Valentines Day Gifts for the Man in Your Life

Are you struggling with what to get for your boyfriend or husband this Valentines Day? Well, you’re not alone – women around the world agree that choosing a Valentines Day gift for the man in their lives can be almost impossible. It doesn’t seem fair that there isn’t a masculine equivalent to a bunch of red roses or a bottle of perfume – most men don’t seem to know what they want anyway! Don’t despair; here are our top tips for making your man happy this February 14th.

Themed Slippers

Most men like slippers but don’t make the mistake of getting him boring ‘old man’ slippers. Get him something he will actually care about, something that ignites a dash of passion. You could get him NFL slippers of his favorite team, for example.

Watch

Every man loves a nice wristwatch and without spending a fortune there are hundreds of models available in a wide range of traditional and modern styles. Something is available for the most outdoor man to the elegant gent about town.

Computer Games

Even though guys are not usually good at dropping hints, you will have heard him or his buddies talking about the new ‘must have’ computer game. The only downside with this gift is that he may spend more time with it than with you for a while, unless of course you are into it too!

Tickets to an Event

Buy two tickets to see his favorite band or singer – this has two advantages; you get a night out as well and the anticipation of waiting until the date of the gig means he will feel like he’s getting a gift every day!

If he’s into theatre, the tickets might be for a show or you could of course get him tickets to his choice of sports event but be careful – choose something you’d like to go to too.

Magazine Subscription

No matter what he’s into; fishing, auto sports or the history of air travel, there is a magazine or a choice of magazines that specialize in the subject. Get him a subscription and have every edition for a year delivered to him at home. Again, he’ll be reminded of your thoughtfulness all year round.

Food

They say that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach and it is usually true. Take him out for a meal that you know he’ll like or put together a hamper of his favorite treats, no matter how peculiar the mix might be. If you choose it right, he’ll know you care and that you’ve been thinking about him.

Revisit his childhood

It is also said that all men are big kids at heart so why not consider getting him something that will indulge the boyish side of his nature? Nobody is too old to enjoy flying a kite or a toy glider and for the less adventurous there are some really cool radio controlled indoor helicopters now available.

This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84

Smart Home Technology: The Future of Real Estate

Building and designing the modern-day home is about a lot more than what we’ve been used to in the traditional model. Smart home technology is moving from a ‘nice to have’ to an absolute must for potential real estate owners. In this article, we’ll go over how a home can be built ‘smart’ right from the ground up.

Modular Homes: Design Geared Toward Smart Technology  

The so-called ‘modular’ home has made the transition to smart home technology that little bit easier and convenient. These modern homes allow for the easy installation of smart technology, making it incredibly easy to get up and running. In many states, modular homes are starting to take over. Modular homes TN are just an example of how this technology is taking flight and overtaking the traditional building and design methodologies. 

Not only that, modular homes are built to be stronger and greener, meaning that you get the same performance for a lower investment cost. The insulation materials used are usually top notch. Green and energy star certified homes, for example, will save you anywhere from 15-30% on your energy costs.

Energy From Nature

You should invest in a home that makes it possible to easily install solar panels. Depending on your local weather, these can actually a power a full home’s electricity full-time.

Even if you don’t want to invest in these straight away – as they can be quite expensive – you nevertheless want to make sure that it’s a possibility for the future. That way, when you do decide to have them installed, you’ll know it’ll be a smooth and hassle-free experience.

Passive Solar Sun Room

By building a southern facing room, it’s possible to use the sun’s energy to passively heat a room – this means you run no bills whatsoever, nor do you have to convert the sun’s energy as you do with solar panels.

It’s possible to manage the shutters and vents to ensure your desired temperature, whether it’s in the middle of summer or during a particularly cold winter. No matter what the temperature is outside, as long as you’ve got a little sun this can make a big difference in both your bill and comfort.

Home Automation

It’s possible to manage everything from the palm of your hand, whether you prefer using a smartphone or tablet. From home security, audio installations, home theatre, lighting or climate control, smart home systems allow you to automate your home for full convenience.

