Greece is the Word: 5 Great Reasons To Go To Greece

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Greece attracts millions of tourists each year – and for good reason. There’s something for everyone in this ancient Mediterranean paradise. If you’ve been stuck for a place to visit this summer, here are several reasons to consider Greece as a top option.

Explore the history

For those looking for a cultural getaway, nothing beats Greece’s cast history. Arguably the centre of European ancient civilisation, Greece has many ancient monuments and landmarks worth visiting. There’s the likes of the Acropolis and the Parthenon, as well sites steeped in mythology such as the ruins of Europe’s oldest city Knossos. Fast-forwarding a few centuries, there are also many medieval sites to choose from including the mountaintop monasteries of Meteora and the scenic city of Rhodes.

Soak up the sun

One of the major reasons people head to Greece is simply for its stunning weather. If all you want to do is put your feet up and work on that tan, Greece has the perfect climate. You can stay at a hotel or hire a villa from a site such as www.villasingreece.co.uk to make your trip all the more tranquil. Hotels and villas are often guaranteed to come with a pool, and the azure sea is never far away.

Taste the cuisine

If you’re a food lover, there are many great dining experiences in Greece. It’s traditional cuisine includes seafood, lamb dishes, goat’s cheese and baklava. The country also has some great wines and a vast selection of vineyards with many allowing tours and tastings. The country is also known for its fresh fruit including figs, pomegranates and watermelons – a perfect healthy refreshment on a summer’s day.

Go for a hike

Greece’s scenic coastlines and mountainous inland terrain make ideal for hikers wanting an active holiday. Famous walks include the Menalon trail and the mighty Viros Gorge. There are also a number of mountain climbs that receive regular annual pilgrimages such as Mount Athos and the mythical Mount Olympus. Sites such as www.tourradar.com offer some great opportunities on guided hikes across the country for those that want to learn about the country’s history and culture along the way, as well as meet new people. Greece’s picturesque mountain roads are also great for cycling enthusiasts.

Experience the nightlife

If you’re a keen partygoer, Greece has countless nightlife hotspots. Ios, Zante, Ayia Napa and Santorini are some of the biggest party destinations, sporting an array of bars and clubs. Some of these venues can attract big names. It’s also worth looking out for colour festivals, beach parties, boat parties and other events that often take place on these party islands. On top of these young nightlife destinations, the likes of Kos and Rhodes cater to all ages, offering a wide array of restaurants and bars with live music for those wanting something a little less rowdy than the clubs.

Why Your Dream Home Isn’t Out Of Reach

If you’re the type of person that thinks the home of your dreams is out of reach – there are plenty of reasons why you are wrong. It might be that the home of your dreams is closer than you realize!

One of the first things that you need to do when attempting to grasp the home of your dreams to check your expectations. If budget and realism is constricting your ideas, then you might need to bring your dreams and ideas back down to ground! Bankrupting yourself in the pursuit of a dream home isn’t a good idea, is it? Anyway, a more grounded dream home that isn’t the Palace of Versailles will be easier to design, and build while being cheaper. This makes it plenty more affordable, which makes the home cheaper. This means it is closer to being an actual home that you can live in rather than being a dream.

Then comes the planning. Planning is where you get your dreams and ideas down on paper. While you can do this yourself, it’s a good idea to only handle this phase on your own if you have a mindset and the skills that can lead to an actual home being designed. This isn’t for the realm of fantasy – designs need to be realistic and mathematical in nature – if you lack the skills you need to consult professional constructors and architects. There are even agencies who specialise in the design of family homes. These are the people that can take your ideas and transform these ideas and wishes into realistic plans – something you can take forward into actuality.

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The actual building of the home is something best left to professionals, especially so if building from scratch. It’s not impossible to develop a plot of land on your own, but it certainly is hard, laborious work and even though you might very well have the skills to build, you might lack the experience or knowhow to resolve issues. Leave it to a professional team who can actually carry out the work. Good professionals as well, so read the reviews and work with experience. Don’t skimp on cost here.

