Barcelona Square

6 Key Must Knows Before Moving to Spain

When thinking about moving to Spain for its beautiful beaches, relaxed atmosphere and friendly people, there are certain things that you will want to know before taking the plunge.

This article outlines 6 key criteria you’ll need to know immediately about moving to Spain before you make the relocation.

Following these suggestions can truly save you time, money, effort and stress when closely followed.

Sit back, relax and find out about this amazing country.

The Regional Climates of Spain

Spain is a fairly large country and the climate can vary depending on the locations that you’re visiting.

Down in the south, it is known for it’s incredibly hot temperatures while in the Northern regions, you can expect a more balanced climate with fairly mild winters and warm summer months.

However, move towards the more centrally located cities and the climate is known to express itself in extremes in heat and cold because of the proximity to the ocean.

For those that are interested in winter sports, there are some areas where you can ski that include regions around Madrid, the Pyrenees and the Sierra Nevada.

Living Expenses in Spain

As you may know, making the transition to Spain has many perks which includes a much lower cost of living.

Such things as buying property is easier than in the UK, but the real estate market tend to be more expensive in popular central cities and well known, established tourist areas.

If you live, eat, and breathe like a local, then it will not take you long to notice it is significantly less expensive than living in the UK or other northern European countries.

Utility expenses can be a little high because of bottled gas if needed.

But that is a small expense compared to other savings you’ll experience living in Spain.

Spanish Flamenco Dancer

Employment and Income Tips

Many people who’ve made the journey to Spain advise that finding employment or starting a business is best done before you plan on moving to the country.

Establish a financial plan on how you will maintain your expenses, because many will tell you how they have been caught out in the past by not having a plan in place.

It is best to move there with at least 6 months worth of cash in the bank to cover of living expenses.

EU citizens don’t need any work permits but you will need a Spanish social security number.

This can be arranged through your local Oficina de Seguridad Social.

If you plan on living on a pension, just be aware of the fluctuations in value with the British pound and Euro currency.

If there were to be economic woes back home, your pound may not go as far as you’d expect!

Know the Language

It is best advised to learn Spanish and to be proficient with both speaking, writing and reading it long before you relocate.

Plenty of British expats choose not to learn the language, but when it comes to finding employment, socialising, making friends and living, it will be much easier if you knew how to speak even a little Spanish to get by.

There are many different options that you can use before you make the move to Spain that can include audio learning systems, CD’s and DVD courses, books, classes and even hiring tutors.

Nowadays, there are lots of online language courses that are fairly inexpensive and can be followed at your leisure.

Take a look online at some of the best online language courses and you’re bound to find one that suits your needs.

Being able to communicate without knowing the local dialect can be done, but it limits your opportunities and abilities to better understand and interact with the people and culture.

The Importance of Gestures

When it comes to dealing with the Spanish administration, for certain things you would need a professional.

A gesture is a person who has experience with tasks and reliable contacts.

They charge low fees when hired but they will save you much time and frustrations you may have with Spanish administration.

The best way to find a gesture is to speak with the locals to find a reputable one who can help you.

Without a gesture, you can run into plenty of frustrations and hassles because of not having the knowledge or expertise with dealing with the bureaucracy of Spain.

Ask around for suitable gestures and people will help you find a reputable one to employ.

Healthcare Services

As a EU citizen you are entitled to use the Spanish national health services which provide citizens with free or very low cost health care.

If you are registered to work in Spain and you deposit National Insurance contributions, then you are eligible for state offered health services.

However if you are a visitor of Spain you will need to apply for an EHIC card which is free to British citizens.

Private health care may be covered for a period of time with health insurance coverage.

If you are retired, note that the NHS does not reimburse non-working British citizens under pensionable age in different European areas.

Be sure to have your health care needs taken care of before you move.

You may have to pay for private health care.

If you have a S1 then any changes won’t cause any issues until your current form becomes obsolete.

