You Can’t Tame Your Home Alone

Do you ever feel like the upkeep of your home is a constant battle? Your home is supposed to be your castle. It’s not only intended to be a fortress that keeps the myriad troubles of the outside world at bay, it’s also supposed to be the one place in the world where you can completely relax, unwind and be yourself. In an era where we’re working harder than ever, working more hours than ever and finding that we have less time to look after the things in life that really matter, your home should be your best friend. Thus, if your relationship with your home is becoming increasingly adversarial, and you feel as though you’re falling out of love with it, something needs to change.

Most of us try pretty hard to ensure that our homes are clean, tidy, hygienic and well maintained. Yet, most of us are unaware of just how much of a toll it can take on our mental health if the one place in the world we’re supposed to feel at ease is just a little… off. Your surroundings have a profound effect on your wellbeing. Yet, despite all our best efforts, there are times when it feels as though nothing we do effects real change. If we share our home with kids and pets these feelings are only compounded.

It may be a tough pill for many to swallow, but even the staunchest clean freak or DIY enthusiast can’t tame their homes without professional help. Given our hectic and busy lifestyles we need to be realistic with ourselves and turn to the help of the professionals when we need it. Here are some areas in which even the best of us may need to outsource for optimum peace of mind and a home that’s perfect once more…


DIY Not?

There was a time when DIY was like a family recipe. It was a series of workable solutions (what we might now call life hacks) passed from generation to generation, designed to keep homes well maintained. In the YouTube era, however, there are so many excellent DIY tutorials that handy homeowners can often believe that there’s nothing they can’t accomplish with a well stocked tool belt, a stick of gum and a can-do attitude. While this may be true for many things, there are always areas of DIY best left to the pros. All but the most rudimentary of electrical fixes should not be attempted alone because of the safety risk they represent. They should be left to a registered electrician. If something is wrong with your circuit breaker panel in particular, you must never, ever attempt a repair yourself. Likewise, plumbing is best left to the pros. It might look like Lego with water, but it’s way more complicated than many give it credit for. Your amateur job may look fine at first glance but you could leave your home vulnerable to tiny and imperceptible leaks which could do real damage over time.   


Clutter removal with care and compassion

Clutter is more than just general untidiness. If left unattended it can become a real problem and a sizeable drain on your personal well being. It’s human nature to accumulate possessions. To our subconscious, having more stuff increases our chances of survival. The reality, however, is that accumulating more and more stuff simply leads to a cluttered home. Not only is this visually distracting and prevents our homes from feeling truly clean and tidy, it can hinder our concentration. This can be particularly crippling if you work from home. It can create a nagging sense of unease that no amount of cleaning or tidying around it will heal. The trouble is that simply throwing stuff out, donating it to charity or selling it on eBay is beyond many of us. After a while, the removal of clutter can seem like a monolithic task especially if we are unable to part with any of it. If this seems familiar you need a clutter removal service with care and compassion, who will work with you to order and organise your possessions without tossing things out in the name of tough love. Now if only you knew where to find one of those…


Bad flow gotta go!

You’ve likely heard of Feng Shui although it’s likely that you take little stock in it. You may regard it as pseudoscience at best or mumbo jumbo at worst. But like acupuncture, tai chi and myriad other Chinese therapies which cause many unaware Westerners to scoff, Feng Shui really works. Enthusiasts say that this ancient art can increase your popularity, boost your wealth and help you to achieve your career goals by redistributing the flow of life energy (qi) through the home. At the very least it can optimize your available living space, give you a sense of calm and well being and make you feel happier than ever in your home. Sure, you could read up on the principles of Feng Shui and attempt to apply them yourself, but the most effective way to employ Feng Shui in your home is too book an appointment with a consultant.


Chim Chim Che-Ree!

If your home has a chimney, you’re extremely lucky. A fireplace with a chimney breast works wonders in tying a room together. It can make a great statement piece and can really help to define your living room’s aesthetic. But as much as this aesthetic touch is a gift for homeowners, it can also leave your family vulnerable to noxious fumes. Over time, sooty deposits can built up in the chimney flue. As these deposits grow more robust they can release a noxious combination of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and water vapour into your living room. This flue gas may be imperceptible to most but it can still cause lasting damage to your health if left unchecked. That’s why every home with an active chimney should have a chimney sweep on speed dial to carry out regular inspections.


Your home is beautiful and ripe with potential. But it’s important to reach out for a helping hand every once in a while to make sure that potential is truly realised.

