July 1, 2012 § Leave a comment
This blog post will certainly interest Blogger who appreciates the benefits of Guest Blogging.
I’ve had a few concerned Bloggers ask me if everything was OK, considering that I haven’t posted on our Blog for a while. That’s what I love about Blogger’s, they are such a nice bunch of people! Well thanks for your concern and I’m very much alive and well 🙂
June, was an extremely busy month, mainly because of the massive change-over of sites. Here’s what happened.
1. I decided to dump the ASP.NET website and move it over to a WordPress CMS. Our new site has been live since 2nd June 2012 and if you haven’t seen it then check it out – it’s really grown – http://hometipster.com
2. I wanted to do more with Hometipster.com and while we had an extensive Library of How To Guides for Home Improvement and Gardening, I wanted to extend the offerings which would allow me to write about many other things for the home and garden. So I basically turned Hometipster.com into a fully fledged ‘Home and Garden Magazine‘. We now have loads more going on in the new categories Home Ideas and Garden Ideas. Just to give you a flavor, we have articles on Architecture, Interior and Exterior Design, Landscaping, Art, Kitchens, Bathrooms and this list goes on.
Why did I do all this? Well it came down to the fact that I was getting more and more requests from Bloggers to do ‘Guest Posts’ and the move over to WordPress and opening up more areas of interest allowed me to satisfy these requests.
Quick Note on Guest Blogging – For starters you can include rich keyword text links back to your own blog or website. I also extensively share all articles posted though the social networks to provide you with even more readers. You can create an Author’s Bio so that people can follow your posts. You can also feature in the ‘Top Contributors’ section.
All of this is designed to help YOU get a better deal from Guest Blogging. Rules? Yep, we have a few – see Guest Blogging
Hold On Folks… I nearly forgot to mention that we are running a competition to Win an iPad 2. The competition is open to anyone posting articles on Hometipster.com. I thought this would be a nice way to reward our Guest Bloggers – enter now and have fun – Good Luck!
So, as you can see an awful lot has gone on this month over at Hometipster.com. Since the move to WordPress, and the increased content areas, I’ve experienced an increase in readers of over 300% on a day to day basis. I’m also seeing a lot more people registering for the ‘Daily Update’ emails, which consist of any articles that have been posted that day… another great reason to Guest Blog as I actively promote your posts to my readers.
So there, you have it… a complete update in a few words what I’ve been up to. If you have any questions about Guest Blogging please leave these in the comment box below.
Happy Blogging folks!
June 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
You simply cannot believe everything you see and in the case of this architecture of the Château de Maisons-Laffitte everything is not what it appears to be.
While this Château is, without question, a stunning piece of architecture it is not the original as designed by François Mansart in 1651.
Here’s the full story… A French Château in Disguise
June 12, 2012 § Leave a comment
We’ve just publish an article on Singapore’s new Botanical Gardens. If you are one of those people who really loves your plants and you’re never been to Singapore then this might just give you the perfect excuse to buy that air ticket and explore.
I guarantee you won’t be disappointed in Singapore – it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and just walking around the city will delight any garden enthusiast as it is planted everywhere.
I hope you enjoy the article. Singapore Botanical Gardens
June 11, 2012 § 2 Comments
We’re really excited here at Hometipster.com because we’ve just added three new sections to our website.
- Home Ideas – this is designed to cover a multitude of articles to help inspire homeowners, from articles on Kitchens, Bedrooms, Living Spaces, Basements… even Art and Architecture.
- Garden Ideas – in the same concept as Home Ideas but focusing on Landscaping, Outdoor Entertainment, Patios, Decking and more.
- Home and Garden News – Designed to provide information on what’s going on with the Home and Garden market and includes everything that affects the homeowner and gardener. It’s a way for people to voice their opinions and determine what events are taking place.
These new areas really do broaden the content we can deliver to our ever growing number of readers and is designed to assist our Article Contributors to post a wider range of content that will help them promote their own websites or blogs.
Is it worth contributing content to Hometipster.com?