Container Ship En Route

Conclusions

Like most expats wanting to move overseas, it’s very east to get carried away with the romance of the idea without dealing with the practicalities.

So be sure to do your research before you decide to pack your bags and organise having a removals to Spain specialist ship your effects overseas, only to find the whole idea was a disaster waiting to happen.

Be sure to follow these six suggestions as outlined above to have a better experience in Spain with fewer hassles and greater comfort.

The first two years are always the hardest.

So even if you’ve gotten everything organised and are ready as you’ll ever be, be prepared for the inevitable culture shock.

With time and patience, you will settle in soon enough and start to love your new life overseas.

Old Fashioned American Barn Building

How Much Does an American Barn Cost to Build?

Today we would like to outline and answer the question of how much does an American barn cost to build?

Devising a suitable budget for a timber American Barn construction is never easy, as there’s a lot of important issues to consider before pressing ahead.

The total investment of an American barn will be completely determined by the cost of the materials and labour.

When it comes to labour hiring a contractor to build a barn is typically the most expensive part of building a barn.

When you decide to hire and pay a contractor as well as a construction crew, it will make the price of labour a big percentage of the total costs associated with building your dream American barn.

If you can build the barn without a general contractor, you will be able to easily reduce the overall cost of building a barn.

There are different options available when it comes to building an American barn.

Prefabricated barns are pre-built and delivered in a ready to build format.

A few skilled friends or neighbours can easily put together a prefabricated barn in under a few days if you choose a steel option.

However, if you choose to build a wooden barn then it could take a few weeks of required construction.

Prefabricated barns offer a large amount of savings when it comes to costs and materials.

Also, there is never any material waste or wasted expenses.

So what exactly are the factors that affect the overall price of building your American barn?

Below we have created a list of questions you will need to answer before you go ahead and build a barn.

These questions you need to ask yourself include the following:

  1. How many horses will you be housing in your barn?
  2. What size of stalls do you need for your horses?
  3. Do you need to build an additional tack room?
  4. Do you also need a wash rack?
  5. How much space will you need for feed storage?
  6. Will you need a hayloft as a second level?
  7. Do you need to store vehicles like tractors?
  8. Do you need a foaling box?
  9. Will you be feeding your horses within the barn?
  10. Do you need a wide centre aisle in the middle as a pass through?

Now when you are trying to estimate how much it will cost to build an American barn you will have to take into the considerations the costs associated with using them.

We have created a list below of features that are a must-have when it comes to creating your overall estimate of how much putting together an American barn will cost:

  1. You will first need to arrange any required demolition, excavations and site preparations.
  2. You will then need to pour a concrete foundation and floor.
  3. You will need to build wood framing using solid woods.
  4. You will need to install high quality wood siding.
  5. You will need to build a roof.
  6. You will need to provide suitable plumbing and drainage.
  7. Proper electrical wiring and lighting will also be needed.
  8. Lastly, your carpentry must be up to code and you will have to hire a contractor.

The overall price of your barn project will greatly depend on the materials you use and methods of construction that you follow.

Prefabricated barns will offer you major savings on costs associated with labor and materials.

A traditionally built barn will cost around $45 a square foot.

However in contrast a prefabricated metal barn can roam in the price ranges of $7 to $25 a square foot.

Ultimately using a steel building will be the cheapest solution when it comes to building an American barn.

Your next best option is using a prefabricated do it yourself barn.

Lastly building a barn using wooden materials will require that you employ a general contractor so that your barn is built up to the codes needed and required in your area.

The overall size and complexity of your American barn will determine the price and costs associated.

However, they do add value to your home if you were deciding to resell it with American barns bringing 77% resale value of their original costs.

Providing your horses with adequate protection from the weather and elements will make them much more comfortable and happy.

Also, consider that being able to feed and maintain your horses in one single area makes it a top choice for people rather than building traditional stables.

The costs associated with building American barns will go as far as your imagination in terms of complexity and details that need to be met.

