Fashion & Lifestyle Blog
May 22, 2017

Kitchens are often the heart of the home; however, not everyone has the luxury of a vast space to create their culinary delights and feed their friends and family. For many, especially apartment dwellers, the kitchen is a small space, yet still an important part of the home and an integral part of everyday life. The following are some tips and tricks to make the most of your kitchen capacity and help it reach its full potential.

Foldable Furniture

A lot of kitchens have to double-up as dining areas, meaning that furniture like tables and chairs have to reside in there. Therefore; having enough room to move around and cook your meals can be made awkward when there are large pieces of furniture blocking the way, so finding ways to maximize the space is important. Furniture that can be partially, or fully folded and put away is the perfect solution for those who don’t own a banqueting hall, and fortunately, there are plenty of options to choose from.

Table tops can be partially folded down when they’re not in use, so you can skim past with ease when baking something tasty. Pieces that are perfect for folding or stacking away are stools and chairs; they can even be made a feature on the wall, and familiar guests will know to come in and grab their seat off the wall when it’s time to eat. For inspiration on foldable furniture ideas, have a look here.

Image found here

Counter Space

If your kitchen countertops are cluttered; it’s going to make your small space seem even smaller, so it’s time to see how you can free up some room. Shelves and drawers are successful ways to organize smaller items; like food, utensils, and jars. Your shelves can become decorative areas where you display your favorite cookbooks and tableware; they will also become more accessible when out on display, making activities in your kitchen straightforward and easy.

Cupboard space can be essential for storing larger electrical items that you don’t reach for every day, like mixers (unless you bake cakes for a living); meaning there’ll be room for the toaster that you use every breakfast time. There are always alternatives for everyday appliances to live; so maybe it’s time to start thinking about the best over range microwave for your kitchen, or asking yourself if you still really need that fancy espresso machine you bought because it was on sale, but have only ever used twice (it could make a great housewarming gift for someone).

Image found: http://www.miserv.net/post/25-cool-space-saving-ideas-for-your-kitchen/14856660334421.html

Color Scheme

Deep, dark colors are beautiful; however, they can often draw a space inwards, making it seem smaller; so maybe black walls and cupboards aren’t the best choice for your home. Bright colors are a great way to create a feature wall or draw the eye to a particular area of the room, but again, be wary; as too much can be overpowering and create a bit of claustrophobia within a room.

Light shades and neutral hues are a dependable way to open up your kitchen space and do not have to be a predictable or boring choice. A neutral palette will allow features like those shelves and fold-away chairs, discussed earlier, to shine through, without taking anything away from your limited cooking zone.

Photo from PEXELS

A smaller space is simply the chance for you to be creative with your interior choices, and might just end up in a design feature that you and your visitors will love.

May 19, 2017

How we function from day to day has a lot to do with how well we sleep. If we don’t get good sleep, then it can affect our mood. And in the long-term, it can really affect our health. So if you’re someone that rarely gets a good night’s sleep, then you should start thinking about the ways that you could improve your sleep. It will be beneficial in a number of ways.

One way that can influence your sleep is how your bedroom is set out. The layout and style, as well as accessories, can all have an influence. So one of the first places to make some changes could be in your bedroom. If you’re not sure where to start, but do struggle to sleep well, then here are some ideas for you. They can be worth a try, right? Anything for a better night’s sleep.

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Declutter Your Bedroom

One of the first things to do is to declutter your bedroom. When you have a messy room, it can lead to a bit of an increased heart rate or anxiety. Cluttered environments have more of an effect on you than you might think. So make a start by having a sort and a clear out of your bedroom. Put clothes away that just get left on the floor or a chair. Tidy away trinkets or things that are out on display but rarely used. If they are just there gathering dust then it means that they are serving a very small purpose, so will be fine to be cleared away or stored elsewhere. If you have a dresser or a bedside table, then keep that as clear as possible. It can be hard to sit by lots of mess, let alone sleep. A clear space means a clear mind. And a clear mind is one way to get better sleep. So it is a no-brainer to have a declutter.

Have a Notebook

Again, if you have a bedside table or dresser, then keeping a notebook or and pen in a drawer close to you can be really handy. If your mind is running a mile a minute as soon as you get into bed, then it can be hard to switch off. Writing down how you are feeling, or things that you need to do the next day or remember means that you help to clear your mind. It is no good trying to just keep it all in your mind. It can take over and mean disrupted sleep, especially if you are someone that likes to plan and have things organized. So have a notebook handy and close by, and it will help for sure.

