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    Pros and Cons of Wood Pellet Stoves

    Many homeowners are making the switch to wood pellet stoves to save money on heating costs. With the winter season in full effect, a pellet stove may sound like an efficient way to heat your home. While pellet stoves are quite efficient, there are some pros and cons of wood pellet stoves that you need to take into consideration.

    Pros of Wood Pellet Stoves

    Eco-Friendly

    There are less toxic chemical compounds and smoke released into the air with a pellet stove when compared to other heating options. While a pellet stove isn’t carbon neutral it emits such a low level of carbon gas.

    Easy to Install

    Wood pellet stoves are easy to install, so much so that the average homeowner can usually install their pellet stove on their own. You just need an air vent pipe to vent smoke and residual gases. This means there’s no need for a chimney installation.

    Budget Friendly

    It’s easy to purchase a pellet stove within your budget as there are many options available for sale online and at your local wood pellet stove store. A pellet stove will cost you somewhere between $1,000 and $3,000 making it more budget friendly than other heating options.

    Cons of Wood Pellet Stoves

    Makes Noise

    While you may be able to hear your home furnace kick on when the heat starts, a pellet stove can make more noise. Some pellet stoves are quieter than others. The reason this falls under the con list is that it can be quite annoying until you get used to having it as background noise.

    More Maintenance

    Pellet stoves have many parts that require regular maintenance, unlike your home furnace that usually needs just one annual maintenance appointment.  You’ll find that the blower fan, motor, hopper feed and temperature sensors in a pellet stove need regular maintenance to stay running efficiently.

    As you can see there are many benefits as well as downsides when it comes to using a wood pellet stove in your home. The key is to review all of the information about pellet stoves to include all costs associated with the addition of a pellet stove in your home. Once you’ve taken the time to weigh out all of the pros and cons of wood pellet stoves you will be able to make a knowledgeable decision regarding the purchase of a new pellet stove.

      

    How to save money on Xbox Live, Games and Digital Downloads

    Christmas just passed and many families are enjoying the new gifts they received this year. Whether it was a favourite toy, one of the hottest gifts on the market or a new gaming system, the fun comes after Christmas when you get to enjoy the gifts.

    One of the hottest, most asked for Christmas presents, from kids to teens to adults is a new Xbox One. Gaming systems are always a hot present. By the time you have bought the Xbox One and a few games, the price tag can be rather high. There is a way to save money.

    Xbox Live

    For many games, if you want to play online with another person, someone who isn’t sitting next to you, you will need Xbox Live. Xbox Live gives you access to online gaming, digital content and something free games, as well as lets you watch YouTube and other streaming features. Without the Xbox Live account, you can not do these things. Xbox Live can be purchased monthly or for a year at a time. If you are looking for cheap Xbox live gold codes you can save even more money.

    Buy Used Games

    Oftentimes, people buy a game and once they have beaten it, they are done with it. They take to a gaming store where the store will give them store credit. The game is then resold to someone new for a much lower price tag. These games are often guaranteed to work and it is a great way to try a new game and save money. When games retail for at least £50 when they are new, this can be huge savings. These savings can then be used to buy more games.

    Digital Downloads

    While most digital downloads are a little less than the physical games, these downloads can still be pricey. That is why it is a great idea to find ways to save money on an Xbox One game download. There are often free trials that allow you to play a few levels of a game. There are also inexpensive games that are not in the hottest demand. You won’t find Minecraft at a discounted cost, but many games like Q-Bert and other non-hot games can be bought for under $10. These are fun games they just are not what is trending right now.

    Whether you got a new Xbox One gaming system or you have had one for a while and just want to save money, using these tips can help you save money while still having fun.

    Collaborative Article


    Photo Credit: unsplash-logoArturo Rey unsplash-logoSean Whelan

    How to reuse Amazon boxes

    Any Amazon fan knows that when you shop on Amazon.co.uk you end up with a lot of boxes. Many are much larger than needed for the items inside. Finding ways to reuse these boxes is a great way to reduce your overall impact from your shopping online.

