How to Get Rid of Pet Smells from Your Home

You might love your pet more than anything else in the world, but are you as fond of their odor? Having a pet is the best, but the smells they leave behind can be very trying.

Traditionally pets were always kept outside.  Nowadays, however, they are allowed to cuddle up on the sofa when you’re watching TV, snuggle up in bed with you, and take trips in the car. Such constant companionship comes at a heavy price: all your furnishings and even your clothes are going to have that pet smell (eau de wet dog anyone?!) . Try some of these ideas to get rid of pet smells from your home.

how to get rid of pet smells from your home

Use Your Washing Machine

Many of your soft furnishings are going to be machine washable so using your washing machine will make quick work of the cleaning and remove smells quickly and easily. Always check the care label on the items before putting them in the washing machine, and make sure the temperature is set right. Wash cushion covers, duvet covers, pillow cases, rugs and anything else your dog’s been lying on.   It doesn’t have to be a big long hot wash.  Even a ‘quick wash’ setting at a low temperature makes a big difference!

If you can, hang your washing outside to dry.  This stops any smells being absorbed while they are drying.

The Power of Baking Soda

This common store cupboard item is very useful when it comes to removing doggy smells. For furnishings that aren’t machine washable, sprinkle baking soda over the surfaces, and leave it to rest for a few hours, or overnight. The next morning, vacuum up the baking soda, and you’ll be left with a fresh, clean smell. The power of baking soda comes from its absorbent properties that draw odors out of fabrics and materials.   I can confirm this is also a total lifesaver when you are potty training your kids!!

Call in the Experts

Professional cleaning companies have all the necessary tools in their toolbox and know all the best methods for removing pet odors from your home. Make use of their services for a one-off clean to get you back to square one, this can sometimes be written into rental accommodation contracts!  Or if you can, hire them on a more regular basis. Visit www.mytechnicare.com to find out more.

Vacuum, Vacuum, Vacuum!

You can keep on top of pet dander by regularly mopping hardwood floors, but for your carpets, the only way to deal with pet hair is with a daily vacuum regime. Carpets are great for keeping your feet warm, and they also look good. Unfortunately, they also act as a magnet for hair, dust, and dander. Using a powerful vacuum is the only way to go. You really do need to vacuum thoroughly every day. Don’t forget to include your furniture, especially all the cracks and crevices. Empty the canister regularly and clean out the air filters frequently, to ensure they’re always working efficiently.

You love your animals, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you love their smells! No one wants their home to smell like their pets!  Doing a little every day will make a huge difference!

Cost of Living In Seychelles – Utilities

I get a lot of questions about the cost of living in Seychelles, so it is about time I wrote a post about it.

I’m not going to lie, I have attempted to cover this in the past. Cost of living is such a massively variable thing, I’ve never been quite sure how to tackle it.

To stop this from being an absolute monster of a blog post I’m going to break it up a little bit.  Today I’m covering utilities; Electricity, Water and Gas.  I’ll cover other expenditures in a future post.

cost of living in Seychelles

Cost of Utilities in Seychelles

Water, Sewerage and Electricity is provided by PUC (Public Utilities Corporation).  A few people have their own water source but the vast majority of people get their water direct from PUC.

Meter readings are taking monthly by PUC at your property and your bill is given to you directly.

I’ll give a little more info about each here and a rough approximation of what we pay a month.

Electricity

To give you a rough idea, we pay approximately 1000scr a month for our electricity. It’s by no means a fixed amount and as I mentioned it’s based entirely on your meter reading.

We have air conditioning in only one of our bedrooms and we use it very rarely. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Air Con will probably be the biggest factor in electricity usage. I’m not saying to not use it, by any means it’s just something to bare in mind! In our previous house we had air conditioning in all three of our bedrooms and we would often put them on for maybe half hour or so before bed to cool down the room. This never seemed to make a huge difference in our bills, but obviously having the air conditioning blasting all night would do.

If you want to get a bit more information on the rates, you can look at PUC’s Electricity Tariffs.

Someone has asked me about having a generator, I don’t know anyone who has a generator for their home. Some businesses have them, but not all. Power cuts are not completely uncommon here, there are definitely far fewer now than when we first moved here. Typically they last less than an hour, but occasionally there are planned power cuts for maintenance work which last half a day or so.

