’ll need to find the financial aspects that suit your needs, from which credit card you choose (you can read this article to see which card would help reach your financial goals) to how much house you can afford to buy. Figure out your needs, and you’ll be able to tailor your approach to suit them.

Eyes on the Credit Score

When you’re a parent, you’re consistently chasing the next milestone, be it upgrading your car or sending your child off to college. Most of these milestones will involve the help of financial institutions, and if you have bad credit, then you might find it difficult to get access to the capital you need to make them happen. Keep an eye on what your score is, and if it seems to be dipping into the danger zone, then look at taking steps to move it upwards

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Everything Is Negotiable

The costs just keep on stacking up when you’re a parent. There are the toys, the beds, the, well, everything. If you shell out for the top of the line versions of everything, you’re going to be in financial difficulties! Instead, it’s best to get crafty with how much you spend. Do you really need a new item, when a barely used second-hand item will do? Every cost is negotiable.

Some Knowledge Goes a Long Way

The money game is always changing, so make a habit of reading financial blogs and the like. It’s not the most exciting activity on earth, but treat it seriously, and you’ll be less likely to go off-piste.

 

It’s Not a Secret From Your Kids

Your children learn a lot from you, that’s not new information. But did you know that they learn more than just things that you tell them? Yup, it turns out that kids are watching our behavior closely…and that means our attitude towards money. If you’re irresponsible with your cash, then the chances are that they will be when they grow up too. So first of all, be smart with your money: they’re watching. And second, try to involve them in the money process as soon as possible. As we said above, they don’t teach this stuff in schools! By giving them the info they need, you’ll be giving them a head start when it comes to handling their own money.

 

 

Keeping Cool on Hot Summer Nights

Keeping Cool on Hot Summer Nights

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There are many health benefits of the sun, yet when we are trying to get to sleep on a hot summer night we often find ourselves longing for the cooler winter months just so we can get some sleep.  Indeed, there are few things more frustrating than tossing and turning all night in a bed that’s damp due to the sweat pouring from your body in a hot stuffy bedroom.

Not that sweating is a bad thing, indeed it’s very good for you to sweat, as the process of sweating is what actually helps regulate your temperature and cool you down.

When your body temperature rises above a certain point, your internal thermostat kicks in, and tells your body it’s time sweat, as sweating releases moisture onto your skin in an attempt to cool you down.  Whilst this can be advantageous to the jogger running in the park, where the wind circulates around their body, hitting the moisture, which is what cools the body down – whereas, when you’re in bed, all that damp claminess gets absorbed into the bedsheets and mattress; meaning, you’re often uncomfortable as a result of sweating.

The challenge is that sweat will only evaporate when there is enough of an air supply, and often times, in bed, it’s quite a humid environment that doesn’t have adequate air supply to interact with the sweat molecules – meaning, rather than cooling you down, you end up just lying in a puddle of sweat.  This is where a fan comes in so handy.

1.  GET A FAN

The reason fans, or fresh air from a window comes in so handy is that it forces air onto your body that interacts with the sweat molecules – thus evaporating them, and this is what you want, as the quicker the sweat molecules evaporate the cooler you will be.

2.  DRINK WATER

Something to consider, is that on hot summer nights, you want to ensure you have some water next to your bed – as your body uses a lot of water to release sweat, and if you don’t replace that water then you’ll become dehydrated.

Sleep is a time for your body to replenish and repair itself, and water is vital for this process to function normally.  

Therefore, by drinking a bottle of cool water before bed, you are stocking up on the water required for your body to keep cool at night – and don’t worry too much about then needing the toilet, as if it really is hot, you won’t need to go to the toilet as the water will be processed in the form of sweat anyway.

3. OPEN YOUR WINDOWS

This might sound obvious, but a lot of people in the summer months insist on sleeping with their windows closed in fear that bugs might get it, or perhaps the risk they might be burgled, yet the simplest solution to keeping cool at night is to ensure you have plenty of cool fresh air circulating in your room.

