Rookie Humans Fitted Crib Sheet Review

  Disclosure: I received product samples to facilitate this review. The post may contain affiliate links. The opinions are my own.

Before my son was born I shared our forest friends nursery reveal with you guys.  Unbelievably that was 2 years ago!  Even though he is almost a big two year old, Thaxton still has the same nursery theme, and we’ll be keeping it in place for the next year, if not the next two years, or longer…

Today I’m sharing a new cribsheet that we got for his room.  It is from Rookie Humans. They offer sheets that are soft and breathable; they are 100% soft cotton sateen with a 230 thread count, and they feature the most adorable scenes for your crib or toddler bed! [Read more…]

Important Questions To Ask Before Your Next House Move

Are you thinking about moving home soon?

There are all kinds of reasons as to why you might be.

A house move could give you the opportunity to make a fresh start. You can position yourself nearer to your place of work or your children’s school. And especially if your current home is getting you down, for whatever reason, you will finally have the chance to live life anew in a better property.

But before you rush into any hasty decisions, there are some important questions you need to ask yourself first. While a house move could be a good idea, it might be that you need to wait a little while longer before speaking to a realtor and packing up your boxes.

#1: Can I afford to make the move?

If you’re currently struggling with money, it might be that a house move could be beneficial to you. By downsizing, you will have less to pay on your utility bills, and by moving to a new town, you might see a reduction in some of your taxes. 

However, moving home is an expensive process. Not only do you have a new mortgage to consider, but you also have to deal with legal fees, removal costs, and the expenses imposed upon you by your realtor. So, take a long hard look at your budget first. Research the expected costs of a house move. And use a house loan calculator to calculate the repayments you would be expected to make when looking at your mortgage options. 

If you can afford the move, then great. However, if money is tight and you would be better off making a few savings at home first, then hold fire until you are in a better financial position.

#2: What will I regret if I move?

Sometimes, moving home seems like a sensible idea. As we suggested earlier, you might have very good reasons for wanting to move. However, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of a house move, as you might be left with regrets later on.

Will you miss your neighbors? Is there anything about your current property that you will miss? Will you have to leave your current workplace when you move? Is there anything in your town that holds appeal for you, such as your church, your hobby groups, or your friends? These are just a few of the questions you might want to ask yourself. 

Of course, if you aren’t planning on moving very far, then you might have fewer regrets. And thanks to Facebook, Skype, etc., you don’t have to lose contact with people you know and love. However, it’s still worth thinking through the consequences of a house move, because when you have finally moved, you won’t be able to return to your previous property. 

#3: Can I increase my home’s value?

If your heart is set on moving, then so be it. However, to maximize the sale of your property, you might want to make a few alterations to increase the value of your home. So, you might want to get on top of any repairs that need doing before showing people around your home. You could add smart and energy-efficient features to your property to attract more buyers. And it might be that a little bit of remodeling will do much to increase value, perhaps by increasing the size of your bathroom or by creating an extra room within your home. 

Follow our previous link for some useful advice, and then continue your research to find other ways to raise your home’s value.

#4: What do I require from a house move?

Depending on your budget, you will have a lot of choices when it comes to deciding where to live. However, considering the expense of a house move, it is important that you set criteria for what you need before signing on any dotted lines of a contract. 

So, think about the location your home should be in. You might want to be near your place of work, for example. If you have a family, having close access to local schools might also be important to you. Then there are local amenities to consider, such as shopping malls, parks, and leisure facilities.

Think about the kind of house you want to live in too. You might need extra space if you have family moving with you. You might also need extra space if you intend to work from home, or if you want to use a part of your home for your hobbies. Alternatively, you might want to move into a smaller home if you are looking to reduce your expenses. You might also favor specific features in the property, such as those smart items we suggested earlier, if you’re looking for something modern, or if you want to save money.

Before beginning your house search then, write down your criteria for the must-have and nice-to-have features for the property and the location, and use that as a checklist to help you make the right choices. 

 

If you are planning on moving soon, then we wish you every success and happiness with your plans. But consider our questions first, as hopefully, they will help you make the right decisions for you and your family.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

9 Dangerous Materials That Could Have Been Used To Build Your Home

House Home Site Construction Estate New Home

The building industry has boomed in recent years and with scientific advancements surely our houses can’t be harming us? Sadly, the truth is that the construction industry is full of hazardous materials, both natural and synthetic, that could be harmful to both humans and the environment. Below are 9 of the most toxic building materials as outlined by the International Living Future Institute (ILFI), a US-based sustainable building certification program. Do you have any of them in your home?

