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Home & Interiors

Garden make over time

Pic Credit – Pixabay

I have written about our ongoing renovation project which is finally drawing to a close. The focus now is getting the outside space in good shape too. I love chilling in the garden, cup of coffee in one hand and newspaper or book in the other. I find there is something therapeutic about being outside.

We are starting with pretty much a very blank canvas so things can only improve 🙂

Having built an extension we don’t have a huge amount of space left  therefore we need to be clever about what we do with the space we have.  Key for us both is a safe outside space for the kids to play too. I would love some new garden furniture, they want a playhouse or climbing frame! Given the space constraint one may have to give. I have totally fallen for the rattan furniture, I think there is something very elegant about it. They have totally fallen for a raised playhouse with a slide and climbing frame!

I have romantic notions of a garden in full bloom with an immaculate lawn! He wants to pave it all to keep it low maintenance. I fear I may loose that battle. While I have no doubt we will have some planter beds my notions of dramatic  beds of colourful arrays of flowers will have to wait another while.

One thing we both agree on is lights for the garden, solar lights would be ideal as we have the early sun in the back of the house giving them plenty light for the evening.  I love sitting out at dusk with the lights on always makes me feel like im on holidays! If only!! Another item we both agree on is a bbq – while neither of us are at Michelin star quality we love to host and would love noting more the summer party out our newly renovated back garden.

The kids showed little interest (their own bedroom aside) in the interior renovations but they are very keen to get involved in the  planning and designing of the outside space. I think that is crucial for the success of any garden particularly on with as limited space as we have is to keep the needs of all of the users in mind and try to compromise.

Ill be sure to share some before and after pictures here when it is all done. When being the operative word!! Sorry Dada Fairy! If you have any inspiration do send it my way.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

 

 

Home & Interiors

It pays to be energy efficient

You might be a homeowner, a private or social tenant, you might live at home with your parents or you might be a student. No matter how you live, we are all responsible for how much energy we consume and use on a daily basis. So, it’s up to everyone to work together to try and reduce our energy bills and make our homes more energy efficient.

Here you’ll find a few helpful ideas of how you can make your home the most energy efficient on the street!

Your supplier

If you’re fed up of paying over the odds for your energy bills or you think you could get them cheaper then head to an online comparison site or check out this website to see what you could save. You could also look at updating or upgrading your boiler to a newer, more energy efficient model.

Stop being on standby

Many of us are guilty of leaving the TV on standby – it’s easier to just switch it back on again, right? But many appliances can be safely switched off at the wall without having any negative effect on their programming or settings. Switching everything off properly can actually save you around £30 a year!

Just be wary of switching off any recording devices!

In the kitchen

The kitchen is a hub of electrical activity with lots of gadgets and helping hands at the ready. But if we use these appliances carefully you can actually save around ÂŁ36 a year.

  • If you’re washing a few cups and plates, fill up a bowl of water to wash them, rather than using a running tap.
  • Making a cup of tea? Only fill the kettle up with what you’re going to need.
  • By cutting back on one washing machine load a week, you can save money throughout the year.

Cut the shower time short

We all enjoy a hot shower in the morning. It gets us ready for the day ahead. But the cost of running your electric shower is enough to give anyone a rude wake up call. If you opt to spend at least one minute less in the shower every day, you can cut at least £7 from your energy bill a year. Doesn’t sound like a huge amount, but I’d be more than happy to have an extra £7 in my purse!

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Home & Interiors

Top Interiors Blogs for some #syleinspo

funky chair

Pic Credit: Pixabay

I have spoken at length about our renovation projects, thankfully they are drawing to a close which can only mean one thing! It is time for the fun part….designing the interiors. I am one of  those people who pour of beautiful pictures on Instagram accounts and Pinterest. I love creating mood boards and wish lists that contain items way out of budget. I have serious envy of those stunning interiors. Unfortunately I am not a creative type person so I rely on those far better at it than me for inspiration.