If your windows don’t fully open this can be frustrating, and it might be time to consider getting some replacement windows, as a supply of fresh air really is essential to getting a good night’s sleep on a hot summer night.  After all, there’s nothing worse than trying to sleep in a stuffy sweatbox of a room.

The majority of modern windows now have a security feature that will allow you to lock them with a slight opening, meaning that air can still flow through the window into your space, but nobody will be able to get in through the window as the window is locked in that position.

4.  AVOID AIR CONDITIONING

This might sound counterintuitive, as surely if you have air conditioning in your room, then a hot summer night is the perfect time to blast it out; yet sleeping with air conditioning on is known to dehydrate the body and can leave your skin looking dull and grey, it can also cause a sore throat, as well as earache.  

You therefore, want to blast the air conditioning unit out until you go to sleep, but turn it off, at the point you are actually going to sleep – or set it on a timer to switch off.  In fact, some modern air conditioning units come equipped with a timer that allows you to set it to come on in short bursts, throughout the night, just topping up the supply of chilled air

5. TAKE A SHOWER BEFORE BED

Many people take showers or have a bath before getting into bed, but the tendency here is to use nice warm water to relax their aching muscles.  In contrast, on a hot summer night, what you really want is a short, sharp, cold shower as this will rapidly reduce your body temperature and then welcome the warm ambient temperature.  There are a number of health benefits associated with taking regular cold showers too.

6. FLIP YOUR MATTRESS

The majority of mattresses today have a summer side and then a winter side, where the technology of the mattress is designed differently – one is to trap and radiate heat whilst the other is to wick away sweat and keep you cool; similar to the fabric technology employed within running and cycling gear.

 

7.  USE CONTRAST TO YOUR ADVANTAGE

Have you ever walked off the hot high street into an air conditioned shop?  If so, you’ll have felt the contrast between the warm weather outside and the welcome chill of the store.  You can recreate this, within your bedroom, and it’s a very simple way to trick your brain into thinking it’s much cooler than it is.

 

Quite simply, let’s say your spending time in your living room for a few hours before bed – in this room, turn off the air conditioning units and fans, so that when you open the door to your bedroom (that has had the air conditioning on) it will feel like that feeling of walking into a cool store after coming out of the sweltering sun.

 

8. VENTILATE

The final tip, as mentioned above is somewhat of a repetition but this is intentional as it’s the most important point when it comes to keeping cool on a hot summer’s night, which is to ensure you have an adequate supply of fresh air coming into your property – which can be enhanced by a pedestal fan if required.

 

3 Family Car Problems – Solved!

3 Family Car Problems – Solved!

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In the 21st century, many families find that their lives are nigh-on impossible to run without a vehicle. With the school run, playdates, commuting to work, and running household errands, the need for a vehicle is undeniable. The convenience that running a family car offers is hugely beneficial – but it’s not without its problems.

There are three key problems that you may experience with a family car. These issues are not overwhelmingly difficult to deal with – and they don’t detract from the benefits of running a vehicle – but they do fall into the category of “less than ideal”. To ensure that your love for the wonders of your family car is never dented by small problems, we’ve put together a simple fix list for those nagging little problems you may experience…

#1 – Car sickness

Nausea while traveling is an issue that impacts all ages, but children are particularly susceptible. If your children struggle with this issue, it may be worth investigating the natural remedies that are available; www.draxe.com has a number of “no pill” suggestions that many families have found to be invaluable over the years. You may have to experiment to find the right solution for your child, but one of the suggested remedies should provide an effective fix that relieves the nausea for your child, as well as your own worries about their discomfort.

#2 – Bad odors

The interior of a car is a haven for bacteria and other causes of bad odors, and many families find themselves swimming against the tide when it comes to resolving the problem once and for all. The most common solution is to grab an air freshener to hang from the rear view mirror – but these genuinely provide little help, and their sickly, artificial scent can actually make the odor problems worse rather than better.

If you are struggling with in-car odors, head to the likes of www.aromatech.com for a natural solution. Using beneficial essential oils ensures you avoid the synthetic scent that standard air fresheners are infamous for, and you’ll also benefit from the antibacterial properties that essential oils are able to offer.

