65 articles Articles posted in Home

Gardening and DIY with Kids This Spring

When it gets to this time of year, where the weather is a bit more clement, my mind is always full of all of the DIY and garden stuff that I’d like to do and now that the kids are older and a little more able to get involved (don’t worry, I won’t let Burrito Baby hold any power tools!) I’ve been thinking about things we can do together. Luckily, my friends from the blogging world are the BEST source of inspiration, so I thought I’d share some brilliant posts with you of my favourite projects that they’ve done.

How to Make a Tardis Wardrobe

I’ve you’ve got a gaggle of mini Whovians living in your house then this guide to making a tardis wardrobe is perfect for you. Husband and I really encourage the girls to have their interests and try to indulge them as far as possible so I absolutely love the fact that Penny at Parentshaped has nurtured her daughter’s love for all things Doctor Who with her bedroom furniture.

CD Fish Bird Scarers

CD fish bird scarers

I absolutely LOVE this idea for DIY bird-scarers that Liz over at Me and My Shadow made with her daughter to protect their home garden patch. As well as upcycling and making use of old CDs, thus keeping them out of landfill, they look really pretty too. Such a great project to do with kid as you can be as creative as you like with how you decorate them.

DIY Matchbox Drawer Chest

Red Ted Art DIY matchbox drawers

Something that we ALWAYS need more of in our house is storage, so I love the idea of making ourselves some storage solutions out of other things. These cute little drawers from Red Ted Art are the perfect place to keep art supplies and school stuff, and I’ll definitely be making some of these with the girls.

Top Tips for Gardening With Children

At the risk of going a bit meta, Carolin at Mummy Alarm has put together another rundown post, sharing a whole load of other posts about gardening with kids. It’s a real wealth of information which will be useful in the months to come and I’m going to go through and read all of it with interest.

Bedroom in a Box

Dulux Bedroom in a BoxMaking design decisions can be really tricky, especially when you’re trying to stick to a theme, which is why Dulux decided to make the “Bedroom in a Box”, which Sian at Helpful Mum reviewed. She chose a jungle theme for her kids and takes us through exactly how she dealt with the makeover, as well as giving her opinion on the results.

Five Easy Foods to Grow with Kids

If you’re planning on growing veg this spring and summer with your kids, Emma at The Syders has got some excellent suggestions of what you can grow. When I was a kid, I loved nothing more than helping my grandad to pick the peas and runner beans he’d grown in the garden and I think it’s really important for kids to see where food comes from…plus, NOTHING tastes better than strawberries grown in your own garden!

Planting and Sowing

Emmy’s Mummy has got another great gardening post about how to get the kids involved with the planting and sowing stage of gardening, perfect for this time of year. They’re growing a whole variety of different fruit and veg which will be a fabulous crop once they’re all grown and ready for harvest.

Easy DIY Crepe Paper Tulips Craft Tutorial

Tulips are one of my favourite flowers (have you ever seen the black ones?!) and this tulip craft is absolutely perfect for this time of year when the flowers are starting to bloom. As Katie says, they’d be the perfect centrepiece for an Easter dinner, but I also think they’d be ideal for Mother’s Day too, especially if your Mum has allergies and can’t have real flowers.

How to Make a Good #FirstImpression with Your Home or Office

home first impressionsI don’t know about you, but I think that someone’s home can be a really good insight into who they are as a person, and I also find that someone’s office can do the same. Before I had Sausage, I worked for an accountancy firm, a small practice with one accountant and a few assistants. The whole place was stacked from floor to ceiling with files and boxes and I’m certain that it put off more than one prospective client when they walked in, saw the complete lack of office reception furniture, and imagined their well-organised accounts being buried at the bottom of those piles!

At home, I’m probably the furthest thing from a domestic goddess as you can possibly be, but there are a few things that I try to do to make sure that the place looks at least presentable – here’s a few of them:

Clean Doors and Doorsteps

A few years ago, we lived in a house on a main road which meant that our front garden was constantly filled with litter. A distant family member made a comment about how scruffy it looked, and while the comment rankled, I realised they were right. Although we no longer live in that house, I do try to make sure that our doorstep is swept and our front door is clean, as it improves the whole look of the outside of a house, giving a much better impression from the kerb.

Tidy Front Garden

Husband and I are quite proud of our little front garden and we’ve tried to maintain it since we moved in, planting seasonal flowers and replacing the dead tree in the middle with a lovely lavender bush. It makes out house look lovely from the outside when the garden is tidy and well-managed and we get a LOT of walkers going past, admiring it as they go!

