5 articles Tag flooring

Cheap Ways to Give Your Home a Makeover

Cheap Ways to Give Your Home a MakeoverPhoto by Jagoda Kondratiuk on Unsplash

With Christmas out of the way, many of us are starting to think about ways that we can give our home a makeover for the year ahead. However, the dent that the festive season left in our finances is probably still a factor for most of us, which means that any home improvements need to be done cheaply, or even better, for free. With this in mind I thought I would look at five ways that you can improve your home on a very tight budget.

Recycle

One way that you can improve your living situation is to go room to room and do a full inventory of all of the furniture and fixings that you have in each space. You may realise that one piece of furniture isn’t working for one room, but with a lick of paint or a rub down it might be perfect for a different space. Our TV unit doesn’t really go with the rest of our room, however we’ve been thinking lately that we might mount the TV on the wall, give the TV unit a makeover with a coat of chalk paint and use as a coffee table.

Freecycle

Freecycle is such an amazing place to get things that you need without spending any money at all. If you want to declutter, giving old items away on Freecycle is a great way to do this as more often than not people will come and collect them, meaning you have to make little or no effort to empty a space. Asking for things on Freecycle is also a great way to obtain the resources you need to transform your spaces. We once managed to get hold of enough laminate flooring to recover the floor of a whole bedroom and it didn’t cost us a penny!

Ebay

Finding things cheaply on eBay can be really easy, although sometimes you may need to spend a little extra time seeking out those bargains. However, one trick that I learned years ago is to search eBay with misspellings. This might sound weird, but sometimes you’ll find things with a low reserve and absolutely no bids because they haven’t shown up in anybody’s search results, thanks to a misspelling in the listing. If you can find these listings, these are the holy grail of eBay and often mean that people can get things for next to nothing if you’re willing to put in the time to find them.

Swaps

If you’ve got stuff to give away you might find that someone else has something that you want and is willing to swap with you. Facebook is a great place to find swaps for your items and you may even find that there is a local event where people take their items for swap seats. Hey, if there isn’t a local event maybe you could organise one, if you have the time!

Plants

If you haven’t got the money to do a full makeover of your home, sometimes adding little touches like house plants here and there can make a massive difference to your living spaces. As well as plants giving a burst of colour to a room they are great for your well-being, help to produce clean oxygen and will make your room look stylish and put together.

Top Reasons Why Dogs are Good for Kids

Top Reasons Why Dogs are Good for KidsIf you know us, you’ll know that we’re a family animal lovers. Husband and I got Chuck in 2006, just a couple of months after we got married and he wa a huge part of our lives for 13 years. We’ve had other pets over the years, too – Happy the hamster, Maureen our Staff-Frenchie-Boxer cross, Bagel and Biscuit the budgies, plus various dogs we’ve fostered over the years.

We’re huge believers that pets make a home complete and that it’s great for kids to have pets too, as it teaches them responsibility…even if it is always be cleaning out Bagel’s cage instead of Sausage! With this in mind, I thought I’d share some reasons that dogs are great pets for kids (and why investing in scratch-proof flooring is a good idea if you want one!)

Bonding

Having a pet helps to build family bonds as animals are often the focus of family activities. From walking the dog together to grooming or feeding the pet, these simple but enjoyable tasks allow everyone to slow down, enjoy each other’s company and communicate with one another.

Exercise

Having a dog means that you have to go for walks. Come rain or shine, dog need exercise, no excuses. You have to remember, that as well as for their physical health, dogs need exercise for their mental health. When they’re at home, they can’t sit and read a book or watch the TV, that’s their equivalent of getting out and having a sniff around the neighbourhood!

Responsibility

The daily commitment of caring for an animal is a great way to teach kids the importance of dependability and responsibility. To be a dog’s provider is an honour that requires a lot of patience and work. We make sure that Sausage and BB help to keep Maureen’s water bowl clean and refilled, put her food down, and make sure her bed is nicely plumped up for her to rest in.

Mental Health

It’s actually been scientifically proven that spending just 15-30 minutes with your dog can help you feel more calm and relaxed, reducing stress and increasing happiness. Playing with your pup increases your brain’s levels of dopamine and serotonin, both of which are neurotransmitters associated with pleasure and tranquility. Just having a dog around can give your mental health a huge boost.

Comfort

Having a dog can be a huge source of comfort in so many situations. When my kids are ill, Maureen (as did Chuck) will always be the first one to sit with them while they’re recovering on the couch, she’s always there with face licks when the girls are crying and she lets us know if anyone o much as breathes wrong within a 100m radius of the house. She’s a huge source of comfort for us all and loves nothing more than a snuggle with her pack…except maybe for a 5 mile walk where she gets to chase pheants!

Sausage’s Bedroom Makeover

It’s got to that point where Sausage wants her own space. She’s starting senior school in September, so instead of being surrounded by her sisters toys and games, she wants a proper grown up space where she can chill, watch her own programmes and do her homework in peace. As we’re in a three bedroom house, Husband will be giving up his office space and moving his desk into the dining room, and we’re planning a bit of a makeover of the room so that it feels more like Sausage’s own.

The first thing we’ll do is replace the floor; there’s carpet in there at the moment, and while it’s good quality, we want something a bit more modern for Sausage, so we’ll opt for Quick-Step Impressive laminate flooring (https://lifestyleflooringuk.co.uk/laminate-flooring/quick-step-laminate/quick-step-impressive) as it’s so versatile, easy to fit and simple to keep clean. You can find it at  Lifestyle Flooring UK.

