8 Frugal Ways To Organise Your Kitchen 

8 frugal kitchen organization tips. How to organise your kitchen without spending a fortune. Interior design and home decor tips for getting your kitchen organised. Guest post by The Home Makers Journal.

This is a guest post kindly written by Elizabeth Plumb from The Home Makers Journal.

It has started to get a bit chilly at night where I live, which has me in a fall cleaning frame of mind. More specifically, I’ve been yearning to get my house in order. Since I didn’t really feel like buying a whole bunch of organization products to get started, I decided to see what I could come up with that would satisfy my need to get organized without spending a lot of money.

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Kitchen is used to prepare food stuff. So naturally hygiene conditions must be ensured while preparing food. Prolonged exposure of kitchen surfaces and items to dirt and dust may spoil the appearance and cleanliness of the kitchen. As a professional organizer, I am excited that I get to share both my love of organizing with you today, as well as the tidy, frugal ideas that I use to simply keep my sanity in my own kitchen.

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Maybe you can use some of these solutions, too? Here we go…

Remove Cabinet Doors

Remove a few cabinet doors to have easy access to dishes. Contrary to what you might think, these dishes don’t get dirty simply because they are out in the open. They are frequently used and don’t sit still long enough to gather dust.

Use A Cookbook Stand

Use an ordinary plate easel as a cookbook stand. It keeps your book open, clean, and in view while you are creating your newest culinary masterpiece.

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Use creativity, not cash

Frugal organizers think past the label and outside the box. Even when they must purchase an item to complete an organization project, they make creative use of common products like eco-friendly lighting in the kitchen.

Ever notice that the same item, say, a plastic box with dividers and a lid, can have three different prices when labeled as a box for fishing tackle, a box for small hardware items, or a box to hold cross-stitch thread? At home, the frugal organizer realize that the expensive plastic holders aren’t necessary!

Keep Only The Best

Keep only the best of your kitchen helpers. These are literally all of my casserole dishes and pie plates. I never need more than a few of these at a time. You can read more about kitchen cookware choosing tips on thehomemakersjournal.com

Storing Utensils

Store your utensils out in the open, in a pot, crock or ceramic pitcher, so that they will be easier to find and to use and to be returned after being cleaned.

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Shop your home for baskets and bins

I sort of have a basket addiction. They come in handy a lot around our house, so when I needed a little more food storage, I put a couple of baskets from our living room to good use. They were only holding clutter anyway, which forced me to organize that little bit too. While searching our house for other baskets, I found a couple of wire ones to hold my cook books and Lola’s pet supplies too. And I repurposed a galvanized bucket sitting on a bookshelf that served a better purpose as a potato bin.

Fill the Sink

Always fill the sink with hot and soapy water before putting in the utensils. This will not only save the cost but also the wear and tear of your dishwasher. Other benefit of practicing this is that it will allow you to speed up your cooking process as you can wash and go without having to worry about a big pile of pans and pots.

Use of Lids

Making use of lids is also an innovative way of maintaining cleanliness in the kitchen. Lids of various containers can be used as a mat for jars and containers which contain sticky liquids. The reason behind it is that it helps to clean only the lids rather than cleaning the whole shelf. This eventually saves time and energy.

Author Bio

Elizabeth Plumb loves to share ideas on parenting, home decor, DIY, crafts, recipes and traveling. She writes over at The Home Makers Journal. You can find her on facebook, twitter and pinterest.

Top 5 Signs That You Need a New Mattress

Confused about whether you’re in need of a new mattress? It’s something that often gets forgotten for years at a time, and the signs that you may need a new one can be put down to your own health problems when in fact it is the surface you’re lying on for at least 6-8 hours per night.

Though the general rule is to change your mattress every few years, many people find themselves feeling unsure about the exact point at which they need to do so. Some may feel that changing their mattress isn’t really required unless it’s obviously damaged in some way.

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If you’re feeling unsure, below are the top 5 signs that it’s time seriously consider investing in a new single mattress or double mattress:

You’re sleeping badly

Since our bed is where we sleep every night, it’s natural that our mattress will have an effect on our sleep quality. Poor sleep can have an impact on our mood and energy levels for the whole of the next day.  If you find yourself tossing and turning more often than not, your mattress could very well be the cause of it.