A Good Smell

The combination of having a dog and a kitchen door which is right by the only entrance to our house means that I’m always aware of smells in our home. Keeping a doggy smell at bay can be difficult, even if you vacuum every day, so I use carpet sprays and a plug-in air freshener in our hall so that the first thing you smell when you walk into the house is something NICE!

Clean Woodwork

Something that a LOT of people miss when cleaning a house is the woodowrk, but when you’ve got kids and a dog, you notice just how many dirty hand/paw/scuff marks there are on skirting boards, door frames, doors and dado rails. Giving them a regular wipe over with a cleaning wipe a couple of times a week keeps the paintwork looking fresh and gives the whole house a much better appearance to new visitors.

Cushions

We’ve got quite a few different cushions in our living room, which end up on the floor, being used as toys, pillows for little heads when they fall asleep, back-rests for adults and being well-used in general. This means that they can end up a little musty, so giving the covers a regular wash, replacing the inner cushion and keeping them fresh with a fabric spray is essential. I’d hate for a new visitor to sit on our sofa and think that our cushions smelled bad!

What things do you do to ensure that your home gives  good #FirstImpression? I’d love to hear about it, so do leave me a comment below, and do watch the video below to see just how quickly an impression can be formed:

Get the Home Renovations That You’ve Always Wanted

If you’ve been living in your current home for a considerable amount of time, then you’ve probably thought about renovating it a couple of times in the past. However, the costs of renovating are quite high and it’s probably the only barrier that is preventing you from going through with it. So you continue living life, saving money and hoping to eventually remodel parts of your house that need a serious makeover. Unfortunately, you might never muster up the courage to pick up the phone and speak with your contractor.

To help you make that decision, here are a couple of pointers and reasons why you should go through with your home improvement ideas.

Source: Pixabay

Financing issues

Money is always going to be an issue with home renovations. No one likes to spend large chunks of money at once (unless you’re incredibly rich) so it does help to remedy that by looking at financing options. If you can afford home renovations but prefer to hold onto your money in the event of an upcoming emergency, then you might want to consider a bridging finance solution. These short-term loans can be what you need to pay for an expensive home renovation while keeping enough money in your pocket to pay for any emergencies that might crop up. Alternatively, you’ll just have to follow through with the high costs and pay it all in a single lump sum!

Make your house a home again

Many people grow to hate their homes because they made compromises in the past. For example, you might’ve accepted the fact that you have a small garden because it was the only home available in the area where you wanted your kids to study. Or perhaps you said you’d fix some issues in the future by doing some DIY renovations, such, as adding more storage space, that you never got around to. Whatever it is, it’s time you take control of those wants and actually put your plan into action. Make your house a home again by renovating it and improving on all the aspects that you despise. After all, unless you plan to move home in the future, you’re going to be seeing the same few walls and pieces of furniture for a long time, so you might as well make it look nice!

Source: Pixabay

Preparing for the future

If you’ve yet to start a family, then a home renovation could be what you need to give yourself the motivation to have children. Most couples move into a bigger home with more rooms in preparation for children but rarely do they ever consider the renovations needed to make a house child proof. For instance, you’ll need to remove crawl-height dangers, shield power outlets and even prepare a nursery for your little ones. Whether you plan to have children soon or you’re already expecting, it’s a good idea to complete your home renovations before your children are born so that they aren’t exposed to sawdust, noise pollution and other adverse effects during the build.

Renovating an Older House

When you live in, or have recently bought, an old house it’s really tempting to completely modernise it so that none of the original features remain. This is usually the cheapest approach to renovating and gives you a clean, up-to-date feel, but removing original features and taking away the character of a property can actually decrease it’s value in the long run, so it may well be worth staying true to the original style of the house and renovating it using architectural antiques rather than modern fittings. Here’s a list of areas that you should consider “backdating”.

Fireplaces

Getting rid of fireplaces and blocking chimneys off was a bit of a trend a decade or so ago, but these days a fireplace is probably the number one original feature that house buyers hope to see in a period property. If you live in a property where the fireplace has been blocked off, you might be REALLY lucky to find that the original antique marble fire surrounds and tiling have been left intact, but if not, replacing it with a reclaimed on is a really good idea.

Chimney Pots

If you have a fireplace, you’ll need a chimney and there’s actually a surprising amount of detail that goes in to chimney pots. They may sit at the highest point of your house, but getting the pots right is an important feature for character-loving house buyers, so finding one which fits your house, style-wise, is a must.