If you do want to get into DIY – this is something you can do, without building from scratch. It might be that your current abode just needs a few tweaks and renovations to become the home of your dreams. DIY is something that should be relatively risk free, but be sure to not push your abilities too far. Start out with simple skills, like tiling and painting before moving onto more demanding tasks. Learning these skills is a great way to be handy.

With a good budget, realistic expectations, great designs, a good team and the willingness to work hard, the home of your dreams might be closer than you could have ever expected. It will remain out of reach if your plans are too lofty and grandiose, so bring everything back to Earth and actually dream up a home that can actually be realized.

Gorgeous Bridal Chic From Top To Toe

It’s wedding season! If you’re the lucky bride this year, then you’re probably busy planning the last minute arrangements. Of course, if the wedding is all a bit last minute, you might be feeling flustered and under pressure! Don’t panic. We have the best top-to-toe guide for preparing for that special day. Here’s what you need to know:

Hair

Before you start booking your hairstylist, you need to decide if you are planning on wearing a veil or a tiara. These are both placed in your hair, but your hairstylist can usually do that for you. Tiaras look beautiful with up-dos as well as extended curls. Veils, however, can obscure the beauty of more elaborate hairdressing. Don’t be afraid to choose a new color, or to cut especially for your big day. The photos will last forever.

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Makeup

You might be horrified by the amount of makeup your artist uses for your wedding day. However, have faith. The photographer will thank you for it. Bolder shades than you usually wear look amazing in soft focus, fade-effect wedding portraits. Don’t overdo the self-tan though. The last thing you need is to be glowing orange against your brilliant white dress,

Dress

White or ivory? Neither are essential. Be bold and choose a style and color that best suits your personality. Many brides coordinate what they’re wearing with their husband’s suit. This is quite tricky to do if you’re superstitious and don’t want him to get a peek at the dress! You can always take a photo of it to take along to his fitting.

Hands

Your hands are one of the most important parts of the wedding. Diamond engagement rings always look incredible in the before-photos, so make sure yours is a good one! Leave it on for the ceremony so everyone can admire the two rings together. Some ring designers offer bands as well as engagement rings, so why not try to get a matching set? Nails should be modest and not too showy – the rings are the stars of the day!

Getting Ready

On the day, you might want to be able to dress quickly so you can get on with relaxing. Perhaps you have an early ceremony booked? Minimalist styles will always be easier for self-dressing if you’re feeling shy on the day. And no, you don’t have to wear your bridal lingerie under the wedding dress. Pick something that’s comfortable and enhances your shape. Save the rest for later.

Leaving The House

One of the biggest worries and biggest challenges of the day for a bride is getting ‘that’ dress in and out of the wedding car. If you’ve chosen a horse and carriage, you may have to deal with steps too! Footwear is key. If you have a long dress and train, you can get away with wearing any footwear you like. If you’re in heels, ask your bridesmaid to help with the dress and your balance!

Your wedding is going to be the most beautiful day ever. So relax, take a breath, and enjoy.

Funky Kitchen Upgrades For A Modern Home

When it comes to the rooms in your home that you upgrade the most, your kitchen is probably quite high up on that list. Why? Well, simply because we use this room the most. In fact, kitchens have developed over time to become pretty multi-functional. Whereas once they would have been a space purely dedicated to cooking (with dining and socializing activities going on in other parts of the home), now we use them for a multitude of different things. Often, we use them as a dining room with a table in, as the concept of the ‘dining room’ has died out somewhat as houses become more compact. Equally, we use them for catching up with friends and family in over a cup of tea (or a glass of wine!) and even for hosting parties in. The versatility of the kitchen, therefore, should never be underestimated. For all of these reasons and more, it is also the room in your house that holds the most value, so any changes you make to it can be seen as an investment. If you have recently noticed a growing difference between your own kitchen and the ones you see in magazines and online (or even in real life at your friend’s houses)  it could be a sign that something needs to change. But how exactly can you bring your aging kitchen into the 21st century? Here are a few amazing gadgets and luxury upgrades that will make you never want to leave your kitchen ever again!

