Category: Advice

The Most Challenging Home Repairs & Improvements We’ve Taken On So Far

Not too long ago, we traded our hectic city lives for a peaceful rural cottage. It’s the best decision we’ve ever made, and we’re certainly not looking back! However, it came with its fair share of challenges. Not least, a handful of repairs and improvements that we’ve had to take on. We’ve loved taking this fixer-upper and turning it into a cosy home, but it wasn’t easy. This morning I found myself thinking back to those first few months in the house. The stress of repairs came flooding back! Here are some of the trickiest jobs we had to take on.

Foundation repairs

Living in the country comes with the difficult job of working with nature! Living in the country meant that our home was built on less-than-suitable ground. The house itself had a little problem with subsidence. In layman’s terms, it was sinking! We’re only talking about a few cm a year, but we didn’t want it getting any worse. We hired the experts to do a full slab foundation repair before we moved in. We’re happy to say the house has been steady ever since!

Chimney repair

One of the best things about living in the country is access to a real fire. In our tiny city apartment, we were lucky if we could keep a candle burning. Now we have a huge fireplace with a roaring log-burner. Despite our initial excitement, we had to fix the chimney first! It’s an old house, and the brickwork and cement had begun to crumble near the apex of the roof. We didn’t trust ourselves to DIY this essential repair, so this was another one for the experts.

Double glazing

We love living in an older property. It has so much more character and personality than a city apartment. There’s a sense of history in the walls and there’s a warmer ambience. Of course, there are compromises with an older house. For starters, the cottage didn’t have double glazing. We put this near the top of our list so we could keep the house warm and energy efficient. Since putting in double glazing, the energy bills have come down significantly!

Installing solar panels

Despite the country lifestyle, there’s still a little hint of city thinking in our brains! We’re still keen to keep costs down and make technological additions. We wanted to find the perfect balance of rural living and modern technology. There’s no reason they can’t work together. So, we decided to install solar panels. After all, we’ve got acres of space and it doesn’t hurt to be a little more self-sufficient. The installation cost is quite high, but we anticipate making the money back through energy savings.

Renewing the damp proof course

Lastly, we had to tackle a rising damp problem in the kitchen. It’s quite a common repair for an older rural property. It’s a fairly simple process of injecting preventative chemicals into the wall. It didn’t take long (but it did make a mess of the kitchen!)

Phew! I’m exhausted just thinking back to it! But I’m glad we took the time and got the problems ironed out. Now, we can sit back and enjoy our wonderful new house.

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Dogs And Fleas: How To Prepare For The Summer

Summer is flea season. In the warmest months, there is a significant rise in the number of fleas in the environment. Combine this with the fact that your dog will be more exposed to them because the sunshine will make you want to spend more time in the great outdoors. It can be difficult to keep your life flea-free when you have a dog. Luckily there are some steps you can follow to prepare you for flea season and protect your dog, family and home from these parasites.

  1. Stock up

If you live in an area with an especially high intensity of fleas in summer, it may be inevitable that your dog will get them at some point. It’s vital that you deal with the problem straight away to avoid them breeding and taking over your home. You can use your pet prescription to buy flea spot-on medicines in an affordable and easy way online. You can use many of these treatments to prevent as well as control fleas.

  1. Comb your dog regularly

Whenever your dog has been outside, it’s a good idea to use a flea comb through their hair. This will help to remove any parasites before they get a chance to set up camp in your dog’s coat or in your home. Place a white towel under your dog while you comb so it will be easier to detect if any fleas are present. This towel should be carefully shaken into a bowl of water, and then the contents flushed down the toilet.


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  1. Have more baths

Fleas are far less attracted to clean animals. Therefore, during the summer you may wish to increase the number of baths you give to your dog. You can purchase gentle shampoos formulated for canines from pet stores or your veterinary practice. Fleas will usually die in water so by bathing your dog more often you will also be getting rid of any fleas living in their coats.

  1. Vacuum (a lot)

Vacuuming is one of the most effective ways to keep your home flea-free. During the summer, you will need to vacuum at least once a week, more if you have evidence of fleas from your dog or around your home. You need to be very thorough with this task, so it is a good idea to make sure your vacuum is in good working order and to make any fixes before the summer officially starts. You should not only concentrate on the floors, but also the skirting boards, furnishings and both your bed and your dog’s bed.

  1. Wash your dog’s bedding

As well as vacuuming your dog’s bedding, you should also make sure it is kept clean. Attempt to wash it every couple of weeks so that the cleanliness is unappealing to fleas.

  1. Use insect deterrents

There are a number of natural ingredients that can help to keep fleas, and other insects, at bay. This is summer you may wish to purchase some cedar, lavender or peppermint oil sprays and some citronella candles.

We hope this information helps you to have a flea-free summer this year.

Image from Flickr.com

How furniture can help save space

Home design techniques will never become an out dated owing to the size of most households. Most households are small in size as compared to the amount of stuff that comes in. In such a situation, lack of proper organization of households can lead to clutter. The size of most households, if not well organized, cannot accommodate most of the basic stuffs that people bring in. In most cases, amount of stuffs coming in exceeds the amount of the same going out.

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