Some people assume that bad sleep can only occur in older or damaged mattresses but this isn’t the case. If you have purchased a mattress that isn’t a good fit for your body type or sleeping position then it may be the reason you’re not getting a good night’s sleep. It doesn’t necessarily reflect on the quality or age of the mattress, it may just not be a good match for you.

Being well-rested is too important to not invest in. If you’re sleeping badly, it may just be time to start your hunt for the perfect mattress.

Your mattress looks or feels worn out

It’s important to monitor your mattress closely and regularly to check whether it is deteriorating in any way.  When you change your bed linen is a good time to do so. Inspect the mattress closely for any signs such as lumpiness or a sagging in the middle section.

If your mattress is quite clearly worn, it’s unlikely to offer you the support you need. It’s time to begin the search for a new one before it starts negatively impacting your sleep.

Your mattress is more than 5 years old

The general consensus is that you should look into investing in a new mattress every 5-8 years. An exact time can’t be given as this purely depends on the quality and durability of your current mattress. Some can even last up to 10 years, while others struggle to make it to the 5 year mark.

If your mattress is more than 5 years old, we’d suggest you start closely monitoring it to check for any possible decline. It won’t happen exactly on its 5th birthday, but you may start seeing wear and tear after this time.

You’re sleeping better in other beds

Many people don’t even know how great their sleep could be until they spend a divine night snoozing peacefully on a different bed and realise the importance of a mattress. Once you’ve had this experience it can be hard to go back. If this has happened to you, investigate how much it might cost the get the mattress that you had such an amazing night’s rest on.

You’re frequently waking up with aches and pains

Those of who are waking up stiff and sore more often than not need to look into getting a new mattress. Many people blame sitting in an office all, or a strenuous workout they may have done for their daily aches. You’d be surprised to find how often the mattress can be a cause of it.

This could because the structure of your mattress is in decline and it is not offering enough support. It could also be the case if your mattress is too firm or too soft for your specific needs. Either way, it definitely needs to be explored further as a new mattress may just offer you some much needed relief.

Visit Bed Mattress to view a high-quality range of luxury mattresses by Sloane & Sons. Pocket Sprung and Memory Foam mattresses are both available with free UK delivery and a 5 year guarantee. Find out more about the full collection on the website.

*Disclosure:This post is written in collaboration with Sloane & Sons.

How Your Kitchen Lighting Can Be Eco- Friendly

LED lighting is an eco friendly lighting option for the kitchen and the rest of your home. LED lighting saves energy and is environmentally friendly. Find out how you can brighten up your kitchen, and the rest of your home, with LED lighting.

Kitchen lighting needs to be able to do a multitude of things. It must be bright enough for you to practise your culinary skills, without casting shadows. It needs to be relaxing, for those meal time chats, or when you are entertaining. It should look stylish, and not get in the way of those frantic family moments that the kitchen seems to be at the heart of. Lastly, it should be eco-friendly. We’re all too aware of the effects of energy consumption, so how can we work to reduce it with lighting?

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Choose LED

LED kitchen lighting is the easiest way to reduce your energy consumption. They use up to 90% less power than other types of bulbs such as halogen and fluorescent. They use less of their energy as heat, instead using it as light, so you get a bright light at a much lower wattage than a halogen bulb by comparison. They also have a longer lifespan of up to 60,000 hours, meaning that they last over seven years without needing to be replaced. LED bulbs can also be recycled in the traditional manner, unlike fluorescent bulbs which must be treated as hazardous waste. Whilst LEDs may seem expensive initially (their cost is being reduced as more bulbs are introduced to the market), you will make the money back from your electricity bill! Plus, if you have children or you are concerned about safety – LEDs are almost cool to the touch, meaning that there is less risk.

Switch off!

At some point in your life, you’ll probably have heard someone tell you to ‘turn the big light off’, usually followed by ‘it’s like Blackpool Illuminations in here!’ Despite living just outside London, I remember my dad still used this phrase – not that we had ever actually visited Blackpool, but he assured me that was what it’s like! 😉 Although this might sound like nagging, it’s actually the best advice you can have, in terms of reducing your energy consumption. Do you need to have the main light on, or can you make a nice, relaxing atmosphere with a lamp?

