If you’ve got an interest in crafting, or you like to make things for yourself, you might have heard of vinyl cutting machines. You might even have one in your office or craft room that you use occasionally. But do you know what you can do with it? Or does it just sit in the back of a drawer or on your desk, only getting used once in a while, and otherwise just taking up space?
In case you don’t know, a vinyl cutting machine is a small device that looks a lot like a small computer printer. But, it’s kind of the opposite. You create designs on a computer, and then they get sent to the cutter. Instead of printing your design on paper, they cut it into vinyl with a blade. The designs can be interesting and varied, and you can probably do a lot more than you might have imagined with your machine. If a vinyl cutter tempts you, learn more about them at www.vinylcuttingmachineguide.com and read on for some ideas of what you could do with it.
Have you ever made your own clothing? It’s the best way to get something unique and exciting. With the help of a heat press, you can use your vinyl cutting machine to create a cool design which you can then apply to t-shirts, jackets, sweatshirts and other clothing, or even bags and accessories. If your plans are good, you could even sell them online.
Printing your own stickers is a great way to personalise absolutely anything. You can place them on notepads and other stationery, or your car or house windows. You could add stickers to your homeware to make them more exciting, and if you own a business, you can print health and safety information and other guidance on stickers to place on products and around your place of work.
Even in the modern world where most of our communication is online, greetings cards are powerful. They are a fantastic way to show someone that you care and that you are thinking about them. But, they mean so much more if you create them for yourself, instead of picking one up from a shelf. With a sheet of vinyl, some great designs, and a printer, you can create something meaningful and beautiful. Again, if they go well, you could start selling them to other people.
The idea of making decorations is the main reason that people buy a vinyl cutter. But, you still might not be using your machine to its full potential. You could make Christmas tree decorations, wall hangings, signs for your doors, and even outdoor decorations. There are no limits to what you could make with your vinyl cutter machines. You just need to be willing to experiment with designs.
What kid doesn’t love glow in the dark stars on their bedroom wall or ceiling? With a vinyl machine, you could create stars or uniforms, hearts, and flowers. You could even turn your children own artwork into real-world decorations.
Thankfully in this world, we are seeing a new turn in the housing markets. This problem has plagued so many governments that it looks like, due to the wonderful fruits that adaptive capitalist economies produce, there are more options than ever. Pricing is still a big issue but that cannot be helped if we’re all honest about it. We’re all living longer healthier lives, we are having children in the same consistent manner and our nation’s populations are steadily but surely increasing. Land is a set and sealed commodity, in that no more is going to be made. Therefore, we have to be wise in our choice and not stick to just our own countries if we want to keep our options fully open. It matters that we consider homes abroad, so that we can stretch our money as far as we can. For the affluent family, one of the best places where you can go to buy your first home is East Asia. Here are just some of your options.
The great city-state
Singapore is right at the southern tip of Malaysia. Here you will find a very different kind of nation than the surrounding neighbours. For one thing, it’s very Westernised in that it looks and feels like a nation you would find closer to Europe. This is because of the history of Western explorers and the standards for trade and business they brought here. However it can be somewhat crowded in the inner city, as this is where the business, finance and trade districts are. One of the things that the city-state is doing is, making homes that offer great indoor space to families but sacrifice garden space for shared communal areas.
This is known as a cluster house as it takes on the aspects of condominiums. For example, a condo community has advanced apartments that are all linked together. They also offer the residents different amenities that are shared such as the laundry room, games and leisure area as well as outdoor swimming pools. Cluster homes are designed much in the same fashion, except in place of the condos there are full sized homes. Many of these homes are around 3-4,000 square-feet. They have multiple bedrooms and bathrooms as well so a growing family will be satisfied.
Hot sun and space
Spain has forever been a favourite of many different nations in Europe to buying homes. It’s not just expats that want their own space in the sun to relax and retire. Families from the UK are also considering moving out to rural Spain where they can buy a house or villa for their family. Older parents might want to retire but they have children that are young. Hence why there are options to move into places where there is a large British community, schools that teach in both Spanish and English, as well as culturally familiar neighbourhoods. In terms of price and space, you can easily get a much larger and cheaper property in rural Spain than in other parts of the continent.
