working-form-home-living-your-life

Working From Home & Living Your Life

Image source: pixabay.com

When working from home, it is easy to go into work mode 24/7 – your home turns into a rather upgraded office as you can sleep in a comfortable bed, instead of on the couch. If you find that your dwelling is starting to loose its appeal as a place you go to rest, and leave the work-related problems at the door, it is high time to set some ground rules about working from home and living your life:

1. Say “NO” to working from the couch or yet worse, from the bed

The most important thing when working from home is to manage to separate your work area from the rest of the house. While the couch and the bed should be considered a leisure area, it might be tempting to stretch from sitting on the chair the whole day. However, we all know how things are going to end, or better to say how you will not be able to get anything right on time.

2. Say “NO” to eating while working and vice-versa

Laptop

You should cook for yourself, and enjoy your meals, instead of simply devouring everything you can find in your refrigerator. Not only will you not feel satisfied with the second scenario, but you are most likely to gain weight, too, so say “no” to eating while working.

3. Say “Yes” to schedules

When working from home it is easy to loose track of time, get buried in work, and forget to just take a break. However, it is important to set at least some flexible ground rules for having down time, lunch break and etc. If you feel the need schedule some free time to sit and stare with a blank expression for 15 minutes, basically use give your mind a break – you would if you were at the office, instead of at home.

4. Say “NO” to the chaos

Don’t let your office chaos (read documents all over the place, and office materials that threaten to take over your dwelling) transfer into your personal life just because you work from home. If don’t want to live as a hoarder, you should find time to clean up your mess. If you don’t want to combine the physical exercise and the cleaning, you should consider hiring Fantastic Cleaning Fitzroy North.

5. Say “Yes” to exercising

This is very important, if you value both your health and your body. If all you do at home is sit in front of the computer, how long will it take for you to fall out of shape? Make sure your body gets enough exercise – do yoga, go for a walk in the park during your “lunch break”, if you have a pet take it out, simply find some sort of activity that gives you pleasure, and explore it at least twice a week.


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Sweetheart Gifts: Dos and Don’ts

Sweet treats

Image source: pixabay.com

Whether you are shopping forChristmas, a birthday, Valentine’s Day or an anniversary, you are bound to face the problem of coming up with a great sweetheart gift. However, what never seizes to amaze me is how some people, no matter how devoted they are to their partner, can’t seem to grasp the concept of sweetheart gifts – the dos and don’ts.

It is true that gift giving has become somewhat of an art, if not a science, and a gift can even make or break the outline of your entire relationship. Considering all of this, you need to be very careful when, how and what you decide to give to your dear one when a holiday arrives. If you are at a loss of what is proper, and what not, when it is time to make the purchase, here are some basic dos and don’ts you would want to take into account, unless you are 100% sure your present is NEVER going to upset your lover:

1. Don’t Shop Last-minute

Leaving the purchase of the gift for the last possible moment is one of the worst possible scenarios. There is a very high chance you won’t be able to come up with something “good”, the designated present will require more than one day to be shipped, have it engraved, custom-made and etc. Give yourself at least a week to look for something nice that will make your sweetheart happy.

2. Don’t Buy Anything That Can Be Connected with Weight Loss

Nothing can upset your partner more than a present that has even a distant connection to weight loss – fitness membership (ohh NO), exercise equipment, training gear, the latest diet book, appointment with a dietitian, low-fat food plan and so on are amongst the worst “brilliant” ideas you could ever come up with. While we are at it, sinkers also belong to the unacceptable pile, unless your dear one has specifically indicated that he/ she wants a pair. Extend the ban of the weight loss gifts to animal-themed pyjamas, sweatshirts, T-shirts, and, yes, underwear.

3. Don’t Shop for Yourself

The art of giving a gift dictates that you get your sweetheart something that will make him/ her happy, not you. If you are a basketball fan, and you want to go to the game of the season, don’t get the expensive front-row tickets, and give them to your partner, who, by the way, has no interest in sports, and will be bored to death at the game. The same applies to sexy lingerie, clothing that you would like your dear one to wear, even though it is not really his/ her style.

