top tips for creating a comfortable, fun summer at home

Even if you manage to get away during the summer, you don’t usually spend the whole season away from home. That means that when you’re not visiting elsewhere, you need to make the most of the time you have in your own home. This year, like last year, many more of us may still be at home for the summer, with no chance to travel. But even if you can’t get away at all, you can still enjoy the warmer weather and everything that summer brings. Here’s how to make sure your summer at home is comfortable, fun, and memorable.

Keep It Cool

When it starts to get really hot, the last thing that you want is to be stuck at home with no way to keep cool. Before it gets too warm, servicing your air conditioning unit will ensure it’s good to go. But it’s also handy to have an emergency AC repair service on hand, just in case. A reliable service will be able to come out quickly and fix any issues so you don’t have to wait too long before your home is cool again. If you don’t have efficient AC or it needs a boost, you can use various techniques to keep cool, from the right sheets at night to fans to keep the air flowing.

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Make the Most of Your Space

Just because you’re at home, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun. There are plenty of things that you can do, especially when you make full use of all of the space that you have available. It’s worth thinking about how you might change things around for summer. When the temperature goes up, you don’t need blankets and throw pillows to snuggle into. You might remove rugs or other things that make your home look and feel warmer. Make full use of each room too, as well as your outdoor space.

Plan Some Local Trips

If you want to make sure you’re not stuck at home all the time, think about planning some local trips to go on. There could be a few different ways to explore the region around you, depending on where you are. A trip could mean going to the local park or checking out an outdoor space that allows you to get active. Or you might be thinking about some indoor activities, whether it’s shopping or visiting a museum.

Have a Vacation at Home

You might not be going away anywhere, but you can still have a vacation – or a staycation. Without leaving your home, you can recreate a vacation and have plenty of fun. It won’t be exactly the same, but you can still enjoy yourself, especially if you’re doing it as a family activity. You could go camping in the backyard, fire up the grill, travel the world by trying out new cuisines, or even have a full-on theme night where you pretend you’re on vacation.

Even if you’re at home for the whole summer, you can have an enjoyable time. By creating your own fun and making your home comfortable, you can have a memorable summer.

** This was a contributed post.

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3 relaxation techniques for a stressed person

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Many people are experiencing higher levels of stress than usual right now. The coronavirus pandemic, confinement indoors and separation from family and friends are all contributing factors to excessive amounts of stress and anxiety; it’s a totally understandable, natural reaction to the world right now. 

If you are struggling with stress or anxiety at the moment, it could be affecting your ability to go about your daily life and complete all your tasks. It could even be affecting your sleeping, eating, exercising or working habits. 

Nobody should have to live with excessive stress – even if they are going through something difficult. Here are 3 relaxation techniques for a stressed person!

1. Do your regular routine, but make it mindful.

If you are a busy person, you could put yourself into robot mode when it comes to doing your regular routine, such as chores, work or childcare. You might be in the habit of doing things mindlessly, just trying to do everything as quickly as possible without putting any heart into it. This is a normal stress response, but one that only extrapolates your feelings.

As a stress-relief technique, try doing your regular tasks in a more mindful way. ‘Mindfulness’ is a buzzword that is thrown around a lot, but what it truly means is that you should pay attention to the actions you are taking. If you are cleaning your kitchen, pay attention to the way the sponge moves across the countertop. Breathe in the clean smells. Take your time; this menial task will come to mean something more, and bring calm feelings with it.

2. Figure out your triggers and let them go.

Everyone has triggers that increase their stress or make them particularly anxious. Examples of these triggers are messy work spaces, put-downs from your partner or spouse, calls from the boss, your kids making too much noise or family worries.

Whatever those triggers are for you, your job is to try to find a way to either let them go or become okay with them. If these triggers can’t be eliminated from your life, the task is then to re-learn your association with that thing. Seeing a therapist can help massively with unlearning negative associations and reestablishing your relationship to your triggers.

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3. Use self massage techniques.

Self massage is a fantastic way to calm down after a difficult day. You can find techniques online that help you work your tense muscles and find stillness in the evening. It helps if you are comfortable, so ensure you have bathrobes and dressing gowns ready to wear for this exercise. In addition, having a bath beforehand can help soothe any muscular tension you have. Massage is the perfect way to release your stress and sleep better through the night.

