Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Home Improvements That Are Worth the Expense


Making substantial changes to your home can be very costly. While some are well worth it, adding both value and comfort to your home, perhaps even making it safer, others are a waste of money. While it can be tempting to go for everything you see, getting carried away in your attempts to improve your home, it’s important to be sensible. Only make changes that you need and that will add something to your home, just as you would when decorating. Here’s a look at some worthwhile changes to help you.

New Windows

Replacing your windows can help to keep your home warm and well insulated in the winter, make your house look nicer and increase its value. Over time windows can become cracked and damaged, especially if you live in an area that experiences a lot of extreme weather. We often save money by patching up, repairing seals or just replacing the windows that really need it. This can leave our windows mismatched and uneven. Replacing the whole lot can be well worth the expense.

Adding a Room

An extra bathroom, or a garage, doesn’t give your home much in terms of either added value or functionality. Most of us keep our cars on the drive even if we’ve got a garage. Converting these spaces to create a study, office or extra bedroom, however, can increase the value of your home enormously as well as giving you an area that you might actually use.

Other ways to add extra valuable space to your home include a loft or basement conversion or an extension.


Insulating your loft and cavity walls can be an expense, but over a few years, it could easily save you a fortune in heating. It’s thought that around 25% of your home's heat is lost through the roof. So, without insulation you’re basically paying to heat your home, just to send a quarter of it straight out through the ceiling.


Then, there is the heating itself. Boilers and furnaces aren’t all equal. Some are considerably more efficient than others, doing a better job of heating your home while also being more cost effective. Old gas furnaces can be unreliable, costly and even dangerous. Replacing it will help to make your home more comfortable. It’s also one of the first things people check when they view perspective houses to buy. If you ever consider selling up, a high quality, up to date heating system will be a great selling point.

Garden Work

When we move into a new house, we spend a little time preparing our yards, then we leave them. Over time your needs will change. You have kids; the kids grow up, or you take up new hobbies where outdoor space could be valuable. Every few years take some time to think about what you really need from your yard before giving it a little TLC.

Remember, if you don’t need it, it’s not worth it. Don’t waste your money on things that you don’t need. Instead, save your money and spend more on the improvements that you do need and will be worth both your time and money.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Thoughtful Gifts For The Holidays #ThoughtfullyGifts #GiftGuide

If you have any family or friends like mine, then sometimes shopping for holiday gifts can be a very stressful experience. Some of my family are very easy to shop for, but others require a lot of thought and decision-making on what they will and won't actually use/enjoy. While doing some shopping around online for these family members, I came across Thoughtfully, a very unique gift-shopping website. I was thrilled when they sent not only one but two of their special gift sets for inclusion in our holiday gift guide. Let me tell you, any family or friend who receives a Thoughtfully Gift Set for the holidays will love it!

I received the Branded And Grilled Gift Set and the Mocha Barista Gift Set. The Branded and Grilled set I actually used for myself. I am the designated grill-master in our house, so this was a treat for me to try out. The set comes beautiful packaged and all ready for gifting. It includes a customizable branding set, grill charms, sauce basting pot, silicone basting brush, Sweet Fire bbq sauce, Holy Magma bbq sauce, Blazin' Diablo rubbing spice, and Scorched Mamba rubbing spice. I was able to test some of these out just a few days later when we grilled out some steaks. I'm picky about my grilling prep, so a couple hours before grill-time I prepared the steaks, using both rubs (on separate steaks of course). When it came grill time, I loved having the charms so I could keep everybody's steaks separate. Most of us like medium, but a couple prefer either medium-rare or medium-well. The charms made it so much easier to make sure each steak was done perfectly! The grill branding iron set added a unique and personal touch to the steaks. I put the phrase "Hope's Grill" on the iron, and love how easy it is to change out as desired for any and all kinds of phrases. To use, simply heat the iron over open flame until it's red hot, then "brand" your grilled meat. Yes, this was a hit with the family! The blazing' diablo was by far the favorite flavoring for the steaks. This adds a bit of a kick, but not so spicy it overpowers or ruins that grilled steak flavor. It enhances it perfectly and was definitely enjoyed! The holy magma has a hint of cinnamon in it, so while still good, I think it will taste better on a bbq meal than the steaks. We'll be grilling up some bbq next week probably, so I'm looking forward to putting the rest of these sauces and tools to use. (I'm currently laid up in bed with a strained calf muscle, so grilling is out of the question for the next few days!) However, just from what I've already seen and used, this is definitely the perfect thoughtful gift for the grill-master in your family!

