Have you had a great tenancy? My belief is that they are not as common as they should be. When they go wrong, it is stressful for both the tenant and the landlord. Advice on having  a great tenancy should be on the school curriculum in my opinion. When I worked for Citizens Advice about a fifth of problems concerned housing which is such a shame when homes are where we should feel safe and happy.

My renting experiences

I have rented homes since leaving university. To be honest, my best  experiences were living in a rented room with a resident landlord. I think that is probably because a resident landlord obviously wants to keep their home in a good state of repair so you benefit from that as a lodger. Also I think that when you are lodging you get to know the  landlord and vice versa so you understand each other that bit better than in a traditional tenancy.

My complaint about landlords is probably mainly that they are not realistic. If you rent to a family with small children, the house will not be pristine 24 hours per day. Similarly do not rent to families with  pets unless you want to see the odd dog hair or two. Life changes from time to time so if someone loses a job there may be a delay in getting their benefits and they can’t help that. Pick the right tenant for your property and for your circumstances.

My other complaint is that landlords can be tardy to deal with repairs. That means things tend to only get worse and in the most extreme cases the wellbeing of the tenant and their family is put at risk.

I have had some good landlords but overall it has always felt that they were after money and did not really care about their tenant’s welfare at all. I find it amazing that I have never had the How to Rent  booklet that landlords are supposed to hand you when you take a tenancy with them.

The landlord’s perspective

Of course, landlords have their own pressures partly because they are maintaining more than one house with all the associated costs from mortgages to maintenance. Some tenants do behave badly causing damage or issues such as noise pollution with neighbours.  Great tenancies happen when both parties behave well and with respect. Sometimes it can be easier to have a letting agency such as HomeLet to help with this.

How to have a great tenancy

I think the first step is for both parties to act honestly and to communicate clearly. Yes there is the written tenancy agreement but it would also be good to see a good human as well as legal relationship in place too. Some things really help at the start such as reading the fuel meters together and agreeing the readings. That is one potential area for conflict sorted on day one.  Make sure the landlord or his/her agent shows you how to use the boiler and appliances, where the fuse box and stop cock is. These are so easily forgotten but you do need this information about your new place. Setting up a direct debit for rental payments is reassuring to the landlord and a great idea for the tenant as then the rent is prioritised over other  expenditure so securing their home.

Protection for tenants
  • Negotiate for the period of time you would like the tenancy for
  • Be realistic about what you can afford to pay in rent
  • Check that you are getting all the benefits you are entitled to
  • Collect proofs of identity, immigration and employment status so you have it ready for the landlord should they ask for these
  • Find out if your potential landlord is part of an accreditation scheme
  • Find out if the letting agent is accredited
  • Check out deposit protection schemes
  • Research bond and guarantee schemes to help you put your deposit together if you are struggling
  • Ensure the landlord has provided smoke and carbon monoxide monitors
  • It is a good idea to agree an inventory of the items in the house to prevent disputes later on
  • Make sure you have the landlord’s real address and find out if the property is mortgaged. I once had the not so lovely experience of a possession summons for mortgage arrears arriving on the doormat just after I moved into a house many years ago now.
  • You should be provided with a gas safety certificate, electrical inspections details and an energy performance certificate.
Who can help in a crisis?

The lovely news is that if everyone behaves with good intentions, you can have a great tenancy. If things do go wrong, you can seek support from the Citizens Advice Bureau or a specialist housing charity such as Shelter.

 

 

 

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Cosmetic dentistry is not something I heard of as a child or teenager. My mum took me for regular check-ups with a great dentist. I loved to go and see Mr Shaw. I knew my mum had such faith in his expertise. His practice was based in Empire House and I remember going up the steps to his place and the magazines in the waiting room. He was always kind and I needed only a couple of fillings as a teenager and then some braces at one point. The best bit was that mum always bought me a present after a visit to the dentist.

Neglecting my teeth

To my shame, I let Mr Shaw and my parents down after going to university. I just did not make time for regular visits to the dentist and once you stop going it is so easy to forget about the whole dentist thing. Of course, time and age will catch up with you.

