Category Archives: Crafts and DIY

Replace These Things Before It Gets Serious

We all rely on certain things in life, whether it’s an appliance to help us live a better quality of life, or our mode of transport that gets us from A-B. These are the things you should replace before it gets serious:

Your Car
If you have a family, then making sure the vehicle you take them from A-B in is as safe as possible is crucial. When was the last time you checked the oil, water, and other important factors? Making sure you keep an eye on these things, and that you drive carefully will keep it running smoothly.

Your Mattress
When your mattress gets old, it can stop giving you the support that you really need as you sleep. When you don’t get the support and quality of sleep you really need, this can affect your life. If you’re waking up feeling less than great in the morning, this could be the reason why.

Your Water Filter
Having a water filter is pretty important, assuming you don’t want to drink fluoride and chlorine. Fluoride is associated with dementia and Alzheimer’s. If you don’t change your filter often enough, you’ll end up drinking water that’s dirtier than the water being filtered in the first place.

Your HVAC
The air quality of your home is absolutely crucial, so you must know when to replace it. The following infographic can help you to figure out when it needs to be replaced.


Infographic By Home Comfort USA

Create a Family Friendly Kitchen

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The kitchen is the hub of a family home. It’s the place where everyone gathers to cook, eat, laugh and love, so it is important that you create a family friendly kitchen that everyone can enjoy. Here are some great ideas to help you do just that:

Install Textured Flooring

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The kitchen and bathroom are two places where there is a good chance of slips and falls due to wet flooring. Although you can never completely get rid of the danger, you can make a slip-based accident much less likely by installing textured floor tiles, which offer an extra level of grip.

Curved Countertops

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If you are planning on remodelling your kitchen anytime soon, you might want to think about replacing your boxy kitchen islands and workspaces with curved ones.  By doing so, you will remove many of the sharp edges in the kitchen, so you won’t have to worry quite so much when the kids are running riot in the kitchen.

Add an Island

If you don’t already have one, and you have the space, adding a large kitchen island is a great way to bring the family together. You can be prepping veggies for the dinner as the kids sit around the island doing their homework and your partner works on their taxes, all in the one space.

Keep Dangerous Appliances Out of the Reach of Children

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There are lots of kitchen appliances that make life in the kitchen so much easier for us all. Things like sharp chef’s knives and high-speed blenders take the time and hard work out of cooking, but if you have small children, they could also pose a threat, which is why you should plan for plenty of high cupboards space or installs shelves well out of the reach of little hands.

Install a Whiteboard

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Installing a wipeable whiteboard, or even a classic blackboard with chalk, in the kitchen is a great way to keep the whole family organised. Use it to write shopping lists, dental appointment, homework and even recipes, and you’ll all know exactly what is going on from day to day.

The Kitchen Sink

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If you have a large family or you often have lots of guests over, check out some of the larger kitchen sinks available. Installing a large kitchen sink will stop your dishes from overflowing and creeping on to the counter when you’ve just made a big meal, and you’re not quite ready to clean up.

Add Entertainment

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If you want to encourage all members of your family to spend more time with you in the kitchen, you may want to think about installing a few sources of entertainment to keep everyone happy. You could mount a small kitchen TV on the wall to keep you company while you cook and entertain the kids before family meal time, or you could install a wireless sound system that will let you stream your favourite songs in the kitchen. Of course, you could go quite low-tech and simply bring a radio into the kitchen, but that’s less likely to convince the kids!

A Smart Home Is A Comfortable Home

Smart Home

From Flickr

The smart home is just one of the many emerging tech advancements that have become a big talking point in recent years. The possibility of controlling your lights, locks, HVAC system and other things is obviously exciting, and more and more people are beginning to enjoy the various benefits of smart home tech. Here are just a few smart home additions that will make your home more comfortable…  

Hands-Free Garage Door Opener

We can all remember one instance where we’ve been trying to get in or out of the garage with both our hands full of groceries, tools, or something else. Getting this piece of smart home tech will ensure that you can simply make the garage door swing open, instead of finding somewhere to put everything down. There are many companies out there offering openers that are compatible with common smart home hubs like the Amazon Echo. Once it’s all set up, you’ll be able to use your voice to get your garage open and closed, making those awkward trips from the car to the home so much more convenient. Some interfaces will even let you check the status of the door from your phone whenever you like.

