FIVE IDEAS TO INJECT SOME LIFE INTO YOUR HOME DECOR

Let’s behonest. When it comes to decorating your home, its bever going to be finished…new trends, new furniture needs, boredom..We are constnantly changing and so our fashion a decor choces are too! Here are some ways to keep up with your decorating needs that hopeully won’t cost the earth but will make a huge difference to how your home feels.

Feature walls

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photo-gallery-3The Idea Room

Decorating a full room can take time. But if you are happy with the walls and colours then perhaps adding a feature wall to some of the rooms is all it needs. You could decide to paint one wall in a different colour. Perhaps to tie in with a colour scheme or theme you have in mind. You could turn a wall into a piece of art by adding some wall art. There is a great choice on websites like wallpaperink. Alternatively, another option is to make use of your photographs and create a photo montage wall. You don’t have to stick with the same idea for the whole house. One room could include some wall art while another includes pictures. The choice is yours. A feature wall can have a big impact on the space you have.

 

Soft furnishings

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Sometimes just adding some new soft furnishings around your home can be just enough to inject some new life into it. This could be by adding some new cushions to your sofa in your living room. Or a comfy throw to a bedroom. Even moving some of your bigger furniture around into different spaces can give off a new look.

 

Injecting a bright colour

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If your home is fairly neutral, then a great way to add a little zest to things is by injecting a bright colour into your living spaces. A mustard yellow in a living room, or a nice pink in a bedroom. The bright colours attract the attention giving off a feeling of a newly decorated space when you haven’t done that much.

 

Decluttering your living spaces

Going around your home and tidying up your spaces can make a place feel brand new. It happens when we can just get on with daily life, and clutter can build up. Like unopened bills on the kitchen surface. Or old newspapers and magazines on a coffee table. Go round and declutter your home. The new minimalist look can make your home feel very different.

Making use of light

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Finally, making use of light can make any space feel different. Getting as much natural light into a home is one way of doing it. Or if that isn’t possible adding some new light features. Perhaps a new reading lamp, or new light fittings. The best option is to open your blinds or curtains and make use of the natural light. You will be surprised by how much your room can change by just allowing the light in a bit more.

 

I hope these ideas inspire you to inject some new life into your home decor. Often it is just the simple changes that can make the biggest impact.



HOW TO FILL YOUR HOME WITH ART

 

Living-1Interiors by Studio M

I’m a broken record when it comes to this subject, but I truly believe having art in your home can have soo many benefits. Without pointing out the obvious of art being inspirational and aesthetically pleasing, it can also be mood boosters, fun and great investments. But there are so many ways you can fill your home with art. Here are some great ideas below.

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Buy from student exhibitions

Many colleges and universities will have an end of year exhibition where they showcase the students work. These are often free to the general public and allow you to see new and emerging artists work up close. It’s not uncommon for the artwork to be on sale for reasonable prices. It’s likely these artists need funding for future projects and their education. So many are more than willing to sell their work. My university did an end of year showcase, and the variety of work was amazing. If I wasnt a poor student at the time I would have loved to picked some pieces. It’s not just paintings and photography either, you can get sculptures, textile pieces, glass work the possibilities are really endless. There are just so many different types of mediums out there.

 

Create your own

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Artwork can be super expensive, and sometimes you can spend hours trailing through sites and shops looking for pieces to buy. The last thing you want to do is buy random pieces for the sake of it. Remember collections can take years. If the price isn’t right, or you haven’t found anything that’s your style, instead of going without, why not create your own. There are websites you can visit that let you upload a photograph that is then turned it into quality canvas prints or posters. You could choose an artistic shot from your son’s birthday party or your honeymoon. You can get your prints blown up massive, for a really large-scale focal point for your home. Or grab some paints, or material and create your own pieces like the navy blue and gold canvas above.

 

Frame your LP’s

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LP’s and record players have had a huge resurgence in recent years. So it’s easier than ever to find and display your favourite album artwork around your home. Go through your attic or your parent’s house and uncover those records you had forgotten all about. Or search through some local charity shops or online auction sites for a bargain. Famous artists such as Banksy, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons have all created album artwork for LPs. So it’s a cheaper alternative than buying an original piece. You can get LP frames from IKEA and other home stores for very little. Hang them on their own, in rows or in a cluster for a fun and nostalgic display.

 

I can not wait to finally have a permanent home of our own to fill with all the artworks I’ve had stored. Here’s to being able to finally be able to hang artwork with nails, not velcro soon!

