It’s such a relief to be able to talk about warm temperatures and to think about getting  outdoors with the family. Spring is definitely here and it’s time to make the most of that sunny garden.


There is something very special about eating outdoors perhaps with a picnic laid out on a tartan blanket. However, as we all know there is nothing quite like persuading the men in our lives to get involved in cooking than suggesting a barbecue. You can make it a social affair with extended family and friends too. Break away from just meat and look at fish and veggie options to add to the menu. Barbecues are fun whether you use disposable ones or invest on something more pricey.


When I am indoors I always feel like I should be jumping up to do something usually housework sadly. Funnily enough when I am in the garden it seems more holiday-like and that I can give myself a proper break. I think most of us women and  mums need to do this with increasingly busy lifestyles.

Paddling pool

When it gets hot, there is nothing more fun than splashing around in a pool. Most UK households do not have a swimming pool in the  garden but much like barbecues, there are pools for any budget readily available. My advice is not to watch the children but to join in. It’s OK to be silly sometimes and we need to remember that.

Garden furniture

It’s always a good idea to have at least a table and some chairs outside the house. Barbecues are better when you have somewhere to put the food. Chairs are essential for that afternoon snooze or when indulging in the latest summer read. Check out the latest trends and I love the look of modern teak garden furniture and can see myself sitting in a chair with a comfy cushion as the family play.


If you have the space, invest in a trampoline. It is such good exercise to jump and dance around. There are different sizes available and you can get some good bargains out there. Make sure you have a camera handy to take some action shots as they happen.

So there are just 5 things to make the garden ready for summer fun. Do remember to stay safe in the sun and also ensure you cook food appropriately.

Get outdoors a lot and make memories because that really is what life is all about.












Mum Muddling Through

In today’s increasingly busy and stressful world, life can feel overwhelming, complicated and full of obstacles (both physical and emotional) sometimes. However, your home shouldn’t be contributing to those negative feelings. Instead, it should be a calm sanctuary, where you can relax and recharge as well as being a place that invigorates and inspires you.

Creating a home like that doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated. You don’t need to hire an interior designer either. There are many simple things you can do to transform your home into a calm and tranquil space. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.

Create an organised, welcoming entry to your home

A calming, relaxed atmosphere should start the moment you enter your home. A cluttered, chaotic entry area is not just unwelcoming but will also cause feelings of disarray and restlessness throughout your home. Think about what you would like to see as you step in the door. Probably not toys strewn across the floor, so look at what storage solutions would work in the space. A pretty stand to hold umbrellas and hooks or a cupboard that has a place for everyone’s coats and jackets is a good starting point. You could also add a small table or shelf where you can put keys and the day’s post.

Declutter as much as possible

Clutter enhances feelings of stress, anxiety and makes it hard to think clearly. The fewer items of clutter in your way, the calmer you will inevitably feel. When there is clutter, we are also more likely to lose things that we do need. Spending time hunting for something can make us late and leave us feeling tired and stressed. Keeping items in the right place helps you feel calm and aids getting you out of the door on time. Decluttering, however, is never a one-off task. To keep on top of everything coming into our home, you should try to declutter as often as possible, tidying away what you wish to keep. Investing in more storage and making sure the whole family knows where things should go will also make a big difference.

Choosing calming colours

Colour has a huge impact on us in a physical, emotional and psychological way. Colour can affect our mood and even our level of energy, so think about how certain colours make you feel. When it comes to choosing colours and patterns, the less-is-more approach works best for creating a calming and relaxing space. Too many bright colours, or lots of different patterns in a room, can draw the eyes all over the place. That makes a living space feel busy and hard to relax in. An all-white room, or using light-toned neutrals such as taupe, off-white or cream, creates a relaxing and tranquil environment. To bring interest into the space, add texture with furnishings in gold, faded yellows or pale tan colours.

Create space for a calmer mind

Our feelings of anxiety and stress can often build up if there is too much stuff in a small area of the home. Removing unnecessary furniture and furnishings makes a room feel larger and tidier. It also helps you to feel calm and more in control of the space. Even the way you dress your windows can have a significant impact on the way a room feels. Thick, heavy curtains can make it seem dark and cluttered while white no maintenance shutters create a fresher, streamlined look that offers privacy while letting the sunlight stream in. It’s also important to take some time looking at how you use tabletops and shelves. Try only to display items that are special and meaningful to you. Just by removing a few of the items on display you can create a much clearer, lighter space.