The Mocha Barista Gift Set I actually did gift, so I could get a good idea of how someone would respond to a Thoughtfully Gift Set. My sister turned 17 last week, and since her and I are the coffee lovers of the family, I gave this to her for her birthday. It was so fun seeing her open the box and find all the coffee and cocoa goodies inside! This set comes with Godiva Chocolate Truffle Coffee, Godiva Hot Cocoa, Porcelain Storage Container, using Wand, 3 Coffee Stencils, 2 Mugs, 2 Shakers, Cinnamon Powder, Vanilla Powder, and mini marshmallows. Everything a coffee (or cocoa) lover needs for the perfect cold-weather beverages! M had so much fun playing barista. She immediately brewed up a mug of chocolate truffle coffee, frothed some warm half and half, and topped it with vanilla powder in a cut stencil design (which obviously didn't show up the greatest on the white froth topping but she still had fun with it!). I was actually impressed by the coffee, I'll admit. I have never found a chocolate flavored coffee that I like. I drink mochas that I add chocolate syrup to, but not chocolate-flavored coffees-until now. This is a rich chocolatey flavor that is so delicious! Later that evening, M made herself a cup of hot cocoa with marshmallows (her favorite part) and again, the rich flavor was hot cocoa perfection! Needless to say, Thoughtfully Gift Sets are an amazing gift idea-tested and approved by me!!

Thoughtfully has gift sets for anyone and everyone's tastes and likes. Hot sauces, teas, cocoas, olive oils, mom's survival kits, Godiva chocolate lovers, baking gift sets, and more. I especially love this hot cocoa ornament gift set-perfect for the holidays!!

Check out Thoughtfully's website today for some really great gift ideas! This isn't just your average gift basket that's thrown together, these are items well-thought out for individual likes, arranged in a cute box, designed to let the recipient know you put some thought and time into finding a gift they would love.

Screen-Free Fun for the Family

In today’s world, people are spending more time staring at screens than ever before. Computers, tablets, smartphones and TVs in every room mean that it can be difficult to enjoy the family time that you want to. If you are struggling to tear your kids away from their screens, this blog post is here to give you some ideas of things that you can do. Try having at least one screen-free evening a week (or at least a couple of hours) so your family has a more balanced and healthier lifestyle.

Game Night

Even though video games have become so advanced these days, sometimes, you just can’t beat an old fashioned board game. With so many choices out there, you are bound to find at least one or two games that keep your kids interested! As well as encouraging communication, there are also problem-solving skills and strategic thinking techniques to be gained from these activities.


In days gone by, you would have to force your kids to come back indoors, but now the struggle is getting them outside. But there are plenty of fitness-based activities that will engage you and your kids. For example, you could go out on a big family bike ride - just check out these dirt bikes for 8 year olds if you are interested. Otherwise, you could take up a new sport. Racquet sports like badminton or tennis are ideal for four players.

Cook a Meal

With the wide availability of takeout food options, cooking is becoming something of a lost art form. Well, why not reverse this trend by preparing a meal as a family? You can give everyone a job depending on their age and skill level. There is something immensely satisfying about enjoying a meal that you have cooked all by yourself.

Scrapbooking/Photo Album

If you are looking for an arty activity to try that you will appreciate in the years to come, why not try creating a scrapbook of your memories or a photo album? We tend to take so many photos these days, but they simply sit on our laptops or smartphones. Developing some of them is straightforward and affordable. You are bound to have a few laughs with the family when you rediscover a few forgotten images.

Plant a Vegetable Garden

Though this isn’t the ideal time of year to plant a vegetable garden, you could still get prepared for the coming warmer months. Gardening can be a very therapeutic activity that gets you out in the outdoors. As well as this, you can also save yourself some money by growing things yourself. And a lot of vegetables don’t require a huge amount of upkeep. Over the winter you can plan what you want to plant, where you are going to have your garden, and how you are going to set them up.

