5 Things to Look Out For When Building a Waterfront Home

If you’re aiming to build a home and you’ve got your heart set on the luxury and freedom of a waterfront lifestyle, there are a few things you should consider before making your purchase and planning the build.

waterfront, waterfront homes, waterfront home designs

Condition and Maintenance

Waterfront properties are typically more affected by the elements than those further inland. They can often cop the worst of weather, water damage, sea spray and rust. For this reason, it’s important to speak to neighbours and professionals in the area to determine what kind of damage is common amongst waterfront houses in the area, which you may need to safeguard against.

You should also try to find out as much as you can about the regular maintenance of surrounding waterfront properties. You’ll want to know what kind of upkeep the house will demand, as this can often be higher for waterfront properties. You will need to consider what measures need to be taken in order to minimize any maintenance, damage and wear to the property and best protect your garden, exterior, interior and any vehicles.

Alterations and Improvements

Once your home is built, it’s possible that you might, at some time, want to improve, renovate or add to your existing structure (like the inclusion of a jetty, a garage or updated landscaping, for example) so you’ll need to investigate any possible obstacles. On waterfront properties there are sometimes unexpected laws and restrictions that may prevent you from making your intended changes. Be sure to investigate this fully before purchase so you’re not stuck, unable to make later improvements to the property after your original build.

Public Waterfront

For many waterfront properties there is a buffer area in front of your block, between your land and the water’s edge, which is not technically owned by you. It’s important to consider this, especially if your block is situated in a more public spot, as there’s a change that you may be uncomfortable with the lack of privacy if the front of your property is frequented by people swimming, fishing etc.

Make sure you scope out the waterfront on weekends and chat to neighbours to determine whether or not you’ll be comfortable and feel private enough on your chosen lot.

Insurance

Before purchasing, get as much information about your planned house and waterfront block as possible so that you can discuss insurance with your broker or provider. Sometimes waterfront properties can carry with them their own unique challenges and risk factors when it comes to insuring your home, contents and even vehicles. You want to be sure that you can find a policy that will provide you with the cover that you need, and that you’ll be able to afford it.

Consider your Needs

Before you fall in love with a property, take a practical and honest look at its suitability to your needs and lifestyle.

Consider surrounding amenities, is it easy to travel to work? Are there parks for the kids? Schools nearby? Also consider your use of the property, for example, if you have young children, is the water calm and suitable for swimming, or is there a strong current and submerged rocks? Can you install a suitable fence to keep kids safe? Or if your passion is boating, is there waterfront suitable to construct a jetty? Is there boat ramp nearby?

Be realistic about your needs, your lifestyle, and how well the property really suits you, rather than simply falling in love with the waterfront vista.

If you’ve considered all these factors and you’re ready to start planning your dream waterfront home, click here for some inspiring home designs.

Once you’ve chosen your ideal waterfront block and the perfect home design, all that’s left is the excitement of starting your very own waterfront build, followed by settling in for years of stunning views and relaxing afternoons by the water.

The Fanatic in Me

It’s not a secret that I am an avid basketball fan. I root for San Mig Coffee Mixers team from the professional basketball league in my homeland. So whenever there’s a game I make it a point to watch their matches thru online streaming in Germany. Now that I’m here I’ll make sure that I get to watch a game live. I am glad that it’s still the elimination round and I guess it would be easy to get tickets and not worry for them selling out.

As soon as I learned that there’ll be a match, I immediately told hubby that I want to watch it. And who else will I be watching it with but my everdearest Big Bro and my Dad. We have been watching live matches everytime we get an opportunity. Actually I’m thinking of making it a family tradition, that everytime I come home from Germany we’ll see to it that we’ll watch a game of our favorite team live. Anyway, since my nephew also loves basketball I asked if he wants to come with us. He said yes and eventually the entire family went to see the game except for hubby’s sis and bro who were both working then.

