Have you heard of broken-plan living?

A room that serves more than one purpose otherwise known as a multi-functional  or open-plan room has been popular for decades. It remains on the wish list of many people hoping to rent or buy a home.

Opening a room up can bring its own issues. For example, a busy mum might crave a room where she can get some quality alone time perhaps crafting, reading or planning a new business.

However, some  mums do like that idea of seeing all the family as they go about relaxing, cooking or dining. It can make the family unit feel closer and safer.

Together with Harvey Jones, fitters of bespoke fitted kitchens, we take a look at the new kitchen trend that allows open-plan living whilst tackling some of the issues outlined above.

Living in open-plan spaces

When leading a sociable lifestyle, entertaining guests can be difficult in a cramped space particularly at times like Christmas and birthdays when numbers are big. This is why open-plan spaces can seem like such a convenient solution. For multi-functional rooms that include a kitchen, the benefits are clear. It prevents the cook from feeling isolated for a start. No more retiring to the kitchen for half an hour or more on your own to prepare meals. A bespoke kitchen scheme that includes an island or peninsula that looks out onto the rest of the space means that cooking and preparing food need no longer be a solitary process. A busy mum can ask for help and memories are made together.

Often also given as a reason for going open plan is the need to keep an eye on children. From toddlers playing and falling over a lot to teens doing (or not doing!) their homework, for busy families a space that performs several functions allows the family to spend time together even when they’re performing many different tasks.   With so many worries about the things children can access online, an open-plan living space means you can keep an eye on things easily rather than worrying what they are accessing in their bedrooms.

House sizes are getting smaller year on year, and that’s why an open-plan kitchen/diner can seem like a good alternative to a separate dining room that may take up too much space. Formal dining is less common now anyway and too many dining rooms end up ignored or even becoming dumping grounds for clutter. However, a kitchen diner can be a good way of maximising space and design. However, you do have to be canny when planning a multi-functional room to ensure all zones work well together and recognize that this kind of layout will reduce privacy, particularly if you’re opening up the whole of your downstairs. Having nowhere quiet to play can become a problem and impact on your mental wellbeing. There are also the issues of noise from appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers. Housework always seems ever-present and never more so when you cannot file things in another room for a while. Fewer walls also mean less space to put furniture, which can lead to a room that’s crammed around the walls or jumbled in the centre.  I have to admit that I am not a fan of open-plan living even thought I look at property shows and it appeals to me. In reality, it does not suit our family dynamic.

How can design move on from open-plan living?

As a new trend for 2018, broken-plan living can set the new precedent in interior design trends, replacing open plan in the future. The idea is to retain all the things you love about open-plan – particularly the light and openness – while at the same time zoning the space to allow for more privacy should you need it. Rather than doing this with colours and textures as you would in a true open-plan arrangements, broken-plan employs structural elements such as half-walls, dividing shelves, changing levels, walls of glass and even mezzanines to delineate and formalise areas for different uses. As someone who does not like open plan but does want to keep an eye on my children, broken plan could be my perfect solution. I could definitely fancy a mezzanine!

How does this trend look?

By cordoning off certain areas to create new spaces, ‘walls’ can be created by using boxed shelving and other furniture to define spaces that weren’t previously there in the room. I have done this with screens in the past. Of course, you don’t want to regress back to small and dark rooms, so don’t cram the shelves full of books – instead, artfully arrange a few favourite pieces to signal the change between one room and another and leave some of the shelves open to allow light to freely cascade from one zone to another. If you’re just starting your project, consider just knocking down half a wall and leaving the top open, allowing sight-lines through but at the same time giving you more wall space to play with. Wall space also allows the addition of works of art to reflect your personality. While hatches perhaps should remain a distinctly 70s invention although I quite like them, a larger aperture in the wall between a kitchen and sitting room, for example, is a workable and modern substitute. I like how broken plan can mean more light as that is such an asset in a home and makes me feel better instantly,

Although you can use furniture to cordon off various parts of the room, this should be done sparingly and subtly. It can look really clumsy and obvious. Also, consider building in pocket doors that will slide out of sight into the walls when you want to join two rooms but can be closed quickly to create separation when needed. This is preferable to those clunky sliding doors of yesteryear.

As well as this trend, Crittall-style windows have also become a popular interior design trend. Metal framed windows and sometimes doors traditionally used in industrial spaces or as exterior walls onto gardens have celebrity fans such as TV presenter and architect George Clarke, who celebrates their ability to cleverly divide an internal space without shutting off one room totally from another.

