Thursday, 30 November 2017

Revamp and Reboot: A Makeover for Your Furniture

Are you bored of looking at the same old furniture? Your budget is already stretched to the limit this month and you start to enter panic mode. You’ve got friends coming over next week for a big event and you want your cosy home to look and feel magazine-cover worthy. Time and money are sparse, so why not treat yourself to a complete furniture revamp? Switching up a few pieces of key furniture can completely transform a tired and tatty room into a dazzling dream den.

Shabby to Chic

You can easily turn a dreary looking bookcase into a shimmering new piece of artwork. A bookcase doesn’t actually have to store books you know! Empty it out and give it a good old lick of paint. Dig out those paint pots that have been lying in the garage for months and put them to good use. Transform your ancient shelves into a minimalistic, chic trinket display. Pop some fresh flowers on one shelf, a funky picture on the next and drape some fairy lights over the top. Ta da!
apartment, architecture, book
Image by: Pixabay

Lightbulb Moment

Everyone has a dull little coffee table that sits in the corner of the living room and does nothing but gather dust. Why not spruce it up with a funky lamp? You’d be surprised at the array of quirky lights you can find on sites like homestore online. A bit of a glow will brighten up a dreary useless table and it’ll be the perfect reading light when you’re delving into your favourite magazine.

bedroom, bulb, interior decoration

Image by: Burst

Organisation Station

Transform your desolate dressing table into a fashionable feature that would make A-list celebrities envious. Kick your raggedy make-up bag to the curb and dress up your table with some funky storage. A set of makeup organisers could miraculously renew your vanity area from a tangled up turmoil of lipsticks and brushes into a sleek luxurious makeup haven. There are hundreds of different shapes and styles to choose from so take your pick!

Take a Seat

You inherited your sofa from your parents and it does the job. It’s sturdy and reliable, but you’re utterly bored of the old-fashioned vibe it’s inflicting on your abode. Turn your sofas and armchairs into vivacious and lounge-worthy showpieces by adding some colourful cushions and throws. Invest in a load of patterned and textured pillows to brighten up your seating. You can mix and match these as often as you like so you’ll never get tired of them.

White and Black Laptop Computer on Brown Wooden Stool Near Pile Books

Musical Furniture
Play a game of musical chairs, but with your furniture! Move your stuff around and find a completely new place for it. A table that looks totally tedious in your lounge might work fabulously in a completely different room. If you’re struggling for space there’s a plethora of space saving solutions you can try out too. You could even experiment with swapping your living room and dining area around. A hidden fireplace could become a fantastic new feature you’d never even thought about before.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Work with Your Home, Not Against It

When it comes to interior design and giving your home an indoors renovation, it is always best to work with the grain rather than against it. Specifically, this means working with the shape and style of your home rather than doing all you can to fight or change it. For advice on how to find success in this surprisingly hard task, make sure to read on.


When it comes to the seating arrangement in your living room you should most certainly work with the shape of the room and never against it. You should do this because, one, a misplaced sofa can cause havoc in regards to moving around the room freely, and two, it will disorientate the room. So, if this means option for a practical and cheap corner sofa bed rather than an expensive leather Chesterfield, then do it.

Use your chimney, don't get rid

Having a chimney in your home is a blessing, so don’t get rid of it! Instead, use it as the focal point of your room and have an alcove fitted above it. By doing so you will open up space for yourself to have some shelving fitted, which will mean you will have more space to store your belongings. And to really make the most out of this shelving make sure to have some lighting put in (especially if your shelves are made of glass).

Don't force space, create it

By forcing space in your home you will make it look cramped, and you don't want that to happen, do you? So, instead of doing this, simply create some space of your own. This could mean having a conservatory fitted to the back of your home, having a loft conversion or using the cupboard under your stairs. In regards to the latter, the space under your stairs, you can use this space in ways that are useful and will benefit you and your family, such as turning it into a toilet. Just, whatever you do, don’t do what the Dursleys did to Harry Potter and banish somebody to go and live in the space you create under your stairs!