The game was scheduled at 7pm but we went to the venue as early as 4pm because it was held in Pasay which we are  not familiar of. Since we were really early, we decided to watch the first game. While waiting for the gates to open we stayed near the parking lot where the basketball players park their cars and enter the venue.

I was so happy that we decided to stay there because I was able to see two of my favorite players from my team, PJ Simon and Marc Pingris. I saw Marc Pingris first and ran towards him. He was already heading for the entrance gate but the goodhearted man still accomodated me when I asked for a photo with him. I’ve been hearing good words for him actually. Some say that he really is kind and very approachable.

Marc Pingris, basketball, fanatic, basketball fanatic
With Marc Pingris

Still we waited and after a few minutes it was PJ Simon who arrived. He plays the Guard position in the team so I really didn’t expect him to be really tall. He seems to be the silent type. Even if I only see him play in the court on TV and watch interviews on him, I find him to be a man of few words and humble. Actually that’s what I liked about the team and the players. They have humble players. They don’t play dirty. If ever there’s an instance that they get too physical in the game or get involved in a fight, for sure they didn’t start it but they were just provoked.

PJ Simon, San Mig Coffee, basketball
With PJ Simon and my nephew, Kyle

Unfortunately I didn’t see my favorite player and the star of the team, James Yap, up close. He’s the only one missing in this photo collection as they are the Big 3 of the team. They are its heart and soul.

As we went in to watch the first game it was noticeable that the venue was not filled with basketball fans. The two teams playing really don’t have large number of fan base. Funny though, it was Zyc’s frst time to watch a basketball game and I was really glad he enjoyed it. Even rooting for a team he had only seen play for the first time. 😛

As the game nears its final buzz, people started pouring in. Empty seats became less noticeable and chants from the fans of the opposing teams started to fill the venue. As the players of San Mig Coffee enter the court, shouts and screams were heard. This just proves that San Mig Coffee is one of the most well-loved team in the PBA.

However the noise changed Zyc’s mood. Actually he hates noise such as this. He started to cry and wanted to go home. This added to my frustration as San Mig Coffee were losing the game. I had to hold him near me to pacify him. I could not shout or cheer or react to the game.

Sad to say, San Mig Coffee lost the game. It was just so disappointing for me because I didn’t expect them to lose over a less-taleted team (in my opinion). Oh well… that’s basketball. We can really never tell, momentum shifts, players have off-nights and there are lucky breaks.

Nevertheless I still was happy I came to watch a basketball game again with Dad and Big Bro. It was indeed our bonding time and still hoping it won’t be the last.

basketball

Smart Home Technology That Will Save You Money in the Long Run

Technology is greener than you think. It is the innovative design and thoughts behind new modern design that is shaping the future to be more sustainable. The goal is to become independently reliable but we are still a long way from this being achievable. There are still a variety of smart home technologies available at reasonable prices that will help you save money in the long run. The following article lists some great money saving technologies.

Thermostats

Heating and cooling costs are normally accountable for most of the family’s energy bill. Lots of houses have inefficient systems and building designs. A programmable thermostat with an automation system allow you to set a constant temperature, you can set it remotely from your smartphone or any internet-enabled device. It’s all about setting a comfortable temperature. That’s why building from the ground up can give you a great advantage. Builders with Maddisonestate.com.au is all about building energy efficient houses with smart home technology.

motion sensors, motion sensor light
Motion Sensors

This is a great way to insure that the lights don’t get left on. This is one of the best ways to lower utility costs. You can set motion sensors to switch off your lights, televisions, sound systems, and even small appliances like candle warmers or curling irons are turned off when no one is in the room to use them. It depends on what system you settle for. Some systems allow you to control lights and appliances remotely.

Timers

You can pick up a simple power point time from your nearest grocery store. This is a great way to make sure you don’t leave your heater or fan on overnight. You should also be aware of optimal times to run your electrical appliances, this can save you a lot of money.

