Hidden Causes Of Allergies In Your Home

Hidden Causes Of Allergies In Your Home

Apart from the usual allergens and irritants, your home could be playing host to a whole new range of different kinds of allergy triggers as well. It is a very good idea to constantly keep an eye out for the signs of contaminants in your home. One reason for that would be an ill-maintained or faulty HVAC system. A properly functioning HVAC system has a major role to play in keeping your home free of pollutants and irritants. If your vents and air ducts are not cleaned and maintained properly, then that can cause you to suffer more acutely from allergy attacks than usual. Here are some of the most devious hidden causes of allergies that could be hiding right under your nose.

1. Your furry friends

Pets can be a major source of allergy. Even if nobody in your house is allergic to animal dander, pets tend to go outside and roll about in the mud and the grass. They could be bringing in a whole host of allergens, ranging from pollen to mold. That is why it is so important to clean and groom your pets regularly. If you are experiencing intermittent allergies, then it might be a good idea to start bathing, shampooing and brushing your pooches regularly.

2. Vacuuming with low-efficiency models

Vacuuming can actually be a way of dispersing allergens into your home. Although vacuums aim to pick up dander, dust, etc., low efficiency vacuums can actually act as a medium of dispersal for allergens. Some allergens and contaminant matter are so small that they can pass through the vacuum’s filter and get dispersed through the exhaust. On top of that, if your HVAC vents and air ducts are unclean, then the problem can get largely aggravated. That is why you should always use a vacuum cleaner of good quality if you start experiencing intermittent allergy attacks.

3. Imbalance in humidity levels

You must also keep the humidity level within your home at a proper level. Too much or too little moisture can have major detrimental impacts on you and your loved ones. Too much moisture can lead to the development of major issues such as mold and mildew. Studies have also shown that dust mites thrive in a moisture-laden environment. However, too little moisture can also be bad for you. If the humidity of your home is around 20%, then your body will naturally seek to rehydrate itself. This will cause you to have an allergic reaction and your airways might get plugged up.

4. Faulty HVAC system

A major source of allergens and contaminants is a faulty HVAC system. If your HVAC system isn’t maintained and cleaned regularly, then it can actually exacerbate your allergy problems by spreading contaminants all around the house. Contaminants and allergens have a much more concentrated effect on people indoors if the HVAC system is not functioning properly. If you notice persistent allergy symptoms in yourself or your loved ones, do not hesitate to get professional help immediately.

The best way to keep your home and your loved ones free from contaminants and illnesses is by practising a healthy and careful lifestyle. Being a little careful can keep these hidden issues at bay.

Decorating a Feng Shui Office

Decorating a Feng Shui Office

Feng Shui is an age old system used by many to promote positive energy via aesthetics. This ancient Chinese system has become increasingly popular in western society as a home decorative theme. Whether at work or at home, an office is where many of us now spend a lot of our time, so the positive attributes of a Feng Shui interior decorative layout is highly suitable for an office environment.

Feng Shui can actually be a highly intricate system of interior decoration. True Feng Shui masters typically use a special tool called a bagua compass alongside their wealth of knowledge to calculate exact placement of items within an office. But it isn’t difficult to begin shifting energy in your office workspace to a more positive one. Performing the changes listed within this guide will definitely get you well on your way to redoing your office with a great Feng Shui interior design!

Feng Shui and Office Productivity

There’s more to this than just intangible vibes and energy, which is why office productivity managers should listen up and tune out their innate bias to be skeptical.

According to Healthline, clutter has been proven to increase stress, which is definitely a productivity killer in the workplace.

Feng Shui is heavily color oriented, and this makes for an easy change to a Feng Shui office décor.

There are five elemental colors embraced by Feng Shui consisting of fire, earth, water, metal, and wood. Believe it or not, you can have a lot of variation to these colors. Wood can be either green or brown. Fire can be either red or yellow of course, but can also be composed of purple, pink, or orange. Earth is made up of light browns and yellows. Water is blue or black. And metal is symbolized by either white or gray, but you can certainly use real metals such as stainless steel which are commonly found in many office furnishings today.