Make adjustments to the old occupants style

If you ever find yourself moving into a new home, don't be so quick to try to giving everything a complete overhaul. No, by embracing the style of the home that you find it in and making adjustments to it, you will find yourself creating a style that is unique. This means, instead of pulling up all the floors, using rugs to accentuate the colour. This means, instead of throwing the old sofa out, using sofa throws to match the style you are going for. By doing this, you will find yourself saving valuable money at very precarious time for your finances.

By working with your home in the ways documented above you will find yourself creating a home style that is unique and the envy of your friends. Sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, go ahead and do it!

Friday, 24 November 2017

Get Your Home Ready For Winter In Eight Simple Steps

The nights are darker, the air is colder, and the floors are icy. All of this can mean only one thing; Winter is almost here. Whether you love the winter weather or hate it, there is no getting away from it, so you need to be prepared. There is a lot that needs to be done before Christmas arrives and the winter weather is in full swing. Here are some of the most important things that you have to remember.

Find Your Winter Essentials
You don’t want to wake up one morning to discover that it’s heavily snowed, your car is stuck, and you don’t know where your snow shovel is. It’s important to find your winter essentials before it gets to this point. No one enjoys shovelling snow anyway, let alone without the proper equipment. Once you’ve done that, you can visit for advice on how best to shovel snow.

Clean Your Gutters
No one enjoys cleaning gutters, especially when the cold weather hits, but it’s incredibly important if you want to protect your home. Blocked gutters can cause water to back up, which can damage your roof and cause it to leak. Why pay out to fix a leaking roof when you can spend a few minutes cleaning your gutter instead?

Check Your Roof
Speaking of a leaking roof, you should get that checked before it starts raining too heavily or snowing. If you’ve had a relatively dry few weeks in terms of weather, then there could be damage to your roof that you haven’t yet noticed. The last thing that you want is for your roof to leak like mad the second that there’s a short shower, so getting it checked is incredibly important. However, this is a dangerous job, especially in icy conditions, so be sure to hire a professional, and not attempt it yourself.

Inspect Your Trees
If you have any trees in or around your garden, be sure to give them the once over before the weather gets too harsh. It may be a surprise, but trees can become unstable relatively easily, especially in icy weather and windy conditions. An unstable tree can fall over, or have branches fall off it, which could cause damage to your garden, your fence, or even your house.

Collect Firewood
While you’re inspecting your trees, you may as well take the opportunity to collect some firewood (if you have a fire, of course). If you stock up on a large amount of firewood now, it means that you’re not going to have to keep heading out in search of it when it get’s really cold, so you can just curl up by the fire instead.

Sort Your Dining
If you’re having family and friends over on Christmas or Boxing Day for lunch or dinner, then you need to make sure that you have enough of everything that you need. If you’re missing a few plates or cutlery sets, then simply ask your guests to bring some with them; No one is going to care if the crockery doesn’t match. However, if your dining table isn’t big enough, then that’s a completely different issue, and you may need to get a new one. If this sounds like you, then why not go for more luxurious woods, like walnut or mahogany. You can even order one online from a range of different websites, including

Change Your Bedroom
During the summer, most people tend to change their bedding to something light and less confining, as the weather is warm; It makes sense to do the opposite during winter. Use winter as an excuse to stock up on fluffy cushions, cosy blankets, and a nice thick duvet, and get your bedroom all nice and cosy. You can also add some candles or fairy lights to your bedroom to give it a comforting glow.

Check Your Boiler
Your boiler always seems to work perfectly fine during the summer, when it’s not needed very often, but breaks during the winter, when it’s a necessity. If you don’t want to be left out in the cold during winter (literally), then it’s important for you to have your boiler checked sooner rather than later. This inspection will also put your mind at ease about carbon monoxide leaks, which are a lot more common during winter months.

There is a lot that you need to get done before winter hits, so it’s important to get started as soon as possible, or you could have a disaster on your hands.

