Top Tips for Staying Healthy and Fit Throughout Winter

Winter can be a very difficult time when it comes to keeping fit and healthy, especially over the festive period, but it’s important to try and keep certain elements of health and fitness going even when you break for Christmas. Finding the motivation to be active when it’s dark can be a nightmare, just as eating fresh fruit and veg can be hard when there’s warmer, comforting temptations out there. Continue reading to find out how you can maintain a healthy, happy and active lifestyle throughout the winter.

Kick the Carb Cravings

Trying to ignore carbs in winter is almost impossible, with so many comfort foods, treats and gifts packed full of them, but it is possible to try to kick the cravings slightly. Try to start your day with plenty of protein to keep your body going and prevent you from craving unnecessary foods, as this will keep you going until lunchtime and stop you from snacking in-between. Similarly, when you start to crave chocolate or sweet treats, try to switch your focus to something slightly healthier such as fruit or herbal tea, as this will tide you over until your dinner and stop you from consuming too many extra carbs.

Get into the Garden

It may be cold and often wet outside during the winter, but your garden still needs a little TLC at times. We’re not suggesting you head out with the lawnmower and get to work on the grass, but there are certain tasks that you can do (which will keep you active at the same time) that you’ll be grateful for in the new year. One of the easiest tasks to carry out in the garden during the winter months is to simply rake away any unwanted leaves that are gathering up and causing slippery, cluttered paths and walkways. Invest in some quality garden tools to help make the job slightly easier and dedicate an hour a week to tidying up your garden, as being outdoors is also great for keeping your healthier!

Eat the Right Things

There are certain foods that you can add to your diet during the winter to ensure you stay healthier and keep your immune system strong. One of the best foods to eat throughout the winter is mushrooms. Mushrooms are packed full of immune-boosting health benefits that will see you through the cold, wet months. Mushrooms will help you to fight off certain types of illnesses, as well as provide you with plenty of nutrition at the same time.

Try Home Workouts

Getting out of bed in the dark, putting your gym clothes on and heading out in the cold to the gym is never a motivating experience, but what if you could work out from the comfort of your own home? Trying a home workout routine could revolutionise your fitness regime, with so many options available to keep you active and healthy whilst at home. It’s a win win situation!

7 Things to Make Your Home a Peaceful Retreat

When it comes to our homes, most of us are always looking for ways to improve the functionality of our most treasured space. However, functional doesn’t always equal comfortable and that’s where these items step in to help. Whether you are looking to spend a lot or a little, these simple items are sure to turn your home into somewhere you can truly relax.

Dreamy Master Bedroom

Your Mattress

According to researchers, the average person spends about 26 years of their life in bed. That is by far the most amount of our life we spend in any one place. This is why it is so important that your master bedroom be as comfortable and peaceful as possible. The most obvious way to achieve that is to ensure you have a comfortable mattress. Like many things in our life, everyone has their own opinion on what makes a mattress comfortable, or what is the best mattress. Knowing the key factors to determine what you will find comfortable is imperative when selecting a mattress.

Mood Lighting

While the master bedroom is definitely used for sleeping, we also use it for other relaxing activities as well such as reading and watching television. Each of these activities requires a different light preference which is why lighting is such an important aspect in making our master bedroom more comfortable. Bright lights are often brash and are not needed for a task such as reading. Instead, consider investing in a lamp that has different brightness levels that you can adjust to your needs.

Comfy Seating Another option to consider is seating in the bedroom. This is important if you don’t like to sit in bed while relaxing. Some seating such as bench seats can also serve as storage which can help in reducing clutter and improving relaxation in your home.

A Soothing Environment

White Noise Machines

White noise machines are often thought of as being helpful to only children or people who live in noisy cities. However, all of us can benefit from a white noise machine. Not only can these machines improve our sleep, but they can also improve our mood when used as background noise when you’re unwinding from a long day at work. Most white noise machines include pre-loaded sounds such as a river flowing, rain, static, or a quiet night with insects chirping. Choose the noise that best suits your mood and don’t be afraid to play around and try out different noise options. You might be surprised by the sound that is most relaxing for you.

Oil Diffusers

Although they have become more popular in recent years, essential oils have been used for hundreds of years. There are many different uses for essential oils, but their effectiveness is often questioned. Whether you believe that essential oils can heal ailments or not, studies prove that certain scents such as lavender can reduce the production of stress hormones thereby allowing your brain to relax. If you are completely skeptical of essential oils and diffusers, you can always invest in a traditional candle. When selecting a candle to help you relax, it is important to ensure that it is created with true lavender.

