I love it when my bedroom is my sanctuary and a safe place to retreat to not just at night time but at any time of day where I need some me time and to escape the challenges of the day.

I might want to read or watch television. I may just wish to be mindful. Sometimes my husband or children may be with me and sometimes the dogs put in an appearance too.

Lighting Tips For The Bedroom

One thing that has to be just right is the lighting in my bedroom and just one form really will not do. It is great to check out a design light shop for inspiration.

Lighting choices

You really don’t have to settle for just a central ceiling light in the bedroom. Different forms of lighting suit different activities that take place in the bedroom. Many of us have beside lamps particularly helpful if you share your bed. I like how if my husband reads longer than me which he usually does, I can turn off my lamp and have a darkened space.

Mixing things up a bit

Things don’t have to be traditional or the same as what everyone else does. Your bedroom should express who you are. What colours do you love? Should you experiment with different heights? I like to have retro choices or something a little quirky. Pendant lights take up less space and I think look super stylish. Just be absolutely sure you get them at the right height for your reading and so on.

Lighting up your clothing

I have never done this but it makes such sense to have lighting for your wardrobe or walk-in closet. Good lighting makes it that much easier to choose your outfit and to match  different separates. If you are like me, it also helps you check that the clothes are actually in pristine condition. Do ensure your lighting choices for your clothing storage areas are absolutely safe and not presenting health and safety hazards.

Bring in an expert on lighting

You could consider consulting a lighting designer such  as Paula Artnzen. Tapping into creative ideas and proper expertise can end up saving you from making potentially expensive mistakes.

Happy lighting

I love how lighting in whatever room in the house really can change your mood. As someone who has experienced depression and can still suffer from low moods from time to time, anything that enhances my frame of mind quickly is vital. I use music and I need the right sort of light and colour. It is so easy to think lighting is not important but I think it is. I remember telling my Dad to get rid of some ugly shades on the lights in his new home after Mum died. We are valuable enough to live with beauty and light.

What lighting choices have you made for your bedroom?

 
The Pramshed

The patio is a sun trap – or it should be – but is there something that is stopping you from enjoying this space? Take a look at six small changes you can make, starting and finishing the project on the same day!

Patio

#1 Spruce up the pavers

This patio edit can be applied to any patio material, to be honest, but especially concrete.

All that rain, wind, sleet, snow, ice and sun have left their mark on the patio. From puddles drying green to stains and other detritus becoming ingrained, the best patio edit can be to give it a good scrub.

From a hands and knees job – scrubbing brush, a bucket of warm water and detergent and plenty of elbow grease – to using a jet washer, lifting the grime off the patio surface will give it an instant facelift.

Better still, do it on a breezy day and it’ll be dry by tea time, perfect for a spot of al fresco dining.

#2 Spruce up the patio furniture

Garden furniture can suffer the same fate as the patio surface. At the mercy of the weather, it can soon look tired and jaded.

Giving it a brush and a clean is the first step but then giving it a new lease of life with new soft furnishings changes its looks completely.

Rattan garden furniture is tough and durable but welcomes a little ‘extra’ to enhance its already stylish looks. Add an extra cushion or two to seating, and a throw, perfect for wrapping up in on a cooler summer’s evening. You may include a patio heater into your patio furniture list, for your convenience you can find the best patio heater at fireplace lab.

#3 Buy a rug

Outdoor rugs vary in size and price with some starting as low as £50 for the smaller sizes and rising to over £100.

Having said that, they are a worthwhile investment as they will last several seasons. Available in a range of patterns and colours, there is sure to be a stylish outdoor rug that takes your fancy.

Can ordinary households rugs be used? Some people do use ‘normal’ old household rugs but bear in mind that when it rains, it may take the water-soaked rug a long time to dry.

#4 Add lighting

With so many variations of lighting to choose from, you won’t know where to start.

Opt for solar lights and you won’t end up with a whopping electricity bill.

