Managing A New Let The Easy Way

If you are a homeowner who has decided to take on tenants, either just a room or a whole house you will have thought about it thoroughly first. But it can take a lot of work to get to the point of handing over the keys. There are, however, some steps to follow to make this change as quickly and painlessly as possible. You may have already spoken to friends and relatives who happen to let out property, but it's never too late to make changes or new plans for the task ahead. So here are a few pointers that will ease you into the process. 

Check Everything



If you have been living in your property beforehand, it might seem like everything is fine since you were managing to stay comfortable and happy there, but being complacent can cause you problems. First of all, you will need to keep a close eye on the utilities and ensure you have an Electrical Safety Certificate; Electrical Safety Certificates are there to not only protect you as the landlord but also keeps the tenants safe.

Safety checks and certification can help you save money as well since you know that you will begin with everything in order. Having a professional watching out for the minor problems helps avoid the larger issues.

References


keys

Once you know that the property is fit for tenants and you've found someone keen to move in, you should ensure you gain positive references. If you go through an agency, you will find that references are part and parcel of a standard agreement, and they are always a good idea. Many landlords have come unstuck from avoiding this process before now.

These references give you peace of mind that your property is likely to be taken care of carefully. References don't always take the risk away completely, but significantly reduces the chances of disputes further down the line.

Repairs



Having a team of repair companies and builders that you can call upon when problems arise means that you are much less likely to need to worry about tenants waiting around for repairs. Having this team of people means you are able to rely on the work carried out to be of a high standard and avoid further issues. Sometimes a letting agent will have their own team for you to call upon as well, so it's worth checking.

Usually, these contractors will be checked and recommended by other people, which can save you the trouble. Deciding on whether you use a letting agent and their contractors or using your preferred contacts is your call, but either way making sure you have the best contractors you can find will pay off for you in the long run. Time is money, and the time it takes chasing low contractors can be expensive.

Letting out your property is a daunting task, but if you take some steps to make it easier for yourself, you will find there is a lot less worry and hassle than you imagined. This scenario can be lucrative and straightforward if managed correctly.

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Joe Browns Fashion Tunic And Dress Review

A new year and hopefully a fresh start for many. I think I speak for lots of people when I say 2020 has been a pretty awful year all round due to the global pandemic.  So look to the future we must to keep our hopes alive. One thing that has kept me going is my daily walks. 

I am lucky that I live by the sea in a small Welsh seaside town. At the end of my street is the sea. It makes for a great backdrop for any blog reviews I do and the walks in the fresh air keep me sane. Today I am reviewing two items that have been gifted to me from the fashion company Joe Browns with the beautiful backdrop of Porthcawl in the background. Let's have a look at what they are.


Joe Browns is a brand I have been a fan of for the last 10 years or so. They are known for their fun-loving prints and easy-going fashion, designs that transcend generations. In fact, both my mum and I are big fans. Founded in 1998 they have grown through their high street stores and now offer a catalogue as well as an online store as well. 

The items I chose to review both have autumnal colour palettes. The Autumnal jersey tunic priced at £35, above, is an easy to wear tunic, with a brown floral print and two slits in the side. What I liked about the tunic was that it was stretchy and easy to throw on over a pair of leggings to wear in the house or with thick super soft tights and boots for a day out. The sleeves were nice and long. I don't know about you but I find many tunics these days have three-quarter length sleeves which can be really annoying. Almost as if the company are scrimping on the material. Not with this tunic.

Now I have been trying to lose weight so I don't know if it was that but the tunic was actually big on me and I ordered my normal size. However, with a belt and a longline cardigan, I think it looks great.

Personally, I think, it could have a little more structure about the waist, so it nips in a little, as it's much looser when you try it on than in the photos but it's still a great tunic. 

photo in dress by sea

The other item I was sent was the stylish September dress, priced at £29 (was £45). This stretchy dress in an all-over leaf print is in shades of browns and yellows. 