House Plants

Another item that can dramatically increase the mood in your home is a houseplant. Not only do houseplants create a relaxing atmosphere in a decor sense, but they also have health benefits as well such as dramatically improving the air quality in your home while also reducing stress levels. Worried about your not-so-green thumb? Faux houseplants can have the same relaxing and soothing effect albeit without the air improvement qualities. Another option is succulents or even air plants if you prefer a plant that is low maintenance but still cleanses the air.

Paint Colors

Last but certainly not least, change the paint colors in your home. Natural tones such as beige, grey, and brown can dramatically increase the mood and relaxation quality in your home. Brighter colors such as red, yellow, and green can be hectic and thus make it hard to relax or focus. Some popular neutral colors are Repose Grey and Perfect Greige by Sherwin Williams, and Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore.

Soil Erosion By Numbers: What You Need to Know

Homeowners have many considerations to keep in mind when maintaining their property. Soil erosion is one concern that is easy to overlook, but it is an important issue to understand to protect your property. Erosion occurs when the topsoil on a property loses its connection to the underlying soil. This loss presents a significant risk for the homes located on the soil as loosened topsoil shifts at a higher rate, a situation which can result in structural instability for your home. If your property also contains farm land or garden topsoil, erosion poses additional risks since it can reduce production levels on your property.

Many factors contribute to topsoil retention on a property. While natural effects such as extreme weather cannot be controlled, you can still work to improve your property’s soil stability. Activities such as excessive vegetation removal or overtilling the soil increase your risk of soil erosion. When you identify the problem, you can plan for natural events such as flooding or droughts.

The more informed you are about soil erosion, including its causes and effects, the more prepared you’ll be to protect your property. Understanding fixes such as improving drainage or planting additional ground cover plants to protect loose soil is crucial as a homeowner. Learn essential information for combating soil erosion with the following infographic. When you understand the causes of erosion and the negative effects it can have, you’ll be ready to work on your property to make its soil more secure and protect your home and yard.

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The Average Costs of Getting Your Foundation Repaired By Professionals

Foundation problems often start small but grow gradually over time. If you think that your house needs foundation repair but you are skeptical to take action, you could be putting your house at further risk. Repairing your foundation on time comes with several perks, including safety, comfort, and improved property value.

But should you do it yourself or hire a professional foundation repair company?

Well, to be sincere with you, DIY foundation repairs may set the stage for future disasters. First, you may not have the necessary knowledge to diagnose foundation issues and get to their root cause. Secondly, sometimes foundation repairs require special tools that may not be available to non-professionals.

On the other hand, when you opt to hire a professional or a qualified foundation repair company, you are guaranteed to get quality services. The only thing you will be concerned about is the cost you are likely to incur by hiring an expert.

To keep you on the loop, here is a quick overview of what you are likely to part with when you hire a professional to help you repair your foundation.

The Average Cost of Professional Foundation Repairs

Based on a review of homeowners’ reports, the average price for repairing a foundation is about $4000. However, the costs vary widely depending on the type and extent of damage, accessibility of the damaged part, and geographical location. Considering these factors, you will find that the cost of typical professional foundation repair California lies somewhere between $1800 and $6300. However, repairing small cracks may cost as low as $450.

Foundation issues can be disastrous. Delaying repairs allows the damage to extend further, and this puts the house occupants at risk of injury and death besides increasing the repair costs by incredible scales. Why wait for that crack to compromise your foundation to the extent of you paying more than $17,000 for professional repairs?

Parting with $17,000 may seem unbelievable when it comes to foundation repair. Still, when you consider the cost of hydraulic piers required for significant repairs and additional costs, the amount will finally make sense to you. A pier costs about $1300, and a house needs about eight to ten piers—on average. The total cost of the piers ranges between $10400 and $13000. Taking into consideration other costs such as labor ($300-$1500) as well as soil tests and reports ($500-$3000), you can see how foundation repair can make you part with an incredible amount of money. Seismic works, which cost at least $3000, may also be required in earthquake-prone areas.

Let’s take a look at the costs for the professional repair of particular foundation issues.

  1. Leaks

A foundation leak indicates an issue with drainage around your home, and it’s best to consult a professional to address the problem. Leak repairs usually involve digging around the foundation, filling cracks with cement, and installing new drains. Waterproof materials and sealant may be used during the repair. The total cost for leak repair equipment and labor varies between $2200 and $5900.