For example, take this unique country home which has 4 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. It’s priced in euros which is a weaker currency than the British pound sterling. It’s priced at 135,000 euros which equates to around £121,000. The average home price in the UK is plus another £100,000 to that. If you are willing to move your life just a little across the pond and love the hot weather, this is definitely an option an affluent growing family should consider.
More options as an option
Modular homes are easily becoming the number one choice for many young families. Why go for something that’s more classic when you can add and subtract pieces to your own home? It’s also much cheaper than a traditional brick and mortar type of house, as these kinds of homes are usually built with wood and steel instead. There is a whole range of modular homes to choose from, from the rectangular vertical, the bungalow squares and even the highly architectural homes with block pieces. The best thing to do is to search for and find a company that will build you your home to the exact specifications you want it to be.
It’s never going to be easy when trying to find a home that you want to buy for your growing family. However affluent couples do have a wide variety of choices, so look at home and abroad in equal measure.
Finding the perfect home is one of the biggest challenges you’re likely to face. There are so many factors which go into your decision – from where your job is based to what budget you have available. And of course, everybody has a different idea of what makes a dream home. However, if you’re hunting for a family home to raise your children in, there are certain factors you’d be wise to consider in your search. In general, you should be looking for a home you can occupy for a span of at least five to ten years, with room to expand into. Finding a great house to raise kids in goes much further than just the number of bedrooms and bathrooms – that can always be altered later anyway. Here are the top considerations to mull over:
What is the neighbourhood like?
Of course, you will want to select a house which within a reasonable commute of your workplace, but when it comes to your neighbourhood you need more than that. A sense of community becomes increasingly important when you have small children in a way that it often isn’t as a young professional without a family. You’ll want to be ideally in a neighbourhood with lots of young families, nursery facilities, playgrounds and of course great schools. Having other families as your neighbours ensures a child-friendly community and probably a good few mother and baby coffee mornings as well.
2. What Is Your Outdoor Space Like?
As a singleton or a young couple, as long as there is enough space to squeeze a few friends round for a barbecue, you don’t generally mind having less outdoor space, but children change all that – they will certainly need outdoor space to play. Also assess how safe any garden space is or can be made to be – does it have secure perimeters and a secure gate to enter and exit? If you’re not looking for a house for sale, but you want an apartment, then look to see if the location is near parks and other outdoor spaces that you can reach easily.
3. Is It A Smart Home?
Smart tech, or AI, in the home is becoming increasingly common, and for families with young children it’s a huge bonus. Network controlled security, heating and air conditioning units, lighting, safety features, and entertainment systems have gone mainstream in the last few years. And as parents of young children, they can be really useful, not least because you spend a lot more time at home. It may seem like a nice must-have now, but when you’re struggling to get the baby to sleep, having the ability to control lights, window shades or heating from your phone can become very valuable indeed, as anyone who has ever been trapped under a sleeping baby can attest!
4.Is There A Family Kitchen?
The kitchen really is the heart of the house when you have kids – it’s where everyone tends to naturally congregate, kids play with their toys or do homework and you share family meals – so it’s a good idea to make sure the kitchen is a decent sized room, as you’ll be spending a lot of time in there. Ideally, choose one with plenty of space for a dining table and chairs, perhaps some modular seating and perhaps an island with bar stools for quick breakfasts in the morning. Remember, if the house you like doesn’t have this you could add it – if you space available and the location allow it. In many ways, this is better as you can choose exactly what you want, but it will obviously add cost, so make sure you use your negotiation skills to secure a price reduction to allow some slack in the budget to cover a kitchen renovation if necessary.
5.What Is The Entryway Like?
It may seem quite a minor issue, but anyone with a young family knows that babies and toddlers come with a whole heap of equipment. On a daily basis, you are likely to be bustling in and out with a pram, car seat, changing bag, toys, snacks, schoolbag, sports equipment, coats, shoes and more. A decent porch or a spacious hallway can really help with this, as you can kit it out with a storage bench, pegs and other clever solutions to keep the clutter contained and make sure that you always know exactly where the kids stuff is to avoid the stressful morning dashing about the house trying to find things will cause.