It’s Time To Start Clearing Out The Junk In Your Home

Let’s be totally honest, one of the biggest issues that a lot of us have these days is that we just have way too much stuff. Over the course of most of our lives, we have a habit of collecting a whole lot of stuff and most of it just ends up cluttering up our homes. Sure, there are plenty of things with lots of sentimental value that you want to keep, but a lot of it is just junk. When your home is full of junk in that way, it’s going to end up feeling cramped and untidy no matter what you do. Because of that, it’s a good idea to take the time to try and clear it out every once in a while. Of course, that’s not always easy. With that in mind, here are some things that you can do in order to start clearing out your home.

Find somewhere to put it

When the time comes to start getting rid of the junk in your home, one of the first things to think about is what you’re going to do with all of it. Depending on the kind of stuff it is, you’ve got a few choices. You can simply throw it away, and if you’re going to do that then there are plenty of places that offer bin hire which can make the process easier. Or perhaps you want to give it away to a good home. If that’s the case then there are plenty of places that take donations or you might even want to sell it on eBay to try and make a little money.

Be brutal

When you first start thinking about getting rid of stuff from your home, it’s tempting to assume that it’s all too precious and you couldn’t possibly get rid of it. However, the truth is that a lot of the stuff cluttering up many of our homes isn’t all that important. Sure, there will always be things that you’ll want to keep but there’s nothing wrong with getting rid of stuff that you neither use or need anymore.

Go room by room

The other major challenge involved in trying to clear out your home is knowing where to start. If you’ve let this kind of task build up over time then it can often be pretty overwhelming. The best way to deal with this is to just take things room by room and work from a plan. That way you’re not going to end up doing bits and pieces here and there and the entire task will go a lot faster.

Clearing the junk out of your home can be tough. After all, it can often feel like you’re not really sure what do keep and what to get rid of. However, if you keep putting it off then you’re just going to end up collecting more and more stuff that you don’t need and you’re going to make the whole situation much more difficult than it needs to be.

It’s What’s Outside That Counts: This Year’s Hottest Exterior Design Trends

After the blistering heat of the previous months, while the northern hemisphere enjoys the start of summer, Aussies are beginning to retreat indoors as the days get a little milder and greyer. For many of us, this doesn’t mean that our social lives are curtailed, it merely means brunch indoors rather than barbecues outside. This means that many of us will start to think about sprucing up our interiors as we prepare ourselves to bring our social lives indoors. But while a great deal has been written on the subject of interior design, let’s not forget that what’s outside matters too. If you’re likely to be planning for some renovations in the coming colder months or even just a lick of paint here and there, it’s worth considering addressing the external as much as the internal. Here we’ll look at the importance of a design aesthetic that unifies both the interior and exterior as well as looking at some of the hottest exterior design trends of this year…


What is exterior design and why does it matter?

Your interior design is an opportunity to not only create a space that is beautiful and pleasurable to live in, it’s also your opportunity to allow guests an insight into your personal tastes, your creative leanings, your sense style and your personality. Everything from the colour you use on your statement walls to the books you have on display on your bookshelf makes a statement and tells visitors a little about who you are. Your home should tell a story, and your entryway is the first chapter… But the exterior is the prologue. Many are quick to underestimate just how much of a first impression their exteriors can make. Yet if your exterior is looking lackluster, faded, dilapidated, worn or simply bland, the rest of your home is going to have to work that little bit harder to undo that first impression. And remember that you never get a second chance to make one of those. If you will be putting your home on the market in the near future, sprucing up your exterior can add immeasurably to your kerb appeal. Get it right and it can make your neighbours green with envy while engendering a sense of excitement and anticipation in guests about to step over the threshold and into your home. Fortunately, your exterior design needn’t be extremely expensive nor logistically difficult to master. Whether you’re installing new designer garage doors or simply applying a lick of paint and adding some potted plants you can give your exterior a facelift, even on a modest budget. Let’s look at some of the hottest exterior design trends of this year…


Keep it neutral, keep it natural

In today’s fast paced and often stressful world, the home should be a sanctuary from the stress and anxiety of work and modern living. This means that we should use as many natural materials as possible in both our exterior and interior design. Natural materials have a soothing effect on the mind and are proven to promote psychological well being. Thus, there are lots of creative ways in which you can use natural stone in your exterior design or timber with a light and natural finish rather than a thick veneer of paint. Needless to say, your use of plants (even if you don’t have a front garden) can make all the difference too. A large potted plant on either side of your front door can be extremely welcoming in even the most modest of front yards. Here are some useful tips on matching your outdoor plants to the materials you use in your exterior.  

As tempting as it may be to paint your front door and other elements of your exterior in a gaudy and attention grabbing colour, this year’s design trends favour a more neutral approach. While beighes, greys and off whites are on the way out indoors, this year’s outdoor trends favour mixed materials within a limited colour palette i.e. mid grey bricks with dark grey roofing.