Smart Thermostats

Smart Thermostat

From Wikimedia

Smart thermostats are one of the most popular pieces of smart home technology on the market, and have become a star product for many HVAC companies like Academy Air. For many people, getting one of these is a purely economic decision. By programming your smart thermostat, you’ll be able to set certain caps on how much heat or conditioning you’re using, and shave a considerable amount of your usual heating bill. However, there are many features about these great little devices which also increase the overall comfort of your home. You’ll be able to adjust the heat in your home from anywhere provided you have your phone on you, get email alerts to tell you when the temperature is rising or falling outside of your pre-programmed range, and save yourself all those trips to the dial whenever you want to warm up or cool off. Modern smart home thermostats are one of the best ways to test the waters and see if this kind of tech is for you, so start looking!

Smart Locks

Sometimes, how comfortable we are in our homes goes past the temperature, the quality of our furniture and other physical factors. Often, one of the biggest deciding factors in how comfortable we feel is the degree of security we have. While smart locks are still in their infancy, and there are various bugs that need to be ironed out, they’re generally much more reliable than conventional, mechanical locks. While a regular lock can be picked, smart locks only allow access to authorised people, and everything is controlled through smartphones. As these are developed, it’s only going to get harder and harder for would-be burglars to force the mechanism. Aside from the added security benefits, you’ll never have to worry about leaving the house without your keys again!

Get New Furniture For The Family Home Without Breaking The Bank

When something breaks in the family home, it can leave moms feeling stressed out. After all, it might cost a small fortune to get a new chair or bed for their child. And they might not have the funds to pay out a couple of hundred dollars right now for the new furniture. But it doesn’t have to be the end of the world when something breaks in your home. In fact, you might be able to replace the furniture without spending a small fortune. Here are some ways you can get new furniture for the family home without breaking the bank.

Look in second-hand shops

When it comes to getting new furniture, it doesn’t have to technically be ‘new’ to be suitable for your family. After all, as long as it’s in good nick, it can be used by your child in the home. And buying it second-hand might save you a lot of money in the long-run. Therefore, you should visit one of the many second-hand shops to see what furniture they are selling. You might be surprised to find something that will go really well in your child’s room. And a lot of the furniture which you can find in second-hand stores is generally in good condition. If you do buy something which needs a bit of love, you could always paint it to give it a new lease of life. Therefore, it will feel like you are buying the item brand-new, rather than from a second-hand store. And remember to look online at second-hand stores too. After all, you might find something great that you can go pick up or get delivered to your home.

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Pay out for it on a monthly basis

You might not have the funds to get a brand-new bed or wardrobe at this current time. And it means you might struggle to pay for items when you hit the stores. But if it’s an essential item, you will need to get it now for your family. However, there are some options if you are short on cash. For one thing, you should see if the shop does any options when it comes to paying out for the item. Some stores allow you to pay for the item on a monthly basis over a year or two. That way, you can just pay out small monthly installments, rather than a massive amount in one go. And then you can still have the items and then pay the money back over time. Or you could even look into getting a small loan from your bank to cover the funds you need to get furniture for your family. Just make sure you can afford the payments, so you don’t end up in debt!

Time to look online

While a lot of us head to the stores when we need to buy new furniture for our family, it might be a good idea to have a look online instead. You might not be able to see the furniture in front of you, but you can buy it for a fraction of the cost you will find in stores. After all, a lot of sites will sell similar furniture for a low price to try and beat off the competition. And if you do shop online, you can take advantage of things like voucher codes to reduce the cost of your item. And not only this but you could also get free delivery if you spend over a certain amount. So you can get the item to your home without having to spend a penny. Just remember if you are going to buy the furniture from a site you don’t know, make sure you read the reviews first. After all, you don’t want to end up spending a ton of money on a purchase from a site that won’t actually send it out!