  1. Lead
    Lead is a highly toxic metal which easily crosses into the bloodstream. Found in old lead-based paints, roofing materials and even some children’s toys, a build-up of lead in the body over a few months or years can cause lead poisoning leading to severe mental and physical impairments. Most lead-based paints have been banned nowadays however some may remain in older houses. Children are most susceptible to lead poisoning as they tend to put things or their fingers in their mouths,

  2. Asbestos
    Asbestos is the name for a group of naturally occurring minerals with fibre-like structures. Asbestos is fire retardant, heat resistant, and non-conductive making it a useful material in the building industry. However, prologued exposure to asbestos has been found to be very damaging and can lead to a number of health conditions including cancer and mesothelioma.  If you’ve been diagnosed with mesethelioma then a mesothelioma attorney may be able to help you. Many countries have now banned the use of asbestos but it still remains in many old buildings.

  3. Fibreglass
    Fibreglass is a commonly used type of insulation made up of tiny fibres of glass. Fibreglass in its solid state isn’t in itself toxic but when cut and trimmed it causes dust which is easily inhaled. Of you come into contact with these tiny glass fibres through fibreglass dust they can cause irritation to the eyes, skin and throat and lead to conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. 
  4. Polyvinyl chloride

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, is a cheap and commonly used type of plastic most often used in drainage pipes and insulation for electrical cables. PVC’s contain phthalates and dioxins which interfere with the bodies hormones and can affect the function of the thyroid, pancreas, adrenal, pituitary and reproductive glands. PVC’s are also classified as carcinogens and could lead directly to cancer.

  1. Cadmium
    Cadmium is a soft and malleable metal which is also resistant to corrosion, this means that it is often used as a form of protection for other metals such as steel. Cadmium fumes and dust can cause fluid build-up in the lungs and high levels of cadmium exposure have been linked to cancer. 
  2. Silica
    Silica is a naturally occurring substance found in most rocks including sand and clay. Silica dust can be very dangerous and can be released as a result of any process which breaks up rocks or stone. If silica dust is inhaled over a long period of time then it can lead to lung infections and lung cancer.

  3. Volatile organic compounds
    Volatile organic compounds or VOC’s are man-made or natural substances with a low boiling point, which means that a lot of their molecules evaporate into the air. In construction VOC’s are most commonly found in solvents, paints, adhesives and coatings. If inhaled they can cause memory loss, irritation to the lungs and damage to the kidneys, liver and central nervous system.

  4. Halogenated flame retardants
    Halogenated flame retardants are incorporated into building materials to stop the spread of fire. When exposed to heat halogenated flame retardants turn into toxic substances that can enter the body through the respiratory system leading to the disruption of the bodies hormones. 
  5. Creosotes
    Creosotes are often applied to wooded materials to help preserve them for longer periods of time. They can also help to prevent the wood from rotting under wet or damp conditions. Coal-tar creosote is one of the most commonly used types of creosote and is also the most toxic, having been proven to directly cause cancer. 

Many of these compounds are only harmful if inhaled or ingested and so as long as they remain in their solid-state within your home, you are not at risk. The people most at risk from these materials are builders who have to work with them on a daily basis, demolition experts who risk disrupting their solid state and maintenance workers who may need to cut and disturb materials in order to make repairs. If you need to deal with any of these materials then be sure to wear the correct protective clothing, including gloves, goggles and a respiratory mask. 

Alio Reed Diffuser Review

As a homemaker I am always looking for ways to make my home smell cleaner and nicer. This can be quite a challenge at times, because I live in an older house; it simply doesn’t have that nice and new smell. I also have a dog and three cats. And I have a family who does a lot of work and play in the outdoors, which doesn’t always lead to a great smelling house.

For air fresheners we have used just about everything: essential oil diffusers, scented plug-ins, room sprays, fabric sprays…you name it, we have tried it.