Use light to create a calming atmosphere 

Getting the lighting right can be fundamental to creating a tranquil atmosphere. There is nothing quite like the uplifting feeling of the sun’s natural light flowing into a room, so try to take advantage of that as much as possible. When it comes to the evening, bright overhead lights can make it difficult to wind down and relax, especially if we’ve spent the day in a brightly lit office. Spotlights are a useful way to direct brightness exactly where you need it, such as where you eat, read, work and study. Overhead dimmer lights, which you can adjust as and when needed, create a pleasant soft atmosphere in a room.

Your home should be somewhere you can escape to after a busy and stressful day. By taking a little time to think about how you use the space in your home and the things that help you to feel calm, you can transform your hectic house into a tranquil haven.







Working from home is tough. You’re isolated from work colleagues and can only communicate with online friends. It helps, but it’s not the same thing. While you won’t have to deal with many major crises that come up, when a mini-crisis hits, you’re the main gal or guy who’s got to roll up their sleeves and handle it. No one’s coming to your rescue (unless you call someone to help).

Here are a few mini-crises that can hit and how to manage them.

Your PC’s Hard Drive Just Failed!

The hard drive is a critical component of your computer. For PCs – usually 2-3 years and older – the hard drive is one of the first parts to fail. It happens with laptops more often than desktop PC’s because all that movement while traveling around on business can cause damage to a hard drive (solid state drives hold up better).

When you’ve had a main hard drive fail on you or it’s an external hard drive, you’ll need the assistance of Secure Data Recovery. They have vast experience dealing with recovering files and rescuing hard drives that look like they’ve given up the ghost. While the hard drive is being repaired, see if you can borrow a friend’s PC to get work done. If it’s only going to take a few days to fix it, your mobile device at least let’s you communicate with clients even if you have to delay delivery on orders in the short-term.

Your Home Office Phone Line Just Went Down!

Sometimes workers in the area dig up the road for roadworks and take out the local landlines at the same time. You’ve got to love when that happens! It can take several days for phone companies to get out there and resolve the issue. Meanwhile you’ve got no phone service including your office phone line too.

Call up your phone service provider and have them redirect your office line to your cellphone. You could normally set that up yourself, but with the landline down, you probably cannot. It could be possible to do so from your account on their website if the provider is set up to allow customers to do so, otherwise you’ll need to call their customer service. There will likely be a charge per call or per minute (or both) for each redirected call, so plan for the extra costs. Ask if the service provider will credit your account towards the cost. They may say yes.

Your Business Website Is Offline!

You will experience a time when your business website goes offline. The web host has a problem with the web server and it crashes. Or, they have an issue with their internet backbone connection and all their websites are currently offline.

You can check the uptime status by using an uptime verification site rather than having to visit your website periodically. Bear in mind that when loading your own site, you may often get the cached (saved) version of the site which won’t confirm its status. It’s better to check the uptime independently to be sure. Verifying every morning is good practice.

When your site is down, you may get complaint phone calls, or it could reduce the number of contacts that you receive. It depends how your business operates. Adjust your expected income that month to reflect the downtime. Most web hosts have an uptime guarantee. If they’re outside of it, ask about a credit against future web hosting fees to compensate you.

Being prepared for every eventuality is not possible. However, you can take sensible precautions to cover the most damaging things that could happen and have a plan for how you’ll recover should that happen. This will avoid the panic setting in, because you’ve already got it covered.

Confessions of a New Mummy

One of the most stressful points in life is moving to a new home. It doesn’t matter whether you are moving from your parent’s house to college, from college to a place of your own and then in with a new partner, moving is stressful. You have to consider so many different things to be able to stay as organised as possible while coordinating the schedules of real estate agents, movers, the bank: you name them, you’re going to be the one organising them.

Buying a home is a long process. From comparing the mortgage calculator on every bank website to get the best deal for you, to finding the right home and discovering that it’s going to be a while before you can move in. The most stressful move? The one that you do after you’ve expanded your family. Children bring so much joy into our lives. Their very presence is enough to make your whole life feel complete – but my goodness if they’re not the hardest part of a house move! Trying to explain to them, no matter their age, the change that’s about to happen and what it will mean for them isn’t easy. Toddlers and babies are the easiest to transition to a new home, but they’re also the hardest to predict in terms of mood and actions when you actually get to moving day. Teenagers will likely be the ones who resist a move, especially if it means moving to a new school and making new friends again but will also be the easiest to coordinate on moving day. There’s really no winning combination here, but there are a few things that you can do to make it as smooth as you can. Being a parent isn’t easy, but being a parent on moving day could be easier with the tips that we have for you below:

House Move

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Get Them Involved. When we are talking about a baby, the most involved that they could be is to stay asleep on you or nearby while you coordinate the movers and the removals. For older children, they will need a level of preparation. You should aim to start discussing the house move with them at least a month or two before you start looking for properties. They could come with you to viewings if you get them excited enough. This way, they can see the places that they could be living and the new area that they could be living in. It allows them time to think about the process ahead and think through it. They can also see any attractions like parks and pools in the local area, so that they can imagine the fun that they could have in the new area.