Solar Power

Solar power is great way to reduce your power bill. You can choose to power your whole house or just your hot water system. There are a variety of options. The use of a renewable energy to heat your home is a fantastic way to make your home sustainable. It utilises the sun to produce energy. We have plenty of sun in Australia why not take advantage of it? There is a government fund scheme that will assist with paying for the solar panels, the government’s way to not only encourage but motivate people to go green.

These are investments that will pay off in the long run. They may seem like a large amount of money but you need to consider the future savings. Let’s all work positively together to creating energy efficient homes.

Image credit: lowerelectricitybilltoday.com

Celebrating Years Together in a Concert

I am a big fan of Regine Velasquez. For those of you who don’t know her, she is a singer from my country and dubbed as the Asia’s Songbird. What I like about her is her great voice. She can reach high notes not seeing too much effort and even singing while sitting down. I always watch her in amazement.

As soon as I learned that the Valentine concert of her together with his husband and 2 other famous couple in the music industry will have a repeat, I said to my self, I will not let this pass. I must watch this ‘coz I can never tell when will I have that chance again. I told hubby about the concert and believe it or not I cried for it. This was the time when we were not still certain if we’ll be in the Philippines on the date it was originally planned. Our plane tickets were bought just a few days before the target date so I couldn’t ask my family to buy the concert tickets for me. I even feared and thought tickets would be sold out. The concert was scheduled March 16.

Luckily I was able to avail of the tickets. My sister-in-law’s husband works just across the venue of the concert and he inquired about the tickets for me. Right there and then he bought 2 tickets for me and hubby. I was sooo happy!

our tickets… the concert was entitled Foursome. 🙂

Going to the venue was so stressful for us. We got stuck in traffic since Pyrolympics was also being held that night in the same area. We thought we’ll be late for the concert. As soon as we have turned over our car to valet parking, we ran to the arena and were just glad the show hadn’t started yet.

It was an amazing night for me. To be honest nothing was really extraordinary from the show as what I expect from a Regine’s solo concert. But the fact that I enjoyed every song they sang made me realize that what I paid for was just worth it. Since it was originally a Valentine concert, love songs were sang. And not just love songs, they were songs from my generation and I knew just every song! Original Pilipino Music (OPM) classics and international. I even entered every title in my phone to have a list of their repertoire. Unfortunately it was accidentally deleted. Anyway, it was a night of reminiscing and rekindling.

Here are some of my shots taken from the concert. Our DSLR was not allowed inside the venue so I had to use my digicam which I luckily brought. Funny thing though, I forgot its memory card in my laptop so I had to go back to the entrance gate of the arena and ask from the guards if I could at least get the memory card from my DSLR. I was glad they allowed it.

ogie and regine, foursome concert
Husband and wife, Ogie and Regine sing their hit songs and their theme songs as a couple
Pops and Regine, Foursome concert
Pops and Regine singing the 80’s hits of Cyndi Lauper, Madonna and others.
Gary Valenciano, Foursome concert
Another legend in the Philippines’ music industry, Gary Valenciano made sure his presence was felt in the concert. Hearing his voice sing his greatest hits just made my night complete.
Zsa Zsa Padilla, Foursome concert
Zsa Zsa Padilla, also one of the great singers in my country, was one of the audience and was asked to join the 5 on stage. Here, they are cooking up some plans of staging a concert next year and will be dubbed as Sixsome. I hope I’ll be back then in case the plan pushes through. Seeing them 6 on stage would be a powerhouse and I can’t imagine how successfull will be the concert.
I will not forget this performance. It showcased how great Gary V. is. They were doing a mash up of a Tagalog and English versions of a song and he is doing a duet with Regine and Pops at the same time. It really left me in awe.
Martin and Pops, Foursome concert
It’s the estranged couple, Martin and Pops’ turn to sing their songs of love. I really admire this couple because despite what happened to their marriage and issues after that, they became friends and continue to work harmoniously together.
Ogie ask Zsa Zsa to sing with him. She really has a distinct voice.
Since the movie Les Miserable is just being shown, the four performed some songs from the movie/play.
Me after the concert.

