Moving Abroad – Do’s and Don’ts

For some moving abroad might be out of necessity for others a planned choice. For some, it may feel like a nightmare, for others an adventure, a new beginning yet whatever your reasons or feelings there are some basic DO’s and DON’Ts which will apply in any situation.

DO your research

Even if it is only basic research, as some is better than none. Moving abroad on a whim isn’t a good idea, no matter how adventurous you are. A good basic knowledge about your new country, its people, traditions and customs is a must before you pack your bags.

DON’T talk, do

I know quite a few people who talk and talk about making a move but never actually get around to the moving part… Well, we’ve been there… we talked for three years or so before we actually took the plunge but we did do it. If you want something, take a deep breath and act on it. Life is way too short to just talk about the changes you want.

DO invest in a lawyer and /or translator

All countries are different and some can be vastly different to what you are used to. They will have their own laws and procedures and without a person on the “inside”, it can be really easy to get caught out with something you will come to regret in the future. Even if you do extensive research beforehand and you really know all the basics, you will not possess all the knowledge about local unwritten laws, laws which are in use but can’t be found within any written Acts. Getting the proper legal advice is really important, it will give you piece of mind and potentially save you a lot of money. DON’T skip it.

DON’T forget about your income

When moving abroad especially to a cheaper country a lot of people forget that they still need money to live off… yea life may be more affordable but it isn’t free; even if you decide to live off grid you will still need some cash. Depending on your abilities you might move and think about work later but if you don’t have any transferable skills, it might be hard or nearly impossible to find work, so DO remember to find a realistic plan on how you can feed your bank balance.

DO pick the right place to move to

I am not talking about the right house, I am talking about the right part of the country, district or even street. When we were searching for our house, some offers seemed too good to be true… well, once we actually visited the once in a life-time deal we would discover why… the house was just as advertised, borderline perfect but no one mention anything about its neighbourhood, or the giant factory just across the street or the subsidence, the mildew and damp etc.

DON’T remodel your house right away

The chances that your new place will be perfect are slim. Once you move in or even before you move in, most people feel the urge to make it feel like theirs, renovating before actually living in and bonding with the house never works well. All that painting, decorating and putting your own mark on the place hardly ever works in the long run. Move in, live in the house for a few months, get a feel for it and then make more informed decisions about what or how things need to be changed – this approach will save you a lot of nerves as well as money.

DO insure your new house

House insurance is always a controversial topic; if you are buying a house and you have a mortgage you have no say in that matter, insurance is a must but what about buying it out right? A lot of people don’t pay for building insurance thinking that nothing will ever happen to them… well, in 8 years in our old house in the UK, we claimed house insurance twice – a burglary and a leak in the roof… needless to say, our monthly payment for house insurance paid off.

DON’T be a hermit

You moved to a new country so go mix with locals and become a part of your new community. It’s quite scary to see Brits living here for 5+ years with no real abilities to communicate with their neighbours or having any local friends. I know people are different but I personally don’t get it. Why move 1000 miles away and mix only with other expats?

Oh and most importantly DO enjoy yourself!

Have you ever considered moving abroad?

How To Use LED Lights to Adorn Your Home

Colourful LED strips are a great source of light, and they also contributing to an impressive ambiance. This has made them take the centre stage in the world of exquisite lighting ideas. The best thing about these strips is that the possibilities of incorporating them into homes, outdoors, offices, etc. are endless.

how-to-use-led-lights-to-adorn-your-homeIf done right, they can look cool and futuristic. Being thin and flexible, they can find a place even where the reach of traditional lighting sources had been impossible such as that under the panes and cabinets and in drawers, etc. The way they shed light on things and illuminate the space in a perfect manner, one thing can be made out that they are here to stay.

If you are imaginative enough, the ways in which you can put to use LED light strips are many. And those who are looking for ideas to start with, read on to find out some beautiful ways in which you can bring LED light strips to a home as a decorative feature that will last and will also go easy on your pocket.

how-to-use-led-lights-to-adorn-your-home-led-glass-balustradeLED glass balustrade: Your staircase need not be a run-of-the-mill feature of your home. Even if you get a fantastic staircase whose design oozes creativity, after a certain point of time, things will stop looking as fantastic as they used to. But, when your frameless glass balustrade will be powered with an LED lighting strip, there would be virtually nothing that can stop your staircase from looking as great as any other centrepiece in your home. Although this idea is increasingly becoming popular, using it for decorating your home with LED lighting strips is what you too should look up to. Just imagine in the dead of the night with no lighting feature on, how beautiful your staircase will look emitting a dim, coloured light.

LED coffee tables: You can add excitement to the corner of your room by installing LED light strips beneath the edge of your coffee table. You can use this table for your date nights when you want to have dinner in the dim illumination of something equivalent to candlelight.

how-to-use-led-lights-to-adorn-your-home-led-bed-lightsLED bed lights: For a goodnights sleep, darkness is really necessary to lull the sleeper to sleep, which is why it becomes imperative to turn off all lights before you prepare to sleep. But without any lighting, it would become really tough for you to cover even a short distance maybe from your bed to the washroom in case you are required to attend nature’s call. Having LED light strips underneath the bed along the border would be the best thoughtful solution to all your problems. Such light strips offer just enough visibility for you to do the movement in the darkness without hurting yourself.