The jersey material is flattering, the V neck isn't too low and the gather under the bust and the tie at the back gives a little structure. I have another dress in a very similar design from Joe Browns and really love the way the dress is designed. I also love the autumn design print and rich russet colours.  The outfit was slightly too big. I think I'm in between sizes at the moment and should have ordered a size smaller to be totally honest. Still, the dress is lovely on. 

harbour photo

The dress is fairly long on me, being mid-calf, but then I'm only 5 foot 2 inches. All in all, it's an easy to wear dress is a loose flattering fit.

At the moment the September dress above is in the sale too so it's a great time to buy. 

Joe Browns is a company that never ceases to amaze me with their fun fashion prints. It's a company I wholeheartedly recommend and one that I have personally bought from many times in the past. They have branched out into homeware as well as fashion recently and I now have some of their stylish bed linen on my wishlist.

Let me know, have you heard of the Joe Browns brand? Do you like the items I have chosen? 

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2021 Home Decor Trends For Kids' Bedrooms

It's always fun to plan a kids room remodel. You can work with your little one to include his or her own style and interests while combining the necessary practicality. This could be your child's room for years to come, so it's worth investing the money, time and effort to create an inviting space.  This is an advertorial.

Be sure to take your child's ideas and opinions into account. Go shopping together or look online for ideas; there are seemingly endless options of designs and furniture styles from which to choose. With a little thought and creativity, you can definitely make your child's bedroom a relaxing, fun and functional space.

Teepee



A teepee can be a versatile, cosy little spot if there's enough room for one. Teepees can be purchased ready-made, or they can be a relatively simple DIY project for a more custom look. What's more, you can easily match it to the room's theme or colour scheme. It can be used for toy storage (just scoop all the stuffed animals off the floor and into the tent), a play area, or a cosy space for reading. The teepee can be especially fun at night when you include fairy lights, cuddly toys and comfy cushions. This can create the perfect ambience for winding down with a bedtime story each night.

Mural

Adding a mural to a child's bedroom is a great way to add a burst of character with a whimsical design. You can purchase a mural made to be applied to the wall similar to wallpaper (some are even removable) or paint your own. A mural can be very versatile, working well with bright or neutral bedroom paint colors. It can be simpler and more cost-effective to have a mural on one wall with the other walls painted in more neutral colours. This design will allow the room to grow with your child.

Treehouse Bed

Every kid loves a treehouse, but most yards aren't adequately equipped for one. It is possible to incorporate a fun treehouse effect in a kid's bedroom, though. All you need is a raised bed, some woodlands- or jungle-themed decorations (e.g., live plants) and some creativity. Your little one will love this hideout during play and bedtime.

Storage

Clutter can be a big problem when you have kids, so sufficient types and amounts of storage are necessary. Numerous storage options allow you to maximize space in the tiniest of bedrooms. Choosing a raised bed or loft is like adding space to a room. You can use the area under the bed for storage, furniture (even another bed), a workspace or a combination. By raising the bed, you're using often unused vertical space. It's easy to find an ideal type of furniture, shelf or container to meet your every need, from clothing to toys to school supplies.

If you're enthusiastic to begin creating your kid's perfect bedroom, search online for a reputable interior designer near me. In the meantime, sit your little one down for some fun time researching different styles of kids' bedrooms.

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Studying STEM subjects in the UK

When it comes to university majors and careers, STEM subjects have become a buzzword in the last 20 years. STEM forms many essential aspects of modern societies and economies. They cover a vast range of qualifications and facilitate various career disciplines from civil engineering, neuroscience to artificial intelligence. This is an ad.

Studying STEM at university is not only intellectually stimulating but also enables graduates to develop highly rewarding careers. Due to their extensive coverage, there is undoubtedly confusion among young people and parents when it comes to choosing which STEM subjects to study, what preparation you need to excel at them. I have collaborated with Ashbourne College, one of London's best sixth form colleges, to put together a comprehensive guide on this topic. 

What is STEM? 