Build the furniture yourself

When you need new furniture, it’s easy to run to the stores and look online to get it sorted quickly. But if you are feeling the pinch (aren’t we all after Christmas), you might want to consider building your own furniture. For example, if you are after a new chair for your child’s room, you can easily follow instructions online to make a great wooden chair for your kids. And you can get the supplies you need for easy wood assembly from companies like Kenyon Group. Not only will it save you some money, but it can be a rewarding activity to build your own furniture. You could even get your little one to help you when creating the new furniture. Just make sure you build it sturdy to ensure it doesn’t end up falling down in months to come. After all, you don’t want your child to come to harm due to your handmade furniture. You can read my blog for further help on making your furniture last longer.

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Ask your friends

You should speak to your friends if you need to get some new furniture. After all, they might know someone who is selling some furniture they don’t need anymore. And you might be able to buy the furniture from them for cheap. Moreover, your friends might have seen a deal on furniture that you might not have spotted. Therefore, you could end up getting furniture for a much cheaper rate than you are about to pay. Ring your friends and speak with them, or you could even ask on social media. That way, you will know about great deals before you spend more than you need to on furniture!

And remember to check whether the furniture that needs replacing can be fixed first. After all, you could end up saving yourself a ton of money if you just fix it rather than buying brand new furniture. And not only this but if it can’t be salvaged, you could attempt to sell it online. After all, someone might want the furniture to upcycle into something fantastic. And you could pocket yourself some extra money at the same time towards new furniture.

Making Sure Your Bathroom is Family Friendly

A bathroom needs to be suitable for every member of the family, but often it is not designed with this in mind. Unlike the other communal parts of the home, the bathroom can be somewhat impractical for smaller members of your family.

There are, however, a number of ways that you can make this part of your home more child-friendly, ensuring that it everyone feels comfortable using it.

Rubber Ducks

Image credit: Pixabay

Make it look brand new

One of the more drastic ways of making your bathroom family-ready is to use a professional renovating team. This is a particularly good option if your bathroom is a little past it’s best and needs a makeover. Smart Style Bathrooms virtual showroom lets you visualise your bathroom interior before work begins, meaning that the entire family can have their say on how it should look.

Toys, toys, toys

To inject a little bit of fun into your bathroom, why not invest in a few waterproof toys to keep your children (and any big kids in the family) entertained. Bath time is meant to be an enjoyable experience and a few toys can add to this, even if it’s just a few rubber ducks to play with. There are a wide range of children’s toys specially designed for use in the bathroom, including stickers and easy-to-clean pens that let them express their creativity.

Accessories for the little people

Other bathroom accessories provide practical benefits for the little ones. Attaching hooks to the wall at differing heights can ensure that everyone has a place to put their towel and there’ll never be a reason for anyone to leave their wet towel on the floor.

Make it colorful

Try to make the bathroom an inviting space for everyone. Although bathrooms usually adopt a clean, crisp design with neutral shades like black and white, a bit of colour can make the room a lot more interesting for your children. This could be in the form of a bright shower curtain or mat and you could even choose one that includes some of your children’s favourite themes, whether they’re into robots or fairies.

Get rid of tricky taps

If your bathroom is going to be of practical use to the entire family then being able to operate the taps safely is a must. However, twist handle taps can be difficult for little children to use and often result in having one scolding hot tap and one that’s freezing cold. By choosing a single lever tap, the temperature can be controlled much more effectively and your kids can operate it themselves with ease. This means that children can gain independence and learn an important lesson about washing their hands and personal hygiene.

Make room for everyone

A bathroom being used by a whole family needs a lot more space than if it was only being used by a single individual. Think carefully about the fittings you choose and consider whether a larger option would prevent an early morning race to the bathroom. Choosing a longer sink, for example, or even opting for two, would enable more than one person to brush their teeth at the same time.