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Best Styles of Kitchen Lighting

If you’re inspired to try out LED lighting in your kitchen, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • For a bright functional light, try undercabinet lights. You can install them above your sink, chopping board and other surfaces you need to use. Just remember to place them near the front of the cupboard, or you might get shadows making it harder to work safely and effectively.
  • For an atmospheric dining experience, try hanging a pendant light over your table or island. Bonus points for installing it with a dimmer switch – bright for eating, darker for afterwards!
  • Recessed spotlights always look really stylish, and if you purchase LED ones, you’ll hardly ever need to replace them – so you can put that ladder away!


Would you try using LED lighting, to save money and be more eco-friendly?


*Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. 

How To Reduce Household Waste: Zero Waste Tips (Including Giveaway)

When people hear the concept of zero waste, it can seem somewhat overwhelming. How can someone not create any rubbish?! But the truth is, for the vast majority of people who try to practice a zero waste lifestyle, it is more like zero waste is something to aim towards by taking a slow step by step journey in the right direction. And that’s ok. It is really about doing your bit to protect our planet. Plus each action you take tends to become a gateway to the next. So it really isn’t as hard as it first sounds!

This post covers alot of different areas, but the point is just for me to share tips and alternative products with you all. I intend for you, my readers, to pick somewhere to begin, and to find new ideas to continue from whatever stage you are already at; the idea is not for anyone to try to take it all on at once! Gradual change is the key to making it feel sustainable and not too overwhelming. This is also by no means a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination! There are many, many people far further along the journey than I am, but we can all learn from one another, so I am just sharing what I know!

Here are my ideas for developing a zero waste lifestyle, divided into sections for ease of reference (because I like to be organised!)…

Toiletries

This is the area that I have been working on myself most recently, so I figure it makes sense to start here!

Deoderant

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Earth Conscious Deoderant Stick (RRP £8)

Earth Conscious sell a zero waste natural deoderant that now comes in both tin or stick format. I have only just got mine so too early to comment personally, but reviews on it are great! 

Shampoo/ Conditioner

Shampoo bars are the obvious choice for zero waste hair washing. Alternatively, powder is another option. However, if you cannot get on with shampoo bars or powder, I recommend that you buy a huge bulk size container of shampoo and conditioner so that it needs replacing far less often. You can purchase a smaller reusable pump bottle to make it more practical. 

For example, Faith in Nature sell huge 5 litre refills for around £50. If you feel put off by the price for a product you haven’t tried, it is well worth ordering the smaller size versions first then investing in your favourite. They also offer free samples for a small limited number of their products, so you can try before you buy that way too. I realise this may sound like it defeats the point of choosing zero waste items somewhat, but it is really about looking at the bigger picture and thinking ahead. Other brands probably have bulk size versions too, if you look into it and find any others, do let me know in comments.

As for conditioner, I have written before about natural hair conditioners. Although these are not actually zero waste ideas as such, they are items that can be used for a range of purposes and again can usually be purchased in much larger sizes so this helps to drastically reduce waste.

Soap

There are a wide range of beautiful, often handmade, natural soaps available that are sold without packaging (or minimal, recycled packaging) so produce little to no waste. If you prefer liquid handwash, again I recommend buying in bulk to reduce waste. 

Facewash/ Scrub

I totally recommend you make your own! There are some fab DIY recipes around if you google. I made a great coffee scrub last year. Alternatively, there are various eco conscious independents and other brands who ensure their packaging is minimal and environmentally- friendly. (And remember to check for no microbeads too!)

Toothbrush

Go for a bamboo toothbrush. Most come in fully recyclable minimal packaging and the toothbrush is biodegradable. I have one from Save Some Green. 

Cleaning

Alot of people buy many different types of cleaning products for all different purposes, which immediately creates far more waste. So my first bit of advice is try to simplify!

Cloths/ Wipes/ Scrub pads

Opt for resuable versions made from sustainable natural materials, such as bamboo, hemp or organic cotton cloths and wipes, and coconut hair scrub pads for example.

Multi – Purpose Cleaner

I recommend making your own DIY version if possible. We tend to use vinegar solution. Otherwise choose an eco-friendly brand in the largest size possible that covers a range of uses. 

Washing up Liquid

Again my best advice is to select one that lasts longer so less waste!