Geothermal Heating and Cooling Systems

The earth absorbs almost half of the solar energy we get from the sun. Geothermal systems take advantage of stable ground temperature using a piping system that’s installed underground. Using this, you can cut gas and electricity bills by roughly 80%.

It’s a fantastic way to do your bit for the environment and slash costs while you’re at it. When building a home, it’s important to take the installation of a geothermal system right from the start, as it can save you a lot of hassle in future!

This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84

Architectural Landscapes in your Back Garden

Almost every homeowner dreams of having a architectural landscape in their back garden. Landscape design is now more popular than ever, with some very exciting trends to look forward to this year. It doesn’t matter whether you are attempting to do it yourself or leave it to the professionals; it’s about bringing out the best of what your garden has to offer. Here we look at the top landscaping trends you should consider to make you back garden stand out this year.

Eco-Friendly Designs

Now that the economy is finally getting back on track, people are ready to start investing in their gardens again, with annual growth expecting to grow over the next few years. Homeowners want to invest in their outdoor spaces with high quality and eco-friendly products. One of the top trends in landscape design in Denver is using trees to create natural shade for your home, in order to reduce energy costs and produce fresh air. So, not only is it about making your back garden beautiful, but it’s also about finding ways to make nature work for you.

Plight of the Bees

Everyone has heard about the threats facing the bee population and people are really taking this into account when considering landscape design. More and more homeowners have been making sure they include plenty of plants, trees and flowers that are rich in pollen to create a haven the bees can enjoy.

Let There Be Light

This year is all about creating a dramatic effect in your backyard, through lighting. Some people are opting for natural flames, with the use of torches or an outdoor fireplace. These striking features will really set your garden apart, while maintaining a cozy feel. If you are feeling a little more adventurous, you can try out the LED lighting trend. Using LED light will help to lower running costs and newer designs can even be controlled via apps.

Low Maintenance

You may dream of an architectural landscape, but maintaining your beautiful new garden can be hard work, especially with all the changes in weather. People are opting for low-maintenance plants and flowers that are better able to tolerate dramatic changes in weather. This will make it easier to maintain your garden, keeping costs low.

Edible Gardens

We are experiencing a move away from turf grass, with vegetables, herbs and fruit coming in to replace it. Not only will these help to feed your family, again helping you to save money, but they can have an ornamental function as well. Instead of veggies being planted in neat little rows, we are seeing vegetable patched set up in squares. Planting them close together means that water will evaporate slower and the moisture will hold for longer in the soil.

As you can see, this year landscape design is all about creating an eco-friendly environment that can help you cut down on costs while also helping the environment. It’s about making the most of your back garden, while still giving yourself a beautiful space you can go to and sit back and relax.

This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84

Discount Boots: The Perfect Footwear for the Fashionable and Practical Woman

Every woman should have a pair of elegant and trusty boots in her closet. Not only do they look great but they also serve a very important purpose – providing comfort and protection to the person wearing them. There are so many gorgeous boot designs that choosing just a couple of pairs can prove to be daunting. Many high-fashion designers rely on boots to elevate the look of their models as they strut in their creations on the runway. Fall collections are rife with boots of all manner of fantastic designs, which is why many women look forward to this season. High heels are sexy and ballet flats are sweet and cute but there is just something about wearing a beautiful pair of boots that makes a woman exude class and sensuality.

Budget-Friendly Chic

Currently, there is a broad spectrum of women’s boots in the market designed by various well-known designers. A pair of designer boots can cost a hefty amount of money, which is not the most ideal expense in this age of economic struggle. Fortunately, discount boots are available to those of us who are on a tight budget but still want to look stylish. A lot of the designs are inspired by designer boots but with minor modifications and less expensive materials. As a result, it is now possible for regular women to mix up their outfits by owning more than one pair of boots.