Let everyone have their own space

When designing your bathroom, it’s important for everyone to have a little space to call their own. Storage may be at a premium in many bathrooms, but try to give each family member a little area where they can put their towel and toiletries. You could give everyone their own drawer or utilise open shelving to let everyone have their own personal bathroom storage basket. If you go for the latter, use named stickers on each one so your children feel like they have something of their own in the bathroom.

Give them a boost

Sometimes it helps to point out even the most obvious aspects of your home. For anyone with little children, you’ll be well aware that reaching things can be a challenge, but have you given them a helping hand in the bathroom? Including a small, but stable, stool in the bathroom can help them reach those high up places and give them some added independence that they will begin to demand as they get older.  

Safety first

A family home needs to be a safe home and this applies to your bathroom too. Even something as simple as a non-slip mat, inside the bath and on the floor outside it, can make a big difference to how child-friendly your bathroom is. With some extra safety features installed, your children will feel more confident in the bathroom and you will feel more confident to let them use it unsupervised.

Preventing Appliance Breakdown

As a busy mommy, modern appliances can be a godsend. They enable us to spend less time on chores and more time enjoying family life. However, appliances aren’t always as reliable as they used to be, which means that it is important to take care of them if you want them to last as long as possible and avoid expensive repairs.

Here are some handy tips that could help you keep your appliances running for a decade or more:

Fridges and Freezer

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Keeping an eye on your fridge and freezer seals is one of the simplest things you can do to prevent their breakdown. If the seals get even a little bit loose, cold air can get out and warm air can enter into your appliance. You should also clean your seals carefully with a paste of water and baking soda to keep them clean and functional.

To keep your fridge in tip-top condition, every fourth months or so, you should give the coils a quick clean, Unfortunately, this means pulling the fridge out from the wall so that you can get behind in many cases, but since dirty coils are one of the main caused of temperature malfunctions and a loss of energy efficiency, it is a job that needs to be done and it means that you can avoid taking out home owner loans to replace your appliances for a while longer.

Washer and Dryer

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You should give your washing machines hoses and ducts some attention at least twice a year. Check that the hose is in full working order and does not have any cracks and take the time to clean the ducts to avoid breakdowns, fires and floods.

It is also a good idea to check your machine every time you wash or dry a load. That way, you will be able to handle any small problems before they become major issues.

If you want to avoid a tumble dryer fire, you should clean out any lint from the filters at least once per week as a minimum.

The Dishwasher

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One thing you should never do is put dishes that still have particles of food on them into the dishwasher. By simply scraping your plates before you put them into the machine, you can avoid a build-up of old food that could cause your washer to be less effective. If you do notice a build-up of scraps inside your dishwasher, simply put a cup of white vinegar into the machine and let it run for a cycle.

It is also a good idea to clean your dishwasher’s rubber gasket every 3-4 months to get rid of any dirt and grime which could make it less effective.

Although carrying out regular maintenance on your appliances will reduce a lot of the risk of breakdown, it is not possible to prevent every issue that might crop up, which is why it is never a bad idea to take out warranties on expensive appliances, or start your own emergency repair fund so that you don’t have to go without your appliances for very long.

Gifts That Your Son Will Absolutely Love

As moms, we spend a lot of our lives picking out gifts for our kids. Christmas is barely over by the time you have to start thinking about and saving for birthday gifts! Here are some tips to help you out for ideas…

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Go For Creative Play

As mothers of sons, we spend a lot of our lives thinking about how best to help our sons to grow up into the sort of men that we want them to be – and luckily for us, we are their biggest influences and the people who can mould them into who we want them to be. Obviously, every boy and young man is different – but as mothers it’s our responsibility to show them what being a man really is. And a huge part of that is forgetting about traditional masculinity, about guns and competition and violence – and showing them how important it is to be creative and sensitive too. Not only will you be creating fine young men but you’ll also be forming great husbands and fathers one day. Go for gifts that will help with creativity, from art supplies to dressing up clothes and other items that can encourage imaginative play, from bobbleheads to dolls to stuffed animals. Toys that can teach your son gentleness and creativity will produce traits that will be important for the rest of his life.

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What About Experiences?

