40 articles Articles posted in Uncategorized

How to Create an Elegant Loft Room

Extending into the loft is a really great way to make the most of the space you have available to you. There is, however, a tendency for loft roofs to feel ‘tacked on’ or unlike a proper room, especially if they’re still used for storage to some extent. There are lots of ways to make loft rooms feel more cohesive, so I thought I’d share a few of them with you now.

Fabrics

Using specific fabrics is a great way to give a room a more homely feel, and can also help you to tie the décor in with the rest of the house. Opting for blinds in an elegant fabric, which you can buy from VELUX Roof Windows shop, as well as rugs and maybe a beautifully-upholstered armchair, will add a stylish look to any room, even if it’s up in the rafters.

Flooring

If you’ve ever lived in a flat with an upstairs neighbour who has laminate flooring, you’ll be all too aware of how NOISY it can be to live beneath it. The same will be true in a loft room, especially if you’re trying to sleep underneath a room which is used as some sort of office or workshop. Thick carpet will make a room warmer, will absorb sound and will also give a more plush feel to the space – as well as saving the sanity of whomever is below you!

Fitted Cupboards

Often, a room the the loft will have limited ceiling space or sloping areas which can be really hard to furnish. Opting for fitted cupboards within the eaves will give the room a really sleek finish, will address the issues of not being able to fit conventional furniture into unconventional spaces and will also maximise the space that you have available to you for storage, etc.

Multi-functional Furniture

In the past, the options for multi-functional furniture were really limited, but there’s been a real boom in that area recently thanks to the ‘tiny house’ movement. If you want to use a loft room as a bedroom cum study cum workroom or some other functional space, otping for furniture which is both bed and desk could save you space and also allow you to make more of a definite statement about what the room is for while you’re using it – nothing worse than seeing pending work scattered everywhere while you’re trying to sleep, nor the enticing sight of a cosy be while you’re trying to be productive!

Get Arty!

Investing in some wall art can really break up a space and make it feel more like a proper living area, rather than just a room in the loft. You don’t have to spend a fortune, or you could even ask your kids to paint a big canvas for you – colour is a mood lifter and will overhaul the area like nothing else.

Eleventh Anniversary Gifts from F Hinds

This year, Husband and I will be celebrating our eleventh anniversary. We got married back in 2006, which seems like only yesterday but also a lifetime ago, all at the same time. We were engaged within six weeks of meeting and married within six months and had a LOT of doubters, expecting us not to last, so to be eleven years on and going strong I feel well within my rights to stick a big two-fingers up at the people who said we’d never last! We’re not perfect – no-one is – but he’s still my best friend, the person I turn to for advice and support and the person on the planet who can make me laugh harder than anyone else!

The traditional gift for 11 years is steel, which may sound like the least romantic thing ever, but F Hinds actually has a lot of things made from steel which would make a great anniversary gift – here are five of my faves for both men and women:

Husband is a huge fan of watches and loves both new ones and vintage, restored watches alike. This steel divers watch from Seiko is powered by kinetic energy and will never need a battery replacement, and can be adjusted in store for free to make it the perfect fit.

I really love the modern, contemporary design of this bangle, as well as the fact that there’s something a bit like the ‘eternity’ symbol about it, which makes it perfect for a romantic anniversary gift. I’m not a huge jewellery wearer, apart from my wedding ring and some earrings but I’d definitely wear this as it’s sleek, simple and unfussy.

Necklaces always make a beautiful anniversary gift and this statement piece from Fossil definitely fits the bill. It’s eye-catching and classic and also had a pair of coordinating earrings on the F Hinds site if you really wanted to treat your loved-one.

These days, many men wear bracelets and other forms of jewellery which may have previously only been worn by women and there are plenty of masculine styles on the market to choose from. This chain-link inspired bracelet would be perfect for the man in your life and has a heavy-duty clasp to ensure that even those with a more physical job or lifestyle won’t lose it.

Cufflinks are a great gift for any occasion and obviously, you’ll need to have a Husband with seriously good taste to appreciate these Liverpool FC ones 😉 (other teams are available if you’re unlucky enough to be married to someone with terrible taste in football teams…) You’ll be able to combine two of their loves at once with a reminder of their favourite team and a reminder of you!

Family Friendly Flooring – Wood you  look?

It’s no secret that as a nation us Brits love our pets, sometimes more than our own kids! However, when it comes to kitting out your home, both can pose as a bit of a problem. This is no exception with flooring and it can leave you feeling pretty limited when it comes to choice. Now, many experts would probably advise that you stay away from real wood flooring and play it safe with laminate or vinyl. However, if you’re someone who is looking to achieve that ever-increasing popular ‘rustic’ look and are able to deal with the odd dent or scratch then real wood might be the one for you!