Lower Your Lights

As the evening turns to night, the light outside will get darker. So it is important to have the light in your home, especially your bedroom do the same. If you have your main bright lights on, then it means that it will be too bright and not prepare your body for sleep. So after a certain time each evening, you should switch to things like floor or table lamps. When you’re getting ready for bed, use sidelights or a bedside table lamp, rather than the lights that are in the main room. It will help your body to wind down and realize that it is nearly time to be sleeping.

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Make Changes To Your Bed

It can come as no surprise that how well you sleep can be influenced by your bed. First of all, if you are interested in the practice of feng-shui, then even the position of your bed can have an influence on how you sleep. Ideally, the bed should be against a solid wall. The practice of feng-shui also dictates that the bed shouldn’t be in line with your door, where possible. So you want to walk into your bedroom and be physically closest to the foot of the bed, not walk in and be right by the headboard. Speaking of which, a bed with a large headboard is meant to be better to help you to sleep too. If you have a large bed with space for storage underneath, then it might be a good idea to have a clear out under there. The thinking behind that is that the space might harbor bad memories or feelings under there. You need to clear to sleep with a clear mind. So that could be worth a try?

Other things like bedding can have an impact on your sleep too. The temperature has a massive effect on how well you sleep, so that is worth looking at too. If your sheets are an unnatural fiber, then it can lead to you getting warmer than you should. Being too hot is a sure fire way to have a disrupted night’s sleep. So looking at getting some of the best split king sheets could mean a more relaxed and cooler nights sleep. Think about your comforter too. In summer, you don’t want to have a thick comforter that is more suited to winter. Equally, when the cooler weather comes back, you don’t want to get too cold overnight. Otherwise you’ll wake up feeling too cold which is no good. So take a look at your bed and think about what changes you could make to it.

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Embrace Earth and Earth Tones

So when you hear about bringing the earth into the bedroom, I am not talking about getting lots of soil and spreading it on the floor! But, what I am talking about is things like stones and clay. They can be really grounding and relaxing to have in a room. So you could get a little display to have by your bed or by the window, for instance. You could also think about changing up the color of your bedroom. If it is quite a bright color at the moment, then you might be surprised just how much the color of the room can affect how well you sleep. Having colors like nudes, tan, and brown, are all calming colors. They can bring in a peaceful edge to your bedroom environment. If you’re in a peaceful and uncluttered environment, then it makes sense that it will be easier to sleep in that kind of environment. So if sleep is a massive issue for you, then it could be worth looking at.

Establish Good Habits

We are creatures of habit, so it makes sense that being in certain habits will help us as we try to improve the quality of our sleep. One of the best things to do is to go to bed at roughly the same time each day and wake up at the same time each day too. You then get your body into quite a natural rhythm, and your body clock will reset. Even at the weekend, or when you have a day off, try to keep the routine going. If you need a nap after lunch on those days then do so (but keep it brief). Then you will be able to have the constant internal clock that will help you to optimize the sleep that you do get. Try not to force anything, though. You should be thinking about choosing a bedtime when you do feel sleepy. You don’t want to choose an earlier bedtime and spend an hour getting frustrated because you can’t sleep. So that is something to bear in mind.

Keep Your Room Tech-Free

The temptation to be on devices when in bed is very real. But that is bad for our sleep in many ways. First of all, the bright light from our phone or tablet screens can be detrimental and prepare our body for being more awake (you read the point about lowering the lights, right)? So that is no good when we’re trying to wind down. Second, of all, you might see something that upsets you or stops you from sleeping as it makes you angry. So just avoid those triggers where possible. You do have that notebook to write things down, but you might need more than that to make sure that you sleep well. So the best thing to do is just to avoid using them late at night. A lot of people justify that they need it for the alarm. But for the benefit of good sleep, it is worth getting an old-school alarm clock to have by your bedside. Then just keep your phone plugged in on loud in a different room, so you can still hear it in the case of any emergencies.

Have you got any tried and tested tricks that work for you to help to improve your sleep? It can be quite shocking just how many things can disrupt it, can’t it? But improving your sleep is so important for all aspects of your life and even your health. So it is worthwhile taking the time to assess your situation and think about what you can do to improve it.