They are a sound investment and are becoming more popular across the United Kingdom.

Article Credits

The author wishes to acknowledge the following sites for use of images, text and reference material in the creation of this article:

Modern White Kitchen with Slate Flooring

How a kitchen makeover can improve the quality of your life

Changing the design of your kitchen and remodelling is a popular home renovation concept that many people choose to do.

Not only does it give your home a new lease of life, it adds value and increases the usability of this hugely important room.

In this detailed article, we discuss the various ways a kitchen makeover can improve the quality of your lifestyle.

As long as you set a budget and go for the optimal style you will know where you can go in terms of upgrading your kitchen.

And kitchen upgrades are one of the best ways you can increase the value of your home if you choose to sell it.

Consider Your Main Priorities

When it comes to remodelling your kitchen, it is something that requires careful consideration and planning ahead of time.

With the kitchen being the hub of your entire home, it needs to be designed in a triangular concept with a focus on the sink, stove and refrigerator.

When many different home owners were asked what they would upgrade in their homes, nearly all of them said that they would upgrade their kitchens.

It is a great investment when it comes to adding comfort and style to daily use and as I mentioned, will also add resale value to your property when it comes time to put it up for sale.

Most people who own their own home will agree that their kitchen is one of the most important spaces in the house.

Kitchen upgrades is a great way to increase the overall value of your home.

You can change an old living area into something exuding style and elegance with as little as new kitchen cabinets and countertops.

You will have to dream up a theme and idea of what you want your upgraded kitchen will look like.

Old Fashioned Terracotta Tiled Kitchen

Plan an Outline of Your Dream Kitchen

It is always a good idea to sketch it down on paper or you can even draw rough outlines on a computer.

Keeping your goal in sight with a visual display of what you are working towards will keep you more focused and efficient on detail and renovating your cooking area.

As you plan in detail what you want your dream kitchen to look like, also be aware of the space you have and use all of it to the best of your abilities.

You can include such things as putting up shelving units on the walls and installing rolling shelving units to utilise every inch of your kitchen space.

Update Your Appliances

Another factor for making your kitchen the best it can be is by adding new appliances.

When you choose to remove the worn out and outdated fridge, stove and dishwashing machine you will make your life a lot easier with brand new appliances.

It will make the chores of cooking and cleaning that much better and will give you a modern and clean updated look that will enhance the appearance of your kitchen.

Consider Adding an Island

When you add a kitchen island you can provide much needed extra counter space and enhance the over all feel of your kitchen.

With an island, you can make a feel safe family area for quick snacks or small meals.

It also provides you with extra space for other kitchen utilities.

If you choose to add a kitchen island to your cooking area be sure that the style, colour and size enhances your kitchen and accents the style already present in the room.

An island can do a world of wonders allowing for extra space and if you need the extra space, by all means, add this to your renovation budget.

Knowing When a Kitchen Facelift is Overdue

So how can you tell that it is time to upgrade and change your kitchen?

The first thing that should be on your list if it is time for a change is whether your kitchen appliances are falling apart.

Another factor would be your kitchen cabinets losing their colour and shine.

If this happens, it is time to replace your kitchen cabinets with something new, fresh and modern.

When you no longer feel comfortable in your own kitchen is a good sign it is time for a change just like if you choose to not host visitors in your kitchen as well.

There is a lot of different things that come into play when it comes to remodelling your kitchen.

You may need to change the fixtures, the walls, ceilings or it may just be better to change the cabinets.

There is also plumbing, electrical and heating systems that need to be changed before a kitchen can be completely overhauled and renovated.

However you must keep these things in your mind as well as counter space, available storage space, appliances that are built in, sinks and lighting when it comes to making your kitchen that much more comfortable and pleasing for cooking, cleaning, and baking tasks.

When you are searching for methods to add value and comfort to your kitchen you will need a solid blueprint.

Your kitchen is one of the most used rooms in the entire house and should be high on the list of renovations when it comes to remodelling your home.

