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5 Ways To Give Your Garden An Easy Makeover

Before long it will be spring, so it's the perfect time to have a garden makeover. With a little time and minimal effort, you can really improve the look of your garden. Just imagine, sitting in your garden with a cup of tea, listening to bird song and looking at the flowers. Sounds idyllic, doesn't it? Let's have a look at 7 easy ways to give your garden an easy makeover. 

1. It's the little things that matter

weeding

Firstly take a long hard look at your garden or ask a friend to. What needs to be done straight away? Remove any rubbish in your garden, anything that shouldn't be there and find a place for it. Old bikes in your garden? Put them in the shed or if you are not using them sell them. Pick up the weeds from the lawn and remove any dead flowers. Just doing a general tidy up of your outdoor area will make all the difference. 

2. Add hanging baskets and pots

hanging basket

An easy way to add some colour to your garden is to add some hanging baskets or plants in pots. You can buy hanging baskets without flowers for about £5 each. Fill with some colourful trailing plants and you have something beautiful to look at that doesn't cost the earth. You can also get outdoor planter pots and fill with flowers such as begonias, coral bells or nemesia to make a colourful addition to your garden. 

3. Improve your seating area 

garden chairs
Most gardens have an area where you can put some seating. Firstly give this area a good deep clean, brush it over, then use some patio cleaner according to the instructions to remove any stains, black spots and algae. You can even buy biodegradable cleaner which is kid and dog friendly. If you already have garden furniture give it a good wash, or invest in some new chairs or luxury rattan furniture if you have the money.

4. Improve your garden storage

shed

It's useful to have some garden storage especially if you have a small home. A garden shed will make a useful addition to keep your tools, garden accessories, and bikes in and tidy away anything you don't want to see in your garden.  If you have a garden shed already, see if it could do with a lick of paint or wood stain to protect it in all weather.  Garden sheds can be picked up from around £200 but if that is beyond your budget you can still pick up a garden storage box for under £50. 

5. Makeover the lawn the easy way

lawn

If your lawn is past its best and you have some money to throw at it, buy a new lawn. This is a quick and easy way to have a low maintenance garden way in no time. You can pay someone to returf it for you or do it yourself. No planting seeds, no spending months waiting for it to grow. Another thing you could do is buy artificial turf. Some of the modern artificial turfs look fairly natural and you won't have to worry about weeds. This is perfect for a low maintenance look. 

So here are 5 ways in which to give your garden an easy makeover. Let me know, do you love your garden or does it need some tender loving care?

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How To Stop Ruining Your Chesterfield Sofa

The average low / medium quality sofa should last for anywhere between 10 and 15 years, whereas a better quality one should have a lifespan of at least 25 years. However, most people do not take adequate care of their furniture to ensure that it lasts as long as it should. 

chesterfield sofa

So in order to ensure that your Chesterfield Sofa lasts as long as possible, I have put together a helpful list of things that you can do to stop ruining it.

Do Not Keep Sitting In The Same Spot

Most of us find a spot on our sofa that we enjoy sitting in and keep on going back to that each and every day. However, doing this is actually really bad for the piece of furniture as over time it breaks down the fibres and wears the springs down. In order to avoid this from happening, make sure that you alter where on the sofa that you sit, distributing your weight more evenly right across the sofa.

Do Not Allow It To Be Used As A Playground

If your house is home to children or pets, then they can have a tendency to play around on the sofa, jumping and bouncing on it for their entertainment. The problem with doing this is that doing this has the potential to damage the integrity of the frame of the piece of furniture meaning that cracks could develop and less support being provided.

Do Not Let Stains Set In Place

As soon as something is spilt on a chesterfield sofa you must clean it away immediately, as the longer that the stain has to set in place the harder it is to remove. The severity of a stain depends on the substance that has been spilt on the furniture and the material on the sofa. Regardless of these two factors, it is still very important to tackle the spillage as quickly as you possibly can.

Do N
ot Sleep On It

Chesterfield sofas are designed for people to sit on whilst reading a book or watching the television and should never be slept on like they are a bed. Although it may sometimes be very tempting to do this given how comfortable this type of furniture is, it will cause sagging of both the cushions and the frame. Whilst the occasional afternoon nap on there is fine, it is not advisable to sleep for 8+ hours on the sofa.

Do Not Expose It To Direct Sunlight

A direct hit of sunlight onto a sofa can have a bleaching effect and can cause severe fading over time. In order to avoid this from happening, be sure to position your sofa in a spot in your home that is well out of the way of direct sunlight or at least rotate it every so often.