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An at-home bar


We already know that kitchens are perfectly designed for entertaining in. After all, how many times have you hosted a gathering or a house party and despite the myriad of other rooms in your home, everyone has ended up congregating in the kitchen? Whether you like this or not, you may as well run with it, as it’s not likely to change anytime soon! Therefore, a home bar could be a great addition to your kitchen that will make your parties and gatherings the talk of the neighborhood. It shows you are sophisticated and makes entertaining at home so much easier. Plus, what with so many of us shunning nights out for nights in, there has never been a better time to make this change to your kitchen. Sure, you may not be a bartender by trade, but it’s never too late to learn and impress your guests! You can always just buy a ready-made home bar, but if you want to save a few pennies, you could easily make one yourself too. Just get hold of an old cabinet or shelving unit, give it a lick of paint, and there you have the basis of your bar! From there, you will just need some quirky extras, such as some stylish glassware and a cocktail making kit. If you are hosting a special event, you could even make your own drinks menus and display them on the bar – kind of like a ‘specials’ list. Don’t forget to stock up on syrups and garnishes, so you have a whole range of different drinks at your fingertips.

Taps that do everything

We are used to the very basic function of the kitchen tap – it’s either on or off, and it’s either hot or cold. You might think that’s all you need from a tap, but when there are so many other options now available on the market, what’s stopping you from indulging in some amazing water technology? The hottest new gadget of the moment has got to be the instant hot water tap, which means you won’t need to buy a kettle ever again. When you consider that the average kettle takes three years to boil, resulting in around 18 hours a year of kettle-wait time, this could easily be in the running for most convenient gadget of the last few years. It can also save you a lot of money too, as you only use the exact amount of water needed for your cup, rather than filling the kettle for just one cup of coffee. There are also other tap-related gadgets that you can invest in, such as taps that dispense slush and ice on demand. When you’re having some laid back drinks on your patio in the midsummer heat, a refreshing slushie can sometimes be just the ticket. Often you can buy fridges with these kinds of dispensers already-built-in, or failing that, you can get a standalone machine.

A warming drawer

When you are entertaining guests at your own dinner party, it can often be easy to feel the pressure. There is always so much to do, and all too often we can become panicked and stressed throughout the cooking process. The last thing you want to do is to be so preoccupied with a side dish or serving up drinks, that you leave your main dish out and it’s cold by the time you serve it – especially if you have been planning this evening for a while. For these instances, a warming drawer can be your best friend. You may recognize them from programmes such as the Great British Bake Off, where they are frequently used to help cakes rise and keep them warm during the preparation stages. Now, more and more homes are jumping on the bandwagon and getting their own warming drawers to help accommodate their lifestyles. Spent the evening cooking a luxury meal for your partner, only to find that they are going to be home late from work again? No matter – simply pop their portion in the warming drawer, and it will remain heated until they get in, without becoming overcooked while you’re at it. In fact, if you are someone who struggles with timings in the kitchen altogether, a warming drawer should be an absolute must in your home. What you end up choosing depends on two things: how high you want the temperature inside the drawer to reach, and how much room you have in your kitchen to accommodate it. These drawers are also ideal for baking bread in and even defrosting food, so they really are one of the most multi-functional pieces of equipment you could have in your kitchen.

A cutting board rubbish chute

Fancy cutting out the middle man when it comes to disposing of your rubbish while cooking? A messy workspace during meal preparation can often be enough to sway even the most relaxed of chefs, and constant trips to the bin can easily throw you off your schedule. Make all this a thing of the past by considering a built-in chopping board that leads directly down to your in-kitchen trash can. This means that you can rid your surface of debris as you go, leading to a much more focused and organized preparation area. You could even have multiple ones installed for different types of food – i.e. one for meat and one for vegetables. This is especially important when it comes to avoiding cross-contamination, which could potentially be very dangerous for your and your family. Even if your chopping boards are built-in, always make sure you clean them well after every use to rid them of any lingering bacteria. You may not be totally convinced on any or all of these kitchen upgrades, but remember what was mentioned earlier – the kitchen is the most valuable room in the house, so it is definitely worth upgrading it as you see fit.

