5 articles Tag living

Light Up Your Life with a New Lighting Scheme

There are certain things that I like in a living room. A sofa which is big enough for the whole family to snuggle on, plenty of wall sockets for plugging things in, a fireplace, and plenty of flexible lighting options. I think the latter might be the one which is most important to me; I hate sitting in a room at night with the bright, overhead light on as it’s really not condusive to settling down and relaxing, so I need ways to light a room which aren’t so harsh. With this in mind, I thought I’d take a look at some creative ways to light a room which give you flexibility on how the room is lit at different times of the day:

Pendant Lights

Light - Pendant Lights

Okay, so I know I said overhead lighting wasn’t my fave, but there are ways to get creative without having to alter the room too much. There are some beautiful lightshades which can be opened and closed with a little pulley to allow more or less light (or more direct light) to be shone from the fixture. They can be used with pendant lights from lights.co.uk and allow you to have complete control over how bright your room is.

LED Strips

Light -LED Strip

As time goes on, LED strip lighting has become cheaper and more accessible, and can now be used in all types of settings. I absolutely love the look of furniture with LED strips added in an almost hidden position, such as on the underside of the opening of a Welsh dresser to create a really subtle glow around a room.

Candles

Light - LED Candles

Gone are the days when candles were too much of a fire risk – LED candles are all the rage right now and they actually produce a really gentle light which looks like an authentic candle glow. We love LED candles so much that the kids have even got them in their bedrooms too – essential when you live in the middle of nowhere, like us, and have power cuts  more regularly than you have hair cuts!

Neon Signs

Light - Neon Signs

It wasn’t until I saw a programme a few years ago where the presenter went and made her own neon sign that I realised how accessible this type of design is for the home. I’d love to, in time, have custom-made neon signs for the girls’ bedrooms as I think they’re such a funky, modern way to add both style and light to a room.

Lamps

Lamps

The most obvious way to make your lighting scheme work for you is by placing lamps in all of the places that you want to add extra light. A well-placed lamp can change the tone of a whole room and I love experimenting not only with different locations for a lamp and what they do to a space, but also changing the types of bulbs that you use – at one point, we had a remote controlled bulb in one of our bedroom lamps which could be just about any colour of the rainbow, as coloured light is so much better for the eyes when you’re trying to get ready to sleep.

5 Habits To Change For A Healthier Summer

With summer almost here, it’s all about spending time with family and friends, enjoying the sunshine, going out for trips to the seaside and having as much fun as you can. However, 2019 should be the year you aim to be at your very healtiest, so here are a few tips to help you have a healthy Summer.

Photo by Oleksandr Pidvalnyi from Pexels

Touch everything once

This means that instead of doing the cooking and leaving the washing up in the sink until later, do it right then, right there, and it’s done, meaning you have more time to do other things, things you really want to do. Use the frying pan – clean the frying pan – touch everything once! By putting things off, you’re cluttering up your mind with things ‘to do’ raising your stress levels and worrying about things that don’t need to be thought about at all. Or perhaps you’ve got clothes to put away, you’ve taken the clean clothes upstairs and left it on the bed to do later….STOP!! Do it now, and then it’s done so you can go and play with the kids, make yourself a lovely home cooked meal or go on a trip out somewhere.

Quit smoking

Something most smokers aim to do at some point but keep putting off to another time. By stopping smoking you will not only be saving yourself money, but you’ll also feel better within yourself, you’ll smell better and reduces the chance of you getting smokers likes – https://www.siobeauty.com/blogs/news/smokers-lines has a few tips to help get rid of any that may already be in place.

Sleep

Although making sure you have 8 hours sleep a night is important, sleeping in until lunchtime at the weekend isn’t healthy and such a waste of life! By getting to sleep at a decent time, it means you get more out of the day – time to go out with friends, see family or have some ‘you’ time. Turn off your phone an hour before you go to bed and don’t watch tv, try reading a book instead to help your brain switch off.