6.What Are The Local Facilities Like?
Suddenly, when you have little people relying on you, you’re going to find yourself dashing to the local shop to pick up the carton of milk you forgot or the pack of nappies when you’ve run out, or needing to get hold of medicines at odd times – because teething never happens when it’s convenient! So the local shops and facilities become much more important. Having a supermarket or a well stocked local store can make all the difference at these critical moments, as well as having a doctor’s surgery and a pharmacy relatively close by. This move can save you a lot of stress on many occasions.
7.Is There Room To Grow?
You may not know at this point how many children you’re going to have, or how big your family will end up being. Life is full of unpredictabilities when it comes to such things – could the next baby turn out to be twins? Will the kids demand a dog? Will you decide you need to start up a business and work from home to get a better work-life balance? So it’s a good idea to choose a family home which has the potential to be expanded in the future – or even look at building your dream home. Look for things like a large yard that you could extend into without losing all your outdoor space, a basement or attics which could be converted to provide a study or more bedrooms, garage space at the side which you could build on top of – or even outdoors space where you could site a garden room or studio. This will help to future proof your home and means that you won’t have to go through all the stress and upheaval of moving again if your circumstances change quickly.
8. Can You Add Value?
The house that you buy should be first and foremost a family home which suits your lifestyle. However, it’s also worth thinking about it in terms of the financial side. As the biggest investment you are likely to make, and also something many people see as a future inheritance for their children, it makes sense to understand if the house is likely to appreciate in value. If it’s in a desirable area or somewhere up and coming, it’s likely to gain value through time, but also assess what you could do in the future – adding more square footage is a good way to drive up the value of your property. If a home already has everything possible done, it’s unlikely that you will be able to do anything to add much more to the bottom line, so you’ll be reliant on market-driven inflation only.
Comfort food is just the best. It makes you feel good, it tastes good, but the problem is that it’s usually a bit naughty too, high in fat, calories, carbs, etc. because that combination is just irresistible. Some of our most-loved family dinners are calorific which is very annoying. But what if you could have comfort food and still lose weight or just not put it on depending on what your goals are?
There are a few helpful tips you can use so you can still enjoy your favorites.
Don’t Use Too Much Oil
When you’re cooking or frying try to measure the amount of oil you use, keeping it to roughly one teaspoon a person as this can significantly reduce the calorie content of your final dish.
Include At Least One Portion Of Vegetables
Whatever you’re eating, try to have at least one, if not two portions of vegetables with it so that you boost the fiber and nutrient content of your meal, which will keep you full and satisfied, without adding too much to the calorie content.
Swap Meat For Plant Alternatives
You could try a “Meat-Free Monday,” which will help to you boost the fiber content of your meals or include more beans, nuts, and pulses in your meals – bean burgers, for example, are delicious but low in calories.
Grate Your Cheese
Grating your cheese helps it to go a little further, and you can sprinkle it all over your dish and reduce the calorie content of your meal.
Swap creamy sauces for tomato-based sauces
This isn’t always possible, but when it comes to curries and pasta dishes, you can certainly do it.
Use more herbs and spices
Herbs and spices will flavor your dish enabling you to leave out the butter and salt in recipes. Experimenting with new flavors can be interesting too, giving your taste buds something different to enjoy.
Use Vegetable Replacements
Have you tried courgetti instead of spaghetti? Cauliflower rice instead of regular rice? Butternut Squash chips or lasagne sheets? There are so many ways of doing this, and it means you include more vegetables by replacing something else, but you don’t feel like you’re missing out. Give it a try and see what you think.
A few quick and easy meal ideas for comforting yet healthy meals are, soup – always makes you feel warm and satisfied, Homemade pizza can be created with a cauliflower base, a pitta bread or a wholemeal wrap. Top it with tonnes of veg, and some grated cheese and voila! You have a healthy pizza. Then you can’t go wrong with a healthy but yummy stir-fry, it is one of the simplest healthy meals you can make. Add a tonne of vegetables like baby corn, onion, peppers or green beans, then add toss some chicken, fish, prawns or tofu and nuts to make sure you’re getting some protein and iron in there too. To flavor, you could also add peanut butter or a few splashes of soya sauce.