Post-natal depression

My teeth are awful. If I am honest, I hardly cleaned them at all when in the depths  of post-natal depression. Two teeth seem to be knocked back a little and they are not sparkling white. I do look after them these days but the damage is done.

Cosmetic dentistry

So for a long time, I have considered cosmetic dentistry and recently checked out Saving Faces as if anyone needs to save face it is me! It’s hard not to when the media is full of such white smiles and perfect teeth. Actually I don’t want a celebrity smile but I would like to see my own warm smile at its best again. This is one area where I might actually set money aside for myself at some point rather than for the family. I know that it would boost my confidence massively.

Taking the plunge

In fact, as I am planning a trip to Liverpool over the Summer, this may be the perfect time to not only have a fun weekend but perhaps to actually take the plunge and get my smile fixed. I did not really know what would be needed but apparently dental implants liverpool are just the ticket and a modern version of false teeth to replace my damaged ones.

Have you ever considered cosmetic dentistry? Perhaps you have had it done already and can leave me a supportive comment.

 

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We are a society of “all or nothing.” This is an attitude that costs us in our quest for a perfectly balanced, perfectly delightful life. In the mapping of the “all or nothing.” guide to life, many wonderful things were chopped off. Things that were enjoyable and indulgent were deemed unhealthy. Not only is this concept flawed, it also sets us up for failure.

Who makes these rules?

Health experts set up healthy programs, and in doing so, they cut away things that people enjoy and mark them as unhealthy. Things like chocolate, sugar, and carbohydrates. These things are not “bad.” In fact, in moderation and used correctly, they are quite healthy and serve a purpose. But, the experts do not seem to think we are strong enough or smart enough to know when (or how much) to partake in them, so they remove them from our lives and treat us like toddlers in a candy store.

Pleasure

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Exposing the truth

Natural sugar and carbohydrates provide the body with fast-acting energy. If you are on a healthy eating program and if you are expending a lot of energy through activities, you may find yourself in need of such an energy boost. Combining these foods with fruit, nuts, and dairy products increase their nutritional value.

The truth is, there is something good about all foods. It is moderation, not elimination that we should strive for. This is called, using the tools you are given. You are creating a healthy lifestyle. In reality, you will not spend the rest of your life without ever partaking in guilty pleasure food. You must incorporate them into your life.

Chocolate and other sweets are good for you

There have been many studies on the effects of chocolate and other sweets on the human body. You may be surprised to find out these delicious foods often have a positive effect on your body.

A study conducted by Harvard suggests that eating chocolate is good for your heart. In fact, they predict that a person who eats small amounts of chocolate 5-times per week has a 60% less chance of developing heart disease. The study concludes that this person will live longer than a person, and we might add, they are probably in a better mood.

Studies show that eating sugar while you are exerting yourself (like mowing the lawn or mopping the floor) gives you the boost of energy you need without the crash later.

If you are concerned about your blood vessels, eat cotton candy! In research, it is shown that melting down of cotton candy actually created new blood vessels in the body.

Conclusion

No one is suggesting you eat tons of candy and expect to be healthy. We are suggesting that in small amounts it is good for you physically and emotionally. You do not have to give up the candy you love, just eat it in moderation.

You do not have to walk through a candy shop, and it’s temptations to get delicious candy. Buying bulk candy online at SweetService.com is the answer. Have your favorite candy delivered to your door and reach for it when you need or want it. You will be able to maintain your self-control. After all, you are an adult with a fully functioning brain. Someone should explain that to the “experts.”

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. Many families spend a significant part of their day in the kitchen. It is used for the preparation and the taking of meals. If you are have a large kitchen, your children might do their homework at the table and many a small business grew into a large one from dreams at the kitchen table.

Jazzing

So a kitchen is worth investing in but how do you jazz it up when funds are low? Let’s look at some budget ideas for jazzing up your special room.

Shop around

Don’t assume cheap kitchens mean you have to go without style. Do plenty of research  and don’t fall for the first thing you see. More affordable options will be available if you take the time to look.

