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.

clairejustine

My love of shutters must go back to my first trip to France when I was a teenager on an exchange visit from school. There are many wonderful things about France such as the space, the friendly people and the awesome food and drink. When it comes to housing, as well as being far more affordable than in the UK, so many properties have shutters making them so pretty to look at. I often wonder why more UK houses do not have them as our weather is certainly pretty similar to that in the North of France at least.

I have to admit my love of shutters is mainly about the look of them and how much they add in value in terms of style. However, today I am going to dig a little deeper into the benefits of having shutters in your home.

Privacy

I do like my privacy at home. Although I can be friendly when out and about, home is my sanctuary and I like to keep it that way. I  have lived in several homes with big windows onto the street where passers-by have gawped into my house often without any embarrassment at all. Shutters offer that protection from such unwelcome attention and I think shutters in London might be a really good idea with so many people milling around even in residential areas.

Expressing yourself

We all like our homes to say something about us and our individual style. Interior design is a great way to reflect our personalities and get creative. If you have internal window shutters you can have lacquer and paint effects that tell the world what you are all about style wise from shabby chic to a love of a more urban look. Shutters can be seen as jewellery for your home. Great shutters are beautifully crafted and can be custom made so you get exactly what you want.

Energy Efficient

With fuel bills soaring, anything that helps with energy efficiency has to be a good thing. Shutters make a big impact keeping your home warm during cold winters months. They are a great weapon against general cold but especially extreme temperatures like those recently experienced in the UK when the Beast from the East came to call. Even better, when you are sweltering in the Summer months, the shutters help transform your home into a cool sanctuary. Perfect!

More affordable than you might think

You may have never thought about having shutters in your home. You may be worried about the cost involved. Do think about the benefits when weighing up the pros and cons of making the investment. Also it is well worth checking out any bargains to be had such as these plantation shutters prices online.

Home security

When you check out crime statistics, levels of burglary can be scary to think about. Not only might you lose your expensive possessions but also things that cannot be replaced such as things that have been passed down through the generations or things that hold special memories. You have worked hard for what you have and you really do need to consider home security in this day and age.

Easy to maintain

Regular readers know that I am no domestic goddess and my husband has hardly any DIY skills so anything that is easy to maintain gets a thumbs up from us. With shutters it is just a case of getting into a regular cleaning routine and you need simple and readily available products such as a vacuum cleaner, a brush you can wet and a dusting cloth. Get into say a weekly routine and your shutters will remain looking as good as the day they were installed.

Other benefits of shutters include that they put you in control of the levels of light in your home which is great for me as I like light to flow in most of the time. If you are on a busy road, they do mask the sounds quite effectively too.

So as you can see, shutters might be pretty and stylish but they have additional benefits that really can enhance your home and lifestyle.

 

 

Living on site whilst a major building project is taking place is no mean feat! In an ideal world  you would whisk your family off to warmer climes, returning home to a new shiny extension. Building work has a tendency to take what feels like forever, so it isn’t always convenient to move out for a few months. You also need to consider work and school commitments.

Unless you have employed a site project manager to make decisions for you, it is important to be around to instruct tradespeople where you want your plug sockets situating etc. Your only feasible option is to live on site whilst the work takes place. Try to visualise the end result to provide your family with the motivation to persevere, you could even imagine the whole process as a strange kind of camping trip, especially useful for when the roof of your home becomes little more than tarpaulin!

Building Project

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With a little creativity living at home during major works is doable.

Prepare a plan

Communicate with builders to try and get a detailed schedule of works. This will enable you to plan which rooms you will have access to and when. Cooking facilities will be a consideration if your kitchen is involved, as well as bathroom facilities. If the work is going to be taking place in the middle of winter, will the heating be off for long periods of time? By having a clear plan you will be able to create contingency plans for days when being at home will be impossible.Communication is key.

Consider the space you have available

During the construction process it is likely that the space you have available will be restricted. You may need to clear rooms of bulky furniture so that you can create a temporary area for cooking and storage. To help with the moving of bulky items you could consider hiring the assistance of a man with a van as located in shiply. You could then store the items in a self storage facility until the building work is complete.

If you have pets, the comings and goings of different contactors and noise could be potentially stressful for them, especially if have dogs and cats. It may be worth looking at kennel facilities or looking at alternative places for them to stay such as with family and friends.

Have a contingency plan

There may be occasions when the work becomes unbearable, it is therefore a good idea to have a back up plan for when the going gets too tough. If you experience a total lack of power or we hit a particularly cold snap, your best option would be to move out for a few days. You could consider staying with family and friends, renting a cottage or getting a room in a hotel for a few nights. This will give your family a chance to recuperate.

If your property is large enough you could site a caravan on your land to live in whilst the work takes place. At least you will have somewhere to retreat to. It could even be quite exciting – for a short time!

