If I had to come up with one absolute must-have in any home it would be light. Of course as we also like our homes to be stylish that includes investing  in interesting and effective lighting.


I wanted to introduce you to the work of Lighting Designer Paula Arntzen from Studio Arntzen. She specialises in concept development, lighting and spatial design. Herr projects are dynamic right from the initial concept through to final production. Clients include individuals businesses, design labels and events.

Besides her lighting design interest Paula has a strong fascination for furniture design. Innovatively she mixes her craft skills with design, and a delicate use of technology, as communicative components of wonder.

I love how Paula pushes the boundaries of design based on stylistic research. Through experimentation with materials and techniques she creates experiences with their own distinctive theatrical identity.


I remember that both my mum and my uncle loved dramatic lighting. There was an infamous occasion back in the Eighties when my Uncle was feeling happy. He went out and bought a £400 lamp and then bored with it within a week and gave it to my very appreciative mum. That set her off and she would regularly go to design light shop to ring the changes on the lighting  front. She always had a real sense of style and was fashionably turned out even in old age and could make her home shine like a show home at the Ideal Home Exhibition. Sadly I did not inherit her skills unlike my brother who went on to a merchandising career with fashion brand Monsoon. Perhaps it skipped a generation a bit as my daughter is a brilliant artist with a real eye for shape and colour.


Here are a few tips of what to consider before making your next lighting purchase.


Can you remember the last time you changed up your fashion style. Perhaps you tried a different brand or went into a shop that you thought was only for younger people. Did you wear a skirt where usually you live in leggings? Did a friend or family member encourage you to break out of a fashion rut. I bet it felt a bit scary but also liberating and exhilarating.

It’s the same with lighting choices. Be brave. Make a statement. Express who you are in your home. Think big literally and metaphorically.


Look at your current lighting? Are you still living like a student with bare light bulbs or cheap paper lampshades? Are your colour choices of the bland variety. It does not need to be that way so if  you have a favourite colour why not incorporate it into your lighting choices?


It is easy to just have lighting over our heads but perhaps a bit boring. I actually miss the old days of the standard lamp giving a more cosy and subtle atmosphere in the living room. Have you considered lighting at different levels in a room? Could you make a feature of an art work will clever lighting choices?

I guess what I am saying is light is lovely and makes us feel better. Injecting some personal taste and individuality in our lighting choices rather than going for same old, same old can also give us some joie de vivre.





Post Comment Love

For many parents, encouraging their children to play out more is a priority. They know that kids who spend plenty of time outdoors are often far healthier than those who sit in front of a screen all day. Numerous studies have shown this to be the case. So, I thought I would put together a few suggestions to help you to get your children to spend more time outdoors.

Buy some outdoor toys

There are plenty of toys, like the ones you can find at fashionworld.co.uk, that are far more fun when you play with them outside. For example, radio-controlled car. Sure you can trundle them up and down the hall. But, that soon gets boring. To get the most out of this type of toy racing them along garden paths.

Get them into sports

From an early age encourage your children to play sports. Kick a soft child´s ball between you, play catch, get them into racket games or rounders. If they want to join the local cricket or football team, do your best to facilitate this. They will stay fitter, learn discipline, make friends and pick up great social skills. So, do what you can to encourage them to play sports, without pushing them too much.

Get them a bike

Once they are old enough, consider getting them a bike. If you are not comfortable doing that consider buying them a kick scooter instead. They can get out and about with their friends on either of these. A skateboard could be another alternative.

Eat outdoors more

As often as you can, eat your family meals outdoors. Take your children on picnics too. Both habits will help your kids to enjoy being outside more.

Walk or cycle with your kids

At least once a week, try to go out with your kids for a few hours. Maybe get into the habit of attending your local park run, or going for a walk every Sunday, before lunch. This is good for your health and it gives everyone a chance to spend time together without any distractions. Spending time together like this can really help to keep the channels of communication open.

Getting into this habit early, and maintaining it through adolescence, has the potential to bring huge benefits to the family. You can find out more about the connection between well-being and quality family time by reading this article by Dr. Gail Fernandez. She is a board-certified child psychiatrist and is also an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at a US University. So, it is a research-based article from which all parents can potentially learn a lot.

A few more ideas

If you would like a few more ideas, take a look at this article. I wrote it last year, so all of the suggestions are current. Plus, most of them are things you can do indoors as well as outside, so many of them will also work for cold or wet days.

My Random Musings

Have you ever considered volunteering? My first major volunteering role came with the Citizens Advice Bureau when I left university. I had messed up my Law Society exams. Even though I had articles offered with a local solicitors’ firm, I had pretty much decided I did not want to do that sort of law.

So on my Dad’s suggestion I found myself at the Citizens Advice Bureau asking if I could help put leaflets out or something. I did not realise then that there are loads of volunteering opportunities available with Citizens Advice. I found myself training as a generalist advice worker. That involved going on training courses in Leeds. working through training packs and shadowing advice staff. I was so looking forward to doing an interview with a client myself but was a bit scared when my first case turned out to be about medical negligence which is hardly the simplest advice topic around.

