Thursday, 17 January 2019

How To Save Money When Renovating Your Home

Changing things around your home is something that many people may decide to do at some point, whether this is when moving in or after a few years of being there. When myself and fiancée bought our house back in June 2018, we moved into the property and knew that there were a number of things that we either wanted to change or that needed replacing. We learnt a lot of things when renovating our house and turning it into the home it now is. This post contains some advice about how we saved money while going through the process.

Get A Range Of Quotes For Work

There will be some jobs that you can't always do yourself and you'll need a skilled tradesperson, such as an electrician or plumber. Asking friends and family for recommendations of who they have used before can be a really good way to find reliable and reasonably priced people. We found tradespeople this way and they did a great job without costing us the earth. If you aren't able to find someone through recommendations, be sure to get prices from a few different companies. Don't just get one get one quote and assume that's just how much it will cost. You can often get the same work done but you could be paying hundreds of pounds more for one company compared to another. Try to find reviews online by other customers to make sure they sound reputable and others are happy with the work that has been done to be sure they aren't cheap for the wrong reasons.

Do The Flooring Yourself

As the flooring in your house covers such a large area, you might be put off by the potential costs of redoing this. When we got into our house we knew that the carpet in the living room and all three bedrooms were in serious need of replacement so we started to price up the options. After purchasing laminate to replace the carpet in all four rooms, we looked at the cost of getting someone in to do it and felt we would be better spending that money elsewhere so chose to install it ourselves. Taking up the old carpet was fairly easy, all you should need is a Stanley knife to cut the carpet into strips so that you can easily take it out, a pair of pliers to pull out any staples used to secure the carpet underlay and a chisel or screwdriver to pull up any carpet grippers. After securing any loose floorboards, laying the laminate and cutting to size is a relatively simple process to follow and once you have laid a few rows you'll soon get into a routine.

Upgrading Your Kitchen On A Budget

You might think that redoing your kitchen is going to cost thousands and you'd have to get it completely gutted and redone, which is the same thought we had initially. As we didn't have this kind of money to get the kitchen refitted, we decided to look at other options and came up with a few areas to upgrade. We redecorated all of the kitchen units from a drab green to a dark grey which only cost £25 for a tub of cupboard paint from B&Q. This made such a difference and immediately changed the look of the whole room. We then removed the old worktops, bought new ones online, cut them to size ourselves and fitted them in place, along with a new kitchen sink, which wasn't as hard as it may sound. The old black tiles were removed and we re-tiled the wall around the worktops and the splashback area above the cooker with white subway tiles which made a great improvement. To finish off the kitchen, we added some white lino tiles that could be stuck on top of the older lino which really brightened the room up and made it feel bigger. This flooring may not stay forever but for £30 it gave a budget-friendly option to improve the overall appearance. You might not want to do all of the things I've described but each one could make a noticeable improvement to your kitchen.

Shop Around

There is often a lot of things you need to buy for your home and it can soon start to total up. Taking the time to look at a range of shops for items could end up saving you a lot of money. If you haven't been to IKEA then it's well worth a trip as they have pretty much everything you could think of at different price points. Homesense is another favourite home store due to their collection of unique products. The prices can vary greatly due to the type of products they stock, but you can also get some bargains, such as a dressing table stool that we picked up for only £23. Another option if you are in need of some furniture but are on a tight budget, you can often find a lot in charity shops. Even if this would be used for a few months, the prices will be much lower than a new item from a store. Discount retailers such as B&M have a surprising amount of home items including cushions, decorative pieces, large mirrors, bathroom bits plus even more.

Be Savvy When Buying Items

You might have decided where you want to purchase your home items but it's worth being clever with when you buy them. There are numerous sales throughout the year where you could get money off such as Christmas, Black Friday and end of season sales to name a few. Keep checking back and keep an eye out for these sales to save yourself some money. Websites such as Vouchercloud and Money Saving Expert can give you discounts to use, which can also be obtained if you sign up for company newsletters, so it's worth doing this before rushing into buying.

Upcycling Furniture

There are certain items of furniture that you may love but are a bit pricey. When you have been redoing your home you may end up having to make a choice between purchases due to budget constraints but there could be another option. When doing our house, we upcycled a few things that let us have the furniture we wanted without having to spend a lot of money. The wooden unit you can see in the photo above was created from a basic white Kallax unit from IKEA. We added wooden doors and top to it and then fitted door handles and feet. This completely transformed the look of the unit and cost a considerable amount less than if we had bought something similar. Other items we DIY'ed were two sets of metal and glass shelving units. We bought these from IKEA but they came in black metal. A couple of cans of gold spray paint later and these units looked amazing and significantly more expensive than they actually cost us.

There are a number of different options in this post that could help you save money when renovating your home. They won't all necessarily apply to your situation but could help with bringing down the costs when making improvements in your home. If you feel like any of the DIY related improvements seem a little daunting, then it's worth checking out the YouTube tutorials from Wickes and B&Q as they cover a range of tasks, and they came in very useful when we were learning how to do things.


Saturday, 5 January 2019

What I'd Like To Achieve In 2019

The new year is a good opportunity to look ahead and set out some things to achieve. I've been using the time over Christmas to think through what I'd like to work on this year and give myself areas to focus on. I don't want to think of these as targets that I have to achieve, but more things to aim for throughout 2019.

