Thursday 11 July 2024

4 Ways to Create an Extra Room in your Home

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{This is a collaborative post}

If you are anything like me, you always need more space. As the kids get bigger, the house starts to feel smaller and it almost feels essential to find another room... from nowhere!

But fear not, there are ways to get an extra room in your existing house without it costing you a fortune and without bringing on board Phil and Kirsty to help you renovate.

Build a Lean To Conservatory

This option is pretty low stress, you shouldn't need planning permission (but always best to check before you start) and you may even find that you already have a footprint, and thus foundations from an old conservatory that was removed. If not, at least all the work is done outside of your existing home and thus mess in the house should be kept to a minimum. When you are building a lean to conservatory it is good to consult an expert and get it done right from the start.

If you enjoy some DIY work you may choose to undertake this yourself with the help of a friend or relative, but do make sure your foundation is sound or you'll find that in no time your glass walls start to crack or drop. And if you are building it yourself you'll want to make sure that you feel fully competent to put the roof on, as a glass or tile roof can be quite heavy and cumbersome to build if you are not experienced. 

One big factor to think about before deciding this is the right route for you is to consider what the access is like to your garden. Is there a gate for easy access? Or do the supplies have to go through the house? Could a crane pull up alongside your back wall and pass the items over? It doesn't matter which is the situation for your house, but you just need to be aware and make the appropriate plans to ensure ease of deliveries and access for any trades you employ to help you.

Convert your Garage

A garage conversation can be a really economical way to get an extra room, or even two, in your house. In our last house we converted our garage and were able to gain a large extra bedroom/ playroom for the kids and a utility/ store room. 

There were no foundations to consider, the brickwork was already there and we just had to get in a company to brick up the front and put in a window, insulate all the walls and dryline them, lay a raised concrete floor, bring the electrics through and put a door through to our front hallway. 

I had not realised quite how much mess putting a door through would make, so if you go down this route, make sure you have a plastic-covered containment area to try to keep your house dust free, as it got everywhere and I was clearing dust up for weeks to come, and all the curtains and soft furnishings had to be deep cleaned. 

However, we were so pleased with the space, as it blended perfectly with our home and was an economical option. Were were lucky we had side access to our back garden, as we may have had to think harder about doing it if the garage was our only storage space or route to the back garden. 

Thursday 13 June 2024

Reemerging into the Glittering Glamour of the 80's

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{This is a collaborative post}

The decade that exuded vibrant colours, synth melodies, and power suits continues to exude an irresistible charm that modern culture finds irresistible. Fashion, music, and TV shows from this decade have seen an enormous resurgence, positioning this timeless era as an endless source of creativity and innovation. But why does its spirit keep coming back into our lives?

Fashion in the 80s: Bold, Bright and Beautiful

The 80s was an explosion of color and extravagance, made even more memorable by eye-catching fashion statements that turned heads and set trends. From power suits with their oversized shoulder pads proclaiming corporate success to acid-washed jeans that signaled casual cool, every piece made a statement about its owner's character and individuality. Neon colors, leg warmers and spandex weren't simply fashion choices, they represented individuals showing boldness. Modern fashion houses have revived iconic 80s styles, proving that flamboyance never really goes out of style. A touch of 80s flair now injects our wardrobes with vibrancy while keeping alive its spirit of nonconformity. And don't forget about its legendary hairstyles, teased hair, mullets and feathered bangs, that defined an era and continue to influence modern hair trends.

Music from the 80s: Synthwave and Sensation

Would you want to capture the 80s in one sound? One that perfectly encapsulated its culture? No doubt the electronic hum of synthesizers. Led by pioneers like Depeche Mode and New Order, synthpop and new wave reigned supreme on charts everywhere and found their way into our hearts through danceable melodies. This decade was defined by both electric exuberance of pop and rebellious rock music. Today, synthwave is making a notable comeback, not just out of nostalgia but out of genuine appreciation for its unique textures that defined an era. Modern artists are creating modernized renditions of these vintage sounds, recreating classics while pushing boundaries. Synthwave is an unforgettable form of music which cannot be ignored, so grab your neon shades and dance like it's 1985 all over again.

Tuesday 14 May 2024

Preparing For A Warm Summer 2024

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{This is a collaborative post} 

As we anticipate the arrival of summer 2024, many of us wonder: will the UK experience a scorching heatwave? The good news is that weather experts expect the summer to be nice, but not uncomfortably hot. 