Personally, we would recommend either Oak or Walnut flooring, purely because these materials are the most durable and cost-effective in the long run.

Oak is an incredibly popular choice when it comes to family-life. We all know how much mess children and pets can make, if you’re sick of plugging in the vacuum cleaner then why not consider Oak? It only requires a simple sweep and a once over with a mop (at a push), making it one of the easier to clean flooring options. Oak can withstand a lot of wear but if it does start to look dilapidated over the years then it can be re-sanded to bring back to life! Furthermore, Oak flooring does not collect dust or mould as easily as other floors, which makes it ideal if anyone in your household suffers from allergies.

Another thing to consider is what type of finish you want your floor to have. There are two prominent choices; Lacquered and Oiled, both have their advantages and disadvantages. Lacquered flooring will definitely get scratched more often, however it is a lot more durable, easier to clean and will brave the challenge of a pet extremely well.

On the other hand, oiled floor is harder to scratch, but the floor will need re-coating more frequently. The decision really depends on how committed you want to be when it comes to maintaining the quality of your floor.

There are a few things that you personally can do to ensure scratches are reduced; maintaining the length of your pet’s claws is one of the obvious ones. Also, add extra protection by laying rugs/runners down in areas that see heavier traffic from both humans and pets. As with all flooring, if you do have any mishaps or spillages then try to clean them up as soon as possible to avoid stains and marks from occurring.

So there you have it, just a few reasons why Luxury Flooring think that the real thing is the best for your family home!

Having a fun time with my baby girl

As a mum, life is nothing but juggling around with hundreds of responsibilities every day.

Dealing with the stress of meeting deadlines at workplace or the tension of what to give the kid for breakfast the next day- any situation calls for a lot of strength and perseverance on a mother’s part. But what makes my pain worth taking every time is getting a chance to see that smile on my daughter’s face.

After returning from work, everyday, I make it a point to spend some absolute fun time with my daughter and do some art and craft or some fun activity which she absolutely loves! That’s in fact the most precious time of my day as I forget all my tensions and stresses behind in minutes.
Below, I have listed 5 of my child’s favourite activities that we often do at home. Now that the holidays are about to start, you can try them too.
MAKE PAPER MARCHES– Your kid can make all sorts of wonderful craft with paper mache: pinatas, masks, a globe, pencil holders. All they need is a little bit of guidance from their mummies. So that flour and water outside the kitchen territory and be ready to get your and child’s tiny hands all messy!
CREATE A COLLAGE– Collage is a technique of an art production where the artwork is created using an assemblage of different forms and shapes of different materials. These forms and shapes eventually create a whole image.
What I usually do is ask my baby girl, to gather most of the irrelevant stuffs lying around the house and while I figure out what to put where to create something out of it, I let her do the actually work like cutting and pasting. Last week me and my daughter had real fun making a collage out of dried leaves and flowers which turned out really beautiful.
PLAY DOUGH– When it comes to playing dough, both me and my daughter love getting our hands dirty and colorful with this great art and craft kids activity making play dough. Smoosh it, mould it and roll it – you can create wild and whacky shapes with play dough that you and your kids made yourselves!
KNITTING– Knit with your kids! Kids need to see us being creative. They need to see the process — how long it takes us to knit things, and that we persevere, rip out stitches, pick up dropped stitches, and so forth. My daughter and I, last November made her little dollies woolen socks, all colored and warm.

PRINT ON THE OUTFITS– My child and I love making customized clothes for ourselves and our family.
We have printed on coffee mugs and t-shirts and most of them turned out good. My daughter wanted to gift her grannie a printed top and since my mum is huge love of bingo games, we inculcated a theme of bingo on her tee. Well I’m sure she felt amazing to have the presence of her favourite bingo game concept in the world of apparels as well.
Well, even I often join my mum on an online game of bingo because of their unparalleled convenience and entertainment factor. The site where I usually prefer playing is GameVillage. There are a wide range of different bingo-ball games with very inexpensive ticket prices. You can play bingo here and even do a bit of socializing in their community forum.