    Here are a few great ways to reuse those Amazon boxes…

    4 ways to reuse Amazon boxes

    Tidying Up with Marie Kondo

    If you have been watching the new show Tidying Up with Marie Kondo, you know just what to do with those small Amazon boxes. Even the big ones can be cut down to create organisation. Spice it up by attaching fabric with a hot glue gun for a quick and easy upcycled storage bin.

    Biodegradable weed barrier

    Come spring you can use your Amazon boxes in the garden. They make a great biodegradable weed barrier that will help reduce your work weeding. Simply lay strips out around your plants and cover with mulch to hide the Amazon boxes.

    The cardboard will break down over the season and can be tilled right into the garden at the end of the season. While out in the garden you can use an Amazon bod to make a great kneeling pad for working in the garden to keep you comfortable and clean. Then toss in the compost bin when it becomes too worn out.

    Added insulation

    If you have a cold spot in the house the cardboard from Amazon boxes can be a great way to add insulation to help keep your family warm. This is particularly great over single pane windows. You can place them under rugs on cold hard floors for even more warmth or just to act as anti-fatigue padding.

    Give Back Box

    Give back by donating items you no longer need with Give Back Box (the US only). Simply fill your Amazon box with good condition items you would like to donate and visit Give Back Box to print a free shipping label. Amazon will pay for your donations to be shipped to a charity where the items will be sold to fund the needs of the organisation.

    Affordable Ways to Brighten up a Dark Room

    Dark rooms can feel small, clammy and claustrophobic. They can also be very hard to work with because you may feel as though the room will always look dark and unwelcoming. This is not the case at all, and there are plenty of things that you can do to try and brighten up a dark room.

    How to brighten up a dark room

    Rugs

    A nice, big, colourful rug is not just a way for you to define a specific area in your home. It can also be used to give a room personality. If you are having a hard time deciding on a specific colour scheme for the room, then a rug can really give you a starting point as well. When choosing your rug, try and make sure that it doesn’t take up too much room. If your rug spans the entire length of the room, then it will make the room feel way smaller than it actually is, and this can cause you to be back at square one again.

    Mirrors

    The best and cheapest way for you to brighten a room would be for you to use natural sunlight. Keep your blinds or curtains open as much as possible, and really let that sun shine through. If you want to make the room even brighter then mirrored surfaces are certainly the way to go. Mirrors have the ability to bounce light around a room, not to mention that they also add a lot of nice aesthetic to a room. When choosing the position of the mirror, try and place it so that it is across from the biggest window in the room. If you don’t have space for a mirror like this then you can easily place an array of smaller mirrors around the room. Smaller mirrors are also fantastic if you have a super dark staircase as well, and this is especially if you have spotlights running the length of it as well. To get some ideas, check out this choice of mirrored cabinets.

    Heavy Curtains Need to Go

    There are plenty of window treatment options available for you to choose on the market. They are able to give you a ton of privacy without making the room feel darker than it needs to be. If you have really big, heavy curtains then you won’t be doing yourself any favours however. Big or dark curtains have a tendency to absorb light and they also take up a lot of room as well. To make the most out of the room and space you have, opt for translucent shades. These allow sunlight to spread throughout the entire room and they also make it much easier for you to brighten the space.

    Metallic Colours

    Shimmery colours, such as gold or even silver can easily transform a dark room into a wide-open space. Metallic mirrors are a fantastic choice, but if you don’t want to have that then you can easily opt for a light fixture, artwork or even objects that reflect instead. This will work wonders for your design scheme, and it will also make the home look way more luxurious as well.

    Trim your Trees

    If light cannot reach your window then it won’t do anything at all for your room. Try and trim any bushes or trees that might be blocking your windows. You should also avoid planting any trees or shrubbery around the southern end of your home. The main reason for this is because the sun will be too high for the trees to provide shade and in winter, the trees will block out a good amount of solar warmth.

    Matte, not Gloss

    So many people think that gloss is the way to go because it is reflective. Sure, this is the case but glossy walls tend to create glare rather than bouncing light around the home. Matte on the other hand has the ability to reflect light equally on all sides. It can make your home feel way brighter and it is a fantastic way for you to not only open up the space but to also make it really shine.