By following this advice, your chesterfield sofa should last for as long as possible, thus saving you time and money on having to look for and purchase a replacement.


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5 Home & Garden Ideas For 2022

Looking for some home improvement ideas and inspiration in the new year, as you plan out your next project? I’ve put together a short guide with five different home and garden ideas that you might want to try in 2022, including energy-conscious solar panelling, smart tech upgrades, and even the benefits of artificial lawns over traditional gardens. Read on to get started.

Garden Trends


Switching to Artificial Grass

Keeping and maintaining a garden all year round can be a difficult task, and many working people simply don’t have the time to allocate to gardening regularly. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have an impressive, inviting outdoor space to unwind and relax in – something particularly important in 2022 when people are spending increasing amounts of time outdoors.

Rising in popularity throughout the UK, artificial grass is a modern, easy garden solution for those wanting that ‘freshly-cut’ grass look, at all times. Leading UK supplier Grass Warehouse state that fake grass rolls remove the need for pesticides and chemicals, and also come in numerous pet-friendly varieties – ideal for those sick of cleaning up after their pet’s muddy paws coming in and out of the home after play.

Solar Panelling


Environmentally conscious changes and home improvements are of course popular in 2022. If you have the option and can afford the initial investment, installing solar panelling onto your property can not only provide clean, green energy to your home, but can also be a great way of saving money on electricity bills in the long term. 

Home Trends

home office
Smart Home Technology

If you’re looking to make your home feel more modern and forward-thinking as you head into the new year, upgrading to smart home technology can be a great place to start. Better still, it doesn’t have to be an expensive move.  The Amazon Echo smart speaker device gives you everything you need to get started with voice automation, alarms, notifications and more.

It’s estimated that a huge percentage of homes around the country will already have some sort of smart device. If you already have one of these devices, perhaps think about some of the other appliances that you might be able to connect to it, in order to get your home running like a well-oiled machine.

Plants and Greenery

Investing in some potted plants and greenery for different rooms can be a quick and easy way to freshen up a space and breathe a bit more life into it. Aside from the visual benefits, plant life can also have positive health implications, such as improving air quality and aiding concentration.

The Perfect Home Office

Going to be working from home a lot more this year? It might be worth taking a look at your home office space, and seeing if there is anything you can upgrade. Having a clear, good-sized desk space will help you to stay organised, and you should also make sure you have a good quality office chair to prevent back pain or posture issues in the long term.

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The 5 Most Healthy (And 5 Least Healthy) Breakfast Foods

Just what should you be eating when planning a healthy breakfast? Below is a guide to some of the healthiest options and some of the least healthy options so that you know exactly what you should be putting on your plate in the morning.

The 5 most healthy

healthy breakfast

Eggs

When you’re craving something savoury, eggs are a good option. Eggs are one of the most nutritious foods on the planet. On top of being full of protein, they contain a range of vitamins and minerals including calcium, zinc, folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin B12, Vitamin D and Vitamin K. Also, while they do contain a lot of cholesterol, it’s the good type of cholesterol that doesn’t affect your heart.

Eggs are great because they are so versatile. You can fry them, scramble them, boil them, poach them or whip up an omelette.

Muesli


Muesli is one of the healthiest breakfast cereal options. It’s made up of whole grains, fruit and nuts, making it very nutritious. As this post at Growli explains, it can be ideal for those wanting to lose weight - it’s low on calories and is packed full of fibre that keeps you fuller longer.

Oatmeal muesli is one of the best options. You can have fun with this cereal by adding different fruits and nuts. Opt for honey as a sweetener.

Fruit

Fruit is an obviously healthy option. Fruit is packed full of vitamins and fibre and contain healthy sugars.

For a truly healthy breakfast, consider mixing lots of different fruit on a plate. Fruit goes well with muesli and yoghurt adding protein as well.

Yoghurt

Yoghurt has as much protein as a serving of meat and contains high amounts of calcium and vitamin B. Many yoghurt varieties are also known to contain ‘healthy bacteria’ which is good for the digestive systems and immune system.

Not all yoghurts are created equally, so shop wisely. Avoid yoghurts with added sugar and stick to natural yoghurt options. Mix in fruit and nuts for added fibre and the extra nutritional benefits.