Plasterwork

The plasterwork which goes around the top of the room is also an important feature which is usually in keeping with the period in which the home was built, from the highly decorative designs of the late 1800’s to the bolder, more blocky plasterwork of Deco properies. Many modern properties don’t have features like this at all, so finding it in a period property is a bit of a gem. If you already have existing plasterwork, it’s possible to have it renovated or even replaced in parts with replicas.

Light Fittings

Because of updated electrics in housing, even period properties tend to have the (rather ugly) white plastic light fittings and this can really detract from the overall look of a room if everything else is in keeping with the era. Opt for brass lighting plates and vintage switches for a look more fitting.

Flooring

Using reclaimed flooring can be a MUCH cheaper way of giving your room the finishing touch. Brand new parquet flooring can be thousands of pounds, whereas using reclaimed parquet will reduce your materials costs by a LOT. If you like a soft covering for your floors, opt for rugs instead of carpet as this will allow you (or your buyers) to change the scheme of the room more easily and make it more appealing to them as a purchase option.

Climate Control: Protecting Your Stuff No Matter Where You Store It

Many people use a shed or other small outbuilding to store their extra belongings or supplies on their own property. This is a great way to save money and have a convenient way to get to the items you need whenever you want.

But if you store items that are sensitive to temperature change and moisture, you need to make sure that the shed is climate controlled. Furniture like wooden tables and couches, or decorations like painting, can very very susceptible to changes in the climate, so you need to take precaution. Here are a few things you can do to make sure your shed is secure and your stored valuables are protected from heat, cold and moisture.

Insulation

If you want to have any hope of controlling the climate in your shed without breaking the bank, you must insulate the walls, doorways, and windows of your shed.

Typically, sheds only have one outside wall that is built around the frame of the shed. If you want to protect your valuables, you’ll need to add insulation and then an inner wall so that the inside is separated from the outside, just like your house is. This will allow you to control the temperature inside, no matter what the weather is like.

Also, make sure to use weather stripping around the windows, doors or any other type of openings. A lot of heat can escape through small cracks.

Heating and Air Conditioning

Next, you’ll need to install a heating unit and an air conditioning unit. The good news is that neither one needs to be that large or that expensive.

If there is a window already build into the shed, you can buy a small window-unit to cool the air in the summer. If not, you plan on creating a space for it to go when you are adding the inner wall. As for heating, having just a small heat lamp, like one you can find on this website, is plenty for a small shed.

Once they are installed, the smart thing to do is to hook both of the units up to a cheap thermostat. This will save you money and energy, as the heater and air conditioning will only turn on when the temperature rises or drops below the temperature you set it at.

Moisture Control

To control the amount of moisture in the shed, a small dehumidifier will work perfectly.

The best part about using a shed as a storage space is that they are usually pretty small, so purchasing an average dehumidifier should be enough to keep the moisture at a good percentage; the insulation will help keep moisture out as well. You will have to change the pan in the unit every so often, especially during the wet summer months, but it’s very easy to do so.

Rather than paying someone else to store your stuff every month, why not try using your own shed as storage space?

Ethan Cameron is a man who can turn his hand to most DIY projects; the bigger the better within reason! Most recently he has finished creating a dedicated craft studio for his wife, and a garden room for his Mother-In-Law.

How To Move House With Ease

Moving house is considered to be one of the most stressful things we can do, aside from coping with bereavement or divorce. Your home is a part of your identity and a base from which your kids grow up and family memories are made – so it makes sense that setting up somewhere new isn’t necessarily going to be easy. However, it is possible to move house with a minimum of fuss – here we tell you how to set things up so that you can focus on being excited about your new abode…

  1.      Visit your new home several times

You might have been sold on the first viewing, but a second or third visit is really important for helping you to plan your move. Return to the property with a view to finding out what works and what doesn’t. Find out if the current occupants are planning to leave any of their furniture or appliances, as this can save you a lot of money when it comes to setting up your new home. Check what kind of central heating is currently in place – do you need to register with a gas provider, or should you order some oil before moving day?

  1.      Pack like a pro

The way you pack up all your stuff will determine how quickly you can get settled into your new property. Don’t just fling things into bags and boxes – or you will end up living in a chaotic nightmare for weeks on end! Pack items on a room by room basis, and label everything so that you can find whatever you need with just a quick glance: invaluable for the settling in period. Make sure your breakables are well protected with bubble wrap, newspaper or foam pellets – your local shop should be able to help you with this.

  1.     Get help

Yes, it would be great if you could do everything yourself without spending another penny – but moving house doesn’t work like that. Unless you already own a large van and muscles that would make any bodybuilder proud – it’s a no brainer to get yourself sorted with an efficient and reliable removals company. As well as professional help, it’s also a good idea to enlist the support of family and friends for moving day – so don’t be afraid to ask!