Stick with the Essentials

As affordable as they are, you don’t need to get a pair of every style of boots. In fact, there are only five investment pieces that you need to cover your entire wardrobe. Naturally, you will need to have a few casual pairs for everyday use such as rider boots and stacked booties. It was Nancy Sinatra who once said that “boots are made for walking” and she was truly on to something. Rider boots and motorcycle boots are favorites among women who are on the go and prefer a more laid-back style and maximum comfort. However, these boots are by no means unflattering as their designs range from rugged to embellished. Knee-high rider boots are also very popular because they can be worn with jeans or a nice summer dress. Standard leather rider boots in black or tan can easily be your go-to footwear when running errands and meeting friends for lunch. On the other hand, dressier rider boots made of other materials like suede or velvet are perfect for evening parties.

Booties have also earned their spot in the essential footwear list mainly for their style and versatility. The more casual stacked bootie often has a wider heel and is ideal for walking around the city. The dressier type of bootie is less comfortable because of its thinner and higher heel, as well as the absence of a slight platform at the front of the shoe. However, dressy booties go very well with sophisticated outfits because they come in bright colors and various embellishments. Stiletto boots are unique in their own way because they can be both casual and dressy. They are considered appropriate work shoes but they can also be worn with an elegant frock at night. Wellington boots are obvious essentials because their main purpose is to protect your feet from harsh weather conditions such as rain or snow. Thankfully, even these utilitarian boots come in feminine designs now so that your toes can stay snug without compromising style.

This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84

How to keep your car clean and organised when you have kids

If your car is anything like mine, then it’s very much an extension of your home and most likely filled with kids colouring books, empty sweet wrappers and a heap of clothes and shoes (amongst other things). 

In spite of religiously taking my trusty motor to be cleaned once a month, inevitably by the end of the first week ‘post clean’ it’s back to it’s usual grubby, unorganised state leaving me wondering how on earth it happens.  I am definitely blaming the kids!

However, it doesn’t have to be this way and with just a little organisation and effort from you and your family, it is entirely possible to create a clean driving haven that you’ll be proud to get into. In fact, it’s almost as easy to keep you car clean and organized, as it is to get quick car insurance quotes online nowadays!

Here are five top tips to help turn your car from grimy to shiny:

If you bring it in, you take it out!

A simple tip for ensuring your car remains clothing and clutter free is to introduce the above rule and stick to it.  My kids now know that if they insist on bringing all their soft toys with them for the journey, they won’t be allowed back into the house unless they bring them all out of the car again when we’ve returned.

It sounds harsh, but sticking to this mantra will help keep your car tidy and organised as well as teaching your children valuable lessons about responsibility.

The same rules apply to older kids, husbands, wives, partners…and even you!

Bag it up

Keep a good supply of empty plastic bags in the glove compartment.  Use them in the following situations:

  • Put trash into
  • Wrap around wet umbrellas
  • Chuck muddy wellies into
  • When someone feels/is sick
  • Put soiled clothes into

Emergency kit

Fill a large plastic or metal box with a few in-car essentials, which can then be stored in the trunk or glove box.  This could include antibacterial hand gel, safety pins, wet wipes, tissues, loose change for car parks and sun lotion. For more information on the importance of being safe in the sun, read here.  This will avoid your car and handbag getting cluttered up and ensure you have a good stash of basic essentials to hand at all times.

Invest in a hand held vacuum cleaner

The secret to maintaining a spotless car is to clean just a little bit every day.  A battery powered hand held vacuum cleaner makes it easy to give your vehicle a quick regular hoover.

You’ll find that by routinely spending 5 minutes hoovering every other day or so, you’ll very rarely need to spend hours doing it and it will become much less of a chore.

Clean up spills immediately

As all parents know it is inevitable that from time to time something will be spilled onto the interior of your car.  Sippy cups tip over and coffee cups drip.  Whilst it’s not the end of the world, if liquid spills aren’t cleaned up quickly the liquid will soak into the fabric resulting in stained, grubby looking upholstery and an unpleasant smell – milk is the worst for this.

Dab the spill with a damp cloth to absorb as much of the liquid as possible, spray a little upholstery cleaner onto the spill and then scrub it with a dry cloth or gentle scrubbing brush before finally rubbing gently with a damp wash cloth to soak away any residue.

The area should dry quickly without any lasting evidence or staining.

This article was written by Amanda Walters, an experienced freelance writer and regular contributor to Huffington Post. Follow her here: @Amanda_W84

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