    Clean your Windows

    This may seem obvious, but so many people neglect their windows every single month. Cleaning your windows can have a major effect on how sunlight comes into a room. The less dirt, splatters and dust you have on your windows, the more sunlight can come into your room. On top of this, cleaning your windows is much easier and cheaper when compared to installing new ones. If you are finding it hard to stay on top of your windows then one way for you to get around this would be for you to hire a window cleaner.

    Supplement Daylight

    The position of the light fixtures around your home will really have an impact on how bright your home feels. As daylight dwindles, it’s important that you project light all around the room. One way for you to get around this would be for you to aim the light upwards as much as possible. This will light up the ceiling and it will also create the perception of space. When you are choosing your fixtures, try and choose lamps. You can even try and choose fixtures that point upwards, rather than down. These are very easy to come by, and it is also super easy for you to blend them into the space you have.

    Neutral Colours

    Now isn’t the time for you to experiment with a dark, moody or even dull colour palette. The lighter the colour of your walls, the more light they will reflect around your home. If your walls are a neutral colour, then try and paint the ceiling a shade or two lighter. This is a fantastic way for you to make the most out of the décor you have, and it will work for any room as well. if you do feel the need to have coloured walls then try and keep the ceiling white or cream in colour. If you don’t then you will really be shutting down the amount of light and space you have.

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    Photo Credit: unsplash-logokelsey roenau

    Beach destinations for your next family travel adventure

    Do you want to know which are the best beach destinations for your next family travel adventure? These destinations have beach resorts designed for families with affordable all-included packages.

    Most resorts will offer nursery places, and lessons for kids. As your kids are learning some exciting activity or sport, you could get a relaxing massage. Then you can join together for a nice dinner or a show. It is simply the perfect family travel adventure.

    The Caribbean 7-Mile Beach at the Grand Cayman Island

    This is a heaven for families. With such a soft and white sand, it is a very peaceful place. The waters are gentle enough to make them safe for children. You can enjoy snorkeling with your family, and enjoy some time together.

    Ixtapa Zihuatanejo in Mexico

    Ixtapa has plenty of family resorts that add some charm to the natural beach. The pools and programs at these places are the perfect complement to the beach time. You can choose to spend some time together, and then let everyone go to a different activity.

    Palm Beach, Florida in the United States

    If you are looking for a place for kids, Palm Beach is your destination. The beach is full of fun things to do. You can enroll for snorkeling, water skiing, among other things. But there is more than just the beach in Florida.

    There are great and fun places for children. You can choose to visit a waterpark or get a water tour. There even is a safari.

    The Podaca Beach in Croatia

    Croatia is an excellent family travel destination. You can get to the Podaca Beach where there are plenty of families having fun together. It is common to find affordable villas in the nearby area, making this an attractive beach destination for big families.

    La Concha Beach in Spain

    Spain has an excellent beach destination. La Concha Beach is perfect for a family trip. There is a wide shore to take a sun bath while kids play making sand castles. The sea is calmed and perfect for bathing. But there is more. You can enjoy the playgrounds located along the shore. There is also a small amusement park, which makes this one of the greatest beach destinations.

    Where will your next beach destination?


    Photo Credit: unsplash-logoNatalya Zaritskaya unsplash-logoLance Asper

    Your Fashion Lookbook

    When it comes to fashion, everyone has their own. What looks good on one, doesn’t look good on another. But there are a few tried and true pieces that every woman should own. They’re classic. They boost your wardrobe and go with everything.

    This fashion lookbook is essential to anyone wanting to boost their wardrobe and make an impression in the new year.

    White Shirt

    White shirts are appropriate for any dress code. Whether you wear jeans or business attire to work, you can wear a basic white shirt and look crisp, clean, and professional. Fitted and tailored to you, or oversized linen, a white shirt is a must for all closets.