Saving Money at the End of the Holidays

cheap holiday activitesI don’t know about you but we’ve got to that point in the holidays where activities which are free or cheap are extremely appealing! Sausage is pretty much the least demanding kid on the planet but we’ve done our best to make sure she’s done at least a couple of activities each week in the holidays and it’s all adding up. I’ve been thinking about ways to save some money in the last few weeks of summer and thought I’d share ideas with you here:

Check Your Points

If you use loyalty cards for supermarkets and other shops, you’ll often find that these points can be used to “buy” vouchers which gain you free entry tickets to various attractions. If you haven’t recently checked your points balance, now would be a good time as you could be sitting on a goldmine!

Save Money on Other Purchases

If you can’t directly save money on the days out, you can save money in other areas. Sites like Every Day is Black Friday basically scour the net for the item you’re planning to buy and comes back with the cheapest price possible, telling you if it’s been reduced anywhere in the recent past. It’s a great way to ensure you’re getting the best deal possible on whatever you want to buy.

Do Something Free

This one may seem like a no-brainer, but there are SO many free activities that you can do which the kids will probably love just as much as they love the expensive trips. Picnics, foraging for blackberries, beach combing, nature photography walks, discovering new playgrounds, Pokemon hunting are all free to do and will give you hours of fun in the outdoors.

Take Your Own Food

If you are visiting somewhere which will cost you a bit to get into, DO take a picnic with you, even if it means borrowing a cool box from a generous friend or relative. Food once you get inside an attraction is usually RIDICULOUSLY expensive, almost always of very little nutritional value and we’ve felt like many a day trip has been marred by being forced to spend £7.50 on what amounts to a large cup of sugar syrup and a floppy hotdog which probably cost 20p to make.

Check for Cheaper Fuel

If you’re driving somewhere for a day out and need to stick fuel in your car beforehand, check a website called petrolprices.com – it will allow you to enter your postcode and will tell you where the cheapest fuel is in your vicinity. There’s even an app for your phone which will help you to keep fuel costs down on the go.

Do you have any good tips? I’d love to hear them, leave me a comment below.

How to Make Your Wedding Day Different


For a while, in my mid-twenties, it seemed like my social media timelines were showing a different wedding every week. Husband and I went abroad and got married by ourselves and I wouldn’t change that for the world, but if I did organise a wedding here in the UK, there are definitely a few things that I’d love to have on the Big Day to make it a little different. Here’s a few ideas:

Vintage Rings

Husband and I planned our wedding in the space of about two weeks, so some of the details were a case of what we could get in the time we had. One thing I really like the idea of is vintage wedding and engagement rings. They often have so much more character and I love the thought of my ring having a story before it found it was to me.

Non-wedding wedding dress

Whilst planning our wedding, I realised that the whole “long white gown” thing was just SO not me, and I ended up buying a dress from a high street shop, which just so happened to be perfect for getting married on a tropical beach. Looking around at dresses which aren’t specifically wedding dresses could really inspire you in terms of styles and colours and would probably save you an absolute fortune, too.

Venue

There are so many amazing places to get married, both here in the UK and abroad and it’s really worth taking a look around to find one you love. If you aren’t the traditional type, you could find somewhere super fun for your reception – I know someone who hired a vintage bowling alley for their reception and they served beer and hotdogs! Literally THE most fun and memorable wedding reception ever!

Shoes

If you’re wearing a long dress, I really LOVE it when brides wear shoes that you absolutely wouldn’t expect to see underneath. Giving a flash of some bejewelled Converse All-Stars will give a glimpse of your personality and will also allow you to be really comfortable all day, too.

Photography

Wedding photography is BIG business and can take up one of the largest chunks of your budget. Choosing a photographer is about more than their photos, it’s about finding someone who really GETS you so that they can capture you in the exact light that you’re hoping for. Getting to know your photographer before the day can make all the difference and thinking outside the box, in terms of the actual shots, is what will set your photos apart.

Beautiful Ways To Celebrate A New Baby

There is perhaps nothing more beautiful than the birth of a new baby. To see the face of your newborn for the first time is the most amazing moment of your life. It is definitely a cause for celebration. If someone in your group of friends or family has just had a baby, chances are there is a long queue of people waiting to welcome the newborn into their lives. So how should you celebrate this little miracle?

The first thing to remember is that poor Mum will be pretty exhausted for the first few days. And if this is her first, she may be quite overwhelmed by just how dramatically her life and her body have changed. The best thing you can do is check that it is OK for you to come over and meet her baby. Then be prepared for a last minute cancellation! Things happen, and when you’re new to it, it takes a while to figure out how to fix it.