If flooding is frequent in your home, pumping out the water from your home is essential. This translates into investing at least $1000 in sump pump installation.

2. Cracks

Cracks broader than an eighth of an inch are worth the attention of a professional structural engineer. Epoxy injection is the preferred repair method for cracks that don’t compromise the foundation structure. The average cost of crack injection is about $400. Waterproofing and stabilization can increase the price of repairing at about $1500. Repairing cracks that pose a threat to the foundation structure costs at least $2000.

3. Bowed Basement Wall

Poor soil conditions can cause walls to tip inwards. Professionals use carbon fibers to stabilize walls that have not moved more than 5cm. This repair can account for $6000 on your budget. To anchor walls that have shifted more than 5cm, experts use steel strips. Stabilizing a 30feet wall with steel channels can cost as much as $22000 due to the labor-intensive installation and the high price of the materials.

4. Sinking Foundation

Sinking results from excess settling and requires immediate attention. Leaks, cracks and windows and doors that don’t open are early manifestations of a sinking foundation. The best solution to sinking is having your foundation leveled to its initial height with mudjacking or piercing/underpinning. The cost of leveling your foundation will depend on the techniques you choose. The cost of underpinning in California ranges between $1000 to $20000, while mudjacking will set you back between $900 and $1500.

Bottom-line

The above figures give you an idea of what you are likely to pay for specific foundation repairs in California, with the least value being $400, while the significant repairs can go for more than $20000. Generally, the average foundation repair cost is about $4000. Nonetheless, the more you wait, the more the damage, and the higher

you pay a professional to correct the problem. So, strive to address any problem with your foundation as quickly as possible with the help of a professional. Be sure to work with an experienced structural expert who will satisfactorily diagnose the foundation issue and recommend the appropriate correction method.

Make This The Year You Stick To Your New Year’s Resolutions!

It’s that time of year again. The time when we bid farewell to the old and embrace the infinite promise of the new. In 2020 we welcome not just a new year but a new decade, forging a path towards a better version of ourselves and a happier and more successful life. And it’s likely that your New Year’s resolutions will play a part in that… at least in theory. New Year’s resolutions are nothing new. In fact, they’ve been a part of many Western cultures since the days of ancient Rome. But for all our ambition and sincerity when we make our resolutions, we’re pretty consistently terrible at keeping them. Perhaps it’s because our resolutions make us miserable, causing us to experience pain that’s disproportionate to the gain. Or maybe they’re poorly defined, unrealistic or frankly impossible. 

Let’s look at some of the ways you can re-frame this year’s resolutions to be more positive and achievable than last year’s so that hopefully you’ll be able to stick to them…

Make them specific and realistic

Many of us fall short of achieving our resolutions because they’re too vague and we have no idea how to track our progress on the way to achieving them. Make your resolutions as specific and realistic as possible and make sure you have a clear metric in place to determine how close or how far you are from achieving them.

Make them personal

Please don’t fall into the trap of making yourself miserable to achieve someone else’s goals just because you feel that you should or because all of your work colleagues are pursuing them. Your resolutions should be personal and help you to feel better about yourself. The more personal your goals, the better. 

Make them enjoyable

Putting your resolutions into action should be challenging and fun, not a gruelling chore. If pursuing a resolution makes you miserable, you’ll inevitably jettison it by March. So try and re-frame your resolutions in terms that make you happier. Use going to the gym as an excuse to show off the new Bonds clothing to which you’ve just treated yourself. Use your vow to eat more healthily as an excuse to find new recipes that you love cooking and eating. You need to love the journey rather than just the destination… otherwise you won’t get anywhere!

Make them positive 

Your resolutions should be about investing in yourself and taking better care of yourself, not flagellating yourself for not being able to achieve an impossibly high standard. Encourage yourself and congratulate yourself on your achievements… don’t fall into the trap of just berating yourself for your failures. 

And don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater!

Don’t aim for a new you. To do so would be to discount the thoroughly lovely person that the old you was and is. By all means strive for self-improvement… but don’t throw the baby out with the proverbial bathwater.

Remember that you and your life will always be a work in progress. You won’t achieve transcendence this year… and you won’t next year either. But maybe you’ll be a little happier, healthier and more comfortable in your own skin. 

New Year And A Change Of Lifestyle: What You Might Focus On This Year 100%

When it comes to the new year, it presents the perfect opportunity to allow you to wipe the slate clean. A new year, and in this case, a new decade means that you can review the last year, workout what went well and what didn’t, you can then craft up some new goals and resolutions to get going with. However, what to do or to focus on may be the big issue that you have. 