#3 – Trash collecting

No matter how hard you try, trash will collect in your vehicle – often at a rate that seems almost impressive. The most obvious answer to this issue is to remove trash from your vehicle every time you use it, but this simply isn’t realistic for busy parents who find themselves rushing from one appointment to another.

The best way to deal with trash, then, is to opt for a specific receptacle. You could buy a special in-car trash can, but these tend to be cumbersome and expensive. Instead, opt for a plastic bag that is looped over the headrest of the front seats. It’s not the most stylish choice, but it does ensure that every time there is a wrapper or piece of food to discard, you can do so without cluttering up the footwells.

In conclusion

With the small issues above fixed, making use of your family car will be as pleasant as it can possibly be – enjoy!

 

Ready To Get Work Done On Your House?

Ready To Get Work Done On Your House?

Your house is your haven, and it’s the place where you’re going to feel the most relaxed in your life. It’s a functioning space that keeps you safe, clean, fed, and happy, and you wouldn’t give it up for the world! But does your house work as well for you as you think it does? Maybe it’s time to think about the changes you could make, both big and small?

And if you have thought about those changes, now’s the time for you to make sure you’re ready to follow through on your plans. You’ve already focused on how to make the garden a little safer and a lot more fun, and now’s the time to do the same for you house. So if you think your house could do with a renovation, or at least a little bit of redecoration, here’s a quick checklist to run through before you get started.

Before anyone climbs up a step ladder to have a go at the ceiling, make sure both you and your house are ready to undergo a renovation! (Image)

Make Sure You’re Packed Up

As any good home renovation guide will tell you, if you haven’t stripped down the rooms that are going to be remodelled to their bare essentials, you could very likely lose a lot of your possessions during the bulk of the work. Whether this is because your items were lost during the chaos, or broken under the extensive heavy duty work being done in your house, you’re going to be left with a very sour taste in your mouth.

So take the time now to make sure you’ve boxed up everything that could get in the way of your brand new rooms. Seeing as you’ll still be living in the house as all the drilling and hammering goes on, you can’t strip everything away, but Grandma’s china shouldn’t be left in the cabinet.

Keep an Eye on Everything

People are going to be coming in and out of your house for days, and because of that, there could be a huge and glaring security issue in your home during a renovation. Things could be broken, stolen, left dirty and unfinished etc., and that all means you need to keep a close eye on what’s going on.

Thankfully, there’s lots you can here to minimize this risk. You could install a doorbell that has a video camera linked to your phone, making sure you can always see who’s coming in and out of your house when you’re not there. You could also add another layer of security and have a mobile lock linked to your front door from your phone as well. Or you could simply take all valuables and lock them up out of the way!

Now’s a great time to get some work done on your house, seeing as the summer has a lot of free time for us to indulge in. But always prepare for an upheaval in your household, and thank yourself later!

The Health Benefits of Cold Showering

The Health Benefits of Cold Showering

The Health Benefits of Cold Showering

For most people, there is nothing like taking a steamy shower at the end of a long day to feel refreshed. However, it turns out that taking a cold shower has serious health benefits. Showers do more than just clean your body, they can help you relax, improve your mood, and protect your hair from damage. Cold showers can reduce your power and water bill, but may not sound that tempting. Here are just a few reasons why you should turn down the heat the next time you take a shower.

1. Wakes You Up More Than Caffeine Does
A warm bath can make you feel sleepy and have a good night sleep, whereas taking a cold shower does the opposite. This is because the cold water shocks the body, so your heart rate increases to warm you up. The good news is that you do not need to take a cold shower every morning to see the benefits. Most times, ending your usual shower with a quick blast of cold water can increased your level of alertness for the day.

2. Boosts Weight Loss
There are a number of ways that cold showers can help boost weight loss. The first way is that your body burns more calories to keep you warm. This boosts your metabolism, which makes it easier for you to have a calorie deficit. A Scandinavian study found that simply adding a cold shower to your daily routine can help you lose up to an extra 9 lbs of fat over a year. However, it is unclear how many calories are burned per shower, so your results may vary.
Shivering also burns calories because your muscles are trying to keep moving to generate heat. This helps focus on fat loss instead of just weight loss.

