Ask Away Blog: 2020

All You Need To Know About Garden Benches

Friday, December 4, 2020


Garden furniture allows you to relax and enjoy your warm sunsets while taking in an extraordinary beauty that illuminates your garden. What is garden furniture without a quality garden bench? Simplicity truly is the ultimate sophistication when you think of a bench as the key feature that completes your outdoor furniture. 

The Benchmark

Benches are long seats that come in different shapes and sizes. They are commonly used for multiple people to sit on in gardens or public areas like parks. These benches are made up of different types of materials, such as wood, metal, stone and at times synthetic material. The most commonly owned in households being a garden bench. A garden bench is specifically designed to be used outdoors, some are designed to have arm and backrests while others have neither and can be sat on from either side.

There are many different types of benches that can be used indoors or outdoors. Their simplicity in their naming often represents their use. These are just a few examples of the different types of benches. 

-Garden benches are a bit longer and are found situated in private or public gardens.
-Park benches are used for seating in different areas within public parks. They generally have arm and backrests.
-Scenic benches are usually found in busy areas with beautiful landscapes. They are built and mostly situated to provide a way to relax and enjoy the scenery.
-Perch benches are found in peak traffic areas to offer a means for commuters to take a break from standing while waiting for public transport.
-Church benches are specifically designed to complement the architectural structure and style of places of worship.

Whatever your needs may be, it's important to choose the right kind of bench to match your purpose. For instance, choosing the right kind of garden bench requires more than just looking at it as an additional feature of your charmingly beautiful home garden, you need to make sure that it provides comfortable and ample seating space, matches the area and it invites guests to enjoy what your garden has to offer.

Quality is another important factor to consider before purchasing a garden bench. You need to ensure that you know what type of material to go for, find the perfect design that combines the right color, size, and comfortability and lastly, you need to know how to arrange your garden bench to fill out space and receive the right amount of Sunlight for when you want to get cozy up with a book or sundowners when the sun is setting.

If you feel like you have it in you for some DIY action, then building your garden bench is the solution for you. All you need is space to build, materials, screws, and a hammer. You can follow easy how-to steps online or if you are old school you can print out a simple instruction manual to help you. Just be careful of those fingers. 

Take Good Care

For all your cleaning and protection needs for your garden bench, you just need to head over to your nearest DIY store to buy teak oil for your hardwood garden bench or paint to give your metal garden bench a more refreshed look. Over time, you may need to repair your bench, you can either do it yourself by following instructions or get a professional handyman to do the job for you if you are not too confident in your skills.

Covers are a great investment, especially for those dreaded winter months when you spend less time cleaning and protecting your outdoor furniture. You can purchase a quality cover most suitable for your garden furniture needs online or at your nearest DIY store and all you need are the measurements of your furniture items for instance the length and width of your garden bench.
What Matters

A garden bench remains the most welcome and traditional piece of furniture in a home garden. It’s a versatile and easy to maintain, piece of the puzzle that makes sure that everything comes together and looks exquisitely attractive. However, remember that you will get what you pay for, it's always best to get different quotes and to invest in premium quality so that your garden bench stands the test of time. If you are thinking of ameliorating the look of your home garden, doing a quick search into the world of garden benches before you buy one that doesn’t quite match your standards is most probably the best decision.
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Take Christmas as an Opportunity to Deep Clean Your Home!

Thursday, December 3, 2020


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December has arrived and Christmas is fast approaching. For many of us, it truly is the most wonderful time of the year and we’re getting excited to prepare for the festive season. Whether that entails decorating, baking, gift giving, carol singing or anything else, you’re going to want to make sure that your home is in top shape throughout this season. You want it to be comfortable and cosy and presentable to any guests you may be entertaining. So, before you get the Christmas tree and tinsel out, it may be time to deep clean your house. This will give you a fresh slate to work with and will give you the best results before you dive head first into decorating. Here are a few steps you might want to take to really get your home squeaky clean!