Plan an Outdoor Holiday

One of the best ways of avoiding those tempting screens is by getting away from them altogether. So, you could plan a family getaway that takes you into the great outdoors like camping. These are the kind of memories that will last you for a lifetime and holidays like this are very affordable.

Improving Your Memory Need Not Be Difficult

If you often find that you struggle more with your memory than you would strictly like to, you might also wonder how you can go about improving that. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is in thinking that memory cannot be altered, or that you are somehow stuck with the abilities you have for life. This is far from being the truth - in fact, research shows that your capacity to learn and remember actually improves with age, even until you are very old - as long as you are not affected by Alzheimer’s or dementia, that is. Knowing how to use your memory is something else altogether, as is knowing what to do to ensure your memory remains strong. Let’s take a look at both of those issues now, to see how you can improve your memory once and for all.

Start With The Body

The truth is that how good your memory is depends at least partly on how well you look after your body. If you want to be able to remember extremely well, then you need to make sure that you are looking after your physical health first and foremost. There are a number of things to bear in mind here. For a start, your memory will perform at its peak only if you remember to give your brain the sustenance it really needs. If you fail to eat properly, or to drink enough water, it is less likely that your memory will be able to improve. Similarly, you might want to consider taking a supplement such as shilajit. This has been proven to help with memory, among other things, so you might find that it is highly beneficial. Take care of the body first, and the rest will surely follow in good stead.

Understand Your Potential

One of the biggest things getting in the way of most people successfully remembering things well is the assumption that they can’t. If you find yourself feeling or believing that you won’t be able to improve your memory, then you might end up proving yourself right. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to not undermine yourself, but instead to come to terms with the reality of what your potential really is. Your brain is capable of storing any information you like, so long as you genuinely believe that you can. Make sure you start from this positive perspective if you want your memory to be as good as possible. It makes all the difference in the world.

Learn Some Basic Mnemonic Systems

The best way to get good at remembering a lot of information in one go is to come to grips with some basic mnemonic systems. These are surprisingly easy to pick up, and they are also hugely powerful once you get to use them well. One of the simplest that you can start with is known as the linking system. This is a way of remembering a list of items as a chain of events in your mind. For example, you can remember shopping lists easily by imagining a huge, brightly-colored loaf of bread and then see it interacting with the next thing on your list, in some imaginative way. You will be amazed at how effective this is, and it will give you a taste of what is really possible with your memory.

Beyond the linking system, you have a huge realm of mnemonic devices to use, from the so-called Roman Room system to the peg system. It is worth looking into these and practising them, as in doing so you will be able to remember much more information than you ever thought possible. Try out as many of these as you like and you will find that there are some that are more effective for you than others.

Keep At It

The trick to becoming good with memory is to actually keep at it. The more you practice, the more likely it is that your memory will be able to improve. You will probably find that you are able to remember much more than you had ever thought possible, but only if you really put the time and effort into practicing these things as much as you can. With enough hours under your belt, you will come out the other side with a much better memory than you ever thought you would have.

Having a good memory is a real blessing, so this is absolutely worth doing if you want to feel more alive in your mind than ever before. You will also be able to bring it out as a party trick for friends every now and then, which has its own kind of joys associated with it too.

A New Home Smell For An Old House

Interior design isn’t only about looking great. To cover every base, your house has to smell the part too. No one wants to be the family in the neighbourhood whose home is known for how it smells. Anyway, dirty air is bad for your health as well as the environment. Seen as you’re an eco-warrior with a penchant for your well-being, it’s time to take scents and smells serious. These are the hacks which will make your old home smell brand new.

Open A Window

Anyone who thinks they have to turn to candles and air fresheners is wrong. The easiest and most effective way is to open a window in the autumn. Thanks to the cold weather, the air is fresher and cleaner. So, the wind should whip through the house and circulate fresh oxygen from the kitchen to the attic. Apart from smelling great, the house should feel better. Because of the higher O2 levels, your whole body will benefit and not just the home.

Light A Candle

Should the breeze get too cold, there are candles. Just light a handful of wicks and let the aromas from the candles waft throughout the house. What a delightfully basic and useful hack! Of course, the candles should reflect the smells which you and your family find pleasant. At the moment, vanilla extract is very popular, but the choice is yours and yours alone. Additionally, candles need replacing on a regular basis as they burn out.