According to weather forecast experts, while it's expected to be warm, the likelihood of extreme heatwaves is low based on the current weather pattern. So, for anyone who remembers the heatwaves of 2022, this year isn’t expected to repeat the same phenomenon! That being said, temperatures are projected to reach the mid-30s from time to time, so you should still be looking at some heat. Yet, the word of the summer is warm and not hot, and this is precisely what we want!

So, while we may not need to brace ourselves for record-breaking heat, it's still wise to prepare for the warmth and to consider the best activities to make the most of it. Let's explore how we can get ready for a summer filled with sunny days and balmy evenings without feeling overwhelmed.

A refreshing bucket list

While the temperatures may rise, summer in the UK promises to be enjoyable without being overwhelmingly hot. It's the perfect time to create a refreshing bucket list filled with activities that celebrate the season. From family outings to pic-nics in the park to leisurely days at the seaside, there's no shortage of ways to embrace the outdoors. You can even consider planning a day of fruit picking with your loved ones, if we believe the weather forecast. 

Indulging in the simple pleasure of harvesting nature's bounty while soaking up the warm sun. Isn’t it what summer is all about? 

Sunday 21 April 2024

Three Amazing Ways to Explore the UK


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As a child growing up we holidayed in the UK each summer, in fact, we were even more predictable than that and we basically only went on holiday to beach resorts within a couple of hours' travel of our home in Surrey. My Dad has never liked long drives and he's a bit of a homebody so we didn't even contemplate going abroad. 

Roll forward a few years when I had my own income I was desperate to travel and explore further afield, so each year I'd go abroad two or three times a year and always to somewhere new, so I could experience different cultures and places. It was great to have this time of exploration and excitement, but then once I had settled down into married life we had children, my desires changed.  The idea of taking babies, toddlers or even young children on a plane and dealing with the burning sun sounded like a nightmare!

So, for many years we chose to holiday in the UK and explore our amazing country. There is so much to see and such a lot of variety of places to visit, that you do not need to head to Europe, the Caribbean or the Americas. You can also travel the UK in all sorts of ways, so let's explore a few that my husband and I fancy taking on in the coming years.

Caledonian Sleeper Train to Edinburgh

None of our children have been to Scotland yet, so we are really keen to expose them to the delights of this amazing country. Edinburgh is a very easy train ride away from London, just 7 hours and 45 minutes away and we can book seats or sleeper cabins to enjoy our ride. I'm sure we'd have an early morning call to ensure we can see some of the sights as we travel into Scotland.

It feels like August is a perfect month to visit as the weather should be good and we will get to see the Edinburgh Tattoo, which is an amazing sight to behold. We've been to many military parades before, but I don't think any will come close to this and it will give us a taste of real Scotland. 

A few days in Edinburgh will be easy to fill with visits to the castle, the Royal Mile, the Underground vaults, Calton Hill and the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Image Credit: Unsplash

British Isles Discovery Cruise

We've never experienced a cruise as yet and it is something I really fancy. I love the idea of visiting multiple places but without it being too difficult to move between them. A UK cruise is perfect for people like us, who have not yet cruised, as we can ease into it gently and see if it is for us.

There are multiple places in the UK to be able to board the cruise, a range of different cabin types depending on your budget and of course so much delicious food and drink to enjoy as you cruise. Depending on the cruise you choose you can be at sea for as little as three days or as many as you like if you decide to go long haul.

On a British Isles cruise, you may get to stop and explore places such as the Orkney Isles, Isle of Mull, Isle fo Sky, Belfast, Cork, Isles of Scilly, Portsmouth, Plymouth, Bristol, Liverpool and you might even choose to add in a little more excitement by choosing stops at the Channel Islands, Belgium or the Netherlands. 

Cornwall by Camper Van

OK, I say by campervan, but if I am honest, I am more of a woman who likes her comfort, so I'd probably choose the less cute motorhome option, and know I can have a decent night's sleep. We've never explored Cornwall as a family as it is a very long drive to get there, but I feel it is somewhere that I want to go to.

I'm an old romantic at heart and the amount of books I have read that are set in Cornwall has really whet my appetite to visit there. It's another trip that I'd like to do in the warmer months, but maybe in early May or late September so that we don't have the full summer holiday gang there at the same time. 

I'm picturing the motorhome parked up somewhere beautiful with a nice glass of wine and a book as the sun goes down and my husband and I enjoy being in each other's company, before heading to a small restaurant for some beautiful home-cooked food. 