Final Thoughts

If you are struggling with stress during the pandemic, you can use these techniques to alleviate your worry and become more relaxed. While there’s no quick fix for stress, these three tips can help reduce these feelings.

** This was a contributed post.

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10 tips for adopting a dog

We are living in the middle of a pandemic and it’s become obvious that many families are investing in new puppies to “curb the boredom” of lockdown. Most people are only permitted to head out for a walk once or twice a day, and with more people working from home than ever, the rates of adopting a new dog are on the rise. Adopting a dog has a ton of benefits and most of them are not considered before the adoption takes place. Adoption is one of the most selfless things that you can do for a dog who has been waiting for a loving home for some time. Dogs up for adoption often have predictable personalities and it’s these that make you feel secure when adopting a new pet for the family. The best bit about adoption is that you are rescuing a dog from a shelter life, giving the space for another dog who needs it.

A lot of families choose to head to and buy a new puppy so that the dog can grow with the family. Puppies are always a lovely idea for a young family, but there are many out there that prefer to adopt a more senior dog who is already aware of what it’s like to be around people. Most are also already house broken, and that means they are ready to move in with a family most of the time. Before you go ahead to your local shelter, it will help to know everything that you can to make adoption the best option for your family. To that end, we have ten tips for you below that will give you some pause for thought before you go ahead and adopt your new dog!

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Prepare for the time this will take

Did you know that the adoption process can be a long one? New dogs should never be something you invest in on a total whim. This dog is going to be in your life for some time, with a minimum of (hopefully!) a decade of life ahead. This life is going to be shared with you, with your dog being loyal to you the entire time. You need to think about the kind of dog you want and the temperament that you want from your dog, too. Make a list of the things that would be must-haves and nice-to-haves, from the breed to the size of the dog. When you adopt a dog, you have to go through stages of home visits, paperwork, choosing whether your children will be open to the idea of a new dog. You can find a match for your family when you stop envisioning the TV ideal of the perfect dog and color of their hair! So, before you go in, know that this will take some time to iron out.

Choose a breed rescue

If you are finding it hard to look for the right dog – or any dog, to fit your family – then perhaps looking to a smaller breed is a good idea? Smaller rescues often don’t have large websites or a lot of money and your contribution to them can keep other dogs looked after while they await new homes. Smaller rescues also often offer specific breeds, so if you have a breed in mind, you’re going to do far better with a smaller rescue than a large home. Of course, it goes without saying that you should do a background check first and be thorough about it!

Go local first

So many people choose to rescue dogs from countries abroad, taking the time to go through quarantines and injections and this can be pretty pricey. The thing is, vets are worried about imported dogs and most of the time it’s because those bringing them over don’t go through the appropriate channels or get the right injections. These dogs are also often brought here on forged passports, which is not ideal! If dogs are improperly bred or bred in poor conditions, the impact of undetected foreign disease can be detrimental for the family. Rescuing from abroad may be the fashionable thing to do, but it’s not always the best thing to do.

Visit more than once

Before you bring a dog home from a rescue go and see them a couple of times. Rescue dogs need to be reassured of your commitment so a few visits will help you to do that. It gives you a chance to meet them and bond a little, and they get a chance to know that you’ll come back for them. It’s a good way to build up some trust. The first visit should be just you but the next one should be with the children if you have any. This way, your dog will know what to expect when you take him home for good.

Get a history

You should never take home a dog without a full medical history from the rescue center or breeder. You need the paperwork and the reputable places will vet-check the dogs on entry.

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Ask questions

You shouldn’t take your new doggy pick home until you have assessed their training and behavior needs. Not all dogs are house trained or lead trained, though most are. This will help you to get classes in place so that you can ensure that they are trained properly in no time at all.

Take him to the vet

Within the first week of rescuing your dog, take him to the new vet so that they can get acquainted and a check-up can be completed. It’s tempting to keep your dog at home but the best thing to do is have the checkup to determine any required vaccinations and flea treatments.

Buy pet insurance

You may have already thought of this one as you choose to have a dog, but pet insurance is a must. Not only this, but you want to have the right type of pet insurance. There are tons of different types but with older dogs and the increased likelihood of needed treatment later on, the bigger the pet insurance the better.

