Tag Archives: home

Keep your house skin friendly!

It is little known fact that almost a fifth of the UK population along with one in twelve adults now have eczema, with half of the adult population being victim to mild skin allergies. One of the main reasons for this is down to “triggers” found around the house – some of them you wouldn’t even think of. It’s easy to keep these “triggers” under control, whilst helping to keep your house a healthy living environment.

Work to keep the sleeping areas free of dust mites!

Work to keep the sleeping areas free of dust mites!

Take a look at the Healthy Hideout’s top five places to find preventable causes of common skin conditions:

  • Living room / Lounge – Soft furnishings gather dust mites in the seams, so hoover these areas regularly. Mites can a huge problem for eczema suffers, feeding on dead skin cells found across all surfaces – The droppings caused by the mites can trigger eczema reactions. Try leather covered furniture as it makes difficult for the mites to stay hidden. Keep surfaces clear of dust, and hoover the carpet (if you have one) regularly.
  • Kitchen – Many kitchen cleaning products and sprays contain bleach which can irritate the skin and eyes. Replace these with natural organic products such as vinegar or soda based products. Always wear protective gloves when dealing with  cleaning agents. When buying washing detergent, stick to non-bio products – Try to utilise a double rinse cycle to ensure as much of the detergent is washed out.
  • Children’s Areas – Soft toys and play mats should be washed regularly as they can quickly become a safe haven for dust and their mite followers. Keep mats from the tops of beds to stop the mites from possibly spreading to the sleeping areas.
  • Bedrooms – It may not seem obvious, but it’s important to not keep the bedroom too warm. Mites thrive off 16 – 24 degree heat so keep the bedrooms well ventilated. Utilise anti-allergy mattress covers and look to wash your bedding weekly. Any bedding that’s over a week old can be a safe haven for mites and other unwelcome critters.
  • Bathrooms – Like the bedroom, look to keep your bathroom well ventilated whilst drying towels outside to keep humidity levels down. Try to use natural cleaning products that don’t break down the top layer of your skin when washing in the shower or bath.

5 ways to reduce home insurance costs

We treat our homes as our own, designed to suit both our tastes and needs. Some of us create little escape havens, whilst others work to create a practical adobe to help meet the demands of our busy life. These havens we create require protection, and although it may seem like an annual chore, all of us need to consider home insurance. With so many insurance providers within the marketplace you can sometimes feel a little lost knowing what’s a good deal and what isn’t.

Pit insurers against one another for the best quote!

Pit insurers against one another for the best quote!

Here are the Healthy Hideout’s top 5 ways to help reduce your home insurance bill:

  • Choose the right cover – If you do decide to “under insure”,  don’t bother as it will render your entire policy void and useless. If you “over insure” you’ll be paying too much for your premium and providing your insurer with a tidier annual profit. Calculate the exact value of the items you wish to cover and protect this amount within your insurance policy – Don’t pay over the odds if you don’t have to.
  • Don’t pay monthly – Many of choose to pay monthly as it lightens the load on the wallet, but the truth is, your insurer will be charging you additional interest for the privilege. Try to pay for your policy in one lump sum. If you can’t financially afford to do so, why not take advantage of a credit card that offers you 0% on new purchases for one year. There’s plenty out there so shop around for the best deal.
  • Increase your excess value – In the unfortunate circumstance of making a claim on your items, you will need to pay an excess on your policy before receiving a payout. Most of the time, people tend to keep excess amounts low so that the pinch is less painful when it comes to making a claim. However, it’s important to know that a higher excess equals a lower policy, so why not try increasing it to a sensible amount. Be careful though – Don’t increase it to an amount beyond financial common sense. You will need to be prepared to pay this amount should anything happen.
  • Do your research – The sudden growth of price comparison websites has made pitting insurance suppliers against one another a much easier affair. Compare companies against one another, and try to take advantage of combining your building and contents insurance. Some insurance companies even combine your vehicle, building and contents cover which works to save you more in the long run.
  • Bolster your defences – OK, maybe we’ve exaggerated on the phrase here but increased security will do wonders for your policy. Insurance companies tend to have a checklist of security measure that, if installed in your home, will be decrease the overall cost of your policy. Ask them what alarm systems they recommend, and if you have the spare cash bring in an expert for their opinion. Change any old door locks to approved five level mortice locks and fit two bolt locks onto your windows. Installation of security lights could also help.