Just the other day I received an email from Jessi. Jessi had just signed up as a contributor but was a little concerned if her efforts would produce any tangible results, in term of traffic to her own blog. That’s a fair concern and I let Jessi know that:
- Submitting an article is completely free
- You can include up to 3 Keyword Rich Text Links within the body of the article
- You can include a URL Link direct to your website or blog within your ‘Author’s Bio’ which appears at the bottom of each article you produce
I’m delighted to say that Jessi went ahead and produced her first article. We then set about promoting that article through all our Social Networks. Jessi herself also promoted her article in the same way. Within just 1 day…
- Over 60 people read the article
- 9 people Pinned her article in Pinterest
- Jessi had over 22 visitors
And that was just in the first day!
Our readership is growing on a daily basis and as more people find us, more people are sharing the great content we, and our contributors, write through their social networks, so why not become part of something special and inspire people through your knowledge and expertise. Article writing is and will remain one of the best free methods for promoting your own website or blog.
Registering to become a contributing author is free. Submitting articles is free. Adding Keyword Rich Text Links is free. Adding a URL Link in your Author’s Bio is free. In other words it’s the best piece of free marketing you will ever get for your website or blog.
If you want to know more the please contact me.
Graham Briar, Co-Founder, Hometipster.com
June 7, 2012 § Leave a comment
After a lot of feedback we decided to change Hometipster.com. The decision was based mostly on people who wanted to contribute to the content and benefit from the articles they write. We looked at a number of CMS and in the end there was only one clear winner and was WordPress.
I am delighted to announce to all our readers and content contributors that the new site is now fully operational and when you register and log in you’ll be completely familiar with the WordPress system. For those of you who are new to using WordPress, don’t worry – it’s one of the easiest CMS there is out there.
As always, we welcome anyone to register and write content. Full details are available on the site: Hometipster.com
We hope you enjoy using and benefiting from the new site.
March 16, 2012 § Leave a comment
There are tens of thousands of people, each year, that embark on building their own home. Building your home does have a few of major draws. For a start you get to create a home that is suitable for your living needs, regarding space and layout. Space is always a big thing and this is always restricted to the building plot and of course the budget.
Secondly, building your own home can be a lot cheaper than buying one that meets your living needs. Finally, and for some, one of the biggest draws is it’s overall value when completed. Many people find that the equity in the property is above 25% of the overall cost and therefore, building you own home can be extremely attractive as a financial investment.
Building a home generally provides a number of constraints and issues. There are planning applications, architects and builders that you need to negotiate with so that you do get exactly (or as close as you an get) to what you actually want built.
When it comes to building the perfect home it all comes down to clever planning and design. Unless you are a qualified architect then you will need to employ one, but before you do think very carefully about what you want and why you want it.
The last time I built a home, I left it entirely up to the architect with some bare outlines of what I wanted. After three presentations, of plans from the architects, and three rejections, I told him that I needed to rethink the whole project. Don’t get me wrong, the plans the architect came up with were certainly nice, but nothing like I really wanted. I realized that giving a bare brief was simply not going to produce a set of plans that were to my requirements and liking.
Now, I’m not an architect, nor am I a professional designer and you don’t need to be. What you do need is pen and paper, or better some computer software, and work out how many bedrooms you want, and why. How much living space you want, and why. Do you want it open plan? Do you want a large kitchen or would a small one suffice. Ask yourself all these important question and more. For instance do you have young children? If so, would it be practical to have a playroom. Would it be a good idea to have a single storey home so that the little ones don’t have to climb stairs?
What you need to do is be imaginative and practical. Start by letting your imagination run wild – what about that Snooker / Pool Room you’ve always wanted, or maybe your own private library. There is nothing wrong with dreaming and as you work through your ideas you’ll begin to establish just how much space you’ll need.
Having space is a luxury, because the more space you require will turn into cost. Buildings are constructed on a square foot or square meter basis, so the more your require the more it is going to cost you.
It took me over 2 months to come up with some drawings. I used Microsoft Viso to layout the floor plan and it wasn’t exactly to scale, but what it did do was provide my architect with a clearer picture of what I was looking for.