You should keep your kitchen remodelling ideas to be aimed at upgrading the value of your home as well as making it more user-friendly and convenient for cooking tasks and duties.

Don’t Forget About Flooring

Lastly we would like to point out that changing your flooring to a better quality material is always a great idea to make your kitchen more comfortable and your home more valuable in the resale market.

Getting yourself a new floor is always a great way to improve your kitchen without spending a lot of extra money.

Upgrading your kitchen to make it more comfortable and usable should be your top priority followed by increasing the value of your home.

Since the kitchen is such a frequently used area of your home choosing to remodel it to add comfort is a great idea that we recommend you start planning today.

So speak to a specialist kitchen makeovers firm in Maidstone and you’ll soon be offered a whole world of amazing ideas that can transform your kitchen without breaking the bank.

What To Consider When Looking For Best Running Shoes For A Marathon

Running a marathon means that you will be wearing your running shoes for a long distance, hence you need shoes that fit well and offer maximum comfort and support as you run.

In this article, we’ll help you get kitted up with the right footwear for your run and ensure you make the distance!

Most times it is advisable to get new shoes when you are running a marathon rather than using the shoe that you have been training so that you get maximum performance.

However, you should try them out during the marathon training.

Some of the things to consider while buying a good running shoe for a marathon are:

Your Stride Pattern

There are three kinds of foot pronation:

1. Overpronation – where the feet roll inwards

2. Underpronation – where the feet roll outward

3. Neutral pronation – this affects how you run.

For over pronation, get stability running shoes that will help in distributing the running impact while offering maximum support and comfort.

There should be adequate cushioning in the heels and provide arch support.

For under pronation, choose neutral shoes with extra amount of cushioning that is mostly focused on midsoles and for extra shock absorption, and it should run along outside of the shoe to counter outward roll of your feet.

For neutral pronation, get neutral shoes that promote natural foot motion to give a more ground feeling contact.

Your pronation pattern will help in choosing the right kind of shoe, hence avoiding the chances of getting injuries.

Ideal Running Impact Points
Running Stride Pattern Analysis. Image credit: Team Chiropractic & Rehabilitation of Ames

How much do you weigh?

Consider getting shoes that have extra cushioning if you are a heavy runner and it will help reduce the stress on your legs and make landing more comfortable as you run.

A light runner can get light shoes with less cushioning.

The width of your foot

Measure the width of your feet because this determines the shoe size.

Your foot shouldn’t rub against the shoe and you should be able to wiggle your toes.

If you get a shoe that is narrower it will be uncomfortable from the moment you start running.

There should be approximately half an inch between the longest toe and the front of the shoe.

The terrain

Your shoe should match the terrain that you will be running on and the shoes differ.

If running on a trail that is dusty and has loose pebbles, then get a shoe that has aggressive patterns to give you an excellent traction.

Don’t turn one shoe to be a run all long distances because the support foams and cushioning material need to regain their spring for maximum performance.

How your marathon preparation has been

If you have been practicing while wearing cushioned shoes, then get cushioned shoes because this is what your feet are prepared for.

In between your training, wear the new shoes and run with them so that you get used to them before the actual day.

Get a well constructed shoe with high quality material

Because you will be running a long distance buy shoes that will withstand long wear and will handle the pressure.

One of the world’s best selling running shoes for men is the Asics Gel Cumulus 18, due to its excellent all round comfort, durability and cushioning properties.

Any shoe you choose should be light enough to ensure that your feet are light while running.

The upper material should be meshed to allow free air flow so that your feet don’t get sweaty and uncomfortable which may cause blisters.

Asics Gel-Cumulus 18 Men’s Running Shoe
Asics Gel-Cumulus 18 Men’s Running Shoe. Image credit: Asics

Check on the outsole and midsole

The outsole should be well constructed with durable, stiff and flexible rubber and should have grooves that are cut horizontally to allow one to flex at the foot easily.