A taste for texture

There’s far more to creating an engaging exterior than colour. Texture is playing an increasingly large role in creating design aesthetics that make for eye catching exteriors. Don’t be afraid to play with texture this year, especially when it comes to juxtaposing different textures; rough with smooth, matte with gloss and patterned with plain. Think steel matte on your guttering or roofing juxtaposed with coarse textured or self patterned brick. This contrasting of textures and finished creates a sense of intrigue which will make your guests all the more eager to see what’s in store for them inside.


Red brick is back

We’ve been using it to build houses since the days of ancient Rome and there’s still no better choice for creating an aesthetic which is natural, warming and welcoming. Using this classic building material in elegant and contemporary ways is another method of creating an intriguing sense of juxtaposition whether it’s used for an exterior wall or alongside other curated materials. Pairing red brick with a neutrally painted concrete, for example to create a contrast of tone, colour and texture that is appealing and intriguing yet subtle.


Say something with siding

While all these juxtaposed materials, colours and textures are currently en vogue, there will always be those who prefer the elegant simplicity of home siding. There are many reasons why this approach appeals to so many. It creates a neat and welcoming look that’s virtually zero maintenance, and the sheer variation of colour, texture, materials and finish ensures that wherever your tastes may lie, you can find a variant to suit you. However the aesthetic benefits are just the tip of the iceberg. The right siding can also seriously improve your home’s energy efficiency. Good quality siding will seal in the heat during the coming colder months while also allowing your home to stay cool when it’s hot.

So, as your social schedule moves indoors over the coming months, make sure that you capitalise on every opportunity to wow your guests, even before they’ve stepped through the front door.

It’s Time To Start Taking Your Health More Seriously!

Let’s face it, taking care of our health is one of the first things that many of us are taught how to do from an early age. We all know that without taking proper care of ourselves, we could well end up in serious danger both mentally and physically. And yet, in spite of this, many people still insist on living their lives in such a way that they make their health and incredibly low priority compared to the rest of their life. People will often be more concerned about their appearance or the way that their home looks than their health. The reason behind this is often pretty simple. Taking care of your health often involves making sacrifices and tough decisions, which is something that a lot of people simply aren’t ready to do. It can also be pretty difficult to know where to start when it comes to taking better care of your health in the first place. In order to make that just a little bit easier, here are some ways that you can finally stop ignoring your health.


Stop hiding from your doctor

A lot of people really don’t like going to the doctor, and that’s kind of understandable. After all, doctor’s offices really aren’t the most pleasant, welcoming places in the world. Not only that but avoiding going to the doctor ties in with ignoring your symptoms. If you go to the doctor when you’re worried about something, there’s a chance that they could potentially confirm your worst fears. However, the truth is that no matter what kind of results or response you get from your doctor, it’s always better to get their opinion as soon as possible. Most of the time they’ll be able to set your mind at ease that it’s not something to be worried about, but if it is something serious, they will be able to offer you potential courses of action that you can take, rather than you just sitting around feeling worried. Some people don’t like seeing their doctor because they worry that they’re going to be wasting your time. Just remember that your doctor would rather you get checked out and it turned out to be nothing, that for you to just sit at home and worry. People also worry about things like medical bills but there are plenty of bulk billing doctors that can help you to save a decent amount of money. Besides, your health is a pretty worthwhile investment!


Be more active

Most of us live pretty sedentary lives for the most part. After all, most of us spend our entire workday sat behind a desk and then come home to slump onto the couch until it’s time to head off to bed. If you want to start improving your health, it’s time to get a little bit more active on a daily basis. This means that you need to think about ways that you can fit a little bit of exercise in here and there. A lot of people claim that they are unable to make the time to exercise, but that’s simply not true. Something as simple as walking to work if you can, or going for a stroll on your lunch break can make a huge amount of difference. You don’t need to suddenly become obsessed with going to the gym every single day, but if you’re never doing any exercise at all, that’s going to start to have an impact on your body and your overall health. Not only that but staying active can be incredibly positive for your mental health as well. You might think that spending all day relaxing and sitting around is a great way to treat yourself, but if you do it too often, then you’re just going to end up feeling far worse than you did before.

Stop ignoring your symptoms

One of the biggest mistakes that a lot of people make is that they ignore symptoms that come up far too often. It can often seem bizarre that someone would do this, but it’s a habit that’s deceptively easy to slip into. After all, no one likes to think that there’s a chance that they could be ill in some way, and so when small symptoms appear, it can often be incredibly tempting to ignore them altogether in the hope that they’re just going to go away. And, you know what, there’s a chance that they just might. However, is that really worth the risk that, if you ignore your symptoms, they could just get worse and worse until they start to cause you real problems? After all, knowing is always better than not knowing because at least then you have the option to do something about it before you reach the point when you can’t anymore.