Recently I got to try an reed diffuser from Alio.  The scent we tried was Soft Blanket.  It has a nice, clean linen smell to it.  The diffuser is small and cute; it has a very minimalist look to it, and would be best in small spaces.  Currently I’m using it in the bathroom.  It looks great there and puts off just enough smell for this small space.  You can also use whatever number of reeds to desire, depending on how much scent you want.

This is also a great product because it doesn’t involve using liquids of any type. (No water, no oils, no spill!)  It is also a great thing to use if you are concerned about pets or kids.

I recommend this for any small room, and it would also be great for dormitories and small apartment.

Head over to Alio to check out their reed diffusers and other products.

4 Ways To Kickstart Your Home Remodel Project

It’s a huge undertaking, and not without its challenges, but a successful home renovation is one of the most satisfying projects you can undertake. From avoiding the stress of a house move, to making your home fit the needs and lifestyle of you and your family, to adding value to the property if it does come time to sell, in the long game it’s definitely worth a little upheaval and some dust to achieve the home of your dreams. However, first time renovations are always a steep learning curve. There are many risk factors which can easily go wrong with a building project, and these tend to multiply when you factor in inexperienced owners who haven’t contended with the ups and downs of an extensive home remodel before. From completely blowing the budget, hiring the wrong contractor for the job, to regretting design choices when it’s too late to alter them – there are quite a few potential pitfalls to beware of. Your countermeasure for all of these potential dilemmas? Meticulous planning. Knowing exactly what you want, what to expect and how to proceed is the roadmap that will guide you through a successful project and ensure that any small issue doesn’t end up completely derailing progress.

 

Understand The Specifics

 

Everyone thinks they know what they want when it comes to home renovation. But often those ideas turn out to be quite top-level, and a successful home remodel is all about attention to small details you may not have considered in your pipe dreams about what your home could be like. In addition, as there are lots of costs entirely dependent on your selections – things like aluminium bi-fold doors or pvc? Solid quartz worktops or laminate? – that can fluctuate quite a lot, not knowing exactly what you want means getting an accurate idea of costs to inform your budget isn’t possible. Spend time with your architect, thinking through not just what you want your home to look like, but the behaviours and lifestyle it enables, and therefore what is important to you – be it a spacious open-plan area to entertain friends and family, or a luxurious bathroom to escape alone. Exactly what function do you need your home to perform, and how can the design and finish of the space enable this? Reading interviews in interiors magazines with other remodellers can be a really useful way to consider aspects that you may not have thought of before, and interiors boards on Pinterest are a rich source of design inspiration to get you going. From these you can create a design wishlist. This is highly important to make sure everyone involved -architects, builders and even spouses – are on the same page when it comes to what finished result you’re aiming for. It ensures that everyone agrees and that there is less chance of misinterpretation and you being unhappy with the finished result.

 

Image via Pixabay

Start With The Numbers

 

Although it’s a good idea to have a clear vision of what you’re aiming for with your home renovation, you also need to make sure of your budget very early on in the process. There’s no point getting carried away with things that you’ll never be able to finance. So once you have the initial cost estimates in place, start getting real about the financial side. Check exactly how much you can access and reasonably afford to borrow. Most people use a combination of savings and loans to get to their goal – you need to assess what is reasonable in terms of money and use this as the frame to hang your ideas off. Make sure to spend as much time researching available interest rates on mortgages and loans as you do wallpapers and kitchen cabinets – taking on too much unaffordable cost never ends well, plus every design needs a contingency amount of 20 per cent to cover the hidden costs that can come up during remodelling work.

 

Sense Check Your Plans

 

In home remodelling, it’s very easy to get carried away with the scope of what is possible technically, without assessing its feasibility for your particular project. It’s a good idea to do a sense check with your architect as to what actually suits the property and plot that you’re working with. There are some things that are just not a good idea for practical and budgetary reasons – for example re-siting a bathroom or adding a utility room somewhere existing plumbing is not located, leading to lots of expensive and time-consuming plumbing work which could seriously lead you off track and off budget. Go into the home design process with an open mind, and be prepared to hear suggestions from the professionals, who may have ideas which work much better in the space and budget available, or who may have worked on similar projects in the past and learned great solutions!

