Win A Neyland Star Tartan Fabric Wingback Tub Chair

Tub chairs are a popular option for alot of people because they fit relatively easily into a room, as far as seating options go. They are a particularly versatile investment because they would work equally as well in a nursery or guest room as they do in the living room.

They can also be moved around easily too to fit in with changing layouts, such as if you decide to rearrange your furniture to create a fresh new look. Or they can even be positioned to create a more social atmosphere in a room when needed, such as having guests over for example. Great for this time of year!

Personally I think there is nothing better than having your own little space to curl up in and read a good book or chill in front of the TV.

Neyland Star Tartan Fabric Wingback Tub Chair in a cosy corner of a living room

They are stylish too; I mentioned in my recent post ‘How To Create A Cosy Winter Home’ that tartan is a great design choice for this season, so the one in this feature is perfect to create the look! Plus you can paint the legs to match your room, and the latest trends, too. There are several other lovely fabric design options too though, so do take a look at their website.

Win A Neyland Star Tartan Fabric Wingback Tub Chair

Better yet, Tub Chairs are giving away one of these awesome chairs in their twitter competition! To be in with a chance of winning a Neyland Star tartan fabric wingback tub chair (worth £245) all you have to do is RT the status below and follow them on twitter at @Tub_Chairs

For further details, as well as T&Cs, go to Sloane & Sons Tub Chair competition page. The competition is open to UK residents only. Ends 31/01/2018. Good luck!

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

A Child Friendly Stylish Home: Is It Possible?

How can you create a stylish home that is also child friendly and safe for children? This must be a question that so many new parents have pondered over the years. You spend years developing your own individual style, perhaps collecting some stylish and expensive furniture along the way, then you decide to start a family! All of a sudden there are mounds of coloured plastic littering your room, as well as plastic safety corners cushioning every sharp, clean, line on your expensive furniture.

Of course changes are welcome, as the arrival of babies and children bring so much fun and joy to a home. Sometimes though it would be nice to retain a little bit of style whilst keeping your loved ones safe. It would also be good to be able to store all the paraphernalia that comes with having children away because an uncluttered home helps to have a healthy mind. Is this possible though?

Picture of a living room with title 'A Child Friendly Stylish Home: Is It Possible?'

By following these tips you will be well on your way to creating a stylish but child friendly home…

Flooring

When you have children your choice of flooring needs to be as practical as possible. Solid wood flooring looks amazing but may get badly scratched by toys. Laminate is an affordable and stylish option which is very easy to clean and maintain. Carpets offer comfort, but has the disadvantage of being more difficult to clean, although you can apply coatings that will repel anything spilled on them.

A child's hand driving a digger over a laminate floor.

Storage

Storage is the easiest and most important way to keep your home looking stylish and free from clutter. There are some fantastic, great looking storage options that can be used in living areas and bedrooms. You will probably need a lot of storage space, especially when your children are young. Ensure your storage options are safe and won’t topple if your curious toddler decides to climb.

Furniture

There is a large choice of stylish furniture available, that is suitable for a child-friendly home. When searching for your perfect dining room table or coffee table, just make sure there are no sharp corners and avoid glass. When choosing a new sofa make sure it is easy to clean, either by choosing a fabric one, with washable covers, or leather. To avoid little fingers from damaging, or getting hurt by, your television or music system look at purchasing a TV stand with mount, which will keep wires, buttons and controls safely out of reach, as well as looking stylish.

Fabrics and accessories

The cost of having children often means that most of your spare cash is spent on them rather than buying new furniture for your home. A cheaper option for introducing on-style fashion to your interior is by using fabrics and accessories. Cushions, throws, curtains and artwork will go a long way to update your home. As fashion trends change annually you will be able to change your accessories on a regular basis without bursting through your budget. So even though you haven’t made any major changes, your home remains on trend.

Another fairly inexpensive way of updating your home is by repainting your walls in up-to-date colours. The cost of a tin of paint is not expensive and repainting a wall is easy to do. You could even get your child to help!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

VonHaus 2 in 1 Stick Vacuum: Review

I was recently sent a 2-in-1 Stick Vacuum to review. This convenient little budget vacuum is part of the VonHaus range and is available to purchase from Amazon RRP £39.99 (at the time of writing it is currently on sale at £29.99). Manufacturer 2 year warranty is included.

A picture of the vacuum cleaner with title VonHaus 2-in-1 stick vacuum review.

This is a 1000W (max) Stick Vacuum Cleaner. It is 2-in-1 because it can be used at full length with its extendable handle, or you can easily remove the handle to convert it into a handheld device. Because of its size and suction, it does feel like it creates a high level of vibration, particularly when using it as a hand held, and it is not the quietest cleaner we have ever had! However, we found it to have very good suction from a small vacuum and it does the job well.

The vacuum is bagless with a 1.3L transparent container, which is easy to remove and empty the contents straight into the bin. It also features an innovative HEPA filtration and sponge system, which locks in microscopic particles that other vacuums would re-circulate back into the air. This system prevents the spread of bacteria and allergens, leaving cleaner air and a healthier home.

VonHaus 2-in-1 stick vacuum using handle.

One of main design features of this vacuum is that it gets in the difficult corners and hard to reach areas. It makes doing the stairs really quick and straightforward, and it is easy to whizz around furniture. It comes with a few attachments, including a useful crevice tool, which is really effective. It also has a 6m quick release power cord, so it is fairly easy to access all areas. It is suitable for most floor types too.