Consider quick fixes

Do you really need to replace the whole kitchen? Could you perhaps just replace cabinet doors or even given them a fresh lick of paint? If funds are really tight, even some clever new handles can make you feel a bit better about your kitchen. Don’t forget accessories from places like Kitchen Warehouse as these can really add to your expression of self in the kitchen.

Charity shopping

You may not want to buy everything from a charity shop but there is always a good feeling when you purchase items that mean you get something new, someone has disposed of their “trash” and a charity benefits too. There are furniture stores run by big charities like the British Heart Foundation in most cities nowadays. On the other hand, you might like to check out bric-a-brac shelves for retro kitchenalia and quirky artwork to put on the walls.

Wonderful walls

I once had a friend who painted his kitchen blue on a whim and hated it. When he felt cheerier he changed it to terracotta which worked well. I have always fancied an orange kitchen. Make choices after due consideration and ensure all the family feel comfortable with them. You could paint the kitchen or invest in some wallpaper and one way to save would be to just have one feature wall in striking design.

Are you jazzing up your kitchen soon? I  would love to hear your plans.

 

 

 

Dating for the more mature person can be a daunting process. You may feel you have missed the love boat having not yet found the one that fairy tales promise. You may have experienced relationship breakdown or divorce. You may still be grieving for the loss of a partner.

The good news is that it is never too late to find love and companionship again. For months now I have seen an older man come into my local pub. He has friends but always appears to not join in with the banter and I sensed he was lonely. Last weekend it was lovely to see him arrive clearly very loved-up with a new woman. They were delighting in each the company and I was very pleased for them.

So what would I say are top tips for someone wanting to try out mature singles dating to inject a little sunshine into their life.

Have confidence in yourself

As an older person you will have many stories and life experiences to share. You will have special qualities and impressive skills. You will have a rich personality so you should absolutely know that you are worthy of love and approach dating with as much confidence as you can muster. If you are giving off the idea that you are no good the chances of you finding a partner are that much more limited. Love yourself and then tell your admirers to form an orderly queue.

Risk rejection

It is scary to put yourself out there but you really should feel the fear and do it anyway. You may be rejected but don’t risk not finding out if that person you adored did not feel exactly the same way. Most people are flattered if someone likes them and  older people are that much kinder at letting people down gently in my experience. As I heard someone say recently, it is far better to risk the immediate pain of rejection which may not happen anyway than to spend years wondering about what might have been. Regret is way more painful in the longer-term than rejection.

Enjoy flirting again

Flirting is such a fun thing to do and makes you feel young and alive. When you flirt, you boost the ego of the person you are flirting  with. If it leads to romance and love so much the better but if it doesn’t at least you will have had a little fun along the way. You can flirt online and then work up to a flirtatious date. Make eye contact, play with your hair and indulge in some banter and see where it leads!

Be clear about what you are looking for

As we get older we realise love is found  in the most unlikely places and with the most unlikely people. We are hopefully far clearer about the type of person who fits with what we are looking for. Some people will be looking for a fine old-fashioned romance hoping that at some point a marriage will follow. Others are dating cougars who prefer the appeal of younger men. There are specialist dating sites including for those older women looking for a younger date.So long as everyone is open and honest, relationships work better. It’s OK to say what you are looking for and to communicate that clearly.

Get online dating

Too may older people think online dating is only for the very young. This is a total misconception. Apparently the biggest growth segment age wise for online daters is for people over 40 and  50. Online dating is great because you can search for exactly the type of person you are looking for. It is also a safe way of making initial contact and doing some investigation before you meet in the real world.

Dating when you are over 40 years of age has so many benefits. You are clearer on who you are and what you like to spend your time doing. You know what you will and perhaps more vitally what you won’t accept in a date. You will have probably have had a number of relationships and learned a lot from them. You will have probably worked out that nobody is perfect and be a little more forgiving of yourself and others. You are likely to have a bit more disposable income so you can invest in some really fun times with your date. You will have the confidence to know that although it is lovely to have a love interest you can manage without one whilst you find one that suits your needs.

Go forth and enjoy dating!