Get An Air Freshener

Nowadays, air fresheners or diffusers are advanced enough release a spray to top up the fragrance. So, you don’t even need to walk around every hour with a handheld aerosol can. Just plug it into a socket and let the diffuser do the rest. There are a couple of hitches. Firstly, a little freshener may not be big enough to impact the whole house. In this case, an oil diffuser for a large space or a commercial air freshener is an excellent investment. Secondly, some manufacturers don’t produce sprays which are powerful enough to linger for hours. Always research the brand before heading to the checkout. A diffuser could cost you a lot of money if you do not research first.


Not everyone wants their home to smell like a waiting room in a doctor’s surgery. Some people prefer the natural smells and aromas which drift in and out of an average house. A prime example is the smell of food which is on the stove. Garlic and onions may not sound appealing, but they smell as good as they taste. Cooking is one way to let the fragrance waft into every room in the house as long as there are zero blockages. So, if the doors are closed, open them and let the smell of tonight’s dinner get the taste buds salivating. Just be sure to clean up afterwards, or else the house will stink of stale food. Baking is also a good option to get your house smelling good.

Last but not least, fresh coffee is just as nice smelling as food. By roasting coffee beans every morning, you can get your caffeine hit while topping up the air.

Friday, October 27, 2017

A Blank Space: Decorating Your Bare Walls


Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Almost everyone has a bare wall in their home, one they had big plans for when they first moved in, only to see their plans get pushed further and further down the to-do list until this blank space just became part of their decor. The worst part is, thanks to the endless rabbit hole that is Pinterest, you tend to stare at your blank canvas while all the endless style possibilities out there dance about your mind, which makes deciding on something quite overwhelming.

Hopefully, we can help with that because we have pulled together a list of personal favorites. Here’s the best bit, though: our big ideas for blank walls are nice on your bank account too.

Black Is More Versatile Than White
The world has gone nuts for chalkboard walls with interior designers even labelling them trendy. Well, you and the rest of the world can thank the innovation that is chalkboard paint for this. Yes, technically you are just replacing your white space with a black void, but what makes this such a great swap is the versatility. Write messages on them, add to your grocery list, draw something special, create a vision board or just let the kids doodle on a cold winter day. The chalkboard is your oyster.


Get Creative With Clocks
Everyone leans toward photo galleries, the odd creative even daring to venture into the world of art, but clocks can make for a fantastic feature wall. The great thing is, you can pick up clocks for next to nothing these days - far less than bits of framed art. Not only will this make for a whimsical, rustic, kooky and unique decoration, there is also the element of practicality. You can have the times set for your favourite cities, or hang broken clocks and set the hands to the time your kids were born. Whatever you decide, clocks are a great way to spruce up that blank space.

The Mirror
We know. This is nothing new. People have been celebrating the glory that are mirrors since the term interior design was first dreamed up. They add light to your space, make smaller rooms feel larger and enhance the aesthetics like nothing else. Yup, it has been done and done again. But you can still make the mirror option your own and the simplest way of doing this is going to Artware and speaking to them about a custom mirror with a custom frame. The other thing you can do is pick up reclaimed mirrors from thrift stores and then mix and match them. Just make sure you check what is being reflected from every angle possible. After all, this is what will be seen.

Recycle From Nature For A Change
Nothing makes a statement quite as much as a wall made out of reclaimed wood. It is just that gorgeous way of adding warmth and texture to your home without being overpowering. Where you get your reclaimed timber from is totally up to you - pallets, barns, mills, driftwood, Craigslist whatever - but the result will be the same; breathtaking. Another option available to you, especially if you have more than one bare wall, is to use reclaimed wood from ArtIsWall, which is easily removable and reusable. It is quite something to behold.

Please share some of your favorite ideas for decorating bare walls in the comments below.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Overcoming Sleep Difficulties in 8 Easy Steps

Speak to anyone that you know and chances are they’ve probably had trouble sleeping at some point in the past. Maybe they had a caffeinated cup of coffee before bed that kept them awake longer than they wanted. Perhaps they went through a stressful period in their lives and had too much to think about, making it impossible for them to fall asleep in a timely manner. Whatever the cause, no one likes the idea of staying up late at night without being able to fall asleep. To help you beat your sleep issues, here are eight handy tips.