 

Double Check Your Contractor

 

Who you choose to work on your project is critical – pick the wrong builder and you can be left with a world of shoddy work and missed deadlines. Ask to see some previous projects they have worked on in person, and make sure they are a member of a relevant trade body and have full insurance cover should the business collapse or they be taken ill, or any other event which may affect the smooth running of your renovation. Decide whether you want the builder or architect to project manage for you – sourcing everything from skip hire to residential roof replacement specialists to assist on the project – or whether you want to do it yourself. This can save some costs but it does mean a lot of responsibility, chasing round for quotes and finding contacts. Sometimes going for the cheapest contractor can be a mistake – some will deliberately quote low to secure the job and then ramp up costs once on site. Instead, go on a mixture of value for money –  not the same as bottom line price – previous customer recommendations and experience of the type and scale of project you’re proposing. That is likely to generate the best results, and find a good match with a construction firm who can deliver the new home of your dreams.

 

 

How to Get Started Actually Making Changes to Your Home

It’s one thing to have home redesign or redecoration goals in mind that you know you want to make work of at some point. But, it’s quite another thing to actually knuckle down and start doing the work.

Many of us end up having an idea of the sorts of things we want to do in our homes, and the kinds of changes we want to make, but simply get caught in a more or less endless cycle of procrastination, and so never really make headway.

If that sounds relatable to you, here are a few suggestions on how you can get started actually making changes to your home.

Make a list, and get started ASAP with a small and basic action

Your home is, of course, first and foremost a place where you relax and unwind when you’re not doing other things – like, for example, going to work. That alone already means that it’s pretty easy to procrastinate when hanging around the house on a lazy weekend.

The primary issue here is often simply one of momentum – in other words, you’re stuck in your comfort zone and you need to light enough of a fire under yourself to get started.

A good first step is to write out a list, on paper, of all the different neglected errands and chores you need to attend to around the home, and to then pick the simplest and easiest of them and begin to make work of it ASAP.

Often you’ll find that once you get started, it’s much easier to carry on.

Contact experts to deal with tasks that you feel overwhelmed by

It might be the case that, in theory, you like the idea of handling every task in your home in a strictly DIY kind of a way – but that the magnitude and complexity of a particular “job” is so overwhelming that you just keep putting it off, or don’t know how to proceed safely.

Ultimately, it’s often best to get in touch with professionals and allow them to get things done on your behalf. That could mean contacting and communicating with an expert Siding and Window Group in order to pick out the best products for your home, or it could mean hiring tradesmen to get a job done for you.

Sure, this may cost a bit extra, but the cost will often be worth it even if only because it helps to break through the inertia in a hurry.

Remove all forms of distraction and entertainment temporarily – apart from those that can help you get through the task at hand

There are all sorts of things that can lead to – or can worsen – procrastination. Not least of all the many forms of entertainment that are typically found within a home.

If you find that you habitually procrastinate all your free time away in front of the TV or computer, for example, it can be very useful to remove these forms of distraction and entertainment temporarily, until you get your chores handled. That can mean putting a web blocker on your computer, unplugging your TV, and so on.

Of course, you may want to leave certain forms of entertainment alone – specifically the ones that can help you to focus on the task at hand. Music and audiobooks can make a home redesign job much more pleasurable, for example.

Decocrated Decor Subscription Review

I love being a homemaker and I have so much fun coming up with new ways to make our home look better.  One way I like to keep things fresh is by using seasonal decor. It brightens my day and just gets me in the mood the season. Recently I had the chance to check out Decocrated. They are a subscription that sends out a curated box of seasonal decor four times a year. [Read more…]

Tips To Improve Your Home For The Summer

During the summer, it’s the perfect time to kick back, relax and enjoy the sunshine. However, this time of the year is perfect to catch up on a few to-dos around the home. Here are a few tips to improve your home for the summer.

Check Your AC Unit

The summer is when you’ll certainly take advantage if your air conditioning unit, so it’s worth knowing a few HVAC repair companies just in case you might need one. It’s always beneficial to get this checked out before summer comes around because once a problem occurs, it can be a nightmare if it happens during the height of the warm weather. In general, to keep your AC unit in good use, vacuum the fins of the unit. Be careful when doing this as they are usually fragile. Replace the filters when needed and keep your home well ventilated.

