Three Easy DIY Tasks to Add Value to Your Home

The DIY industry has long been popular in the UK and it's a great way to add a little extra value to your home. Whether you're planning on selling, or just looking to add a little luxury to your property, investing some time in a DIY project can be well worth the effort. Some popular projects include:

Renewing Your Bathroom

Spending a little time renewing your bathroom can make for a fun and potentially easy task. The bathroom tends to be one of the smaller rooms in the house, so it makes for a more manageable DIY project, and there are a number of quick jobs you can do. Replacing taps or showerheads, installing new towel rails and replacing old cabinets are all reliably easy tasks. Repaining old paintwork and cleaning tiles and grouting can also help improve the overall look. If you're looking for a larger project retiling / tiling walls or floors can make a large impact and can be completed over a weekend.

A Lick of New Paint

For many, the thought of repainting fills them with dread, but you do not need to make a major project of it. Ignoring the walls for the moment, repainting woodwork around the house can help overall looks immensely, touching up the skirting and removing and repainting flaking paintwork on windows. Repaining flaking paintwork on exterior woodwork is also worth spending a little time on, as it helps maintain the condition of your house. When it comes to the walls, it's worth breaking the job down into smaller projects, tackling a room at a time and taking the time to do it right the first time.

A Little Landscaping in the Front Garden

Taking a weekend to improve the looks of any space out front really adds to the first impression of the house, improving both its value and providing an added level of satisfaction every time you approach the front door. Doing a little weeding, brushing out, putting in a couple of new potted plants and repainting the front door are all easy tasks. If you have grass out the front of the house taking the time to mow the lawn and re-seed any bald patches can make the difference, it's also worth taking the time to edge the lawn and give it a neat finish.

Investing a little time in your home really does pay off in the long term and, by doing little DIY projects often, it does not feel like a chore either! …

Garden Games Can Be Fun

I'm fortunately enough to live in a house with a garden of a reasonable size. Until recently, however, I was very much of the opinion that it was not being fully used as a resource. I denied to make some changes to my own lifestyle and that of my family.

I realized that my kids simply were not spending very much time outdoors. That's not to suggest that they were hermit – it's just that they always seemed to want to disappear off to play computer games after school, rather than getting some fresh air. Did this concern me?

The truth is that I did not see it as a major worry until I started to hear about how many children were now being classified as being obese. It was clear to me that children who did not get enough exercise were obviously more likely to have health problems in later life.

I certainly did not like the thought of causing such problems for my kids – especially since it was something that I knew that I could deal with relatively easily.

When I initially started to suggest to my children that they should spend more time outdoors, they did not seem very interested. In fact, their initial reactions suggested that they thought that computers, games consoles and televisions were far more interesting.

I did not want to simply dictate a new set of rules – I wanted to show them that it could be a lot more fun to make use of the garden. Although things were starting slowly, I felt that I'd stuck gold once I hit upon the idea of ​​buying a trampoline.

The kids immediately started to take an interest when it was arrived. As they offered to help me to put it together, I could immediately see that there was some real hope of getting to see them spending time using it. It's turned out to be a great investment and they now often shun their video games in favor of it.

This has been a real success and I've been able to build on it by introducing even more games – we've been making use of swings and slides, as well as flying a kite. I have to confess that I've also found it to be great fun – it's given us a set of activities that we can all enjoy as a family.

It's a great feeling to know that we're all keeping fit and also having fun. The changes to our lifestyle have helped to show us how much fun we can have from garden games. …

Bathroom Renovation Ideas For Tight Budget

Are you getting something frustrated about the way your bathroom looks like nowdays? Here is an idea – renovate!

However, if you are running on a tight budget these days, it is not a reason to eliminate bathroom renovation and put it off as an activity in the uncertain future. You can still start renovating your bathroom into a part of your house that is a welcoming place to be – even on a limited budget.

Here are some effective tips in accomplishing your self-appointed project.