Start getting the house ready

There is a chance that you’re not bringing home a tiny puppy, but your rescue will still need to feel safe and secure. Having a dedicated quiet space for him to escape to is a must, and you need to ensure that you have puppy pads ready for those nervous urinators! Install a dog toilet space outside the back and have the lead hung in plain sight of their bed – which should be appropriately sized and comfortable.

Lower your expectations

As much as you need to settle in with a new dog, your dog has to settle with you, too, and this will take some time. Adoption takes time to settle and you need to get to know each other!

When you choose to adopt a dog, you are choosing to commit yourself and your family to the love of another being. This means taking time and being patient. Your dog may be nervous, he may cry and he may not feel settled for some time. It’s very important, then, that you give your family and your dog the time they need to get used to each other. Once you do that, you can enjoy a happy dog in a happier house, knowing that they will have forever with you to be loved and love you back.

** This was a contributed post.

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5 uncomplicated ways to make your home safer

The new year: the ideal time to take a look at your home security. It feels good to start in 2021, knowing that our homes and families are safe and secure.

The safety of your home might not be something that comes to mind straight away when making resolutions. Many of us are still in the clutches of winter, with dark and cold nights looming. While it’s a perfect time to make the most of hot drinks and books in front of roaring fires, no-one wants that tarnished with the stress of old locks and security systems. 

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Here are some simple ways to update your home security to feel comfortable in your home through winter, and the new year ahead. 

1. Secure Doors And Windows

Your front door is the most popular way for unwanted visitors to enter. So even though making sure your front door is secure seems almost too simple, it’s the most essential thing on this list. 

Thankfully, it won’t take much effort for you to ensure the frame is strong and the locks are working. You can consider adding in a deadbolt for extra security, or a video doorbell, so you know who’s wanting to enter. If you’re relocating into a new home, it’s a great time to change the locks. That way you know the locks you put in are top of the line. 

Don’t forget your windows! The latches on windows aren’t always the most secure – if the windows are old, they’ll be even more flimsy. You can ramp up window security pretty easy with some new latches. 

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2. Light It Up

Suppose someone’s sneaking onto your property when they shouldn’t be. In that case, they aren’t going to appreciate being in the spotlight when your outdoor floodlights activate. This makes ample outdoor lighting another straightforward way to make your house safer by making it less appealing to burglars. 

Make sure to have lighting cover front and back yards and entry points like the front door and garage. Solar lights are brilliant as they provide just as much coverage while saving you some pennies. If you’re going for something more high tech or mains connected, make sure to hire an experienced electrician. It pays to get them installed properly – plus, expert electricians can give great advice when it comes to choosing the nest product for your needs. 

3. Top Notch Security

Whether your home is new or old, it’ll most likely already have some sort of security system in place. It’s worth taking the opportunity to see if it really gives your home enough protection. There are plenty on options out there when it comes to home security systems. The sheer variety of them means you can choose something that will meet your needs, and tech level, exactly. 

Consider whether you want to install yourself. If you’d prefer a professional installation, it can change what system’s right for you. Most importantly, choose something you’re truly comfortable with. You’ll be the one using it after all!

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4. Get A Safe

Again, this seems pretty simple! But that’s exactly what this list is about – straight forward, easy options for you to feel safer at home. If the worst happens and someone unwanted manages to get inside your home, having a safe will mean those things most valuable to you are protected.

Like all of these suggestions – choose something that fits your life. Think about what’s important to you and the space you’ll need to protect it. Whatever option you go for, there are 3 things you’ll want to look for. Whether the safe is fireproof, waterproof and heavy enough that it can’t just be picked up and walked away with! 

5. Be Concious 

Some of these suggestions might be a little on the expensive side. So if you’re strapped for cash, the best thing you can do is be conscious of your home and surroundings. Knowing every little nook of your home and property leaves you in a better place to protect it. 

Check the perimeter in the evenings, check windows and doors are locked before leaving and know every inch of your property. Most importantly, though, get to know your neighbours! Even if your neighbours aren’t close, they are an invaluable tool for looking out for your home when you’re not around. Plus, it helps build a real sense of community and belonging, which is wonderful to encourage!

Image by: Kelly Lacy via Pexels

Hopefully, you’ve been empowered to make positive home safety decisions. There’s a little something for everyone, and you can take out as much or as little from it as needed. Here’s to a bright, healthy and safe new year. 