1. Look for possible sleep conditions

Whether it’s insomnia or other similar sleeping disorders, make sure you’re not suffering from something that needs medical attention. See a doctor if you believe it’s affecting your health so you can fix these issues before they become a problem.

2. Play some soothing music on a timer

At times, all it takes for someone to fall asleep is a gentle distraction. Having some gentle music in the background without any vocals is a great way to keep your mind from thinking about too many things so that you can fall asleep more easily.

3. Practice a bedtime routine

A bedtime routine helps to prepare your body for sleep. If you practice this on a regular basis, your body will eventually become used to the routine and automatically start slowing down as you start it. Take a look at this informative article at www.nosleeplessnights.com to learn more about how you can plan a better bedtime routine.

4. Stop caffeine 5 hours before bed

Caffeine keeps you awake and makes you jittery. If you’ve ever tried to drink a cup of coffee before bed, then you’ll know how awful it feels to try and fall asleep. Cut the caffeine early so your body has time to get it out of your system.

5. Try a different mattress

Comfort is king when it comes to sleep, so consider changing your mattress. Take a look at guides such as www.Mattresslife.com/mattress-buying-guide to find the right mattress for both your budget, bed and needs.

6. Exercise to use up energy

When you exercise earlier in the day, your body naturally becomes tired and expends energy that you’ve stored from sleeping. By draining your energy throughout the day by engaging in physical activities, your body will feel more tired and worn out, resulting in comfortable and faster sleep.

7. Stop napping and sleep more

Napping ruins your internal clock and doesn’t provide you with much revitalization. It takes roughly 30-40 minutes of sleep before it’s actually beneficial to your body or else it’s just a waste of time that will make you feel groggy. Instead of napping an hour during the day, just sleep an extra hour at night.

8. Relax your brain before bed

Don’t engage in any activities that use your brain before bed. Don’t play video games, don’t do work and don’t do a puzzle on your phone. Relax your brain and let it wind down as you fall asleep.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dining in the Smokies: Pottery House Cafe #TravelTuesday

One of the things our family loves most about visiting Pigeon Forge is the dining options. For southerners who somehow ended up living in the midwest, getting "back home" for the southern style cooking is something we look forward to every year. The Pigeon Forge area has some of the best dining options in any area or region of the country I've ever visited. Of course there is a wealth of southern cooking restaurants, but that's not all they offer. One of our family's favorite restaurants in the Smokies is the Pottery House Cafe, located in the Old Mill neighborhood of Pigeon Forge. The first time we dined at this cafe, it was on a friend's recommendation. We were very thankful he mentioned Pottery House to us because it immediately became one of our favorites as well, and we visit every year.

Pottery House Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and also offer brunch on the weekends. This year, we made our plans to visit on a Sunday evening, after most of the dinner crowd was gone. Every time we visit, the place is packed with people waiting outside for a table to open up. Thankfully, Pottery House Cafe has a great system in place: walk in, add your name to the waiting list, then walk and enjoy the shops nearby and they will text your phone as soon as your table is ready. I love that we're not stuck sitting on a bench in the restaurant just waiting for the opportunity to eat. There's a lovely waiting area set up outside, or, as I mentioned, there are many shops right there to visit. We walked down to the Old Mill Farmhouse Kitchen to browse while waiting. This little gem of a store gives you the opportunity to buy everything you need to make an Old Mill meal in your own home. The perfect souvenirs to take home so you can enjoy a taste of the Smokies no matter how far away you live!

Within about 15 minutes, my phone buzzed with a text from the Pottery House Cafe letting me know our table was ready. We walked down and were quickly seated and offered beverages and menus. It took a few minutes for us to decide what we wanted to eat. There are so many options from soups and salads, sandwiches, burgers, teaks, seafood, chicken, and BBQ. Two of us opted for the Carolina Pulled Pork BBQ sandwich, which is served on a kaiser roll with cole slaw and fries. Because I don't eat cole slaw, I asked about substituting the fresh fruit cup and our waiter was quick to note the change. M was in the mood for soup (it was a brisk fall day) and opted for tomato basil soup served in a bread bowl. While waiting for our food, our waiter brought a dish of freshly-made bread and butter, which we quickly devoured. I'm known as the bread snob in our family, and let me tell you-Pottery House Cafe's bread passes the test! In fact, even though I'm supposed to be cutting back on carbs, I ate three pieces of this bread!