Clean Your Carpets

It’s the end of the year and chances are your carpet has been put through a lot over the past 12 months or longer. Dirt walked in from outside, pets mucky paws, spills of drinks and food - the list of potential damage to your carpet goes on. Sure, you can run the vacuum around to pick up surface dirt and dust. But this won’t really clean your carpets. Instead, to get your carpets looking fresh and brand new again, you’re going to have to take some special extra steps. It’s time to really clean your carpets. Now, you could get a sponge, bucket of water and cleaning solution and wash the whole carpet by hand, but this is going to take a long time and may use too much water, resulting in sodden carpet that can begin to smell. Instead, use a professional carpet cleaning machine, or bring in professional carpet cleaners to clean the floor on your behalf. You’ll be truly surprised by the results and the amount of dirt that will be drawn from your carpet. If you find an infestation of any sort, you may want to consider solutions. For carpet moths, you could use a treatment like carpet moth killer spray.

Clean Your Windows

Many of us like to decorate our windows with lights at this time of year. But before clipping them up, you should clean the windows thoroughly. You can always use professional window cleaners - especially for high up windows that are difficult to safely reach yourself. When it comes to cleaning the inside of your windows, you will need

a window cleaning solution
a window cleaning cloth or rag
a window cleaning squeegee

Then, simply spray the window with your solution, wipe it down thoroughly and remove all dirt. This should help to keep your windows sparkling.

These are just two key areas of focus for your deep clean. There are plenty of other tasks that you’re likely to need to complete before the decorations can come out. But hopefully, this will get the ball rolling in the right direction and give you some great results!

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Common Winter Household Pests and How to Keep Them Out

Wednesday, December 2, 2020


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Most houses often get infested with pests during the winter seasons. Unlike some animals that hibernate in winter, pests search for food sources and places of warmth. Therefore, it becomes necessary to put down measures to protect your home from pest infestations. These are a few tips to consider over the next few months to safeguard your home from common winter pests such as the following listed here.

Mice and rats

Mice and rats are the most commonly encountered pests. These rodents are capable of fitting through small holes in the wall or openings around the house. They can also come in through chimneys, cracks in roofing tiles, and abandoned pipelines. Therefore, filling these holes and replacing damaged roof tiles in the house prevents the entry of mice and rats. Covering all chimneys, channels and sealing air vents with wire mesh are effective ways of eliminating these pests. You should also consider regularly cleaning out your garage, attic, and less visited rooms cluster free.


Spiders are often found in scarcely visited rooms, cupboards, and cracks, so you can keep them out by sealing all exterior cracks and holes. Also, consider making it a habit to check rooms and cabinets that are seldom-used frequently. Hovering branches make it easy for the spiders to get in, and you are likely to find spiders where insects that are attracted by light are. And if the insects can get in, the spider can also get in the same way. Therefore, you can keep your outside lights off and block any opening that the insects can enter through. Covering windows with curtains or blinds is also an effective way of keeping spiders out.


Cockroaches often hide in dark places like basements, cupboards, and under scarcely moved furniture. They are also capable of causing lots of infections and allergies. They usually come in through cracks and holes since they cannot survive in temperatures below 15 degrees. These pests can be avoided by regularly tidying your house, taking out the trash, cleaning basements and other dark areas of the house.


You are likely to encounter raccoons if you live in the forest regions, and they get into the home often through chimneys and attics. You can avoid them by keeping trash cans outside and covered properly with animal-proof lids. You can also inspect your house for cracks and openings and seal them. Also, consider installing wire meshes in air vents and chimneys.

Birds and bats

Birds and bats can also come into your home through chimneys, open windows, and doors. Therefore, to avoid them, consider shutting your doors and windows frequently. If you wish to keep them open, consider putting blinds or window nets.

Some pests like bed bugs, ants, moths, and fleas can also infest your home if you don't implement the necessary measures. If your home is suffering from pest infestation already, you can call on local exterminators to help rid your space of these pests before the winter season comes.

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How To Fashion Your Home In The Most Nourishing Manner


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We are our environment, and our environment is us. It’s easy to think of it as something separate from ourselves, but without it, we couldn’t live. For this reason, people often become attached to their surroundings. It might be that you feel a certain affinity for the area in which you were raised, or the house that your family has owned for generations.