Domestic Disasters, And What To Do About Them

Although most of us are lucky enough to live in an area that isn’t at much risk of a massive natural disaster, there are still a range of smaller emergencies that can strike your home, causing all kinds of stress, expensive repairs, and embarrassment. Sometimes this is down to plain bad luck, but there are some domestic disasters that you can take steps to tackle and prevent. Here are some of the most common, and what you can do to repair and avoid them.

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Damaged Roof or Gutter

If your roof is damaged, it can be extremely expensive to repair. However, when you’re facing this issue, it’s essential that you have it repaired by a licensed and well-reputed professional. Click here to see a list of recommended roofing contractors. On the other hand, if your gutter and downpipe is clogged, this is much easier to fix by yourself. The first thing you should do is look for leaves. They can build up in gutters surprisingly quickly during the autumn, and slow down their drainage massively. A ladder, a refuse bag, and a brush can make easy work of all the leaves up there. Remembering to do this on a fairly regular basis will keep your drainage working efficiently all year around.

Broken or Burst Hot Water System

Hot water is such a standard part of life that it can be easy to forget how much you rely on it, for baths, showers, cleaning dishes, and all the rest. The average water heating system has a functional lifespan of 10-15 years. If you’re only starting to notice that yours is beginning to act up, it may be time to buy a new one, hiring a licensed installer to set it up. However, if you know that the heating system has only been part of the home for a few years, and you’re noticing problems and inconsistencies, you may need to hire in an appliance repair service. Click here to find out more about these services. If the issue is in the heating elements themselves, you may be able to fix the issue yourself. Just remember that there’s a risk that you’ll damage the system, so take your time and source all the information you can.

Locking yourself Out

This is probably the most embarrassing home disaster to make the list, and one that a lot of people will experience at one time or another. Whether your kid has scampered ahead of you when you were just coming home, you were taking out the trash and forgot to prop the door open, or you lose your keys on a big night out, this is one of the most frustrating disasters you can experience at home. There’s a quick and easy way to prevent this; hide a spare key somewhere you can access around the outside of the home. This poses a slight security risk, but there’s bound to be some decent hidey hole on your property. This one little precaution can save you from a massive locksmith’s fee!

Added Value: Up-sell Your Home!

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Finally, you’ve heard from the real estate agent. They’ve got a buyer who’s interested, and a viewing’s been booked for tomorrow. You should be excited, but instead, you’re worried, the last time you got an offer it was far too low not to mention an insult to all the blood, sweat and tears you’ve put into making an average house into your dream home!

Present A Blank Canvas

No one wants to walk into a house and trip over kids toys, wonder who’s in all the photos on the walls or see endless books and magazines cluttering surfaces. Pack away anything that’s really personal, cut down family photos by about 50% and make sure you’ve got no paperwork lying around that looks messy. Think of it this way, when you come to sell; you’ll be boxing stuff anyway so doing it now will save you time. Remember, these people are strangers, they aren’t your friends and so need a proper welcome. Have good coffee ready, make sure you’ve popped some fresh flowers in a vase and arranged a plate of biscuits in the kitchen. Light some scented candles but make sure the fragrance isn’t too overpowering a good bet is usually fresh linen or cookie dough.

Bigger, Better, Brighter

Yes, you might love using low energy bulbs but now’s not the time to have them. Swap them out for full strength ones, switch on all the lamps and lights you can and make sure all blinds, curtains, and screens are wide open so everyone can see the garden. Consider buying a state-of-the-art table lamp, or stunning chandelier for the hall as it’ll give the impression of wealth and success making someone worry about missing out on such a desirable, well cared for property. The goal is to encourage feelings, for instance,

pregnant couples will respond favorably to happy, carefully edited, memories of family life you casually share.