1. Have a specific plan and budget for your bathroom renovation project. Realize the new design you are envisioning for your bathroom and identify how much you are willing to spend to achieve your goal.

2. Stick with your plan. Once you already have the design that you absolutely want to accomplish and already have set up a budget plan for it, avoid deviating from them.

3. Implement your project one at a time. You have to determine which part of your bathroom must first undergo redoing or replacement in order to fit into your planned design.

4. Do some canvassing first and compare the prices of items you need. Do not purchase the item you need in the first store you go into. It is advisable to widen your options.

Go into several shops and stores and check out the prices they offer for the items you need. You may be able to save hundreds of dollars if you purchase the right item in the most affordable price.

5. Try shopping for items you need around the time when there may be discounts available.

For example, during summer or through the holidays when most people are not very keen on renovating their bathrooms, you might find some stores that offer discounts on items you need for your future bathroom renovation projects.

6. Be aware of small and simple ways, which do not entail a lot of money but may contribute to change your bathroom's appearance. Changing your shower curtain or installing a cabinet to put in towels can create a remarkable effect. …

Outsourcing – 10 Reasons to Outsource Your IT Support Requirements

During the time of global meltdown, corporations across Great Britain have tightened their belts. IT is being outsourced along with many business functions. As per a recent report from Computer Weekly magazine, the IT outsourcing is witnessing a year-on-year growth of 5.9%.

Below are listed top 10 reasons of outsourcing your IT business:

1. Cost:

Currently, an in-house IT manager would be drawing around 50,000 GBP annually. Apart from that, there would be additional costs of recruitment, additional company incentives, and a range of trainings to keep them up to date with current skills. This is a major overhead both in terms of costs and time.

2. Lack of in-house expertise:

In case you are not having enough space for a dedicated IT Support staff, you need not have one. It might be possible that you do not have much of IT related stuff to have someone permanently employed. Since to resolve issues, some IT firms offer unlimited IT support contracts, enabling you to call them almost as if they were your team member.

3. Extend your in-house expertise:

It might be possible that you would have a dedicated IT Support staff. For continuity of your IT operations, you depend heavily on them. What if they are already stuck on some issue when you are reporting another one or they are not in office due to some personal issue and you need to get another one resolved? Outsourcing your IT Support to a dedicated IT firm would help you gain access to a full team of experts.

4. The skills crisis:

Recruitment of IT staff can be tricky if you are not from technical background. As per Confederation of British Industry 2008 Skills Survey, 53% of employers are not very sure while recruiting people with necessary skill set. Outsourcing removes any worries and results in a highly trained team at your disposal.

5. Productivity:

Distributing IT related stuff amongst your team members would result in lower efficiency instead of the other way round. According to the Confederation of British Industry 2008 Skills Survey, 56% of employers are worried about the ability of their employees to use computers.

6. Find out about the latest technology:

With a rapid evolving technology market and cut throat competition, an IT support firm would help you access various innovations and market best practices with their industry partnerships and range of trainings.

7. Value added services:

Your IT support vendor would be able to provide you with a range of additional consultancy services like network's security, disaster recovery plan which would help you greatly in improvement in your systems and saving costs.

8. Constant care:

Some IT support vendors can help monitor your system's performance regularly and help prevent any loss in productivity that eliminating any possible downtime.

9. Risk management and legal redress:

Outsourcing would help not only in eliminate IT issues but ensure someone else can be held accountable for any crisis enabling you to seek damages in case anything goes wrong.

10. Focus

How to Borrow Your Way to Wealth

Why does one real estate investor go on to become a millionaire and another stay broke and in debt? Why does one investor always have the money to do the deals and another seemingly always treads on water? Why does one steadily move on up while another just moves on, or worse – just quits?

Without a doubt, some investors have tapped into the best-kept secret that will help you acquire the unlimited success and wealth you’ve always deserved. It’s the secret that helped Donald Trump, Robert Kiyosaki, and Ross Perot build their real estate empires.