    Black Skirt

    Pair your black skirt with the white shirt above, and you’ll be timelessly elegant. Fun, carefree, and professional is a good look for everyone. It shows you’re serious about being good at what you do, but you’re neighbourly, too.

    Comfortable Heels

    You can have your cake and eat it too. With heels you can walk in, the work day will be more bearable. Find a pair of heels of a reasonable height with support, and your feet will thank you later. One brown and one black pair will ensure you have something that matches almost every outfit.

    Black Blazer

    A black blazer dresses up any ensemble. It’s essential, not to mention, trendy. You need this in your work life as much as you need air in your lungs. A black blazer makes getting dressed in the morning fun. Spice it up by adding a belt around the outside of the blazer or leave it unbuttoned for a relaxed feel.

    Comfortable Pants

    Pants that don’t fit quite right around the waist, hips, or thighs make it difficult to stay comfortable. You need stretch and give for freedom of movement especially if you sit in a chair all day or walk long distances.

    Find a pair of pants that’s lightweight to make the perfect summer outfit. You can even add them to your casual wear wardrobe on the weekend.

    Statement Piece

    You should always have one or two statement pieces that reflect your personality. Shapes, patterns, and bright colors are always fun. When paired with your staple pieces, you still look put together, but you’ll draw attention in the most wonderful way.

    Grab a couple of each of these items to reduce the time you spend doing laundry and make getting dressed in the morning easier. Getting your clothes organised can make you feel better. Mix and match everything on this list to create an endless number of outfits.

    Refresh your look with these tips or come up with your own style variations. This is your year.

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    Photo Credit: unsplash-logoAshlee O’Neil unsplash-logoAlexandra Gorn

    Making Summer Come To You! Getting Your Home Ready To Worship The Sun

    Yes, it’s early doors, especially as we are in the middle of winter, but if you can’t afford a holiday out in the sun you’ve got to think about making your home as summer-ready as possible. You don’t need to experience the joys of summer by boarding a plane and getting lost on the way to the hotel. Instead, you can make the most of what you’ve got around you! What are some of the best?

    Summer – make the most of what you’ve got around you

    Renovating Your Garden For A Barbecue

    Summer means barbecues, so what better way to get your home ready for summer than by adding decking and splashing out on a nice fancy barbecue station? Get inspiration from the many recipes online for meat lovers and vegetarians alike, and if you are looking to throw a few garden parties this summer, a barbecue is always a big draw. And, relatively speaking, it’s very cheap.

    Keeping Cool Indoors

    Some people are sun worshippers, and others can’t stand the heat! Either way, health and happiness is your priority,  and you have to make sure you keep cool indoors. If you are anticipating another unbearably hot summer, you can get free AC estimates to give you an idea of the budget you need for an air conditioning system. Don’t forget, there are other ways to keep cool. Even if you think a posh ceiling fan will do the job, if the temperatures soar again this year, you will need something a little bit more powerful!

    Adding Extra Insulation

    Insulation is something that you may not consider to be integral to the summer, but if you are using a lot of electricity to power the air conditioning or fans, having an insulated home will keep the utility bills down.

    Sorting The Windows

    The sun can shine through drafty single pane windows and cause you to squint throughout the summer months. Instead, think about upgrading your windows to add additional panels that block out the sun or you can take the DIY approach and use tin foil. It may look unsightly but if you don’t have the money, this is a simple approach. And, as an additional bonus, you could use this tin foil to put behind your radiator in the winter to ensure that no heat escapes out the windows.

    Wiping Down Your Fixtures

    Keeping the windows open all through the summer means that there will be plenty of bugs making their way into the home. Give your fixtures a wipe down, but also have an armoury of repellent sprays handy. Whether you’ve got ants, flies, or spiders, these creepy crawlies can put a dampener on your enjoyment of the summer months. Be prepared!

    Yes, we may be pining for the summer, and while we’ve still got to get through winter, we can dream about afternoons lazing in the sun, sipping on a cool drink. To keep you going, start thinking about what you can do to the home. If going on holiday isn’t an option, you don’t need to escape to get the benefits of summer. Make summer come to you!


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