  1.      Pack the kids off for the day

As any parent knows, trying to organise a house move with children in tow can be a near impossible feat. Make life easier for yourself by arranging to send them to the house of one of their friends or a relative on moving day – you’ll be really glad you did!

  1.      Make essential items accessible

There’s nothing more frustrating than arriving at your new pad to realise that you don’t know where the kettle is, and the tea bags could be anywhere. Pack a kit of essential items that you are likely to need when you get there and keep it at the top of the pile.

If your new house is a bit lacking in storage for all your stuff, read this guide on how to resolve the problem. You can move house with ease – it just takes a little planning!

Investing in New Appliances

When Husband and I moved into our last property, we sold a lot of our appliances because the property already had them. Unfortunately, after a while we realised that the appliances we’d been left with were really low quality and on their last legs, which means that we’ve had to replace our fridge freezer, tumble dryer and washing machine all in the last year. Buying new appliance for the home can be a real head-scratcher. You want to buy the best ones within your budget, which will last a decent amount of time, but working out what the best brands and models are is really tricky.

This is why I was so pleased to hear about the clever folk over at Appliance Reviewer. They’re building a site which allows you to search for your appliance and see real, unbiased reviews of various different household appliances. With so many reviews on bigger sites being paid for by the brands, it can be really hard to pick through and work out what’s genuine and what isn’t, so having an impartial opinion is essential, especially when it’s something that you might be spending hundreds or even thousands of pounds on. I’ll definitely be using the site next time we need to replace something.

A couple of years ago, Husband and I were sent a brand new washing machine to review by a company I won’t name and we had NO end of problems with it. It shredded our clothes, leaked, stopped working altogether and locked out with a drum full of water and washing, and the seal inside the door disintegrated within a month, leaving marks and rubber residue on our clothing. The company replaced it but even the second one never worked well, so they asked me to just leave the review and not write anything in return for the machine. Looking back, I wish I had because I could have prevented families from wasting money on a potentially troublesome appliance, but hindsight is always 20/20, as they say.

Where do you look for advice if you’re looking to buy new appliances? Do you trust that online reviews are totally impartial? Have you ever bought something on the strength of an online review only to regret it and wish you hadn’t? I’d love to hear from you if you have any experiences relating to this, so please do leave me a comment below.

Cleaning and De-Cluttering After Christmas

Post-Christmas Cleaning and De-ClutteringI don’t know about you, but when the tree finally comes down, it feels like a really good time for a big cleaning session and declutter. My kids are still at an age where their toys take up a LOT of room, and Christmas usually means finding even more room for all their stuff, so in order to maintain a tiny bit of decent living space (as well as hanging on to my ever-precarious marbles) I tend to have a bit of a blitz, including all of the things that don’t get cleaned as regularly. Here are a few things which get deep-cleaned at this time of year:

Glassware

Husband has quite a large collection of glasses, ranging from large litre-sized beer glasses from Europe right down to special vodka glasses, and everything in between. It’s not the sort of glassware which gets used every day and is kept on shelves in our dining room, so it does tend to collect dust and this is usually the time of year when it all gets taken down, washed and polished before being put back on the shelves.

Fireplace

Our wood burner gets used a LOT during the winter, in fact it’s roaring away as we speak, but it does need a good clean up every now and again. The ash gets thrown away each time we use it and I vaccum the hearth almost daily, but the glass on the front and the metal parts can get grimy and need a polish.

Doors and Light Switches

Unless you’re a cleaning machine like my friend Sam, there are probably areas of your house that you don’t even NOTICE until they got dirty and things like light switches and doors are a prime example. When you’ve got kids with grubby hands who insist on TOUCHING EVERYTHING, stuff gets sticky, which them attracts dust and can end up looking grubby. Now is the time to give them all a scrub.

Down the Back of the Sofa

If you’ve got a sofa with cushions on it, there’s a good chance that there’s a whole load of crumbs, dust, stray hairs and tony toys hiding down the back of the cushions. Get your vacuum pole down there and give it a good clean out, then a spray with Febreeze. It’ll freshen up your sofa and make it seem much nicer.

Inside Your Cupboards

Go through your cupboards and check the sell-by-dates on everything – I guarantee you’ve got at least one can of food which is well past it’s best. Get rid of anything you can’t use and if there’s anything which is still in date, the local food bank will probably make excellent use of it. This will also make cleaning the shelves a lot easier!