What is this secret?

Your wealth is limited only by your ability to borrow money. Yes – your ability to get into debt determines your ability to achieve wealth.

But debt is a complex concept. Not all of it is good — a fact a surprising number of people fail to realize until they’re in the hole — and yet not all debt is bad. When used intelligently, the right type of debt can be of tremendous assistance in building your wealth.

The smart investors know the difference between good debt (investment debt) and bad debt (consumer debt). When you buy something that goes down in value immediately, that’s bad debt. Buying a car on debt seems to be an inescapable part of life, but the car has no potential to increase in value and that’s bad consumer debt.

Conversely, good debt is investment debt that creates value. For example, you find a good property that needs to be fixed up so you can resell it for a profit. You obtain a short-term loan from a Private Lender to buy the ugly house and fix it up quickly. This is definitely good debt.

Why?

Several months later, you sell the house, pay off the loan from the Private Lender, and you leave the title company with a five-figure check that represents your profit. No doubt, the best type of debt is debt that builds wealth over the long run, and the No. 1 example is debt for the purchase of real estate.

Imagine selling just two houses each and every month. And every time, you sell the house, your loan from your Private Lender is immediately paid off, and you walk away with a generous check.

This may sound like the stuff of fantasy to you, but successful real estate investors use investment debt to routinely achieve their financial goals. These same investors usually buy their properties with no money down. No money down does not mean that no money is involved in the transaction. The goal is to use none of your own cash and that’s precisely what seasoned investors accomplish with short-term investment debt.

Most new investors believe that their lack of money is what stops them from doing a deal. Although this is not true, it does keep some investors from launching their business and realizing their goals.

Do not let your lack of money, bad credit, or no credit keep …

House Training Dogs

There are many reasons an adult dog may not be house broken. It could vary from a medical condition (a virus or a parasite), to never being taught, to even just a behavioral issue. If your dog is suffering from a medical condition, treatment should solve all house training problems. Most house training issues are behavioral issues and are easily remedied.

The very first step in house training an adult dog is to begin crate training him immediately. Crate training your dog will teach him the boundaries and rules of your home. It is also the most effective aid for house breaking and it provides your dog a safe place to comfortably relax. On top of all of these great things, crate training also gives you a reliable location to leave your dog while you are not home.

The second step in how breaking an adult dog is never leave food and water accessible to your dog all day long. By implementing a feeding schedule, your dog will be eating twice a day, once in the morning once in the evening. Like you, when your dog eats at regular times, he will have to go to the bathroom at regular times.

So now it is time to go outside. To make your life much easier, choose a specific location in your yard you would like your dog to use as his own personal bathroom. This actually gives your dog some more consistency and if you bring him to that specific area every time he has to get to the bathroom, he will quickly become comfortable and much more willing to relieve himself there.

The key to any training is in the praise. All dogs want to please their masters. When your dog behaves in a way that makes you happy, let him know by giving him generous praise (lots of scratches and "good boy!"). When he knows what exactly makes you happy, your dog is much more willing to do what makes you happy.

When you are breaking your dog, you must expect accidents. This is a trial and error process for your dog, so when there is an accident, do not get mad. Make a loud noise to make your dog stop relieving himself. Once he has stopped, calmly and quickly bring him outside to where he is allowed to go potty. When he finishes reliving himself outside, praise him. Be sure to thoroughly clean where the accident was, you do not want you house smelling like doggy poo! …

Where to Find the Perfect Dog House Plans?

It is not that easy to find building plans for a proper dog house, most of the time large local hardware stores provide all kind of building plans for small DIY jobs in and around the house, but we found out by experience that almost none have dog house plans available. So, what is the best place to find the perfect plan to build a dog house for your dog.