Laundry

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Living Naturally Soapnut Laundry Medium Starter Kit (RRP £15.66)

I was sent this fab soapnut starter pack from Living Naturally, which I have used for my most recent washes (probably about 4 loads now of various items). I am really impressed at how effective they are; in my opinion, they leave clothes just as clean and fresh as regular detergent! Not only are they natural and zero waste but they also work out much cheaper too, so this is a very cost effective way to do laundry as well as protecting the environment. Do give them a try and tell me what you think!

Menstruation

Ok, so granted this isn’t relevant to everyone but menstruation products can cause alot of waste so this is an important one! There are various reusable products, so you will most likey find that there is something to suit everyone that needs them. Earthwise Girls are my go to site for this, since they stock a good range of items to choose from. Personally, I mainly use a cup but also have reusable tampons, period pants and cloth pads too so that I can go with the flow. (Get it?! Sorry, excuse the pun!!!)

Eco Fluffy Mama has written alot on this subject and offers great advice.

Food and Drink

This is a huge area. There are so many different aspects and I doubt very much that I have covered even the majority of them in this post, but here goes…

Groceries Shopping

First things first; take your reusable bags along! Or use cardboard crates instead, which is what we do as we find that easier.

Choose items with minimal and recyclable packaging wherever possible. Aiming for a fresh raw food diet, rather than buying convenience goods, is not only good for your health, but better for the environment too. Fruit and veg, for example, do not need plastic wrappers! Of course, I totally understand this might be ideal but is not always realistic for many – but it is, at the very least, just something to consider when doing your shop. Buying bigger versions of long lasting cupboard food also saves on some packaging too.

Food Waste

Try not to buy more than you will eat, freeze if applicable so it lasts longer and my favourite for fruit and veg – make it into a smoothie and drink it up!

Storage/ Lunchboxes/ Picnics

There are lots of durable, practical ways to store food without causing waste. Mason jars, glass or metal containers, resuable sandwich bags and washable beeswax wraps (to replace clingfilm) are all good options. For snacks on the go, carry around reusable cutlery, made from bamboo or similar. Plus carry washable cloths rather than wipes in your bag too.

Drinks

Use a resuable cup or flask, and water bottle for drinks on the go. And ditch the plastic straws, opt for eco- friendly alternatives instead if you can’t do without!

Other

Did you know? Aluminium foil is not rubbish; scrunch it into a ball and throw it into your recycling pile!

Further Reading

There are lots of great blogs, articles and books about this subject, but here is just a small selection…

Eco Fluffy Mama green living blog

12 Ways To Cut Your Waste by Grow Eat Gift

Zero Waste Guide by Earthwise Girls

Rethink Your Rubbish by PinkOddy

Zero Waste Week Supporters

Last but not least…

To celebrate Zero Waste Week, I have a fab Bathroom Starter Kit from Earthwise Girls to giveaway to one lucky reader! 

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Earthwise Bathroom Kit (RRP £14)

Earthwise Bathroom Set includes:

  • Bamboo medium bristles toothbrush
  • Wooden hair comb
  • Hemp hair & body soap (supplied in a compostable wrapper)
  • Earth Conscious deodorant
  • Divine chocolate bar
  • Pukka herbal teabag

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 25th September 2017. Open to UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply.

Aylett Nurseries: Celebration Gardens and Butterfly Corner

One of the free places we have visited a couple of times recently over summer is Aylett Nurseries in St Albans, Hertfordshire. It is good for kids; sometimes they have activities and events specifically for children, and generally is family friendly. 

At the moment, they currently have a butterfly corner but you will have to hurry – it closes on 17th September! It is very small but is still a lovely little experience that adds to the visit. It is interesting to watch the butterflies feeding on the fruit and having them fluttering around you. Here are some of my favourite photos taken in their butterfly corner last week…

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butterfly, insect, pollinator, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

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butterfly, insect, pollinator, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

butterfly, insect, pollinator, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

butterfly, insect, pollinator, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

butterfly, insect, pollinator, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

According to the website, the Celebration Gardens are open all year round but the best time to visit is when the flowers are in bloom of course. We have only just discovered the Celebrations Gardens over the last month, which was perfect timing! Their multi award winning Dahlias are particularly beautiful, and we also love the wild flower section too. Here are a selection of photos from the Celebration Garden in August…

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Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, bug hotel, wildlife, insects, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, wild flowers, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

Celebration Gardens, Dahlias, flowers, outdoors, get outside, nature, places to visit, Aylett Nurseries, Hertfordshire, Living Life Our Way

For more information about opening hours, news and events see Aylett Nurseries website.

