Devonshire Woman

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Getting Your Garden Prepped For Summer

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Don’t wait until summer to sort out your garden. Taking action now will allow you to spend your summer garden time relaxing and soaking up the rays. Here are a few preparations worth doing now.

Spring clean your garden

Over the winter months, lack of sunlight and weather damage will have taken its toll. Most of us also tend to neglect are gardens during these cold months, letting them become overgrown. Before summer arrives, dedicate a day to a spring clean. Clear debris, eliminate weeds and mow the lawn back to a manageable length.  You may want to add some fertiliser here and there to prevent patchy grass and get weather-beaten plants back to full form. If you live in area that gets the heat, now might be the time to install water butts to keep your grass hydrated.

Create a social area

If you haven’t already got a decking area or patio, now may be the perfect time to get one installed. These can make a great social area of your garden for putting deck chairs and tables, great for eating al fresco on a summer evening or inviting friends round for a garden party.

Searching online, you’ll find many companies that can provide ideas for beautiful patios. Alternatively, if you’re a dab hand at DIY, you can build a patio area yourself. Also consider features such as a fire pit that can be incorporated into a patio and provide warmth in the evenings.

When it comes to decking, this is a much easier job to do by oneself, although you may still want to save the hassle and hire a professional. Decking areas can be raised to give a veranda feel. Just make sure in all cases that you seek planning permission first.

Buy a new barbeque

Barbeque prices shoot up in summer when the demand is high. Buy early and you could save yourself a few quid. Expensive electric barbeques and wood burners in particular are great purchases in winter/spring, where you may even save a couple hundred pounds. If you’re also needing new barbeque tools, this is also prime time to buy.

Take prevention methods against pests

Slugs and snails may have had a free chance to roam during the winter, but it’s now time to defend your turf. There are a number of insecticides available online, although you may prefer to use natural methods of fighting off these pests. Beer traps, crushed egg shells and coffee are just some of the naturally proven deterrents gardeners use.

Whilst you’re tackling these pests you should also take measures against other critters. Wasps can build nests in sheds and attics and lay wait there over the winter, only to come out in the summer months. Check that you haven’t got any nests hanging about that could disrupt your summer evenings later on in the year. Also make sure to fix up holes in the fence where the foxes might be making an easy entrance.

NEW Teatime Treat: Tetley Indulgence Teas

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I love tea.

I love treats.

Thanks to Tetley’s NEW teatime treat indulgence teas, i now get the best of both worlds YIPPEE!

Not only that, the treats that they have blended with their Kenyan black tea, will make your mouth water. The range of tempting flavours include;

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  • Chocolate Mint – this black tea with the mix of dark chocolate and mint makes this tea ideal for after dinner (or breakfast… or lunch… or whenever the excuse arises to indulge).
  • Cookies and Cream – a black tea that is full of biscuit flavour. You can feel like you have been naughty with the biscuits when really you haven’t!
  • Spiced Apple – the sweet spiced apple flavour is ideal to have after a cold a breezy school run, it really warms you up and feel all cosy inside.
  • Gingerbread – the warming ginger biscuit taste of this black tea reminds me of visiting my Nan’s after school for a cuppa, a ginger biscuit and a chat. So comforting.

Each Tetley flavour blend is made with the finest Kenyan black tea. Each cup can be enjoyed with or without milk. I actually prefer this tea without milk and i am normally a milk and sugar kinda girl, making this tea a lot healthier and less calorific for me. At only 2 calories per 225ml serving i can indulge without it upsetting my healthy diet.

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So any time i have that treat craving (which if i am honest, is quite often!) i make myself a cup of Tetley Indulgence tea and that craving soon goes away.

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The NEW Tetley Indulgence Flavour Blends are available from March 2017 at Asda (rrp £1.99 for 20 bags).

So which one will you try first?

I was sent a sample box of each flavour to try. This review is my own honest opinion.

Just Moved In: What Now?

 

Moving home is often cited as one of the most stressful events in your life. It’s not difficult to see why. First, you have to prepare your current home for sale, and that’s often no easy feat. After de-cluttering, making minor (or major) repairs, decorating, etc. you then have to worry about all those viewings. And when you finally get a buyer, there’s always the worry they’ll pull out at the last minute.

Then there’s finding your new dream home to plan, the removal company to book and the endless packing. When it finally comes to moving day, many people breathe a sigh of relief. But it doesn’t stop there. Now that you’re in, there is a whole new checklist to put in place.

Write A List

Write a list before you move. This will include everything below and anything else you’ll need to do when you move. Make sure you keep this with you so that it doesn’t get lost among the packing cartons. Working from a list is so much easier, and it gives you the peace of mind that nothing has been forgotten.

Unpack The Essentials

Anyone who still has packed boxes somewhere in their home when they moved over six months ago will tell you that unpacking is a long process. Unpack the essentials first. Each member of the family should have an overnight bag holding essential items such as a change of clothes, toiletries, medication, phones, etc. Coffee and tea making accessories, toilet rolls, soap, phone chargers, and towels are also essential items, so don’t bury these when you pack.