Many Feng Shui decorative items are also perfectly suited for an office. You’ll likely want to consider adding items to your new feng shui office such as a desktop tranquility fountain, Zen candle holders, wishing boxes, Bonsai trees, and even a Japanese tea set.

While you’ll likely be adding some new items, you’ll also want to remove some items as well, or take the opportunity to paint walls and update flooring. Remember the earth tones we discussed? Those can be easily covered by adding sustainable hardwood flooring to give your room a base rooted in tranquility and nature. Walls can compliment this nicely with a water or metal theme.

Create a Tranquil, Distraction-Free Office Environment

One of the most widely regarded aspects to creating a Feng Shui office is to remove unneeded clutter! Tidy up and get rid of old files to make way for new work opportunities. Neatly organize the electrical and computer wires in the office and get them out of view as much as possible in order to rid the office of a look of chaos.

Do not seat people with their backs to each other. And always use the farthest corner of the office from the door to seat yourself as this is considered to be a position of power in Feng Shui.

So hopefully, you’re no longer a skeptic of the productivity benefits of Feng Shui for the workplace. It’s a great way to lift morale and increase productivity, so give it a try when it’s time for your next office remodel.

It’s Time To Get Serious About Reducing Food Waste

It’s Time To Get Serious About Reducing Food Waste



Environmentally and socially conscious people are beginning to realize just how positive an impact making small changes to one’s lifestyle can have. The amount of food waste created annually is just about enough to feed nearly a billion of the world’s hungriest people, and by reducing the amount of food you throw away each week or each month, you’re making an informed effort to take part in important social change. Some steps people take include only purchasing perishables as they need them, keeping leftovers for future meals, and even repurposing waste as compost for their gardens.

Another option for keeping food fresher longer while still allowing it to breathe and retain its fine taste is breathable food wraps, a concept pioneered by Abeego — a value-based company that has developed an original beeswax wrap designed to make peoples’ fresh produce supplies last. It’s all natural, reusable, requires minimal energy to produce, and is waste-free. If washed properly in cold water, your single piece of wrap can last you over a whole year! In North America, as many as one in four vegetables or pieces of fruit end up in the trash before they can be used. With beeswax wraps, on the other hand, you can help to bring that number down to zero.

While plastic wrap has been popular in the past, this alternative takes into account how the fruit of a plant is designed to thrive by nature. Banana, avocado and orange peels will shield their fruit from the elements without suffocating it, and Abeego’s beeswax wrap does the same – helping to keep food from decomposing after you’ve taken it home from the market. Even once you’ve sliced open that cucumber or avocado, it’ll taste better and smell better than it would if it was kept air tight.

Choosing a more sustainable route for food preservation can also save you money, as you’re purchasing less and throwing less out in the long term. While being part of the sustainability movement can take effort and requires you to do a bit of research, you can start by taking a few tips from the very businesses that make sustainability the cornerstone of their mission. An alternative to plastic wraps is one key to solving the global food waste problem because it extends the life of your food naturally. At Abeego, this new nugget of food wisdom started by studying a lemon peel, talking to communities, and doing kitchen experiments, eventually developing into a product versatile enough to serve a wide variety of preservative purposes.

Some ways you can start reducing the waste you produce include eating older products first, monitoring and recording what you throw out — so you can be more mindful about an item’s shelf life, and storing better. To get the most out of your efforts, choose a natural, breathable storing method that makes minimal impact on the environment. By making regular, informed decisions about food purchasing, consumption, and storage, climate change can be slowed down, and you can feel confident that the time, energy, and money you put into purchasing and cooking your food doesn’t go to waste either.

A Beautiful Home on a Budget

A Beautiful Home on a Budget

Collaboration with Poppy J.

For many, their home is forever changed with the arrival of children, and priorities swiftly swivel away from purchasing the latest must-have designs, towards trying to keep the home moderately presentable on a budget. It can be extremely difficult to come to terms with the fact that your once pristine palace now resembles a giant crumb-filled toy box, but there are ways you can regain control of your home without having to empty the entire contents of your wallet.