Of course it’s great to be able to open some gifts on the morning of your birthday – but as a rule, people remember experiences more than they remember objects. Even if your son is young, he’ll be forming memories every day of his life. Think back to when you were a toddler – your memories are probably hazy but they’re still there! You don’t have to take him to Disneyland to have an incredible time – building his own Build A Bear will be something he’ll remember and treasure forever, and going to see the dinosaur exhibit at your local museum is something that’s bound to produce absolutely rapturous delight. Making precious memories for both of you is one of the most important parts of being a parent.

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Sometimes It’s Okay To Be Part Of The In Crowd

We seem to spend half our lives wanting to wean our kids off the TV, off the common path, away from anything that makes them cool and part of the in crowd – but honestly, it’s absolutely okay to pander to that once in a while. If your kid loves animated movies then that’s great – get him some Toy Story or Zootopia toys to play with. If he can’t tear himself away from Paw Patrol then why not get him a stuffed animal version of his favourite character? It’s easy to be snobby about these things but having the same toys as some of his friends isn’t a bad thing – they’ll have things in common on playdates and topics of conversation – in as far as little kids have conversations! – at school. Plus, can you imagine the smile on your kid’s face when he unwraps his Chase doll? Absolutely priceless.

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Boosting The Interest In Your Home On A Budget

Boosting the interest in your home is instantly going to make it look more professionally put together. Some homes just seem to have never ending style, texture, and interest. Others don’t necessarily look bad…they just don’t have enough interest. There are a ton of ways you can add more interest to your home, from adding a new accessory like a textured rug, to mixing modern and new styles together. Don’t worry though. You don’t need to spend a fortune. Here’s how you can boost the interest of your home on a budget

Make A Plan First

Before you do anything at all to your house, make a plan. If you just guess as you go along, the end result could look pretty haphazard and unprofessional. You don’t need to make a detailed plan that takes hours and hours. You could simply sketch a rough idea of what you want and then write down your measurements to help you select the furniture. However, remember it isn’t just about the way it looks at the end of your project. It’s about your home being practical and functional for the whole family! There’s no point having a great looking home if it doesn’t suit your family’s lifestyle.  

Look For Discount Codes

When you know what you need for your room, look for discount codes to help you save money. You could use things like Shutterfly coupon codes to buy anything from fleece throws to artwork for your walls. You can do anything on a budget these days.

Shop In Vintage/Thrift Stores

To save even more money and potentially come home with something unique, shop in vintage and thrift stores. It can take some rummaging, but you might just return home with some hidden treasure that nobody else has. Your friends might just ask you where you buy your furniture!

Beautiful Room

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Do Some DIY

Everybody is capable of doing a little DIY, especially when there are so many how-to guides out there for free. Consider painting an old piece of furniture yourself, for example. It’ll save you having to buy a brand new piece of furniture, and you’ll have some fun in the process. A bold piece of furniture might just become a statement piece, so don’t be afraid to use a bright wood stain on your oak headboard or paint your kitchen table.

Find Affordable Ways To Boost Architectural Interest

You don’t need to hire an architect to add interest to your home this way. Here are a just some of the ideas you could use to add architectural interest in an affordable way:

  • Use DIY ceiling medallions for your ceilings.
  • Add Wainscot paneling.
  • Use paint to mimic real crown moulding.

There are so many more creative ways too – check out these tutorials for some helpful advice!

You can add interest to your home whatever your budget will be, so there’s no need to take out a loan or worry that your home will be outdated forever. Use these tips and you can give your home a brand new look!

Fun Times In Your Garden: What To Do To Ensure Your Yard Is Safe For Your Little One

One of the best places where you can create memories with your child is the garden. After all, there are lots of fun opportunities for them in the yard. And with all the space, it offers a great way for them to burn off some energy. But like everywhere in the home, you need to think about safety. After all, so many children are taken to hospital every year from accidents in their backyard! Therefore, here are some things every mom needs to do to ensure their yard is safe for their little one so fun times can commence in the garden!