Water

Our water bills come out around 300-400scr a month, again purely based on meter readings.

Check out PUC water rates for the break down on their charges.

Most houses these days have a big water tank. At certain times of the year there can be large periods of the day where water is shut off, due to drought. If your house has a water tank you will almost certainly never notice that the water goes off (apart from perhaps a slight change in pressure). When the water comes back on, the tank fills back up, so this doesn’t have an impact on your water bill.

We don’t drink our tap water, we get this delivered in big bottles and use a water cooler. (see my post on things to buy to make expat life in seychelles easier for more on this) I reckon we spend about 250-300scr a month on water.

Gas

All gas comes in bottles, i.e it is not mains fitted. This makes measuring the cost a little harder in that obviously it depends what you use it for. In our current house our gas is just for our oven, inside as well as the hob. But in a previous house we had a separate gas bottle to heat our water so it really does all depend.  We typically keep a spare in the house in case one runs out half way through cooking.  You pick up the gas bottles from the petrol stations and they cost about 200scr for a 12kg bottle which will last a good few months.

 

 

I hope that you’ve found this useful.  In general we have always found our utility bills to be a lot lower than they were when we were living in the UK.  Obviously some months they are higher than others, as is the case everywhere!  I like that they are always done by the meter so we can tell exactly what we have used each month.  Keep an eye out for some more posts soon about the cost of living in Seychelles!

 

 

Top Tips for UK Travel on a Budget

Travelling is a wonderful way to see the world, explore new places and immerse yourself in a different culture. However, it can be expensive, particularly if you are a frequent traveller or you’re with the whole family.  Luckily, there are many ways in which you can cut costs and stick to your budget without compromising your travel adventures.

We just spent the Summer in the UK and we had a great time, but we definitely did find it expensive, despite staying with family!

Here are some top tips and ideas to help you make your money stretch further and ensure you have a memorable trip for all the right reasons! Perfect for a trip to the UK, or even for a staycation if you’re already living there!

top tips for uk travel on a budget

Be Flexible

It’s often possible to get much better deals by shopping around and experimenting with different dates and travel options. Whether it’s flights, accommodation or tourist attractions, you never know what deals you might uncover until you look.  Of course most people don’t have HUGE amounts of flexibility in their travel dates, but you’ll be surprised how much travelling one day earlier or later can make in your costs!

Top Tips for UK Travel on a Budget

Accommodation

Five-star hotels are without doubt the dream.  Lets reality check though, the chances are that they will be out of your budget. Instead, make sure to do plenty of research and shop around. As I’ve said before, deals can be found all over the place!  So, always make sure you are happy with your choice and price before booking anything.

Similarly, it may be a good idea to consider alternative accommodation options to your traditional hotel. There are B&Bs all over the country, camping is always a cheap option, and cheap caravan holidays don’t have to mean giving up all your favourite home comforts. Plus, an alternative method of accommodation could be a great way to pique the kids’ interest in your trip!

Transport

Taxis are appealing, but public transport is far cheaper and often a more efficient way to travel in the UK. For instance, if you are visiting London or staying in the capital, the public transport networks including the Underground and London buses are fantastic. Seriously, you don’t need car hire in London!

Conversely, if you are planning to do a tour of the country or will be visiting multiple places, a hire car could be a great way to save money on train or taxi fares while giving you the freedom to explore where you want, when you want.  Outside of London rail costs are often hire than hiring a car!

Eating Out

Takeout coffees, delicious brunches, late lunches and hearty dinners.  There are countless amazing places to eat and drink in the UK.  Before you know it, your food costs can really begin to rack up. If you are in self-catering accommodation during your trip to the UK, cut costs by eating in, at least some of the time!

When you’re eating out opt for more budget-friendly restaurants – especially if you are travelling with a large party.   Again, think ahead and look online for places doing discounts and offers.

Top Tips for UK Travel on a Budget

Attractions

This will entirely depend on what you’re planning, but there are always ways for the budget-savvy traveller to cut costs. Again, make sure to research before you travel. That way you can budget for the costs, such as entry fees.   Many big attractions have huge offers year round so look online for discount codes or where to get coupons.

There are endless of opportunities to get out and explore the great British countryside for free – who says you can’t experience the UK on a budget?

