Moving Home Mistakes to Avoid

Moving home

If you are currently getting ready to move home, you are no doubt excited about relocating to a new place. However, there is a lot that needs to be planned and organised between now and then. To give yourself the greatest chance of everything going smoothly, read on to discover the common moving home mistakes that you need to avoid.

  1. Failing to carefully research moving and storage companies – This is a mistake that can most certainly come back to haunt you. Choosing a removal or storage company simply because your friend has recommended them or because they were the cheapest solution you could find is not the best way to go about it. You need to take time to read reviews online to ensure the company has a good reputation. The likes of Magenta Self Storage has received positive feedback and has a good rating, which will put your mind at ease. After all, you don’t want a storage site that is unsecure or a removal company that has a reputation for failing to turn up.
  2. Not measuring furniture in advance – This is another error that can give you a massive headache. There is nothing worse than getting to your new property only to discover that your sofa does not fit in the living room properly or that your bed is far too big for your bedroom.
  3. Forgetting about your children and your pets on the moving day – The moving day can be a lot more stressful when you have dogs running around and children that are complaining. It is a good idea to see if you have a friend or family member that will look after your children on the removal day. With regards to pets, the best thing to do is confine them to one room while the removal firm is there. This should be the last room that is dealt with when packing up to leave.
  4. Not packing a survival kit – It is unlikely that you are going to get to your new place and want to unpack straight away. This is why it is essential to put a survival kit together. This should contain all of the things you are going to need for the first night, ensuring you don’t have to go through the hassle of searching through every box to find your pyjamas.
  5. Not working out all of the costs – Moving home can be a lot more expensive than you realise, especially if you don’t plan for it. This is why it is important to put together a plan that outlines all of the costs. You will know exactly how much money you need, as well as being able to find out whether you can make savings anywhere.

If you can avoid the mistakes that have been mentioned above, you can give yourself the greatest chance of having a stress-free moving home process. This is something that most people assume is simply unachievable. But a bit of careful planning can certainly go a long way and make a massive difference.

Light up the holidays – Christmas at the Museum of Science and Industry

Light up the holidays - Christmas at the Museum of Science and Industry

LIGHT

Thursday 21 December 2017 – Sunday 7 January 2018

Recommended for all ages

Please note: the museum will be closed 24–26 December and 1 January

Even in winter, you might need to grab your sunglasses at the Museum of Science and Industry as we explore the magic of light.

The museum has a brand-new show and activities taking place every day throughout the school holidays. Forget about light sabres as we make light battle it out in our Science Showdown, become a light detective and solve mysteries in our fluorescent workshop, and make your own beautiful light catcher to take home.

There’s something magical for kids of all ages, from pre-schoolers to older children and even their grown-ups.

 LIGHT SHOWDOWN

Recommended for ages 5 and older

Free drop-in show

Join our Explainers for a Science Showdown all about Light.  UV, infrared, and visible light all want your vote… who wins? You decide. Join us for bright battles, hidden messages and lightbulb moments in this interactive science show.

 GLOW DETECTIVES

Recommended for ages 7 and older

Free, tickets required due to limited capacity (book at the information desk)

Discover a hidden world in this fantastic fluorescent workshop. Find out what materials glow and why, then turn a torch* or your smartphone into a detector to reveal what’s glowing in the museum and in your home.

*Torches provided. Please note that UV-A lights are used in this workshop.

 LIGHT CATCHERS

Recommended for ages 5 and older

Free drop-in activity

Get creative with all the family and make your own Light Catchers in this fun and easy workshop. Test it with light to see what colourful patterns, shapes and shadows you have made. Then take it home to create even more.

 POWER PACKS FOR EARLY YEARS ENGINEERS

Recommended for toddlers under 4

Free lending packs available at the information desk

Pick up a Power Pack from the front desk and join one of our Explainers to explore the sights, smells and sounds of the museum’s giant engines in the Power Hall. This is a special guided session on how pretending and play can make the adventure even better for younger visitors.

There’s also all our regular programming including Engine Demonstrations where you can see some of our magnificent machines working and Manchester Mills highlighting the role Manchester played in the global cotton industry.