How To Create A Stress – Relieving Garden

Gardeners have long known that the garden – the outdoor space, the nature within it and exposure to fresh air – are elements that combine to combat stress. And there is the science to prove it. From a child to the elderly, from the vulnerable to hardworking parents, the garden can be a haven of peace and tranquillity, the perfect place to de-stress. No matter what the season, the garden has something to offer. But if your garden looks like a myriad of weeds and lacks colour and scent, the time has come to roll up your sleeves and start digging. Gardening is good for you and a pleasant garden is the perfect antidote to a stressful, modern life.

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The Science of Gardening

The garden is for everyone; the elderly can reconnect with memories as they garden, children can learn mathematical and scientific principles, parents and teenagers can relax, listening to the latest podcast or reading the latest best seller for example. Lounging around in a peaceful garden is good for you, and science agrees.

Use Your Senses

When it comes to creating a stress-relieving garden, design the experience around your senses:

Smell

Gardens, filled with fragrant blooms, certainly provide olfactory stimulation. Scents are subtle, not overpowering, and there are some that are known to help us relax and unfold away from stress. Lavender, for example, has long been added to bath products and sleeping remedies, in order to calm the whirling mind before sleep. Along with other fragrant blooms, plant them at the edge of flower beds so that as you walk around the garden, you knock the blooms, releasing the fragrance.

Taste

Growing vegetables is good for you in so many ways. Half an hour of digging and mulching sheds calories, as well as giving your body a workout. The vegetables you grow, free from pesticides and insecticides are good for you. Sitting under the pea vines and eating peas straight from the pod is the stuff of memories and there is nothing like the sweet taste of peas, freshly plucked from the plant. Plant vegetables and fruits with companion plants to get the best from nature.

Sight

What could be more mesmerising than watching a dancing, buzzing bee as it goes about its business, hopping from one fragrant bloom to another? What is more beautiful than seeing a garden full of colour, with insects scurrying about going on with their rituals? Instead of staring at a screen, why not stare at the garden? Allow yourself to drift away, gently swinging in a hammock in the trees or on a comfortable rattan day bed, and watch nature at its best – and marvel at the fact that all this is in your garden!

Touch

Textures are important too. For stress relief, there are many elements that combine together and yet, we give little thought to how touch affects the mind, body and soul. We know that human touch can be restful and reassuring. In effect, this is what you want to create in your multi-sensory garden. There are, of course, some experiences of touch we don’t want – such as the sting of a nettle – but there are other plants that are more conducive to being touched by the human hand. When was the last time you ran your fingertips through the dancing fronds of reeds or tall grasses? Or the soft, fragrant leaves of a geranium? Lambs Ears are a particular favourite of ours. The garden, with clever planting, can be a haven of stress relief, and touch is one sense that you shouldn’t ignore.

Hearing

And the final sense, hearing. At the end of the day, give yourself 20 minutes to enjoy the peace and quiet of the garden. Lie on the rattan day bed or sit in the bistro chair, close your eyes and train your ears to focus on the sounds of nature and not those of man-made origin. Block out the sounds of car engines and trains, or the dull roar of planes overhead, and instead listen for the rustling of the leaves on the trees and the grasses as the wind gently moves their fronds. Listen to the birds, their calls to one another and the buzz of an insect as it whizzes past you. Listen to the gentle movement of water as it tumbles and frolics down the waterfall. The garden, no matter how big or small, is a truly wondrous place, where stress simply peels away.

Rattan Direct is an online retailer, specialising in high-quality rattan furniture. Hard wearing and robust, rattan is a perfect material for outdoor furniture and with a growing choice for the modern consumer, any garden can quickly become a stress-free haven.

*Disclosure: This post was written in collaboration with Rattan Direct.

Top 5 Space Saving Tips For New Furniture

Maximise space with these five top tips for dressing a smaller room…

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Space can be at a premium. From car parking outside your home, to garden space, and space in individual rooms. Not having enough room can mean that we feel hemmed in, and make the area full and cluttered. But with these ‘space-saving’ tips you can have a stylish and open feel to a room. It is all about colour and choosing furniture carefully, so that it blends and works well together.