How to Self Build – 7 top budget tips

If you’re planning to start your own self build project soon, you may or may not have realised how important it is to plan your budget in detail. With proper analysis of figures and costs, you may find yourself increasing expenditure and even extending your loan.

How to self build, and how you should be spending your available budget requires attention and skill, but with the right execution anyone can do it. Here are the Healthy Hideout’s 7 top tips for sticking to your self build budget:

  • Site choice – When choosing where you want your self build to start, be sure to pick a pre-levelled site with good drainage whenever possible. Slanted or sloped areas with poor ground conditions can quickly become a nightmare that eats through your self build budget.
  • Service location matters – If you ensure that all services are close at hand including water, electricity, gas and drainage you’ll spend less money having these services extended to where you need them. Installation charges for such services can be incredibly expensive.
  • Simple self build – Many houses rely on the classic four walls with sloped roof for a reason. A classic box is the most cost effective way of enclosing a space, with a sloped roof being very efficient at shedding rain and snow during bad weather.
  • Keep it standard – If you stick to using standard materials in standard sizes you’ll find yourself saving a lot of money as they are generally cheaper. Bespoke materials tend to cost to more, but if you do want to add a sense of difference, use effectively and sparingly.
  • Practical placement – When deciding where your kitchen, bathroom and toilets go, try and keep them as close to each other as possible. This will minimise the cost of further drainage pipes and makes long term maintenance easier.
  • Natural light is crucial – Maximising natural light into your property not only improves your sense of well-being and mood, it also saves you money on electricity bills.
  • Maximise insulation – Insulation is a cheap investment (even cheaper from utility suppliers) that will help protect you against rising fuel bills for many years to come. Be sure to complete insulation in the roof, exterior walls and ground floor – If you’re based in the UK, this is now required under building regulations.

Now all this may be denting the image you have of your perfect self build dream, but you don’t have to conform to the above and make it look boring. Budget restraints such as the ones we’ve discussed force us to come up with solutions we may not have come up with before. Let your imagination run wild!

Have you just finished your perfect self build? Did you stick to budget? We’d love to hear from you.

10 Funny For Sale signs!

Here at the Healthy Hideout, we understand that selling your home is a stressful time. You want the entire process to be over quickly whilst having as few hiccups as possible.

But let’s face it – Not all of us were born to sell. Here are the Healthy Hideout’s top 10 funny for sale signs along with some useful advice:

1. Make an effort – Remember that selling a property often involves a large sum of money exchanging hands. Why not increase your chances by making an effort?

Try and make an effort!

Try and make an effort - It'll increase your selling chances

2. Point out your positives – If you have certain highlights within your property, such as a pool, make sure potential buyers know this.

Got a pool? Make sure you advertise it!

Got a pool? Perhaps a games room? Make sure your buyers know.

3. Avoid confusion – Be clear with what your selling and at what price. Confusion will just lead to wasted time for both parties.

Be clear with what your selling!

Be clear with what your selling!

4. Proof read all selling literature – If you’re utilising external advertising mediums to promote your property, be sure to double check all your spelling and grammar before it’s published.

Promoting your property is key!

Promoting your property is key - The more people that see it the better.

5. Ensure estate agents are working for their fee – Keep tabs on your chosen estate agent or realtor, making sure they’re doing everything they can to help sell your property.

What am I buying here?

What exactly am I buying here?

6. Be Honest – When describing your property to potential buyers, it’s important to try and be as honest as possible. You’ll be saving precious time for both you and any interested onlookers.

Honesty is the best policy!

Honesty is the best policy!

7. Can’t Sell? Explore rental – If you’re having difficulty selling, always explore the option of putting your property up for rent. It’s a great way of keeping your property “lived in” and maintained, whilst providing you with a steady income.

Explore rental if you can't sell!