May 17, 2017

From Pixabay

If you’ve recently bought a holiday cottage or lake house to spend the summer in, it’s probably a blank canvas without much personality. Naturally, you’ll want to make the most of your investment by decorating the interior and really making it your own. Even if you’re a seasoned home décor guru, sprucing up a holiday home can be a real challenge. Here are some tips for going about it…

Don’t Get Everything from the Same Place

If you’ve done a little online window shopping, you’ve probably already discovered that there are a lot of great stores that specialize in cabin decor. However, getting all of your furniture and ornaments from the same place can lead to your holiday home looking a little too uniform, and give your guests the sensation that they’re walking through a showroom. Things might feel good in theory, but if you actually fill a space with things from the same vendor, you’ll probably find the end result to be a little tasteless. Make a point to mix and match the pieces you buy, keeping things interesting, and injecting more of your personality into your holiday home.

Think About Space

From Max Pixel

Open space should always be a priority when it comes to decorating your holiday home, especially if you’re planning for a large party to come to stay. Yes, those chesterfield armchairs you were looking at the other day might be gorgeous together, but if you cram too much stuff into the space you have available, it’s really going too harsh on the relaxed vibe when people come to stay. You don’t want your lakeside cottage to look too sparse and unfinished, but it’s better to leave an excess of space than to choke it out.

Keep It Practical

While the appearance of your furnishings and decorations are certainly important, you need to think about the longevity they offer as well. Light-coloured upholstery and linen, for example, can stain very easily, and stocking all the kitchen cupboards with high-end china can end in a heart-breaking and expensive disaster! If you’re planning to have a lot of guests over to stay during the holidays, people are going to be in a festive and careless mood, and more often than not, a few drinks down! However, by thinking practically about the things you fill your holiday home with, you’ll minimize the chances of any major mishaps.

Don’t Skimp, But Don’t Go Overboard

Your décor pieces should be thought of as an investment, and should hopefully last a number of years before you have to give the place another refresh, even if you’re constantly having guests over. With this in mind, buying cheap appliances, furniture and so on will cost you more in the long run, as it will increase the chances that you’ll have to replace them more often. Having said that, you don’t want to spend too much, as you’re only going to be using the home at certain times of the year. It’s all about achieving a perfect balance.

May 16, 2017

Summer is coming, so if there’s ever been a time to get your garden up to scratch, it is now! Every season has its charms, but you can’t go out in the garden when it’s the bleak midwinter, so it’s time to make the most of what you’ve got outside. Barbecues, garden parties, or just a simple relax in the sun on a Sunday afternoon will be so much more relaxing if you don’t have a dump for a garden. Yes, I get that’s it’s been too cold to do anything in the winter, but the temperature’s rising now, so get out there! Here are some ideas for you.

Image Source

Some Color Changes…

Even for those that haven’t got the money to completely overhaul their garden you can make some little changes that will make all the difference. If you’ve got some old gray slabs of stone, make a change for some smaller ones, or change them for some fashionable decking. You could even go for a classical look with some brown stone layers. You can go to standard concrete suppliers like Ortmannconcrete.com, who have a selection of different styles. But if you’re going for a more rustic approach, you can place a lot of browns around in the form of wooden planters. They are very cheap and can really add some understated flourish to the garden.

Get Growing…

The grass will make up the majority of most people’s gardens, so make it count! Get a good quality fertilizer if this is the first time you’re doing it this year (or ever) and start on it now. It only takes a couple of hours to do, but if you do it every three months, you will help to make it stronger. Get on your hands and knees and take up some of those pesky weeds too to help, and if the grass doesn’t look great the first time round, that’s because it hasn’t been done in a while. Give it some time, and it’ll look great.

https://pixabay.com/en/summer-still-life-pitcher-garden-783345/

Decorate Your Garden For Free!

Sites like Freecycle are a great way to find free items to decorate your garden in a style that you want, giving your garden an ideal ambiance for summer gatherings. A handy tip: look on eBay for bulky garden items because the sellers are very likely to want to get rid of them straight away as they are taking up valuable space. You could very likely snatch up a bargain.

Light Up, Light Up…

It’s summer, and there is nothing better than when the dusk slowly turns to dark and little lights come on. It really adds some prettiness to the surroundings. Simple ways to do this is to have mini tea lights placed around the garden, or string up some multi-colored lights, or you could even use your Christmas lights and wrap them around the washing line! Another option is to get some solar-powered lamps; they will have soaked up the sun during the day, and it will cut back on your energy bills.

May 15, 2017

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Branding is a powerful thing.

If a brand is sold to the public in a particular way, it can convince people of anything. The psychology behind branding is absolutely fascinating. It can make us think that something tastes better, works more efficiently, or is a must-have when we can really live without it.

