The Hidden Side Of Home Maintenance

When it comes to home maintenance, most homeowners think that it is about dragging a vacuum cleaner from a room to another. In truth, while keeping a clean house is essential – after all, nobody wants to live in a dusty and messy place – there is more to it to home maintenance than cleaning. Indeed, home maintenance relates to the ability to keep everything in your home and your community working at its best. From your pipes to your next door neighbor, home maintenance is an art that very few homeowners master. Here’s how to make your home safer and smarter for your family and your community.

The secrets of the perfect home maintenance

Maintain Regular Contact With Experts

There are a variety of structural systems and solutions to keep all modern facilities and appliances in your house: You have a water system, an electrical system, and an insulation solution to name only the most obvious. These are constantly used, every day all year long. While you would immediately notice if there were an issue, it’s best to organize regular checks with certified experts to spot problems before they occur. Consequently, you need to have the contact details of your local plumber, certified electrician, and insulation engineer. Additionally, you can also discuss preferred professionals with your home insurance and your local council to make sure that you haven’t missed any possibility.  


Maintain Your Household Budget

With every home, there is a household budget to manage. Let’s be honest from the start, the largest part of the budget tends to be dedicated to your energy bills – and your grocery, but this is the type of expenses that is easy to justify as it is visible. As much as you should keep a close eye on your overall consumption habits – and especially on bad habits that are expensive such as leaving phone chargers plugged in for example – you need to compare energy providers regularly. Indeed, when it comes to energy bills, loyalty to a provider is not synonymous with discounted price. Your provider can only offer the price that is has secured for itself.


Manage your budget

Maintain A Clear And Purposeful Structure

Another often forgotten dilemma of homeowners is the difficulty to keep a clear and purposeful decor inside. This is especially true for people who work from home as it can be difficult to create clear boundaries between the private and the professional space in the house. Additionally, by keeping the purpose of each room in mind, you will become able to declutter the house and remove anything that you don’t need. This helps to bring peacefulness into your home.


Maintain Your Neighborhood Relations

While you can choose our house, you can’t choose your neighbors. But it remains essential to maintain healthy relationships with your neighbors as much as possible. Often, all you need is to understand their background and react accordingly. Remember that communication is key, so do talk to your neighbors instead of judging them in silence. Additionally, there is also the matter of a healthy neighborhood to take into consideration. More and more communities are trying to develop a safe and environmentally friendly neighborhood by taking action to make it a better and more enjoyable space.

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Kick Asphalt: Teach Your Kids About The Dangers Of Driving

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Cars are not toys. They can be fun, enjoyable and smile-encouraging, but they are not toys. That is a lesson we all got taught, and a lesson we will all have to teach our children. However, that can be easier said than done.


Driving is the very skill all teenage children dream of acquiring and all parents hate thinking about, which is entirely normal. Your child is excited by the new prospects of freedom and independence and you are terrified by the dangers of the road, and rightly so. Luckily, your worries don’t have to be kept as worries, because there are things you can do to better prepare your teenager for the road and ways you can teach them to be that much safer.

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Be The Example You Should Be

Whether your kid wants to admit it or not, you are their biggest hero. You are their inspiration. As such, they naturally mimic almost everything you do, and driving is no different. That means safe driving starts with you. It is a responsibility you need to uphold. If there is something you wouldn’t want your child to do, then it is imperative you don’t do it yourself because bad habits die hard. That means driving well within the speed limits, checking your mirrors, wearing your seatbelt and keeping a safe distance. It also means no texting while at the wheel, no ignoring signs and no speeding.


Teach them About The Costs

Chances are you are going to pay most of the costs of the car whether you like it or not, but you should set a time limit on that generosity so that they spend their first year on the road conscious of money. This will give you a good chance to explain how costs can be kept down. As such,  show them how much their current insurance premium is on and then show them how much they could save after just one year of safe driving. Teach them about the diesel versus petrol, and about car tax, and how accelerating fast and braking hard can waste fuel. If they know these things will help them save their own pennies then they will listen for sure.


Help Them With An Emergency Kit

Cars may not be humans, but they were built and designed by them which means they are still prone to human error. Cars have problems. They break down, or get flat tires or just stop working. That is when an emergency kit comes in handy, and there is little worse than rooting around in the boot and finding absolutely nothing useful. The idea of your child being stranded isn’t pleasant, and that is why it is well worth packing an emergency kit in advance of any trip they go on. You can find an extensive list of must-haves at, but any and all emergency kits should include a spare tire, a jack, a torch, a first-aid kit, jump leads, de-icer and a tire iron from which to build on.


