Gizoo Gadgets

I’m a big fan of gadgets and technology, though must admit some can be more hassle than they are worth.  I often find myself clearing out the kitchen and bedroom, finding things I once thought I couldn’t live without and either selling them or sending them off to the charity shop.  Some, however, can really be great time-savers, and some are just great fun.  I have recently been looking at Gizoo for inspiration and found some little gadgets that are both fun and useful.

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I particularly like this rather retro vegetable peeler which is not only cute and very different but also could prove handy when the children ask to help in the kitchen.  Miss J struggles with regular peelers so this could be a revelation for her.  At less than £10 it is also great value for money and would make a cool secret Santa gift (yes, I am starting to think about the big C already!).

hero (1)I also like this Samurai chef knife, which is another gadget that is practical and a bit of a novelty.  It would be a good present for any keen chef or for the person who has everything (we all know one of those!).

For more gadget and gift inspiration, check out the Gizoo site at www.gizoo.co.uk

How To Protect Your Leather Sofa

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Leather sofas are an essential piece for any modern home: long-lasting, eye-catching and luxuriously comfortable. But as with any high-quality material, leather needs regular TLC to keep its beautiful appearance and contrary to popular opinion, this doesn’t have to be expensive, timely or tedious.

Here are a few simple products you can buy (or make) to maintain and protect your leather from nicks, scratches and kitty claws.

What’s your type?

First thing’s first: you need to find out what kind of leather you have. Leather can be divided into three general categories: Type A (Aniline), Type SA (Semi-Aniline) or Type P (Pigmented). Type A has been dyed without any topcoat to keep the hide’s natural grainy surface visible, and will feel soft to touch. Type SA, with a light surface coating, is more durable than A and has a slightly slippery feel to it. Type P feels stiffer than the other two, as it features many layers of protective coating.

Learn how to identify what leather type you have here – it’s important to find out what material you have so you can use the right products for it.

Prevent damage

Once you’ve discovered what kind of leather you have, it’s time to get a leather conditioner. Leather conditioners will protect the surface of your couch from stains and over time it can darken the patina into a deep, beautiful hue. Although there are many different kinds of conditioner available, they all are designed to nourish the leather fibres with much-needed lubrication so they don’t crack from dryness or strain. One example of a good conditioner that works on all Type A and SA leathers is Leather Honey, available on Amazon. It’s non-toxic, water repellent and controls mildew.

Interested in making your own? Read this list of homemade conditioner recipes here to get some ideas.

Treat scratches

In addition to regular upkeep, there will be the inevitable accident that you just can’t prevent. Depending the scratch, there are different approaches for dealing with it that don’t involve a new sofa.

For minor scratches like fingernail marks or light scuffing, you can use olive oil (apply to the scratch, let it soak for a few hours and wipe clean), or you can try this Leather Scratch Away Kit. The kit works to even out the colour of the sofa so there are no patchy spots.

For deeper cuts where the leather has been severed, you’ll need to get a leather repair kit, like this one from Furniture Clinic. First, you’ll need to clean the leather and rid the tear of any loose threads or jagged ends – the straighter the tear, the easier it will be to fix. Then you’ll need to glue the patch underneath the tear (it makes for a stronger fix), apply colourant to the patch and finish everything off with leather protectant. For more detailed instructions, read this article here.

And if one of your furry friends has managed to ‘leave their mark’ on your leather sofa, watch this YouTube tutorial that demonstrates how you can repair a cat-scratched sofa with a shaver!

Leather damage can be a hassle, but it doesn’t mean you need to give up and start shopping again. Leather gets better with age, and leather goods are designed to last a lifetime. With the wealth of products, demos and hacks available to help you protect the material, you’ll be able to keep your sofa for years to come.

Simple Ways to Make Money

With a young family to support, finding ways to save and, more importantly, make money is always at the top of my to-do list.  I have tried a number of things in the past; here are some that have worked for me:

Being a secret shopper – sign up to a secret shopping agency and regular opportunities to undertake assignments will drop into your inbox.  It can be anything from enjoying a meal in a pub to asking for mortgage advice – no two assignments are the same and there is a fee available for completing each one.  Granted, it isn’t a huge amount of money, but every little helps!

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Dog walking – offering to walk a neighbour or friend’s dog, or have them whilst they go on holiday, can be a simple way to earn a few pennies.  Undercut kennels and other dog walking services and they may well come back to you again.

Online bingo and other games – I wouldn’t necessarily advocate gambling but, in small doses, it may just be the thing to tide you over financially.  This type of online casino game can be good fun too.

Selling clothes/toys your children have grown out of – whether it be via a Facebook group or by doing a car boot sale, there’s usually a fair few quid to be made this way.

In the short-term, it’s also possible to consider loans, particularly for the purposes of large purchases such as cars or even a house!  With guarantor loans, you can borrow quite substantial amounts, though it would need to be a very good friend who helped you obtain one!

Do you have any other suggestions?  I would love to hear them!

Holidays to Dubai

When I was pregnant with the boy, my best friend moved to Dubai.  I vowed to visit before she returned but never managed to save enough pennies to cover the flights, which can run into hundreds of pounds.  However, I have heard lots about it – some good, some less so.  Conditions are different for residents than holiday-makers, however, and Dubai remains a popular luxury destination for tourists.  I’m not sure if it somewhere we will visit as a family – we certainly have no immediate plans.  I think it is all just a little bit new for us, though there is no denying that it is beautiful.

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Travelbag have some great deals for trips to Dubai and the Middle East, as well as plenty of information on attractions and things to do.  They also provide facts and figures such as the following:-

  • Capital – Abu Dhabi
  • Currency – United Arab Emirates Dirham
  • Language – Arabic
  • Time Zone – GMT + 4 hours

For more information, including flight prices and weather reports, visit their website at travelbag.co.uk