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Weed It And Reap! It’s Time To Design Your Own Garden

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With our new normal seeing us staying at home a lot more because of the current Covid-19 pandemic, there has never been a better time to invest in your garden. Because people are seeing the staycation as the default holiday this year, homeowners are going above and beyond the annual garden tidy-up and are embarking on a full remodel of their outside area. If you have triffid-like plants overtaking your borders, your lawn has seen better days, there are no zones to enjoy and you can’t even consider dining outdoors, it can be challenging to find the joy in your garden. You need to treat your garden like the interior of your home. Your humble abode is your pride and joy, so this should extend into your outside area.

Gardens are no longer a patch of lawn and a couple of side borders full of plants. There are all sorts of glorious garden styles for you to enjoy depending on how you see your garden being utilized. Will you want a grand, elegant array of blooms? Do you want to grow vegetables? Or are you seeing your garden as an outdoor party area? Take a look at how you can design your own garden using these ideas to inspire you.

Create Some Zones

Gardens serve many purposes. Some days you will be outdoors with the kids, spending some time playing games and kicking a ball around. All you need for this is some artificial grass that is resilient and requires little maintenance. Many individuals aren’t willing to put the mowing time in, and would rather have a permanent lush green carpet underfoot. This is why artificial lawn is so popular. Alternatively, you could plan for a pool out the back. For those kids who are active and a little older, a dip in the pool can be more attractive than the video games on offer inside. All you need to do is source water pump spare parts for your kidney shaped pool every couple of years, get it cleaned regularly and look forward to some exciting outdoor summer pool parties.

Vegetables

Many people are keen to explore the concept of sustainability. This means foregoing any reliance on supermarkets for food, and having a go at being more self sufficient. You could decide to create some raised beds, ready for sowing. Think about the vegetables you love to cook with and eat, and get planting. You might want a couple of rows of parsnips, some pumpkin and some artichoke. If you want to get the kids involved, think about whipping up a greenhouse or some polytunnels, and plant some strawberries, cucumbers and tomatoes. These salad veg and fruit enjoy the more humid conditions.

Al Fresco Dining

If you see the outside of our home as being an extension of your pad, you might want to consider how you can accommodate some outdoor dining. Whether you are having a barbecue or enjoying eating outdoors for a summer dinner party, you need a patio with an awning for cover adjacent to your home. This means your guests don’t have to go too far to sit and eat and relax and chat. Being a host, having your diners outside can be fun and enjoyable in the summer months. You could even give it a go during winter. While chillier, you can create a cozy atmosphere with an outdoor heater, a firepit and some subtle lighting.

Barbecues are also fun for the whole family. You could pick up some good quality garden furniture from a local garden center and enjoy eating some halloumi burgers, marinated salmon and grilled corn at the weekend.

Planting

If you adore flowers and color, it’s time to consider your planting. Don’t just head to the garden center and pick up flowers because you love the look of them without any planning. You need to work out when your flowers will bloom, whether you want all year round color, or whether you fancy some shrubbery or grasses. If you don’t have a green fingered bone in your body, it might be a good idea to pick up some wildflower seeds. These can be left to grow on their own and love nutrient poor soil. All you need to do is mow it back a couple of times a year. Wildflowers also help you do your bit for the environment as they are great pollinators for bees.

If you love an English country garden look, you’ll want traditional blooms. Consider some roses, hydrangea and scented heather and lavender. These are wonderful for those gardens that have a lot of colors: reds, yellows, oranges, and violets. If you prefer a more modern or exotic look, palms and bamboo can be ideal, provided you have the sunlight. Read up on the sort of plants that match well together and draw out your patch for planting. Then you can plot which shrub or flower you will plant where.

Water Feature

If you don’t have the room for a pool, but you still fancy a water feature, consider a fountain or an illusion orb. For a garden to be a relaxing space, the sound of water can add to the atmosphere of calm and tranquillity. Couple this with a hammock or some gentle swing seating, and you can have an extra zone where you can kick back, read a book, have some alone time, or chill with pals.

When you do have your garden zones, don’t forget the finer details. How will you move between each zone? Will you have a tiered garden or do you need to think about paths? Sand and paving come in all different sizes making an easy path to lay. You could opt for a shingle path instead or go for some decking.

Designing a garden can be tricky, so think about getting the professionals in if this gives you more confidence. There are many factors to consider with a garden, but follow this guide and you will soon weed it and reap!