The term STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In recent years, university teaching has developed a more skill-based and industry-focused curriculum across these disciplines. For instance, an Engineering undergraduate will also acquire knowledge from other disciplines during the course of his study. 

There continues to be a high demand for graduates with STEM skills in numerous sectors and the number of graduates is falling short. According to the UK study "Jobs of the Future", STEM jobs will grow at almost double the rate of other occupations. It is expected to create 142,000 extra jobs in the UK only between now and 2023. 

Why are STEM skills so in demand? 


Employability 

The exponential development of technology has been the main driver for this. A report from Engineering UK highlighted that the country would need 1.8 million new engineers and technicians by 2025. Jobs in technology requires technical expertise and highly specialised skills, which makes them unsuitable for graduates from a non-STEM major. Meanwhile, many STEM graduates can secure employment in other industries thanks to their transferable skillset. 

Innovation 

STEM studies and careers put graduates at the forefront of innovation with exposure to cutting-edge research projects. These projects aim to solve pressing problems in various industries and foster our technological developments. 

Transferable skills 

Teamwork and problem-solving skills are at the centre of any STEM degree. STEM curriculum emphasises practical learning and application of theories in solving real-life problems. For instance, a Biomedicine graduate will practise laboratory testing and medical diagnostics as part of his study. 

What STEM degrees can you study at university? 


There is a wide range of subjects that can match young people' interests, skills and career aspirations. 

Science-related degrees 
● Biochemistry 
● Biomedical Science 
● Ecology 
● Neuroscience 
● Genetics. 

Technology-related degrees 
● Computing 
● Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence 
● Computing for Digital Media 
● Games and Multimedia Environments. 

Engineering-related degrees 
● Civil engineering 
● Electronics 
● Electrical engineering 
● Mechanical engineering 
● Robotics. 

Maths-related degrees 
● Accounting and Finance 
● Economics and Finance 
● Mathematics 
● Mathematics with Economics 
● Mathematics with Finance. 

What do I need to study STEM at university? 



Below are the most common subjects to study in A levels to progress to a STEM-related degree at university: 

● A-level Biology 8.9% go on to study Biology at degree level 
● A-level Chemistry 8.1% go on to study Chemistry at degree level 
● A-level Physics 10.9% go on to study Mechanical Engineering at degree level 
● A-level Design & Technology 23.5% go on to study Design Studies at degree level ● A-level Maths 9.5% go on to study Mathematics at degree level 
● A-level Information Technology (IT) 14.8% go on to study Computer Science at degree level 
● A-level Computing 46.3% go on to study Computer Science at degree level 
● A-level Economics 25.5% go on to study Economics at degree level 
● A-level Geography 9.9% go on to study Physical Geographical Sciences at degree level 

* Data from Pathways for entry into HE 2016/17 

The skills that are most commonly used in STEM studies are: 
● Analytical and problem-solving skills 
● Some technical/mathematical/scientific understanding (depending on the degree) ● The ability to breakdown and understand complex ideas. 
● Accuracy and attention to detail. 

Most UK universities require A-level/ IB grades and usually at least one of those in a STEM-related subject such as Mathematics or Sciences. BTEC qualifications, various Baccalaureates or equivalent international qualifications are also accepted by some universities. 

Like with other subjects, the UK university application (UCAS) requires a personal statement that demonstrates the applicant's interest in the subject and their potential to pursue the degree. Therefore, A-level students are encouraged to expand their reading beyond the syllabuses, take on related work experience and volunteering. This not only helps them decide on which STEM discipline or degree they want to study at university but also enriches their application. 

It is important that students must spend time researching on university websites, study blogs, reaching out to alumni and making the most out of the university application support at their current college to make an informed decision.

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Five Ways to Celebrate Family Landmark Events in 2021

Out with the old, in with the new. That has always been the motto for the beginning of a new year. This New Year, however, is a little bit different. The old has stuck with us, following us into the New Year. We are, of course, talking about the Coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic that has forced us to put social restrictions in place, preventing us from physically being with our family and friends for most of last year and during the holidays.  This is an ad.