Twin Mummy and Daddy

If you are a fan of growing things in your garden, then you are likely to want to make the most of any time that you have to flex those green fingers.

The trouble is, if you live in the UK, then you are always at the mercy of the weather, and as we all know, this isn’t always the kindest. That said, there are ways that you can extend your growing season.

To help you, we have put together our guide on 5 ways that you can extend your garden’s growing season and make sure that you enjoy gardening as much of the year as you can.

Buy yourself a polytunnel

If your concern is always to protect the plants that you have and make sure that they have the ideal conditions to grow, then you may need to invest in a polytunnel. These simple pieces of garden equipment are similar in functionality as a greenhouse, however, they are not a permanent building. They give your plants, fruits and vegetables a protective space to grow, making sure that they do not suffer from the heat, the cold, the wind the rain and even strong sunlight which can also cause them to struggle to grow. They also come in a range of sizes which is ideal for gardens that might not be the biggest.

Raise up your beds

Want to make sure that your garden plants have the best opportunity to grow and want to be able to prolong their season as long as possible? If this is true for you then you may want to consider creating raised beds to plant them in. Not only do raised beds look great, but they also gives your plants a fighting chance. You will be less likely to step on them as you walk around the garden and they will be at less risk from pests, weeds and of course the weather too. These are also a great DIY project, something that you can do at home using recycled materials.

Don’t overwater, let the rain do it instead!

We all know that our gardens will need water to grow, but this doesn’t mean that we should overwater them. Overwatering can be just as dangerous as underwatering your garden. Overwatering encourages the roots of your plant to remain at the soil’s surface, rather than digging further down, this means that the roots will dry out quicker when the weather is warmer and that they won’t have quite as many nutrients to absorb. This can mean that your garden doesn’t last quite as long as it could. You need to embrace the natural water that is sure to come from rain, rather than always watering yourself. After all, rain is something that we see plenty of here in the UK.

Use your compost as a warming blanket

Compost piles is are always a good idea for your garden. They not only help you to reduce the food waste that you may produce at home, but this will then help your garden to grow as best it can. Not only is compost ideal for delivering some nutrients, particularly during those off times when your plants are going to need a real helping hand. But it can also help to warm through your soil too, which will be ideal when the weather is a little colder. It covers the soil, which creates a layer to protect it, not only this but the chemical reactions in the compost can sometimes create a warming effect which will help your plants too.

Start by planting inside

Now, this may sound like an obvious approach, but by starting your planting inside you are going your plants a fighting chance to survive the elements outside. Those precious little seedlings are not exactly the strongest of things, which means that any helping hand that you can give them is going to help them when you put them out in the garden. You will need to find space for them to grow of course, which may limit the amount of plants that you can grow, but having them inside is not only great for the plants, but also means that you can encourage your family to join you in your gardening quest too.

In the UK we don’t always have the best weather, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t embrace the wonder of gardening as much of the year as we can. All you need to do is think about ways that you can help all those precious plants to grow, no matter how uninviting the weather could look outside.

 

Cuddle Fairy

Keeping your bed clean is something we hear a lot about in the media with horror expressed about the statistics around how often people change in the bed. Here are some tips on how it is relatively simple to keep your bed super-clean and healthy.

  • As with every housework chore, it is important to deal with things quickly. If you spill something on the bed, deal with it immediately even if you are tired because it will be that much easier to tackle. Try to avoid rubbing as this can make things worse and just blot the spillage with a damp cloth.
  • Consider how much paraphernalia you have on your bed. Cushions  and teddy bears may add to a good look but are just extra things to clean. You decide how much cleaning you want to do and make decisions about your interior design with that in mind.
  • Wash all bedding at least once a week. Make it a routine. Housewives of old had days for certain tasks such as baking and you can use this method to ensure those sheets get washed regularly. Read fabric care labels and go for the hottest settings recommended in your battle against the dust mites.
  • Vacuum your mattress taking care the attachments are clean first and giving particular action to tricky edges and corners.
  • If you come across stains, research the benefits and drawbacks of cleaning agents such as hydrogen peroxide and liquid dish soap. Enzyme cleaners are particularly powerful when dealing with yuckier stuff like blood, vomit and urine.
  • Baking powder is your friend when it comes to deodorizing your mattress and you can combine it with an essential oil if aromatherapy is your thing. Leave it on for as long as you practical so that it does its thing more effectively. Oh and using a flour sifter is a great trick for spreading it evenly across the mattress. Now it is time to get the hoover out again to remove the powder from your mattress.
  • Throw open your windows to air the mattress.
  • Moving forwards, flip your mattress regularly, invest in a mattress protector and perhaps some new bedding to celebrate all that domestic goddess like effort.

Keeping your bed clean does not actually take too much hard work once you put your mind to it and get into a routine. Sweet dreams!

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