Broken-plan spaces can accommodate changing floor and ceiling heights – helping to bring spaces together that usually wouldn’t work as an open plan space. With broken-plan living, the options are unlimited when it comes to your interior design space.

So are you a fan of clearly separated rooms, open-plan or might you give broken-plan a whirl?

 

January can bring with it some negativity; from the buzz and excitement that came from Christmas and it’s build up, to then having to sit down, get back to work, and look at the mess that your finances are in. Not to mention that you may have felt like you’ve overindulged over the festivities, and are left feeling bloated and skint. Luckily, there are things that we can do about both of them, so that you can start the next few weeks of the new year off with a bang.

But if you have decided that this year is the year that you get your finances in order, possibly change jobs, or look for another way to boost your income, then this post is for you. You’re not alone in wanting to make some more money, and not alone in wanting to sort your finances. So here are some pretty epic but simple ways that you can make an extra income this year, that don’t require you to work all hours under the sun. Have you thought about any of them before?

Finances

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Talk To Your Boss

If you are employed by someone else, rather than being self-employed, then it can take one conversation to give your income a boost. The conversation in question? All about getting a pay rise. When was the last time that you had one? It could be a little bit of an awkward conversation, but finding out how you can get one and what you need to do, can give your income a boost. If you work full-time, every £1 that is raised can mean an extra £2,000 over a year. So having the conversation can be really worth it.

Property Investment

If you have a home that you could use as collateral, then it could be worth looking into investing in property. Choosing some luxury apartments in the right part of the country can mean a steady stream of income if you choose to rent them out. If renters can pay the mortgage off for you, and perhaps leave you with a little extra each month, then you are going to boost your income in a big way. Not to mention that you will have property in your name that you can do as you please with. You could also look to buy, do a property up, and then sell it on, if you’re looking for faster cash. There are more risks with this, though, so work out all the maths before taking the leap.

Rent a Room

Along similar lines, and without needing to have cash upfront to invest in, you could rent out a spare room in your home if you are a homeowner. With sites like Airbnb on the rise, more and more people are taking advantage of this opportunity to generate an extra income. Plus, if you were going on holiday yourself, you could rent the whole home temporarily, rather than just one room. There’s some admin to do to get set up, but from there, you can just list it as often you want a lodger to be there.

Shop and Sell

If you’ve been watching ‘Girl Boss’ on Netflix, you’ll know that it is the true story behind the vintage clothing line ‘Nasty Gal’. Where basically, she found vintage items of clothing in stores or in house sales, cleaned them up and repaired them if needed, and then sold them on. This kind of hobby can be as big or small as you need it to be. So if you’ve got an eye for a bargain, and enjoy this kind of thing, buying and then selling on could be a fun way to make some money.

Finances

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Sign Up To Freelancer Sites

With sites like PeopleperHour and Fiverr on the rise, people pitch for what they want and then you can apply to do it for them, or with Fiverr, do something else in return. If you have a keen interest in web design or graphic design, for example, people will post on those sites that you’re looking for someone to design a website that you could apply to do. The same goes for social media marketing or copywriting. So with a skill and some extra time, you can generate an extra income for sure.

Consider Network Marketing

There is a bit of negativity around network marketing. It can feel a little cringe-worthy to say the least, when you get a DM through your Instagram about trying out some wraps. But the best way to make money with network marketing, is by signing up to one that really interest you. If you love makeup, then a makeup one would work well, as it would be something that you naturally talk about. If you love health and fitness, then something like Beachbody would work as again, it could come naturally to you to talk about it. So if there is one that takes your interest, then it could be worth looking into to have as a bit of a side hustle.

Get a Better Bank Account

Loyalty gets you nowhere when it comes to your bank account. So if you have had the same one for a long time, then why don’t you switch? First of all, a lot of banks offer a switching bonus of cash into your account. They are nearly always over £100, which is just free money. Secondly, having a better account for your money does pay in other ways. If the bank account offers a higher rate of interest, then you will be getting more than before, just having your money sitting there. So a simple way to boost your finances is to look at where they are being held. It can be a quick change as they’ll do it all for you, but can make a difference to your money over the year.

Have you set yourself any goals for the year that you want to achieve? Are any of them related to your finances? It would be great to hear what you think.

Mummies Waiting
Pink Pear Bear

It is difficult to cope when every day is a financial struggle. You might work all day every day but still not have anything left at the end of the month. You’re not alone. The cost of living has simply escalated too much too quickly, and we’re left scratching our heads to figure out how to pay the bills. There are a few approaches you can take to managing this situation. Doing nothing might leave you even worse off.