Lighter Impact Furniture

This may be a phrase you have not come across before, but it is a concept that is all around you. To maximise space in a room, you need to show as much floor space as possible. And this means choosing furniture that is not block like, but lighter on its impact on, and in, the room. For example, consider the wingback chair; iconic in shape and style. You may think the wings make it feel big and cumbersome in a smaller living room. However, it doesn’t and that is because there is a gap between the floor and the underside of the seat. It appeals to the eye because it does not close down the floor space. Simple when you think about it – try it!

Neutral Tones and Colours

A small space may not be the place to experiment with dark, moody colours and tones (but we will take a look at this concept in a moment…). So if you crave space and light, then the answer is lighter, neutral tones throughout. That includes the walls, the ceiling, and the floor. Avoiding dark colours means light is not absorbed by the room but reflected within it. And this goes for furniture too. However, it doesn’t mean that patterns are out of the question. But use darker colours sparingly in the fabric, keeping fabric choices light and airy; perfect for making a room feel and look bigger.

A Dash of Dark Colour

Interior trends come and go. And when trends dictate darker colours, it can be hard to ignore. But small spaces and dark colours are not natural bedfellows: dark colours soak up light, leaving precious little for the remainder of the room. It can draw a wall or ceiling into the space; unless that is the look you are opting for, it is not a welcome effect of using dark colours. So when you want to add a pop of colour, use it sparingly. For example, in the bedroom, opt for a large, dark coloured fabric headboard and offset this with the rest of the room in light, neutral but complementing tones. In the living room, you could add a dark coloured armchair or two, or maybe add a burst of colour with a rug. Think smaller portions of dark colour rather than a whole feature wall.

Clever Furniture Choices

As already mentioned, furniture choices play a large part in how well dressed a room looks. Not opting for block armchairs and sofas that meet the floor helps the feeling of space by maximising the floor space. Choosing low impact furniture helps create a sense of space too but this can cause practical issues that need to be taken care of. In a small space, wall-to-wall furniture seems to ‘just happen’ because, after all, you need storage space. But be clever in your choices of furniture and opt for ones in which there is storage included. For example, forsake the sideboard for hiding away clutter with an ottoman coffee table. And when you do choose additional furniture, such as shelving units for example, keep the overall design ‘open’ so that it doesn’t feel like it is closing down the space.

Think Vertical

A room feels cluttered when the eyeline seems cluttered. And it feels small when the ceiling appears not too far from the top of your head. The feeling of space in a room comes from vision, not necessarily from the physical dimensions of the room. And that means tricking the eye into thinking there is more space than there actually is. Do this by magnifying and emphasising the height of a room. There are many ways of achieving this, but the traditional design ideas still hold water:

  • Light colours on ceilings – stick with brilliant, clean and crisp white if you can, or if that feels too stark, use a light shade of cream – but no darker. 
  • Hang curtain poles just below the ceiling – the long swathes of fabric will give the instant appeal of the room being tall and the room spacious. 
  • Vertical stripes may seem obvious, but they work – choose a muted striped pattern for wallpaper and if you don’t think it will work throughout the room, use it on one wall for a striking effect. 

Space saving and space maximising tips are all well and good, but which ones can you live with?

Sloane & Sons have a range of chairs that give any room, large or small, massive appeal. Traditional and iconic, the winged chair is a piece used in modern interior designs too and is ideal for use in a small living room or bedroom.

*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Sloane & Sons.

Organise Your Bedroom #StorageForTheWin 

Despite only having one child, and being minimalist myself personally, I find we do still seem to have our fair share of stuff! I think that is down to a combination of reasons; we are home educators, so perhaps by nature we do need more things at home for that purpose. Plus we also spend more time at home than many people because of Squiggle’s needs. But whatever the reason is, a messy house is no use to anyone! I hate wasting time looking for missing things, life is much easier when our home environment is tidy and well oganised. Less distractions and less stress!

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Bedrooms are especially essential to be tidy and organised. I feel that it is much easier to get restful, good quality sleep in a calm, cosy environment; it helps my brain feel relaxed and able to switch off. Too much clutter visible in the bedroom is not conducive to good sleep!

That’s why I am pleased to be taking part in Bed Guru’s #StorageForTheWin campaign by sharing my organisation and storage tips for your bedroom. Online bed retailers Bed Guru are sleep experts; they understand that everyone has different sleep requirements and feel it is their obligation to ensure that everybody gets a goodnight sleep! They also have a fab competition running to win an ottoman divan bed base – more info on that below!