One of the most obvious areas you can see this at work is in the kitchen. How many items in your fridge are branded, when you know that the unbranded products would have been cheaper? How about in the medicine cabinet – do you have generic medication or branded options, despite there being no difference in the ingredients?

The above might be easier to justify. Maybe the food tastes better; perhaps you have convinced yourself there is something in the medication that makes it more effective. Given that these items are relatively low in price, it’s fairly harmless if you feel the brand is the better choice for you.

One area where this becomes more complicated, however, is with electronics. Sticking with the kitchen, most specifically, kitchen appliances.

There comes a time when you might have to look for new kitchen appliances. It might be in the aftermath of kitchen remodeling; you don’t want those shabby old appliances cluttering up your pristine new space, do you? Or perhaps you’re in need of something new for the most obvious reason: the old ones just don’t work anymore!

So you find yourself looking for something new to go with your kitchen. Your eye might be caught by the inventive colours, retro shapes, and nifty extras available with the branded products. Then there are the own brand versions, which are nowhere near as attractive… but they are half the price. Sometimes, it’s even less than half the price.

Does It Matter?

The simple answer, if money is your foremost concern, is no.

One of the biggest tactics people use to convince themselves they need the branded appliances is one of common sense. After all, the branded items are probably more expensive because they are better made – right? And if they’re better made, then they’re going to last longer. So really, it’s an investment.

This is not necessarily the case, as the huge number of appliances that are called back every year shows. There’s no more certainty of a long-lasting relationship with an appliance just because it has a higher price tag.

What About Safety?

Is there a chance that cheaper appliances have not been made to the same standards, thus it’s safer to buy the branded versions?

Not at all. If an item is for sale in a store, it will have had to pass a plethora of different safety checks – the exact same ones the branded appliances did. Unless you are buying from a market stall (which… just don’t do that) then you can be sure of the safety.

So ask yourself the next time you’re in the market for appliances: do you want to save money or have the cachet and excitement of a high-end branded item? Neither is the wrong answer – just make sure you’re honest with yourself about your motivation!

May 15, 2017

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Do you want to live in luxury? What a silly question – everyone wants to live in luxury! The problem is that transforming a house into a lavish home isn’t simple. And, it’s not because of the money. Nope, it’s because the term has evolved over the years to mean something different. Nowadays, lots of homeowners think that luxury is all about the aesthetics. Well, that simply isn’t true. To add pure opulence to your home, you need to consider the following. These four tips will put you back on the right path.

Don’t Fake It

The first thing that comes up when you search luxury online is how to do it on a budget. Or, there will be a post about sneaking luxury into your home. Although it’s tempting, you should avoid it like the plague. If you’re serious about being luxurious, then you can’t do it on a shoestring budget. The truly affluent homes that spring to mind aren’t pretending to be something else. They are luxurious because they knew they had to spend money and splash out. Anyone that isn’t ready to do that is only pretending. Sorry if it sounds snobby, but it is true.

Import, Don’t Buy Homemade

Why do you need to spend money? It’s because people with a keen interior design eye will be able to spot a fake from a mile away. Sure, the fakes do have a resemblance, but there are features which are dead giveaways. And, that is the reason luxury is imported and not bought in-country. In reality, it’s nearly impossible to recreate imported Italian home décor without shipping it in from Italy. The same goes for French, British, and Oriental décor or any furnishings that aren’t a cheap rip off. Just remember that an imitation isn’t the real deal.

All The Small Things

In the immortal words of Blink 182, it’s all about the small things. Okay, so they probably didn’t have luxury décor in mind when they wrote the lyrics, but they are still spot on. You see, anyone can buy an imported piece of furniture and add it to a room. And, anyone can spend money on expensive fittings and fixtures if they are ready to pull the trigger. What most people can’t do is supplement a room by taking care of the small details. That means thinking about ‘insignificant’ details like the lighting in the bathroom or the window dressing. People like to cut corners because they believe these features don’t matter, but the small things are a huge deal.

Current Trends

Interior design is a world that is full of modern trends which change every year. Luxury, however, isn’t one of them. The reason is that luxury is a classic style that is timeless. It doesn’t matter what you try because if you get it right, the transition will be seamless. So, when you come across a ‘new’ luxury trend for 2017, take it with a pinch of salt. The odds are that it isn’t luxury at all, and that isn’t good news.

Hopefully, these tips will help you hit your target.