DIY Magic

Once you have accepted you can no longer splurge on every piece of furniture you fancy, you can delve into the magical world of “make-you-own” creativity. The internet is swarming with fantastic decorating tips and tutorials, explaining how you can create amazing accessories for your home, from snazzy vases, to beautifully elegant curtains. You could even make your own chandeliers simply by using plastic spoons, yes plastic spoons! If you want to attempt something a bit bigger, why not give building your own coffee table a go, using wine crates and a lick of varnish

Search the Sales

There are some household items that could prove a little ambition to make, even for the most experienced DIYers, and the sensible thing to do is but furniture that is going to last for several years. Be savvy and scour the online sales for bargain purchases such as cut-price sofas and beds. If your bed and mattress hasn’t been changed in a long time it is worth taking a peek at online retailers such as Bedstar, who regularly have sales. Check their stock for stylish, yet hard-wearing bed frames that can withstand being bounced on by children and pets.

Out With the Old…

Budgeting isn’t just about spending less, and if you can bear to part with existing household items, you could actually be sitting on a goldmine, which can be used to spruce up your home in a child-friendly way. Your threadbare sofa could actually fetch you a few quid on local buy and sell sites, and if you have items such as exercise equipment or still boxed kitchen appliances, admitting you are never going to use them could result in you putting some much-needed pounds in your bank.

Swap Skills

One of the best things about the internet is that we now have the ability to be in contact with all different kinds of people from all over the world in mere seconds. We are also able to contact local people who have talents that could help you revamp your home. I’m not talking about professional decorators and painters who will charge you for jobs done in your home, but people who are willing to trade their particular skill in return for another. There are many sites that advertise this scheme and so if you are a whizz in the kitchen, fluent in a foreign language, or are a talented musician, you could offer to teach another person these skills in return for them sprucing up your home. Take a look at The Guardian’s top ten list of swapping sites and benefit from the skills of others.

Why You Should Consider Purchasing Sheesham Furniture

Why You Should Consider Purchasing Sheesham Furniture

If you are looking for a different hardwood type of timber when you are purchasing wooden furniture, you should consider Sheesham timber products.  The wood scientifically known as Dalbergia Sissoo has the easier to pronounce name of Sheesham and the most famous use of this type of wood is in furniture production.  In fact, it is thought to be the most useful form of timber in the whole of India.

The wood is found in lots of places throughout the sub-Himalayan area, including everywhere from Assam to Indus.  As well as being found in various Indian regions including West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.  The timber and Sheesham furniture are available in large quantities particularly from the Punjab and Uttar Pradesh regions.

What Makes Sheesham Timber So Distinctive?

Sheesham timber is typified by its golden brown to deep brown colouring, with very striking dark streaks that give it a very visually stunning appearance.  It has quite a coarse but balanced texture and is very hard.  As it has a naturally strong resistance to rot and decay it is one of the most popular woods for engraving and carving in India.

What Other Reasons Make Sheesham Timber So Good For Furniture Production?

As Sheesham timber does not split or warp and seasons extremely well it is perfect for cabinet and other types of furniture manufacturing.  It is also one of the timbers in the world that is least susceptible to problematic and destructive dry-wood termites and is thus has greater durability than alternatives.  Further to this, the wood reacts well to polishing and finishes with a nice smooth furnish and resists cutting and sawing but is great for turnery.

Why Choose Sheesham Furniture?

Because of the nature of the timber, Sheesham furniture by default will have a very unique colouring because of the timber’s very well defined grain, which can be finished to improve the look and quality with hand waxing.  Often, Sheesham furniture incorporates hand-forged wrought iron work, often referred to as Jali ironwork.

Interestingly, as it is such a versatile and sturdy type of wood when Sheesham timber is not being used to make exquisite furniture, it is used to make a wide range of different things including sports goods, tool handles, engraved pieces, carved pieces, ornamental turnery, musical instruments, charcoal for cooking and heating and aircraft and marine-grade plywood.