After that first blip. I found myself coping well and specialising in money advice going onto a part-time paid job and then a full-time one. I guess I am trying to say that volunteering with the Citizens Advice Bureau is interesting and can lead to great things. Here are a few things you need to know if you are considering volunteering.

Initial contact

You can turn up at your local Bureau like I did but these days you can fill out an online enquiry form and then the Bureau will get in touch. You might be invited for a chat or to an open day followed by you completing an application form and having an interview.


You will be given a full induction and training for your role. The training is free of charge and of a good quality. It is respected by so many different employers and educational establishments too so well worth undertaking. You will be supported by a tutor in the Bureau, self-study packs and a course away from the Bureau.


There is no minimum time requirement as such and it is really about what you can offer and what the Bureau needs. Most Bureaux advice sessions take place during office hours but even if you work full-time you could get involved in fundraising, marketing or other roles.


Your out-of-pocket expenses are covered by the Bureau. Bear in mind some Bureaux are unable to provide childcare or other carer expenses.


I am a big fan of volunteering with the Citizens Advice Bureau. I feel it can help you develop skills and qualities early in life that can last you a lifetime. It looks really good on a Curriculum Vitae if you are job-seeking whatever age you are. Many retired people find it helps them make friends and utilises their existing skills. It’s also a great way to meet people on moving to a new town or city.

You can find out more about volunteering with Citizens Advice really easily.

The Pramshed

Lucy At Home

Liverpool is a city with a strong history and a great culture. I used to visit the city with my Dad when he was working there and also once with a female friend who lived in nearby Chester. Later, I had to go to deliver training sessions in my own career.

However, it is one of those cities where I feel I have not really got to know it as well as I would like.

So for my next visit to the North West, I am going to research what to do in Liverpool One and have actually already made a start. The challenge is that there are so many fascinating events that I may need to keep going back for more.


As a writer I love anything that celebrates the power of the written word. Liverpool are putting  on a great event including book swaps, celebrity appearances. book reviews and competitions. Magic will be created with the reading trees so this is something that will appeal to all the family.

Accessible exercise

Our family is not the most sporty one in the world so exercise needs to be fun and easy to do. Greenbank Sports Academy is a centre of excellence in physical education, sport and recreation that is owned and run by disabled people. They are putting on special table tennis sessions and I reckon ever I could manage this fun way to add some movement to our Liverpool trip.


I have always loved visiting art galleries. It is one of those things that somehow has disappeared from my life since becoming a parent. I want to get back to this lovely pastime and to take my daughter who is such an artist herself. The Tate Liverpool is on the Albert Dock so in a lovely location as well as giving us a chance to stop and stare at the works of famous artists.

Going crazy!

I have always loved crazy golf and it equally popular with all my family. I have so many fond memories of games by the sea and at Butlins. So I will head to Jungle Rumble Adventure Golf. It sounds superb with promises of a jungle swamp and a live volcano!

Food and drink

I love finding quirky eateries and Liverpool has so many to choose from. I plan for my trips to be active ones so we will need regular refuelling. I really fancy trying some Japanese food at Yo! Sushi where there is a conveyor belt allowing you to pick what you fancy. The restaurant chain is also the only one in the UK to serve Japanese Seabass.

Have you visited Liverpool? What did you enjoy most about the city?



The Pramshed

I have the luxury of a spare room in our new home. I am thinking it is time I spent some time designing a room of my own. I was brought up as an only child really as my brothers were adults when I arrived on the scene. When we were offered the chance of sharing rooms at college, I chose to have my own. I value my own space.

Spare Room

Of course with a husband and 3 children, space of my own was not realistic for many years. In the earlier years, you have to be around to keep an eye on your children and to keep them safe. I did not even go away from home apart from with work without children until my son was 10 years old. Even then I felt guilty.

Now my children are teenagers and a tween, they don’t want to spend every waking moment with their Mum. My husband likes to watch quizzes, crime shows and so-called male comedy shows on the television. None of these are my thing so I am going to make use of our spare room.

When we viewed the house, I noticed the spare room and wondered what to do with it. In the time we have stayed here, it was a dumping ground for cases and boxes when we moved in, then it became an office for my husband but he now wants to work from upstairs. The spare room in now my oyster!


I want to use the spare room to try mindfulness. I need somewhere to contemplate and the room is perfect as it has a restful air and a beautiful view of the forest. I want to write, draw, read and listen to music in there.


I don’t always sleep well in our marital bedroom especially as my husband is often awake during the night and also because he snores. The spare room will be great for a nap when the mood takes me.

Essential items

To make my spare room a perfect retreat, I will need some cushions and throws. I would like it to have a bit of a beach hut theme going on ideally with a retro style deckchair. I would also love a day bed or chaise longue if I can fit one in which I think I can. I happened to find the one pictured above over on Lionshome and think it would add a classic touch to a room of my own. I would also add an easel to tempt me to paint and be more creative.

I asked my best friend what she would do with a spare room and she joked that she would turn it into a private bar and invite the girls around. My brother said he would transform it into a music room with a grand piano. My children predictably said it would make a perfect gaming room. Ah video games! Now you know why I absolutely need a room of my own.

What would you use your spare room for?



My Random Musings