Our food was served in a good amount of time-not so fast we didn't have time to enjoy our bread (obviously) but not so long that we were sitting there bored and hungry, either. As he delivered the food to our table, our server made sure we had everything we needed; refills, condiments, etc. We promptly asked a blessing on our food and then proceeded to "dig in"! The Carolina Pork BBQ sandwich had that perfect balance of bbq sauce. I don't like a whole lot of sauce on my bbq, just enough to enhance the flavor, not drown it. This was bbq-sauce-to-meat rationing perfection! The meat was tender and very flavorful. Honestly, my the only part of the bbq I didn't care for quite as much was the sauce. I prefer the sweet sauces, and this was made with a vinegar base that was a little more tangy than I normally eat. Still very good, just not my personal preference. The meal was delicious though, and yes,  I ate every bite. The fries and fruit cup were the perfect sides (in my opinion). I loved the fresh pineapple and grapes, especially. Most of the time when you order a "fresh" fruit cup at a restaurant, you end up with a few soft, mushy grapes and if there's pineapple anywhere in the cup, it's generally one little piece of sour fruit. Not at the Pottery House! This was really fresh fruit, and every piece was delicious!

M thoroughly enjoyed her tomato basil soup, almost as much as she enjoyed eating her bowl! She even offered me a taste, and it was certainly the perfect choice for the cool October evening. Again, the bread bowl was freshly baked, and passed my bread deliciousness meter with flying colors.

When we were finished eating, our waiter asked if we wanted dessert. We were absolutely stuffed-no way were we getting even a bite of pie down, although we knew from the past just how good the pies are at Pottery House. Our experience at the Pottery House was just what we expected-southern service and delicious food. The staff were all super friendly, and our waiter was observant and provided everything we needed without us feeling like he was hovering. He checked back multiple times through our meal to make sure we had refills, more bread, etc, but wasn't that annoying server that is constantly appearing over your shoulder. We left the Pottery House Cafe satisfied and definitely full! The prices are definitely fair, especially for the amount and quality of food you get. This is one restaurant you have to visit whenever you're in the Pigeon Forge area!

Simple Ways To Save Money On Energy This Winter

As much as you might not want to admit it, winter is right around the corner, which can only mean one thing; cold weather. Granted, the Christmas period is a magical time, but if you’re like me, and struggle with cold weather, it can be a nightmare. In an attempt to battle the big freeze, people often use way more gas and electric than is necessary, which can cost a lot of money, especially if you have a big family, and have everyone using their own appliances at once. If you need to save a little money on energy, or simply want some tips as to how to use less energy and be a little better for the environment, then keep reading.

Shop Around
This is the most obvious way to save money on your gas and electricity is to shop around for the best deals. The easiest way to do this is to search through some price comparison websites online and make a note of the cheapest or best value for money deals on your energy. You may even find it cheaper to get your gas and electric from different providers. Granted, it will take some time and patience for you to scour through a lot of deals, but if you save even a small amount of money, it’s sure to be worth it.

Install Roof Insulation
Heat rises, which means that your roof is the place where your home is going to be losing most of its heat. This means that you have to use more energy to heat your home, which will ultimately cost you a lot of money in the long run. To avoid this, you may want to consider having some roof insulation installed, to trap in the heat. Trust me, the cost of having the insulation installed will be a lot less than how much you’re going to spend over the years on extra gas.

Get Double Glazing
Your windows are another place that lets out a lot of heat in your home, especially if they’re only single pane. Glass is a very good heat conductor, so a single pane of glass transfers heat to the outside incredibly easily. Air, on the other hand, is a relatively poor heat conductor, which is why double glazing is such a good idea. With double glazing, you have a layer of air trapped between the two panes of glass, which reduces heat loss through the glass.

Use Your Curtains
If it’s a particularly cold day, it makes a lot of sense to draw your curtains, especially if they’re thick thermal ones, as this will add an extra layer of insulation, and keep heat in your home. On the other hand, if it’s a particularly warm day, it makes sense to keep your windows open and use the sun as a free source of heat for your home.