Picture at Flickr

When you do meet the newborn, don’t expect a cuddle at first. And if the little sweetie is asleep, definitely don’t wake him. Instead, ask Mum if she would like a rest too while you tackle some of the housework. Perhaps she would love her first chance of the day to take a bath or even eat a meal. Visitors should expect that there are other priorities now over entertaining you. One of the best things you can do to celebrate Mum’s birthing triumph is to bring her a hot meal! A cup of fruity tea would probably go down quite well too.

If you’re wondering what kind of gift would be appropriate for a newborn, have a look at things like Little Chickie’s newborn baby gifts for inspiration. When you have a baby for the first time, new things are very important. While hand-me-downs are helpful, things like a brand new bottle sanitiser or changing table can be very welcome. Toys and storybooks are also very good ideas for a new baby.

You may choose to bring flowers and a card for Mum as well. But sometimes flowers can promote allergic reactions or discomfort. And Mum may not have the time to look after them right now. While it can be a nice gesture to think of bringing something like a gift for her, sometimes it’s just not practical. Instead, why not consider donating some time to provide a watchful eye over little one while Mum takes a much-needed break? Perhaps you can offer to do the laundry for a couple of days? Practical help will always be required when a baby is first born!

Big parties with balloons, loud music, and booze just aren’t right for a celebration of a new baby. Instead, think of the little gestures that can be a big help for the new Mum. A few photos of her holding her little one would be most welcome. Maybe you can capture a few of those cute new facial expressions newborns are famous for? Congratulations to the new Mum.

The morning after pill: know the facts

image

When it comes to emergency contraception, it pays to be in the know. Although you might think you’re clued up on the morning after pill, it could be that you’re confusing fact and fiction. So that you’re up to speed on this subject, keep reading.

It’s easily accessible

The morning after pill can be easily accessed from a variety of places, including your GP, your local chemist and sexual health clinics, and you can even purchase it from an online pharmacy such as Europa Pharmacy. This is especially useful if you’re too embarrassed to approach your doctor or a pharmacist in-person. If you decide to use the morning after pill, you will be asked a few simple health-related questions to ensure it’s suitable for you.

It’s more effective the sooner it’s taken

While it’s name suggests differently, the morning after pill can be effective for a number of days after sex. There are two types of emergency contraception available – Levonelle and ellaOne. Levonelle can work for up to three days after sex, while ellaOne can be effective for up to five days. Despite this, it’s important to remember that the sooner the morning after pill is taken, the more effective it will be at preventing pregnancy.

Using it is not the same as having an abortion

It is a common misconception that using the morning after pill is the same as having an abortion. The truth is, these two things are completely different. While an abortion terminates a pregnancy that has already begun, emergency contraception works to prevent an egg from becoming fertilised or implanted in the first place.

It will not affect your long-term fertility

Although it may have a temporary effect on your ability to fall pregnant, there is no evidence to suggest that using the morning after pill can lead to long-term fertility problems. However, you should note that this type of emergency contraception is not intended for continuous use. It’s also important to recognise that it shouldn’t be used as a replacement for another method of contraception, such as the combined pill.

There are some potential side effects

Like most medicines, the morning after pill can cause some side effects. The most common ones include nausea, abdominal pain, headaches, tender breasts and feeling tired and dizzy. If you are sick after taking it, you should speak to your doctor or pharmacist immediately as you may need to take another dose.

Keeping this information in mind should give you the peace of mind that comes from knowing this treatment is available should you need to use it.

Dealing With Utility Companies When Moving Home

What are the most stressful things you can do in your life? The top five are often listed as the death of a loved one, losing your job, a major illness, divorce and… moving home. Moving home is a hugely stressful experience which is compounded by several factors. There are things which are exciting and as well as those which we face with trepidation, starting out in a new area, perhaps unfamiliar area, making new friends and getting to know neighbours or packing up and transporting a lifetime of memories.

Then there are the more mundane aspects of moving home, such as sorting out bills, notifying utility suppliers and getting your new home all hooked up. Anyone who has recently moved home will know that whilst these aspects of moving are much more humdrum, they can end up being some of the most  frustrating aspects of moving home and are ones which you need to get on top of.

Why do I need to contact my new supplier(s)

When you move into your new home one of the first things you should do is to note down any meter readings and notify utility suppliers. This is to prevent you being charged for any usage by the previous occupants and for your utility suppliers to only charge you for what you have used. It does not have to tie you into a contract with them as many electricity and gas suppliers will simply put you on a rolling contract till such time as you either sign up for a specific tariff (which is advisable to get the best rate) or till you switch providers.

Finding my utility suppliers

If you have recently moved home you will need to find out who your new utility suppliers (electricity, gas, water and telephone/ broadband) are.