  • Single ‘light bulb’ for accents – you will no doubt have seen these but these individual lights have their own solar panel on the top that charges the smaller battery sealed inside. Mimicking the traditional lightbulb shape, there are many finishes, colours and styles from those daubed in thick glitter for extra sparkle and clear bulbs. Either way, they add pretty detailing on the patio.
  • LED ‘rope’ lights – many of the LED lights on the market are sealed and suitable for use in the garden but always check. These light strings or ropes will need to be plugged in so make sure you have a safe electrical point to do so. Some systems come complete with their own remote control too or use the app on your smartphone to change light sequence, colours and to turn on and off. Start from £25 upwards depending on the kit you opt for.
  • Solar lights – simple yet effective, use solar lights around the patio to add ambience and glamour. Expect to pay £6 upwards for quality lights that last longer than a few weeks.

#5 Edge the patio

Hard landscaping trends for the garden in 2018 use two or three different hard materials so bring your patio bang up to date by cutting a small recess or moat around the edges of the patio and filling with decorative stones.

The colour is your own choice but use smaller stones as the base and then use slightly larger pebbles in a slightly different colour for contrast.

#6 Add a sail sunshade

If the patio is in full sun without shade, sitting in the sun can see you roasted within minutes.

Adding shade can be easily done by using a garden parasol but why not add a more permanent structure – one that will last the summer but take down when the chillier autumn days come – with a shade sail?

Pricier than a parasol, you ‘plant’ the four poles and then attach the sail using small pieces of rope. Shorten and lengthen the connecting ropes to create a sail of different shape, perfect for keeping the sun off your patio. Available from high street and online retailers.

Which of these six ideas will you try?

6 Creative Patio Edits You Can Do In A Day

 

A leading retailer, Rattan Direct are online suppliers of stylish rattan garden furniture, from sofas to dining sets, all perfect for the patio.

Cuddle Fairy

I think I first started becoming really anxious about chemicals in the home when I became a parent. I think one of the first words my children learned was “chemical” quickly followed by “dangerous” – they have never had any harm from chemicals so perhaps my caution had great results.

I was interested to watch a television news story around the effects of chemicals in the home and in the garden. It was quite a wake-up call to be honest. I had no idea even our kitchen cupboards can be emitting toxins.

In fact, some chemicals may be banned in the near future as they can interfere with air pollution.

Domestic chemicals can have negative effects on our well-being and often we don’t realise that we are using products that contain them. One study revealed that regular household cleaning products, such as shampoo and oven cleaner, release harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and contribute up to half of VOCs found in the atmosphere. Now I have always taken care around oven cleaner but I had no idea I had to watch out for things like shampoo too.

Read on as we explore the effects that domestic chemicals can have and how to replace them with safer alternatives. Let’s protect ourselves and our families.

The fight against chemicals

Research studies are revealing the harmful effects that domestic chemicals can have in the home. Although some are on their way to be banned, there are others that remain on our supermarket shelves.  Knowledge is power so here are some examples of things to look out for:

  • Hand soap — some contain the chemical triclosan which has been found to affect thyroid hormones in animal studies and possibly contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant germs. It is also a resilient compound that is not destroyed on its way to the ocean and can therefore destroy bacteria and intervene with the food chain — alternative?
  • Researchers from the University of Iowa discovered that some kitchen cabinets emit PCBs ((polychlorinated biphenyl compounds), chemicals which are under investigation as causes of cancer. These compounds occur as sealants breakdown in kitchen furniture — alternative?
  • Pesticides — neonicotinoid pesticides put both honeybees and wild bees at risk. The UK government has said it will support a complete ban on the outdoor use of bee-harming chemicals.

Joost de Gouw, a scientist at the University of Colorado at Boulder and co-author of the study, said: “Many of the organic compounds in these products are reactive once in the atmosphere and can contribute to formation of two major air pollutants, ozone and fine particle. In that sense, they contribute to air pollution in a very similar manner as cars.