But if there is anything this past year has taught us, it is that there are still plenty of other ways to have fun, to create happy memories and to celebrate the events in our lives while still practising social distancing. Embracing these ways has become our only hope for surviving the pandemic, even now as we usher in the New Year.

For young parents with toddlers, embracing these new ways is an even bigger task. Apart from protecting their children against the harsh Coronavirus pandemic, they also have to create a loving environment for them and strive to connect and celebrate with them all the important events of 2021.

Here are five practical ways in which parents can celebrate the landmark events of 2021 with their children and wider family /friends:

Virtual Birthday Parties

birthday Zoom

Just because we cannot physically get together for a party does not mean that you have to cancel the party. You can still organize an online birthday party for your big or little kids and let them enjoy their birthday the “new” way.

And, because technology is on our side, there are numerous apps that you can use to organize the party. From Zoom to Skype and even Google Meet, you can schedule the party with family and friends, put up decorations, buy presents and a cake and make the most out of the day. You can also include online games and birthday dances to the mix to add more fun!

Sending Online Gifts to Celebrate Milestones

family with baby on laptop

There is nothing as thrilling as when your baby achieves a milestone. Whether it is saying those first precious words, taking those first steps, or learning the Alphabet, you should celebrate every milestone. If you are not physically present to celebrate it with them due to the pandemic, do not worry. You can always send gifts via online means and then schedule a Skype meeting to see their expressions as they unwrap the gifts.

If your baby is one year old and you do not know what to get them as either their first birthday gifts or a gift for achieving a milestone, we have a solution for you. Buying gifts for one year olds is easy. The only thing they know to do at that age is pulling, pushing, moving things around, putting things together and learning to speak.

Gift them books that can teach them words, toys that they can take apart and put together again like blocks and toys that they can push around or play with like trucks or cute stuffed animals.

Send Online Cards To Lift Their Spirits

kids on laptop

Just like adults, children are experiencing a change with the Pandemic. As much as you try to hide it from them, they can sense that something is different. Either dad is not coming home as often, they are not getting as many toys as before, or their friends are not coming over to play.

It is important to talk to your kids about the Pandemic and explain to them how it is affecting your lives. Once you talk to them, assure them that all will be well, and occasionally send them a cute online card that will uplift their spirits. You can also send cards that remind them of how much you love them and how proud of them you are.

Try To Continue With The Holiday Traditions

family on laptop Christmas

Traditions are traditions for a reason. They give us a sense of belonging and assure us that even if all goes wrong, we still have one thing that will stay the same. During this time, it is vital to maintain the holiday traditions and any other traditions you have in the family. It will not only calm the kids, but it will also make them enjoy their holidays and important events as normally as possible.

Skype With Them Regularly

kid and mum

If your schedule means that you’re having to be more of a remote parent, then being away from the family during this time can be particularly hard for both you and the kids. To keep up with their growth and daily activities, skype or call your kids regularly. Do not wait until there is an important event or when they achieve something to call them.

Although, during landmark events, you can spice up the call by sending them gifts in advance or by reading them a bedtime story. 


So here are 5 ways to celebrate family landmark events in 2021. Do you have any ideas?

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7 Ways To Cut Costs When Buying A Home

2020 has been a really hard year and with job insecurity and redundancy many people have had a drop in income. So if you are looking to remortgage, buying a house to downsize or moving to save money you are likely to be looking at the best most cost-effective way of doing this. 

home

So let's have a look at how to do this by looking at how to cut costs when buying a house.

Make a simple spreadsheet of your incomings and outgoings

Before you buy a home you need to know the state of your finances. Examine your bank balance and if you need to save money consider cancelling any direct debits and standing orders you don't really need. Look at transport costs and ways to save money here, for example, can you car share, can you go on the bus instead of the train, can you cycle to work? Look at your household bills and consider comparing utilities. Can you save money on food, eating fewer takeaways for example, and downshifting on branded items to supermarket out? Check out my 100 ways to save money in 2021 for more inspiration.