Wholewheat toast

If you fancy some toast, wholewheat bread is a good option. Whole wheat bread is packed full of B vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, as well as containing a lot of protein and fibre.

Obviously, what you put on your toast matters. Healthy toppings include peanut butter, chia jam, bananas and avocado (although preferably not all together!).

The 5 least healthy

least healthy breakfast

Bacon

Bacon is a processed meat that is typically very fatty and salty. It also contains a lot of nitrates, which are strongly linked with a higher risk of cancer. This makes bacon a fairly unhealthy choice.

Of course, you can still eat bacon from time to time - and it can be a good way to set up your day if you’re planning a lot of exercise. Try grilling bacon instead of frying it to reduce its fat content.

Processed cereals

The majority of cereal brands you see in the supermarket are sadly not very healthy. They’re made up of refined grains, which have most of the nutrients stripped away. They also tend to contain a lot of added sugar. This can make them quite fattening.

Some processed cereals are healthier than others - this guide at GoodToKnow lists some of the healthiest options.

Pancakes

Bad news for those that love pancakes - pancakes are typically made from white flour, which is a refined carbohydrate and fairly nutritious. Most store-bought pancakes contain a lot of added sugar and preservatives. Most people make pancakes even less healthy by adding toppings like syrup and chocolate spread.

Pancakes made with whole grain flour and no added sugar are much healthier. Toppings like fruit and yoghurt can also provide added vitamins and minerals.

Waffles

As with pancakes, waffles are typically made from white flour and contain a lot of added sugar. They are not a nutritious breakfast option.

You can make waffles more nutritious by making them yourself from whole grain flour and by not adding sugar. As with pancakes, choose healthy toppings.

White bread toast and butter

A buttered slice of toast made of white bread might not seem like an unhealthy breakfast option, but it is. Unlike whole grain bread, white bread is made from refined grains that have had all the nutrients stripped out. It’s just empty carbs. Butter is meanwhile high in saturated fat - a generous serving of butter can be very calorific.

Swap out white bread for wholegrain bread and use only a small amount of butter (or opt for other healthier toppings).


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The Ultimate Guide To Tongue Piercings And Choosing a Style

Are you interested in getting a cool new tongue piercing? Tongue piercings are often considered "alternative" piercings, even for people with plenty of piercings already. They look scary, but they're not!

Getting a tongue piercing may seem intimidating, but you have nothing to worry about as long as you visit a good piercer and use good aftercare. Most people won't even notice that you have a tongue piercing until you show them.

I'm here to talk all about tongue piercings, so you can prepare yourself for the big day. Read on to learn more.

Safe Tongue Piercing Types


Tongue piercings are far safer than many people think that they are, as long as you get them done by a professional and you use the right kind of jewellery or jewelry as they spell it in the US (and a good amount of common sense). They look scarier than they are if you aren't used to piercings. Even many people with a lot of piercings are afraid of tongue piercings.

There are several safe ways to get tongue piercings. This article applies to the US but the majority can also be applied to having a tongue piercing in the UK too.

The first is a basic single tongue piercing. This piercing goes along the middle line of your tongue. Each side of your tongue can function individually, and the piercing goes right in the centre.

The piercing should be far enough back that it doesn't come in contact with your teeth. That said, the piercer can place it at several points along that centre line. They'll use their best judgment based on your anatomy.

You can have multiple tongue piercings as well. They can either run up that centre line or be side by side.

If they're side-by-side, each piercing will instead be in the centre of one half of your tongue, rather than in the true centre of your tongue as a whole.

Keep in mind that having multiple tongue piercings, even if they're safe tongue piercings, will increase your chances of hurting your teeth and gums with the jewelry.

Unsafe Tongue Piercings


Many people who are inexperienced with piercings (and even some poorly-trained piercers) love snake eye tongue piercings or frog eye tongue piercings.

These piercings use a single piece of jewelry (jewellery) with two exposed points on the front or top of your tongue. For snake eye tongue piercings, the jewelry pokes out on either side of the tip of your tongue. For frog eye tongue piercings, the jewelry pokes out at two points on the surface of your tongue.

So why are these unsafe?

It's possible that the jewelry will pin the muscles in your tongue together in a way that can be dangerous and uncomfortable. Again, both halves of your tongue are able to move on their own. Remember that you can fold your tongue and think about what that would be like if a piece of metal was restricting your movement.

These piercings are also far worse for your teeth and gums than standard tongue piercings. The snake eye tongue piercing, especially because it can (and will) hit both sides of your teeth.