 

Make Provisions For Pets

Moving is not just stressful for humans; it’s stressful for pets too. Make provisions for them in advance. Try to allocate a room where they can stay for the duration of the move. Ensure they have their own beds, toys, and access to their food and water.

Inspect Your New Home

Walk around your new home from room to room and check everywhere meticulously. Check for any signs of damage or causes for concern. Don’t forget to inspect the exterior.

Security

It’s important to secure your home when you first move in. Change all the locks and ensure only family members have keys. Look at robust alarm systems and find a system to suit your needs. Not only will this alert you if an intruder attempts to enter, but it will also deter potential burglars.

Make an escape plan in case of fire or another emergency and ensure all family members are aware of it. Establish a meeting place at a distance from your home, should the worst happen. Put smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in place.

Set Up Your Utilities

Take metre readings as soon as you move in. Phone utility companies with the reading and ensure your gas, electricity, and water are all set up. Make sure you’re aware of where the fuse box and water stop tap are located. You won’t want to be searching for those during an emergency.

Connect Appliances

Connect any major appliances you have such as the washing machine, dishwasher, cooker, fridge, and freezer. Your fridge will need to sit for at least three hours before you plug it in.
Moving is a stressful time. Take away some of the uncertainty and anxiety by making a moving-in list ahead of moving day. This will assist a smooth transition and ensure the only thing you feel when the movers leave is excitement.

5 House Moving Tips You’ll Love

Getting those keys to your new house is exciting. When you purchase your very first house, those keys represent the next step you’re about to take in life. Before you take that step, you must pack up one house and move everything you own to another – no easy feat! You’ll remember the big things such as the furniture and the clothes boxes, but what about the little things? There are a lot of jobs that need taking care of when you are moving into your new house and with this list of must-do’s for moving in day, you can be as prepared as possible for the next step.

  1. Preparation is key. When you are moving into a new house, you need to clean it first before you move all your things into it. It may be a brand-new house, but it still may have been sitting empty for some time. If it’s not quite brand new, you’ll have noticed that cleaners have been in before you. Still, getting your Marigolds and bucket ready and going in to give it a scrub to your standards is important. Don’t forget things like the inside of the cupboards as well as the toilet. You want to move your stuff into a clean house, not one that’s going to engulf you in dust!
  2. While on that subject, check the garden. If you are fortunate to have one, gardens are an exciting feature for your house but if it’s overgrown, covered in old rubbish blown in by the wind or even a little overrun by resident pests, you need to get that cleared before you get the moving van outside. Calling in the professionals for wasp nest removal and hiring a gardener to give it the once over will save you time, meaning you can concentrate on your packing that you need to get done.
  3. Always pack an essentials box. A box purely with the kettle, toaster and some immediately available tea and coffee is always necessary for your new home. Include washing liquid and a sponge for the sink and add lightbulbs to fit the second you get through the door. Pre-book a grocery shop to arrive the same day you do so your cupboards and fridges are full while you unpack.
  4. While you’re busy packing, you’ll hopefully be labelling your boxes and using coloured stickers to show the movers which room each of the boxes should be in. This will mean that the boxes can go straight into the correct rooms as you move them in and you don’t get left with a lounge full of floor to ceiling boxes!
  5. On the big day, after the moving vans have gone, EAT! You will have spent time being busy with packing and organising. Before you get to the next stage of unpacking, get some fuel and fluids in and enjoy the satisfaction of the first meal in your new house. It’s always more exciting to order in rather than cook, so enjoy a floor picnic first, then unpack.

With these tips, moving day can be an exciting part of your new home rather than a stressful one!

Money, Money, Money…

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Ever get the feeling that money is burning a hole in your pocket? Sometimes we just don’t know what to do with it. We make up excuses for where it can go, what it can be spent on, or give ourselves reasons for why nothing can be done with it … even when it can. We’re scared of two things – overspending or underspending. And It’s high-time that we did something about it.

If you’re under spending…

We only have one life and (depending on what deity you believe in), you can’t take whatever you’ve got with you when you’re gone. You need to make the most of what you’ve got and enjoy it. If you have money sat in a bank account that isn’t going towards anything in particular, it’s just sat gaining minimal interest, then try investing it into something that’ll make you happy – even if it’s something to make you even more money like a letting property. You could try going materialistic and kitting yourself out to try new recipes with a new kitchen like the ones shown on the Elan Kitchens Leicht website, or indulging in an experience such as an out-of-this world holiday to take your mind off whatever troubles and worries you may have floating around your head. There may be some truth in the saying that money doesn’t make us happy, but it can certainly be put towards having a good time and getting us well on our way on the path towards joy and elation. If you are seriously sat considering what to do with your money as you don’t think it’ll be wise to splurge, continue sitting on it for a bit longer until you get a clear idea – it’s not like it’s going anywhere…

If you’re overspending…

Budget, cut back, save like there’s no tomorrow. If you are earning 99p but spending a pound, you will always be in debt – there are no two ways about it. There are certain tips, tricks and hacks that are out there and available for you to peruse over and consider for your saving plans, such as setting up a separate bank account for your social life that’s different from the one that you’re paying bills out of, or having a standing order come out each month to fly into another account to dip into when times are getting tough. There are also certain mantras and ways of living that you can adopt; you can try the frugal lifestyle and join a Facebook group or some other community forum to get you really into the mindset and have a like-minded group around you to make sure that you don’t stray too far from the track that you’re taking. It’s especially good if you tell someone that you are thinking of cutting back your spending habits; it may seem like the worst thing in the world when you have somebody constantly questioning what you’re doing with your money and why you felt like you needed to spend X amount on X item, but you’ll be thankful for it in the end when you realise that your money troubles are disappearing or have gone completely.