Get together the largest deposit you can

If you get together a large deposit you can drive down the cost of the mortgage. The bigger your deposit the cheaper the payment on your mortgage loan will be. However, make sure you have enough money left for any essential work to the house as well as furnishings.

Work out actual costs when comparing loans

There are a few sweeteners with certain mortgages. Some will have a low deposit, and some will have low fees, and whilst both of these are great if you don't have a lot of money for upfront fees, its the cost of the long term loan you really need to look at. So balance this up. Using a UK mortgage repayment calculator can really help you compare costs.

Compare survey fees and look to renegotiate

A house survey s an expert inspection of a property's condition and identifies any problems to a prospective buyer. It's important that you have a home survey especially if you are taking out a mortgage. It can also be a negotiating tool. If there are problems with the survey and it will take money to put these issues right you can negotiate on the price of the home and thus save you money.

Check legal fees carefully

Conveyancers and solicitors can have a list of legal fees. Solicitors are usually more expensive than conveyancers and are qualified lawyers, so they can offer a full range of legal services. Conveyancers are usually cheaper than solicitors but are perfectly capable to deal with a straight forward purchase. Check through the paperwork carefully before you sign on the dotted line, as there may be hidden fees when you complete. You could even choose a fixed fee conveyancer so you know there are no hidden costs.

Cash buyers can save money

If you have enough cash to buy a home outright, maybe you've been left an inheritance for example. this can save you money when buying a home. You won't need a mortgage and you can save with associated fees as well as be in a strong negotiation position when buying the home.

Think about buying at auction

For some really big savings consider buying at auction. There are regulations in the UK to make it a transparent process but you definitely need to do your homework first. Make sure you view the property beforehand and take someone knowledgable with you if possible, such as a builder. 

So here are 7 ways to cut costs when buying a home. Do you have any tips you can recommend?

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What You Need to Do to Keep Your Home Warm in Winter

A warm home in winter will help to keep you happy and healthy. No one wants to feel cold when the temperature starts to drop, especially if it's cold enough to be snowy and icy. To prepare your home for the winter, you need to make sure it's going to stay nice and warm and you won't have to deal with freezing your socks off when it's chilly outside.



There are lots of things that you can do, whether you're gearing up for colder weather or winter has already arrived. To create a warmer home, take a look at these key steps.

Ensure Good Insulation

Before you can start heating your home, you should think about how to keep the heat in. If your home isn't well insulated, you'll be wasting money trying to heat it. As you heat up your home, the heat will escape and you'll end up spending more on heating as you try to raise the temperature. Your loft or attic is one of the most important spaces to insulate. Even if you already have insulation, it might be inadequate to help keep your home warm. You might need to consider replacing it with something more modern and efficient for maximum protection.

Check Up On Your Heating System


Your heating system is the main thing that's going to keep you warm through the winter. One of the best things that you can do before winter is to have your heating system serviced so that you can ensure it's all in working order. It could be time to make repairs or even replace parts of your heating system. You might discover that using a double skinned oil tank offers you a number of advantages if your heating is fueled by oil. If you have a gas boiler, servicing it will ensure its efficiency. It's also important to perform safety checks to keep your home safe.

Pay Attention To Windows And Doors

Draughts in your home can cause your heating bill to rise and leave your home cold too. Pay attention to any air leaks around doors and windows, and seal them up where you can. This will help to prevent draughts and make your home warmer in the winter, plus help to prevent problems with damp. You can also consider your window dressings when trying to make your home warmer. Heavy curtains can provide extra insulation and thermal protection.

Don't Block Radiators



Consider where your furniture is when you're getting ready for winter too. If you have your sofa or something else in front of a radiator, it's likely blocking the heat from adequately reaching the rest of the room. Rearranging your furniture can help to ensure your home is getting heated properly, and it can prevent damage to your furniture too. Remember to bleed your radiators too, to make sure there is no air trapped inside them.