Take-Aways

Ditch the takeaways and junk food. One ‘simple’ and quick way to make yourself so much healthier this Summer. Most of the time, takeaways don’t fill you up for long anyway and won’t taste as great as you think they will.

Hydration

Did you know the average female should be drinking at least 2 litres of water a day to maintain their bodies an in hotter weather, it should be even more than this. However, on average in the UK we aren’t drinking anywhere near what we should be. This will lead to headaches and sun-stroke early on, but more importantly, this could lead to further and more serious problems. So make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day. Also, one thing to note is NEVER to drink water that has been left out in the sunshine in a plastic bottle as the heat from the sun can mean some of the chemicals in the plastic disperse into your water.

 

Outdoor Living for Any Weather

Here in the UK, we all seem to love the idea of spending more time outdoors, but the reality is that our unpredictable weather doesn’t always allow it. Wanting to get outdoors and being able to (without the use of dry bags!) are two very different things when there’s a threat of rain or it’s just too chilly, but there are things that you can buy from Cox and Cox which mean that your gardens don’t go unused all year round. Here are some of our favourites:

Outdoor Large Brazier

Sitting around with your friends, sharing a bottle of wine and putting the world to rights is a simple pleasure and this brazier will not only keep you warm while you do so, it’ll help to keep away unwanted bugs AND give you somewhere to toast marshmallows if that takes your fancy.

LED Jar Lantern

Sitting outside is all well and good but when it gets dark, you need to be able to see! These LED jar lanterns are battery powered and ca be placed anywhere that you need light, or even strung up in a group to give you all the light you need to continue enjoying your evening’s festivities, even after the night has drawn in.

Porto Lounge Set

No-one wants ti sit outside if your patio furniture is hard and uncomfortable, which is why this lounge set would be an excellent investment. The padded seats are warm and comfortable, allowing you to take a little bit of indoor luxury outside with you, giving your guests somewhere to sit for as long as they want.

Soft Wool Throw

One simple way to keep your gusts more comfortable if you’re spending an evening outside is to keep a stash of hardy blankets which they can use to keep themselves warm! These beautiful soft wool throws will feel great wrapped around your shoulders to keep out the cool evening breeze and will allow you to carry on your alfresco socialising well into the night.

What would you chose from the range to keep you warm and happy for outdoor gatherings? Take a look at the site and leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Living in the Country – Six Weeks On

Autumnal afternoon sunAs you’ll know, if you read this blog (or follow me on social media, or happen to have stood behind me at a checkout recently…), six weeks ago we made the move to a tiny rural hamlet about 8 miles from where we were previously living. Six weeks exactly, in fact, but it feels so much longer.

It’s definitely been a learning curve; we’ve had to learn about living with an LPG tank to supply our gas, how to start and maintain a fire efficiently in a log burner, how to live with a whole host of new flora and fauna (since living here I’ve had to stop the car on two separate occasions to flap wildly about at some baby pheasants to get them to clear the way and just yesterday I had to pick up an elderly rabbit so that he didn’t hop under the wheels of my car!) and just how different it is to live somewhere with no shops and just one street lamp!

In terms of the actual house, there’s not much I’d change. We’ve got an issue with damp in one of the bedrooms, which the landlady is dealing with for us, but it’s quite a rustic little house so it doesn’t need luxury flooring and furnishings, just a little bit of charm and imagination here and there. I also cannot wait to decorate our huge Inglenook fireplace for Christmas!

If anything, living here has made me a better mother and wife. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still FAR from perfect but the distance from shops and conveniences means that I’ve had to be far more organised in terms of sorting dinner out and ensuring we’re well stocked with supplies. Even on a more basic level, I think that I’ve been happier overall since we’ve lived here and therefore less stressed and snappy. Husband and I are even getting along better as we’re more chilled out, which can only be a good thing.