Cutting Costs on Kitchen Remodelling

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Renovating a kitchen isn’t the easiest job to do on a tight budget, but there are ways to ensure you don’t end up spending a fortune. Here are some ways of cutting costs without sacrificing the quality of your new improved kitchen.

Don’t move the sink and stove

Relocating big appliances such as the sink and stove results in all kinds of complex plumbing and gas pipe rearrangement. Find ways to renovate around these appliances to avoid paying out extras of thousands of pounds. You may be able to freshen these appliances up with new hobs or a new tap rather than replacing them.

Go DIY

Building your own cabinets and drawers will work out much cheaper than buying them, although is probably a task reserved only for those with the time and patience. Alternatively, you could work with what you already have to save costs. Buying new cabinets and drawers is expensive, but buying new parts such as cupboard handles and kitchen drawer runners isn’t. On top of providing a few more splashes of paint, you could instantly revitalise your kitchen having hardly spent anything.

Hire an all-in-one handyman service

If you can find a handyman service that can provide all the services you need from tiling, plumbing and building work, it may work out a better bargain than if you were to hire individually. Negotiating the price will certainly be easier, and the whole project will get completed more quickly and efficiently. Use comparison sites to find these handymen.

Try track lighting

Recessed lighting can result in all kinds of extra electrics and holes having to be made in the ceiling. Experimenting with track lighting could work out more affordable. Whilst track lighting bulbs are generally arranged in a straight line, feel free to get creative and create and curve or some other form of pattern.

Be careful with your countertop

A popular material for countertops is granite, which can cost £50 per square foot. A substitute such as butcher’s block could work out cheaper. Those liking the appearance of stone may even be able to find a budget laminate material more in the region on £10 per foot that looks just as striking as granite and still has the same cut-edge-proof qualities.  

Choose a cutout over removing an entire wall

Many people are now opting for open plan homes. A cutout can often be just as effective as removing an entire wall, without as many electrical and plumbing issues to worry about. If the wall is load bearing, removing the whole thing may also involve other major structural alterations to the house, which a cutout won’t entail.

Notify your home insurance provider

When making any changes to your home, make sure that you notify your home insurance company. If you ever need to make a claim, they may reject it if you have not notified them of a new renovation to your home. Unless you are extending, it is unlikely your home insurances rates will be affected.

You Owe It To Your Home To Break The Rules

For the rebels among us, home design is not easy. Your conservative self wants your house to fit with others on the street. But, your rebellious side wants your house as different as possible. If this sounds familiar, you’ve come to the right place. Blending with the crowd has never done anyone any good. And, your home’s no different. It’s time to get daring. Your house deserves as much attention as possible, right?

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BOLD COLOURS

The first step to a home with a difference is to get bold with color. Let your creative side take over. Don’t worry about whether a color scheme will work. Do it and see how it looks! The good thing about painting is that you can always redo itk. Don’t worry, either, if other people don’t like it. They’re not the ones that have to see it every day! It’s not only the inside that needs your attention, either. Focus on the color scheme for the outside, too!

Bright doors can work well. And, bright houses can be a fantastic feature of any street! Once you’ve unleashed your wild side, you can be sure it’s your home people look at as they drive past.

AMAZING ACCESSORIES

Accessories hold a lot of power in the home. That’s why it’s important to consider them during your quest. Again, let your creativity run riot. The best accessories are the ones you make yourself. Think about how to stamp your artistic style on your home. If you’re good at painting, do some pieces to hang on the walls! If not, there are plenty of other options. From making your furniture to making lanterns from old jars! Again, think about the outside of your home. Glass house number plaques can be extremely eye catching. As can wind chimes and other garden ornaments. Why not hang some chimes on your porch? You’ll know when someone’s coming before they’ve rung the bell!

EYE CATCHING DISPLAYS

Eye-catching displays are another way to make your house stand apart. Start with your front lawn. Get your fingers green by coming up with a plan for your flower displays. You could plant your flowers any way you want. Making a picture using the colors can be a lot of fun if you have the patience. Or, you could write your name in flowers! Whatever you choose, your flowers will be the best on the street. It might also be worth investing in some window boxes to keep the theme going. Window boxes are an excellent addition to any home, especially when you have fun with them! Why not color coordinate?

LET YOUR TASTE RUN WILD

However you choose to do it, it’s important to let your taste run wild in your home. How else can you achieve your ideal home? You may try things that don’t work. But, some things may work better than you imagined! Throw other people’s opinions out the window. Try those design ideas you’ve not been brave enough to try until now!