Take the right steps to keep your home warm in the winter and you could save money, plus be more comfortable in the colder months.


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Eating Good (Not Just Well) In A Lockdown

Now that we’re in another lockdown, a lot of us are cherishing the little pleasures in life. For many of us, great food is one of those pleasures. Not just eating healthy, but eating delicious food. Needless to say, restaurant trips have gone out of the window, but those aren’t the only gourmet experiences you can have.



Kit your kitchen out

You might be surprised by just how much a limited set of appliances in the kitchen can limit what kind of meals you can enjoy. A great soup maker can help you quickly and easily put together a starter for any main. A rice cooker makes it exceedingly simple to prepare all kinds of rice without worrying about it being overcooked, and did you know many Chinese people have rice cookers?  A slow cooker is a must-have for things like a great stew, curry or hot pot too. A slow cooker can also save you money as c
heaper cuts of meat can be made incredibly tender in a slow cooker.

Never run out of recipes

Even if you do have your signature dishes, it’s safe to say that you and your family can get sick of eating the same meals, time and time again. The real restaurant experience is about trying new flavours just as much as it’s about eating delicious food. To that end, you should look at some of the great recipes sharing apps out there, that can help you find recipes not only based on preferences but based on what you have in your own cupboards as well.

Know where you can get fresh

Many of us are relying on deliveries to get the food that we need because we need to limit going out as much as possible. Yet it can be hard to get speedy and fresh deliveries from supermarkets. Many can't deliver at short notice too. Instead check out specialist places that can do services like frozen fish delivered to your door, as and when you need them.  If you take the time to look a little more carefully for the fresh food deliveries and don’t just rely on your local supermarket, you will find a lot more options than you might imagine.

Sharpen up your skills

If you’re not as handy in the kitchen as you would like to be why not sharpen up your skills. If you find that you have a little trouble following some of the recipes online, then it’s important to make sure that you’re equipped not only with the right cooking tools for the job, but also the confidence to slice, dice, and simmer as demanded. Take a look at some of the fantastic online cookery courses available, many of them for free with video tutorials. It’s never been easier to pick up a few skills in the kitchen.

If you don’t already have a little experience under your belt, then now is the perfect time to pick up some culinary skills. The results won’t always be pretty, but it’ll be the closest you can get to restaurant-quality food for a while.

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Moving To London: How To Get Your Property In Shape Quickly

Moving to London is a big deal indeed, and it’s important to stick the landing as smoothly as possible.

According to The Telegraph, there are many people who are looking to move back to London imminently, waiting for their opportunity to come back to the capital. The publication claims that it’s part of a counterculture, but ultimately, people move there as they miss the buzz of a big city and the restaurants and entertainment on their doorstep.  

If you’re following suit, you’ll likely want to make sure that your older property is in good order before you call the place your home, but how can you do this? Read on to find out how. 

Plumbing Efficiency

workman fixing taps

Checking the quality of your plumbing is a great place to start when getting your property into shape.

Check all the taps and try to gauge how fast the water spurts out. Not only this, but you should also determine whether the hot water bursts into life quickly enough too. Any delays or lukewarm temperatures here can be informative of issues with heaters, boilers, and piping.

If you’re living in a South London property where the drains have been blocked by a previous owner, then visit draindetectives.co.uk. The aptly named Drain Detectives happily deploy engineers to unblock all your drains, review your plumbing, and make any repairs in a timely fashion. They’re available at all times of day and provide free consultation too. Ultimately, this company offer an incredibly generous and convenient service, prioritising speed and efficiency in their work.

Damp Potential

If left untreated, condensation, damp, and mould can cause severe property and health problems.

To combat these three things, ensure that your property is well-ventilated. Open windows and doors, and make sure plenty of air circulates rooms throughout the day. Wipe down windows, and make sure that the corners of rooms are clear for a time if possible. This is because mould can start to develop down there quickly if it goes unnoticed, so just keeping a check on things here is a good idea.