 

 

 



RENOVATING YOUR KITCHEN ON A BUDGET 

  
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Updating or upgrading your home can cost a small fortune. There are certain areas of the house that we are forever pondering over, especially kitchens! But keeping up with the latest style, and making sure we have everything a modern family might need can be just too expensive.

 So how can you get the kitchen you want without spending a fortune these days?

It’s actually easier than you think, but it may require a bit of work on your part. Much of the cost of installing a new kitchen comes from the installers themselves. The cost of labor has continued to climb dramatically over the last few years. And many kitchen companies will only sell you their kitchen units and fittings if you use their installers to put it in. So can you get around this cost? Yes, when you Do It Yourself.

DIY doesn’t need to be something you shy away from. Instead, you can have faith that you’re saving a fortune. Providing all your electrics and plumbing are already in place, there is little more you will need a professional to do. You will need a professional to install a gas appliance or an electric oven though so it is signed off as safe.

You can install your own kitchen cabinets if you are changing the layout of your kitchen. Reuse the cabinets you have where possible. Hanging wall cabinets is easier than you think when you have the right tools to support them while you work. Once the cupboards are fixed in the right place, you can buy new doors, or paint up the old ones to look fresh and stylish.

Kitchen worktops can be cut to shape and size at home if you have the right tools. But most DIY stores have that service in-store if you’re stuck. Careful measuring will ensure there are no expensive mistakes. You’ll also need to buy some sealant so no water will get down the back next to the wall, and gaps are neatly joined. You can paint tiles if you want a new color. Alternatively, why not buy a cheaper perspex splashback?

Kitchen flooring can also be installed by you. Stick with what was there before. If you had tiles, replace them with new tiles. A spirit level is essential to ensure the floor is even. It can be dangerous to have a sloping or uneven floor in the kitchen. You should also make sure the kitchen is well lit. If you need additional or different lighting, you are likely to need a professional electrician to install it. However, plinth lighting can often be plugged into the mains at a regular socket so you can pop those in yourself.

A brand new kitchen doesn’t need to cost you more than you can afford. If you’re willing to put in the effort to install it yourself, you can save a fortune. Always salvage what you can from the old kitchen. And second-hand appliances can look good and last well. See what you can save on your dream kitchen.



5 APPLIANCES FOR THE KITCHEN

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If you are a budding foodie, you’ll have your perfect kitchen all mapped out in your head. It’ll have everything you need to make some of the best dishes from locally sourced, fresh ingredients. However, budgets are usually the thing that prevents us from kitting out our kitchens. Especially with all of the fantastic appliances and ingredients out there on the market. Sure, you have to settle for cheap tools and appliances when it comes to most things. However, these are the five appliances it’s worth splashing the cash for.

A Spiralizer

If you buy a spiralizer, you never have to blame carbs for weight gain ever again! This cool contraption will turn your healthy veggies into delicious noodles and spaghetti. You can use all kinds of vegetables in it, such as beetroot and zucchini. Buying a spiralizer is an especially good way to kick your pasta cravings. Next time you want a huge bowl of noodles, simply spiralize whatever vegetables you have in your kitchen.

Healthy Fryers

Neither shallow and deep-frying are good for you. These methods involve cooking your food in a lot of fat, which will only add calories. However, there are now lots of healthy fryers out on the market. Air fryers simply ‘fry’ your food in extremely hot air. Some don’t use any oil at all while others need one teaspoon adding. A much healthier alternative to regular frying! If you want more info, read up an online Tefal Actifry review.

Dishwasher

No matter what kind of food you make, you’ll end up making a mess! And some things can be very annoying to hand wash, especially blenders and food processors. A dishwasher makes washing pots and pans so much easier. Simply load them in and turn it on. Once it’s finished everything will come out sparkling clean! Another great thing about dishwashers is their high temperatures. They can kill off more germs than handwashing does.

 Food Processors

Food processors are a major help in the kitchen! They can do everything, from mixing up cake batter to finely dicing vegetables. It’s a good idea to buy one of the most expensive ones that can also be used as a blender and mixer. You’ll use it so much; it’ll definitely be worth the extra money! Once you have a food processor, you’ll be able to make a lot more recipes than you would have done without one. You’ll now be able to make tasty pestos and hummus!

Microwave

Microwaves are very handy and convenient for those times you don’t feel like cooking. If you cook a big batch at the weekend, you can simply reheat portions to enjoy through the week! And on days you feel super lazy, you can always cook a microwave ready meal! It also makes some jobs much easier, such as melting chocolate for baking.

There are probably more appliances on your wishlist, but these are a great few to start off with. Especially if you are completely new to the kitchen! It’s time to get cooking!