Wednesday 17 April 2024

Cooking with Kids: Dive into the Fun of Seafood!


How many scallops in a pound
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{This is a collaborative post}

Have you ever considered the kitchen to be the perfect classroom for your kids? It’s not just about stirring and mixing; it’s an opportunity to teach valuable life skills and instil healthy eating habits. Today, let's explore how seafood can be a fun and nutritious part of your child's diet, with a focus on understanding quantities like "how many scallops in a pound".

Starting Simple

Introducing children to cooking can be a delightful exploration, particularly with dishes that are simple and fun. Seafood is not only nutritious but also highly adaptable for young chefs. For those just beginning, it's best to choose recipes with few steps and minimal cooking requirements, such as baking or assembling, which are safer and still incredibly satisfying.

No-Cook Seafood Starters

Starting with a no-cook recipe can significantly reduce the stress of introducing children to the kitchen. A simple seafood salad, for example, can be an excellent first dish. Children can easily mix pre-cooked shrimp with various dressings and their choice of colourful vegetables. This activity is not only safe, as it avoids using the stove, but it also helps children understand mixing and matching flavours, fostering creativity without the dangers of heat.

Creative Wraps for Little Hands

Children can lay out soft tortillas and top them with ingredients like flaked salmon or tuna, which are easy to prepare and handle. Add-ins might include lettuce, diced tomatoes, or a mild dressing. Wraps can be rolled up for a mess-free, fun experience that also teaches kids about balancing flavours and nutrition. This no-cook option keeps everything safe and straightforward, allowing even the youngest chefs to participate fully in the meal preparation process.

Hands-On with Seafood

Encouraging children to get their hands dirty can transform cooking from a chore into an exciting activity. Simple, tactile tasks like assembling fish tacos or skewering shrimp for grilling are not only fun but are educational opportunities that enhance fine motor skills and teach kitchen safety.

Creating Mini Chefs

Scallop skewers are a fantastic way to involve children more deeply in cooking seafood. By counting and preparing scallops for skewers, children can learn about portions and quantities—such as estimating how many scallops in a pound, which typically ranges from 20 to 25. This teaches them about planning and preparation, important skills for any aspiring chef.

Tuesday 9 April 2024

Tapping Into the Industrial Revolution: Reinventing Your Home

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Get acquainted with the industrial home design trend, its raw beauty is waiting to be unlocked by you! Reviving earthy foundations from yesteryear with sleek sophistication for today's homeowner is what the industrial aesthetic is about. So now is the time to strip back layers of traditional home design to uncover those cool yet edgy vibes of industrial aesthetics, not just as an aesthetic choice, but as a powerful statement about strength, character, and authentic living!

The Blueprint of Industrial Chic

Industrial design celebrates the raw beauty of materials that are typically hidden away. Exposed brick walls, visible ductwork, and concrete floors that have long been considered undesirable are now welcomed features in any work-live loft space. Together, they contribute to creating an atmosphere that's both stylish and practical, mixing raw materials with contemporary fixtures and fittings that balance rough with sleek.

Materials Matter for Industrial Style

At the core of industrial chic lies its material palette - wrought iron, raw steel, and untreated wood - which creates an unrefined elegance in any space, echoing architectural history from old factories and warehouses. You can incorporate industrial style elements into your home through simple choices like opting for sleek steel kitchen islands or bolder ones such as installing sliding barn doors. Each choice nods towards this period while keeping a firm footing in contemporary design.


Lighting the Way: Illuminating with an Industrial Glow

Lighting plays an integral part in setting an industrial mood. Vintage pendant lamps, Edison bulb fixtures, and floor lamps with metal finishes not only illuminate but also contribute to creating an inviting ambience by emphasising old-world charm mixed with contemporary living. Choose pieces with metalwork details that capture this aesthetic for maximum industrial spirit!


A Fusion of Form and Function

Industrial design philosophy embraces an orderly space where each piece serves a specific function. Here, minimalism marries functionality to enhance decor choices. Open shelving units showcasing kitchenware, books or collectables can add visual interest while maintaining its utilitarian ethos while remaining true to industrial aesthetics.


Pipe Shelves: The Quintessence of Industrial Flair

Pipe shelves encapsulate the true spirit of industrial style, merging functionality and aesthetic appeal seamlessly. Crafted from metal piping and repurposed wood planks, these shelves serve as dynamic focal points while simultaneously offering sturdy storage solutions. Their modular nature enables creativity when placing or arranging these shelves, whether as one statement shelf or part of an entire wall ensemble. Pipe shelves not only pay tribute to engineering feats from yesteryear but also bring raw, open-concept qualities into any space - perfectly complementing industrial chic ideals while also showcasing anything from kitchen spices to classic books on display!