However, it’s also true that the state of our environment influences how we feel about it, and how they contribute to our wellbeing. Trying to work in a home office with papers strewn everywhere, unkempt and unclean, will often totally reduce your ability to focus well.

So, this means that we can fashion our homes in a nourishing manner too, provided we hope to make the effort in that direction. But how can we better understand our responsibilities to this end, and what efforts can we make to ensure our home is supporting us? It sounds like quite a very wishy-washy pseudoscience to broach this topic, but actually, pursuing this can have very real (and beneficial) effects on your life. Here’s why, and how:

Lovely, Abundance Of Comfort

It can’t hurt to have a few comforting areas in your home that utterly nourish you. From investing in a memory foam set of pillows for your bed, to a beautiful footrest for your living room sofa, to a gorgeous and comfortable wicker and padded reading chair next to your bookshelf, indulgence is often appreciated, especially in the midst of winter. Candles, themed lighting, comfortable throws, these are the little things that make a home a home.

Bright, Airy, Breathable

A home is often comfortable and nourishing when it’s bright, airy and breathable. Investing in a great air purifier can often help a home, especially those in an urban environment, feel more comfortable than usual. You may also decide to purchase light curtains that allow for an immediate entrance of your natural light without dampening its spread, as well as having your windows cleans quite regularly to encourage people to come in. Bright airy and breathable is more than a mantra, in fact, it can simply be achieved through using odor-busting and freshening automatic fragrances from time to time.

House Plants & Greenery

We’re hardwired to respond to nature and open green spaces in a pleasing manner. Simply living near a park can, according to researchers, reduce your sense of stress to a significant degree. However, we need to live indoors. That means bringing in beautiful plants and learning how to care for them, like in this fantastic peperomia care guide, can help you bring nature and idyllic beauty into your home. That in itself can help you feel more comfortable, more connected, and more relaxed when in your home - and it can also help your space look much more visually appealing and inviting.

With this advice, we hope you can fashion your home in the most nourishing manner.

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Financing A Career Break


People take breaks from their career for all kinds of reasons. Perhaps you want to take a break to travel, start a family, or retrain for a dream career. Maybe you need a break for health reasons. Whatever the reason, money is usually the single biggest concern for those taking a break from their careers. How much will the break cost you? Can you afford to do it? How can you save up enough? Can you earn extra to see you through?

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Sometimes, a career break is not a choice. If you have to take a break from work due to ill health or injury, remember to look into what help and support you may be entitled to. You may qualify for some benefits to cover your costs, or if you have income or health insurance with someone like TrueCoverage, they should be ready to pay out. However, if the break is a choice, you’ll need to find other ways to save and earn to see you through.

Save Money On Your House, Car And Bills

Consider switching your mortgage provider. Don’t ask your bank, and be wary of speaking to independent financial advisers. Independent advises can be expensive, and they might not always give you the best advice, especially if they work on commission. Instead, look at newspapers or respected, trustworthy money websites, or you can ask a knowledgeable friend or a relative. Switching could lower your monthly payments, so it’s worth looking into.

If you’re planning to rent out your house while you go off travelling, it might be a good idea to change to a buy-to-let or interest-only mortgage. Just make sure you understand what these actually are and what they mean before you make any big decisions.

Get out your last three sets of bills. Visit a price comparison site, and check the prices against your last bills to see if you could save on your gas or electricity if you switched to a different supplier. If you like your current supplier, check anyway, as a lower quote could help you to negotiate a better price without having to change.

While you’re checking prices, you should also look to see if you can find lower prices by switching to a different broadband provider or a telephone company. While you’re checking the price comparison sites, also check to see if you can get lower car insurance.

You can sometimes get a better deal on your mobile phone contract when the contract is up. Just call and ask to be put through to cancellations. The company want to keep you as a customer, so might offer you some incentives, like lower monthly bills, or more data for your money, in order to get you to stay with them.

Save Money On Everyday Items

Take a look at your most recent supermarket receipt and spend some time circling or highlighting all the items that you bought as an impulse. Add up how much these cost you. Seeing how much these impulse purchases that you don’t actually need actually cost should shock you into doing this less often.