Explore rental if you can't sell.

8. Sign Placement – Although it may seem obvious be sure to place your sign where it can be seen, preferably in front of your property. This saves confusion and maximises potential.

Placing signage at the front of your property is best!

Placing a sign at the front of your property is best!

9. De-clutter your home – When potential buyers are walking around your property, they’ll constantly be visualising themselves living there to see if it truly works for them. Get rid of clutter and sell on items you don’t need. It’s also a great way to raise some extra funds for your move.

A garage sale can raise extra cash!

A garage sale can raise extra cash!

10. Promote the neighbourhood – Buyers like to know that a neighbourhood is going to be pleasant to live in. If you have friendly neighbours, it may be worth you introducing them to one another for added kudos!

Promote your friendly neighbourhood!

Promote your friendly neighbourhood!

10 Renovation Tips you need to know

If you’re planning to renovate your home on a grand scale, it’s not uncommon to feel intimidated about the attention required to ensure a successful project finishes as you wanted it.

It may not be a problem for those of us who are moving at a manageable pace, completing room by room, but for those of tackling the entire establishment, sticking to schedule is key.

Top 10 home renovating tips

Here are 10 top tips you need to consider for your renovation:

  1. Try not to go on holiday leaving builders or workers on site to handle your project. If you managing the project yourself, you need to demonstrate your presence to ensure that build pace and concentration does not drop. Mistakes cost money to correct.
  2. Don’t compromise – If this renovation is for your own home, you need to remember that you will be living in it after completion, not the builders. This applies to both materials and build methods.
  3. If you’ve never managed a project with a scale such as this, try to get someone involved alongside you who has. Project management is a full time job and you can’t afford to lose your way.
  4. Watch your bank balance and keep track of all building costs weekly. When an invoice pops up make sure you pay it as soon as possible and file away the receipt safely. Utilise spreadsheets so you can keep an eye on the running costs throughout the project.
  5. Schedule the entire project and make sure your workers are keeping on track, meeting deadlines or preceding them if at all possible. This way your project moves efficiently whilst everyone knows what they are doing and when.
  6. Keep in constant contact with your foreman ensuring they have everything they need on site, when they need it. There’s no need for “We didn’t finish this because we didn’t have this.”

    Planning is key!

    Planning is key!

  7. Double check the specification of all products, appliances and materials before work begins on the site. Ensure everything is ordered and delivered to site on time – You simply won’t have time to be waiting around for a particular part to arrive due to delays etc.
  8. Trade discount can be your best friend when used properly – Pressure your suppliers to give you the best possible prices, ensuring that you visit multiple merchants comparing the best deals.
  9. Set up a trading account with the building merchant that you decide to use. Organising one at the beginning of your project means that you’ll qualify for trade discounts whilst making it easier for your site foreman to order extra materials should he need them.
  10. Get involved – This is your project at the end of the day. You can save money doing parts of the project that you feel comfortable completing, such as painting, digging or even sanding!

For more innovative ideas and expert advice, why not grab a copy of George Clarke’s latest book “The Home Bible” – An endless resource of information you should really know before starting any project. Click below for more information:

Lighting up your home!

When renovating your home, ensuring that enough natural light gets into the darker areas can be a difficult task without spending excessive amounts. The following five tips are worth considering if your looking to open up your space:

  • Open up the south-side facing side of your home as much as possible, and ensure that the rooms that are used most frequently, such as the kitchen or bathroom, are placed within this area. This will ensure that you take full advantage of the days natural light.
  • When choosing internal doors, try to utilise glass panelled designs to allow light to naturally flow between rooms around the home.
  • Installing sky lights in flat roofs and extensions to bring in top light can be one of the strongest ways of brightening a darker area.
  • Although it may seem obvious, avoid using dark colours when decorating interior spaces. Brighter colours will reflect light around a room whereas a dark colour will absorb the light.
  • Utilise bi-folding doors at the back of your home to make the space feel bigger and brighter. Having the ability to open these doors makes a huge difference to the quality of light entering the room.

Source: Grand Designs Live Magazine – Oct 2009