In 2011, there were numerous health fears surrounding mould in London flats, and residents believed it had begun to seriously affect their health. It’s important that you don’t experience the same fate a decade on! While it’s not guaranteed you’ll encounter your own mould problems, properties that have been vacated for awhile can develop these issues, so keep a sharp eye!

Report Cracks and Gaps 


When you’re moving into a new property, it’s important to check the quality of the walls, doors, and flooring.

In Swindon, one council tenant could see daylight through the inch-wide cracks in his walls, and had reported the emergence of each new split. However, the claims of the tenant were largely ignored over a prolonged period, so it’s important that you’re both persistent and vigilant if you find yourself in a similar situation.

Cracks are not only dangerous because of structural damage, but also regarding what they expose too. Electrical wires that were otherwise discretely covered by walls and floorboards start poking out, for instance. Additionally, it’s also possible that insulation can be compromised, with the air from the outdoors freely blowing into the property. Identify any potential cracks and gaps, report them, and get them sealed at the earliest opportunity. Don’t take ‘no’ or ‘soon’ for an acceptable answer.

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Secrets Unleashed To Preparing The Best Coffee

Are you a coffee lover who cannot spend a day without a sip of coffee? The truth is making coffee is an art. Many workaholics start their day with coffee because they feel that it keeps them energised. However, there are some key secrets to preparing the best cup of coffee. I will talk about them here.

How to prepare the perfect cup of coffee

coffee

Firstly the best coffee is prepared from fresh coffee beans. Always grind fresh coffee beans if you want the best. 

When you are brewing coffee at home, then make sure that you use whole bean coffee. When you grind the beans right before having your coffee, then it will turn out to be more flavourful. The reason is that when coffee beans get roasted, then compounds start to escape from the coffee beans. The process is referred to as degassing. As a result, the coffee starts to lose flavour. 

Grinding your coffee beans speeds up the degassing process. The benefit of the process is that it exposes the surface area of the beans and they will still be able to retain a lot of flavours. If you do have any over keep in an airtight container and use up quickly.

Always make sure that you buy quality coffee beans. The best will be roasted perfectly and not taste bitter. 

Deciding the appropriate quantity of coffee in your cup is crucial. If you prefer strong coffee, then you will need to add more quantity and for a lighter cup of coffee, the quantity needs to be reduced.

Deciding the best quantity of coffee to use



Now, deciding the right quantity of coffee in your cup can often be a challenge. . You need to consider the ratio of the amount of coffee used to amount of water used.

For example, for a French press consider a ratio of 1:12. Well, this means that you need to make use of about 35 grams of coffee for about 400 grams of water. I like a dessertspoon of ground coffee per cup for my cafeteire.

Try making use of a burr grinder for grinding coffee

coffee grounds

What you must keep in mind is that a burr grinder plays a crucial role in brewing your coffee. A burr grinder is an old fashioned hand mill. It is made up of two revolving burrs in between which the coffee is ground. The beans are crushed between a moving grinder wheel and a non-moving surface. Try going for a good brand because a grinder is not something which you will buy frequently.

With the help of a burr grinder, it becomes very easy for you to grind the coffee to a specific size. Try going for a grinder that has about 15 different grinding settings so it will be versatile for whatever coffee machine you have.

Occasionally you may fancy a coffee at night but don't want the caffeine hit. Try making a milky latte instead for a coffee hint that won't keep you up all night. 

Don't forget you always have the option to visit the coffee shops in your area or when on vacation. You may be surprised by the quality of their coffee. I find Italy and the Netherlands are great for coffee.  You always have the option to visit a coffee shop Amsterdam if you are out sightseeing for your caffeine fix.

Nurture your love for coffee. Make sure that you follow these tips before preparing your cup of coffee. It's a luxury everyone can afford. You will enjoy it and will become a pro at making coffee by following these tips.

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Day Trips Within Driving Distance from Las Vegas

Visiting Las Vegas is so much fun and there is so much to do right on the Las Vegas Strip, but, if you want to get out of the bright lights for a while, there is plenty of adventure close by too. At the moment many of us can't travel but we can still plan for holidays in the future. So here are two fun-filled day trips just a short distance from Las Vegas when you want to get away from the Las Vegas Strip. This is an ad.

