Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Exciting Ways to Spice Up your Home Garden

It is understandable that not a lot of people takes up home gardening as a hobby.  After all, there are many things to consider when tending to one which can be rather time consuming. From planning out the layout to tending the plants, it does become more of a labor of love and health than a way to pass the time. However, you cannot deny the appeal of having one just for its looks! Personally, I have one because I just truly love gardening.

Over the years, I have made many posts about gardening on both my social media and websites. However, I only realize now that I never really made a post about how I’ve decorated my garden! I had a pretty nifty set-up on our previous home, but sadly not to the level of my dream garden. I had limited space to work with, and the pots I’ve bought were simply occupying too much space for me to add anything else. This all changed, however, when we moved to our new place. Now, I have too much space, that I don’t really know what to add to it to make it look better!

So, I went to the internet, and looked for a few trends for some inspiration. I found more than what I’ve bargained for, and thought that I should share what I found! Hence, here are a few exciting ways to spice up your home garden.

Add a Pond!

While this idea is not exactly novel, it is still a great way to add some excitement to your garden! It provides a contrasting color and life to what is otherwise a plant-centric garden, and you can even use the pond to raise a few aquatic-based plants while you’re at it.

However, the true beauty of a pond in the garden is the ability to raise animals or fishes on it. From turtles to koi, you can add many things in the pond so that it gives more life to your garden. While you’re at it, you might as well test the belief that comes along with certain animals! For example, having a koi pond in your garden is said to bring good luck and strength. With the difficult times lately, there’s no harm in testing this out!

Although, whatever you bring to your pond, make sure to give it some consideration. Taking care of these animals will naturally fall on you and your family members, so make sure to bring any that is well suited to your living conditions.

Add a family nook!

This one I’ve discovered through my son’s suggestions. He is a big fan of the game Minecraft, and he mentioned to me that one of his favourite YouTubers who play the game made a vlog about adding a family nook with bonfire to their yard. I was intrigued with the idea, so I went ahead to search in the Internet, and I absolutely fell in love with the concept!

The idea of having an open bonfire surrounded by chairs, hammock and plants provides this really comforting and almost medieval atmosphere. Most importantly though, it gives you a valid reason to hang out in your garden, and enjoy the peaceful almost medieval atmosphere it generates! You can even choose to invite your friends and relatives over and exchange stories while roasting marshmallows over the bonfire.

Admittedly though, plant and fire don’t really mesh well together. If you do choose to go with this idea, I suggest building a stonefloor to put your firepit on top of so you can prevent any danger.

Add a Fairy House!

Nothing screams more fantastical than fairies. Depending on your situation, maybe adding a few fairy houses and fairy-sized furniture may be the extra “oomph” your garden needs to look exciting! There is also the belief that attracting fairies to your garden brings good luck and happiness for you and your family. Like I have mentioned in the previous paragraph, there’s no harm in testing this belief. Worst case scenario, you’d just have a really pretty and mystical-looking garden that you can show off!

Additionally, this idea may grab your children’s attention, and gives you the opportunity to teach them the basics of gardening. If they don’t like that, then you can just simply skip to the process of making fairy houses with them. Either way, this activity will provide you a great way to strengthen your bond as a family!

Image source:
pond - pixabay
garden - pixabay

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Menopause: Symptoms, Stages and Complications

menopause

Are you experiencing changes in your monthly cycle? When was the last time you have your period? After you’ve gone 12 months without a menstrual period then you are undergoing Menopause.

Women undergo menopause as a natural part of ageing that marks the end of menstrual cycles.

As a woman's oestrogen levels decline, menopausal transition most often begins and can happen between the ages of 40s or 50s.

And because it is a normal biological process, women undergoing menopause may feel different physical and emotional symptoms as a result of unevenly changing levels of ovarian hormones (estrogen) in their body. There are existing menopause groups that share and discuss tips and tricks on dealing with menopause, one best example of menopause support group is run by Emma Guy, better known as the menopausal godmother.