  • benzene (which is found in detergents and plastics)
  • formaldehyde (in varnishes and floor finishes)
  • xylene aerosol paint concentrates, automobile body polish and cleaners, nail varnish

The combination of some domestic chemicals can be harmful too. The mixture of bleach and rubbing alcohol for example can create toxic chloroform and make you unconscious. I narrowly escaped making a dangerous cleaning mix when dealing with  mildew in the bathroom – you really do have to be very careful.

What can you use instead?

NASA reported that pineapple plants can also improve air quality and help reduce snoring.

Peace Lily can reduce toxins such as benzene, ammonia, ethyl and acetone and prevent the toxins from spreading across rooms. Research found that this plant can improve air quality by as much as 60%!

Red-edged Dracaena rids the air of chemicals including xylene, trichloroethylene and formaldehyde (found in varnishes and gasoline) which causes lack of concentration and increased anxiety.

Formaldehyde levels in homes can also be reduced by ensuring adequate ventilation, moderate temperatures, and reduced humidity levels through the use of air conditioners and dehumidifiers. I  invested in a dehumidifier recently.

Sources

https://www.mirror.co.uk/science/modern-kitchen-cupboards-emit-chemical-12384317

https://edition.cnn.com/2017/01/25/health/triclosan-household-items-partner/index.html

https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/bees-pesticides-eu-ban-europe-threat-pollination-food-shortage-agriculture-clothianidin-imidacloprid-a8232671.html

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/health-fitness/body/clean-bill-health-household-products-wont-make/

https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/dangerous-household-chemicals-clean-explosion-13873101

https://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm205999.htm

 

This research was gathered by Compost Direct, retailers of garden bark mulch.

 

Mum Muddling Through

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home. Many families spend a significant part of their day in the kitchen. It is used for the preparation and the taking of meals. If you are have a large kitchen, your children might do their homework at the table and many a small business grew into a large one from dreams at the kitchen table.

Jazzing

So a kitchen is worth investing in but how do you jazz it up when funds are low? Let’s look at some budget ideas for jazzing up your special room.

Shop around

Don’t assume cheap kitchens mean you have to go without style. Do plenty of research  and don’t fall for the first thing you see. More affordable options will be available if you take the time to look.

Consider quick fixes

Do you really need to replace the whole kitchen? Could you perhaps just replace cabinet doors or even given them a fresh lick of paint? If funds are really tight, even some clever new handles can make you feel a bit better about your kitchen. Don’t forget accessories from places like Kitchen Warehouse as these can really add to your expression of self in the kitchen.

Charity shopping

You may not want to buy everything from a charity shop but there is always a good feeling when you purchase items that mean you get something new, someone has disposed of their “trash” and a charity benefits too. There are furniture stores run by big charities like the British Heart Foundation in most cities nowadays. On the other hand, you might like to check out bric-a-brac shelves for retro kitchenalia and quirky artwork to put on the walls.

Wonderful walls

I once had a friend who painted his kitchen blue on a whim and hated it. When he felt cheerier he changed it to terracotta which worked well. I have always fancied an orange kitchen. Make choices after due consideration and ensure all the family feel comfortable with them. You could paint the kitchen or invest in some wallpaper and one way to save would be to just have one feature wall in striking design.

Are you jazzing up your kitchen soon? I  would love to hear your plans.

 

 

 

Research from NASA and the American College has revealed the houseplants which are best suited to be placed in the bedroom. In this article, we detail some of these plants and the benefits they can bring to your home:

The real purpose of houseplants

Before we delve into the research from NASA and the American College, let’s first understand why you should consider improving your bedrooms — and indeed the rest of your home — with some houseplants.

In conversation with the Telegraph, gold-medal winner at the Chelsea RHS Show, Ian Drummond says that there’s a key purpose to having houseplants. He explains: “Many people now live in cities with no outside space. We all have this longing to have some green around us, and houseplants are the perfect solution.”