Soften the Edges

Incorporating soft furnishings and greenery can soften the industrial aesthetic, keeping it from appearing too cold. Think plush rugs, soft throws and indoor plants which add colour, texture and life into an otherwise metallic backdrop. Having both hard and soft elements present ensures your industrial-inspired home remains welcoming and comfortable for everyone visiting it.


The Industrial Revolution of Home Design

Industrial design is more than a passing trend - it is a timeless style that celebrates form and function in harmony, old and new, encouraging homeowners to rethink conventional design practices while finding beauty in both raw and refined elements. When approaching this trend in home renovation or piecemeal renovation projects, success hinges on finding balance between rugged industrial charm and sleek contemporary accents. Your only limitation in seeking industrial chic can only ever be your own imagination!

Finding the Right Water Hygiene Specialist in 2024

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As we get further into 2024, a growing number of businesses are realising the importance of smart outsourcing. There are a growing number of service providers that can help you with the tasks necessary to run your business, and choosing the right provider is rarely an easy task.

One area where it’s extra important to choose the right option is in the realm of safety and risk management. With that in mind, we decided to go through some of the main points to look out for when finding a water hygiene specialist in 2024.

Connection with professional bodies

A good place to start when it comes to researching hygiene specialists is to check what professional bodies they’re members of. Ideally, you’ll want to identify a provider with accreditation from bodies such as UKAS and BSE, to ensure that they take regulatory compliance seriously. 

After all, you don’t just need assistance with practical measures; you also need to make sure that your approach is compliant with the applicable legal structures governing your niche. 

Provision of appropriate services

While in some cases, you might just want to get some general advice, in most cases you’ll need a water hygiene specialist in order to help you with a specific issue. That might be assistance in developing a water safety plan, advice on how to navigate certain regulatory frameworks, or risk assessments for specific issues such as Legionella. 

In general, it’s best to choose an option that provides a relatively wide range of water hygiene related services. You might just need help with your water safety plan at the moment, but it’s entirely possible that you’ll need assistance in other areas further down the line, and it’s most convenient to continue using the same provider.

Wednesday 13 March 2024

Addressing Common Health Issues That You Shouldn't Ignore

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Maintaining good health involves more than just physical fitness and a balanced diet. It also requires paying attention to your body and promptly addressing any health concerns. In this article, we'll explore various common health issues that you should not overlook, providing insights into their causes, symptoms, and potential consequences if left untreated.

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a prevalent health issue that often goes unnoticed because it typically doesn't cause noticeable symptoms. However, if left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. It's essential to monitor your blood pressure regularly and seek medical attention if it's consistently elevated.

Chronic Stress

Chronic stress can have a significant impact on both physical and mental health. It can weaken the immune system, increase the risk of heart disease, contribute to digestive problems, and exacerbate mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression. Recognising the signs of chronic stress, such as irritability, fatigue, and difficulty sleeping, and seeking ways to manage it through relaxation techniques, exercise, and therapy, is crucial for overall well-being.

Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a prevalent condition that affects men of all ages, but it becomes more common as men get older. It's characterised by the inability to achieve or maintain an erection firm enough for sexual intercourse. While occasional difficulty with erections is normal, persistent erectile dysfunction may indicate an underlying health problem that requires attention. Erectile dysfunction can have various causes, including physical and psychological factors. Physical causes may include diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and hormonal imbalances. Psychological factors such as stress, anxiety, depression, and relationship problems can also contribute to ED. Addressing these underlying issues through lifestyle changes, medication, therapy, or a combination of treatments can help improve erectile function. The good news is that erectile dysfunction treatments are available. An online pharmacy can help you to find the best treatment for you, whether it’s Viagra, sildenafil or tadalafil.  

Thursday 29 February 2024

6 Fun Things To Do In London With Kids

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The world is filled with distractions, and sometimes, finding time to bond with your children can be tough. However, family time can foster deeper emotional connection and help your children develop social skills while creating lasting memories. While there are many activities, like picnics and camping, you can do with your children, travelling or taking them on a trip can broaden their views of the world and cultivate their independence. If you have decided to make London your next destination, you have made a fantastic choice. The city has delicious street food, lots of free parks and playgrounds, and great outdoor space. Before you pack your bags, consider adding these fun activities to your itinerary. 