Where To Go For Your Tongue Piercing

Not all piercers are good piercers. If you're getting a tongue piercing, you have to find a high-quality piercer so you can be as safe as possible.

Look online for piercers near you that are either part of the Association of Professional Piercers and who only sell high-quality implant-grade jewelry (more on that later). These piercers have higher standards and more training than your average piercer.

Do not go to a shop in a mall unless that shop is high-quality (and they often aren't). Ask piercers if their jewelry (jewellery) is internally-threaded, and if it's not, run the other way.

Look at piercer's portfolios. If there's even a single snake eye or frog eye tongue piercing, it's best to go elsewhere. This piercer is willing to do an unsafe piercing knowing that it can hurt their client.

Good piercing shops have similar hygiene standards to dentist's offices. If you walk into the shop and the workers aren't using gloves to handle jewelry, and they don't have a Statim or autoclave, the shop is not reliable.

What To Expect

Again, tongue piercings look scarier than they are. It's normal to feel anxious, but remember, if you've gone to a good piercer, you're in good hands.

When you arrive at the shop, you'll check-in by filling out forms and showing the counter staff your ID. The piercer or an assistant will pick out jewelry after glancing at your tongue. The jewelry will be large, but don't worry.

They may also give you a small slip of paper and ask you to initial it. This is going to go into the Statim while the jewelry gets sterilized. It's to let you know that the piercer is using safe practices.

When you go into the piercing room, the piercer will have you sit down and they'll look at your tongue. They'll mark it with purple ink and show you to see if you like the placement. Feel free to ask for adjustments.

When the placement is right, the piercer will likely use a clamp (though many piercers prefer freehand piercings. Tongues are often an exception because they're so slippery).

They'll gently press the needle against your tongue without piercing you. This will help them gauge the proper place to pierce.

The piercer will ask you to take a deep breath in and then let it out slowly. This is when they'll push the needle through your tongue along with the jewelry. They'll add the top (or bottom) onto the jewelry, and the piercing is over.

The piercing will hurt, but it will feel more like a "jolt" than a sharp pain.

Tongue Piercing Aftercare Basics


tongue piercing

Taking care of tongue piercings isn't difficult, but it will be annoying. Your mouth is self-cleaning, so it's easier than healing other types of piercings. There are still a few things that you need to know if you want a quick and easy healing process.

Here's a rundown.

Basic Healing Guide

The day that you get your piercing, your tongue is going to swell up like a balloon. This is unavoidable, annoying, and stressful. Don't worry; it will pass soon enough.

During this time, it's best to avoid any spicy foods. They may not harm your piercing per se, but they will sting. Some piercers recommend against eating or drinking dairy, but as long as you rinse your mouth afterwards, there doesn't seem to be a real problem with it.

Cold water and saltwater rinses will be your friends during this time. Sucking on ice will make your tongue feel better.

The first week post-piercing, your tongue will likely still be swollen. This is why the piercer uses such a long bar. It looks long when they're holding it, but it's more than likely that it will feel snug after your tongue swells.

You will have a lisp during this time. After about two to four weeks, your swelling should be mostly gone.

Note: You should not use alcohol on your healing tongue piercing. Leave it alone.

When (and How) To Change Your Jewelry

When your swelling goes down, visit your piercer. It's important that you let them downsize your jewelry so it doesn't clang against your teeth. Your tongue jewelry should always be snug, but comfortable.

Do not try to change your jewelry on your own until your piercer says that it's okay. While the piercing is healing, it will be prone to closing up and you may damage it.

When it's time to change your own jewelry, it's in your best interest to stick with high-quality pieces for your day-to-day wear. While plastic tongue rings (bars) or acrylic jewelry may seem best for your teeth, they're not good for your body.

I recommend using an "M&M bead" on the bottom and a flat gemmed piece on the top for a stylish and subtle look.

If you want "fun" jewelry from a site like bodypiercejewelry.com/, it's appropriate for short-term wear as long as you buy the right size. If you're not sure about your size, ask your piercer.

Tongue jewelry is frustrating to put in. Prepare to stand in front of the mirror for several minutes while you're trying to screw the end onto your jewelry.

I recommend getting a box of latex gloves to make it easier. If you're struggling, take a breath and take a few minutes away from it.

Is It Time For Your Tongue Piercing Appointment?

Remember: tongue piercings look scarier than they are. The piercing will be over in a matter of seconds, and you'll have a brand new piece of jewelry.