Plus, Christmas is also a great opportunity to visit the museum’s blockbuster exhibition, Robots. It features more than 100 robots, including interactive bots and Hollywood stars. The Robots activity trail, suitable for children aged 5 to 11, features drawing activities, talking points and an object hunt.

Admission to the museum is free. Tickets for Robots cost £8 adults/£5 children/free for age 6 and under. Ask for a free copy of the Robots activity trail at the ticket desk when booking.

Christmas in Leicester Square December 2017

The countdown to Christmas is officially on so here’s a taster of some of the fabulous festive entertainment on show at central London’s alternative hub of yuletide performance: Christmas in Leicester Square.

Bringing an evening of seasonal songs and laughter to Leicester Square on 14 December are West End star Emma Hatton (Evita, Wicked) and jazz legend Anthony Strong. The two join festive forces for one night only in London for Baby It’s Cold Outside, a fusion of stunning arrangements of musical theatre hits, jazz and blues numbers and of course some festive favourites is the first time the two stars will have ever performed together live, following their Number 1 EP Merry Christmas, Darling.

Fresh from releasing her sparkling version of ‘All I Want For Christmas Is You’ channelling 26 different divas, Christina Bianco is sashaying her way into Leicester Square on 15 December with her spectacular live show Divine Delusions. The epitome of Christmas glitz and glamour, Christina seamlessly embodies some of the hottest female singers around, including Liza Minnelli Celine Dion, Shirley Bassey, Britney Spears and Barbra Streisand as she mashes up the classics with some very unlikely interpretations. The ultimate festive celebration of the world’s favourite divas, this is a unique musical comedy experience guaranteed to get you ready to embrace your inner Mariah for the work Christmas do….

Green-Christmas-Tree-With-Green-Red-And-Gold-Decorations

Other acts coming to Christmas in Leicester Square this month include Black Cat Cabaret (various dates including a New Year’s Eve Spectacular on 31 December), cabaret supergroup Fascinating Aida, House of Burlesque, Fitzrovia Radio Hour’s A Christmas Carol, Showstoppers Kids Show and Monski Mouse’s Christmas Baby Disco Dancehall.

In addition to this amazing seasonal entertainment, London’s iconic Leicester Square will be transformed into a wintery haven with a beautiful European-style Christmas Market with over 25 different stalls featuring a range of fascinating Christmas curios, sumptuous food and delicious drinks.

So, come one, come all, have a mulled wine and a pretzel, visit Santa, take in a show, and immerse yourself in a complete Christmas experience!

Tying The Knot During The Festive Season? How To Look Amazing For Your Wedding

wedding

What better time to get married than during Christmas? We all love to look great every day, especially on our wedding! This is a time which is dedicated to you and your partner, so you want to look your very best as all eyes will be on you. With a few helpful tips and thought-out preparations, you’ll be a beauty for those wedding photos.

Plan your outfit…carefully

Not thinking through their wedding outfit is a flaw which most brides make and regret. Buying the first dress you see just because the deal was good is not always the way to go. Have a couple of wedding gowns in mind and use the helpful input from friends and family. When you eventually find your dream dress, store it in a zippered garment bag after purchasing it. If you’re stuck on the what shoes or accessories to get, look at a few bridal magazines, they’re jam-packed with loads of festive ideas and different styles which might interest you! If you’re still planning your wedding, make use of your time to find a dress which will suit you.

Stay healthy and active

Being active and eating better during the months before your wedding, is the key rule to look fabulous on your big day. By finding a workout routine, a fitness-related hobby or a healthier diet which suits you, you’ll not only look fitter but feel more confident in yourself. You could even get your partner involved in your fitness regime and make them lose a bit of tummy fat too! You might even enjoy it so much, that you continue doing it after the wedding day and schedule it into everyday life.

Makeup and hair trials are a must

wedding-makeup

You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘being prepared is half the victory’, well this applies to everything. If you want a relaxed and successful wedding, it’s essential to have all the preparations in order. This involves beauty treatments too! Get all of your girls together and let them do a few hair and makeup trials on you. If you’re struggling for space in your house to accommodate them, see these 6 Style Ideas to Get Your Guest Room Ready for the Holidays. By doing this, you’re preparing yourself and avoiding any hiccups which may occur on the day.