Let them Drive With You

There is no better way to learn than by doing. It is proven to be the most effective form of learning out there, which is why you should take every opportunity you can to share the driving responsibilities. Let your teenage kid take to the wheel, and take this chance to teach them a few things and let them improve their skills in a safe environment. It could be that they drive you to the supermarket to do your grocery shopping, or to school to pick up their younger sibling, or to their grandparent’s house. This will help you understand what their driving is like while also helping them to feel like they are contributing, and thus building their confidence to a safe standard.

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Be Honest With Them About The Dangers

Driving is dangerous; there are no two ways about it. It is one of the leading causes of death in the world. As such, it is crucial you have open and regular chats with them about the dangers of driving. This doesn’t just mean drink driving but distracted driving too, which can be lethal. Driving is not a right, it is a privilege and it comes with a lot of responsibility. At the end of the day, strangers drive toward each other at speeds of up and over 70 mph with only a white line dividing them. It is madness, and it demands respect, concentration, and understanding. That is why it is important you sit down with your child and carefully explain the consequences of bad driving habits, driving under the influence and taking your eyes – or mind – off the road. It can kill, and that message needs to be understood.

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Let’s Talk About Retirement

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It may seem like a long way off, however retirement is probably going to sneak up on you a lot quicker than you expect.  Besides, if you are really lucky you might even be in a position to retire a little earlier than most.  So, let’s have a quick look at what you need to be prepared for and how to ensure a happy retirement without any major hiccups.


Firstly, if you own a business then it pays to have an idea of your business exit plan.  Will you have children who may want to take on your role?  Perhaps you will sell the business after building it up.  Or is your company more of a lifestyle business which will also retire along with you.  Understanding the future of your company and how to retire from it when the time comes, can help you prepare for any tax implications or costs involved.  So get some advice during the early stages.  You can always tweak the plan if things change over the future years.


Retirement brings with it a lot of change.  You will, of course have a change to your routine.  You will also have a major change to your income.  However the changes to the amount of tax you have to pay are an area you need to get to grips with pretty fast.  You need to find out how your pensions are taxed and when interest on your savings might be paid tax-free.  There are also increases in the amount we are allowed to save through an ISA too.  So get all your ducks in a row and keep on top of any changes that happen during government change or annual budgets.


Working out your income is vital.  So preparing for this at an early age will ensure you have a little extra cash to play with.  Hopefully your outgoings will reduce dramatically.  If you have a mortgage it is a good plan to work towards paying this off 10 years before you want to retire.  This way you will have an asset which could support you should you need any expensive health care in older age.  It will also ensure you aren’t paying out large sums of money each month.  


Around 5 years before you intend on retiring it is important to work out a daily budget.  Looking at all your pensions and savings you can roughly work out how much of a daily living allowance you have.  It is also a good time to factor in what legacy you want to leave for your children.  

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Planning for your retirement should be something you bear in mind the moment you start working.  You can pay more into a pension and create interesting investments which will release equity upon your retirement.  So get creative, get advice and get prepared as soon as you can.  Even if you are thirty years away from the big event.


Then sit back and work out how you will use up all that spare time.  

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Networking & The Hero’s Journey: Overcoming Your Fears




Making connections and learning to network is a vital part of any self-development process. As part of the hero’s journey, it’s necessary to encounter other people who could play an essential role in your growth – which is where networking comes in. Whether you are trying to increase the number of clients you have, are pushing for a promotion at work, or even just looking to create stronger, better relationships with those that can help you, a little networking with the right people can go a long way.


The trouble is, not everyone is comfortable with the idea, and the prospect of standing in a roomful of strangers making small talk is a nightmare for many. There are some who love it, of course, and to whom networking is a natural act – and it’s these people who tend to get ahead in life, even if they are less well-equipped or skilled than their introverted rivals.


It’s one of those things in life that isn’t fair, but nothing is going to change soon. In short, you have to overcome your fear of networking and get out there and make a noise – so here are some ideas for you to get started.


Research attendees


It’s OK to do a little research on the attendees of a particular event to find out who they are and what they do. Take a look and see what you can find out about your prospective contacts, to ensure that there is a valid reason for attending, whether for business or self-development reasons. LinkedIn is the ideal place for this, and there are plenty of event sites that include listings of attendees and guest speakers. You might even find that setting up an event group can help you meet people online before you arrive.




Sharpen up your small talk


Small talk doesn’t come naturally to most people, but it’s a learned skill – anyone can do it if they practice enough. It’s a good idea to catch up on some industry news before you go to a business event, and also some general stories from the newspaper. It’s advisable to keep politics, religion and other potentially awkward subjects off the table when you meet people for the first time, so look around for five or six other topics you can use as conversation starters.