Menopause Symptoms

Symptoms can vary among women. Any of these symptoms may be experienced in the period leading in the months of perimenopause

  • Hot flashes
  • Mood changes or mood swings like you easily get irritated
  • Irregular menstrual periods
  • Dry skin, Vaginal soreness and dryness
  • Chills or the opposite Night sweats/sweating
  • Uneasy, trouble sleeping
  • Loss of breast fullness
  • Headaches
  • Lower sex drive and painful sex

Among the symptoms mentioned above, hot flashes, headaches and emotional symptoms like mood swings are the most common signs of starting the menopausal stage.

Irregular menstrual periods may also differ among women, it can still be months or years before your last menstrual cycle.

How to know if it is happening.

The most recommended way to tell if it’s happening is to watch, record or chart your irregular menstrual cycles for a year or 12 months. If you have not had any period for the entire 12 months then, menopause has happened. It is also recommended to get regular check-ups and preventive screening tests recommended by your Gynecologist.

Stages of menopause

Perimenopause

Usually occurs in women around age 47. This is the stage when you experience irregular menstrual cycles like it will skip a month then return. It may skip even several months but haven’t stopped. Symptoms like hot flashes is highly noticeable in this stage.

Periods may also tend to happen in shorter cycles, but be aware that despite irregular periods pregnancy is still possible. So, if you are not sure that your menopausal transition has started and you skipped a period or two, better consider a pregnancy test.

Menopause

This is when after 12 months or a year you’ve gone without one menstrual period. More symptoms are noticeable during this stage.

Postmenopause

This is the stage when you hit the mark of the second year of no menstruation. You are now referred to as postmenopausal for the rest of your life.

Vaginal bleeding at this stage is not normal, see your doctor immediately when it happens.

Complication

Weight gain. Due to slowing of metabolism during the menopausal transition, one of the most common complication is weight gain.

Cardiovascular disease. Menopause causes decline in estrogen levels, risk of heart and blood vessel disease increases. It is important to undergo check-up, laboratory tests and doctor’s advise on how to maintain a healthy heart.

Osteoporosis. As we age, our bones become weak and brittle. Years after menopause adds to losing bone density at a high rate, thus women in the post-menopausal stage are likely susceptible to bone fractures.

Urinary incontinence. As urethra and vaginal tissues lose elasticity, urinary incontinence is one of the possible complications especially when you are too tensed and stressed. Some women get urinary tract infections more often. Ask your doctor for possible therapy like exercises and treatment option like hormone therapy that would be effective to relieve symptoms of incontinence.

Remember, lifestyle changes and adjustments are important once you reached the Menopausal stage. Healthy diet, regular exercise, regular check-ups and preventive screening tests such as pap smears, breast exams, mammogram, pelvic exams are vital to ensure a healthy you.

image credits: pixabay

Monday, June 14, 2021

How to Spot a Bad Contractor


We rely on contractors to ensure that our homes are safe and that we don't throw away thousands of dollars on a bad deal. However, a bad contractor could leave you in major debt for something you didn't need or could do a poor job and leave you in a home that doesn't function correctly.

These are the top ways to recognize a bad contractor and how to avoid them ever coming into contact with your home.

They Don't Have Any Reviews

Do they have any reviews or personal accounts from working with them?  Try to find someone who's had work done by them before, and figure out if they suit what you need.  You don't need to find out every detail about their life; it's not like they're Bellevue houses for sale; you just need to ensure that they're someone you're willing to work with for the long term.

They Offer Far Too Quick of a Turnaround Time

Do they offer you far too much for far too little money?  If so, they could be scamming you for the deposit.  Anyone can put together a site and steal other people's pictures to look legitimate.  Unfortunately, not every contractor you see can be trusted.  If everything they're offering sounds too good to be true, research it to ensure that it's real and not just someone trying to steal your money.  

They’re Hard to Get into Contact With

Have you reached out to this contractor, only to have them lean you several times?  If that's the case, it could be that they're flighty.  Working on a home is a personal thing, and although your contractor doesn't need to become your best friend, they do need to be available when a problem comes up.  Hire someone you know you can communicate with.