10 TIPS FOR ORGANISING AN EVENT 

  Not On The Highstreet
Organizing a special event can be an important responsibility. Whether this is a birthday party you’re planning or a totally different special event, the same sort of principals are used. These 10 effective tips will help you on your way to organizing a special event!
1. Start Planning Months in Advance

You’re always going to pull off your event much better if you start planning months in advance. You’ll feel more confident, stress free, and best of all, your guests will have a better time too! Start planning at least a few months in advance so you can book great vendors and plan properly.

2. Get Organized

Getting organized will help you to see what you have yet to do and what you’ve successfully done. You can do this with a book planner or maybe even an online spreadsheet. This can also give you a way to see the event budget properly and how you’re spending the money.

3. Have a Plan B for Certain Things

If you’re going to attempt to pull off something big at this special event, it helps to have a plan B in place. You may never need to use it, but a plan B can be a good idea if you’re taking a risk of any kind. You never know what might happen on the day either, so for flawless execution a plan B is a must.

4. Take Plenty of Pictures

Taking plenty of pictures is a must, whether you’re throwing a corporate bash or a birthday party. You could even hire a professional photographer, depending on your budget. If you like, you could leave disposable cameras on every table to get the event from all points of view!

5. Focus on the Decor and Creating an Atmosphere

One of the best ways to pull off an event is by focusing on the decor and creating an atmosphere with it. This will set the scene and tone for the night ahead. By taking your time here, you’ll have a great backdrop to all of your pictures too. Choose an appropriate functions room and go from there. What do you want your guests to feel as they enter the room?

6. Don’t Cut Corners When it Comes to Food

The food is probably going to be one of the most memorable things about the event, so don’t cut corners when it comes to your food. It’s probably a good idea to hire a great caterer who will help you to come up with a menu to suit everybody.

7. Consider Entertainment Carefully

Consider your entertainment to make sure it suits the kinds of people you’ve invited. This might be a balloon artist or a classical singer.

8. Create a Budget

Sticking to a budget will help you to spread your money out evenly, and ensure you don’t run out when hiring a particular vendor. You can’t be too careful!

9. Consider Parking

 People may struggle to park at the event, and the last thing you want is a load of disgruntled guests. Make sure you consider this in your planning!

10. Make it Easier for Out of Town Guests

Make it easier for out of town guests to come along. Look for great hotels and places they can stay. You could even give them welcome packs so that they settle in better!



PLANNING A 1ST BIRTHDAY PARTY

  
Archer was 8 months old yesterday, I just don’t know where the time has gone…and I know that he will be 1 before I know it! A babies 1st birthday is such a special milestone!  Some choose to celebrate with just family while other goes all out with a big party. I think we will do something in between. Maybe have a family gathering and a little party for all his little friends! Still a few months off so I have plenty of time to plan! 

Venue
 Ok so first thing first let’s consider a venue! I think we will just look at doing something out ours, hoping at this point we are in our new place. But The number of guests will impact on your choice of a venue. If you are only inviting close friends and family, then you should be alright hosting the party in your own home. This will definitely make the whole day cheaper for you! However, if you are planning a few different people and groups, you might prefer to hire out a local venue. Restaurants with play areas usually cater young children’s parties. Even if your child is only one, older children will enjoy playing in the soft play areas. This is a great opportunity to take plenty of pictures to show your child happy memories when they are older! One of the benefits of hiring a venue is that they often include catering in the price. And that will take one load off your mind!

Food

If you are having a small party at home, then you will have to think about feeding your guests

   
 Good to know

Even though your baby probably won’t be eating the cake in sure your other guests will enjoy having some! You can get on professionally made like the top cake, or go for a simple route and bake it yourself like the bottom one! 

When it comes to the food why not take the fun route with how you display the food. This caterpillar sandwich tray is such a fun idea for the kids! 

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It is a good idea to check with guests beforehand if they have any dietary requirements too! You may have to offer gluten-free food or some selections that suit different allergies.

The Gift

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It’s your child’s first birthday, so you need to get their main present just right! If you are still struggling to think of what to buy them, you can find ideas at Makaboo. Some popular choices for a first birthday include teddy bears and educational toys. Many parents also buy their young babies keepsakes that the child can keep as a memento. Things like delicate gold and silver jewelry pieces are popular. As are cute ornament and picture frames. However, some parents don’t buy presents until their child is either two or three years old. This makes sense when you think about it, as one-year-olds are still too young to appreciate gifts. Whether you do buy your one-year-old a present is entirely up to you. If you are trying to stick to a budget, this could be a great way of doing so.