3. Boosts Your Immune System
It is a common belief that being cold will make you sick, but for many people this is not the case. A Virginia Commonwealth University study found that taking cold showers regularly increases the number of white blood cells you have in your body. There was also a German study done that found the people who took frigid cold showers for two minutes every day had less colds than people who took hot showers.

Along with higher levels of white blood cells in the body, cold showers can help drain the body’s lymphatic system. The lymphatic system helps remove cellular waste from the body, but it regularly gets blocked by chemicals, toxins, and environmental effects. When your lymphatic system is blocked, both cell waste and dead cells build up and you are more likely to get sick. The cold water contracts the blood vessels and the vessels relax when they are warmed up. This movement helps flush the waste out of your body, reducing the risk of you becoming sick.

4. Improves Your Mood
This sounds counterintuitive as most people do not feel happy about taking a cold shower. However, a study published in the journal Medical Hypotheses found that taking a two to three minute cold shower everyday over a two week period improved the moods of participants. These findings were linked to improved overall health and improved circulation of the participants in the study.

5. More Will Power
This is often noted in studies that look at the benefits of cold showers, mainly due to the fact that it is hard to stick with taking a cold shower every morning. If you can stick with taking cold showers on a daily basis, then you can really stick with anything. If you add cold showers to your daily routine, you may see improved willpower in other parts of your life.

6. Reduces Stress and Depression
Along with improving your mood, taking a cold shower can also reduce your stress and may be a treatment for depression. Studies have shown that cold showers increase the oxidative stress on your body. This may seem like a bad thing, but the oxidative stress on your body decreases your overall stress levels. This allows your nervous system to become more able to deal with an increased level of stress in your daily life.
At the same time, having a cold shower will boost the noradrenaline levels in the body. The temperature of the water stimulates the part of the brain named “the blue spot”. The more noradrenaline that is released, the more happy hormones are released. This increase in noradrenaline levels can help rebalance a person’s hormone levels, which will reduce their depression and anxiety.

7. Increased Circulation
When your body is cold, your blood gets around more quickly and easily, which is why you are more alert after a cold shower. Both your breathing and heart rate speed up to help keep you more alert, which places more stress on your body because your heart has to work much harder in order to get the blood where it is needed. Your whole body benefits from the increased circulation as every organ gets more oxygen and has more toxins removed. The increased circulation can last for a few hours after a cold shower as the body works to raise your body tempter and stabilize it.

8. Improved Muscle Recovery
Along with icy baths, cold showers can help boost a person’s muscle recovery process. The improved circulation created by the cold water means that the muscles get more blood flow and more oxygen, which helps the cells be repaired more effectively and quickly. The improved blood flow also means that the lactic acid build-up within the muscles can be removed effectively, so the muscles can repair themselves and begin to relax.
Some people find that taking a shower with a mixture of cold and hot water is more effective for them. However, depending on the muscle and the injury, too much cold can cause more damage. Many people find that warm to hot water can help with improved relaxation, reduces the heart rate, and helps their body have more happy hormones. You can try alternating between hot and cold to see what method gives you the best results.

9. Reduces Hair Breakage
Hot water is really bad for your hair because it strips the natural oil from the hair follicles and opens up the pores on your scalp. Studies have shown that cold water strengthens the hair follicles, so there is less damage to the hair and breakage is reduced. If you are worried about if you are really getting your hair clean, studies have found that washing your hair in cold water is just as effective as washing your hair in hot water.

10. Reduces the Appearance of Skin Conditions
Acne and psoriasis are two of the skin conditions that can benefit from taking cold showers. Many people find that showering with hot water and using harsh soaps can strip the skin of its natural oils and are generally drying, which can often make these conditions worse. Studies show that having a shower in cold water does not have the same effect on the skin, so it does not worsen the skin’s condition. Many times, taking a cold shower can help reduce inflammation and reduce the appearance of redness of the skin.