4. Don’t Go All Practical With the Present

Getting a new pan might be a long-due necessity, but it is not what your sweetheart would want to receive from you. According to professionals at Cleaning Kensington, getting your dear one a new set of pots and pans, or a vacuum cleaner is one of the greatest mistakes you could make. Just think about it, would you like to receive a mixer for your anniversary – one would expect something more personal, and romantic, right?

5. Do Preserve the Receipts

When buying clothing, shoes or even a piece of jewellery, you ought to keep the receipts. There is always the slight possibility that your sweetheart might not like what you have bought or you have gotten the wrong size, so try to be prepared, and don’t get upset, if he/ she doesn’t like the present. You would also do yourself a favour by removing the price tag – no one likes to know that their gift was purchased at the retail sale on 50% off.

6. Do Write a Card

Sometimes, even if your gift isn’t the poster child for originality, a well-written personal message on a beautiful card will make it special. Furthermore, you only have to buy one a couple of times a year, so it is not that big of a nuisance to make him/ her feel special with a nice dedication.

7. Do Wrap the Gift

Buying a gift bag is always easier (and cheaper) than having the present wrapped, or, even better, do it yourself. A gift presented in a beautiful package is better regarded than one in a bag, so make the effort to take the extra step.


gardening-with-dogs-part-ii

Gardening with Dogs – Part II

Black labrador

Having covered how to prevent as best as possible your dogs from running recklessly through the entire garden in Gardening with Dogs – Part I, now we are going to continue solving the rest of the 5 most common problems related to maintaining a beautiful garden while taking care of pets that run in it.

How to prevent dogs from chewing on plants and garden accessories?

Animals need to chew on plants from time to time, and generally you can do very little to prevent it from happening. However, if you have shrubs that are known to be poisonous to dogs like rhododendrons or camellias, you need to make everything within your powers to limit the access to them. The best way to do it is to add some sort of a barrier – wire works best for me.

However, it is not an eye-pleaser, so unless you want to end up with a landscape that resembles a war zone, you might want to reconsider those plants or re-think your garden design. Luckily, companies like Fantastic Gardeners Melbourne have excellent landscape architects to aid you with the pet-friendly design.

Schnauzer dog

For newly emerging or planted plants, you might use plant support. The instincts of your dog, at least in most cases, will kick in, and warn it that it is something to not to be run over. Nevertheless, your devices need to be sturdy enough to withstand the full mass of your dog should a clash with it be unavoidable. In my experience, metal plant supports work best as the plastic ones just aren’t strong enough.

How to deal with yellow spots and faeces when gardening with dogs?

Surely, cleaning up after your dog has a special place in your “most-annoying-chores” list. The best tactic is to start training your puppy as soon as possible to relieve itself at only one spot in the garden, so that you wouldn’t have to go around cleaning everywhere. Even with older dogs, it is still possible to teach them “good garden manners” but it will take more time.

If your puppy is rather stubborn, you could try the “caught-on-the-spot” tactic. Most dogs tend to remember the shame of being scolded while they are “doing it”, and would avoid similar situations in the future. Nevertheless, most dogs are creatures of habit, and will usually find an out-of-the-way place in the garden that they will stick to – naturally with the exception of pups.

Don’t forget cleaning after your pet is one of the most important, though not so pleasant, chores you will have to face when gardening with pets running nearby.

In the third, and last part of the article, I will help you solve the mystery of the holes that keep appearing in your garden, as well as how to prevent your pet form drinking, and taking a bath in your garden water features.


gardening-with-dogs-part-i

Gardening with Dogs – Part I

Cute dog

It is a well-known fact that Aussies love dogs – according to the latest statistics there are about 3.4 million dogs in the country. The breeds vary from terriers, retrievers, poodles, spanniols, collies and pugs to rottweilers and German shepherds, and naturally, various crosses. While the love for man’s best friend has no limits, devoted gardeners tend to find gardening with dogs in the house rather challenging.

Before you start imagining the worst scenarios about what your precious garden will look like once you get a dog, allow me to sum up the top 5 problems, so that you can have a clear idea of what your are getting yourself into – besides the cares you need to provide.

The top 5 issues regarding gardening with dogs in mind:

1. Running through the garden (and knocking your pots, destroying garden accessories, making undesired “paths” and etc.)
2. Chewing on your plants and garden accessories
3. Cleaning after the dogs have relieved themselves
4. Digging holes
5. Using decorative water features to bathe in or drink from

How to reduce the damages from dogs running recklessly through the garden?