Building a proper dog house looks like a fairly simple DIY job but it is in fact a bit more than that, it is the place where your dog needs to sleep in any kind of wherever, so it needs to be dry, not to hot in summer and not to cold in winter, and your dog should be able to sleep without any draft, it should be safe so a pointy roof is out of the question because that joins wasps and hornets to nest and it should be easy to clean.

When you look at all of the claims that should be incorporated in proper dog house plans you realize that the typical Pluto style dog houses are not suited for a outdoor dog. You need to invest some time in finding the right dog house plan for your dog and the climate you live in. And if you like to make a family project out it, you can, with the proper preparation, build it in one or two weeks.

Finding dog house plans that fit your needs.

As we said before most hardware stores can not help you with good dog house plans and you can try it at your local library but we do not give you much change to find it there either. In fact a good place to find the perfect dog house plans is right here on the internet, the internet can provide you with plans, advise and you can meet other dog owners who have already build a dog house from a plan before.

Some websites will give their plans away for free other websites ask a, most of the time, reasonable price for the plan just like the plans you can buy in a hardware store. But you will be able to see the dog houses as a drawing and with pictures. Read all the specifications and look at what other dog owners experienced when they build a dog house according to these plans.

When you have made your choice you need to read the list of materials and tools and make sure that you have everything before you start building.

Criteria for proper dog house plans

Not a pointy Pluto style roof but a sloped roof, water can drain away and your dog can also sit or lay on the roof. For practical reasons the roof should be on hinges so it is accessible for cleaning.

The floor of the dog house should be of the ground so cold and moisture can not enter the floor.
Removable wind wall against …

5 Great Health Tips to Give You More Energy

Fitness Levels

During the winter months we tend to get out of the habit of exercising. Spring time is a great excuse to renew that exercise time and get back into shape. This will also help to increase your energy levels. The key is to begin slowly and gradually. All you need is 15 to 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day. You do not even have to leave the house to do this as simple household chores or running up and down the stairs can give you a good workout.

Energy levels

We tend to cover ourselves up and hide in doors during the winter months. We also tend to use coffee and other caffeine drinks to give us a boost of energy. However, with the brighter and warmer days it is a great opportunity to get outdoors and catch a natural energy booster through the sun's rays. You can combine this with simple deep breathing exercises to re-energize you and get your blood flowing through the body. Begin by breathing in slowly for a count of six and then hold for a second and release slowly for a count of six. Ensure you breathe right down to the pit of your stomach.

Your Mental Well Being

As well as your body your mind plays an important role in regulating your energy levels. Therefore, it is important to keep it active and stimulated. If you are in the habit of crashing on the sofa and watching TV in your spare time this will lower your energy levels as most TV is not very stimulating. Break the habit by getting involved with activities that are going to use more brain cells. This can involve playing card or board games with family or friends.

Your Free Time

During the warmer and brighter days it is wise to make the most of outdoor activities. If you are to live by or close to the sea use a warm sunny day as an excuse to take you and the family to the beach for a picnic. The combination of being outdoors and breathing in that refreshing sea breeze will do wonders for your energy levels. You may also find that a day at the sea seems to make you sleep hardly at night.

The Food You Eat

What you eat plays an important role in how you feel and the energy levels you have. The foods to eat that will boost your energy levels are plenty of fruit, vegetables including salads, lean meats and plenty of water. …

Avoiding Fuel Poverty and Saving Energy by Insulating Hard-to-Heat Solid Wall Homes

HOUSE WARMING -v- GLOBAL WARMING

Do you remember the saying “It’s the ECONOMY, stupid!”. It is a statement that has gone into political legend. But as far a global warming is concerned we need to recognise that “It’s the HOUSE, stupid”. In fact individual homes in Western Developed Nations are responsible for up to 50% of global warming – and hence climate change – problems.

Heating causes most of this because a great deal of the energy used comes from burning fossil fuels. It doesn’t matter whether this is in the home or at some remote electricity generating station. Wherever the fuel – the coal, gas, wood, oil and so on – is converted into energy it gives off carbon dioxide gas – the main “green house” gas that helps cause global warming.