Get your lifestyle in shape

The first thing that you can do in order to start prioritising your health in a more significant way is to make some serious changes to your lifestyle. The most obvious way to do this is to adjust your diet. If you’re not thinking about what you’re eating, then there’s a good chance that you’re filling your body with things that are going to cause you problems down the line. No one is saying that you suddenly have to go on some kind of crash diet. You just need to start thinking a little more carefully about the kinds of foods that you’re eating on a regular basis. The same goes for anything else that you’re putting into your body. There’s nothing wrong with going out and having a few drinks with friends now and then, but if you’re staying out drinking every single night, then you’re potentially doing some serious damage to your body. You probably don’t need anyone to tell you how dangerous smoking is and yet plenty of people insist on doing it anyway. If you want to take the best possible care of your health, breaking those kinds of bad habits is a great place to start.


Get the right treatment

Of course, there is always a chance that there is something wrong and if that’s the case, then you need to be sure that you’re making the right decisions. If you do find yourself getting ill in some way you need to be sure that you’re getting the right treatment. This will usually involve talking to a specialist. A lot of the time your doctor will recommend a certain treatment or specialist too you, but it may fall to you to find a specialist off your own back. A lot of the time people feel as though having to see a specialist means that there’s something seriously wrong with them, but the reality is that it’s often just because your GP doesn’t have the specific skills required to help you as effectively as possible.


Think about the future

One of the most common mistakes that a lot of people make is that they make the assumption that, because something they’re doing isn’t negatively impacting their health right now, that means that it’s not worth worrying about at all. However, it shouldn’t come as much of a shock that that’s not the case. There are plenty of things in your life that can be dangerous or unhealthy, but that won’t actually start to cause any problems for a long time. This is especially true with certain aspects of your lifestyle like your diet, or something like drinking and smoking. You may well be able to go years without feeling any real impact from the things that you’re doing, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not having any impact at all. It’s easy to feel invincible when you’re young, but if you want to start thinking more seriously about your health, then you need to consider the kind of impact your decisions will have in the future. Being able to think about these things can often be a pretty serious challenge and it takes a lot of self-control to make choices that will only really pay off in the long run, but being able to do what’s best for your health, even if you won’t feel the results until years down the line, is one of the most important things that you can do.

Making excuses for not paying attention to your health is one of the most tempting things to do. A lot of the time people claim that they will deal with it another time or whenever they get round to it. But the truth is that your health is just too important to set aside like that. You have to make sure that you make an effort to look after your health now and to commit to taking care of yourself. Otherwise, there will be consequences. Dealing with those consequences is always going to be harder and more unpleasant than taking steps to prevent them in the first place. There are probably a lot of other things that you’d rather spend your time thinking about, but being able to take care of your health means that it’s much easier to set any concerns or worries aside for a while. Your health might not be the most exciting part of your life, but it simply too important for you to ignore.


How to Get Started with Selling Antiques and Upcycled Furniture

Selling antiques and upcycled furniture can be a lucrative and sustainable business, provided that you put enough energy and effort in planning your model. Don’t treat this venture as a hobby, and you can expect more than a hobby income from it. Whether you are new to the industry of interior design or have experience in the area, you will still have plenty to learn about running this type of business. To help you avoid some of the most common startup mistakes, you will find a few tips to consider before you jump head first.


Find Your Niche Market

Selling antiques is a vague description of any business. You will need to find your market that is interested in what you can get them and your suppliers. Some people simply get started with this venture doing house clearances and renovations, coming across some well designed and valuable items that are too good to get rid of. No matter what got you thinking about starting your business, you will have to find your niche; let it be small boutique hotels, B and Bs or family villa owners.


Get Your Finance Right

Chances are that you will have to invest in stock and premises when starting an antique and upcycling business. You will also need some industry licenses, and this will further increase your startup costs. If you would like to make sure you are not stretching further than you should, it is recommended that you get help with preparing a financial plan. This will not only help you keep an eye on your costs, but also serve your interest when applying for business finance.


Develop Your Workshop

No matter if you are renovating antique furniture or upcycling vintage items, you will need the space. You might want to build your own steel structure workshop or rent an industrial building that has the adequate infrastructure and security for your business. Your workshop must serve the purpose of your business; you need to take care of lighting, climate control, air conditioning, security, and power. The tools you are using might need a higher voltage than regular power machines, therefore, you must check the supplies and the wiring before you strike a deal.