Here’s an image of the ground floor. You can see that I went a little wild with the introduction of the Bar and Snooker Room, but that’s ok because this is only the first stage of the design process. No… the home didn’t have a Bar / Snooker Room, I just couldn’t justify or afford the additional cost. (You can click on the image for the full size).
You’ll notice that the swimming pool looks pretty big, in fact my design was for a pool that was 15m x 6.5m and that didn’t happen either, instead I came down to 10m x 5m when it was built, due to the costs.
I really wanted parts of it open plan and I really didn’t want the TV in the living room, so I created a Home Cinema Room. While this was kept, it was a lot smaller, but still worked.
You’ll notice that there’s also a single bedroom on the ground floor and that was designed as the Maids Quarters. Ah, so you’re now thinking I must be one rich dude if I can afford a Maid – the fact is I’m not rich at all, however I do live in South East Asia and staffing costs here are a fraction of what you would pay in the Western hemisphere. The average monthly wage of a Maid is approximately US$200-300, so having a maid is fairly inexpensive. However, the final plan did not include maids quarters – I just could not afford it.
As for the second floor, I wanted 4 bedrooms. This was practical for when friends and family came to stay on holiday. I wanted the rooms big enough so that guests, and myself, had room to relax. Living in South East Asia, and with family in Europe and the USA did mean that if they came, it wouldn’t be for just a day or two, but for weeks at a time and I needed enough room so that we were all bumping into each other all the time.
If you are seriously considering building your own home then do the initial drawings yourself. Using something like Microsoft Viso is easy, you don’t have to be an architect to use it, it’s simply drag and drop. This will give you a good idea of what you want and will certainly give your architect a clearer picture of what your requirements are. Do take into consideration the size of your building plot and of course your budget. Creating a dream home should be exactly that… your dream home, something you are comfortable in and provides the number of rooms and space you require for a comfortable home life.
I’m already working on my next set of plans and once I can afford it I’ll go looking for some land. I already know where I want to live – another beautiful island in South East Asia (I just love tropical living – can’t beat a nice day fishing or diving). I think it will be similar to the home above, although I’m not completely sure yet, but that is the exciting thing – being able to design something and watch your creation grow into reality.
I’ve been thinking and working on a few upgrades on Hometipster.com – something that will allow people to showcase their Self Builds, DIY Projects or Gardening Projects. If you have any thoughts or ideas then I’ll gladly read them.
March 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
Marzzi Design has designed and built a kitchen. Nothing usual in that you might think, there are lots of places that design kitchens.
However, if you decide you would like this particular kitchen then you’ll certainly notice the difference when you get the bill, a whopping £300,000. That’s right £300,000 for a kitchen. Is this the most expensive kitchen in the world? If not, it sure must come very close to it.
The London based Kitchen Design company, Marazzi Design, unveiled it’s Colosseo Oro Kitchen at Earls Court and it certainly did cause a stir.
Visually the kitchen is stunning with its 24 carat gold leaf, which is highlighted by the deep red base unit colours. But that still doesn’t detract from the fact that it costs £300,000. Considering you can buy and install a very nice kitchen for under £5,000 you have to ask where does the price tag come from. What makes this kitchen so expensive? And what person, in their right mind would buy such a kitchen? Stop and think for just a moment. You could buy an entire house for that, including all the furnishings.
Like most things in life, what’s generally very expensive does come with some exclusivity and Marazzi Design did point out that it will only produce 10 in the world and each kitchen is fitted with the ultimate fittings, such as 24 carat gold leafing and crocodile embossed leather. It also comes with Sub-Zero & Wolf appliances. As for the lighting, well they are Swarovski Crystal Lights, and would you really expect anything less for this price tag?
Just the appliances alone will set you bag a heart-stopping £55,000 and the mirrored steeled oven hood by itself is £8,000. For the taps, well that’s also pretty special as these are Zaha Hadid Designed and cost… wait for it… £6,000!