Thankfully in order to help me in my quest Sloan & Sons have produced a really useful guide which list the Top 32 interior blogs of 2018.  I’ll admit there were blogs on that list that I have never heard of before. Its not a word of a lie when I say I have quite literally spent hours pouring over stunning interiors shots wishing I could just win the lotto!

If you looking for some new interior blogs to follow, I have totally fallen in love with Design Hunter. The blog itself is crisp and cool, the posts equally so.  Don’t just take my word for it have a nosey. One word…..stylish! Another new blog for me was Rose & Grey  another blog with lots of informative content and swoon worthy pics.

Are there any blogs not on that list you think should have been? Would love to hear in the comments.

Note: This is a collaborative post however I retain full editorial control.
Home & Interiors

Kitchen extension update

As I have shared a number of times on the blog we are still running quite a major renovation project.  We took on a  mammoth of a 1970’s house which needed total renovation both inside and out.  While I am excited to see the finished product, its been a very stressful couple of years with a number of wobbles along the way.   The  bathroom refurbishment company have been and gone and now it back to the Kitchen.  One of things which was always on my wish list was a big bright and airy kitchen area. I always had visions of having extended family over for lazy lunches and chats around a large kitchen table.  However living at the bottom of a hill surrounded by beautiful but really tall trees, means we get very little natural light and the light we do get comes in the evening time resulting a dark uninviting space.

Roof Lanterns

roof lantern

Pic Credit: Direct Bi-fold doors

We engaged the assistance of an architect who worked with my husband to come up with the best solution given the constraints we faced.  What was decided after much deliberation and google searching was a flat room with a roof lantern. Ill admit I hadn’t heard of nor had I considered a roof lantern prior to this. I suppose my gut feeling was that these feature or statement pieces were for much larger grander projects.  Thankfully over multiple cups of coffee around a make shift table I finally saw sense and decided we would stretch the budget and go with a small size roof lanten.

If your not sure what im taking about see picture opposite of some stunning UK made roof lanterns.  It was totally worth pushing the budget, it floods  the extension with absolutely tonnes of natural light from all angles.  We opted for the triple glazing option due to the proximity to a main road way to minimise the road noise. I expected the frame to be cumbersome and obtrusive  looking. They really aren’t, I suppose improvements in materials and engineering have meant that they can be slimed down so much.

Durability

During the recent “best from the East” or Storm Emma, we has quite significant falls of snow and I was a little concerned about the durability of the glass in such conditions as I dont think any of us expected quite as much snow. I had visions of them collapsing under the weight of such significant sow. I can happily attest to the fact they are still intact and in place and the snow didn’t seem to do them any damage. They retain the heat well in Winter and from what I have experience so far they regulate the temperature well in Summer time.

If like me you are unsure, do go and see them. I know our architect has asked if one of his new clients could have a look a the roof lantern as she is unsure how it would work. Im happy to oblige as I really didnt appreciate them until I saw it in position.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

Home & Interiors

Why It Pays To Regularly Inspect Your Plumbing

If you are a homeowner, you will most likely have the number of an emergency plumber somewhere on your smartphone which would be used whenever a problem arises, and with very expensive emergency call out charges, it is far wiser to have your plumbing inspected regularly. This is very much a preventative measure, and for those who think that it isn’t important, here are a few of the issues an early discovery can help with.

 

  • Leaking Faucets – That age old saying, “A stitch in time saves nine” could not be more appropriate, and any small leak in your water pipeline system will not magically fix itself, rather it will gradually become worse, and dampness will appear. You should check every month for leaking taps, and replace any that are showing signs of wear and tear. If you would like to fix it yourself, there are various plumbing supplies in the UK available at Trading Depot, and at trade prices, you really can’t go wrong.