Focus on International Markets

While domestic markets can be profitable, you should not exclude international deliveries. In the United States, China, and some Asian countries, the growing upper class might be interested in unique items to furnish their homes. If you can create a pricing strategy that serves domestic and international customers alike, you will have a greater chance of making profits. There are plenty of international online auction sites thanks to the faster and more reliable internet access around the world, so why not take advantage of the latest technological developments?


Do Your Market Research

You wouldn’t start any business without researching your market and getting to know your target customer. If you miss this crucial step of building your venture, you will have to face some unpleasant surprises. It is important that you read industry magazines and find out what is popular and how much various processes and renovation projects cost. Without this, you cannot develop a competitive offer and convince your buyers. Check online auction sites and – if you feel like  – record the sale prices of items, so you can calculate your profits and determine the right price to buy at.


Don’t Forget About the Competition

Just like any business, antique and vintage furniture sales are extremely competitive. You will have to account for the bargaining power of the competition, unless you have an exclusive source where you get antiques and quality vintage furniture from. Your competition might offer more money to sellers, and you will end up with no stock. They might also have access to markets you haven’t yet discovered, and turn around items faster than you. Make sure that you study the most successful companies in your market and learn from them.


Shipping Methods and Costs

One of your greatest variable cost will be shipping. When moving large items, you will need to get a specialist company with adequate insurance and well trained staff, so you can avoid accidents and damage to your goods. Companies like Freo Group have various shipping and haulage packages and a clear pricing policy, so you can calculate the cost that you want to charge your international customers for the insurance and door-to-door delivery.  


Business Insurance

You shouldn’t forget about taking out business insurance, either, when starting an antique or upcycled furniture business. You are likely to come across customers who are not happy with the condition of the item received, no matter how good your photos and description are. It is crucial that you cover your premises and take out public liability insurance. If you employ staff, you must provide them with health and safety training and equipment, so you can avoid injury claims. However, if you have a business insurance, you can at least cover the legal costs when things go wrong.


Study Demand and Styles

You need to become the expert in the industry if you would like to take advantage of the knowledge and ride on the latest trends. You can study the latest demands and styles by attending conferences and exhibitions, or even learning more about the history of furniture and trends online. Find an online degree program that will give you that competitive edge and help you determine what each item is worth.


Study Interior Design

As a complementary skill, you might also want to study interior design. This will help you advise your customers and prospects about arranging and displaying some of the most valuable items. You can find plenty of online courses or sources of information. Interior design is a great skill to have if you are trying to help your customers make the most out of their homes or spaces and find the best way of selling them unique items.


Subscribe to Trends

Even if you get formal education, you will need to be prepared for changes in taste and preferences, so you can change your business accordingly. You are likely to find several quality international interior design and antiques magazines you can subscribe to online, and there are plenty of experts and auction houses that offer a free or low cost newsletter. It is important that you keep an eye on the trends and the various emerging technologies that can reduce your cost and turnaround times. You will even be able to advertise in some of these magazines and newsletters, so you can build a strong brand.


Build Partnerships

As a small startup antique or vintage upcycled item retailer, you will find it difficult to find customers on your own. It is important that you build great relationships with suppliers, as well as professional interior designers. You can approach smaller designers and larger companies that would be interested in what you have to offer. If you can create a blog that provides value for industry leaders, you can get them to sign up for updates and newsletters, and it is more likely that you can enter a long term partnership with them.


Develop Your Online Presence

No business can survive without online presence in the 21st century. You should have a website that allows your visitors to browse your projects and items for sale, and even take a virtual tour in your workshop. You will also have to register your business in local and international business directories, so people looking for unique furniture will find you. It is not enough to have a website if you cannot draw targeted traffic to it and get people to contact you. Give your potential customers more than one way to get in touch; phone, online chat, messenger, and social media. You can benefit from Pinterest marketing like many other small startups before, and get your site and brand to become popular.  


Build Your Showroom

Once you have established your brand in the marketplace, it might be time to create a showroom online or at your workshop, where people can browse. While some antique dealers choose to go to exhibitions and trade shows regularly, this can cost a lot of money, and success is not guaranteed. If you can get people to visit your showroom or take a virtual tour, you will be able to show off your style and unique brand without having to spend money and time traveling and delivering your furniture from one location to the next. You can even create an online showroom embedded in your website, if you choose the right designer.

If you are thinking about starting your online or offline antique and vintage furniture business, you need to be prepared for a strong competition. Trends change, and you will have to find the niche market, you can provide more value than other small companies. Build strong partnerships with potential suppliers and end users, and focus on creating a strong, unique brand that people can relate to.

De-Clutter Your Home, De-Clutter Your Mind

A cluttered home creates a cluttered mind. If you seem to have things everywhere and you can’t get your house in order, it is a clear indication that you need to get rid of the clutter. Not only will this make your home look better, but it will help you to have a clearer mind in the process too. You will be able to relax, as you will no longer be leaving in the middle of chaos. With that being said, read on to discover how to de-clutter your home and de-clutter your mind in the process.

