Bad Weather? Keep Your Sanity With These DIY Project Tips

It doesn’t take much to keep us indoors. Bad weather and wintry conditions quickly lead to boredom though. If you’re looking for something new to keep you occupied for the next few weeks, why not consider a DIY project? There are plenty of beginner projects you can start with, and there are even more if you’re up for a challenge. Here’s a guide to get you started even if the weather holds:


The first thing you need is a source of ideas and inspiration. You might have a few jobs to do around the house. Putting up a picture hook and repairing the curtain rail is a bit boring though. What you want is something that makes life that little bit better! Maybe a new entertainment center? Or why not go all the way and create a man cave out of your spare bedroom?

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Every good DIYer has all the tools they need. Of course, most of us just getting started have very little in the way of tools! You will need a good pair of screwdrivers, a weighty hammer, and a power drill. If you know you’re going to be doing some serious projects, you might want to opt for a hammer drill that can get through masonry as well as wood. Some of the better ones are reviewed at websites like You will also need a good measuring tape, a spanner set, and a saw.

Getting Started

Always sketch what you intend to build. And always triple check any measurements! If you’re buying wood or other materials, errors can be quite costly. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for an opinion on your ideas as you work. You never know – someone might see things in a different way that could spark your next big idea or improvement. Have a look at some images at places like Finally, make a list of your work plan, so you don’t miss any crucial steps.

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Putting It Together

It might take several steps to get to a point where you can see the fruits of your labor. Once it all comes together, you can start to pat yourself on the back, though! Most DIY projects are abandoned long before this point so well done you. Now, of course, you need to work on finishing it off and making it look really good. Helpful tools here include the paintbrush, the sandpaper, and the glue gun!

Didn’t Work Out?

So it didn’t quite go to plan? Don’t panic. Most projects are fixable even when they’ve gone horribly wrong. Keep your cool, take a step back and figure out where it went wrong. You might need to grab some more materials. You might need to grab a mate to help. You might even need to start over. All of this is about the learning curve, and sometimes that can be pretty steep. Don’t lose heart. You’ve got your tools, you’ve got some experience now, and you’ve got your good ideas.

Whatever you’ve been working on, and whatever you fancy trying next, don’t wait for bad weather to get started. You can enjoy all the delights of doing-it-yourself any time of the year. And then you can enjoy whatever it is you’ve built!

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Growing Old Gracefully: Bathroom Tricks To Help Your Parents Keep Their Dignity

When we’re young, our parents do everything for us. They are the supports on which we lean. Which is why it can be confusing for everyone when the tables turn. Inevitably, we all end up caring for our parents at some stage. Sadly, that is the circle of life. But, when the time comes, it can be challenging to strike the right balance. You’ll want to offer the best care possible, without imposing or taking your parents freedom. Thus, you may find that you’re treading on eggshells, or failing to provide the care they need.

To help everyone move forward, it’s worth having a conversation about the part your parents would like you to play. They may try to hold onto their independence for as long as possible, and there’s nothing you can do about that. Or, they may accept that they need help, but express a desire to keep their dignity. If this is the case, it’s important to consider how you can provide dignified care, specifically when it comes to the bathroom. And, to help you settle on a plan which works, we’re going to consider some of your options.

A bathtub for ease

The most substantial issue to consider is that of bathing. When mobility starts to fail, your parents will find it difficult to get in and out of the bathtub. They may even do themselves an injury by trying it. But, they may be reluctant to let you lift them in and out. It would involve exposure that they may not be comfortable with.

So, find a compromise. By helping your parents choose a tub which opens at the side, you can ensure they can get in and out without worry. An option with a seat included would even allow you to rest easy that they can remain in an upright position. Or, if their mobility isn’t that bad yet, you may want to browse modern bathtubs which are freestanding. Options like these often dip in the middle, making them easier to get into. Plus, their freestanding nature will allow you ease of access once they’re already in the water. That way, you can help them wash, then leave them to it.