If you are looking for wooden furniture that will stand the test of time and use, due to a close grain and hard structure.  For wooden furniture that will also look smart and sophisticated and add a natural touch to your home; then you should consider Sheesham timber-built pieces of furniture.  If you are also worried about your furniture looking too much like other people’s furniture who have the same or similar wood-built pieces, then you needn’t worry as due to the individual characteristics and markings found in the wood, every piece of furniture made from Sheesham timber is always going to look a little or lot different than other pieces.

Tips For Choosing Bathroom Tiles For A Small Bathroom

Tips For Choosing Bathroom Tiles For A Small Bathroom

As everyone has different needs, wants and tastes; when it comes to choosing the best bathroom tiles for your home, it is quite a subjective matter.  Something that looks perfect to one person, may look hellish to another person.  Although the colours and designs you choose will be your own, there are still some basic pieces of advice you can follow to make sure you choose tiles, such as those available from PlumbTile.com, wisely.

In the following article we will discuss tiling a bathroom and what to consider when doing so.

The Size Of Tiles You Should Choose

One of the best things about shopping for bathroom tiling is that there is such a wide variety of styles and sizes available.  It is important to bear in mind that just because a certain style or design looks beautiful on paper, it doesn’t mean it will on the walls or floor of your bathroom.  You also need to consider the size of the bathroom as not all types of tiles will look good in every bathroom.  Before you hire anyone or lay any tiles you need to take a sample and really give thought to how your bathroom will look when it’s finished.

The majority of interior design professionals will recommend that you avoid using larger sized tiles in a smaller bathroom, as it can make the room look and feel small.  When the truth is that you can have just as many problems when you opt for smaller sized tiles.  As smaller tiles will mean more grout lines and a grid-like look, it can make you feel boxed in, in a small bathroom.  It is best to find a happy medium between large and small tiles.

Can You Make Your Small Bathroom Look Bigger Using Tiles?

The short answer is yes, but it really depends on the the style of tile you choose.  A well-known industry tip is that you can make a room look bigger by decorating it with lighter colours.  So consider using lighter shades and colours such as creams and whites.  Even if you mix up the colours and have dark with some light, like white and black tiles, you need to ensure that at least 50% of  them are light.

The Number Of Tiles You Need

Before you go out or log online to buy bathroom tiles you should figure out how many tiles you will actually need to complete the room.  There are various tile calculators online that make finding the information very easy.  These take the measurements and dimensions of your bathroom to calculate the correct number.  If you don’t fancy doing it that way, you could take your bathroom’s dimensions along to your nearest tile retailer.  Regardless of how you measure for the number, always add 10% to that number to buy enough tiles to cover pattern matching, waste, cuttings and breakages.

Interior Design Ideas for the Family Home

Interior Design Ideas for the Family Home

Let’s be honest – once your toddler starts walking, talking, and playing around the house, keeping your home clean, tidy, and stylish can become a bit of a challenge. But while you will most certainly have to give up some control (and will find yourself regularly craving a holiday weekend away to restore the balance), having kids doesn’t mean you have to compromise your eye for interior design. It simply means that you have to rethink your attitude a little. From minimalist design ideas, to easy origami animals for kids to create – here are four tips on how to give your home some style, co-designed by your children.

Choose your statement pieces – but make sure they’re resilient

Living with kids doesn’t mean that you can’t invest in nice furniture, but it is important to choose pieces that are sturdy enough to handle some wear and tear, without needing a professional clean every other week. Go for dark colours, leather, and patterned fabrics instead of cream coloured suede if you want to invest in a designer piece. When it comes to coffee tables and cabinets, think practical and go for smooth shapes rather than sharp corners. By thinking outside the box, you might even stumble upon a great piece of furniture that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Learn how to curate your kid’s art

Kids love painting and arts and crafts. No wonder – it’s a fun activity that teaches them valuable manual skills and is great to relax kids that tend to get stressed and worried. But if your kids are proud of what they have created, they will most likely want to see it up on a wall for everyone to admire. Whilst you might be hesitant at first to give your kid that prime spot in the living room that you had reserved for some “real art”, it’s time to shift that mindset. The trick is to curate your kid’s art so only selected paintings or projects make it up on the wall. This will not only make sure that you can pick and choose which art works will complement your home, but it will also instill a real sense of pride in the chosen artist.