So who will buy a kitchen like this? Who are the lucky 10? Well you can bet your house that it’s going to be someone who won’t be worrying about the cost. Anyone who can afford £300,000 is certainly not going to worry about a mere £6,000 for the taps.
The question is… Would you buy a kitchen that costs this much money, if you had the money and why? Leave your comments below.
March 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
I’ve often heard people talking about creating the ‘Ultimate Lifestyle’ but what exactly is it and how do we obtain it. I’ve got a really good friend of mine and quiet frankly he’s not exactly well off, but he lives life to the full on his small retirement pension. He’s doesn’t have a large luxury home, nor a large yacht or even a nice car, in fact his car is 35 years old – sure it’s forever breaking down, but he loves it. Does he have the Ultimate Lifestyle? In his eyes he does, because he has no real worries and does pretty much what he wants each day and he simply finds things to do that do not involve spending large sums of money.
The ultimate lifestyle, for some might be a luxury home. I for one wouldn’t want anything massive. My ideal home is one that I want to build myself, so that I get exactly what I need, in terms of living space and how the building looks. I also definitely want a large swimming pool with a built in Jacuzzi.
Are my lifestyle choices extravagant or modest? To some, it would be over the top in what you need for a comfortable lifestyle, while I’m sure there are others out there that will think my ultimate lifestyle choice in a home is rather modest.
So what about the cars? Most of us like a nice car and most of us have a specific dream car in mind. If money was no object, would you choose a Rolls Royce, a Ferrari, or even both? You might be one of those folks who is really into cars and so might, if money was no object at all, have a dozen or more. Is this excessive? Is this the ultimate lifestyle? Again, it’s going to come down to two things, how much money you have and what your personal preferences are.
Recently a very young couple won over £45 million on the Euro Lottery. They bought a couple of really nice cars, a Jaguar for him and a Range Rover for her. Excessive? Personally I think that was fairly modest. But what about the house? Again, and surprising to most, is that they paid just £250,000 for a home. A very nice home by all standards but nothing like what you might expect multi-millionaires to do. Maybe they are just to green to their new wealth and will upgrade to something more elaborate in the future, who knows. Maybe they now have their ultimate lifestyle. Whatever they do, you can only wish them the best and hope that it provides them with their ultimate lifestyle.
If money was simply no object would you buy a luxury yacht? Just recently in the news a billionaire couple took ownership of a Super Yacht that cost a staggering £100m to build. Just to fill up the gas tanks is an eye watering £250,000 and you can bet your bottom dollar it drinks fuel like a herd of thirsty elephants.
Could you imagine yourself cruising around the Med or Caribbean in your own super yacht or is this simply too ostentatious for your taste?
The thing is, when it comes down to the Ultimate Lifestyle is really is all about personal preference. I’ve often heard people saying that millionaire spending vast sums of money on these types of luxuries is obscene and yet these people fail to look at their own lifestyles within their own budgets. Consider, as an example, that you live in a nice detached house, with a reasonably nice family car and that your annual salary is £50,000. While you might not consider this to be luxury living, by a millionaires standard, it certainly far exceeds those living in parts of the world where the average daily wage is less than £3 and your home consists of a tin shack.
Would I buy any of these, or indeed all of these, luxury items if money was no object. Probably, because as your wealth increases so does your lifestyle (in most cases). Lifestyle, I guess is all about affordability, and the Ultimate Lifestyle doesn’t really exist as there will always be other things that you could own that would make your life more comfortable, more fun and provide a better lifestyle.
If these things don’t interest you, and for many it doesn’t, then certainly there is no denying that other things do interest you. If they didn’t you wouldn’t be worried about earning a higher salary or even working much more that simply to put food on the table.
Therefore I have to conclude that the Ultimate Lifestyle only exists in the mind of the individual and as individuals we all have different needs and desires.
Here’s something for you to consider and maybe leave a comment for… If you won the lottery what would be the first thing you would buy – I’m not talking about helping out friends or family, that’s something most of us would do. What I want to know is what would you buy for yourself to enhance your lifestyle. Try and be imaginative!