Who is my energy supplier?

The easiest way to find out who supplies the electricity, and gas if you have it, at your new property is to contact the previous owner, tenant or landlord. If you are purchasing your property, and are in contact with the seller,  either they or the estate agent may be able to help you. If you are moving into rented accommodation try contacting the letting agent and landlord to find out. What you should not do is wait till you start to receive bills from the supplier.

This is because the energy supplier may not know who is residing at the property, whether or not it is occupied, and most likely will be using estimated billing. Noting down the meter readings when you move in and supplying these to the appropriate providers will remove that and allow you to get on the best possible plan, tariff or contract for your usage.

If you aren’t having much luck getting in contact with the previous residents/ owners or landlord you can find out who your gas supplier is by calling the Meter Point Administration service (0870 608 1524). They can help find your home’s supplier and will issue with a Meter Point Reference Number for future calls to them.

For more ways to find out who your current energy supplier is, you can read more in this handy guide to who is my gas and electricity provider.

Who is my water supplier?

Finding out your new water supplier is much easier than finding your gas and electricity provider. This is because water is still a more regulated field with each water supplier only operating within a specific geographical area. You can look up who your new water supplier is, as well as their contact info with this handy guide from Water UK

Broadband and telephone suppliers

utility companiesWhen you move to a new property it is likely that any telephone and broadband supply will have been cut off and will likely need to be reconnected. If you are still within the minimum term of your existing contract with a provider you will need to remain with them and simply be reconnected at your new address with your existing account.

It is possible to get out of such contracts but this usually comes with a heavy penalty. You will need to notify your broadband and telephone supplier prior to moving (around a month before hand is the best amount of time). Inform them of your moving date, new address and whether or not you want to bring your account with you to your new home. Book in any broadband or TV service installations before your moving date to secure an engineers visit as close to when you move in as possible.

If you are outside your minimum term contract then you can begin to look at and compare other telephone, broadband and tv providers to find the best possible package for you. There can be pitfalls and problems when changing contracts as you move home. Broadband.co.uk have a great guide on what to expect and how to navigate through any potential issues you might have.

Healthy & Tasty Recipes the Whole Family Will Enjoy

image

It is a tough task to find healthy meals the whole family will enjoy. It is important that your food provides all the vital nutrients for your kids, so they will remain energized and in good health. However, you may have some picky eaters in your brood that may be tough critics. Luckily, there are a number of wonderful recipes that you can sneak in the important nutrients and successfully find the balance between tasty and healthy. Here are four delicious, kid-approved recipes that are hassle-free and highly nutritious:

Tacos

Tacos are a wonderful family meal as they can be customized for each eater. Create a taco station that has a wide variety of fillings that your kids can choose from. Make sure you ask your kids ahead of time which vegetables and proteins they prefer for tacos. Once you know their preferences, incorporate those nutrients into their meal. If you serve chips and salsa with the meal, make sure the chips aren’t too high in sodium. Garden of Eatin’ chips are a healthy, unsalted tortilla chip variety.

Dehydrated Fruit and Jerky

Dehydrated foods make for wonderful snacks whenever you’re on the go. Your own dehydrator will help you create foods that aren’t overly processed and don’t have any hidden sugar additives. These snacks can be made ahead in bulk, as their shelf life is six months to a year. The best fruits for dehydration include apples, pineapple, mango, bananas, plums and papaya. For a high-protein snack that doesn’t have a high fat content, you can make turkey jerky. For every four strips of turkey jerky, there are 170 calories, 21 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat.

Crockpot Minestrone

A slow cooker is a mom’s best friend. It safely cooks your meals while you’re out and about.Crockpot minestrone is a great fall or winter recipe that is packed with flavor. The Family Fresh Meals recipe for this soup is especially healthy with the large number of vegetables that it incorporates. The vegetables, such as carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, celery, onion, zucchini and green beans, are paired with protein and fiber-rich red kidney beans and cannellini beans. The ditalini pasta is a good source of starch that will keep your whole family energized.

Chicken Pot Pie

Chicken pot pie is a beloved family favorite; however, the classic recipe has a large amount of cream and sodium. A healthy, alternative recipe can be found on Food Network’s site. This recipe incorporates two percent milk, fat-free Greek yogurt and low-sodium chicken broth as healthy substitutes. Chicken pot pie has a wonderful balance of vegetables and chicken that will keep your whole family satisfied. This recipe can be made ahead of time and frozen for those hectic days when you need dinner on the fly.