The number one problem with dogs in the garden is the amount of havoc they tend to wreck once they are unsupervised in the garden. Even worse, it increases when your neighbours also have furry friends in theirs, or a squirrel has decided to pay you a visit. While there is nothing you can do about wild animals (pests), there are a few options you can resort to when you want to separate your pet from that of your neighbour.

A privacy fence is the most reliable way to prevent the dogs from “playing” together. However, if that is not an option for you, planting shrubs and ground covers along the line of your property will usually do the trick – provided that they are high and thick enough, so that your dog can neither peak, nor jump over (or squeeze through) them. The good news is that both options won’t “inflict any damage” on your landscape.

Having reduced the “distractions”, you also need to protect your precious plants from getting run-over. In order to do so, you can add rock borders or create trenched gardens. When a dog isn’t distracted by eventual playmates, it is less likely to cross the borders you have created, and venture through your plantations, believe experts at gardening Melbourne.

However, dogs have little respect for gardening rules, and won’t always follow the natural paths you have in place to ensure your movement through the garden. If your dog has its mind set on using a short-cut that goes directly through your planting area, no matter how you try to fight it, you are most likely going to end up with a canine highway. The tactic, I find most useful in such cases, is to plant some robust plants that will hide the path from human eyes, so you can at least have the illusion of a perfect garden with a dog playing in it.

What’s next?

In the second part of the article I will continue revealing some of the neat tricks to successful gardening with dogs in mind, so stay tuned.


gardening-with-dogs-part-iii

Gardening with Dogs – Part III

Puppy in the garden

Image source: pixabay.com

I know you have been anticipating the last part of Gardening with dogs as you can’t wait to see my suggestions on how to stop your four-legged friend from digging holes all over your garden, as well as putting an end on the games in your garden water features. So without further ado, here is the last part of the solutions foe the top 5 gardening issues related to having dogs:

How to put a stop to the hole-digging in your garden?

If you have dogs, it is inevitable to face the problem with hole-digging. The nature of your four-legged friend demands from it to do it. As usual, the older your dog gets the less fascinated it is with the process. However, when you have a puppy or an over-active dog, you will feel quite challenged to maintain your garden while finding a new hole every day. For some reason, there never seems to be enough dirt to cover it – one of Murphy’s laws, I guess.

Once again, the best way to deal with the unwanted activity is not to allow your furry friend outside unsupervised. The second most effective method is catching it on the spot, and scolding it. Nevertheless, in some cases you will be forced to accept the inevitable – you WILL have holes in your garden, and all you can do is make peace with it, and give your best to cover them up.

One way to cope with the emerging holes is to cover them up with wire, rocks or trellis. It is a short term solution that will only send a pro-active mud looking for easier pickings. Still, it will stop the hole from growing, and you can fill it once again. Luckily, over the years your pet will grow out of that habit or at least do it less frequently, so you need to go through the first few years. Afterwards, the dog will probably pick a secluded spot to do it, and you can easily mask the place with some cascading plants, so no one but you will know it is even there.

How to stop your dog from playing in and drinking from the water features?

Gardening with dogs is tricky on many levels but mostly when you need to protect expensive garden accessories like a fish pond or a fountain. Especially here in Australia, there is no way you can add a water feature, and not have your four-legged pal take a bath or a sip from it once the heat wave hits your area.

Experts from Cleaning at Northcote suggest simply adding a separate pool for the dogs in an out-of-the-way, somewhat secluded area. A small hard plastic pool should do the trick, provided that you keep the water in it clean and fresh, your pet will prefer it to the fish- and plant-inhabited pond or a steam. Furthermore, it is easy-to-clean and remove, in case you want your garden to look more presentable for guests.

No matter how challenging gardening with dogs might be, it is always rewarding to have a pet accompany you when you work outdoors, or simply play with your furry friend. Even better, in my opinion, the daily provocation of coping with your dog’s new mischiefs that keeps things interesting and your innovative thinking going.


cupcakes-with-love

Cupcakes Made With Love

Love cupcakes

Valentine’s Day is supposedly the most romantic day of the year, when every couple has an excuse to be ridiculously cute, and demonstrate their love openly without anyone rolling their eyes at them… even the poor sad single people, who are forced to go through the loneliest day of the year without complaints. The dualism of the holiday got me thinking about what is the best Valentine’s Day present, and one that you can also share with your single friend, and cheer her up… My decision – cupcakes with love.