Day 1 – History and Mystery


Get an early head start and drive about 25 minutes southeast toward Henderson, Nevada. There, right in the middle of the arid desert, you'll find a fun open-air museum. The Clark County Heritage Museum is packed full of things to do and experience for kids and adults both indoors and outdoors.

Firstly, inside the Heritage Gallery, find changing exhibits that feature art and artefacts in their historical context. Next, make your way outside to experience the open-air museum which is in the form of a neighbourhood from bygone days. Heritage Street homes offer doorways into past decades, from the 1910s to the 1970s. Stroll through all the town's displays at your leisure.

Walk through live exhibits including a locomotive, a train depot, a working barn, ranches, a church, and more! Nostalgia is a side-effect of this tour, If you are American you're sure to see something that reminds you of grandma's house. Bonus points if you spot a roadrunner zooming around the museum!

What to Pack - Plenty of bottled water and sunscreen. The gift shop has many treasures, so bring some spending money too.

Admission - One dollar for seniors and two dollars for everyone else.

Time  - Allow 2-3 hours to walk through the museum grounds.

Mining for Gold


Next, hop in your car and drive to the Eldorado Canyon pictured above, only 20 minutes south of the Heritage Museum and to the Eldorado Canyon Gold Mine. Here you'll see remnants of a working gold and silver mine. Today, the area around the mine is both a ghost town and an open-air museum ripe for exploring. 

When you arrive, say hello to Bruce and his family. Not only does Bruce own the mine, but he also cleared out this area as a youth and has renovated the land with authentic miners' artefacts. Notably, he is the foremost expert on the mine's history, including true stories of strange happenings surrounding some of the actual miners. Climb through 500 feet of the old mineshaft up in them thar hills. Old-fashioned lanterns light the way. You can even see veins of silver and gold that remain unmined in the rock walls.

What to Pack - Sunscreen and a picnic lunch to eat at the outdoor picnic tables.

Admission - $15/person.

Time - Allow 1 ½- 2 hours.

Day 2 – Wet and Wild



Just a short 20-minute drive south of the Vegas strip, discover one of the area's best-kept secrets, Clark County Wetlands Park. Not only is the 210-acre Nature Preserve trail is a favourite for wildlife viewing, but this lush green oasis is brimming with flora and fauna in a habitat that supports many indigenous plants and animals such as the Northern Flicker woodpecker pictured above. In addition, the Park has miles of walking trails and bike paths along with superb, picturesque scenery.

Since this land is vast and easy to lose your way, markers posted throughout the park guide you in the right direction. Don't forget to spend time at the onsite nature centre and exhibit hall, where the Park rangers often host engaging and interactive programs for all ages. The Park is open from dawn to dusk. There are benches to rest and bathrooms as well.

What to Pack - Bring plenty of water, bug repellant, and snacks.

Admission - Free.

Time - Allow 1-5 hours or more.

Live It Up
The final stop of the day is only a brief 20-minute drive further east to the upscale area of Lake Las Vegas. The upscale Tuscany-style village is filled with lovely boutiques and coffee shops in the centre of town.

While your there, take a jump in the lake at Lake Las Vegas Resort Aquapark. You can also rent a canopied electric boat or yacht for some alone time with your sweetheart.

After a fun-filled day of water fun, head over to the Westin Lake Las Vegas Resort & Spa by Marriott for dinner and a drink. Unlike some resorts, you don’t have to own a timeshare to stay there, however, if you do sign up to timeshare learn more about timeshare cancellation if you change your mind.

What to Pack - Bathing suits, sunblock, and plenty of cash.

Admission - Prices vary depending on activity.

Time - Any time.

Memories Are All We Have

No matter where you go, or when you go, be sure to go with all your heart. Nothing is more important than making memories with your family. Stay safe. Travel safe.

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