In fact 25% of all the UK’s CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions come from household energy use, with 70% linked directly space heating and hot water.

Because the problem is so urgent the UK Government has decided this must be reduced by at least 20% by 2010. But at the same time it has committed to ending fuel poverty by 2015.

Both are tall orders.

FUEL POVERTY

Let’s first take a look at fuel poverty – where any household has to spend more than 10% of disposable income to make their home comfortable to live in.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) regards 21°C as being an adequate temperature for Living Rooms, and 18°C elsewhere. However, if it’s 2°C or less outside, 18% of UK homes fall way below this, recording only 16°C in their living rooms.

It 2000 AD there were over 5 million such homes in the UK, more than 3 million of which were solid wall properties – i.e. buildings that do not have cavity wall type construction..

Significantly 83% of people suffering from ‘fuel poverty’ are considered socially and economically ‘vulnerable’. That is to say older people, families with children and those who are disabled or have long-term illness occupy properties that are the most fuel inefficient.

COLD DEATHS

Because many of them don’t spend enough on heating to reach even minimum comfort standards, their homes may be cold and damp – conditions associated with ill health and early deaths.

People living in rural areas often face additional problems, like no gas network, higher heat loss from detached properties, more solid wall construction, and general lack of good quality housing for those on low incomes.

HEALTH ISSUES

In the UK over 60,000 cold-related deaths are recorded in the UK each year, some 40,000 of these in winter. Thus it is reckoned that exposure to cold is responsible for 30% more people dying than need to.

Cardiovascular disease accounts for 50% or more of these ‘excess’ winter deaths, while respiratory diseases are responsible for 30% or so. Although hypothermia itself is only responsible for less than 1% of these, for every degree C below the UK winter average there are 8,000 extra deaths.

Contrast this with …

Spruce Up Your House by Gardening!

It's a good time to start thinking and planning ahead for your garden. A neat and tidy front yard can enhance a property, but a beautifully planned one can really make an ordinary house look special.

Some accessories that will make your yard look really good can be very inexpensive. Most of us are on a budget, especially these days when we never know how much it will cost to fill up our gas tank. Sometimes at this time of the year, you can find last year's garden accessories discounted. Benches or garden lights may be listed for sale before the new stock comes in.

There are some basic rules which apply to every garden. Before you start you should try and afford a soil test. This is quite inexpensive and either your local nursery or the Internet will tell you how to go about it. You can also buy do-it-yourself kits. The second thing is to dig compost into your garden, and now (winter) is a good time.

If you are having a soil test carried out, you will know from the results if you should add any other nutrition to your soil. A soil test will mean you will not be buying the 'wrong' shrubs, plants etc for your soil type.

There is one last thing that you should monitor: how long and where the sun shines on different parts of your garden. Plants can thrive without direct sunlight, but only if you plant a type that likes the shade. This can still include many bright, colorful plants (ie impatiens), so you can still brighten up dull areas.

Once you decide to buy, you do not want to waste your money by having the plants or shrubs die on you. The soil test will curb some of these mistakes. The other thing to do is to look up, on the Internet or from a book, your particular growing zone. If you live in an area where, for instance, you come into the 'Hardiness Zone', it will enable you to pick the type of plant that has the best chance of surviving in your type of climate.

Always put short and stocky plants in front of taller ones. Remember to check the expected height to know this information – do not decide by the height at purchase time. Remember that short and stocky plants are generally tougher and more tenant, so choose more of these.

Try to resist buying plants in bloom at the time of purchase. The ones that still have to bloom will probably be stronger for the transplant process. If you have more shady areas than you wish, think about drastically trimming a tree to get more sunlight onto certain patches. Remember that some plants like a lot of water, so group these together to make the watering less laborious for you.

There are many small accessories that will really make your yard stand out. Obviously a strategically placed bench -or chairs and small table- under …