LED vanity mirrors: There is something exquisite about LED vanity mirrors, which is why every modern home’s bathrooms are furnished with an array of these. It is not that you need to have any special or new vanity mirror for the purpose. All you need to do is get the strips installed around the mirror. And voila, you have given a new life to your bathroom.

There are more ideas that you can put to use like LED couches, shelves, refrigerators, kitchen cabinets and shelves, decks, drawers, etc., etc. Any which way, you will end up turning your space into a fancy, beautifully glowing place by bringing LED lighting strips into your home.

* Picture source: 1|2
** This is a collaborative post.

Autumn Home Decorating Tips

As the autumn is in full swing and the winter months start to draw in, many people think about redesigning their homes to make them warmer and more cosy. The bright colours and pastels of spring and summer are no longer on trend, and warmer colours start to dominate more homes during the run up to Christmas. Along with that, now is the ideal time to start bringing in those warm and cosy accessories, a great excuse to go on a shopping spree for warm throws and plenty of soft cushions!

autumn-home-decorating-tipsRepainting

Although repainting and decorating is more of a summer job, there’s no reason why you can’t get it done on an autumnal weekend, either. If you don’t want to open the windows to air out the smell of paint whilst it’s cold, sticking to re-wallpapering feature walls to include more autumnal colours and patterns can be a great alternative idea to this. Whilst during the summer people tend to decorate in bright and breezy colours to open rooms up and make them look larger, the colder months are the perfect time to decorate using darker colours to create a warmer, cosier atmosphere inside away from the cold.

Cushions and Blankets

Now is the season where nights out become cosy nights in, and movie nights with friends and family become your favourite activity to do on a cold evening or weekend. Stocking up on cushions and blankets makes for a cosier and more comfortable atmosphere in your home, creating the perfect little warm and comfortable haven from the cold weather outside. Throws can be used over sofas to create more warmth and cosiness, or even used as a blanket to wrap up warm in.

Autumn Scents

The autumn and winter season is the perfect time to introduce warm and spicy scents into your home. The floral, light scents that were so popular during the summer can now be replaced by scents that not only make your home smell great, but also warm you up and relax you at the same time. Whether you enjoy candles, burning incense or essential oil diffusers, opt for spicier, warmer scents such as ginger or cinnamon.

Set the Scene

Getting the right lighting in your home is important, especially as the nights become longer and darker during the winter months. With the sun setting at an earlier time each day, homeowners have to make sure that they have the perfect lighting in their home along with keeping their energy usage as low as possible. Low lights and lamps can be an excellent alternative to a main bright light, with spotlights over areas which are going to need more focus, such as over the hob in the kitchen. Not only does low lighting often create a cosier atmosphere, it can help you to relax and wind down before bed.

How are you decorating your home to make it more warm and cosy this year?

* This is a collaborative post.

Rough Guide to Kitchen Knives

Knives are the most basic of essentials and a must have in every kitchen. No matter how many wonderful gadgets you have in there, without a set of good knives you will still struggle. Cutting, chopping or slicing, every job belongs to a different knife and it’s good to know why.

Rough Guide to Kitchen Knives - Edge of BelgraviaYears ago, when I was a child, I remember my grandparents having just one big sharp knife for all the jobs in the kitchen. My gran always said that this was all she needed. Well, I am not sure I would be able to function in the kitchen with just one knife. Yes, I am sure things would still get done but at what cost? As humans we like to make our lives easier so why not start with such basics as the right kitchen knives?

Rough Guide to Kitchen Knives - Edge of Belgravia precision knives - Chef’s knifeChef’s knife

Size: 6-14 inches

Blade: straight

Main task: All round knife, which will be able to handle most jobs around the kitchen. Its large size allows for cutting of large ingredients or large quantities with ease.

Rough Guide to Kitchen Knives - Edge of Belgravia precision knives - Paring knifeParing knife

Size: 3-5 inches

Blade: straight

Main task: paring fruit and vegetables. The knife has a short and sharp blade therefore it is very easy to handle while peeling or coring. Perfect tool when dealing with small ingredients such as shallots, garlic or ginger.

Rough Guide to Kitchen Knives - Edge of Belgravia precision knives - Bread knifeBread knife

Size: 6-10 inches

Blade: serrated

Main task: as per its name it is a bread knife. This type of blade allows you to cut through any hard crust of the bread without crushing any of the inner softer parts. The bread remains light and airy during cutting process resolving in a perfect slice.