Consistency With Posting

2018 was quite busy for me and I hadn't predicted that it would be that way at the beginning of last year. There have been a few events including buying a house and booking our wedding that has taken quite a bit of time up, which I wrote about in my life update post. Every time I wrote another blog post I felt really motivated to carry on. I've had a bunch of ideas ready to be turned into posts and would start to work through these but then other things took priority. One of the things I want to do this year is to get back into the habit of blogging and make sure I give myself the time to write. I'm not going to set myself a specific number of posts to write, but I want to publish on a much more regular basis.

Post On Instagram More

I've got quite a few photos sat ready and waiting on my camera roll that I can put on Instagram so need to stop forgetting and just get them posted. Like most people, I carry my phone with me everywhere and the iPhone camera can produce some amazing shots so I need to start making use of this and snapping shots when I'm out and about. I also like taking photos with my GoPro due to its unique image perspective so I'm planning to throw it in the car when I head out so that I can capture some different photos to use for insta.

Be More Active On Social

I seem to have odd days where I'll tweet and interact with people and aim to keep this up and then I tended to completely forget the next day. To be more active on Twitter it can be an easy win as engaging on this platform is easy to do and doesn't take much time, I just want to do this much more regularly than I have done in the past. When I first got into Pinterest I used to love creating boards and finding pins to add to them. I could sit for ages finding images I liked and expanding my boards. I want to get back to this as I find it enjoyable, and I also have a board on there specifically for pinning my blog posts to so it's another platform to promote my content on.

Try Out New Blog Posts

I've done a few different types of posts over the past few years and have been happy with what I've been producing. I'd like to start to expand what I write about including writing about more of the things that I'm already doing, whether this is reviewing a restaurant I've been to or writing advice posts on the things that I've experienced that would be useful to help others in a similar position.

To sum up, I'm ready to get back into the swing of things with all things related to my blog. My main focus is to get back into the habit of writing as part of my week, as I have post ideas ready and waiting to be written. By setting out what I'd like to achieve this year and writing it down, I feel it has made it clearer on what I need to work towards. Now to go and make it happen.


Saturday, 8 December 2018

A Life Update

It's been a few months since I last posted on the blog as I've been really busy with other things so have struggled to put the time into blogging. Now things have settled down a little I thought it would be a good time to write a little update about what's been going on in the last 6 months. 

Since the start of the year, myself and Laura have been looking at buying a house together. For a while, we cycled round a number of different options, from new builds to older houses that ranged in size and location. Fast forward to the middle of June and we had received the keys to our very own first home. We bought a 3-bed semi detached house in Liverpool and are really happy with our choice. After having a proper look round the house, we came up with a list of things we wanted to do to get it how we'd like it. It started out with a bit of decorating and ended up turning into a renovation project which has kept us busy. The jobs ranged from upgrading the kitchen, fitting laminate flooring in four rooms, repainting the entire house plus DIYing a number of items of furniture. The house is pretty much there now and we're happy with what we have achieved since June, having done jobs that we never thought we'd be able to and learning plenty of new skills.

As well as making the new house a home, it's been a busy time for planning things for the wedding. After Laura and I got engaged last December we've been going through ideas for what we'd like and potential locations and dates for the big day. Having been to a couple of big wedding shows recently, we've started to work through a number of venues to create a shortlist and are pleased to have finally booked our venue for 2020. I knew wedding planning would take time but definitely underestimated how long this would actually be. There's obviously plenty more things to sort but we now have the venue and photographers confirmed which is a big relief.

So that's what's been keeping me occupied over the past 6 months and is the reason it's been quiet on here. Going forward I'm intending to get back on top of blogging and I'm feeling motivated to start posting regularly and producing content again so there is more to come. 


Sunday, 27 May 2018

Achieving The Grooming Style That's Right For You

Many of us have busy lives so our time is precious, which means we need to prioritise what's essential is our everyday routines. Male grooming has become an important part of the morning and having the correct items to do this with is key. When I was younger I didn't tend to care much about my appearance and couldn't really be bothered to do anything extra in the mornings when getting ready. Even trying to do something with my hair felt like too much effort so it just ended up with a quick pat dry after a shower and left to dry off. One of the main reasons for this is that I felt it would take far too long and I was much more bothered about having an extra bit of time in bed. In recent years I've realised that it doesn't take as long as I thought to achieve the look and style you want. I've started to have more interest in grooming and putting some care into my appearance. Now that I'm in a more formal job I feel that I want to look and feel smart. For me, it's not just about putting my shirt and tie on, it's about getting myself ready so that my overall appearance looks tip-top, particularly for those times when I have an important presentation or event.

Having a grooming routine might seem time-consuming, but if you have the right tools it can be a lot quicker than you think. Look at Rio Ferdinand in the video below, he has a big game of footy coming up, yet by using his Panasonic Grooming Trimmer, he still has the time to ensure he's looking his best before the match. For those of you who like to sport a well-groomed beard, or even if you haven't thought about growing a beard as you were put off by the upkeep, using one of Panasonic's products could make your life so much easier to get the look you want. Whatever hobbies or job you have, being able to look your best can really make you feel much more positively about yourself. Picking the correct device to use can make all the difference to ensure you achieve the style you want, with Panasonic having loads of grooming shavers to help you do just that. Check out the video below to see how Rio ensures he's looking sharp and will stand out with his own style.

*This is a sponsored post with Panasonic.
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