 
Obviously, not all of these ideas will work for everyone.   But I hope that they at least give you a little inspiration on how small changes can give you big savings!  UK travel on a budget is definitely possible, even with a family!

Planning a trip is one of the most exciting parts of the whole adventure, so make the most of it and get ready for the getaway of a lifetime!

I DO! 6 Honeymoon destinations newlyweds WANT to travel to

I DO! 6 Honeymoon destinations newlyweds WANT to travel to

Many brides to be will tell you that choosing their honeymoon destination is almost as difficult as the wedding venue!  Whether it’s a far flung beach in a stunning, tropical location, a city that’s full of culture and bright lights or maybe something that’s a little more budget friendly.

If you’re struggling for inspiration then don’t worry.  Check out these 6 top honeymoon destinations that newlyweds want to visit!

Seychelles

Seychelles is undoubtedly one of the ultimate honeymoon destinations.  I promise there’s no bias  because I live here!  If you are dreaming of white sandy beaches, ultimate luxury, and relaxation, then look no further!   Island hopping here is a must, as each island offers something unique!

If you’re looking for a little adventure during your stay, try Scuba Diving, or one of the many beautiful hikes across the islands.

Seychelles is also a must visit for honeymooning couples with an interest in environmentalism.  There is a vast array endemic species to discover – many of which are endangered.  Eight national parks, six of which are marine parks, mean that there are many unspoiled and protected areas to explore.  There are also two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Vallee de Mai and Aldabra.  Many hotels, and resorts have their own environmental programmes, and actively encourage their guests to get involved.  The government is working hard on environmental issues too, plastic bags have been banned for more than a year, and plastic straws are also soon to be banned.

Niagara Falls

Everyone should see the beautiful and dramatic falls at least once in their lifetime.  So, why not incorporate it into your honeymoon?  The crashing, cascading and roaring water has attracted couples in love for centuries and it’s still ever popular.

There are plenty of places to stay around the area, each with an abundance of honeymoon and romance packages.  Check out Marriott on the Falls for a little inspiration.  While many people travel to distant lands with white sandy beaches, some prefer the magic of being close to nature whilst not leaving the city to far behind. Just don’t forget your rain coat!

Alaska

If you picture spending your honeymoon in a bikini and little else, then perhaps this one isn’t for you.  Alaska calls to couples of an adventurous spirit – for those who prefer their beaches icy cold and bracing!  Take your own guide across a beautiful ice capped mountain and a glacier or two!

With its abundance of wildlife at Glacier Bay National Park and Preserve, including humpback whales, bald eagles, puffins and even bears, Alaska is the honeymoon that just keeps on giving.  Just be sure to pack plenty of layers!

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

You might be thinking of Amsterdam’s famous coffee shop scene or of course it’s liberal Red Light District, but if you think that’s all Amsterdam has to offer then you’d be wrong.  Steeped in history with beautiful architecture this blissful city will swallow up honeymooners with it’s rustic and laid back charm.  Walk or cycle through the city’s historic streets, have a drink and a bite to eat at one of its many open air cafés and restaurants and enjoy 5* cuisine at the canal side.  One thing is certain – you’ll be back!

Cotswolds, England

If the idea of the romantic English countryside makes your heart flutter then a honeymoon to the Cotswolds is calling.  This breathtakingly rural area filled with rolling hills, charming Medieval villages, gorgeously thatched cottage roofs, not forgetting meadows as golden as the local stonework that will simply take your breath away.

With hotels and charming Bed and Breakfasts housed in 18th Century buildings you can experience the very best of what the English countryside has to offer.  From homemade jams, cheeses and preserves to idyllic country views and vistas that are straight out of Jane Austen novel.

Reykjavik, Iceland

Another destination for adventurers or those that want to see nature at it’s most beautiful.  Endless opportunities for trekking and hiking, bathing in hot, steamy springs and lagoons and of course, the ultimate in romance – the Northern Lights.

 

 

I hope that this gives you some inspiration if you are planning your honeymoon!  I’d love to know if there is anywhere you would add to this list?

A City Break In London With Kids Bucket List

So I recently wrote a post with a few ideas of places to take a short break in and around the UK with kids that are on our bucket list.  I thought I would follow that up with our bucket list of things to do with the family in London.