Entertainment

A party needs entertainment! Especially if it is for young kids.There are many things you can choose from. For cheaper options, think about putting on the entertainment yourself. Do you already have a karaoke machine? Great! Kids love to sing and getting a karaoke out will go down a storm with everyone old enough to have a go. Seeing as the birthday girl or boy is still only very young, try some gentle party games. Games such as Pass the Parcel and Musical Chairs always go down really well with kids. If you’d rather take a back seat throughout the party and concentrate on taking pictures, hire an entertainer. Clowns are popular choices when it comes to entertainment. As Disney is extremely popular with young children, you could hire a Disney Princess to come and delight the kids.

Theme

If you want, set a party theme! Then all the kids can come in cute fancy dress costumes. There are countless party themes to pick. Disney, pirates, animals. The list is endless! If you have a theme, you should also decorate your venue in suitable decorations. You can make props and decorations from scratch by hand, or see if you can find any cool stuff online. 

 Grubby little faces

 It’s also a fun idea to style the food in this theme as well. Like these pirate bananas.

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So if your theme is The Little Mermaid, decorate the venue, so it looks like it is under the sea. Use lots of blues and stick pictures of fish on the wall. You could ice the birthday cake in blue icing and make small fish and shellfish out of icing to cover it in. Have a look at etsy as you could get little mermaid tutus like the one above for the birthday girl! 

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You can also theme the party bags as well. As well as the usual slice of birthday cake and sweeties, think about adding in some small trinkets linked to the theme.

  
Life love and Lucy 

I love the idea of doing the invitations like this! Not only are they super cute! They wil make an awesome keepsake too! 

Their 1st birthday only comes once! I’m so excited about archers and my plan is to enjoy it and not stres out too much! 



CUTE BABY ETSY PICKS

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1. Pineapple Print Organic Bloomers, Lola and Stella, Etsy , 2. Organic Baby Set with hat and swaddle blanket. Bear print, Lola and Stella, Etsy , 3. Paper Plane T-shirt, Earth Cadets, Etsy , 4. Bear Fabric Bag, Tell Kiddo, Etsy , 5. Leather Baby Shoes, Born Bespoke, Etsy , 6. Organic Cactus Print Baby Blanket, Lola and Stella, Etsy , 7.Fox Coat, Olive and Vince, Etsy , 8. Cloud Pajama Set, Shop Hello Sunday, Etsy , 9. Cotton Stripe Dress, Swallows Return, Etsy

I love Etsy for baby things, it’s all handmade, with a lot of organic and eco-friendly pieces. Also due to the vast majority of things on Etsy, more often than not, you will find unique pieces that other people might not have. I could spend a fortune on Arch, though he’s growing so fast, I’m happy with the hand-me-downs from his gorgeous cousin fin, and just buying the odd piece here and there. Though I’m in love with the cloud pj’s and the fox coat..maybe when he’s a little older and not growing out of a clothes size every few weeks.

 

Have a good weekend all and Happy Easter!

 



MAKING FINANCE AND MONEY MANAGMENT EASIER

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Managing money is rarely straightforward. After all, it might be coming from lots of different sources and then going back out to lots of different places. However, there are a number of ways to help you keep on top of your finances and manage your money effectively. Read on to find out what they are.  Hire A Financial Advisor

Financial advisors do exactly what you’d think- advise you on your finances! Some will even come over to your house and meet you there. Have all of your banking, investments and earning information to hand, as well as any related letters.

Have A Meeting With Your Bank

If you don’t want to pay to see a financial advisor, you can get free advice from your bank. A member of staff will sit down with you in a private room and go through any accounts you have with them. They will be able to give you advice and ask any questions you might have. Make the most of their knowledge and remember that they’re there to help!

Utilise Apps

Pretty much everyone has a smartphone these days. There are dozens and dozens of apps out there to help with money management. This list here will give you some good ideas.

Have mobile banking

Most of us now have online banking, but do you have mobile banking? Download your bank’s apps and you can access your account from your phone. You’ll be able to access it with a short pin, or even just your fingerprint in some cases. You can also transfer money. This means less chance of getting a fine if you go over your limit, as you can quickly remedy it.

Use Online Calculators

Once you reach 55, you become eligible for equity release on your home. This equity release calculator lets you find out how much you could release by comparing different UK-based providers. You can also order a free equity release guide.

Keep A Contingency Budget

Even if you’re great at budgeting, you should always have some contingency. Unexpected fees and costs can crop up along the way and take you by surprise. It might be a speeding or parking fine, or an emergency dental treatment. Whatever it is, make sure you can pay for it.

Have Treat Money

It’s all well and good taking care of your money, but you can’t take it with you when you’re gone! Have treat money too. It could just be for a weekly trip to your favourite coffee shop for a hot chocolate and slice of cake!