Look yourself, not someone else

One of the worst things you can do while getting ready is making yourself look completely different. Yes, you could try makeup you’ve never used before or go for that hairstyle you’ve always wanted, but don’t have any drastic makeovers on your wedding day. This is just asking for a disaster! Be proud of your original features and let everyone admire your natural beauty.

Prepare a ‘Wedding Day Survival Kit’

Wedding-makeup

You may or may not have heard about this, but it can be a lifesaver on your wedding day. Typically referred to as the ‘just in case’ items, this survival kit comprises of beauty essentials such as tweezers, toothpicks, extra undergarments, breath mints and deodorant. During the dinner/reception, your bridesmaid can keep hold of this little bag of goodies and always be there with the supplies which keep you looking fresh.

Stationery To Celebrate: Wedding Planning The Write Way

Open-book-with-pages-made-into-heart

When you start to plan a wedding, it doesn’t take that much time for you to realise that you’ve got a big task at hand. Because every bride soon sees that there is a lot for her to get done. From setting the date to choosing her shoes, most of the planning comes with a lot of decisions to make. And as you start to work on the list of things you have to do, you’ll notice that a few themes arise – as many of the decisions you need to make will involve one bigger area, such as flowers, music, and even the one we’re going to go into more detail with today, stationery.

At first, you may think that you’re looking at some invitations and thank you card, but when you get down to it, you’ve got a wealth of different options and decisions to make when it comes to all things stationery. So much so, that it can feel quite daunting when you realise just how much you need to take on. But the best way to work with this is to tackle it all head-on, and all at the same time! So, we’re going to walk through what you might want to do to ensure it’s all perfect.

Jump On It

As we said, you’re going to want to get yourself into the ‘I can do this’ frame of mind. Because when you picture that perfect future dream of planning your wedding and buying your first home, you know that you’re going to be taking on a lot of work, but you do it anyway. And now the time has come. So you’re going to want to just forget about everything else for a while and focus solely on the stationery side of things to get it done.

Decide On The Theme

So the very first thing you need to do after getting yourself into the mindset of being able to tackle this, is to figure out the theme that’s right for you. More often than not, you might want to make sure that the choices of stationery you go for are in keeping with your overall wedding theme. However, you may want to do something slightly different, but still keep all of your stationery within the same kind of theme itself. Either way, it’s often a good idea to decide which you’d like to do before you start shopping.

Start With Your Save The Dates

When you’ve decided on your theme, it’s then time to work on exactly what you’re going to get for each piece of stationery that you need. And it’s always a great idea to have a starting point. So, you’re going to want to start off with your save the dates, as there often the item that needs to be ready (and sent out) first. You need to decide if they are going to set the tone for the rest of your stationery, or whether you’re even going to use stationery for this at all.

Pick The Perfect Invitations

At the same time, you may also want to consider the invitations that you’re going to choose. Because if you are sending out save the date cards, then you may want them to be in a similar style. To do that, you’re going to want to find a stationery store that you like, such as Pure Invitation, and see what they offer. You should consider the different styles you can work with, and pick out things like information and RSVP cards too.

Consider The Order Of Service

From here, you’ve then also think about the pieces of stationery that you may need for the wedding day itself, and there’s quite a few. You may not want to work with them all, but one thing that you might like to consider the is the order of service or ceremony plan. This can be handy to give to guests and share information they may need to have.

Table-with-beautiful-bride-card

Work Out The Table Plan

Another key piece is the table plan. This is something that will always be written out, but you will want to decide on a few things. The first is whether you’re going to get it made via a supplier or do it yourself, as it can be quite fun to create things yourself. Your second is to actually work the seating plan out too so that the chart can be written or drawn up.

Choose Your Place Cards

While you’re working on the table chart, you’re also going to want to think about your place cards too. Because if you are writing up the seating plan as a kind of list, or at least using a type font within your plan, then you may want to use the same for your place cards, regardless of the type you go for.

Decide On Table Names

Another part that will go into this particular area of the stationery section is the table names themselves. Because not only do you need to figure out how you’re going to display them, but you also need to come up with the names too. Definitely think about having some fun here, especially if it goes with your overall wedding theme.