When you do go food shopping, you should always write a list before you go. Stick to your list. If you can avoid buying more than you actually need, you’ll save money and waste less food that goes off before you get around to eating it.

When you can, buy things on special offer. Only do this if it’s something that you already wanted to buy. If you needed to buy coffee and find a brand you like at a reduced price, this is a great saving. If you buy it when you don’t need it and only because it was on buy one, get one free, then you haven’t actually made a saving, and have spent more instead.

When you do go food shopping, try to use a basket instead of a trolley. You can fit less in a basket, so you’re likely to buy less. Noticing the basket getting heavy is a great way to make you pay attention to how much stuff you’re buying.

Cut back on food wastage by buying perishable foods like fruit and vegetables in small amounts every few days. This way, you’ll have time to eat it before it goes off, unlike if you buy lots of perishable items for the week or longer.

Save Money On Luxuries And Occasional Items

Try to cut down on the amount of expensive stuff that you buy that you know you don’t really need. This could be things like designer clothes, over-priced gadgets, or expensive cocktails when you go out. Could you cut back on things like manicures or facials while you’re not working?

Take good care of your clothes. If you look after your clothes, they will last longer. Make sure you always hang your clothes properly (inside out is the best way to protect them), and always wash them according to the care instructions on the label instead of just chucking them all into the machine on the same wash every time and hoping for the best.

If you need to buy a big ticket item, like a new dishwasher, try to buy it on sale if you can, or buy secondhand from somewhere like eBay or Facebook Marketplace.

Think about cancelling online film rental or television subscription services. These small costs each month can really add up, so try and manage without them. You can definitely do without if you’re taking a career break for travel anyway.

Save Money On Your Social Life

It can be tough to turn down social invitations when you’re trying to save money, but if you can, you should try to cut back on how much you go out. Try explaining to your friends why you have less spare money and what you’re taking your break for.

You don’t have to become a hermit and never do anything of course. Just try to find cheaper alternatives to your usual social plans. Look out for deals and discounts for things like the cinema, restaurants, or concert tickets. Instead of going out for dinner, invite your friends over instead.

Offer to be the one who organizes the nights out for a while, so you have more control over what the cost will be, instead of worrying that someone else will plan a pricey night out that you can’t really afford.

Working to save money and cutting back on your expenses isn’t always much fun. It can be frustrating having to turn down invitations for fun things or having to spend time digging through all your old paperwork and calling utility suppliers for better deals. If you’re finding it hard to stay motivated, and are tempted to forget your money-saving efforts, then you can promise yourself the occasional treat. Perhaps at the end of every month, if you’ve been sensible with money, or after you have saved a certain amount of money, you can let yourself have a treat. Depending on what you manage to save, this treat could be something small that you’ve cut out to save money, like a posh takeaway coffee, or something bigger, like a handbag or a new pair of shoes. Just be careful that you don’t get carried away and spend everything you save on rewards for saving. This will undo all your hard work, so don’t overdo the treats.

If you’re struggling to save, or don’t like the idea of having to make changes to your lifestyle, then you might be tempted to think about borrowing money instead. It is possible to get a loan for your career break, but it isn’t generally a good idea to do so. However, it can be an option if you need to take your break in your career at a particular time, such as if you have suddenly been made redundant and want to take a break before you look for another job, or if you want to spend time travelling before you have children.

While you’re working out what you can save or what you could borrow, don’t make any assumptions about how quickly you will be able to find another job when you decide to return to the world of work. Make sure you set aside some money for emergencies, just in case. If you do decide to borrow, take the time to shop around for the best loan for you and your circumstances and make sure that you understand exactly how much you will be paying back.

If you’re going to spend your career break learning, either by going back to college, taking an online degree or masters course or will be retraining for a new career, then check to see if you could apply for a career development loan. If you can get one, you can use it to fund your studies, and won’t have to pay interest on it until after your training has finished.

Check out all your options so you can be financially secure during a career break.