Unplug Everything
It’s a well-known fact that your television continues to use electricity even when it’s in standby mode, but did you know that all of your other appliances do too? Even if you turn your hair dryer or lamp off whenever you’re not using it, if you haven’t switched it off at the wall, and unplugged it, it will continue to use energy. This means that you are paying to power appliances that you’re not using, so make sure you unplug everything when you’re not using it.

Stay Fridge & Freezer Smart
Your refrigerator and freezer are appliances that you can’t unplug, as you are always using them to keep your food cool and frozen. Because of this, you need to make sure that you’re using it as smart as you can. Make sure that you always close your fridge and freezer doors after you’ve been in them. If you don’t, not only will you waste money by cooling down the entire house, when you want to keep it warm, but you also risk making your food go bad.

Keep Doors Closed
Speaking of ensuring your doors stay closed, you should make sure that the same goes for the ones in your home. If you leave all of the doors open in your house, it makes it much harder to warm up individual rooms, which will mean you have to use more energy to do so. To avoid this, ensure all of the internal doors are closed. If you want a particular room to stay warm, put a thick rug or mat underneath the door, to block any heat from escaping.

Only Heat Essential Rooms
It makes absolutely no sense to have the heating on for every single room in your house if you don’t go in every single room of your house every day. Guest rooms or rooms used just for storage are two of the biggest examples. If you want to save money on energy, turn the radiators off in these rooms, and ensure that their doors stay closed, so less heat escapes into them.

Use Your Oven
Most people tend to close the oven door after cooking a meal. There’s no real reason to do this, apart from habit. Instead of closing your oven door, you might want to consider leaving it open and allowing it to heat up the room as it cools down. Allowing the extractor fan to take the warm air outside is not only a waste of heat but also a waste of money.

Layer Up
There’s no point in having the heating cranked up in your house so that you can walk around your home in shorts and a t-shirt. After all, there’s plenty of time to do that in the summer. Instead, embrace winter-wear and layer up for the festive period. Invest in some cute winter jumpers, some fluffy socks or slippers, and a hoody or two. Turning your thermostat down just a few degrees will save you a lot of money, so it makes sense to do this.

Get Some Throws
The same idea can easily be applied to your bed. If there is a way to make you feel all warm and cosy at night, without using large amounts of energy, then it’s certainly worth considering. Luckily for you, there is a very easy way; Throws. Adding some throws and blankets to your bed will not only make the room look cozy, but it will feel cozy, and not to mention warm, too. Adding some extra insulation to your bed will mean that you can have the heating on a much lower temperature at night, which will save both your wallet and the environment.

Stay Consistent
It makes sense to turn your heating off when you don’t need it, as it will save you money, right? Wrong. It uses a lot more energy to keep warming up your heater every time it gets a bit chilly than it does to keep your heating consistently low. Instead of wasting energy on heating up your home, leave your heating on a low temperature at all times, and turn it up a little on particularly cold days.

Don’t Block Radiators
A lot of people tend to position their couches in front of their radiators in their living room, probably as it is seen as a bit of an eyesore. While this may be more aesthetically pleasing, it is the complete opposite of energy efficient. The heat from your radiator will be absorbed by your couch before it can get to the room, which means that more energy will be required to heat your room up, which (you guessed it!) will cost you a lot of money in the long run.

Block Heat Rising
While you shouldn’t block heat from filling your room, it makes a lot of sense to block heat from rising and escaping through the ceiling, as you’re not on the ceiling, and won’t feel the heat from lower down in the room. To do this, you might want to put a shelf above your radiator, as this will help to keep the heat more in the middle of the room.

Avoid Tumble Drying
As convenient as it is, and as much as you may love it, your tumble dryer uses a lot of electricity to dry your clothes. Instead, it’s a much more energy efficient idea to air dry your clothes in a warm room. Trust me; They will dry a lot quicker than you’re expecting. Just don’t dry them on the radiators themselves, as this will block heat, much like your couch would, and will use more energy.

Replace Your Heater
Finally, one of the best ways to save money on your energy is to have your heater replaced, especially if it’s more than ten years old. There are much more energy efficient heaters out there nowadays, which are guaranteed to use less gas than your current model.

There you have it; Some of the best ways to save money on energy this winter. There’s nothing better than snuggling down to watch a film on a cold winter night, but just remember that you don’t need your radiators working themselves to death to achieve this cozy feeling.