Be brutal – You need to be brutal. If you have not worse something in the past year, the chances are you are not going to wear it in the coming year. Don’t hold onto things on the off chance that you may need them someday.

Give to charity – If you have items that you no longer want or need, give them to charity. You know what they say: one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. There are bound to be people that need the things you don’t, and it can make you feel good about yourself by helping someone else out.

Make sure you remove all items correctly – Another important step is to make sure you remove all items correctly. Got an old or broken kitchen appliance? Contact a professional company to remove this for you. Have you got electrical gadgets you no longer need or maybe a computer you don’t use? Go to your local electronics store and they should be able to dispose of this for you. Chucking such items in the bin only contributes to landfills and the massive pollution problem we are experiencing around the world.

Tackle one room at a time – De-cluttering can seem overwhelming when you have so much to tackle. Make it easier for yourself by splitting it up into different tasks. Give yourself one room to tackle per day, instead of giving yourself the mammoth task of tackling the entire home in one go.

Follow the one in, one out room – Now that you have created an environment that is free of clutter, you need to maintain it. To do this, you need to follow the one in, one out rule. This means that whenever you purchase something new for your home you need to get rid of something that is already in there to accommodate it.

As you can see, there are a number of different steps you can take to get rid of the clutter in your home and the chaos in your mind as a consequence. Follow the steps that have been presented above and you will be shocked by the difference that this makes.


Staying Beautiful While Travelling

Whether you are going on a long trip for an extended period of time or just a short holiday this summer, you still want to find ways to look your best while you are travelling. Everyone has their own beauty rituals and regimes that they maintain while they are at home, but it is easy for these to go out the window when you are moving around from place to place on a regular basis. So, let’s take a look at some travel beauty hacks to help you out.

Protect Yourself from the Sun

Not only is getting sunburn damaging to your skin in ways that can be serious, it is also one of the biggest causes of premature ageing. And let’s face it; nobody looks their best with a face like a lobster! So. you need to make sure that you apply sun lotion with a high SPF factor on a daily basis. Even if it is cloudy, the UV rays can still penetrate through and cause you to become burnt. If you are heading out on a road trip, you can give yourself some makeshift shade with these awnings. And you should avoid lying out in the sun for an extended period of time.


Pack Your Beauty Products

Before you head out on your trip, take the time to pack all your beauty products. Obviously, you want want to be lugging everything around with you, so you need to be a little more selective with what you bring and what you leave behind. And you may also need to buy some travel-sized versions of the products if you are only planning on bringing hand luggage along with you on the plane.


Moisturise on a Daily Basis

No matter whether the weather conditions are dry, wet, hot or cold, moisturising invariably leads to better skin. And when you are spending a long time on planes or exposed to air conditioning, these things are going to dry your skin out even more. If there is one beauty product which is worth spending a little more on to get something of high quality, it is certainly your moisturiser.


Embrace Cheap Spa Treatments

If you are heading on holiday to some of the cheaper countries around Asia, you will be amazed by just how affordable things are – and this includes the spa treatments. So, if you are not used to having massages, facials or pedicures on a regular basis, now is the time to enjoy them and also the benefits that they make to your appearance and mood! it is simple to find places that do this when travelling through local industry search platforms. Type in a service and location and you’ll book a massage in Richmond before you know it.


Learn Simple Makeup Techniques

You don’t want to spend hours and hours doing your makeup while you are travelling, so it is certainly worth learning a few quick techniques that you can use in a hurry. There are plenty of YouTube videos out there which can give you a helping hand with this.

Just because you are travelling, it doesn’t mean that you can’t look your best!

The Power of A Smile

These days she might be a famous fashion designer, but there’s one vital accessory Victoria Beckham is never seen or photographed wearing, and that’s a smile.

Maybe she thinks it’s a clever marketing gimmick or part of her personal brand, but it’s probably not working in her favour – on so many levels!

If only she fully realised the power of a smile – she would surely start making a conscious effort to flash her pearly whites on a much more regular basis.

Smile for Better Relationships

According to Gold Coast Psychologist Peter Doyle, when we smile, others find us more approachable and likable.

“One study even found that college students photographed with a smile, were more likely to report being happily married over thirty years later,” Doyle explains.

Health Facts to Make You Smile

Research has also uncovered some surprising health benefits of smiling:

  • Both your heart rate and your blood pressure decrease;
  • The levels of serotonin in your brain rise, elevating your mood;
  • Endorphins – your body’s natural pain killers – are released;
  • Your immune system is given a boost;
  • It also helps with regulating your sleep and appetite.