Thursday, 23 November 2017

A Lofty Position - Conversion Tricks And Tips To Reach The Top (Of Your House)

It doesn’t matter how big your house is, you’re sure to outgrow it! It is in our nature to accumulate belongings until our home is bursting at the seams. There is never enough space for everything. Finding extra room to feel comfortable in your surroundings isn’t always easy. You’ve organised and tidied every drawer, wardrobe and cupboard you have. But have you thought of making more use of the space above your head?

Loft Space
Converting a loft into useable space doesn’t have to be hard work or expensive. It all depends on how far you want to go with it. If it’s just extra storage you need, then there are several options. The first thing you need to consider is access. Start with your loft hatch. Some are situated in very tricky places. Others are more sensibly placed in the upstairs hallway. How do you get up there?

There are lots of different types of ladders designed specifically for accessing the loft space. What you want is something sturdy that is secure and safe enough to carry your things up there. Companies like Empire Lofts can supply these and even make them to measure if your loft hatch is an odd size. Some are telescopic, so they slide out into a full-length ladder. Others fold over themselves like a Z shape.

Not many new build houses have boards already placed in the loft. If nobody has been up there and done that job for you, then be careful. Underneath all that fluffy (and itchy) loft insulation is your ceiling and little else. You will fall through if you put your weight on it. You shouldn’t store your belongings on top of it either. You can install your own boarding up there, but if you’re concerned about safety, hire somebody to help you do that. Once they’re in place, you can walk around and start moving your belongings up there.

Storage Solutions
You’ve probably had some experience with finding extra space downstairs. You might be a dab hand at vacuum packing out-of-season fashion and bedding. Now you have some loft space, it’s time to make sure everything is just as organised up there too. You might install some built-in storage. Perhaps you’ll even go as far as converting the loft into a storage room? Add a Velux window for natural light and plenty of cupboards and drawers.

A Room With A View?
If you want to fully convert your loft into a living space or bedroom, you need good head height from the pitch of the roof. These conversions can cost tens of thousands of pounds, so be certain you need that space! Still, the view will be good. You can add an ensuite shower room. The loft hatch is removed, and a formal stairwell and staircase will need to be installed. Your roof will be fully insulated and plasterboarded to make a beautiful new room.

From somewhere to dump your unloved junk, to a gorgeous new ensuite bedroom, your loft has potential. Which you choose might depend on your budget as well as your needs. Are you ready for a loft conversion?

Reducing the Sugar Content of Your Home Baking

When we think of cakes, we think of sweet treats. Now, like anything, sugar is fine when consumed in moderation. But many of us are now making a conscious attempt to reduce the amount of sugar that we have in our diets. Not only does decreasing the amount of sugar we put into our bodies allow us to lose weight more quickly and easily, but it can lower your blood pressure, improve your cholesterol, reduce your risk of suffering a heart attack, lower your chances of developing diabetes, and protect your teeth. So, if you still want to treat yourself to a cake here and there, but don’t want the negative health effects associated with sugar consumption, here are a few simple ways to reduce the sugar content of your home baking!

Use Less

It’s generally acknowledged that the sugar detailed in a cake recipe can generally be reduced by around a third without witnessing all too many negative consequences in the final baked product. Just try not to reduce the prescribed amount by more than half!

Eat Less

If you do want some cake that goes along with the original recipe, just practice a little self-control. Have one slice and leave it at that. Keep the leftovers stored away in the fridge and pick away over time.

Use Sugar Alternatives

Now, most recipes will list a certain weight of sugar in the ingredients list. But often, you can substitute this with a sugar alternative. If you don’t mind having artificial sweeteners in your drinks, you may find that they’re a good option for you. However, some who aren’t quite as accustomed to sweetener powders may complain that the taste is artificial or a little odd. If you find that this is the case, why not try making maple syrup cakes. You may think that maple syrup is rich and sweet, but did you know that it contains around 34% less sugar than refined white sugar? Try it out! You can also consider adding naturally sweet spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice (if the recipe permits).