While your weight shouldn’t be the be all and end all of your happiness, shifting the few extra pounds that you ended up putting on at Christmas can do wonders for your self confidence and will leave you feeling healthier. Going on fad diets never works for anyone so don’t be tempted by the cabbage soup, vinegar or half an apple a day diet. These aren’t healthy and can end up doing you more harm than good. Yes, you might lose weight fast, but you’ll feel awful and you’ll put it straight back on again when you start eating normally. Instead, you need to change your whole approach to eating. This can be tough if you have specific dietary requirements or if you suffer from allergies. However, by following a few simple rules, this needn’t prevent you from losing weight.
Go To Specialists
While it might cost a tad more, heading to a specialist retailer for your food can save you the worry of ingesting something that you really don’t want to. If you are coeliac and cannot eat gluten, don’t spend your time scouring the labels checking ingredients. Many well known brands might appeal to the gluten free market, but still make items such as gluten free bread and pasta in a factory that uses wheat. To be safe, go for the producer that ONLY makes gluten free products. That way, you can be sure of not having a poorly tummy or pain.
Gluten free isn’t necessarily healthier than wheat based products. However, if you are coeliac, these are the items that you need to purchase. Look at your portion size and ensure that you don’t have more than 75 grams of pasta for a meal. This may seem tiny compared to what you are used to, but it’s all about changing what’s on your plate and the proportions. Ditch the carbs in favor of vegetables and lean meats and fish.
Most people can eat pretty much any meat. However, some choose not to eat pork due to a religious observance and others need their meat to be slaughtered in a certain way. By sourcing meat like halal sausages, you can still enjoy those summer barbecues without feeling like a nuisance enquiring about the origins of the host’s meat. Take your own meat, offer some to others and share your dietary requirements. Often people are interested and want to hear about why you eat a certain way. Some sausages can be incredibly healthy, using leaner meats or supplementing meat entirely for vegetables. This makes the fat content much lower than pork based varieties.
Vegetarianism is very in at the moment, so check out the beetroot craze and the jackfruit frenzy. These are healthier alternatives to meat yet still leave you feeling satisfied.
If you do suffer from allergies, ensure that you check ingredients lists carefully. If in doubt, consider homemade versions of shop bought food. This way, you can make the dish that you are cooking healthier and safer for you to eat.
Having different dietary needs shouldn’t prevent you from getting fitter, healthier and losing weight.
Becoming a homeowner for the first time is an exciting prospect. However, it can also be quite daunting. No matter how you look at it, buying a home is a major financial decision, and is, in fact, the biggest purchase that most people make throughout their entire lives. Because of this, you’re going to want to make sure that you choose the perfect place for you and your family. With that in mind, here are six things that you must consider when you buy a home of your own.
1. The Budget
Finding the right home for you is challenging enough, but finding one that you can afford is a lot harder. To avoid disappointments later down the line, the very first thing that you need to do is plan your budget. Make sure that you consider every hidden cost that you can think of, including repairs and legal fees. Once you’ve done this, you should only look at houses that fit this budget.
2. The Location
No two areas are exactly the same, so make sure that you do plenty of research on the neighbourhoods that homes reside in, as well as the properties themselves. Check how long it would take for you to get to work each day and the quality of the schools nearby. You can also look up crime rates and other important information, to make sure that your family will be safe.
3. The Feeling
You can tell a lot about a home from your first impressions of it. If you walk into a property and can immediately imagine your family living there, then this is a pretty clear sign that you’ve found somewhere worth considering. That being said, you should hold off from making an offer right away. This is a significant transaction, so you have to make sure that it’s worth your money.
4. The Condition
Before you can fall in love with any property, you have to check that it’s in a livable condition. Although many homeowners will carry out repairs and necessary renovations before putting their home on the market, others choose to sell their property as it is. If you have an already busy lifestyle, then you don’t want to be stuck decorating and doing up a fixer-upper house too.