“We associate smiling with happy people, and it’s true – happier people do tend to live longer,” says Doyle.

Smiling for your Mind and Mood

“Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” – Thich Nhat Hanh.

This pithy quote captures it perfectly, so if you’re feeling blue, slap a smile on your dial. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fake smile – apparently, it tricks your brain into believing you’re happy, leading to actual feelings of happiness. Fake it til you make it!

Smiling makes you more attractive

Studies have confirmed what most of us knew anyway – smiling makes you seem more attractive. There is even research to suggest that smiling makes us look younger!

Smile and Watch your Bank Account Grow

There are even financial benefits to smiling.

“We know that smiling boosts productivity,” says Doyle – so it likely brings financial benefits to your employer, if not you personally.

“And there’s a study which showed that restaurant workers serving customers with a smile, receive larger tips.”

While we don’t know necessarily if it is the smiling itself, or simply the kind of personality which smiles a lot, that leads to all these benefits – it’s enough to make you smile a lot more often!

Adapting Your Surroundings To Your Creative Needs

If you work in a creative field or simply enjoy designing things, you’re probably away of the sort of impact your surroundings can have on the quality of your work. When it comes to this sort of activity, the space you’re using will have a huge impact on your inspiration and ability to work. Of course, though, this is on a much larger scale than your desk area. To help you to secure the very best habitat for your urges, this post will be exploring each level, from your workspace to the country you call home, enabling you to tailor this part of your life to perfection.


The Desk

While this isn’t entirely focused on the desk, it most certainly starts here. More specifically, though, it will be time to think about the tools you’re using when you’re doing your creative deeds. Most of this work is done using computers, nowadays. To make this an easy process, you should always ensure that you have a machine which is capable of running the applications you’re using. Along with this, a lot of people will also want to have an ergonomic writing and drawing set up to go back to basics, even if this means investing in a height adjustable desk.


The Room

Moving a little bit further out, your room will be the next space you need to think about when you’re working on a good workspace. Balancing inspiration with distractions is a challenge, and a lot of people will over do it when they are working towards this goal. To avoid this, it can be best to keep your decorations contextual, using things like plants when you’re designing something natural and wild, and old electronics if you’re working on a new product launch. This sort of approach will keep the place free from clutter, but you will also have to work hard to avoid the other distractions in this space.


The Building

Whether you work from home or an office, it is essential that this place is comfortable. Temperature, noise levels, and even light can all contribute to a poor working environment. Along with this, though, you also need to be somewhere interesting. Old structures usually have the most character, with apartments for sale in almost every city which are filled with charm. You will always have to visit a place like this before choosing it. Of course, though, the internet will be able to help you to find some worthy contenders.


The Road/Street

A lot of people will ignore the local area when they are choosing their workspace. In reality, though, this can have a huge impact on your ability to work, along with the inspiration you find in day to day life. You can often find roads which have large concentrations of creative businesses. Whether this is book and record stores or arts and crafts shops, living in a place like this will be a constant source of new ideas. You can often look up the parts of a city or town which are best known for this side of their culture. Along with this, some places will be much busier and noisier than others, and this could make it hard to work.


The City/Town

This is where this post starts to become a little more abstract. Choosing a city or town based on its creative potential will seem very extreme to some, as this will be a huge change to make in your life. In reality, though, being in a boring city will make it very hard for you to find the spark you need to be creative. Like the road you choose, you can research cities to find out exactly what people think of it. To support this, you could also do some research to discover galleries, venues, and other spaces which are dedicated to various forms of art. Embracing this side of a city is a great way to make yourself into a better designer.


The Country 

As the last environmental trait to think about, it will be time to consider the country you will be calling home for this sort of work. Of course, most people won’t want to relocate to improve their hobby, and a lot of people will object to doing it for their job, too. If you have the traveller’s itch, though, this could be an area with a lot of potential. Seeing different cultures, art, and architecture will teach you a great deal about design and creativity, giving you a new understanding of this complex field. Along with this, it will also give you the chance to see parts of the world which you have long dreamed about.

Working this hard to make a change like this will seem like a lot of effort to some. When you’re trying to improve your skills, though, it’s always best to think objectively, even if this means going to extra lengths to get what you want. Along with this, there are some additional routes to take to get better at the part of creativity you enjoy the most. Online courses are great, but you can also get loads of helpful advice using forums and blogs to guide you. Of course, if you’re looking for something a little lighter, there are still loads of options out there which can give you a clear path to design supremacy. Social media is great for this, with sites like Instagram making it incredibly easy to give yourself new ideas and a fresh take on the designs you usually love.