Make sure you invest in a sturdy fence

When your little one is running around the garden, they might easily knock into the fence. And if it’s not sturdy, it could end up falling over causing damage in your yard. And it could even hurt your little one if it lands on them. Therefore, you need to make sure you have a sturdy fence which will stay standing while your kid is around. And you need to ensure it’s a good height. After all, you don’t want your little one climbing over the top of the fence into the neighbor’s garden!

Get a lock for the water spigot and make sure it’s working correctly

It’s always handy to have an outdoor water faucet in the garden. After all, it saves you having to rush inside to get water. Therefore, it can be good when you and your child are having a day taking care of the plants. But you need to be careful that it doesn’t become a danger for your kid. After all, you don’t want your child to go up to it when you are not looking and switch it on. They might end up slipping over from the water if they push it on too quickly. Therefore, to keep it safe, you could consider making a lock for the faucet. This article will help you to easily make one to ensure it’s child-friendly. And remember to get it fixed quickly if there is a problem with your outdoor water spigot. After all, if it’s leaking, it could end up being a hazard for your kid. Therefore, look online to find a company who can do outdoor spigot repair.

Stick to plants which are family-friendly

You need to make sure you get clued up on plants for your garden. After all, you don’t want to get anything which will cause harm to your little one. Unlike adults, they won’t be aware that they should stay away from the plant so could end up getting hurt. For one thing, anything with nettles needs to be a no-no for your backyard. They might run into the plant and then end up with itchy skin. Here are some other plants which might look beautiful, but could pose a risk to your child. That way, you know to avoid them when you are next at the local nursery.

Baby in garden

Pixabay

And make sure that you keep tools and equipment locked in a shed. After all, your little one might end up getting hurt if they get their hands on one of these items!

Farewell To The City: Why Moving Away Is Best For Your Family

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The home that you live in says certain things about you. It tells of your priorities and your preferences. It will often say at least something about your income and your lifestyle too. This is why, for so many of us, our first homes are either in or close to a town or city. We’re close to where the jobs are, and there are nightlife options.

As we get older, and especially when we have kids, we may look towards a less urban, more rural place to live. We might not, of course. There is a lot to be said for aspects of urban living – the convenience, the proximity to a place’s heartbeat. But there are, equally, a lot of reasons why it’s a good idea to get away from it all.

Pollution: A Problem That’s Only Getting Worse

Pollution

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There is an issue that perhaps can best be understood by people who have grown up somewhere remote and traveled into a city. If this describes you, do you remember returning home with a pulsing headache? This can happen very easily. The noise and fumes of a city, or even a larger town can be choking. They raise stress and can make you ill.

The fresh air of a more rural or mountain setting is good for you, period. It’s been shown to have a positive effect on life expectancy. Not only that, but you’ll breathe easier and have fewer issues with allergies.

Space: You Don’t Realize How Much You Miss It…

Pretty Farm Area

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It depends on where you live, of course, but in a more urban setting, you can find yourself feeling crowded. You’ll hear your neighbors through a wall, which is bad enough. Then you realize they can hear you, too. It can sometimes feel as though you’re a battery hen.

As you get out into less urbanized areas, although real estate is harder to come by, it is worth the extra searching. You’ll have the chance to stretch your legs, and you don’t need to worry too much about whether the neighbors can hear you. Unless you phone them up, you’ll need to be shouting really loud for them even to know you’re speaking.

Sustainable Living: Growing Your Own And Sourcing Locally

Fresh Strawberries

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Living in the city or town may mean you have more convenience. That’s fine, but convenience and quality don’t always go hand in hand. What’s the good in always being able to buy apples if they’re bland and colorless?

By moving a more natural setting, you have the chance to grow a lot of your own produce and reduce your food miles drastically. To add to that, there is nothing to beat the quality of fresher food. Grow your own corn, chilies and more besides, and you’ll be stunned by how much flavor there is – and that’s before you get to a farmer’s market!

And let’s hear a word for family pets, too. In the city, they really don’t have room to roam. After a few days of living away from it, see how much freer they feel and how well they take to it. Try not to think of the number of birds your cats start bringing back. It may not feel like a gift, but it is.