Some people like to set big goals. Others like to make small changes that may see a greater impact after some time. It might even include a mixture of the two. However you go about it, now is the time to start thinking about it. With that in mind, here are some of the popular areas that you might want to focus on in the new year ahead. 

Getting more sleep 

It could be that you want to spend more time on yourself this next year, and that might mean rest and relaxation or certainly more sleep. We can all be guilty of burning the candle at both ends or feeling stressed out about certain things that can keep us up at night, but generally speaking, sleep is one thing that a lot of us could do with more of. It might be worth trying to figure out what reasons are causing you not to sleep. It might be that you can’t sleep because you have a toothache or other aches and pains in your body. It might be that mentally you can’t relax and switch off your thoughts, hence laying awake. It could be that you just go to bed too late or spend time doing other things. Making sleep a priority can help you to increase your energy levels and feel brighter during the day. 

Changing your diet and being healthier

One of the most popular resolutions and goals that people set when it comes to the new year is to change their diet in some way. There can be many different reasons and incentives behind this, but generally speaking, after an indulgent festive period, people just want to be a little more healthier. You might look at changing your diet in terms of the food you eat, such as going plant based or cutting out meat products. Maybe you just want to increase your intake of the good stuff like vegetables and proteins and avoid sugary snacks and junk food. However, one thing to try and avoid this new is extreme diets, as they can often not be sustainable when it comes to your health and wellbeing. 

Starting to exercise more frequently

Another popular resolution that people may have when it comes to the new year is to start exercising more. It may sound crazy, but January is one of the most popular times of the year to kick start an exercise regime. However, this resolution can often be one of the biggest to not be kept up with. That is often because people set too many goals or high expectations of themselves. If exercise is something you want to focus on, you may have big goals, but don’t forget to set smaller targets to help you stay motivated and inspired. 

A new job or change of career

It could be that you want to change of career in the new year or you perhaps just want to move on to another company or job. This can also be a popular goal as many people feel inspired and look back on the previous twelve months looking for change. Your career is something where you spend a huge chunk of time, so it is worth doing something that you love, feel inspired by, or at the very least is worth it for your time. If a change of career or job is on the cards work hard on your resume and take action to seek out potential job roles. Many new opportunities will be advertised in the month of January. 

Working for yourself

You may want to take the career change one step further and start working for yourself. Again January is a big time of the year where people feel inspired to make big changes, and a new business venture where you can finally have the home and work life balance right could be on the cards. If you have an idea, why not put some plans in place and start working on your business in your spare time? Not everyone will be in a position to give up the day job straight away, but you may feel more motivated than ever before to start using your spare time more wisely in this area. 

Giving up a vice

Another popular goal for the new year is to give up some sort of vice that you may have had. This might be smoking or drinking, it might even be biting your nails. Whatever it is, January always seems to be an amazing starting point for giving something up and being able to monitor how well you are doing. There are some fantastic supportive articles online that can help with all kinds of vices that you may be looking to give up in the new year. 

Learning something new

The new year isn’t always always about giving something up, in some cases, it might be that you want to learn something new. This could be a new language, a homie or a new skill. There are so many different options out there to try. 

Focusing on your mindset

Finally, maybe the new year is a time to focus on your mindset and how you think. It can be a very pressuring time of year as so many people want to focus on change, and this is when your mindset can have a bit of a wobble. Taking it back a little and working on yourself could be a good option to have. It might involve things like meditation, reading self help books or changing the way you think. 

Let’s hope these tips help you when it comes to the new year and a change of lifestyle that might be on the cards for you. 

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Planning the Perfect Gender Reveal Party

Congratulations! If you are expecting a new member in your family or if you’re here just for gender reveal ideas then you have come to the right place. Pregnancy is an amazing journey and having a gender reveal party is a great way to have fun and surprise your family and friends. Are you thinking of planning a gender reveal party? Or do you want it to be very surprising for everyone, but don’t know how to make it so? Continue reading for an easy how-to guide with unique ideas in which you and your guests will love.

Early Gender Reveal Party

These days, it’s becoming more popular to host gender reveal parties after the gender of the fetus is determined at 18-20 weeks of pregnancy. One of the tips for planning a gender reveal party is to get a gender DNA test before 18-20 weeks. The gender DNA test is a blood test that is 99% accurate and it allows the parents to have access to the gender of the fetus as early as 8 weeks. This enables parents to have a gender reveal party earlier surprise family and friends. Another reason why it’s a good idea to get an early baby gender test is that the pregnant mother will not be as tired when enjoying the gender reveal party with loved ones.