5. The Future
While some people move home many times in their life, others would rather buy a house and stay there forever. If you’re in the latter group, then your home must work for you in the future too. Unless your parents would rather be with professionals, like those at Porthaven care homes, they may live with you in later years. For this reason, your new home must be suitable for them.
6. The Neighbours
After putting in an offer on your forever home, the last thing that you want is to be lumbered with unwelcoming and hostile neighbours. To ensure that this doesn’t happen, you should take the time to introduce yourself to those next door when viewing the property. This will either kickstart your friendship or show you that the neighbours aren’t people that you want to live next to forever.
House hunting can be tough, but, hopefully, with this advice, you can find a property perfect for your family.
I’ve always wanted to give this blogging a go, like treat it like my job. I have been blogging on and off since 2008, back then it was free wordpress blogs, that you simply added blurry pictures to, wrote your content and sent it out into the interweb. Now it is a whole new ball game, there is so much to know and learn, there are rules and algorithms and saturation of other bloggers and influencers.
The fact of the matter is, my blogs have never been a success. It’s not like i haven’t got content, i have photo albums of content all ready to be a blog post, my problem is this content never makes it into a post. The frustrating part about all this is my fear of missing out (FOMO), i am so busy seeing what every other person is taking photos of or writing about that i have left no time for myself. Doh!! Then there is the whole comparison is the thief of joy and before I know it, my blog is not good enough, my photos aren’t good enough and everything that I could be achieving is archived into the ‘could do better’ folder.
Scrolling…. scrolling social media is my arch enemy it would turn out. I am too scared to think about how many hours i have wasted scrolling. You know what happens when you scroll social media… life happens, all around you but you are in a bubble of perfect photos, of faces you will never look like, homes you will never be able to afford and dream lives that you will never have. Yet if all of this was not there, you may be able to look in the mirror and think I look OK today, my little home is all i need and my life is perfect as it is.
Due to my scrolling, i have what i can only describe as excessive noise, so many images, comments, ideas and things i want to do and achieve, all going around in my head. I decided at the beginning of the year, i wanted to reduce this noise and step back into Amy’s world, i have been in Instagram world for a bit too long.
1st January, I decided to take a social media break. The noise was too much, I was feeling anxious, angry that my life doesn’t feel as simple as it should be.
It is 31 days later and the noise has reduced, I am ‘back in the room’ if you like, things are beginning to sound clearer and I feel lighter. I am realising that I just didn’t have the balance quite right. I should live my life, write about it, share it and then have a little glance at what others are doing. Instead, I have been watching what everyone else is doing, checking again what everyone else is doing, thinking that would be good to write about on my blog, check what everyone else is doing, oh that blog idea is now old or obsolete, check what everyone else is doing… I think you get the gist!
I don’t think social media is bad, i have learnt a lot from others and feel inspired by their lifestyles and ideas. I think i have just been using it wrong. I still feel the urge to ‘take a photo of that’ as it would get a lot of likes on Instagram. The subconscious voice saying ‘check Instagram, you have a second free’ knowing full well, 30 minutes later i could still be scrolling!
Tomorrow, my social media break is officially over. Was it hard to do? At the beginning, it really was. I didn’t realise how often I checked my phone until i couldn’t anymore. For the first few days, I wasn’t really sure what to do with myself. I had forgotten how to fill voids of time – how sad is that?!! This past month has been truly awesome and a complete eye-opener. I feel calm and there is clarity where everything felt a bit like too many tabs were open in my mind. I have been more connected physically with people and it’s nice hearing news from people’s actual mouths instead of knowing it all already through facebook. I have baked for the joy of it and not just to take photos of my creations on instagram. I have read books, 3 whole books which is a massive achievement for this slow reader. I have felt more connected than ever to my children, we have learnt to play Uno and without fail play a game every evening before bed.
So will i be back on social media tomorrow? Probably not! I will not be putting the apps back on my phone anyway, but i may check in now and again. I have really missed some accounts on Instagram so i will enjoy catching up with them. My scrolling days are over, i like living in the actual world, the virtual one isn’t all that. I plan to blog and post more, rather than scroll, scroll, scroll.
Do you feel like you have the balance right when it comes to social media?