There is something about cupcakes that makes them irresistible to both genders. They are small, or not that small, sweet and taste heavenly. Furthermore, with the latest Pinterest mania, people have been sharing pictures, recipes and ideas how to make the most delicious and romantic cupcakes, one has ever seen.

Why gifting cupcakes with love?

First of all, thanks to all the mixtures, sold in the stores, you don’t have to be a living, breading chef to bake them. As far as the decoration is concerned, the sky is your limit. You can make your sweet gift personalized by decorating the treats to look like your loved one’s favourite animals, create a movie-themed set, or just go with Valentine’s signature red.

How to Gift Your Cupcakes with Love?

The act of wrapping, and gifting your Valentine’s Day present is just as important as the gitf itself, so you need to choose your timing wisely. Some of you might want to see the smile on your loved one’s face as soon as she wakes up in the morning, so serving a romantic breakfast in bed might be the best solution (even though it might mean getting up at an uncanny hour – 14th of February is on Thursday). Keep in mind that making a breakfast in bed will most likely result in many stains, and a real mess in the kitchen, warn our friends at Cleaners Kensington.

Others might want to make a public statement with their love. In that case, buying or making a cupcake bouquet, and sending it to your sweetheart’s office is a fabulous idea. It will not only make her happy, but will probably be the most romantic gesture any of her colleagues have ever seen. Furthermore, she will be able to either enjoy and share the cupcakes with everyone in the office or she might choose to save the bouquet, and have at it in the evening with you.


basic-interior-design-colour-schemes

Basic Interior Design Colour Schemes

Living room

When a professional looks at an empty room, he/ she sees the numerous possibilities, a universe of colours and fabrics that can fill the space, and turn it into a masterpiece, worthy to be placed on a magazine cover Yet, when I decided to redecorate my home, I felt at a loss of ideas, confused by the various styles, colour combinations and etc.

 

If you, just like me, still can’t quite grasp the concept of the basic interior design colour schemes, you will benefit form reading this post. Here, professionals from Home Removals at Melbourne, stopped by, and gave some simple examples to understanding, and using the colour wheel to create décors that can rival those in the flashy magazines.

First of all, you need to know that there are five basic interior design colour schemes that can be used to create an unanimous room decoration. You can take a peak at the simple, and in my view understandable, explanations and the pictures, illustrating them. Hopefully, somewhere along the way, you will find your inspiration.

Monochromatic Colour Scheme

The first, and easiest to grasp basic interior design colour scheme is the monochromatic. It can be used to recreate both extremely dramatic sets or very soothing ones, depending on your goals. It uses shades, hues and tints of the same colour, combining them in diverse fabrics, accessories, wall colours and so on to provide a marvellous end result.

If you are aiming for a dramatic, modernistic outcome, you should consider the warm, yet intricate, hues of orange, yellow and red. In case your heart’s desire is a rather cool, sophisticated interior design, the shades you need are blue, grey, black or green. On the other and, monochromatic colour schemes can, and should, be used for neutral settings as well. Beige, creams, white, and some tints and hues of grey will make for high-end, royal room décor with subtle, elegant style.

Analogous Colour Scheme

Unlike the monochromatic colour scheme, the analogous uses sequent colours on the colour wheel. Applying this method will allow you to create colourful, but still calming and harmonious décor. There is a catch, though. You can’t mix more than five consecutive colours, unless you are purposely aiming for visual confusion or kitschy look.

Usually, sticking with three or four colours from the colour wheel is the safest way to design your room. Once you have had your pick, you should decide which colour you would use as primary, and which will be the undertones and accents. Analogous colour schemes have always been popular, and psychologists believe that they can work miracles for your nerves.

Complementary Colour Scheme

Up until now, we used hues, tints and shades of the same colour or consecutive colours to create an unanimous, uninterrupted design. From this point on, however, things will get a bit more complicated, as the complementary colour scheme relies on the combination of two different colours that are situated opposite on the colour wheel. Nevertheless, when implemented right, it will give a room the quiet and subtle elegance, you have been aiming for.