The open-ended technique


OK, so you have built up enough confidence to start some conversations. But, all you ever get are blunt ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, which leaves you feeling even more uncomfortable than you were before. So, practice asking open-ended rather than closed questions. Give people a chance to expand on answers, and you will find the conversation starts to flow naturally.


Target groups


It can be overwhelming for shy, nervous, or introverted people to enter a room full of people and get talking straight away. But it doesn’t take much to get involved in a discussion. Look for groups of people talking, rather than individuals – when you approach a group, one of them is more likely to offer their hand and welcome you to the discussion.


Start your own networking night


Starting a networking night yourself is a great way to put yourself front and centre in people’s minds. And it’s a lot easier to deal with your fears, too, as people will come to you to do the talking. Yes, you will be feeling a lot of pressure to arrange a great night, but not all networking events have to be full-on – perhaps you could design a gentler occasion that better suits your personality, and will attract others that feel similar?




Hold a golf event or function


Golf and business go together hand in hand. Many a deal has been struck on the fairways, and having a focus for the event is a great way to take the pressure off you. The great thing about golf is that you get a lot of time to spend with particular individuals, and it’s a more intimate occasion than holding a huge party in a hotel function room. You can buy some golf trophies to add a little competitive spice, and even arrange a regular event which targets different types of attendee or client.


Be wary of alcohol


There is often alcohol at business events, and when you are feeling nervous, it can be tempting to go for some Dutch courage. Try to avoid overindulging, however, as it will backfire. A small drink at the beginning of the event will help you relax a little, but if you overdo it, people will notice – and it can be incredibly damaging to your personal brand.


Be nice


It’s easy for your nerves to get the better of you when you are attending a networking event. It’s why you see so many serious faces at these types of conferences – everyone is so desperate to make a professional impression that they end up looking cold, stern, and unfriendly. So, be nice – and smile. It will instantly mark you out from the other attendees, and more people will want to come and say hello and find out more about you and your business. Friendliness costs nothing, and there are plenty of people who actively seek out a winning smile at networking events.


Enthusiasm wins


One thing you must do at a networking event is to be enthusiastic about what you do and why you are there. This can be harder than you might think, especially if you don’t like praising yourself, or feel worried about discussing problems and issues you might be having. The trouble is, if you don’t wear your passion for what you do on your sleeve, no one else will believe you have it either – and they will instantly lose interest. If you are struggling with this tactic, concentrate on coming up with an enthusiastic one-line pitch which explains what you do and why you are there – and always say it with a smile on your face.


Have a goal


Finally, have a goal in mind before you go to a networking event – something like collecting as many names as possible, or talking to a particular individual whose work in self-development you admire. Doing something like this will force you to get out there and be chatty and communicative. If you set yourself targets in life, you are more likely to achieve them, and networking is no different to anything else. Good luck at your next networking event!

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Clever Methods For Raising Intelligent Kids

All parents should want to raise the most intelligent kids possible. Failure to do that could mean they rely on you for money most of their lives. That is not ideal, and you’ll feel disappointed that you didn’t try harder. Thankfully, children are simple creatures, and it’s easy to encourage them to learn. You just have to find methods and techniques that inspire them. You can also use incentives to ensure they are focused and dedicated to achieving their goals. The ideas on this page are here to point you in the right direction. At the end of the day, you know your kids better than us. So, you just need to employ some common sense.


Teach them to design and build their toys


Thanks to 3D printing technology, it’s now easier than ever to design and build toys at home. Your kids are entering a digital world where they’ll need to become savvy if they want to earn a decent wage. So, it makes sense for you to get them started as soon as possible. You can show them how to create 3D toys using nothing more than their computer and a specialist device. Thankfully, 3D printers have come down in price considerably during the last twelve months. You can now get hold of a product for your home without breaking the bank. Teaching your kids how to use that technology is guaranteed to benefit them in the future. It’ll make them smarter too.


Take lots of educational trips


Lots of kids spend their free time playing on games consoles or listening to music. While that’s fine, a well-rounded individual also needs some culture. With that in mind, you should plan lots of educational trips when you take time off work. Maybe you could visit some historical sites where your kids can learn about the past? Perhaps there is a science museum in your state where they could learn about the universe? The possibilities are endless and only limited by your imagination. Just search Google for “the best things to do in wherever” and take a look at the results.


Reward your child for working hard


As we mentioned at the start of this post, incentives are vital for children. You need to let them know they always get rewards if they work hard. That will help to build them into active adults with a good work ethic. Just don’t make the mistake of paying them for their efforts. The last thing you want to do is create a child that’s money-mad. Instead, you should make their most-loved meal or treat them to a movie. You could even take them away on a special trip. If you do that, they are more likely to try to impress you in the future. They will also learn that they don’t get anything for free in this life, and they have to make an effort.