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2020 Hoilday Gift Guide

This site has affiliate links and sponsored content. Read my Disclosure Policy.

It's another year and another gift guide and this year I've spent months getting this one ready! I incorporated all of my fav products and things I've used myself this year.

8 Mistakes People Make When Applying For Their First Mortgage

Tuesday, December 1, 2020


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A mortgage is the biggest loan you’ll take out in your life. Getting approved for these loans can be a challenge - especially if it’s your first mortgage. As well as being required to pay a sizable down payment upfront, you’ll often need to meet various other requirements such as having a stable and sufficient income and a high credit score. A small mistake could result in you being rejected by a lender, which could prevent you from buying your first home.

There are also other mistakes that you can make when applying for a mortgage such as failing to plan ahead for future expenses or simply not shopping around. While you may still get approved, such mistakes could be unnecessarily costly.

Below are just eight of the most common mistakes that people make when applying for their first mortgage - and how you can avoid them.

Not shopping around for mortgages

Many first-time buyers don’t take enough time to compare the various mortgage deals that are out there. In doing so, you could end up paying more interest or a larger down payment than is necessary.

There are many sites that you can use to compare mortgage deals. There’s also the option of using a mortgage broker - these are professionals who sometimes have access to exclusive deals not found on the market.

Make sure to look into specialist mortgages too such as USDA loans. While these may only be available for certain properties, they can have perks such as lower interest rates and lower approval requirements. The likes of this USDA loan calculator can help you to work out the costs. Such calculators are worth using for getting an accurate idea as to the cheapest option.

Applying with a poor credit score

If your credit score is low, it’s likely that you’ll get rejected by the majority of lenders. If you do find a lender that is willing to approve you, you could find that there are conditions such as a high down payment and high interest rates. All in all, having a poor credit score is not ideal when applying for mortgages.

If your credit score is good, you stand a better chance of being approved and you will likely be able to explore a greater range of mortgage options. There are many ways in which you can boost your credit score such as using credit builder loans, signing up to the electoral register, checking personal details on accounts match and using a credit card appropriately.

Ignoring first-time buyer assistance programs

There are a number of assistance programs out there that are only available to first time buyers. These vary from state to state - some may include access to low down payments, while others may involve the options of grants to put towards your down payment.

You’ll likely have to meet certain requirements in order to be eligible for these programs. This could include being on a low income or having to complete a homebuyer education course. Do your research to find out exactly what these requirements are.

Saving up too small a down payment

When taking out most mortgages, you will have to pay a down payment upfront. The average down payment paid by a first time buyer is 20% of the property’s value. For a $250,000 home, this could mean saving up a down payment of $50,000.

It’s possible to find mortgages that require much lower down payments - sometimes as low as 5% or even 2%. However, you may need a high credit score and a high income to be approved for these. A smaller down payment also means paying off more in the long run, which usually means much higher monthly repayments.

Consequently, you should aim to save up as much as you can to place as a down payment. This will give you more mortgage options to explore and you could find that credit score requirements and income requirements aren’t so high.

Getting a new job while applying

If you’ve been thinking of getting a new job, you might want to wait until after you’ve bought your home. When assessing the eligibility of an applicant, lenders like to see proof of a stable income. Ideally, you need to have been in the same job for six months before making an application. If you’ve changed jobs within the last six months or are in the process of switching jobs, you could find that you get rejected.

Hold out until after your mortgage has been approved before you start looking for a new job. It could be important not just for the success of your mortgage application but also for your sanity - starting a new job and buying your first home can both be stressful, so you don’t really want to be doing them at the same time.

Taking out other loans while applying

While it’s good to have a history of borrowing, you should avoid taking out loans just before applying to a mortgage. The need to take out extra loans may show that you’re living beyond your means and could cause lenders to trust you less, potentially resulting in your application being rejected.

Mortgage lenders tend to only look back at your last six months of expenses. Try to avoid taking out any fresh debts within this six month time period. Usage of existing credit cards is fine, so long as you don’t max them out or get close to your limit.