Incorporate Fruit

Fruit is naturally sweet. Sure, you may still be consuming sugar. But you’ll be getting some of your five a day into your diet at the same time. Firm favourites in baking communities tend to be raisins, currants, and sultanas. Why? Well, they are dehydrated, which means that their sugars, starches, and cellulose fibres are concentrated. This allows them to retain their sweetness through the baking process. They also add a little texture to cakes, keeping things moist. What’s more? They are small and individual, so can be scattered relatively evenly through the mix without you having to worry about them all sinking to the bottom of your cake. Alternatively, try a fruit tart or pie. Apples, cherries and peaches all work brilliantly in these kinds of recipes.

These simple steps will allow you to reduce the sugar content of your home baking. So, you may well be able to have your cake and eat it when it comes to controlling your sugar consumption and still enjoying a little cake here and there.

4 Things That Can't Be Allowed To Ruin Your Christmas

At the time of writing there are only 31 shopping days until Christmas. While a great many of us will be waiting for the yuletide to come with baited breath, some of us will have decidedly more mixed feelings. Christmas can be a very difficult time of year for many people. Those who have lost loved ones, are afflicted by feelings of sadness and depression or those who are terrified by the inevitable spending of the season can find it very difficult to muster that seemingly ubiquitous Christmas cheer. This is a great time because Christmas should be a time in which people (whether they are people of faith or not) to surround themselves with the people who matter the most to them. Even if everything’s coming up roses in your life, it’s not uncommon to feel a little ill at ease at this time of year.

If you’re feeling even a little apprehensive about Christmas, here are 5 things that can’t be allowed to ruin the big day, and what you can do to combat them.

The cold

The weather is taking an undeniable turn for the worst. The cold and rain and sleet are all well and good… so long as we can come home to a cosy warm home. With this in mind, now is the time to start taking steps to ensure that your Christmas won’t be compromised by the cold weather. Aside from making sure that you’re stocked up on firewood if you have a log burner, or making sure that you have plenty of change handy if you’re on a Pay As You Go meter, it’s essential to make sure that your boiler is in good shape. If your boiler breaks down it can prove disastrous (not to mention expensive). Check out to get a boiler service scheduled. You can ensure that your boiler is in good health by ensuring that your pilot light is glowing blue rather than yellow and that there are no unusual sounds or smells coming from the boiler.

Seasonal Affective Disorder

As well as the discomfort that comes with the cold, the darkness and persistently poor weather can cause many of us to feel Seasonal Affective Disorder. This form of depression can strike even if things are generally going really well in life. SAD can rob your life of colour, mute positive emotions and leave you feeling lethargic and irritable all the time. Fortunately, you can chase this depression away with regular exercise (at least 2-3 times a week) and the right diet.

Problem spending

One of the most common traps to fall into at this time of year is spending beyond our ability to recover from. To avoid digging yourself a festive black hole of debt, avoid credit cards wherever possible (or at least, take advantage of a card with a 0% APR period). Make presents wherever you can (people really do appreciate it), and be sure to take advantage of festive offers and avoid impulse spending out of panic.


Christmas can be a stressful time, especially with so many logistical plates to spin. It’s not uncommon for Christmas hosts to start off with the best of intentions, only to find themselves near to tears with frustration as they unload profanities at a turkey in the kitchen.

Make sure that you’re as well prepared as possible, with a realistic schedule and that you have all of your ingredients at least a week in advance.

The Most Effective Cleaning Solutions For Your Kitchen

If you use the kitchen on a daily basis, like 99% of households out there, then it likely gets grimy, messy, and tough to clean up. However, here, we’re going to talk about the most effective cleaning solutions for your kitchen. Using the solutions mentioned here will make your kitchen shine like never before - you might even be tempted to eat straight off the kitchen side. Read on if you’re interested to learn what these solutions are!