Stop Everything

When you’ve reached the point of emotional intensity about your money situation that you find yourself crying or angry, things need to happen now. Emotional reactions like this are normal when you can’t see a way out of difficulty. Taking action, even if you don’t like it, gives you back some control over the situation. It’s time to stop everything that isn’t absolutely essential spend. Try this for one month.

Here are just some of the things that you might need to stop spending money on for a while:

Chocolate, biscuits, sweets, cakes and other non-essential food – You won’t go hungry or malnutritioned by cutting out these items. Of course, you might miss this type of snack so make sure you have something to see you through between meals that perhaps you’ve made yourself. There has been a substantial price increase on sugary and other non-healthy foods lately.

Money

Can you say goodbye to all this for one month? Image credit

Coffees or drinks out – Socialising is really important, so don’t give up the chance to meet up. But choose your venues wisely. Invite your friends to your house instead of spending at coffee shops. Why not walk around the park and bring a mini picnic?

Clothes and shoes that aren’t replacing something worn out – Retail therapy like this has become habitual for many of us. Try buying clothing to replace items that no longer fit or are worn out. This can help to avoid bursting wardrobes, and will encourage you to become more creative with your outfit ensemble choices!

Haircuts and styling beyond a trim and colour at home – We ladies have seen price hikes of an extreme nature when it comes to taking care of our hair. Even shampoo and conditioner from the supermarket is more pricey. Pick a cut that is easy to maintain. Then reduce your spend to just trims. If you colour, try a home kit for a month to see if that can work for you. It might save you hundreds of pounds a year.

 

Cosmetics unless you’ve run out – This is another area where our money can disappear. Lots of us love to change our colours up every season. But this simply isn’t practical when money is so tight. Invest in a multi-colour palette and see how versatile it can be.

Apps and games – If you often pay for apps and game updates, then it might be worth stopping for a month to see how much you really need it. We all need hobbies and interests to enjoy when we have some downtime. It might be time to find some free sites for a while.

Movies and TV packages on demand – One month off shouldn’t cause too many problems, but it might save a little bit of cash when you need it most. When you’ve managed a little while with none of the packages, consider reinstating the bare minimum ongoing. It only needs to be for a while until your finances are in good shape again. The same goes for your music streaming packages.

Gym memberships – All of us need to keep fit, and some of us need particular exercises for therapeutic reasons. However, it is possible to stay in good shape for free. Walking and running are great cardio activities. Perhaps you have a bike? A step can be very useful too. Check out YouTube for some great exercises using just a workout mat at home.

Non-essential Spend Quashed, Time For Other Cuts

Now you might be feeling that this is frugality gone mad, but for just one month to get over a financial bump, it might be an eye-opener. The next thing to look at is your essential expenses. Can they be reduced? Rent and mortgage payments must be made in full each month. You can’t risk the consequences of not covering that cost. But if you can’t afford it anymore, you must consider moving to cheaper accommodation. As a mum, you’re not likely to be in a position to rent out a room to reduce your own burden.

Pull out the knitwear so you can turn the heating down a degree. Image credit

Emergency!

Are you in a hurry to cover arrears before you find yourself homeless? You might quickly sell some unused items like clothes you don’t wear, appliances you can live without, or jewellery. This can be heartbreaking, but a roof over your head is more important. You might need to borrow the rest from a friend or lender like MoneyBoat that works quickly enough. It’s often at this critical time that other things go wrong! The car might break down so you can’t get to work. Or maybe the fridge stops working? These are other costs you need to cover in a hurry, so sometimes you have to make the tough calls.

While you’re searching for something suitable, try to turn the heating down a degree, turn off all lights and appliances not in use, and batch cook. These will all save a lot on your energy bills. Again, these must be paid promptly, but most energy companies will help you out with a payment plan if you struggle.

After A Month

Once you’ve proven to yourself just how little you can live in, you can make some big decisions about moving forward. Ask for a promotion and pay rise at work. You know you deserve it so detail your contributions and their value to your employer. Find some work-at-home work to boost your income too. Most importantly, use a detailed spreadsheet to meticulously budget from now on. This is a great tool to help you avoid overspending and struggling in the future. Hopefully, going forward, you can even put a few pounds away each month to cover shortfalls and emergencies. Perhaps there is just enough for that well-deserved chocolate bar too?