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Installed rails

It’s also worth installing grab rails in showers, and around the toilet. These will prove a huge support, and will mean that your parents can hold themselves up. Thus, you won’t need to lift them onto the toilet and so on. Again, these will go a massive way towards helping your parents keep their dignity. Often, toilet issues are the most embarrassing of all. Dealing with them in this way could be the best of both worlds.

Urinal in Hong-Kong on the Lung Fu Shai Fitness Trail, with handles for the elderly.

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An alarm by the toilet

Bear in mind, though, that an alarm chord by the toilet could be a huge help in ensuring your parents safety. That way, you can be on hand if they do need you for any reason. Without this, there’s a risk they’ll be stuck on the toilet for extended periods, which would undo your efforts at modesty. The chances are that they’ll never need to use it. But, it’s not worth the risk. When you know it’s there, you can rest easy. And, though they may not say it, your parents will also feel much better for its presence.

A sink with a seat

Standing by the sink could also become a real challenge for your parent’s. Even brushing their teeth for two minutes could prove too much. So, it’s worth getting a seat installed near their sink. If possible, you could have one built into the same cabinet that their sink is on. This will look like part of the decor and means they can have a quick sit down if they’re struggling.

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Or, you could carve a space underneath the sink, and slip a chair there, instead. To guests, this will look like a vanity-style sink setup. But, it could be a real dignity saver for your parents. Plus, this option has the benefit of allowing them to sit while they do what they need to.

A final word

As you can see, there are any number of ways to help your parents keep their bathroom dignity. While there may come a time when you’ll need to take a more active role, these steps will ensure that time is a long way off. Of course, you’ll need to check with your parents before putting anything in place. But, once you’ve explained, they’re sure to be on board.

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Taking The Long Journey To Become Financially Ready For Business

A small business is truly an extension of yourself. It’s your unique idea that has come to life and is trying to make the world a better place. On top of this comes the multitude of exciting things that could be competing with your rivals to show consumers you have a better product or service, finding ways to make the most money but keep quality assurance high as possible and of course, one day expanding to become a powerful entity in of yourself. However, what comes before all of that is the need to be financially prepared. This is the long journey that every single person must take before they start their own business for good, and make sure it can last beyond the critical first year. Unfortunately, even though there are many books out there that tell you how to set up a business, there aren’t many that dive into detail of what you should be doing before you open the doors to your small business. There are many paths to the same goal, but there are some more prevalent and important that you can look into that may help you find a way.

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Can you assign collateral

If you’re truly serious about setting up a business, you need to have an emergency and large funds available just in case your main source runs dry. It’s a tough and morbid task, but you must go through it, and that is, assigning things in your life that you could do without. Should you not find investment large enough, or simply can’t find anyone that will not put in as much as you do, then you need to make a list of the items and possibly property that could fund your business. Sit down, and on a clear day where you will have no distractions, write out the things in your home that you are willing to sell, should the road to success get a little bumpy. Make two categories, which divide your major collateral assets, and your pure consumer goods and items that aren’t detrimental to your living standard. The latter is quite easy to make up once you get the hang of it, but your major assets are where it gets serious. Your house, car, and potential savings in your bank should be placed in this category, whereby you are ready to use to help your business get off the ground. Granted it’s a very serious move, but if you want your passion to be a reality, tough choices will need to be made.

Carefully make a budget

Budgeting your small business is not as complicated as it first might seem. Although larger businesses have to worry about external issues, such as satisfying shareholders and fighting in the courts for legal superiorities with their largest rival, a small business does not. What your task should be is to plan for the next year, and nothing more so far. Clearly define your largest expenditures, which will more than likely fall under paying salaries, and paying for advertisements. Lesser expenditures will be making the products and services, which will need to be calculated per unit. This may vary with regards to your distributor and manufacturing supplier. It’s much easier to plan out your budget when you have a plan for each financial quarter. When you can, you clearly plan out what your goals will be, and the timeframe in which you wish to achieve them, the demands of funds and the list of priorities will grow and formulate.