Hopefully, this post will inspire you to start working harder on the time you out into the creative side of your life. Kindling this sort of ambition is always worth it, with some of your most satisfying work being done when you are in the right place. Of course, though, it will be up to you as to how far you want to take something like this, and you don’t have to leave the country to find yourself flooded with new ideas

Improving the Air Quality in Your Home

From the moment we’re born, our lungs expand and we spend every second of the rest of our lives breathing. So it’s not all too surprising that we start to take breathing for granted. It’s something that we do automatically and without a second thought. We don’t even have to be conscious to carry it out! When we are resting, we take in around twelve to twenty breaths a minute, which mounts up to an astounding seventeen thousand to thirty thousand breaths a day. While we are exercising, this increases, and you can find yourself taking in up to fifty thousand breaths a day. So, when we’re taking in so much air, perhaps we should start giving a little thought to the quality of what we’re breathing in. After all, if its circulating in our systems, we should seriously pay it attention in a similar way to how we focus on the quality of other substances that we put into our system, such as food and drink. So, let’s take a moment to take a look at how air quality can affect our quality of life and what we can do in order to improve it!


How Air Quality Affects Us

The air we breathe in has an impact on our physical health and well being. Now, most studies concerning air quality tend to focus on how burnt fossil fuels and other pollutants affect the environment and the Earth’s atmosphere. While this is extremely important (after all, if we destroy the planet that we live on, we cannot be sure what will happen to us), we should also focus on the more immediate effects of air pollution on our individual well being. Numerous studies conducted by scientists and medical professionals have found that as well as negatively affecting the atmosphere, air pollution takes its toll on our bodies. In fact, taking in low quality air can increase your chances of developing asthma and other respiratory conditions. This is why individuals in cities are more likely to suffer from these health issues, as there is more pollution present.


Improving Air Quality

Now, we can take measures to encourage local authorities and governmental bodies to put stricter measures into place when it comes to monitoring emissions. However, while campaigning and protesting may be effective, it can take a long time to see action put into play and positive results. In the meantime, there are various measures that you can take to improve the air quality within your own home at least. Here are just a few for you to consider.


Odour Control

Air should be odour free, so if you find that there is an odd, lingering odour, you should try to find its source. It’s likely that there will be something unclean at the root of the problem. This needs to be disposed of, so that it no longer continues to emit harmful particles into its surroundings. You can also make use of odour neutralising products like those offered by eComist. These can enhance your environment and atmosphere significantly.


Investing in Houseplants

Now, plants are a lovely addition to any property on a purely aesthetic level. They can brighten up your home’s exterior and be placed in decorative pots or interior hanging baskets. But they come hand in hand with a whole host of other benefits too – one being that they cleanse the air! Plants are essential nature’s very own life support system, taking in particulates from their surroundings and photosynthesising carbon dioxide into oxygen. In fact, they are so effective at what they do that NASA have even conducted various studies with plants and how they affect air quality in their International Space Station. Some plants that are particularly good at cleansing the air around them are spider plants, Dracaena, Weeping Figs, Peace Lilies, Boston Ferns and Bamboo Plants. Avoid plants that bloom, as they put pollen into the atmosphere, which can result in reactions and allergies. If you do choose to invest in some houseplants, make sure to whatever you choose is suitable for all of your home’s inhabitants. Not all foliage is suitable for those of us with pets, as various plants that can be found on the market are toxic or hazardous if consumed by cats, dogs, or other common household pets. Steer clear of species such as Sago Palms, Tulips, Lilies and Azaleas. For a more extensive list of poisonous plants, refer to specialist guides.


Trying Out Salt Lamps

Heated salt lamps are skyrocketing in popularity amongst those who want to purify the air in their properties. Now, these lamps genuinely look like salt. They consist of a large lump of salt, usually on a wooden base, with the centre hollowed out. In the hollow, there will be a bulb which can light the lamp up from the inside out. Not only do they look great and natural (they fit particularly well into minimalist home design), but they genuinely work too! The heat of the lamp combined with the elemental properties of the salt results in water from the surrounding air being pulled in and absorbed. Bear in mind that water can harbour bacteria, pollutants, and allergens.


Have Air Conditioning Installed

While most people associate air conditioning with a unit that simply cools the air, you should consider the name more carefully. It’s called air conditioning for a reason. It conditions the air, reducing moisture in the air and consequently humidity too. The less moisture there is in your home, the less likely your property will be to develop damp, mould and other substances that can negatively affect your respiratory system.

As you can see, air quality is extremely important when it comes to our overall health and wellbeing. So it’s time for us to start prioritising it. Though you may not be able to control the air quality outside of your own home, implementing the steps above into your general lifestyle should allow you to be able to foster a healthy atmosphere within your own property at least!