Visit a good piercer, use proper jewelry, and take care of your piercing until it's healed. You'll be fine! This post is for informative purposes only and does not offer medical advice.

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Eco-friendly Shopping: How Do You Know If A Product Is Environmentally Friendly?

Modern consumers are savvy. They understand that their choices have a range of impacts, including on nature. This increasing level of consciousness has ushered in the era of eco-friendly consumerism. Buying environmentally-friendly products will allow you to enjoy the lifestyle you want while being assured that your choices have minimal impact on the planet. But how do you know something is really eco-friendly?

Not every brand is as environmentally-friendly as they claim to be. They can easily make statements about going green, and some use misleading terms that make them seem more eco-friendly than they actually are. Luckily, there are ways you can identify whether a product is truly eco-friendly. Read on to learn how!

Conduct External Research

green world

If a company claims to use natural ingredients in their product, be sure to visit their website and double check. Generally, genuine companies provide factual information about how their ingredients are sourced and how their products are manufactured. In addition, companies that adhere to guidelines provide factsheets and only make specific claims about their products.

For instance, compare these two phrases:
Made from organic cotton
93% of our products are made from certified organic cotton

The first statement is a generic claim that may be too good to be true, while the second claim has a specific percentage that acknowledges there’s still room for improvement.

The solution - Companies often provide links to verified sources and certification from official agencies on their websites. Therefore, before following a brand blindly, it’s important to conduct some research.

Be Wary Of Greenwashing

Time to change


Greenwashing refers to misleading consumers into buying products that aren’t genuinely environment-friendly. Companies who are guilty of greenwashing make exaggerated claims about the eco-friendliness of their products. For instance, they use terms like ‘all-natural,’ ‘energy-saving,’ ‘certified green,’ and ‘chemical-free’.

When you come across these labels in any product, double-check the data. In this case, data implies the ingredients, info, or any relevant material that proves its authenticity.

In most cases, these terms imply that the product is eco-friendly, but have no standardised meaning. Therefore companies can use these terms to make extravagant claims that don’t guarantee anything in reality.

The solution - Look out for certifications, minimal packaging, and be wary of standard greenwashing terms.

Don’t Fall Prey To Enticing Packaging

packaging

The sustainable market is growing rapidly, thanks to increasing environmental awareness among consumers. Therefore, companies are trying to make their products look more alluring in terms of packaging.

As a consumer, you should critically assess whether the packaging is actually necessary. Generally, brands use fancy packaging methods and colour themes to make their products look more eco-friendly.

For instance, truly environmentally friendly products like eco-friendly slippers need only a basic box with the brand’s label. If you find such a product with unnecessary packaging which represents more waste, you know something’s not right.

The solution - Just because a product has green-themed labels does not mean it’s eco-friendly. Always check the raw materials, certifications, and any unnecessary packaging to ensure the product you buy is environmentally friendly.

Check Eco-friendly Initiatives Of The Company

social media

If a company manufactures genuine eco-friendly products, it will advertise consistently. After all, it is will be seeking to establish its brand as an environmentally friendly brand you can trust.

As a customer, you can be confident in buying a ‘green’ product if its parent company displays these values.

Look out for the following:
  • Social media posts
  • Press releases
  • Newsletters
  • Blogs and articles
  • Online or offline events

The above content should promote the company’s latest updates and sustainable initiatives. Is the brand committed to being eco-friendly and every stage of production as well as their operations? Do they support environmental projects?

The solution - Companies that manufacture eco-friendly products usually highlight their efforts. Keep an eye on this information to assess whether a company has good eco-credentials.

Partner Organisations

tree
This point is most relevant to larger scale companies that produce sustainable products. Generally, such companies donate a certain amount of money to NGOs and/or government agencies for nature protection. Similarly, you may come across brands that partner with scientists to develop eco-friendly products.

In addition, check whether the brand or its products carries certifications from reputable organisations such as PETA, Carbon Trust, or the Forest Stewardship Council.

The solution — A product manufactured by a company with authentic partnerships is more likely to be eco-friendly.

Summing Up

For a product to be truly eco-friendly, it must be kind to nature through every stage of production, from how raw materials are gathered to how it is manufactured to packaging and shipping. To make sure the product that you’re buying is truly environmentally-friendly, it’s important to do a little research and look for certifications from trusted organisations. Additionally, you should be wary of greenwashing and have a healthy dose of cynicism when choosing which products to buy.

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