Image by Nick Youngson

Generating the funds

No business can live on your own funds alone unless you’re incredibly rich. There are lots of ways to get the funds you need for your operations. You may want to look into the independent investor path. You’re more than likely going to be dealing with someone on a one-on-one basis. They will have their personal expectations of what you need to return to them with regards to profits; however, there’s more of a human element involved whereby the relationship can be very flexible and lenient. However, if you’re confident in your credit rating, and have saved up for a long time and or showed you’re responsible and trustworthy financially, you could get a loan from An unsecured loan would mean that you’re going to be receiving a loan, purely based off of your credit score alone, without collateral being placed on the list of potential recuperation of money. Whether you need the money quickly for a new project and or expansion, you can get up to $5 – 300K. Unlike a bank that would possibly take a long time for approval, such companies will have a simple and quick process of application to start you on the road to fulfilling your dreams.

Save money where you can

Even before you get up and moving, update yourself on the latest techniques in your industry. Next technologies might initially seem more expensive and a little too much for a small business, but if you can speed up your business because of them, you’re saving time and therefore able to deal with more orders and customers. Equally, if you know somebody who can give you a cheaper material or supply than the industry experts, then always have them on your list of options. Saving money where you can, requires a savvy mind and a flourishing and ever-expanding network of contacts. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but in business, it’s a case of ‘shoulda woulda, coulda’. Losing money due to practices that could otherwise be avoided, should be a thing of the past. If you can meet people in the same field as you, and mingle with other business experts at meetings such as business expos and other workshops before you commit, that could save you a lot of money. Write down any useful hints and advice for areas where you have the least knowledge to help you avoid pitfalls.

Being ready to financially support your business is a long and open road. You could take many different turns to get to your goal, but there is always a clear marrow that runs through the planning stages. Be meticulous, and always take on board as much information you can, and be ready to make sacrifices to prop up your business if no one else will.

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5 Common Mistakes of Startups

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Running a startup is many people’s dream come true, but unless you know what you are doing before you get started, you will find it much more difficult to find the formula for success. So, it is a good idea to go as much research as you possibly can to put yourself in the very best position. One of the most useful things that you can do is read about some common mistakes that people make so you can avoid repeating them. So, here are five errors that your business startup should avoid.

Lack of Focus

To start off with, your business needs to have a very clear focus that you can define within a single line of writing. Yes, many companies succeed by diversifying over time, but when you are just getting started off, you are much better off having a clear niche. What is it that you can do better than your competitors? Focus on this area and devote your time and energy to improving your overall offering.

Not Enough Motivation

If you have created your startup simply as a way of getting out of your regular full-time job, you are barking up the wrong tree. You need to have a genuine passion for your particular field or you are never going to have the energy to make a success of your business. Running a startup is not an easy option, and thousands of people are trying to do exactly the same thing as you every day. The people who enjoy success are the ones who have bags of commitment, motivation and passion.

Poor Knowledge

We have touched on this at the start of the article, but you can never do enough research before you start your business. How will you be running your business on a day to day basis? Will you be working from home or will you share working space? Who are your direct competitors likely to be? What will be your marketing techniques? All these questions and more are the type of things that you will need to be asking yourself before you actually take the plunge and start your business for real.

Unwillingness to Learn

Of course, running a business means that you can do things your way, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t listen to the experts. You should take in any advice that you hear and factor it into your own company. It is likely that you will be a novice in this field, and you can’t hope to become an expert overnight. Therefore, it is worth listening and learning from the people who have already been there and done it.

Lack of Investment Capital

Finally – and it may be an obvious one – many startups fail because they simply don’t have enough money to invest. So, you should ensure that you know exactly where your money is coming from before you go any further down this path or you could find yourself in real difficulty before you know it.

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