We’re spending more quality time together as a family, too. In the last house, Sausage never felt at home, Husband hated the living room which was noisy from being on a main road and we all tended to drift around doing our own thing. Here, our evenings are spent in a living room that we love, warming ourselves in front of the log burner, watching films, listening to music, drawing or chatting to one another and it’s just so lovely. Living here has certainly made me enjoy the simple things in life. Before, Sausage would get home from school and I’d invariably need to pop to the shops for something or do some other errand or another, but here it’s far more a case of “once we’re in, we’re in” and I love that.

Making a move to a rural community was a completely unknown quantity to me before we moved here and although I was in love with the house and surrounding area, I was still apprehensive. However, six weeks on I can say that I truly love it here and I’m so glad we made the leap (and, I’m not kidding, as I typed that about half a dozen ponies just trotted past my living room window!!) and I hope we’ll be happy here for a very long time.

Is Saving The Planet Reserved for the Middle Classes?

green-planet

The other day, I was driving out of the supermarket behind a Toyota Prius and I thought to myself “If I had more money, I’d buy a hybrid car”. It was just one lone thought that swept through my brain picking up the debris of other ideas that had been languishing in my grey matter and it all balled up into one big thought:

“Is it only well-off people who are able to do their bit for the planet?”

I know that everyone is able to recycle, that doesn’t cost anything, and there are plenty of other things that the cash-poor can do, such as upcycling furniture and homewares to prevent them from ending up in landfill, but when it comes to the bigger measures, people in a lower earnings bracket are stuffed.

1. They cannot afford to invest in new cars which offer less reliance on fossil fuels. In fact, many families will be relying on older cars with much higher emissions, just to be able to afford a car at all.

2. They cannot afford to kit their houses out with tech such as solar panels, which again reduce the dependence on energy which is derived from burning of fossil fuels.

3. They can’t afford to buy premium foods, therefore contributing towards meat and other ingredients which are not so ethically sourced, grown or cared for.

4. Many live in cheap housing, which means the actual energy efficiency of their homes is low, and energy is wasted because of the lack of insulation and energy-saving measures in place.

I’m aware that there are grants in place for certain things with many councils, such as loft insulation and such, but many families don’t fall within the bracket to receive such grants, earning slightly too much to be considered, whilst not technically having any disposable income at the end of the month.

It goes further than this too – because of the divide between what it’s possible to earn and what it’s realistic to live on, many people in this bracket will only be able to afford to buy things cheaply, furniture for instance, which is made as cheaply as possible and therefore in a not very eco-conscious way, which will wear out a lot quicker, causing a kind of disposable lifestyle that is directly responsible for the alarming rate at which landfills are filling up.

Sites like Freecycle are a great idea in principle; one mans trash is another mans treasure and all that, but is it really enough? Shouldn’t we, shouldn’t the Government, be thinking of ways in which people of lower means can contribute towards conscious living?

For one thing, I don’t think we’re doing enough in schools. More teaching should be done and from a younger age, to make it second nature to recycle and think about the life cycle of the products we’re using, as well as where food comes from and how we move it around the planet. I hate the fact that our education system starts so early here in the UK, but there are ways that we can use that to our advantage, as kids are much easier to teach habits from a younger age.

Do people think about their carbon output when they take a plane to go on holiday and is there a way that we could offset that so that foreign travel becomes carbon neutral? It’s all very well visiting beautiful Maldivian islands, but if global warming continues at it’s current rate, all of those incredible islands could be underwater within my lifetime. 

All I know is, the thought of the planet dying because we can’t do anything scares the poop out of me, but by the same token I don’t know what else I can do. If you’ve got any suggestions you can make that might help us to reduce our carbon footprint, which don’t cost £21,845 (that’s the STARTING price for a new Prius, just FYI) please let me know. In the meantime, I’d love to know what you think about the role of the ‘average’ family in saving the planet and whether you feel you’re able to ‘afford’ a more eco-friendly way of living.