Relinquish Control. You’re a control freak. You know it, I know it, your family knows it. When it comes to life, probably not, but when it comes to moving to a new house? You have that military precision that makes things run smoothly. So, when you think about giving the kids a little control over the move, watch out for coming out in hives. Don’t worry, I’m just kidding. Giving the kids an element of control in this change in their lives is going to make a huge difference to their experience. When you are buying a new home, you get the chance to give them the opportunity to splash their personality over their new bedroom. Let them help you with the décor and paint colours if they are old enough to have an input. Stick to colours rather than themes, though, as it will be so much easier to change a colour than strip back and sort out a theme every time they get a new favourite character!


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Avoid Mid-Semester Moves. School is a constant in the lives of your children, and if you want to move to a new area and start them at a new school, avoid moving to a new house in the middle of the semester. You need to make this transition a smooth one, so moving away AFTER the semester or school year has ended will not only give them a few weeks to settle into the new area, it allows them to be ready to settle into a new school with a fresh year. Not many children enjoy being the ‘new kid’ on the block, but time and conversation can help them to move smoothly and with a lot less anguish.

Play Happy. Sure, a move is stressful on you as a parent, but it’s going to be less stressful all round if your kids don’t know about it! If they see you worried, stressed or panicking, they’re going to start worrying about that and feeling stressed. You need the kids to feel as relaxed as possible so that they can move to a new home without worrying that it will all fall through. There’s a lot of build-up involved in buying a new house, and that’s not just for you, either. The move itself should be a huge adventure for all of you, and the more that you make it so, the happier all of you will be. Kids will always look up to you to see what their own emotions and feelings should be. They’ll want to make sure you are okay, but that’s not really their job, is it? They’re your children and you need to play at being happy, even if you’re not feeling it right now.

House Move

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Children don’t often have a say in the big decisions in their lives, so the only thing that you can really do is make the whole process as bump-free as possible. You are the constant that your children have in their lives, and you need to be the person that they look to for their happiness and excitement. Make the move a smooth one, and you’ll all be settling in and headed to school with smiles on your faces. It’ll happen; don’t worry!


My favourite interior styles have changed over the years inspired by trips to salesrooms but also antique fairs, flea markets and charity shops.
Minimalism does appeal to me although you would not think so if you visited my home. I have an image of myself in some dazzling career living the single life in a loft apartment full of light and clean lines. There would be no pets or children so I could have lots of clean white things like Egyptian cotton sheets. Who knows? Perhaps my retirement retreat will be just like this. There is a lot to be said for not living with clutter and knowing that memories remain even when you get rid of stuff.
My close male friend once had a urban styled flat and although I could enjoy visiting that look would not suit me as a home. It just comes across too harsh for me and I like my comforts.
The English Garden look is OK and I could live with it so long as I used bold and vibrant colours. I do love the idea of having lots of real flowers around at all times. In fact, I recently started a new rule that I would treat myself to flowers every Friday.
My love of the bold and vibrant means I do like elements of luxe style in my home but not as the all-encompassing theme. You often see luxe looks in my bedroom though especially when it comes to bedspreads.
The Scandinavian look is not for me perhaps because I associate it too much and unfairly with IKEA. Having said that I do love the idea of not having carpets which are the worst dirt collectors in my opinion.
France could do it for me in some ways with shabby chic and a distressed look. This is one style that is so easy to accomplish via car boot sales and charity shop finds so it can be very affordable to do.
I am a huge fan of the seaside so I am always attracted to anything to do with the coast. I would be quite happy with a Coastal style with deckchairs and a lot of white, reds and blues. You will find pictures of lighthouses and shells in my home. I absolutely love the idea of having bigger coastal items on display such as a wooden oar.
So you can see there are styles I dislike and ones that I like a little or a lot. The truth is I have eclectic tastes in fashion, art, writing and music. I guess that is why the Modern Bohemia look is the one that suits me best. I like to throw different colours and textures together and often from different eras too. My favourite colours are orange and purple so this look is so much a match for me. It also gives me an excuse to retain a little clutter and to have mismatching colours and shapes. Life is messy and I quite like my home to reflect that.
If you want to investigate these styles in more detail and find out which one is for you check out Julian Charles and get revamping your home today.