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You should have enough ideas now to improve your parenting technique. So, start creating some plans for 2017, and ensure you make the most of the summer. Spending time outdoors is also important for children because it helps to keep them grounded. Considering that, a camping trip during the school holidays might make sense. Whatever you decide to do, we wish you all the luck in the world.

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Make New Friends When You Move Away

There comes a time when we all have to move house. For some of us, it is a decision we have made (such as moving out of our parents’, wanting to upgrade to a bigger house or downsize to a smaller one, to move away for college or university, or to move away for a job) and for some of us it is something we have had to do, for reasons such as financial problems, or a breakdown in a relationship.


It can be a stressful business, moving house. First of all, you may want to put the property up for sale and that can be a huge undertaking which requires a lot of paperwork, calculations and meetings with professionals such as accountants, financial advisors or solicitors. Then, when the house gets bought, you have to move everything out which requires a lot of time and could be a heavy expense if you hire a removals company. Of course, you can always sell the things in your home – this means you will earn money and won’t have to take as much with you into your new home making the task much less arduous and more streamlined.


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When we do move away, especially if it is to a new county, state or even a new country, an aspect of our new lives which we don’t put that much thought into is our social lives. We may have left our friends and family behind, where we used to live, so that means we have to go out and try to forge new relationships with people, who at first, may be strangers.


If you have moved away for college or university, it may be a good idea to attend as many groups and join as many clubs as you can. This is a great way to make lasting relationships. You could talk about your scholarship with John Monash if you’re in an intellectual club, or even talk about the world of sport if you decide to join a football team.


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Another great way of making new friends – whether you have away for university or not – is to go out and mingle and socialize. Going to bars, pubs, cafes and night-classes is a positive way of doing this as you will be in new surroundings, talking to new people who you may not have thought about interacting with before and, of course, you will have a great time doing so. Night-classes reaches out to this point more than the others as you will be learning new skills (yoga, I.T, English, Maths etc) with like-minded people who probably attend the class for the same reasons you do.


Moving away can be a difficult and stressful decision to make, but once you embrace it you will quickly ease into your new life and the new surroundings in your new home. Whatever your reason for moving away to a new place, ensure you are ready for a fresh start and are prepared for what can be a difficult time.

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Suspect Your Partner of Cheating? Here are 4 Tell Tale Signs

Ah, it’s a new year, and what with all those Christmas work parties and New Year’s shenanigans lowering people’s inhibitions, it’ll be little surprise that a few people who were once in committed relationships have had their head turned. It’s sad fact of life that unfortunately some of us have to go through from time to time. But cheating partners very rarely volunteer their indiscretions openly to their other halves, so how do they get found out? Try as they might to conceal their secrets, there’s always tell-tale trails that they leave behind.




Reduced Sex Life


Now, we’re not suggesting every partner who appears to be less interested in sex than they once were is cheating. There are many reasons why a person’s sex drive might be reduced. However, a change in the bedroom might just be enough to merit suspicions. If you talk to them about it and they have no clear explanation or get defensive, it might be worth paying closer attention to what other things changed.


Shifty Behaviour


No person is capable of having their cake and eating it too. A cheating partner might hope that they’re able to come home and act as if nothing has happened, but they’ll always be tripped up by their conflicting emotions and secret life eventually. They’ll act different; nervous, suspicious, defensive, all the actions of a person with something to hide, so keep a close eye on the details they’re providing and the way they’re acting. Of course, you could be correct in thinking that needing surveillance tips is a sign that this relationship is not working, but it might turn out to be nothing in the end!


Late Nights/Early Rises


You know the routine of your partner. You know what time they’re due in and out of work, how often they’re required to stay late or get in early. You’ve been with them for some time and you know all of this as well as they do. That’s why you’ll be extra aware of any changes to the norm. If a partner is suddenly finding reasons to leave the house earlier than normal and arriving home later, then it might not just be a new project they’re working on. Of course, if they’re completely open and are not exhibiting any other suspicious traits then there’s little to worry about – but spending more time out of the home is a massive red flag when combined with other strange goings on.



Excuses to Find Time Alone


They feel guilty. They need to talk to their new partner. They know that they’ll say something stupid if they spend too much time alone with you. All of these reasons will make your partner want to be as far away from you as possible, even when they’re not doing something scandalous with their side partner. This means there could be hanging out in separate rooms from you when you’re both at home or suggesting that you take two cars instead of one to events you’re going to. It’s an illogical thought process, which means it’s worth investigating!

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