Tomorrow is me and hubby’s 15 anniversary as a couple and this concert is just our perfect way of celebrating it. An event filled with songs that our hearts sing, songs that made us reminisce our happy times and a night when we truly enjoyed.

 I don’t know when can we celebrate again like this but I hope we could do this again in the near future.

Bring Life into your Kitchen!

kitchen

In these economically hard times, there may not be enough cash to replace an existing kitchen. It may not even need replacing; it may just be that the kitchen is looking worn and dull and can be revamped. Not only is this a cheaper option, it will almost certainly be more environmentally sensitive. By saving the parts of the kitchen that still have life in them, the householder is making a more sustainable choice.

Planning
A check on the condition of the walls, appliances, floor and kitchen units should tell you which have still got some years wear in them. You should also check the latest offers from www.rangecookers.co.uk, if you choose to upgrader your cooker. Do another check to see what are the things you’d really don’t want to keep. Are there any items with wear left in them, but which you don’t want anymore? Can they be revamped? If things around them are replaced, will that be enough to give you a kitchen you love? Can any of the serviceable but unloved items be sold?

Doing
For many years it has been possible to change the doors on kitchen units that are in good condition. New doors will give the units a whole new look, especially if the handles are also changed. This may be the way to change the kitchen cupboards from last century panelled oak or pine ones to plain doors in ivory or some heritage colour. The work surface may be scratched and chipped and again, this can be replaced. If money has been saved by not replacing the cupboards, there may be enough in the budget to consider a real wooden work surface, which, by growing old gracefully and if looked after, will have a long life. There are single colour and retro laminate surfaces available which will certainly have a big impact on a tired kitchen.

If the sink is in a separate unit, it may be possible to extend the work surface and have a new sink and draining board fitted and again there is a huge range of styles available.

Changing the colour of the walls may also be relatively inexpensive. If the walls are painted, then a fresh coat of paint will certainly smarten them up. Even if there are tiles part way up the walls, it should be possible to find a colour which is more fashionable without replacing the tiles, unless this is really wanted. If the tiles are chipped and worn, or very outdated, they may be removed and replaced, though it may be possible to fit a splash back over them. Of course, if the only problem is that they are old fashioned, remember that retro is very trendy now and that means almost time in the last century.

Changing pictures on the walls will also add a fresh feel. Replace the embroidered sampler some great aunt made when she was a child, with photographs of vegetables growing in the fields. Or replace the photos with a sampler. Anything will go, as long as there’s some kind of theme running through.

A floor has a significant impact on the look of a room. Old tiles can be lifted and replaced, though if the tiles themselves are in good enough condition, it might be possible to re-grout them. A wooden floor can be sanded and fresh varnish applied.

A bit of planning and hopefully not too much money and a tired kitchen can be transformed into one you’ll love. John is a freelance design blogger who specialises in interiors. He is currently working on behalf of Range Cookers.

Image credit: freshinteriorideas.com

Home Finally…

The long wait is over. I’m finally home. This vacation was supposed to be last December when we initially planned to spend our Christmas and New Year with our family. We were only supposed to go with hubby since he was supposed to have a business trip in Manila. But due to time constraints, his company postponed the trip. Could be a blessing in disguise anyway, plane fares were expensive that time due to the Holiday Season.

Anyways, I’m really glad now that we could experience again summer here. Although I must admit I’m really not a fan of the high temperature but the thought that I could enjoy the waters and swim, I’m fine with that.

I’m also excited to see my friends again after more than a year but more importantly I’m excited for my kids. This is the first time they came back after more than two years in Germany.

My dad didn’t know we’re coming home so you can just imagine the joy he felt when he hugged the kids. He really had no idea we’re coming. We kept it all from him and did a “script”. Big brother told him that mom-in-law are inviting them to a dinner in a mall and we just met them all there. My in-laws were the ones who picked us up from the airport.