Write Up The Menus

While we’re on the topic of tables, the final thing you may want to consider including would be a menu. Whether you’re giving menu choices or not, it’s nice to write up the food and drink to either remind guests of what they chose, or inform them of what’s to come.

Finish With Thank You Cards

Finally, you’ve also got thank you cards to choose too. Although this is the last piece of stationery that you’ll need, you may also want to think about picking these out when you choose your save the saves and invitations. That way, you can make sure that everything is within the same sort of theme if that’s what you’re looking to do. Plus, by ordering ahead, you can be prepared and not have to worry about ordering them when the wedding is over.

Warmer and Wealthier this Winter

Warm-fire-during-Winter

It’s starting to get cold and for many of us in this country, that means a lot more time spent feeling chilly and much bigger fuel bills than at the rest of the year. It doesn’t have to!

Here are some simple things you can do to ensure that you’re warmer and wealthier this winter:

Feathers are Your Friend

If you can, investing in goose feather duvets for every member of your family is a good idea. Although they might be a little more expensive than your average duvet, they are many times warmer, and they will enable you to use your heating less, at night, at least. They’ll also last you for a few winters, so they will pay for themselves and more, and more importantly, you will be cosy when you retire for the evening.    

Become a Curtain King or Queen

You might think that curtains are there for nothing more than privacy and show, but they are actually a very useful tool in regulating room temperature. During winter, you should open all of your curtains and blinds during the day, to make the most of the free warmth provided by the sun. In the evenings you should close them to add some extra insulation around the windows, which are, of course, one of the biggest areas for heat loss.

Turn on a Timer

If you have a boiler with a timer (you probably do), the Centre for Sustainable Energy says that it is a good idea to set the boiler to turn on around half an hour before you wake, but at a lower temperature than you would usually set it. They say that this is a more affordable way of heating your home to a standard that keeps you cosy.

Move Your Furniture

dog-sat-on-chair-keep-warm

If you have furniture resting up against your radiator, even if it’s your sofa, you’ll feel warmer and pay less money for your heating, if you move it away. Why Because your furniture will absorb a lot of the available heat, meaning it never reaches you or the rest of the room – you’ll literally be wasting money if you leave your furniture in the way!

Layer Up

Of course, one of the most cost-effective ways to warm yourself up is by dressing for the weather. The best way to dress for cold weather is undoubtedly by layering up. Why? Not only because the more layers you have, the warmer you’ll naturally be, but because layers trap air and air is a natural insulator – it’s a no-brainer!

Block Draughts

It’s obvious, but it’s worth mentioning because many people don’t bother to use draught excluders or fill in cracks in their home before winter sets in, but doing so is a simple way to increase warmth and cut down on energy usage within any home.

With these tips in your arsenal, you can beat winter at its own game by staying warm and keeping your utility bills down, which means more money in the bank come spring sprucing time!

Important Questions To Ask Before You Buy Your Dream Home

When you’re house hunting, you usually check out plenty of places that are either total duds or just aren’t quite right. Of course, every so often that one property comes along that is, for lack of a better word, perfect. It’s got all of the charm and style that you want in a home, and it seems to fulfil all of your needs. Of course, just because a house seems perfect doesn’t mean that it’s going to be right for you in the long run. A home is simply too big a purchase for you to be making your decisions based on your emotions and not rational choices. With that in mind, here are a few questions that you have to ask before you decide to buy your “perfect” home.

Can you afford the maintenance?

a-hammer

For a lot of people, the idea of a home having charm, character, personality, whatever you want to call is, is one of the most important factors to consider. This usually means that you’ll end up looking for an older property that’s a little more distinct from the others on the market. However, if you do decide to go that route, you need to think about the expenses that can come with it. Older houses often mean that you have to deal with things like oil tanks for the heating systems, or even a coal burner as your only source of heat. Not only that but you may end up having to do more repair work on the property because it’s so much older. It’s crucial that you make sure that you’re ready for that kind of financial responsibility.   

What’s the location like?