The Images They Use As Their Previous Work

If you’re finding this person through their website, or social media posting, you should reverse image search the pictures they claim as their previous work.  If they're trustworthy, the images will only show up on their sites and the social media of their clients.


If they're stolen images, they'll show up in other sites and magazines while being credited to someone else.  If they can't even supply their pictures, they're not someone you want to trust.

They Refuse to Softball a Price

 Although no contractor can predict how much a project will cost down to the penny, you should have at least a general idea of what you're getting into.  If they refuse to talk numbers with you, they're either scamming you, or they're trying to lure you in deep enough that they can spring an insane bill on you. Instead, ask for a ballpark amount of how much a project like this has cost before, and see if you’re comfortable with it.


Image via pixabay


Wednesday, May 19, 2021

How to better secure your back garden

secure your back garden
Most criminals are opportunists who will take advantage of any gaps in your home and business security. If your property looks secure they will in most cases move on to somewhere that looks more promising. A left open back gate, or bathroom window can be an invitation for someone to chance their luck.

Back gardens are a common point of entry for many criminals. They often have unsecured access and can open out onto back lanes, shared passageways or open ground. They can provide quick escape routes for criminals as well as cover and shelter. So, it stands to reason that if you have a garden security you go a long way towards securing your property overall.

What can you do to help reduce the risk of crime occurring via your back garden?

Motion Sensitive Lights

One of the easiest ways to be alerted to the presence of an intruder in your garden is to install motion sensitive lights. These are lights that are connected to a motion detector and contain small ‘electronic eyes’ that detect infrared waves, such as heat waves that radiate from moving objects. If a detector senses an object moving across its field of view, especially warmer objects such as people, cars and animals, it sends a signal that turns on the lights. This can illuminate your garden, alert you to the presence of somebody nearby and give any potential intruder a shock. Opportunist criminals don’t like to be seen, so lights turning on will usually send them running for cover and away from your garden.

Windy weather and passing dogs and cats can sometimes trigger motion sensitive lights. Overly sensitive lights in an area of heavy footfall will be turning on and off regularly. This can blunt their effectiveness as the homeowner will be unlikely to pay attention to lights that are always turning on and off. They can also become an irritant to neighbours.

An aluminum pedestrian gate on side or rear access

Aluminium pedestrian gates provide high levels of security as well as looking good. A gate that can be well secured presents a physical barrier to intruders and, in itself. can act as a deterrent. When it comes to security, aluminium pedestrian gates have some advantages over the wooden variety. They have a much stronger locking mechanism that can’t be forced open with a crowbar as easily as wooden pedestrian gates. They’re also harder to climb as they offer less opportunity to grip on. This makes them a much tougher prospect for criminals. An opportunist thief when presented with an aluminium gate may well think twice about trying to gain entry.

Grow tall hedges

It’s by no means a quick security fix, but tall difficult to penetrate hedges can be a real deterrent to criminals. Although fences can quickly present a physical barrier to intruders, hedges can present more of a challenge. Fences can be scaled and your average opportunist thief will know their capabilities. They may well be experienced at climbing relatively high fences quite quickly. Few opportunist thieves would fancy their chances with a pyracantha hedge, however. If you’re planting hedges for security think density and spikes, such as hawthorn, holly and berberis. Another advantage of hedges is the colour and interest they can give, as well as making an excellent home for wildlife.

Mark your expensive items with invisible ink

Many of us have items of considerable value in our gardens. Whether that’s furniture, barbecues, large pots with expensive plants or bicycles, all of these can be attractive to thieves. That’s before you even think about the items in the shed or garage. Why worry about gaining access to the house when there’s rich pickings easily available in the garden?

Police authorities recommend marking your items with an approved forensic marking solution that can only be seen under ultraviolet light. Mark or etch your property with your postcode, house or flat details, and the first three letters of your address. All of these make it easier for the police to identify stolen goods. It also makes it harder for criminals to sell your belongings on.

By securing your back garden with a combination of physical barriers and deterrents you can reduce your risk of becoming a victim of an opportunist thief. Don’t let your back garden be the weak link in your home security.

 

Image source: pixabay