Fall In Love With Your Home Again

Love Your HomeIf you are lucky enough to own your own home, there’s a good chance that there are 101 jobs around the place that you want to do to get it exactly the way you want it. If you’re recently bought a property, you’ve probably inherited with it from the previous owners a decor scheme that you just don’t love, but moving is an expensive business that you can’t always afford right away. Here, I’m giving you 5 tips of small things you can change which can make a huge difference to your home without needing to spend a fortune, taking it from make-do to high-end..

Bathroom Taps

Changing a whole bathroom suite can be a pricey job, but if the actual bones of the bathroom are in good nick then it’s possible to change the look of the whole room just by changing the taps and other fixings. Go for something shiny and modern, like the Hansgrohe hand shower and dress your bathroom with some colourful accessories for a real decorative freshener.

Lighting

Something that I find can change the whole feel and look of a room is lighting. Husband and I have lived in so many rented properties which have white or very light walls which we weren’t allowed to hang pictures on, making it feel very igloo-like at times. Investing in some floor standing lamps, table lamps and warm-tone bulbs can really help to make a room feel cosy without any actual decorative touches.

Rugs

If you hate your flooring, be it carpet, wood or laminate, a great and variable way to switch things up is to add rugs. Rugs can add warmth to a room, make them feel less echoey and can be co-ordinated with your colour scheme to add a lot of personality to a space. Pets will also thnk you if they don’t have to lay on cold, hard flooring!

Kitchen Cupboards

If you can’t afford to have a whole new kitchen fitted, sometimes it’s possible to just change the doors to your cabinets and drawers which can make it look like a whole new kitchen! Opt for something with a classic style that you won’t get sick of in five minutes and you’ll love your kitchen for the forseeable future.

Paint Your Tiles

Tiling can be an arduous and expensive job, even if you decide to do it yourself, but freshening the tile work that you already have in your kitchen and bathroom is far easier. Tile paint is relatively cheap to buy and comes in a whole rage of colour, which will allow you to completely transform your tiled areas for a fraction of the cost.

Do you have any easy home-hacks which have helped you to fall back in love with your home? Do leave me a comment below as I’d love to hear them.

Deluxe Appliances That All Foodies Need In Their Kitchen

Pixabay.com

Do you love preparing meals in your kitchen just as much as you love eating them? If so, you could probably do with pimping out your kitchen with some upscale kitchen appliances. Not only will they help to enhance the overall style of your kitchen, but they will also make your cooking a lot easier. So which appliances do foodies need in their kitchen? Here are some of the best.

Spiralizer

Are you trying to cut down on the amount of carbs you are eating? One of the best ways to make sure you are limiting your intake of carbs is by buying a spiralizer. These nifty little appliances allow you to make spaghetti and noodles. You can use hard vegetables such as courgettes and butternut squash. So you won’t have to fill up on so many pasta-based carbs anymore! Once you have your spiralized veggies, you just have to boil them for a few minutes as you would regular noodles.

Pixabay.com

Conduction Kitchenware

Conduction kitchenware is very trendy right now. And that’s all because many people regard it as a lot safer than regular hobs and pans. In order to use conduction pots and pans, you need to invest in a conduction hob. This then heats up special conduction pans through magnetic heat conduction. They are a lot safer than using a gas or electric hob as the heat instantly cuts out as soon as you remove the pan from the hob’s surface. And this drastically reduces the chances of you burning yourself.

Stylish Cutlery

The cutlery in a kitchen is one of the most overlooked parts of a kitchen. But it can really add some extra style to your dining table once it has been set. Take a look at an online one stock cookware shop to see the different styles of cutlery that you can get. Stainless steel sets are the most popular, as they add a great sophisticated look to a kitchen and dining table. However, you can also use cutlery with patterned plastic handles to add some colour.

Pixabay.com

Sausage Maker

Do you really want to wow your friends at your next dinner party? Then why not impress them with some homemade sausages. You can find compact sausage makers for quite reasonable prices these days. If you want some inspiration for recipes, you can consult your local butcher or take a look at online recipes.

Coffee Maker

Are you pretty much a zombie in the morning before you have your first cup of coffee? If so, it sounds like you could do with a coffee maker in your kitchen! There are a number of different types. You could get a French press. This is a simple coffee pot that you need to plunge to filter the water through ground coffee beans. It is very easy to use, and you won’t need to buy filter papers for it. True coffee aficionados love AeroPress appliances. These filter the ground coffee beans through a microfilter and make a good cup of coffee in hardly any time at all.

You can also get your own cotton candy makers, which rae great fun to use with the kids. Head over to Jane’s Kitchen Miracles to find out which is the best.