The midsole should be a layer of soft shock absorbing material so as to offer greater stability and cushioning in the shoe.

A thin and firm middle will be hard on your feet, but it is efficient enough, while running while a soft midsole will give the legs more support and legs will feel better at the cost of your running pace.

So choosing a type of midsole will be determined if whether you are running for speed or for comfort.

Most marathon runners consider their overall look of their running gear and they chose the best.

However, when selecting marathon shoes, don’t buy shoes based on looks, endorsements or popularity because it may not work for you.

There are several shoes with different styles and colors and each is designed to meet every runner’s running style.

Therefore the main goal should be having the right kind of shoes for long distance running and comfort rather than fashion.

Talk to a Running Store

Buy your shoes at a running specialty store as they are able to advise you on the best running shoes for long distances because there are different types of shoes.

Replace your running shoes often enough so that you get adequate leg support the legs and feet while logging miles.

It is recommended to change shoes every three months or after 300 miles.

Wooden Hallway Storage Bench

How to build a mudroom bench with MDF or plywood

A mudroom bench is not only visually appealing in an entrance hall, but also very practical.

It’s a superb way to keep your shoes neat and tidy, and with this simple storage project, you can make one yourself!

When it is a rainy day, you need to make sure that whoever comes home takes off his shoes or boots, coat or jacket, and finds where to place the wet umbrella.

Unless there is a mudroom bench next to the front door you would end up with footsteps all over the floor, or the difficult proposition of trying to take off all the wet things while standing up.

If you would like to have a mudroom bench at home, you might consider ordering one.

However you would need to pay quite a high price for a custom made mudroom bench.

Ready-made mudroom benches are not that easy to find, and even if you do it is difficult to find one that will complement the rest of the furniture in your room, or is the size you want it to be to fit in the space available.

Moreover you cannot expect to find it at such an affordable price.

So, why not try to build a mudroom bench yourself with 18mm cut to size MDF sheets or plywood?

It is not that difficult, and with some basic tools you can manage to do it really cheaply.

Basic MDF Mudroom Bench Shell
Basic MDF Mudroom Bench Shell. Image credit: All Home Decor Review

Let’s Get Started

Start off by measuring the area where it will be placed.

Then, based on the space available you can determine the best size and design it.

Mark the measurements of the various parts as this will come in handy when you cut the boards and when you start assembling it.

It is best to start off with the seat box, which will be the base of the mudroom bench.

The bench seat will start with a plywood box with an open-bottom.

Use a circular saw to cut two strips from a plywood sheet as these will be the panels.

Then cut out the baseboard.

Assemble the box, using the side panels between the other two panels at the front and back.

It is best to use glue as well as screws to assemble.

Once assembled, place it in front of the baseboard, and mark where the sides of the box will meet the moulding.

Afterwards slide it into place against the wall, after having marked the position where the sides will fit into the notches ad screw it.

Next comes the hinge support.

Use a mitre saw to cut a panel that is the inside width of the box.

Screw it along the back of the box into the studs using deck screws.

Later this part will be hidden by a plywood strip and moulding.

Screw L-brackets in the box and to the floor.

It is best to have three brackets inside the front edge, and another two on either side.

These are important as they will hold the box in place.

Next attach the panel molding to the seat by cutting stiles.

Where a horizontal and a vertical stile overlap each other at a corner, place more attention.

Glue and nail them using 3″ nails.

Make sure to align the edges with the edges of the box, and it may be best to use a narrower stile at the front.

If you cut panel molding to fit, miter the ends and nail tightly with 2″ nails.

Then frame the other side of the box similarly.

Always ensure that the corners are flush with the side panels and then fit the panel molding in the frame you created.

Then you can cap and trim the box, and the seat lid.

To prevent splitting the wood with the finish nails it may be helpful to dull the points of the nails before tapping them in.

This can be done easily with a strike of the hammer.

Afterwards you can attach the lid with cabinet hinges.