Top Tips To Declutter 

Ok, so first things first. If you want a neat and tidy bedroom then you need to get rid of the clutter! It is far easier to get organised – and stay that way – if you don’t have too much stuff to stay on top of in the first place. Here are my suggestions for effective decluttering:

• Sort everything into piles (e.g. tops, shoes, bedding and so on…)

• One pile at a time, go through each item in the pile. Consider if it is important and still useful to you. Only keep the things that you really need and/ or truly matter to you.

• For the items you do not plan to keep, organise them into piles of recycling/ upcycling, charity/ pass on to someone else and things to sell (if you so wish – otherwise these would also go in the charity pile).

• For items to keep, the next step will be to consider how and where to store it! (See below). 

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Organisation and Storage Tips

• Only store things in the bedroom that belong in there; it is meant to be a peaceful sanctuary for restful sleep, not a storage room!

• Shelves are useful for keeping smaller items that you would like to have out on display. Shelves above the bed, or corner shelving, maximises use of space most effectively.

• Wardrobes with sliding doors are great space savers. You can use boxes within the wardrobe to make best use of all the room available. Alternatively, choose a wardrobe with extra rails, drawers and/ or shelves built in. Or do both! 

• Find bedroom furniture that can be used for multi-purposes. For example, drawers or wardrobes that also serve as a bedside table.

• Use drawer dividers to organise smaller items effectively.

• Divan bed bases are a great way to store stuff in the bedroom out of sight without taking up any extra space for storage. Ottoman divan bed bases are especially great because they have a lift up opening base, with the help of gas pistons. This type of divan can store heavier items than the typical sliding drawer version because the bed base is supported by the floor. Some styles of Ottoman even open from the side so can fit snugly into tighter gaps; perfect for smaller bedrooms.

Win An Ottoman Divan Bed Base

As I mentioned above, Bed Guru are giving one very lucky person the chance to win an Ottoman divan bed base, so do pop over to their website to enter! With a choice of 19 fabrics, this awesome side opening storage bed will help you to organise your bedroom perfectly!  

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Find more storage and organisation tips, and share your own suggestions too, using the hashtag #StorageForTheWin on social media.

*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Bed Guru.

    Housing Rabbits: A Hutch Is Not Enough

    A while back now I mentioned that I would write more about the enclosure we have for our beautiful pair of bunny furbabies. They are a larger breed and we couldn’t find anything on the market that we felt offered them enough space, but equally we are not DIY minded enough to make anything secure enough ourselves. So we set about having an enclosure custom – made by a highly rated ebay seller, and gave our exact specifications. We found this to be a relatively cheap option, it arrived very easy to assemble and is great quality construction; just what we need! 

    fabbits, bunnies, pets, furbabies, enclosure, a hutch is not enough, animal welfare, home and garden, custom made, runaround

    We didn’t want anything to be able to dig in or out of their new home, so we laid down some wire mesh flooring, secured to the enclosure using cable ties, then covered it over with rolls of turf so the bunnies would be none the wiser! Then we added a shelter, plus some tunnels for them to play and hide in as well. They love their enclosure! 

    Step By Step Guide

    Measure the wire mesh to slightly larger than the enclosure area and cut it to size. Lay it down flat. Overlap any joins and cable tie them securely.

    fabbits, bunnies, pets, furbabies, enclosure, a hutch is not enough, animal welfare, home and garden, custom made

    Put the enclosure frame on top of the wire flooring, making sure there is an overlap around the edges.

    fabbits, bunnies, pets, furbabies, enclosure, a hutch is not enough, animal welfare, home and garden, custom made

    Secure the wire mesh to the bottom of the enclosure using cable ties. Make sure they are very tight so can’t be chewed and cut off the end being careful not to leave sharp edges.

    fabbits, bunnies, pets, furbabies, enclosure, a hutch is not enough, animal welfare, home and garden, custom made

    Lay rolls of turf over the floor to cover over the wire. Take care to ensure there are no exposed edges or sharp bits of wire anywhere. 

    fabbits, bunnies, pets, furbabies, enclosure, a hutch is not enough, animal welfare, home and garden, custom made

    Shelter and Accessories

    We then added a dog kennel from Pets at Home and burrow pipes from runaround for shelter and protection too. We also left the extra roll of turf we had spare in the enclosure as a little hill/ mound as well. We will introduce new things over time for further enrichment of course. 