DIY Cleaners
DIY cleaners can actually be far more effective than store bought cleaners, would you believe. Just because they don’t have the same hold over people in terms of marketing that store bought cleaners do, many neglect to try them. However, once you try these cleaners, you may well be amazed at the results and never want to go back to your old ways. One ingredient you should have in your home at all times? White vinegar. White vinegar is one of the most effective cleaning products and can be used in a variety of homemade solutions.

White vinegar and your favorite essential oil is a great solution for the fridge when it’s grimy. You can even mix these ingredients together and make an all purpose spray. Try it in your home and see what it does for you.

Alternatively, you can create a homemade soft scrub cleaner with white vinegar, baking soda, and essential oil to create a paste. The scrubbing action can help on extra grimy surfaces, but be careful as the soda can be abrasive.

Keeping Drains Clear
Keeping your drains clear is something you should do regularly, as it’s so easy for them to get blocked. You’ll then have to call a professional drainage company to assess and fix the damage, and this can take time. If you had just kept up a good routine in the first place, you wouldn’t have had to worry about it.

Vinegar and baking soda is a great concoction for keeping your drains clear, or even for clearing smells in the sink. Sprinkle down the drain a heaping ¼ cup baking soda, and follow that with ¼ cup white vinegar. The solution will bubble, so leave it for about an hour to get to work before pouring boiling water down the drain to rinse. You may repeat the process if necessary. Keeping up with this routine will ensure you only have to do it once in the future.

Making A Homemade Polish
Everybody wants to make sure that their floors and sides gleam like never before, but store bought products can rarely do the job. A simple mixture of hot water, olive oil and lemon juice can work wonders, but some swear by the good old white vinegar and hot water solution. It really can be used for everything! However, if you have noticed that some of your household items are tarnishing, ketchup can actually be a great solution for this.

Are you going to try these cleaning solutions and see how they work for you?

Giving Into Wanderlust On A Twentysomething Budget

When you get bitten by the wanderlust bug there isn’t much you can do about it. It’s like having an itch you can’t scratch, the desire is that strong. The reason we’re telling you this is because more and more twentysomethings are living with this - itch this blessing-cum-curse.

The hardest thing most people find, though, is making the leap. It’s actually throwing away all they perceived to b important in exchange for the only that really matters and that is experiencing as much of life as possible. Until you have made that leap, it is hard to realise just how much there is to see and explore in this world.

Sure, there is one giant caveat that we haven’t mentioned - money - but don’t let your twentysomething bank balance prevent your wanderlust dreams from becoming a reality, and here is how.

Wanderlust Can Be Local
Most people believe that travelling means hopping on a plane and enjoying the cultures on the other side of the world, but you will be amazed at how much your perspectives can change from exploring locally first. Just have a look at on to see just how benefits there are of staying local.

Explore Through Food
Heading somewhere with your feet is obviously the dream here, but that doesn’t mean you can’t travel through your other senses, especially taste. Try dedicating at least one night a week to cooking something traditional from other parts of the world.

Embrace Minimalism
What is the point in spending half your twentysomething salary on a box room in a small apartment just because it is close to that job you hate? What you want to do instead is get a tiny home on wheels, like those by Don’t fall into the trap of living in the biggest space you can afford. Get the smallest place you can be comfy and enjoy the freedom that comes with it.

Drive New Places Often
Nothing beats just jumping in the driver’s seat of your car (especially if you have a tiny home in tow - see above), blasting out a compilation of Wolf Alice, The Black Keys and Khalid and just chasing the horizon. You will be amazed at the amount of time you pull over to enjoy something you never noticed before.

Like Minded People
Nothing is going to motivate your wanderlust more than hanging around with people that share your passion for travel. It will motivate you. It helps you turn your passion into a plan and give you the motivation to save your pennies in order to explore somewhere together. Like minded people are the secret.

The Fabled Travel Board
You don’t need to go full-on The Secret and start trying to grab the universe’s attention, but by creating a travel vision board that you walk past each day, a pinboard littered with snapshots of the different countries you want to visit will help keep you inspired. It will remind you why your savings jar is not to be touched. It will remind you of all the places on your list and let you start putting them in an order of what’s most realistic.