We have never ‘done’ London with kids, and it is definitely on our to do list.   Everything about London is pretty much the opposite of everything that my kids know in their lives* and so it will be so amazing to take them there and see their little minds be blown. *Seriously we went in an elevator when we were on Mahe over the Easter Holidays and they literally could not believe it when the doors opened and we were somewhere else.

So here are a few of the things on our London Bucket List.  Hopefully it will give you some taking a trip to London with kids.

The London Eye

The London Eye is a beautiful way to have fantastic views all across London.  When going with kids, you can beat the queues by booking fast track tickets. It’s a little more pricey but saves having to wait in lines with the kids! Trip Savvy has some more great tips for going on the London Eye with Small Kids

The Theatre

Going to see a show in London is something is a truly an iconic thing to do.  Of course, the classic would be to watch The Lion King. But, there are loads of different kid friendly shows on all over London like Room On The Broom and We’re Going On A Bear Hunt (two of the boys favourite books!).  Check out Discount London for tickets.

Riding the Underground

While the underground might be a tedious part of a Londoners daily travel commute.  It would definitely be exciting for the kids to ride around on.  Hopping on and off different trains would be a total highlight for them.

a city break in london with kids bucket list

Museums

Museums make for great days out with the kids.  Most are free for under 18’s and some are free for everyone.  You can’t beat a free day out!

The boys are yet to go to a museum, we just don’t have anything like that here.  Well, we have a couple of museums but they are certainly not geared up around kids.

Freddie is totally dinosaur obsessed and so a trip to the Natural History Museum would be an absolute must for us.  I can not wait to see his face the day we take him there when he can see some real dinosaurs!

I would also love to take the boys to the Science Museum where there is loads of hands on interactive stuff for them to get involved with.

There are countless museums for all different things in London.  You’d be hard pushed not to find at least one you and the kids will love!

a city break in london with kids bucket list

Afternoon Tea

How very English!  It would definitely be cute to take the kids for afternoon tea.  There are loads of kid friendly places to choose from all offering yummy treats for kids and grown ups.

 

The Iconic Landmarks

Wandering around to visit Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and Covent Garden would all be so much fun for the kids.  To give them a glimpse of the things that are so iconic about London.

city break in London with kids bucket list

There are so many ‘pop up’ activities in and around London all year too, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for fun, and often free, activities for kids in Museums, Parks and Theatres!

Is there anything you’d add to this list?  I’d love to hear some more ‘must visit’ places in London with kids.

 

Five Fun Ways to Stay in Shape

 

Do you find yourself doing the same thing when you’re working out?  Always going for a run, or always heading to the gym? Trying out a new activity that will help you stay in shape is a great way to get out of that rut! There are plenty of great activities for you to check out that won’t feel like exercise.   Today I’m giving you five fun ideas that will help you stay in shape.  No running required!!

five fun ways to stay in shape

Zumba 

If you have not heard of Zumba, where have you been? This fitness dance class that has been taking the world by storm in recent years.  If you who love to dance, Zumba is the perfect aerobic workout that incorporates body movements from flamenco, salsa and other dances. It’s designed to sculpt your body while burning fat at the same time.   You can find Zumba classes everywhere for all ages and levels of fitness.

 

Pole Dancing 

Pole dancing is another fun way to stay in shape that has become extremely popular in recent years. Trying it out with friends will help you leave any inhibitions at the door! This is not only a great way to stay in shape, but it will also help to boost your confidence. Pole dancing is fantastic for upper body strength as you will be lifting your body off the pole, toning your arms and legs as you do so.

 

Indoor Rock Climbing 

Another exciting activity that will help to build strength and balance is rock climbing.  The easiest, and safest way to try this is at an indoor rock climbing facility.  You’ll be using your leg, arm and ab muscles throughout the workout, and you can easily burn as many as 800 calories in an hour. If you fall in love with indoor rock climbing you can then challenge yourself outdoors.

 

At Home Workout Trainers 

If you love nothing better than watching your favourite soaps in front of the television at night, then getting a piece of gym equipment for your home is the perfect way to stay in shape.  If exercise is not usually your thing, you can distract yourself with the TV!  Time will fly by much faster while watching your favourite programmes! You can research which trainer to buy here .  You can get at home gym equipment for all kinds of different things, whether its cardio, strength training or toning!  Having equipment at home allows you to fit in some exercise around kids naps or bed times.