Failing to budget for extra home-buying costs

When buying a house, it’s not just the mortgage down payment that you have to save up for. There are numerous other mortgage-related costs such as valuation costs and processing fees. On top of this, you may need to pay fees to a broker for helping you find a mortgage or a conveyancer for handling the legal paperwork.

Make sure that you’ve got enough money set aside to pay for these extra expenses. You don’t want to run out of money during the application process and not be able to afford a valuation or a conveyancer.

Not factoring in the long-term costs

If you find a mortgage that you are eligible for make sure to consider the long term costs before you hand your down payment over. Some mortgages can come with high monthly repayments that could be difficult to keep up with. Others may have high interest rates or other hidden charges such as expensive late payment fees (or even early repayment fees in some cases).

Use calculators to work out how much you’ll be spending in the long run. Be realistic about how much you are willing to pay a month - if you’ve already been living frugally to afford a down payment, you don’t want to continue living frugally once you’ve finally obtained your dream home.

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The Benefits of Shopping Online for Baby Clothing


Are you looking to purchase baby clothing? If so, you may be looking at boutiques in town and trying to figure out who carries what you are looking for. But, did you know that there is a much easier way? Instead of going out, you can hop on your computer, laptop, tablet, or phone and shop online for baby clothing. Here are a few of the biggest benefits associated with shopping for baby clothes online.

Make Your Home More Comfortable with These Changes


Many of us are spending more time at home than ever before. And although that might not be through choice, it is reminding us how important home comforts are. If you can’t be comfortable and feel relaxed in your home home, where can you?

If you feel as if your home isn’t quite as comfortable or as comforting as you might like it to, it’s time to do something about that. Read on now to find out about the kinds of changes you can make to your in order to upgrade its level of comfort.

Books I Recommend You Read [November]

Monday, November 30, 2020

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Fall is a great time to get cozy with some good books.  Check out what I read this month.

Creating a Self-care Sanctuary Bathroom

Sunday, November 29, 2020


No matter what you do for work, your lifestyle, or how you usually relax, turning your bathroom into a self-care space has its benefits.

A bath is an ideal space for you to soothe your muscles and get a full-body dose of warmth. Even the busiest of days can change in the time it takes to soak in some bubbles. Sure, a bath isn’t the only part of self-care - but it is wonderful.

Photo by intan Indiastuti on Unsplash

Cleaning up

It is hard to feel calm, clean, or content when you have a lot of mess around. One of the first things that you should do is clean your space. Cleaning actually has its own mental benefits too. When you clean, you are taking control of your environment, and in doing so, it can help calm your mind. A sense of satisfaction follows it, and that can improve your mood. Check out these 5 nifty tools to support your cleaning

Set the scene

Setting up everything you need in a place that makes practical sense for you is important. If you usually use a specific bubble bath or shower wash, have them easy to reach. This will mean you don’t have to dip in and out of the tub to get what you need. If you don’t have a bath, it might just be time to get one fitted. You can find out more here about having a bath installed.

Not everyone wishes to paint their bathroom. But you can add color in different ways. You can unify your towel colors. Using colors and tones that you find calming and enjoy looking at. Using those as a base for the rest of the colors, change your soap dish, add stickers to your tiles, and tie it all together with a shower curtain and bath mats.

The scents you use in a room can change how it feels as a whole. There are some scents that we are familiar with in a bathroom. Lemons, pines, and ocean-fresh are typically used for cleaning products. Lavender, jasmine, roses, and mints are known to bring calm and relaxation to the room. You might choose to have deeper, richer scents like neroli, ambers, and sandalwood.

The bathroom is the perfect place to keep your skincare. Night creams and hand creams might be better by the bedside so that you don’t forget them. But using your skincare in the bathroom while cleaning or in the bath can increase how relaxed you feel and the potency of things like cleansers on softened pores.

Self-care does come in many forms. From taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon to arranging your taxes. It is important that you have some self-care in your weekly or even daily routine. Things that you do in order to uplift yourself. Recharging yourself mentally, emotionally, and physically so that you can be the best and most productive version of yourself.

Think about the things you need in your bathroom so that when you close the door behind you, you can take care of yourself, mind, body, and soul.

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