Encourage variety

If your kids tend to stick to the same watercolour style every time they dig out the craft utensils, it might be time for you to show them what else is out there. You could, for example, introduce them to the art of origami – whilst it sounds difficult and fiddly, a lot of origami is simple, straightforward, and suitable for kids. Take a look at these easy origami animals for kids that you can make together. Another idea is to start a collage art project with your children. You can use family photos, magazine cutouts, or pictures you have printed to make collage art. Why not for example make a family calendar? You can buy plain white calendars in every art shop. Once you start to embark on bigger art projects such as these with your kids, the results will surprise you – and look surprisingly great on your kitchen wall.

Keep it simple

One of the most important things to keep in mind when you try to create a style for your home is that it’s crucial to go for simplicity over clutter. A minimalist look for your flat or your house is always great, but it’s almost essential when you have small children playing in the living room and spreading their toys out in the kitchen. By keeping it simple, not only will your kids have fewer opportunities to knock things over when things get a little wild. But it also means that even if they spread out all their toys next to the couch, the room won’t feel to messy and cluttered, and cleaning things up after will be an easy and quick affair.

From easy origami animals for kids, to simple storage solutions – having children doesn’t have to be a hindrance to your interior design. There are loads of ways your family can enhance the look and feel of your home – give one of these simple ideas a go and see what you can achieve.

8 Benefits of Using a Letting Agent

8 Benefits of Using a Letting Agent

If you’re a landlord, you may have considered using a letting agent to help you in your venture. They aren’t compulsory, but they can make the process of letting a property a whole lot easier. There are both pros and cons of course, but this post is going to focus on 8 benefits you can enjoy from working with a letting agent:

They’ll Help You to Prepare Your Property

Your property needs to be properly prepared if you’re going to let it out. You need to have the proper checks in place, such as making sure there are no fire hazards due to furniture or electrical appliances. You should also have certificates in place to support this.

They’ll Sort Out Your Inventory

You’re likely to leave some things in the property, such as cabinets, carpets, and maybe a sofa. If you find a letting agent in Wolverhampton, they’ll more than likely have employees who specialise in taking inventory. This is very important, so you can make sure nothing is missing or damaged when your tenant moves out.

They’ll Take Care of the Deposit

In your tenancy agreement, you’ll require a deposit for any repairs and maintenance that need to be done when your tenant leaves. If the repairs are light wear and tear, your tenant will get the deposit back. If they haven’t looked after the house, you are entitled to keep the deposit for repairs. The letting agent will take care of all of this and keep it in a government scheme for you, as stated by law.


photo source: Flickr

They’ll Check The Property Every So Often

Every so often, a good letting agent will check on the property and come back with home reports to make sure that your tenant isn’t having wild parties and trashing the place.

They’ll Take Care of Repairs

If repairs do need to be taken care of, and they more than likely will, your letting agent will do this for you too. It’ll be much nicer than you having a phone call at 4am, with your tenant frantically telling you they have a leak.

They’ll Get You a Tenant Quickly

Letting agents are likely to be able to get you a tenant much quicker than you can. Your property should be occupied in no time.

They’ll Vet Your Tenant

Although the letting agent will get your property occupied quickly, they won’t shove any old person in there. They will vet your tenant, doing all of the proper background checks to make sure that they are respectable.

They’ll Give You Peace of Mind

Do to everything a letting agent can do for you, you’ll have peace of mind that your property is well taken care of. I advise you meet your tenant at least once; perhaps when they look around the property for the first time. This way, you know who is taking care of your property.

People have different opinions on letting agents, but you can’t deny that they make a landlord’s life much easier!

Moving Up on the Property Ladder: Is Now the Time to Upgrade Your Home?

Moving Up on the Property Ladder: Is Now the Time to Upgrade Your Home?

With a growing brood and an ever-growing family, there never seems to be enough space in the home. Kids are not just kids. They come with toys, books, clothes and other stuff. As they get older, the problem seems to intensify! Children take up a lot of space in the family home. With this in mind, you may be considering moving house. A house with more space is always needed with an expanding family. The property market, in the UK, has slowly been recovering. This means that more and more people are keen to move house and upgrade to their dream family home.