 

  • Blocked Drains – It might typically start with a small blockage that doesn’t really affect the water flow, yet more and more foreign objects will attach themselves to the growing obstacle and eventually, you will suffer a total blockage. This can cause major damage to the structure, with plaster and timber affected, and this is why it is a good idea to run hot water in all the sinks which will help to unblock any partial blockages before they become an issue. If you like some help with this, there is a beginner’s guide to unblocking drains online which is full of useful information.

 

  • Minimal Repairs – There will be the odd washer or burst pipe, but with regular inspections, anything that looks a little jaded can be instantly replaced, and that will avoid more expensive repairs at a later date. If you know anything about plumbing, you can carry out any repair work yourself, and with online suppliers of all things plumbing, you can save considerably on the repairs.

 

  • Undetected Leaks – It isn’t always apparent that you have a water leak, as it might be underground outside the home, and over time, this can really cost you a lot of money as your water bill will be unusually high. If you have noticed your water usage creeping up, this could well be the cause, and one way to tell is to turn off all the faucets in the house, then check the meter – which should be stationary. Wait for 15 minutes, then check again, and if the second reading is higher than the first, then you have an undetected leak.

 

More and more homeowners are getting their wrenches out and tackling plumbing issues themselves, and with online suppliers of all the equipment, and online tutorials to help you, fixing your plumbing problems has never been easier. If you make a point of inspecting the entire system every month or so, this will go a long way towards ensuring that everything works as it should.

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

Make 2018 the Year You Invest in an Oil Monitor

You may know friends who use oil monitors, but you’ve always thought they were a bit of a waste of time – you know how much oil you bought and how much you have left. However, over the years you may have had an unpleasant surprise when your oil levels suddenly drop during a cold spell or, worst of all, someone’s stolen half your supply.

Modern oil monitors don’t just tell you what your levels are, they can tell you how much you’re using each day and alert you to perilously or suddenly low levels so you can take action in plenty of time.

home heating control

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Being able to see your levels is useful

Of course, this is the primary benefit, because if your monitor also looks at your daily usage it can tell you that you’ll run out in 15 days; this means you can head here to get a cheap top-up. You can also rein in your usage a bit if you’re burning through your supply a bit too fast.

You’ll be alerted to theft or leaks

Your monitor can sound an alarm if there’s a sudden drop in oil levels so that you can take action. Many thieves siphon off a small amount every few days, so if you don’t find a leak, you can put more security measures in place. If you do find a leak, you can get help before you lose too much oil and damage the environment.

Your boiler will never suddenly run dry and go into lockdown

You can set a limit on your monitor so that it alerts you to dangerously low levels. This is important not just so you’ll top up, but so you can avoid a boiler lockdown. This is a mechanism that prevents damage to boilers – running dry can let air into the internal workings – and while it does prevent any damage, it also means a call-out as well as a top-up.

You can keep an eye on your tank from a distance

You can look at your oil levels from your cosy bedroom; it’s also a lot cleaner than using a dipstick.

You will save fuel and carbon

You can get monitors to tell you how much carbon you’re sending out as well as how much oil you’re using. Knowing how much CO2 they’re responsible for is a wake-up call to many – they finally upgrade their boiler or fix the windows. Monitoring your oil usage can help you to save up to 15% on your spending each year.

Oil monitors aren’t as expensive and fiddly as they once were

Lots of people would like to install and use an oil monitor but they think that the cost of buying and fitting one is more than they’ll actually save. This isn’t true anymore as many modern tanks have sockets ready for the monitors to slot into. Other think that bunded tanks don’t work well with monitors, but with the right advice and the right monitor, there’s no difference.

 

Note: This is a collaborative post
Home & Interiors

Tips on adding some colour to your garden

colourful garden bench

Pic Credit: Sloane & Sons Garden Benches

I love my garden and I especially love it in full bloom, full of a gorgeous array of colours, however the weather this time of  year does not lend itself to that as much. The extent of adding colour for me often leads to the use of props, ornaments etc. My husband is a lot more experienced in this area so I leave all things garden related to him!  In fact he owns more garden equipment  that he knows what to do with!!! As crazy as it may sound this time of year is the ideal time to start laying the ground work for your winter garden and hopefully giving you a lovely colourful garden at what often is a cold dreary time of year.