  1. Start with the London aquarium

Are your children fascinated with sea life? If yes, then the London Aquarium is your best choice, as it is suitable for all ages, and it features different kinds of species and marine animals, such as piranhas, crocodiles, and sharks. You can also find plenty of penguins to play with. The aquarium is open all week, and it is located on London’s South Bank. If you have an hour or two to spare, consider striking this activity off your list, preferably in the morning during the weekday when the place is less crowded. Also, indulge in interactive experiences like dive shows and jellyfish displays.

  1. Build in the Lego store

Most children love Lego, so going to the Lego store would be a treat. The place has a 20-foot replica of Big Ben and a mosaic portrait system that allows your children to create their portraits with instructions after they have taken their pictures at a special booth. Buy your tickets online and secure a date before you finally decide your date and time. If you are coming to Leicester Square from another location like Paddington, consider using solutions like the luggage storage Paddington station, as big bags are not accepted at the Lego store due to security reasons. Also, research the other attractions and ensure your kids meet the height requirements to avoid disappointment. Ensure you have a budget for the Lego-themed souvenirs that will be available at the store. 

Wednesday 14 February 2024

10 Gift Ideas for the Elderly to Make Them Feel Better

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Looking for a present for an elderly family member or friend? You are at the correct place! Consider giving them a gift that you've chosen especially for their likes or hobbies, that makes them feel at ease at home or on the go, rather than just a beautiful box of chocolates or a bottle of wine. This list includes 10 gift ideas for seniors to make their life simpler. 

1.  Walking stick with a seat

A seat walking stick might be a kind present for an elderly friend or family member who enjoys walking and getting out and about. The walking stick and seat allow people to move freely inside and outdoors without the need for a large and cumbersome seat. With this, they have the ability to just grab the seat and go. When choosing a seat walking stick, ensure it satisfies your safety and simplicity of use criteria.

2. Beautiful Warm Blanket

Curling up beneath a cosy blanket is the perfect way to stay warm when the weather gets cooler. Heated blankets provide various heat settings to relax muscles, relieve aches and pains, improve circulation, and keep loved ones warm throughout the winter season. There are several types of different blankets available, including electric blankets, throws, under blankets, and easy-washable blankets.

3.  E-reader

Consider gifting an e-reader to an old friend or family member who enjoys reading. They may read as many books as they desire without crowding the home. Reading helps to reduce stress and anxiety by keeping your mind active and being able to increase the text size and change the light level on an e-reader.

4.  Sad Lamp

Winter's brief days may bring feelings of sadness or despondency. Sitting in front of a SAD light for just 30 minutes every day can improve our health. If a senior friend or family member struggles with shorter days, a SAD lamp may be beneficial and isn't too expensive. 

Monday 12 February 2024

5 Essential Online Safety Tips for Families: Protecting Your Kids in the Digital Age

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In this digital age, having unfiltered access to the internet is not surprising that parents need to take extra precautions to make sure that their children are not exposed to illicit content and are prevented from becoming easy targets for criminals to latch on to.

That is why you need to implement safety procedures to ensure that when working online both you and your children are safe.

Tip 1: Monitor your child’s activity

Children growing up with devices has become the norm in most households, so as a parent you need to keep an eye on their online activities. This doesn’t mean you should only check their browser history, you need to actively know what they are doing at all times. Other than knowing what sites they are frequenting, learn about who they are talking to online, and know who their friends are on social media. Urge them to tell you when strangers try to friend them online. Screen what games they play beforehand to discern whether it is age-appropriate. Also, keep a close eye on how much time they spend online, and limit it so they don’t become too dependent on a device.

Tip 2: Engage in active communication with your children

Engaging in active discussions with your children is vital, this helps you be in the know about their online activities. Make sure that they feel safe to bring up anything that makes them feel uncomfortable or scared online. Whenever possible, talk to your children about who they are speaking to online. Let them know about the possible dangers of being too friendly with strangers online, and make them aware of practices that criminals use and the ways that they can protect themselves from harm.

Tip 3: Protect your privacy

Make sure that you take certain precautions to protect your devices and internet users by implementing protocols on the system. Set up age restrictions and allow your children to access websites that are suitable for them to use. Consider looking at an antivirus for PC options for your needs and how they can adapt to it. They will be able to detect malware and spyware trying to latch onto your device.