** This was a contributed post.

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6 budget-friendly renovation ideas to spruce up your home interior

Having a luxurious, sophisticated home can be challenging, especially if you have a limited budget. Luckily, there are budget-friendly ways to achieve a superb look and feel for your abode.

When planning for the redesign of your home interior, consider design secrets from experts that can make your residence look stunning without breaking the bank. From getting a fresh coat of interior decorative paint to installing the latest type of flooring and window treatments, these are some affordable solutions you should know and seriously consider.

1. Add pillows

Pillows serve two primary purposes – they can add elegance and a cozy feeling to a room and provide added comfort when you use your sofa, chair or bed.

When picking out pillows, consider ones in a bigger size so you can sit and rest on them whenever you want to. Also, lavish pillow inserts filled with down are considered the best options.

2. Use crown molding

Details matter in making your home appear custom-made and high-end, and crown molding can help you achieve it. It helps bring together the walls and ceilings to attain an elegant look. This finishing touch can make a room look finished and expensive.

Luckily, crown molding is affordable and available in different sizes. But for a greater impact, consider crown molding with wider trims. Install it on high baseboards, chair rails, ceiling medallions, columns, and ceiling beams.

3. Choose interior decorative finishes

Adding or changing the paint color can immediately make your home look refreshed and good as new. And for this task, it’s best to use decorative paint finishes.

Using decorative paints has become popular over the years because of the many benefits it provides. These include:

  • Low volatile organic chemical content
  • Ability to replicate the natural look of surfaces like stone, wood, and marble
  • Can add texture and dimension to a flat surface
  • May be used to fix wall irregularities like patching holes and levelling depressions

Compared to home wallpaper, decorative finishes don’t peel off. The surface is washable, and it doesn’t have any seam lines. More importantly, the walls can breathe, so moisture won’t get trapped beneath it.

Interior painting involves several important considerations, including selecting the most suitable type of finish and color for your home. If you find it hard to cherry-pick, reputable paint companies in Dubai and around the world can help you make the right color selection.

4. Light each room adequately

Lighting makes a huge difference to home interiors. It does not just brighten up a room but can also affect your emotions. It can make you feel productive and relaxed and even lift your spirits.

It is ideal for every room to have a mix of lighting fixtures: task, accent, and overhead lights.

For instance, consider using downlights to gently wash the curtains and walls with warm brightness in your living room. Use accent lights to highlight art and position table lamps close to seating to add another layer of lighting.

As for your kitchen, bright lights are highly recommended. Install recessed lights beside the edge of the ceiling and hang overhead pendant lights over your kitchen island. Place LED light strips on the bottom area of your upper cabinets to create a well-lit counter space for food preparation.

In your bedroom, use a bedside light with a movable shade and a dimmer. This offers more flexibility should you want to redirect the light elsewhere.

Make sure you consider the orientation of every room. Install more lighting fixtures if a room does not receive direct sunlight. But don’t overdo it because this can just be a waste of your time and money. To save energy, use LED bulbs.

5. Use the right window treatments

Window treatments add elegance to your property, on top of some much-needed privacy. For curtains or drapes, stick with elegant materials like cotton, linen, and silk.

But if you don’t want draperies, consider wooden blinds or woven bamboo shades. The goal here is to dress your windows because window treatments can make your home appear well-designed and elegant.

6. Accessorize

Most homeowners think that accessorizing their property is an expensive venture, but there are ways to do it while staying within your budget.

For instance, think gold! 

Featuring gold in your home interior helps create a feeling of elegance and richness. You can accessorize with gold mirrors, gold picture frames, or gold-legged tables. However, make sure not to put too much gold-toned materials in one place as you’ll run the risk of having a home interior that looks overdone.

Indeed, there are plenty of affordable and effective ways to elevate your home’s appeal and comfort.

So, if you’re planning to redo or refresh your home interior to make it look more elegant, cozy or welcoming (or all three), make sure you implement the above tips. 

Author Bio:

Ralph El Eid is the Business Development Manager at COLORTEK – Wall & Floor Fashion. EQUIPAINT is the franchise owner of COLORTEK in Dubai (U.A.E.) and Doha (Qatar); an international paints manufacturer specializing in the widest range of decorative paints and seamless concrete & resin flooring, with a unique showroom concept, and thus an ideal destination for homeowners, consultants, architects, interior designers and paint applicators.

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