Just because the property is perfect doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s in the perfect place. The truth is that the location of your home should be as much of a factor as anything else. Make sure that you not only check out and research the area that the property is in but that you visit at different times of the day. That way you can get a better idea of what living there would actually be like. Plenty of places seem incredibly peaceful during the day but can have serious noise problems at night.

Can you actually afford to buy it?

Buy-your-dream-home

Of course, the one thing that you must never do is let your desire for a particular property blind you to the financial realities of trying to actually buy it. Ask yourself, can you really afford to buy this house? And that doesn’t just mean that you’re able to take out the mortgage to buy it, you also need to think about whether or not the resulting repayments are something that you’re able to budget for. Your perfect home isn’t going to be quite so perfect if you have to starve yourself to be able to afford to live there.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that you should only be practical when looking for a home. There are plenty of places that you’ll visit that will be ideal on paper but just won’t feel quite right. There’s nothing wrong with going with your gut, just don’t don’t let your heart do all of the decision making without consulting your head first!

Going Away For Christmas? Some Things To Consider Before You Go

As magical as a traditional Christmas can be, it’s even more magical to get away every now and then. The image of an extended family gathering around an expertly roasted turkey, bathed in the light of a roaring fire is as ubiquitous as it is misleading. Few Christmas cards feature the images of distressed dads launching strings of profanity at a turkey that refuses to cook evenly or of exhausted mothers desperately scrubbing red wine stains out of the sofa. With so many logistical plates to spin, it’s little wonder that the idea of Christmas dinner in a far flung land where someone else gets to cook for them is incredibly appealing.

Green-Christmas-Tree-With-Green-Red-And-Gold-Decorations

As romantic as the notion of getting away for Christmas can be, it brings with it certain logistical considerations. The last thing you want is to come home to an unpleasant surprise after new year. Here are some considerations for you to bear in mind to ensure that your Christmas overseas is as stress free and enjoyable as possible.

Make sure everyone knows you’re going away

Unless you have the budget to take everyone you love away with you, it’s pertinent to let everyone know where you’ll be over the festive season so that they’re not sending you texts and phone calls that will eat into your international data allowance or cost you money to answer. It will also prevent them from sending any packages that will sit waiting (or potentially spoiling) in the sorting office until you get back.

Since Christmas can be a difficult time for some people, some friends or family may worry about you if they’re unable to contact you over the Christmas period and assume the worst, that you’re upset and not receptive to human contact.  

Check your boiler

Your boiler is the beating heart of your home’s central heating system. It’s one of those things that you forget is even there when it’s doing it’s job right. If it stops doing its job right, however, it can prove disastrous (especially if you’re not at home to respond promptly to it). If your boiler is more than 15 years old it may be worth upgrading your boiler before the weather starts to get really cold. Even if your boiler is not quite that old, it still may be worth clicking here http://ecosafe.co/boiler-services-in-poole/ to schedule a service. If you’re unable to schedule a service before you leave, here are some things that you should check the boiler for before you go…

  • Make sure that the pilot light burns blue and not yellow.
  • Make sure that the radiators heat to a reasonable standard within an hour.
  • Watch out for any suspicious sounds or smells that may be coming from the boiler.

Make sure that your home is secure

Security is especially important in the winter months. Unfortunately, since homes tend to be stuffed full of expensive presents around this time of year, this makes them prime targets for burglars especially if it’s evident that their owners are away. If possible, get a friend or neighbour to check in on the house every now and then to give an impression of the home being lived in and to check that doors and windows are securely locked.

By carrying out these simple tasks you can ensure yourself a fun and worry-free Christmas abroad.

I Wish I Knew That Before Buying My First House in My 20’s…

Keys-and-house-keyring

A lot of people today worry about when they are going to be able to buy their first property. The UK housing market is something that has received a lot of attention lately, with mortgages seemingly more difficult to attain than ever before. With that in mind, if you are lucky enough to be purchasing a house in your 20’s or you are thinking of doing so, read on to discover some of the important things you need to know first:

  • Don’t let your emotions choose your first home – A lot of people make the mistake of letting their emotions take over, rather than choosing a home that matches their lifestyle needs.
  • There is no rush – For some reason, there seems to be this almighty rush to buy a house. There is no time limit. There is no right or wrong time to buy a house. If you think you’d be able to purchase a house more comfortably within the next year or two, wait.
  • You can shop around for your mortgage lender – Many first-time buyers simply go for the first mortgage offer they are made. However, there are many different finance options available, and companies like Belgravia Property Finance explain them in full. Remember, it is all about finding the best deal for you – something that you can comfortably afford to repay.
  • It will feel like it is never going to happen – Buying a property is a long journey. Firstly, you will probably go through endless property searches until you find the right one for you. Once you have found a house you love, this is only the beginning. You may get outbid, or even if your offer is accepted, the process after this can be a long one. It can feel like it is never going to happen, so be patient.
  • You will feel like you are broke – You are going to have heaps of money going out your account. Not only do you need to put the deposit down, but also you will need to pay legal fees, as well as fund the removal process, property inspections, and such like. When all of this comes out of your account, it can feel like you’re poor!
  • Choose a comfortable number and stick with it – You need to determine your comfortable figure, and make sure you stick with it, no matter how much you fall in love with a specific property. Getting caught in a bidding war can be a nightmare. Not only will overbidding cost you more money, but also you may find that you have to contribute more money to the property upfront from your own pocket. This is because banks demand an appraisal of all properties, and you may need to pay the difference if both figures do not align.

Get pre-approved first – Last but not least, get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start the process. You don’t want to fall in love with a property when you are not in a position to put a serious offer in.

The Bathroom: How to Upgrade Without Splashing Out

Now, the bathroom might be arguably one of the most important rooms in the house. It may not have the same level importance as the front room at first glance, after all, it’s not like you get the guests to sit around in the bathroom while you fetch them tea. But just think about it for a second, chances are, they are also all going to use the bathroom at one point too. At that point leaving you with the rest of the guests, waiting in anticipation, hoping there will be no comment on the state of the bathroom upon their return, knowing damn well you should have fixed it up ages ago. Not to mention, a more beautiful bathroom wouldn’t hurt any of the actual residents of the house either, everyone would like a change of scenery while showering or sitting on the toilet. Without further ado, let’s look at a few ways in which you could refresh your bathroom without having to redo the whole thing!

A-stylish-bathroom

Repainting the walls

When painting the kitchen, people often go for some red or maybe orangey colours, then the living room is usually either neutral, like white or vanilla or something a bit warmer. But then what colour should the bathroom be? Unless literally all the bathroom walls are covered in tiles, you probably have some space to work with when it comes to repainting. Bathrooms tend to be a bit more flexible when it comes to colours, so you have quite the array to choose from, but the most usual and common, tested, colours are tranquil and aquatic. Pale blues for your marine interior, soft greens for a spa-like appeal, maybe some ash-grey for a refreshing take on the idea.

Default white never fails either, but keep in mind that it can look a bit worn after being exposed to constant humidity and moisture in the bathroom compared to other colours. If you want to go for something warmer, some dark colours fit the bill surprisingly well. Charcoal and other softer greys prove to be an excellent contrasting colour to the usually-white tiles of the average bathroom, creating a more homely atmosphere rather than feeling sterile and hospital-esque.

Some new bits and bobs

You don’t have to redo the whole thing to keep things fresh. Maintaining the existing, while adding on top is the next best thing, and a lot cheaper too, not everyone’s a millionaire. A new rug for the bathroom can be an absolute godsend. Fluffy rugs could possibly be the best thing you can feel with your feet when you get out of the shower, nobody wants to make contact with the ice-cold tiles straight away. A new rug can really freshen up the place too, since it probably covers a decent chunk of the floor, giving the whole room a bit of a facelift. If you are out of ideas or don’t know what kind of style you should go for, you can always look at some online stores like http://www.drench.co.uk/ to look for inspiration.

A-bathroom-sink

Your existing faucet has probably seen better days in its prime, now showing a bit of rust and a few scratches here and there. Installing a new one is a relatively simple job and could give you that well-deserved upgrade you were after. A new sink might be amazing too, but that often comes with a whole set of tasks which might prove to be a bit costly. Fitting it into a new cabinet, redoing all the piping, the whole song and dance. Remember that keeping it simple will not only prove effective, like it has countless times in the past, but cheaper too!