 

Roller-skating 

If you usually like to go out for a run but are looking to do something a little bit different, why not consider going roller-skating? A great bonus is that it’s easier on your joints while still building good lower body strength.

Taking Care of Your Family’s Health Overseas

Whether you are on holiday or planning to move to a new country, one thing you need to consider is the health implications for you and your family. There are several aspects to consider if you want to have a happy trip and avoid any medical problems when you leave your home country.

These issues can be broadly defined in three categories: care of ongoing health issues, first aid and minor conditions, and emergency provision. Health problems affect the whole trip for everyone, not just the person who is sick.

We invest so much time and money into travelling, the last thing anything wants is for it to be cut short.  So, managing potential health issues is a must.

Ongoing health issues

An ongoing health issue includes any illness or problem affecting a family member’s health you are already aware of. Common examples include asthma, epilepsy, mental health conditions, genetic conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, and allergies. You need to check with your doctor as to any advice they have for travelling.

There are restrictions on certain drugs being carried through customs in different countries.  For instance, the opioid drug Tramadol is often prescribed for chronic pain conditions, but due to its addictive properties and the problems it has caused in some parts of the world, you can face problems entering certain countries with it. If you’re planning on taking any medication with you, check whether there are any restrictions where you are going.

Make sure you get enough to last for the whole trip and a little longer, in case you get delayed. Don’t run the risk of running out of vital treatments as allergy medicine, inhalers, or epinephrine auto injectors.  It is not always easy to get medication you need abroad, especially specific prescriptions.

Changes that could affect those with chronic health conditions

When planning your trip, be aware of how changes in climate, humidity, air quality, food, and sleep may affect anyone with a health condition. An asthmatic might find their breathing affected by a big city or at a higher altitude. People with diabetes need to be able to eat and drink at the right time to avoid a hypoglycemic fluctuation. The stress of travelling could have an adverse effect on someone with high blood pressure or heart problems. There could be aspects of the new environment that could trigger allergic responses. For those with mental health issues, the entire process can be stressful and bewildering.

All these complications can be managed. You just need to make plans to accommodate everyone’s needs.

First aid

When on board an aircraft or a ship, the staff will have access to all the first aid facilities you might need if someone falls ill or gets injured.  It’s wise to let them know of any pre-existing conditions.

Once you reach your destination, you will probably have access to a first aid kit where you’re staying. But if you’re exploring somewhere off the beaten track, you will need to have some essential supplies with you.  Either way, check before you go, it’s not worth the risk of being caught out!

The advice on what to take can vary from place to place. It is also often updated, as knowledge about the best action to take improves. Check what is recommended on authoritative websites, and cross reference with any advice on extras you might need.  Also check for any local flora and fauna to be aware of, for example, jellyfish, poisonous plants, or spiders.  You don’t need to scare yourself silly,  just be aware of the main hazards to look out for.

You may feel more confident using a first aid kit if you’ve completed a first aid course. Taking a course isn’t expensive, and quite apart from being useful when you’re away, it’s also a highly valuable life skill to have. Knowing what to do if someone stops breathing, or being able to spot the signs of serious illnesses like a stroke can quite literally save lives.

Emergency treatment

The last thing you want to worry about if someone needs health care abroad is medical bills! Before you go, you should take out travel insurance that covers you for accident and illness abroad. Check the policy carefully to make sure it covers you for everything you are likely to be doing, as there can be exclusion clauses in the small print that mean certain conditions or activities aren’t covered without being added on.  Make sure you disclose any pre-existing conditions!

Make sure you’ve had all the vaccinations and any other preventative treatments required for the country you are visiting.  This advice is easily found online.

It’s good planning to find out about the health facilities where you’ll be staying. It’s handy to know where the nearest doctor or hospital is to you. The chances are slim that you will ever need this information, but just in case you do, it can save a lot of time and stress if you know what number to ring, or where you can obtain medical help.

 

If you’ve read through all this and are now thinking it sounds like you’d be safer staying at home, relax. The point of being prepared is to insure yourself against anything going wrong; it doesn’t mean that any of these problems will arise! By taking steps to be prepared for what could happen, and prevent as many problems as possible, you will have a much safer and happier trip. There’s no need to worry about what might happen because it probably won’t. Just the same as if you are at home, the key is to take the actions required to make the chances even more remote that health issues will have an impact.