If you’re looking to create a better living space, houseplants can improve the atmosphere in your home at very little cost. Studies have shown that houseplants have been found to help with concentration, promote better sleep and reduce anxiety among people who live around them on a day-to-day basis too. The Plantsman, when reporting on a 2016 piece which was published in the RHS’s journal, underlined: “As placing indoor plants in rooms is one of the simplest changes that can be made to enhance the environment, it stands out as a practical and affordable support for health.”

The diverse range of plants for your home

But what plants are the best for your home? We take a look at research carried out by NASA and the American College to find out more:

The Exhilarating Chinese Evergreen

If you’re looking for a quick and simple solution, the Chinese Evergreen is one of the easiest plants to maintain. This is because the plant can grow even in areas of low light — no need to worry about placing it in a dark bedroom then.

The great thing about the Chinese Evergreen plant is that it can remove any toxins from the room.

If you do decide on buying a Chinese Evergreen plant, there are some pieces of information that you should know about. As well as keeping it away from bright sunlight (which can actually scorch its leaves), the plant should be watered regularly with cool water and fed with plant food once every three to four weeks.

The Attractive Aloe Vera

This is one of the most popular plants around the world and is commonly used for medicinal reasons. This is because the clear and cool gel of an Aloe Vera leaf can be applied to burns, cuts, rashes and areas of sunburn to provide instant relief and speed up the healing process.

NASA have commented saying that Aloe Vera plants are the best for purifying the air. This is because they release oxygen on a regular basis during the night, not to mention fighting against both benzene — an ingredient of detergents — and formaldehyde — found in varnishes — to ensure a room’s air remains pure.

What makes Aloe Vera a great plant for the home is that its advised that they’re kept inside, however they must be prone to an suitable amount of sunlight to survive. Furthermore, plant them in a spacious pot that contains soil which has been well drained beforehand.

The Extravagant Areca Palm

There’s a lot of names that are connected with the Areca Palm. This ranges from Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens, Dypsis Lutescens, the Bamboo Palm, the Golden Cane Palm and the Yellow Butterfly Palm.

It’s also known as one of the top 10 air purifiers. What’s more, the plant has been said to be great for those who often have colds or sinus problems due to it regularly releasing moisture into the air.

Aesthetically, the Areca Palm plant will add a touch of tropical climes to your bedroom thanks to its long and graceful feather-shaped fronds. When placing Areca Palm plants around your bedroom, look for an area that subjects the plant to bright but indirect light — you’ll know if it is being exposed to direct sunlight as the leaves will begin to turn a yellowish-green hue.

The Beautiful Boston Fern

If you love a ruffed plant with lots of character, the beautiful Boston Fern is your ideal choice — and its drooping fronds make for a perfect addition to any room.

It is also ranked in ninth place on NASA’s list of the best air-purifying plants. A key reason for this is that the plant is very adept at removing formaldehyde from rooms. When it comes to placing Boston Fern around your bedroom, take note that the plant is sensitive to chemicals. Smoke which come from coal fires and wood burners can also be toxic to the plant, which means that they should be placed away from any spaces susceptible to draughts.

Your Boston Fern will look better on a high surface — think shelves or the top of your wardrobe, as this will allow the plant to fall naturally down the side of the pot.

This article was researched by DM Design, a specialist designer of bedroom furniture in Glasgow.

Sources:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-5009063/The-plants-NASA-says-NEED-bedroom.html

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/how-to-grow/houseplants-every-home-better-multi-tasking-pollution-busters/

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/aloe-vera/aloe-vera-plant-care.htm

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/houseplants/areca-palm/growing-areca-palm-indoors.htm

http://homeguides.sfgate.com/special-care-areca-indoor-palm-trees-43127.html

https://www.ourhouseplants.com/plants/boston-fern

https://www.flowercouncil.co.uk/campaign/october-2016-chinese-evergreen-is-houseplant-of-the-month

 

My Random Musings