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Student @ Advanced Digital Sciences Center, Singapore. Travelled to 30+ countries, passion for basketball.

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DIY Bathroom Repairs Everyone Should Know

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They say “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but if something is stuck or clogged, one should be on the know-how. Reaching almost a year since quarantine began, people have been spending longer than average locked inside their homes. With this, homes may have experienced more wear and tear than usual, especially bathrooms.

It can be frustrating to feel helpless when dealing with something as tedious as a leaky faucet, a broken toilet, or a clogged drain. Considering this, small do-it-yourself remedies may be resourceful. 

That began said, if challenges are too drastic, larger renovations may be in order. If that is the case, consider commercial bathroom renovations instead. 

For the meantime, these are some nice and easy-to-do remedies than can offer your bathroom a quick fix. 

Uncloging a Bathroom Drain

When taking a shower or washing your hands, having water rise from the drain is the least you would want. Slow bathroom drains are often caused by a build-up of soap-scum and hair. Many resort to using chemical drain cleansers to remedy this; however, these products carry toxic chemicals and can be ineffective at times. 

Instead, use a plastic hair snake. This product resembles a long zip-tie which can bend inside pipes to snag the accumulated gunk.

To begin, remove the drain stopper before inserting the wand. This will require unscrewing and disconnecting the stopper’s horizontal and vertical rods. After doing this, you may finally insert the snake. Once the cleaning process begins, beware: it’ll get gross. As a tip, try to girate or make sweeping motions with the snake in order to grab as much gunk as possible. 

Fixing a Broken Toilet

Dealing with a broken toilet can be a common issue. 

If the toilet won’t flush, check inside the it’s tank. To do so, remove the toilet’s rectangular lid; the lid can be found behind the toilet seat. Look for the chain which connects the flush lever to the plug at the bottom of the tank; the plug is also known as the flapper. If a toilet isn’t flushing, the likeliest answer is that the chain is disconnected from the lever. To resolve this, simply reattach the chain. 

Meanwhile, if water keeps on filling your toilet, it most likely means your toilet is flushing by itself. This isn’t good as it is wasteful. The likeliest reason would be that the toilet has a leaky flapper. To fix this, turn off the water valve from behind/ underneath your toilet. Flush your toilet until emptied. Check the flapper’s size and purchase another flapper. Brands do not matter as long as they match in size. Replace the old flapper with a new one, and voila! 

Replacing a Leaky Faucet

Fixing a leaky faucet often requires replacing the parts inside the handles. To do so, first turn off the hot and cold water valves. Doing this will help prevent any unwanted water geysers from jumping out of the faucet or handles. 

Once you’ve turned off the water valves, check if water is still trickling down. If so, rather than replacing the handles, this means your faucet is in need of a plumber. If it isn’t leaking, you may proceed. 

Pry off the handles and loosen the screws underneath. Once both items are removed, remove the top with an adjustable wrench and pull out all the parts. The best tip is to use needle nose pliers to do this. Head to a home improvement store and ask for help in searching for new replacements. To reassemble, repeat the steps in reverse and test the faucet.

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The 8 Best Christmas Movies to Watch with Your Family

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Movie with Friends

Christmas is the perfect time of year to get together with family and friends and spend as much time as possible with them, but it’s also a time to curl up on the couch and watch those Christmas movies we’ve seen a thousand times. Don’t know which one to choose, though? To inspire you over the next few days, we’ve created a top 8 Christmas movies list to watch with your loved ones during the incoming Christmas holidays. You can easily find them all online in platforms such as movie 4k, Netflix, Hulu or HBO.

Love Actually

One of the most romantic movies of recent times is also one of the most adorable Christmas films, so why not watch or the billionth time? In this movie, director Richard Curtis mixes 10 small love stories that at the beginning do not seem to have anywhing in common, but end up intertwined at the end. Apparently, as he didn’t have them all developed enough to make their own movies, he just left them as optimistic pills. They are very different stories -some euphoric, others tender, others surprising- but all of them to make you grab the handkerchief and want to wish Merry Christmas to the first person you come across.

Serendipity

Some may think that this is one of the most cheesy films in the history of cinema, but there is no denying that the chemistry between Kate Beckinsale and John Cusack is enormous. Serendipity’ is related to chance and the possibility of two people meeting over time and that’s what happens to Jonathan and Sara. The two meet in a department store while looking at a pair of wool gloves; they will connect in such a way that they are going to have a drink and skate to Central Park. When that ‘casual date’ is over, doubts will arise: to exchange the phone or not? To reveal their true identity or not? Destiny will play a key role in them.