European cabinet hinges are ideal as they will allow the lid to open up completely but at the same time conceal the assembly once it is closed.

It is best to allow a 1 inch overlay on the front and on the sides.

Finishing the Build

Now you can mount the bedboard panel to the back.

About 4 feet up from the seat is a good measurement.

Have someone help you by holding the panels in place, while also ensuring that the rabbets at the edges overlap.

Also make sure that the seam will fall on a stud as you will need to have something to screw the edges to.

Secure the panels to the wall by using adhesive caulk and screws.

If you are going to install a shelf at the top, install the fascia for it, and mount the shelf brackets to it.

Secure the shelf by screwing it, and you’re done.

You may wish to paint your mudroom bench once it is assembled.

It is best to apply two coats of paint for a neater result.

Modern Kitchen with Island.jpg

How a Newly Fitted Kitchen Can Transform Your Home

Have you ever wondered what is the single most important room in your home?

While most people say this is the bathroom or living room, it is in fact your kitchen!

After all, it is the place where all the supplies are kept and where your food is created.

It can also be the place where you have breakfast and dine with your family.

Therefore, transforming your kitchen with proper kitchen fittings is one of the worthwhile investments you’ll ever make.

Looking For Premium Kitchen Fittings?

When choosing your kitchen accessories and fittings, you should keep some important factors in mind.

While proper fittings make your kitchen appear modern and contemporary, they are need to be very efficient and highly durable.

Here are 3 crucial aspects of kitchens and fittings you can take advantage of:

1. Kitchen Taps

Yes, a kitchen tap may seem like an insignificant accessory, but think again!

It plays an important role in the final finish of your kitchen sink area, and gets regular use for cooking and cleaning.

For example, a non-functional or defective tap is something you cannot cook or work with.

That is why all the interior design contractors recommend only using the top rated kitchen taps that are durable, multi-functional and cost effective.

2. Kitchen Cabinets

Obviously, kitchen cabinets play the most important role in your kitchen.

They are there to build up all of the storage space of your kitchen and store as many things as you need.

Therefore, they must be spacious enough – yet compact enough for ease of use.

You should be able to clean all the cabinets and cupboards easily.

Wooden cabinets are by far one of the best kitchen fitting options, with the wood being of utmost quality and well varnished, as prevention from a wear and tear over time.

3. Cooking Stations

A cooking station is the most integral part of the kitchen. No matter how much time you are spending in cooking, you need to get done at a time – and top-notch cooking stations can help you in this manner.

Choosing double or tetra top stations and electrically heated induction tops will ensure you of a lot more efficient and safer cooking process.

Every kitchen needs these essentials – and apart from them, can be accessorized to your tastes and needs.

That way, you will be able to….

Transform Your Kitchen With Premium Fittings

Whether you want to replace only the cupboard doors in your kitchen or the entire fittings, giving a facelift to your kitchen is something that will improve your home dramatically.

Aside from increasing its value, it will also increase your home’s price tag and add a considerable amount of value to your home – especially if you look for the best products and use the best out of the space you have.

Getting a mixture of colours can be a dramatic experience for you if you don’t consult with an interior designer.

There is a lot more than just styles and colours when it comes to your kitchen.

For instance, every great kitchen needs the best space-saving essentials, the proper lighting and a blend of modern and sleek design.

When working with property refurbishment contractors in London, you will know how to get the most of these features in your new (or renovated) kitchen.

Another thing you should be aware of are your sockets, switches and outlets.

Many people are ‘hypnotized’ by the design of their kitchen and therefore overlook these important finishing details.

Make sure that your kitchen has plenty of room for enough sockets and power outlets so that you make the most of your cooking and enjoy an organized space.

Last but not least – is to make sure you choose the right contractor to fit your kitchen.

To do this, it is always handy to ask about their previous work they have done or see for references you can check.

After all, you certainly don’t want to go through all of the trouble of designing the perfect kitchen and fitting it badly.