She’s also requested a change of colour – the walls are a plain magnolia at the moment, but we’re planning to replace that with three walls of light lilac, plus one wall of a darker purple colour. It’s a nice colour scheme for a kid of Sausage’s age, but one which I think will grow with her and won’t feel horribly young when she’s in her teens.

Another thing I’m planning is a multi-functional space which will double up as both a dressing table and a desk so that she can use it for doing her homework and then use it for doing her hair and make up at other times (she doesn’t go out in make-up, by the way, she just loves to practice at home!).

She currently sleeps in a single bunk beds that she shares with her sister, but we’ve decided to give her our king size bed so that she has more space and can have friends sleeping over when she wants, without needing to find extra sleeping space! Our bed is currently a neutral wooden colour, but we’re planning to give this it’s own mini makeover with some nice chalk paint.

In terms of finishing touches, we’ll be adding shelves for books and nick-nacks, plus colour co-ordinated curtains, lamp shade and other little touches to make it feel like Sausage’s own little haven of peace and tranquillity! I’m really excited to do this for her, and I know she’s going to love the end result. I’ll be sure to share pictures with you all when it’s done!

Tips for Puppy Toilet Training

As you many know, if you follow me on social media, at the beginning of March we added a new member to the Mum’s the Word clan – Maureen the Pup. Having a puppy has been a real learning curve for us as Chuck was already 2 when he came to live with us and needed no toilet training, but we’re doing pretty well so far. Here are a few tips that we’ve picked up along the way:

Think about your floors!

Whether you like it or not, puppies WILL have accidents, of both the wee and poo variety, so if you haven’t got something convenient like Karndean flooring, you’re going to have to deal with mess. We got a rug from freecycle for our lounge, so that the majority of the carpet is covered and we don’t mind the odd puddle on a free rug, but we also dotted puppy pads around in the early days, as she often had her “accidents” in roughly the same place.

Take them out regularly

Just like when you’re potty training a toddler, getting them to go to the loo really regularly is the first step to cracking toilet training. Husband and I try to take Maureen out at least once every 30-60 minutes, and at the moment we take her out on a lead and try to get her to go in the same place every time, as this will teach her to go there once she goes independently.

Invest in a carpet cleaner

Husband and I have a Bissell hand-held carpet cleaner, and honestly, it’s been an absolute godsend for cleaning up after Mo’s accidents. It can be filled with an odour-busting spot cleaner and can be used to vacuum liquid out of carpets, making it perfect for puppy puddles! I think life would have been much harder without it.

Reward

Most dogs are fairly food motivated, which means that giving them a treat as a reward after they successfully pee or poop outside will be more of an incentive for them to do all of their business outside. Do remember to adjust the amount of food you’re giving them if you’re treating regularly as you’ll end up with a very chubby puppy!

Watch for cues

After a while, you’ll start to notice your puppy’s behaviour or body language change when they need to go out, and acting on these cues is important to develop the communication between you and your dog. As soon as you see them acting like they need to go out, take them and make a big deal of praising them afterwards.

Be Patient

Toilet training a puppy can be frustrating at times – a puppy can do every single wee or poop outside and then randomly go on the rug, and although it can seem like an act of defiance or like they’re being naughty, this is rarely the case. Puppies get caught short, or sometimes we miss their cues. Be patient with them as getting cross will just make them fear you, which isn’t conducive to a good training environment.

Making Our Home Work for Us with Karndean

Karndean OpusAlthough Husband and I rent our home, we’re lucky in the respect that our landlady is pretty easy-going about what we do to the place (providing we don’t tear down walls or paint the whole place black!). We’ve been thinking lately about what we could do to make the place work a bit better for us, and we think that starting with the floors would be a good idea (puppies and carpets are NOT a good mix!).

One of the options we considered was Karndean, as I’ve heard lots of people saying how much they love it, and to my surprise there are a whole load of varieties of Karndean to choose from. I thought I’d ask my friends who have it what they thought of Karndean flooring and how well it fits into their life. Here’s what a few of them said:

My friend Emily said “We had it at our old house and it was our selling point. It looked like real wood and was easy to sweep, and it was warmer under foot than other hard flooring”

Cat from Cat’s Yellow Days said “We have Karndean across nearly the whole ground floor. It looks great and cleans easily but the biggest selling point for me was that they had such a big range I could get exactly the shade I wanted.”

Tara from Sticky Fingers said “I had it throughout my new kitchen/living extension. Bloody love it. Easy to manage with the dog and muddy kids, warm underfoot looks fabulous. Had tiles before and it was cold and everything that came within sniffing distance of the floor broke!”

In terms of the different ranges, there are three to choose from:

Karndean Art Select

“Karndean Art Select is a range of vinyl flooring featuring exciting hardwood, stone and marble designs that will render a touch of elegance to any space. With an overall thickness of 3mm, and a wear layer of 0.70mm, the Karndean Art Select is super soft and warm under your feet. Completely washable and waterproof, the Art Select collection is perfectly suited for any room in your home.”

Karndean Van Gogh

“The Karndean Van Gogh range is manufactured from highly durable vinyl from the world’s number one producer of luxury vinyl flooring. Available in a variety of sizes and colours, the Van Gogh flooring range is available in a wide range of solid wood effects including walnut, oak and birch.”

Karndean Opus

“The Karndean Opus range of luxury vinyl tiles is a relatively new and a quite popular range of luxury vinyl tiles. It features wood finish as well as traditional stone tile finishes. With an overall thickness of 2.5mm that includes a 0.55 mm wear layer, the Karndean Opus range is available in an array of sizes.”

Do you have Karndean flooring in your home? I’d love to hear our opinion, so please leave me a comment below!