After the meet-up we went straight to a restaurant where authentic Filipnio dishes are served . Yeah, I surely had a field day… err night of great food I that really missed.

Maultaschen: Little Cheaters on God

When I was attending the Orientirungskurs (Orientation course for immigrants), an overview of geography, politics, history and culture of Germany were tackled. Although it was just a brief 15-day course, it was indeed interesting knowing I’ll get a little more familiar with the country I am right now. Passing the test of this course is a requirement aside from B1 level language and the exam for citizenship if an immigrant wishes to become a citizen here and have a German passport. Anyway, I found politics a little hard for me however similar it is with our concept in the Philippines. Most probably because of the technical terms. I find them confusing actually. Geography? Confusing for me, too but still was interesting. Unfortunately, I was only able to watch a film when it came to our history session. There were many days that I wasn’t able to attend to class because the kids got sick. We watched Valkyrie which starred Tom Cruise. I just learned that it was a story of the failed assassination attempt to Adolf Hitler.  I passed the test, by the way. Got a score of 21 out of the 25 questions. But do you know that those 25 questions were from a list of 250? I could have perfected that if only I had focused on studying and memorizing those questions. Anyway, making 4 mistakes is not bad at all. 🙂

Now you might be wondering what is Maultaschen. Our teacher told us breifly of the history of this food of Swabian origin. I found it fascinating that this was started during the Lenten season when Catholics are refrained from eating meat. Since men need energy to perform heavy work, the meat was concealed under the pasta dough so they can not be seen by God, hence the nickname Herrgottsbescheißerle or Little cheaters on God.

maultaschen

Maultaschen comes in different sizes. They are originally wrapped just like ravioli but bigger and in rectangular shapes. We bought the sliced ones. Main ingredients are pasta dough, minced meat, smoked meat, spinach, bread crumbs and onions. (Wikipedia). A variety of flavors was also introduced. They can be grilled, pan-fried or simmered in soup just like we normally do.

I personally like Maultaschen. aside from being easy to cook (hehe..) I like its taste. It is my refuge when I get tired of cooking and eating meat. 🙂

Give or Sell Option in Disposing Old Mobile Phones

Techie or not, consumers can be easily drawn to purchase the latest phone models or upgrade their existing mobile phones. Aside from attractive designs and modern features, the phone applications in new gadgets are also fun and practical for everyday use. When the tablets and the smart phones were introduced in the market, I knew I just had to get an upgrade even though I’m not a trend driven buyer by nature. Devices like these enable us to enjoy the convenience of having a combination of phone and laptop tools in our pockets. After getting an upgrade, my next concern was how to dispose my old mobile phone.

Mobile phones and other electronic devices contain metallic and hazardous waste that can harm the environment if not disposed properly. They are not like toys or furniture that one can simply put in the trash. Those who would simply like to discard their phones can inquire at their local sanitation office for instructions on proper phone disposal. However, one can still find some use for old mobile phones that are still in relatively good condition.

The first one is to give it away to friends or family members who don’t have their own mobile phones yet. But in this day and age, almost everyone has mobile phones already including the kids. Since my kids are still too young to have their own phones I considered other more promising options like giving it away to charity or selling it.

There are charity organizations that recycle and reuse old mobile phones to fund their activities. You can simply contact them through their online sites to make arrangements for your phone donation. You can also sell mobile phones in one of the online sites that offer competitive rates for used ones. I find it convenient since everything is done online and they facilitate the transfers of the phone and the payments.

Another variation of the sell option is trading in the old phone for a new model. This enables the buyer to get the latest or more recent phone model at a discount in exchange for surrendering an older phone model.

There is no need to throw away your phone when you have the option to help a charity cause or make a little profit out of it. Giving away or selling your old mobile phone to reputable organizations ensures that it gets disposed properly and doesn’t harm the environment. For those who simply throw their old phones away, please consider the give or sell option for your old mobile phone on your next phone upgrade.

Image credit: tlc.howstuffworks.com