Once you have the two primary colours, you can “play” with the hues and undertones to expand the colour palette. Moreover, white can always be used to accent on some details in the room, make it more harmonious or simply to class up the place.

Split Complementary Colour Scheme

The split complementary colour scheme is genuinely based on the previous one. The difference is that here, instead of adding whites, you can use shades or tints of other colours to to make it stand out more. To make things more clear, take a look at the pictures bellow. To a room, designed in blue-green, are added reds and oranges to split complement the main colour palette. Have fun experimenting!

Triad Complementary Colour Scheme

The triad complementary colour scheme is also a three-colour scheme. It has a main colour, and uses the two adjacent to the split complementary colours to accent on it. It gives you the opportunity to mix up different hues and undertones of the colours to come up with astonishing results. You can be bold and combine blue, yellow and red in the bedroom, or green, orange and yellow in the living room for a funky, dramatic result.


how-to-clean-china

How to Clean China

A nostalgic heirloom, or a brand new possession, antique china is a beautiful and delicate home accessory. With each generation it is passed on, the set increases its value. Don’t be fooled, however, tending to china is a full-time job. The trickiest part – figuring out how to clean china, and keep it in once piece. Personally, I consider each scratch, every crack or any other imperfection a direct insult to my ancestors. Therefore, I have developed my own ritual for tending to the precious set.

 

Firstly, you have to remember -china should only be hand washed! Forget all about how green it is to use the dishwasher. In our case, it poses a threat with its harsh detergents, high temperatures and prolonged cleaning cycle. Yes, I admit, it is possible to successfully, and without any incidents, run the china in the device, but if you want 100% guarantee that nothing bad will happen to your heirloom – do it the old-fashioned way.

General China Cleaning

Whether you are preparing your china for storage, or taking it out to impress guests, you have to sanitize the unit. As already mentioned, hand washing is your best option, and here is what you need to do:

1. Cover the bottom of the sink with a mat or a towel. In case you accidentally drop a piece from the set, the hit will be softened, and hopefully, you will avoid inflicting any damage.

2. As usual, fill the sink with water, but warm, not hot, and add a small amount of dish-washing detergent. Be careful what product you use as ammonia- or bleach-based cleaners could harm the sensitive surface of the china.

3. In case you are using a sponge (better not), make sure you use the soft side. Any abrasives or scrubbers will scar the unit. Your best choice – a soft wash cloth.

4. Let the china dry naturally, and then polish it with a microfibre cloth.

Natural China Cleaners

You are already familiar with how sensitive and breakable your china set is, so to avoid unnecessary risks with common household cleaning products, you can mix up your own remedies. As I like to say, when grandma’s antiques are involved, her cleaning methods work best! Even my friends, some of the best cleaners from St Albans, agree with me! If you have forgotten the granny methods, let me give you a heads up:

1. All-Purpose China Cleaner – A healthy, fresh-smelling remedy, composed of lemon juice and salt, will clean and shine your china! Make a paste from both ingredients, and rub it on a damp cloth. With the solution, you can effortlessly erase the harsh traces of time from your set.

2. Brown Stain Cleaner – Mix a paste from equal parts salt and vinegar to prepare the ultimate brown stain cleaner. Let it sit on the unit for as long as 15 minutes, rub and then rinse.

3. Tea and Coffee Stain Cleaner – When using your china on a regular basis, or you are simply a junkie for high-quality Arabic coffee or delicious English tea, your china will be inevitably exposed to stains. Luckily, all you need is some vinegar and baking soda. Wet the unit with vinegar. Get a dampened clean cloth and dip it in baking soda, and start rubbing the vinegar-covered surface.

Last but not least, I would like to remind you that antique china needs to be stored very carefully, since it is rather delicate. Never leave it in a moist, uncontrolled environment for longer than a couple of hours. When storing the unit, place paper sheets between the units to avoid unnecessary scratches.

Always appreciate your heirloom!

I learned these helpful cleaning tips from the cleaners St Albans. They advised me on how to store, clean and dry my antique china set, so if you have any additional questions, you can turn to them!


get-your-stripe-on

Get Your Stripe On

What people love most is being fashionable in all aspects of their life. Sometimes, maintaining a certain vision is more than a life choice – it is a social standard that we ought to comply with. Additionally, our homes are the mirror to our souls, so we can’t claim the title “stylish”, if our dwelling isn’t just as smoothly arranged as our daily outfit. Amongst the best interior design trends for this year is home décor with stripes.