Rough Guide to Kitchen Knives - Edge of Belgravia precision knives - Slicing knifeSlicing knife

Size: 6-12 inches

Blade: straight with scallops on both sides

Main task: well… slicing! The scallops on each side of the blade serve two purposes, firstly it helps eliminate food sticking to the side of the blade through suction and secondly it reduces the drag on the knife while slicing and this all allows easier separation, which results in paper-thin slices.

Rough Guide to Kitchen Knives - Edge of Belgravia precision knives - Filleting knifeFilleting knife

Size:  6-11 inches

Blade: thin and straight

Main task: filleting and boning. The knife has a long and flexible blade which allows you to make cuts in meat that are in difficult areas such as the backbone or for gaining under skin access which isn’t achievable with other types of knife (or at least not with ease). The shape of the blade provides supreme control and resolves in tight clean cuts.

Getting the right type of knife is one thing, but getting a “good” knife is something totally different. Good knives will last a lifetime, they will be well made with a no stick blade which will stay sharp for longer and once dull will be easy to sharpen. I have had the pleasure to work with some Edge of Belgravia precision knives for a while now, and I am not able to fault them in any way. To see the full range please visit Edge of Belgravia or you can purchase them from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

Alfresco Living – Prepare Your Deck For The Perfect Summer

With the summer months nearly upon us, a lot of you may be looking forward to spending a lot more time outside. Specifically, if you happen to have a back deck or porch, you may be anticipating evening cocktails, cookouts with friends or family, or simply morning tea or coffee with the rising sun. If you’re like me, you’re pretty convinced that nothing beats time on your deck during the warmest months of the year.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t make that deck better!

Alfresco Living – Prepare Your Deck For The Perfect SummerHaving said that I have a few recommendations coming for how to set your deck up for the perfect summer season. So here we go…

Give It A Thorough Cleaning

First things first! Unless you have an outdoor heater or two in place, odds are you’ve spent most of the winter and spring more or less avoiding your deck area. Naturally, that means some tidying up will be in order. Cobwebs, debris, dust, and more will have accumulated, likely in a way that requires more than a quick sweeping. This list of tips for a summer ready deck or porch recommends power washing right off the bat, and I’d have to agree this is the right way to start. You can always get down on your hands and knees and scrub, but now may be a good time to think about adding a power washer to your garden shed or home tool arsenal. It gets the job done quicker, and it’s actually a pretty affordable piece of equipment.

Sand Down The Floors

Speaking of adding to a home tool arsenal, a power sander might actually be a more useful tool than you’ve realised before. Case in point, this site has a wide selection of different power sanders right alongside some far more basic pieces that are commonly found in garden sheds or toolkits so you can find just the right tool for the job. That’s because a lot of people have come around to the idea that a power sander can speed up an otherwise stressful task! Once you scrub or power wash your deck you’ll likely find the floor a little bit coarse, and sanding it down keeps it looking nice and primes it for your own barefoot lounging in the warm weather.

Fill The Space With Plants

The same list referenced previously recommends planting annuals and a variety of flowers in outdoor areas, and this may truly be the best way to make your deck beautiful and cozy during the summer. Whether it’s hanging ferns, planted flowers, or even lines of bushes or hedges around the border of the deck, plant life just feels right during the summer. It’ll help you and any guests you may have to feel like you’re truly embracing the outdoors every time you step out on the deck.

Set Up Exposed Flame

I realise this doesn’t sound like the safest or most necessary option, particularly when we’ve just discussed wooden floors, but I’m only suggesting open flames to add a little bit of light in the evenings. You might find an endless selection of attractive candle fixtures made for outdoor areas, or if you really want to cultivate a striking atmosphere you could consider something like a tiki torch in the right place. There’s something undeniably pleasant about a summer night lit up by natural flames. As long as you’re safe about it this can make for a wonderful addition to your deck in the months ahead.

Invest In Comfortable Outdoor Furniture

A lot of outdoor furniture is, frankly, crude and uncomfortable. In many cases it basically amounts to splintery wooden chairs, or canvas seating stretched over bland iron frames. These can certainly get the job done but if you haven’t visited a home and gardening shop in a while you may not have noticed that more comfortable outdoor furniture is always becoming more affordable. You can find whole sets of cushioned chairs and sturdy tables for very reasonable prices and easily make your deck more appealing as a place to lounge. And as a bonus, try to pick a uniform colour scheme for cushions that suits the atmosphere you want to create. I’d suggest a cool blue or green to fit in with nature but not compete with the vibrant colours of flowers or other plants you may have.

Prepare To Maintain

As a final point, I’d like to echo this article’s closing statement on summer deck preparation: maintain, maintain, maintain. An outdoor deck is constantly exposed to the elements, even if it happens to have its own roof or overhang to shield it from rain. Every few days at least you’ll want to sweep away dirt and dust and do any other basic upkeep that might seem necessary, or else the deck will quickly revert back to its winter condition.

Aside from these tips, it all pretty much comes down to personal taste! You’ll find all kinds of fun ways to set up your deck the way you envision it. But these ideas should serve as a foundation that can help most anyone who wants to spend the summer outside.