Makeup of a Gender Reveal Party

Picking the perfect guest list, theme, food, and invitations are vital in a gender reveal party. The theme and invitations are usually created with the colors pink or blue incorporated in them. No one can decide what color or shade of pink or blue you should have because you should be able to choose what you see fit. Having a nice setting is mandatory and doesn’t need to be expensive. Many choose the outdoors when the weather is great and even their own backyards as the surprise reveal is done in a dramatic presentation. As far as food goes, you can choose a summertime BBQ or whatever you like to serve your guests. Don’t forget the dessert table, cake, and assigning a photographer which are all necessary. Some use cake with pink or blue filling inside to reveal the gender of the baby when it’s cut. Balloons, table decor, table cloths, streamers are the typical makeup of a gender reveal party and are easy and affordable. One of the creative games for your party can be having guests dress up in either pink or blue which will determine which team they will be in and who the winners will be after the gender reveal. The winners then receive a small prize.

Unique Surprise Gender Reveals

We have finally made it to the most exciting part, the surprise gender reveal. You don’t want to just open an envelope announcing the gender. You want it to be a unique and memorable moment. There are many creative ways to do this. You can have a dark balloon or piñata that has pink or blue colored confetti in it and releases the confetti once popped or cracked. Another idea is using powder or confetti-filled compressed air cannons to pop with your partner. A closed banner or box with pink or blue balloons inside which will fly in the air once opened is an adorable surprise as well. Regardless of how you surprise your loved ones, remember to be happy and grateful always. 

 

Tips for Throwing the Perfect Super Bowl Party at Your House 

The holidays are upon us, and shortly after they are over and done, the most anticipated event of the season for many will be right around the corner. If football and the much anticipated Super Bowl is a big deal in your house, then you might need some tips for throwing the best football party ever at your home this season. Even if you don’t enjoy football there are many reasons to watch the Super Bowl.

So, whether you like football or you don’t, if you’re tasked with throwing the party at your house this year, read on below for a few tips to make it the best one you’ve ever hosted.  

Grab a Few Simple Presents

The Super Bowl isn’t just about football, just watching the game is one of America’s favorite pastimes. To make your event even more special, don’t pass up the opportunity to give your guests a grab bag to go, just like you would at any other party you hosted. Some possible gifts include miniature footballs, football cards, patriotic shirts for all, or any type of memorabilia with your guest’s favorite team on it. Having a grab bag for guests to take home will not only make them feel special, but it will also have them talking about your party for months to come, maybe even into the next football season. 

An Awesome TV Is Needed

The one thing you can’t have the best Super Bowl party ever without is an awesome TV. The larger the TV is, the better the game will be. What’s important to note here is that the more people you invite, the larger the screen of your TV needs to be. After all, everyone needs to be able to see the game without crowding and from wherever they happen to be in the room. 

Have Plenty of Seating Available

Whether you’re watching the game indoors or outside on a huge outdoor TV, you need to have enough seating areas so that everyone can be comfortable. Seating can include anything from couches to chairs and from bean bags to comfortable stools. If you don’t have enough seating, ask friends and family to bring a few camping or folding chairs along with them. 

Plenty of Food

The biggest necessary item, next to the TV, of course, is enough food. You just can’t have any kind of a Super Bowl party without the right food. Of course, you’re going to have plenty of chips and dip, but you also need stuff like chicken wings, nachos, pizza, pigs in a blanket and much more. If you’re not sure what your friends and family would like for the party, ask them to bring some of the food on the lists with them, so you won’t have to do all of the work yourself.

The Right Kind of Drinks

While everyone knows that beer drinking and the Super Bowl just go together, you need to have the right kind of beer at the party. On top of that, not everyone at the party is going to be a drinker. Make sure you have bottled water, diet and regular sodas, and Kool-aid and juices for any kids that are joining the party as well. 

Make it BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer)

With all of the different brands and variety of beer out there today, there is no way you can please everyone in that department. Instead of trying, and then breaking the bank buying beer for your football party, make it BYOB, bring your own beer. In this way, you’re not spending a fortune, and everyone is happy with the type of beer they drink and enjoy. 

These are just a few tips for throwing the best Super Bowl party at your house this year. Do it the right way and people will be talking about your party until next season begins.