Check Comparison Website

Companies need to be competitive to gain and retain customers. If you’re not checking up on the better rates and offers every now and again, you’re missing a trick! Check whether you could be saving money on things like electricity, car insurance and your mobile phone, for instance.

Pay By Direct Debits

If you pay your bills yourself each month, you’re running the risk of forgetting one time and getting charged. Bills can also really start to stack up this way! Take some time to set up direct debits for all your bills. It’s far easier in the long run.  



HOW YOU CAN UPDATE YOUR HOME WITHOUT SPENDING A FORTUNE

I often find myself looking for new things that I can do to update my home. I love browsing through Pinterest and home magazines to get ideas. Sadly, most of us are limited by a certain budget as to what we can do with our homes. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being frugal, it’s a fun challenge trying to find the bargain, or make your dream decor. So don’t think that you can’t make a few changes to your home, just because you are on a budget. Here are a few ideas to update your home, that won’t break the bank.

Bargain Hunt

If you are on a budget, shopping in charity shops will be your new best friend. You can find some awesome things in them. Sometimes you need to find the potential in an item. Boring vases, but its a good shape? Spray paint it. So if you are looking to update your mantlepiece or some shelving with trinkets, a vase or jug, then head to the charity shops to have a look. Car boot sales and eBay are also good places to look for home bargains. Car boot sales and flea markets are great places to haggle too. I always try to get to a few flea markets abroad if I can and pick up little bits which will be completely different back home.

Retro-Sideboard-Table-MakeoverHeart Handmade UK

DIY or upcycle some of the essentials in your home. Paint that bookcase, create a new piece of artwork or dye those curtains. Little things like this can make a big difference.

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Outdoors

Grab some seeds and go to town on your front or back garden. Flowers make everyone happy.A lot of people have sheds or outhouses in the garden. If they were built around the 1950s, they might need to be checked by asbestos surveyors. It was common back then, and if there is some, perhaps in the roofing, then it will need to be removed safely, once all that is done why not paint your shed a bright colour?

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Lighting

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I think lighting is the perfect way to update any room. Whether that is just getting some brighter LED bulbs, or getting a new light fitting. A chandelier style fixture can look so stunning, but there are a lot of affordable options out there. Floor lamps or a dimmer switch are great options for mood lighting. Being able to adjust the brightness in a room is a great way to update the room.

 

 



HOW TO MAKE YOUR PARTY GO WITH A BANG

Once you’ve got all the main aspects of your party in place, such as the venue and food, it’s time to organize the finer details. It’s these small details that will ensure your party stands out from any others and will be certainly memorable for all the guests. As the saying goes, ‘the devil is in the details’. Want to know which small things will make your party awesome? Here’s how to make your party go with a bang.

Outstanding Outfits

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 One way to make a party truly memorable is to set a theme. You can then ask guests to come in fancy dress, and it will give you the chance to decorate your venue in a totally unique way. Even if you are planning on going to a few bars after the party, fancy dress is still a great option. Especially if you are planning a hen party! Many hens choose to jazz up their outfits with hen party accessories.

 

Evening Entertainment

How will you entertain your guests? Whatever you choose could make or break your party. If you are hiring a venue, you could see about booking a band or singer to play through the evening. Another popular option is karaoke. You can either book a professional karaoke company to come and compere the night, or you can simply bring a portable karaoke machine along. Everyone will love getting up and showing off their singing skills; karaoke can really bring heaps of laughs to your party!

 

The Perfect Host

 

As the host of the party, it is your job to make sure everyone has a great time. Be sure to mingle with your guests throughout the evening. Offer everyone drinks and invite them to help themselves to any food that is available. While you are planning the event, make sure everything that is to be there on the night will turn up on time. If you have arranged any decorations or outfit pieces to arrive by post, try and get them delivered the day before the party. This will prevent anything from arriving late! If you have booked a band for entertainment, make sure they know exactly where and when you want them. As you’re the host, all this responsibility is on you!

 

Fantastic Food

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gatsby_birthday_party_tableI heart to party

An awesome party can be let down by rubbish food. Make sure you don’t slip up by serving just a basic buffet! Buffets are, of course, perfect party food. If you serve one, you want to focus on quality over quantity. Think about offering exciting dishes from foreign cuisines that hardly anyone will have heard of. It will certainly make a change from the usual sandwiches and sausage rolls! If you don’t have time to prepare any food yourself, think about hiring a catering company. They can help take all the stress out of cooking and baking. What’s more, they’ll do all the cleaning up afterward!