    fabbits, bunnies, pets, furbabies, enclosure, a hutch is not enough, animal welfare, home and garden, custom made, runaround

    The wire roof has a fold back panel opening. Once closed it is secured with padlocks and then partially covered over for extra protection. 

    fabbits, bunnies, pets, furbabies, enclosure, a hutch is not enough, animal welfare, home and garden, custom made, runaround

    Final Thoughts

    Ideally this would be connected to a shed and/ or have extra adjoining sections. We hope that we can build them an extension soon! However, free range access to the garden under supervision for daily exercise is a good alternative too though. 

    Do you have pet rabbits? What type of enclosure do they live in?

    5 Ways Gardens Benefit Your Health 

    Although most gardeners have long known it, the science confirms it – gardening is good for your health!

    And so with scientific data on our side, the time has come to reveal what an hour or two, or a whole afternoon, does to your health; physical, mental and emotional.

    rattan direct garden benefits

    Gardening reduces stress and anxiety

    It’s probably a combination of fresh air, enjoying the sun when it shines and also caring for tender plants and shrubs that make gardening such a great antidote to modern life. Stressful jobs, full social lives and everything we have to deal with can lead to blood pressure rising and a state of stress settling in.

    Whilst a little stress may be a good thing, too much has a negative impact on the body; both our physical and mental health. Depression is also an ailment that society is no longer treating as taboo, and studies have also shown that gardening can be part of the solution to managing depression.

    The solution is clear for all to see; spending a little time in the garden; either weeding, planting new plants or simply mowing the lawn, will help to lower stress and anxiety levels and benefit your mental health.

    Decreases risk of diabetes and heart disease

    Who’d have thought it?! Spending time in the garden being active is part of the solution to keeping heart attacks and diabetes at bay.

    Of course, keen gardeners have known for some time that gardening can be heavy work. Just think of all the weight you sometimes shift about; the digging and forking over the allotment, the hoeing, the plants and the weeding. Even a brisk mow of the lawn can work up a sweat once a week. Keeping your cardiac system in great shape and your weight in check is done by a variety of means but the best exercise is one that leaves you slightly out of breath and raises your pulse rate a little – and heaving heavy sacks of compost, mowing the lawn, cutting the hedges and so on can all do that!

    This point also ties in with the previous point of lowering stress and anxiety too, which is a common cause of heart attacks. Physical and mental health are linked so taking care of your overall wellbeing is essential.

    It makes you happy!

    There is increasing evidence that the amount spent outside directly correlates with several health and behavioural problems. This is why many specialist schools and educational settings that deal with emotional and behavioural difficulties in children are spending more time out of the classroom, and enjoying settings such as Forest Schools and the like. Of course, it is not the only answer to dealing with behavioural difficulties, depression and feeling fed up but it goes a long way to lift your mood and spirits.

    This doesn’t mean you have to work when you are in the garden, either. Why not take half an hour to sit, listen to the sounds of nature around you, the birds sing, admire the flowers, the buzzing bees and other insects that you probably haven’t noticed until now? You could invest in rattan garden furniture, sit back and spend some time in your own green space, no matter how big or small it is, and disconnect from your busy life. Try it for half an hour and see what it feels like.

    A tool to stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s?

    It has been noted that Alzheimer’s and dementia are the two biggest health issues that will impact on our nation in the coming years. Slowly, the science and medical world are peeling back the layers of these people-robbing illnesses, extending our understanding of both issues. The Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that various physical activities cut the risk of developing Alzheimer’s in half – and one of the activities that was recognised was gardening. For those suffering from dementia, it has been found that garden-centred therapy is one of the most powerful in reaching and connecting with people.

    It helps you sleep better

    Finally, maybe it is something to do with all the activity, the fresh air and the mental stimulation of being immersed in nature, plus the reduced stress and anxiety, but being proactive in your garden helps you sleep better. And of course good night sleep is essential for health and wellbeing too!

    Gardening is not just about pretty flowers and tasty vegetables. It is an opportunity to enjoy being outdoors, switch off from modern life and enjoy everything that nature has to offer. Along with their customers, Rattan Direct have long known that the garden has magical powers to relax and de-stress the human mind, body and soul. And now the science concurs.

    *Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.