I am reviewing a Palmistry App which is a first for me. The new app is called PalmistryHD

Palmistry App

How do you feel about palmistry and fortune-telling  in general? I have never ruled out that there may be something in such things. As I get older, I am convinced there is more to this life than most of us understand.

My late Mum often told the tale of visiting a fortune-teller in Whitby on a corner right by the sea. She told me the woman told her exactly how her mother would die and that she was right. She also told Mum she would die in a very similar way and was proved correct on that score too although obviously many years later.

I have had a palm reading which predicted my 3 children. I have always had an interest in astrology and might like to do a course on it at some point. I have consulted a psychic along with some other mums at a social event in Leeds a fair few years ago now. Again, there were things she could see or seemed to know that were scarily accurate including a baking history in my family and details of how my relationship with my husband operates. Intriguingly she also told me there was a grandmother (I have four just to confuse things!) who found me frustrating as the world is my oyster writing wise and she was prevented from pursuing her writing.

I am a cynic by nature but to be honest I am more minded to believe in this type of thing than some of the things we are expected to take on without question like things the Royal Family and politicians want us to swallow.

The app is easy enough to download to your smartphone even for someone who does not use apps regularly like myself. It asks for your name and date of birth. It took me a few seconds to work out how to move the birth date from where it landed immediately but that is just because I am a bit dim with technology.

You are asked to take a photograph of your palm and there is good guidance on where to place your hand  so that it is on a dark background and your palm fits inside the circle of a pre-set image of a hand. My photo worked first time and it is quite exciting to watch the circle showing your results being gathered. What could the future hold? At the very least it is a bit of fun.  The analysis can be used to reflect on key areas such a love, success, money and health which  most of us are looking into at this time of year anyway. In fact, these are the very issues we struggle with throughout our lives which is probably why they are incorporated in wedding vows.

I was amazed how spot-on my results were picking up on some ways of thinking I have which do not serve me well like my constant questioning and unpicking of the past and beating myself up too easily for decisions made.

A lack of security was mentioned and anyone who knows me will also know how insecure I am and how very much I would like to feel safer.

Apparently whether I am conscious of it or not I am looking for love. Now if anything was going to persuade me to get a fuller reading for £11.99 this could be the area of interest. We all want a little love in our lives!

The app also picked up that I can be extrovert and affable or introverted and reserved depending on the situation.

It also said I have a great deal of charisma – I will leave that for you to decide on!

You also have the opportunity to check daily horoscopes. I used to do this all the time in the past before parenting and work responsibilities meant such pleasures had to be curtailed a bit.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the app as a bit of fun and also the chance to reflect on my life and times. It helped me think about the things that serve me and the things that hold me back. That can’t be a bad thing at the start of a brand New Year.

Website: https://stellarpalmistry.com

iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/nl/app/palmistryhd/id1324828998?l=en&mt=8

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stellarpalmistry.app

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1u_qAK2U5s

 

 

It’s the start of our Happy New Year because I am determined to have one. Looking back all the years that end with 8 have gone well so far from my birth to the best year at college to falling in love to getting married. I have a really strong feeling that this year will be a life-changing one and in a very positive way too.

Happy New Year

I am cheerful because we had a lovely Christmas and how wonderful to wake up in the New Year with money in the bank. We kept Christmas very simple and that worked well – presents, laughter, fun and telly! Nothing wrong with that and food we wanted to eat rather than what Christmas dictates we should. There were of course sprouts and lots of them because I love them with a passion!

We had a couple of relatively wild nights out to keep a fair balance to the festivities too.

We have a new kitten who is learning to keep the two dogs in their place. She is totally adorable, very tiny even though she is 6 months old and a wonderful ginger colour. She has become part of the family very quickly snuggling up with whoever is available to cuddle.

My daughter has decided to write a musical. I admire her ambition.

I have had some good video game sessions with my son and we are now making this a daily event as it gives us some one-on-one time so we can chat too.

My teenage son has said he is just going to have a few weeks more of rest and relaxation before he starts doing something possibly education. I am just pleased he is not going to spend the rest of his life in a horizontal position. Leave them alone and they work out their own answers perhaps.

It is raining a lot but that is not getting me down although I am looking forward to Spring already.

Finally, my husband is away this weekend which means I can focus on some tasks that matter to me without interruption. I also intend to inject a party atmosphere to wrap up the Christmas season before work starts properly next week.

How could I forget? I also started #BestBootForward with my friend Chloe.

What are you feeling positive about this week? Wishing you a very Happy New Year!


R2BC at Mummy from the Heart

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