Sloane & Sons Garden benches have produced a really useful guide that list the types of flowers that are the most hard wearing to help your garden bloom in Winter. The guide discusses the ten best flowers to grow for the Winter time.

My own personal favourite is Cyclamen.  There is something so magical about seeing them so colourful in full bloom while little else is flowering. Every year we opt for shades of pink and while they do take a little work and maintenance, really this it is worth it. They are also ideal for flowers beds and even indoors. I really love the garden and think taking the time to make it a relaxing space is so worth it regardless of the time of year. While it may take a little effort and research the pay off is so worth it.

Note: This is a collaborative post

Home & Interiors

Spring is in the air – can you guess the flowers?!

The last couple of mornings I can really notice the brighter mornings, there is definitely a sense that spring is on the way. I really love Spring time more than Summer actually, its symbolic of new beginning, new growth.

We start to see the first of this seasons flowers.  However much I love to look at flowers I am really terrible at knowing what exactly there names are.  When we plant our garden each year I leave that to my husband who has infinitely more knowledge in this space than I do.  Definitely the green fingered person in our house!

For fun we took this can you guess the flowers? Quiz in association with Rattan Direct. Suffice to say my results were pretty dismal and naturally his were pretty good.  Earned himself some bragging rights right there!!

So how well you do – click on the above link and let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

 

Note: This is a colloboration in association with Rattan Direct.

 

 

Home & Interiors

Enhance the Beauty of a Conservatory with Stylish Furniture

conservatory window

Pic Credit: Pixabay

The conservatory has come of age. With beautiful detailing that enhances the beauty as well as bringing increased energy efficiency to the space, a conservatory is a means of adding extra space to your home.

But no matter how you choose to use the space, you want it to have a stylish, yet functional interior. So how do you create a space that is effortlessly chic?

Creating the Perfect Conservatory Interior

  • Play with styles but make sure there are common elements that keep it connected to the interior design dĂ©cor of your home
  • With so much natural light, colours take on a completely different tone and feel, experiment to see which colours really work
  • Accessories are key detailing features that can transform the space into something extraordinary, don’t underestimate their use in the conservatory
  • Consider materials and fabrics carefully as the light and heat can be problematic for some
  • Rattan is the perfect choice because it has all the right properties to withstand heat and light of the conservatory, as well as being available in classic, traditional and modern styled pieces

A Stylish Conservatory…

… is the end product you will have after reading this Guide to Stylish Conservatory Furniture. With handy hints and tips, it has everything you need to know about styling the space in your conservatory.

Home & Interiors

Interior Design Trends whats going to be hot in 2018

Top Trends for 2018

We have just about entered the Christmas season and already im scouring Pinterest to make my wish list for our home renovations for 2018. We have been undergoing some major renovations throughout 2017 and this will continue with hopefully the final touches just left to do in 2018.  Often its the final interior design finishes that are the hardest to agree on. With this in mind im delighted to work with Sloane & Sons  to look at what is predicted to the big interior design trends in 2018.

interior design inspiration

Pic Credit: Pixabay

Over the last few years we have all been moving towards high tech homes where everything is interconnected, wifi enabled etc. However I am delighted to see one of the top trends for 2018 is the move back towards balance and simplicity. Enjoying views, chill out corners, or spaces to relax, unplug and unwind. I love it!

While I whole-heatedly embrace technology I also love the idea of the breather, the time out away from being so accessible.

Other predictions im loving for 2018 are dark wood flooring, tonal reds and simple furniture shapes – clean lines and curves. Now these are trends I can really get behind.  I love simplicity and elegance in interior design.

For more information on the above trends and details on how to incorporate them into your home see here

Note: This is a collaborative post

 

The Mamma Fairy