But, is now the right time to move property? Let’s find out.

Moving Up the Property Ladder

Moving up onto your next property is a significant step. But, for expanding families, space is always welcome. It is needed, in fact. Whether this is your second home or your twelfth, you need to think about the implications, as well as the benefits, of moving house. After all, moving home is cited as the most stressful thing an adult can do.

When the credit crunch hit in 2008, some homeowners found themselves in the unfortunate position. Negative equity became the homeowner’s burden. With the inevitable rising costs of property, the consumer need for larger properties took a hit. But, the economy is rising once again. Now just is the perfect time to start afresh in an upgraded property.



Check Your Property Prices

Having a substantive knowledge of the local property market will serve you well. You need to ensure that you have the money to fill the shortfall of your next property. It is said that the average cost of an upgrade is 32%. This means that you are likely to pay over £40,000 more for your next property. You need to ensure that you have the finances in place in order to move. What’s more, you need to consider whether now is the right time to move.

Value Your Home

Negative equity didn’t affect all homeowners. On the contrary, some people have profited from the credit crunch. With this in mind, you need to make sure that you are aware of the real and present costs of your property. A residential property search in Seaton, for example, can ensure that you are au fait with the local figures of housing. Of course, tailor this to your location accordingly for real costs. The best place to check your current valuation is on the online market. An estate agent will be able to assist you with this too.

Your New Mortgage: Money Matters

Buying a bigger property means that you need to assess your mortgage. You may have to put in for a larger loan. Ensure that you are checking out the latest deals. You don’t have to go with your current mortgage provider so that you can move. Interest rates are at an all time low. For those who are current homeowners, now is the perfect time to move. But, do factor in the additional costs of your mortgage into your budget. Fixed rate deals are perfect for those that want to upgrade and move up on the property ladder. You will also need a 10% deposit for your new home.

What to Look For When Viewing a Rental Property

What to Look For When Viewing a Rental Property

Viewing a rental property can be exciting and daunting in equal measure. There might be lots of people waiting to see the house or flat you’re interested in, and so you may have to make a quick decision. If you get this right, you could land the perfect pad. On the other hand, if you make a mistake, you may miss out on the ideal home or end up with the wrong property.

It’s important to know your rights as a renter and to have a clear head when you’re viewing homes. This brief guide will help ensure you know what to look for.

Check for maintenance issues


Link to image

When you’re walking around rental homes in Gorleston, make sure you look for any potential maintenance issues. Pay particular attention to details like bathroom and kitchen fixtures and fittings. It’s also worth having a look at gutters, windows and roofs to see if there are any obvious problems.

Make sure you run the taps, flush the toilet and test the shower to make sure they all work too, and try opening the windows.

The last thing you want to do is move into a property that’s falling apart. If you see potential problems, don’t be afraid to raise the issue with the owner or letting agent.

See how much storage there is

Of course, you’ll want to make sure that the property suits your style requirements. However, it’s also crucial to focus on practical points. For example, note how much storage there is. You don’t want to sign a lease only to realise you’ll have to ditch half your belongings to squeeze into your new place.

Bear in mind that you can add storage solutions like wardrobes and shelving, but you’ll need enough square footage to fit the items in.

Check heating and insulation

Heating and insulation are other key points to consider. Check to see if the property is double-glazed and ask about the age and condition of the boiler and central heating system. Bear in mind that this could have a major impact on your bills. If your rental property is drafty or suffers from inefficient heating, you could end up spending a fortune throughout the winter.

Make sure you feel secure

Another top tip when viewing properties is to check for any security measures. You’ll no doubt want good quality door locks and well-designed windows.

The surrounding area should feel safe too. Bear in mind that places can seem very different during the day than they do at night. With this in mind, it’s helpful to visit the area after sunset to see whether or not you feel safe there. This will have a big impact on your quality of life, so it’s worth making the extra effort.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of all the issues you need to look out for when you’re viewing rental properties, but it’s a good start. By taking advantage of the property advice available online, you can help ensure you choose the right home for you.