Elf

The film follows the story of an abandoned baby who manages to slip into Santa’s sack and ends up at the North Pole. There, he will become one of the elves who help Santa make toys all year round. However, as soon as he learns that he is human, he will go to New York to look for his father. It’s not a masterpiece, but it’s definitely hilarious.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

A classic among Christmas movies starring 90’s TV stars such as Connie Sellecca, Corbin Bersnen and Cole and Dylan Sprouse. The film shows how little Justin sees his mother kissing Santa Claus -and doesn’t recognize his father in the costume-, and he beleives that his mother’s affair is the prelude to their parents divorce, so he tries to keep Santa far away from the house with his bad behavior.

While you were sleeping

A classic romantic comedy that tells how Lucy, a subway ticket vendor, is in love with a man that she sees every morning catching a train. One day, he accidentlly falls on the track; she rescues him and, for some reason, she ends up pretending to be his girlfriend to his whole family. Everyone receives her with much affection except the brother of the victim, who did not buy her story.

Bridget Jones

A good dose of Bridget Jones never hurts anyone, not even at Christmas, and especially if you choose the first movie of the saga -since the second one wasn’t as good and the third and last wasn’t successful at all. Renée Zellwegger brings to life the most clumsy journalist in history who struggles between two men: Daniel Cleaver or Mark Darcy, an old friend of her family who seems a dull, boring guy, but also charming and caring.

Home Alone

Just in case you missed the huge cultural phenomenon that was John Hughes’ big Christmas movie, it needed to be on this list. Starring Macauly Culkin, it tells the story of a young boy who is forgotten at home when his family leaves to Paris to spend the holidays. While the parents try to come back for him, the boy ends up having to defend his home from thieves who are determined to celebrate their own Christmas party by robbing everything in the house.

It’s a wonderful life

Only a director as skilled as Frank Capra could turn a film about a suicidal man into a Christmas classic. Jimmy Stewart leads the cast as George Bailey, a guy who plans to end it all until an angel named Clarence shows him what his life (and that of all his neighbours in Bedford Falls) would be like without him. In a story taken directly from Dickens, it turns out that George has a much bigger impact than he thought.

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Try These Tips out to Simplify Your Everyday Life

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Everyday life naturally has a way of getting complicated, and spiralling out of control in one way or another.

Especially if you are an ambitious person and want to achieve the most you possibly can in your professional life, while also having a lively and uplifting personal life, it can be very difficult to avoid the experience of being drowned in excessive complexity from time to time.

The thing is, there are many downsides to excessive complexity in your everyday life, ranging from significantly increased stress levels, to a real difficulty with regards to being able to effectively juggle assorted projects and responsibilities.

Try these tips to simplify your everyday life.

Declutter your home and make sure everything has a place

A lot of excess complexity can sneak into your life via a cluttered home, where things just naturally feel overwhelming because of the fact that your mind and attention are constantly drawn to the chaotic nature of your living environment.

There are many different potential benefits to decluttering your home, but one of the key benefits that various home tidying gurus and productivity experts praise about the act of decluttering, is that it helps promote a state of mental tranquillity, focus, and an overall reduced sense of complexity.

So, do what you can to declutter your home and make sure that everything has a place. Contact e-waste recyclers, load bags of clothes to donate to charity shops, and do whatever else you need to do in order to begin simplifying your life and your mindset by simplifying your home environment.

Identify one or two big goals to work towards, and put the rest aside for later

Most of us have all sorts of different dreams, projects, and potential goals that we would hypothetically like to explore and devote our time and attention to, at some point or another over the course of our lives.

Unfortunately, however, trying to juggle too many goals at once is usually a recipe for stress and failure – not to mention a sense of overwhelming complexity, as we are constantly trying to figure out the best way to allocate our time and energy to the various projects we want to make headway on.

One of the best ways of simplifying your life and of focusing your energy, is to identify just one or two big goals to work towards at any given time, and put the rest aside for later.

Do your most important tasks at the start of each day

“Analysis paralysis” is a very real phenomenon, and it tends to occur when we have too many different options at our disposal, and have to try and figure out how best to juggle a variety of factors – such as where to fit in the different tasks and chores that we are committed to each day.

A great simplicity-boosting exercise here is to always do your most important task at the start of each day. That way, everything else is more or less a nice optional extra, and stress decreases dramatically.

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