 

Psychologists say that using stripes as decoration feature is preserved only to the bold and dynamic personalities as it includes a certain amount of gambling. However, I believe that anyone can succeed with a few simple guidelines. So, get your stripe on and let’s decorate the living room with fancy, colourful lines.

What to Avoid When Decorating With Stripes

As previously said, there are a number of things that can go south when you start toying with stripes:

  • Too many stripes can distract the eye – Unlike other home décor elements of which you can never have too many, stripes can become overbearing when used excessively. Therefore, you need to draw the line at some point. For instance, if you want a wall covered in stripes from floor to ceiling, stop at one wall only. In case you are adding a “belt” of stripes to grid the entire room, don’t use stripped elements at other spots.

  • Avoid visual tension caused by clashing colours
     – Stripes can be dangerous to play with when you want to add a dramatic flair to the space with contrasting colours. It is much safer and creates a soothing effect to use shades and hues from the same colour family.
  • Stripes are fussy, counteract them with less intense elements – To achieve that eye-catching effect of the stripes, you see in the magazines, you need to allow them to pop out by completing the room decoration with rather plain accessories.

How to Pick The Right Type of Stripes

Basically there are numerous types of stripes, depending on their direction (horizontal, vertical and slanting lines), their thickness, the contrast between the colours of each line. The same rules one would use when choosing a stripped outfit apply to the stripe interior design. Thin horizontal stripes will make the room appear higher, while vertical ones will add optical depth to the space. Slanting lines can give you a mixed solution but are also trickier, so be careful.

Essentially, you need to be familiar with the peculiarities of the structure of the room to be able to select the best type of stripes. Bare in mind that they can make or break your home décor, and if you are feeling uncertain about how they would look, it’s much better to avoid using them in big room details like walls, massive furniture and etc.

Where is it Safe to Use Stripes for the First Time?

As far as striped surfaces go, the best places to experiment with stripes are cushions, curtains, bed covers and carpets… or a pretty mixture of all of the above. According to carpet cleaners at Melbourne, stains are less visible on a striped carpet or rug, so you can place one in a high-traffic area or in your kid’s bedroom.

Don’t get confused, there are options to experiment with different types of stripes throughout the room. However, it is a game that should be played only by experienced home owners who feel sure of their decoration skills.


home-decoration-tips

Home Decoration Tips

Home décor and interior design – the magical words that can change you attitude to your house. Believe it or not, your dwelling reflects your personality like nothing else. The place where you spend a big deal of your free time can tell numerous stories about your likes, dislikes and habits, so every visitor with an eye for details can read you like an open book. Therefore, you need to invest some of your time and money to create the perfect little piece of heaven.

 

How to Improve Your Home décor on Budget?

Naturally, when you want to jazz up your home décor, you will have to invest in it. Still, you needn’t spread your budget thin in favour of buying new pieces of furniture or totally renovating your living room. On the contrary, what matters are the little details, those special feminine touches here and there that add character and charm to the space, that make a house a home.

First things first, though, you need to start small. What easier way to see what can benefit from a touch up than de-cluttering. You will be amazed at how big a difference a simple deep cleaning in Seaford can make. Simply by vacuum cleaning, putting away old magazines, dusting and arranging the shelves you will re-discover your living room. Furthermore, while you are organizing, you can find stuff you can re-purpose like turning old baskets into magazine holders or decoupaging old picture frames to personalize them.

Fill The Empty Space

Once you have cleaned up, or even better hired professional cleaning assistants at Seaford to do it for you. You can have a fresh look at the room. Check for empty spaces that can benefit from a new fancy accessory. Don’t misinterpret this like an order to fill all the available room with small or not so small items – it will make the room seem small and stuffy!

In case you lack storage space, yo can add some shelves on the walls to take advantage of the unused area. If you don’t, you can consider hanging a painting, a poster, adding one of those oh-so-trendy wall murals or going oriental and using a wall rug. It all depends on what you have at hand, in what style you have arranged your home and what look are you aiming for.