Got It Flaunt It

Every home has that WOW factor, the one place that just makes people think it’s the best thing they’ve ever seen. For some properties, it’s the garden, the outdoor dining area, the stunning master bedroom with ensuite and rainforest shower. Identify the USP and show it off. For instance, a tech loving buyer will adore any cool gadgets or fun features, while buyers who appreciate sustainable living will immediately look for solar panels. Point out those beauties straight away! Inform the prospective buyer that the solar panel installation company is one of the best in the area and will happily take care of any problems as well as having a 24 /7 call out service for preferred customers. Your real estate agent should also liaise with you beforehand on what to say about which room, and try to get a feel about what they’re looking for within the first few minutes of the viewing.

Plants Not Ornaments

Floral arrangements are fantastic, but you obviously don’t want to have to keep buying new ones for each viewing. Look for plants that’ll last the distance, go fake if you really must, and choose bouquets that complement each room’s color scheme.

 

Very Simple Changes For A Dramatic Interior Design Revamp

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Every few years our homes start to look a little tired. This could be something as simple as fingerprints on the paint, or it could be that your interior design is a little dated. Whatever the reason, our homes should be something we are proud of. However, most of us can’t afford dramatic changes to keep up with our tastes and the style trends.  Not to worry, we have some simple changes that will give your home a whole new feel.

First up is your paint. A freshly painted home sends out a positive message. Clean and crisp walls make you look tidy, and your home almost seems to breathe cleaner.  If you have opted for something like Farrow & Ball, then it is going to cost you a lot of money to keep on top of your paintwork. So, when decorating always go for the best value for money paint, you can afford. Ultra flat matte looks really chic and luxurious; however, it will be much harder to keep looking fresh. A silk emulsion, however, will be easier to wash down should your dog shake his mud all over the hallway. Find a brand which suits you and fits your budget, then get painting and keep your home looking fresh.

Our hallways are another area which we often neglect. Leaving them full of clutter and overflow, some of us even dump the vacuum cleaner out in the lobby! However, your hall is the first place you see when you come in from a horrible day at work. It is also the first place your guests will see too. So making an effort to have a dazzling entrance will give you an instant lift. Your front door should be painted too, or even just washed down. Simple changes here can have a massive impact. Opt for furniture which doubles as storage and look at some of the ingenious storage solutions on the internet, like these stairs which double as storage compartments. If you have a glass panel on your door, then use screening glass or window film. This will give you better security too as people won’t be able to look into your home. It also means you aren’t blocking out natural light.

Upcycling has taken a real shine in the spotlight recently, and craft paint sales have risen by a massive 78 per cent in the last couple of years, proving that more people than ever and making good of what they have and creating something new. You could inject a little more personality into your room by painting a piece of furniture a neon shade. This would make a bold statement and wouldn’t cost you as much as buying a new bit of furniture.

If your kitchen is looking a little tired, then you can take two routes to achieve a huge change. Firstly, for darker wooden units you can simply take some paint and replace the color scheme in your kitchen. Taking old wooden oak doors and painting them white or a pale gray will really bring your whole kitchen bang up to date. Plus it won’t have cost you much at all. If you don’t have wooden doors, then you could simply change the doors themselves, instead of revamping the whole kitchen. You can also change your kitchen tops too. If you look on Ebay, you may find reduced rate kitchen cut-offs. This is an excellent way to modify the look of your kitchen!

One really simple way to alter the feel of your living room or bedroom is to change your soft furnishings completely. You could go for something new like these from montgomery.co.uk, or you could try to make your own if you are looking to save money. Adding different color cushions to your rooms will give you a whole new feel and can dramatically change the way it feels. Going with a full drop curtain instead of a blind will bring the room together and make it cozier

You can also make small changes such as swapping the handles on drawers, cupboards and your doors!

These are all very simple ideas which will give you that revamp you have been looking for. You don’t have to change everything all in one go, take your time and move room by room. Pretty soon you will have the home of your dreams, and it will be easy to change it up again should you fancy it in a few years.