Do Some Painting

With the warm weather being the main feature of this season, it means that you are more likely to have your windows open for the majority of the day. So if you have a few decor touch-ups that you want doing to the property, then this is the right time to be doing them. For painting, you want to be able to keep your windows open for at least 24 hours, so it’s something that’s worth doing late at night so that it can ventilate out of the room throughout the night and day. Keep the doors closed to separate the smell from the rest of the home.

Wash The Exterior

A power washer can be a great purchase because it can help make the exterior of your home look brand new. This should be something that’s done on an annual basis because a lot of dirt and debris can end up getting caught on the exterior of your home and it can be surprising as to how much dirt it can actually remove from the brickwork. Power washers are dangerous, so it’s important to be very careful when using this and that you don’t have any small children or pets running around that might want to go near it. It jets out water at such a powerful rate that it can cause harm to those who get in its way.

Maintain The Outside Space

Talking of the outdoors, your outdoor space will need maintaining, regardless of how much or little there is of it. Clean out the gutters of any debris to prevent flooding and get rid of any weeds or dead plants that might be around your garden or in between the tiled floors. Regularly mow any grass and look after any outdoor furniture that may get damaged in various weather conditions. Top up any painting to your fencing when needed and be sure to protect your plants and flowers with the relevant pesticides and sprays that might be needed to deter animals and pests.

With these tips, you can come home to a property that’s ready to enjoy all summer long.

Fixer Upper Fundamentals For Your Consideration

Side hustles are booming, as people choose to be a little more proactive with their disposable cash to make it work more aggressively for them. While savings accounts are reliable and a sure fire way of making a tidy bit of interest, the return on your cash is hardly lucrative. Many people choose to invest their cash into property as bricks and mortar is seen as a safe bet, if you purchase at the right price. Getting your hands on a fixer upper to renovate, relist and sell at a tidy profit can be empowering. However, it is not as simple as many renovation shows would lead you to believe. Take a look at these fixer upper fundamentals that you need to be aware of.

Structural Issues

It doesn’t matter whether you buy a fixer upper at auction or through the more traditional real estate route, there may be a range of structural aspects that you need to be aware of before you part with your cash. Subsidence or underpinning of the foundations should ring alarm bells, and you should never buy a property that’s undergone this no matter how much of a bargain it seems. You won’t be able to shift it once renovated.

Instead, look at those properties with only the most basic structural problems that are easy to fix. You might need some new roofing if there is a damp issue. You might need a damp course if there is rising damp in the basement. Or you might require new glazing if there are odd drafts or leaky seals. These are easy to fix, and will increase the value of the pad that you try to sell at the end of the renovation process.

Utilities

It’s vital that the home you buy has all relevant utilities connected. This can take time to organize, but it is crucial to ensure that you realize the ceiling price for the humble abode. Hook up to the latest cable, ensure that WiFi connections are ready to go, and make sure water, electricity and gas is connected. This will allow you to install a gas hob, electric oven and any networked systems throughout the home. This will help to future proof the dwelling, and help you to attract the millennial clientele who want the latest mod cons for their homes.

Be Objective

Forget the avocado suite that you have always wanted for your own bathroom, and the red high gloss kitchen that you’ve always adored. These are much too subjective and personal. Remember, you aren’t renovating your own home, you are creating a lifestyle and space for your potential buyers. You need to seduce them with a blank canvas that allows them to make their own mark on the home decor and style. While boring for you, and you may have to rein in your love of color, you will be making a greater profit. This is a business side hustle venture, not a personal project.

The aim of a fixer upper renovation is to make money to top up your savings or retirement fund, so make sure that you don’t lose sight of this. Buy well, list at the right price and sell quickly to make your fixer upper venture a success.

Bedroom Refresh with California Design Den

There’s nothing like a bed with clean sheets, except a bed with new sheets! I recently got a new set of sheets from California Design Den.

California Design Den offers great looking, high quality sheets.  These are 100% pure cotton,  sateen weave, and 600 thread count.

The sheets are quality tested and inspected.  They are manufactured with fade resistant dyes and anti-pilling fabric and are individually tailored with extra durable, fitted elastic.

Sheets from California Design Den also come in a variety of colors.  I chose this dark grey color, as it matches well with a couple of bedspreads I have.

The sheets are very soft and comfortable and they go great with our bedding!  If you are in the market for some new bedsheets, I definitely recommend these!