VonHaus 2-in-1 stick vacuum in handheld mode with crevice attachment.

Overall, I think this is a good budget vacuum cleaner. It has some minor faults but it also has alot of positives and certainly does the job.

*Disclosure: I was sent this item free for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How To Create A Cosy Winter Home 

The nights are getting longer and the days colder, so now is a great time to create a cosy vibe for your home over winter. Here are some fab ideas to create that warm feeling inside…

How To Create A Cosy Winter Home title with winter home decor in the background.

Colours and Patterns

Choose gorgeous deep reds, lovely dark greens, sparkly silvers or strong shades of grey to give your home that beautiful winter feel. White also works well too, especially in combination with one of the above colour choices.

Checks and tartan are ideal for this time of year. They create a lovely cosy feel in any room of your home. Pick out red and green tartan throws or blankets to really perfect the look!

Scents

Another way to give your home that winter vibe you are looking for is through the scents that waft from room to room. Whether it is the smell of gingerbread, pine needle christmas tree smell or some other scent you love, pick whatever it is that reminds you of happy memories from winters past or generally gives you that warm glowing feeling about this time of year and replicate it at home so you can enjoy it throughout the season.

A picture of festive shaped cookie cutters and some baking. Winter decor in the background.

Textures

This winter choose thick chunky wool knits, soft fabrics and faux furs. Team them up with accessories from nature such as sprigs, cones and other woody type textures.

Wood Features

Wood features, especially dark wood, is great for setting the winter scene and completing a warm cosy look. Whether it is a beautiful wooden flooring, dark wood wall borders or rustic wood furnishings, now is the time to make them a prominent part of your overall look and really go out of your way to show them off!

Shutters

Shutters are a quirky little feature that does wonders for transforming your home into a snuggly winter nest. They offer a wonderfully rustic yet still modern feel that works for just about any style of home. Direct Blinds have some fab cafe style shutters that let in some natural light whilst simultaneously shutting out the outside world to give a sense of comfort so you can snuggle up and hibernate inside in peace!

A picture of white wood cafe style shutters in a cosy living room.

Home Decor

Finishing touches make all the difference when making over your home for winter. Fairy lights, cinnamon sticks, red berries, green sprigs of holly and decorated cones are all firm favourites for this season. Fairy lights in a mason jar have a stunning effect.

Check out my pinterest board for ideas on how to make these suggestions work in your home this winter…

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

Home and Garden Security

Have you, or someone you know, ever been a victim of a burglary? Sadly it is a common crime. This Rattan Direct home and garden security article states that statistics show there were 390,144 reported cases in the UK between July 2016 and June 2017 alone, and as many as 1 in 7 homes have been subject to a theft from their garden in recent years. These are worrying figures. However, there are several security actions you can take that deters potential burglars and try to prevent this type of crime…

Picture of a padlock and chain against a green wood background. Title Home and Garden Security.

Fences and Entry Points

First things first. Make sure your doors and windows have adequate locks… and use them at all times! Also make sure your gate is securely locked, whether you are home or not, and the fence surrounding your garden is high quality and kept in good condition.

Security Cameras

There are many types of home security cameras, for both indoor and outdoor use. Most are designed to be highly visible so they also act as a deterrent, but there are also some great hidden ones too. We personally have a combination of both! Some even sync with your phone so you receive instant alerts. Having a camera in the back garden as well as one covering the front of your home is sensible.

Alarms

Again, there are several types of alarm. As well as a standard burglar alarm, there are motion sensor alarms that can detect anyone who tries to enter a window. Some door alarms spot intruders by recognising those who are approved to enter and alerting to the presence of anyone else as soon as they enter the property. In many cases a silent alarm is sent straight to the home owner without the perpetrator even realising, making it far more likely they will get caught, especially if this approach is coupled up with cameras too.

Security Lighting

Even though many burglaries happen during daylight hours, making sure your garden is lit at night helps stop trespassers being able to hide in the shadows so deters opportunists. Many security lights are solar powered and therefore are eco friendly whilst still offering security. Alot have motion sensor settings, which means you or a neighbour are likely to notice the light go on and check it out.

Valuables

Keep valuables out of sight and/ or locked up. Remember this also includes garden furniture. And think about pets too! Padlock tool or storage sheds and pet enclosures with heavy duty locks. Bolt down expensive items if possible, and cover them over. Make it difficult and noisy to unlock, uncover, open or move so it is more likely to attract attention if anyone tries.

Also leave car keys away from windows and doors. This is not only due to the fact that there is a higher risk of someone stealing them if they can be spotted by opportunists or because the thief knows they can be in and out easily unseen in no time. It is also because there are some technology devices that use the signal to unlock the car if the key fob is in range. So keep keys somewhere safe!

You can find more home security tips in this previous post I wrote too.

Whilst all this might seem excessive, especially if like us the contents of your home and garden are not even particularly valuable anyway, it also offers peace of mind and a sense of security for all the members in your family too.

*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Rattan Direct. It also contains affilliate links.

How To Renovate A House Sustainably

Have you ever thought about how to renovate a house sustainably and turn your home into an environmentally friendly palace? This post is full of ways to renovate a home more sustainably, with ideas such as building essentials, materials, energy saving design ideas and eco friendly finishing touches.

Renovating your home can be costly. But it is not just the financial cost of renovations involved; it can take its toll on the environment too. Yet it certainly doesn’t need to be that way. Renovating your house whilst protecting the environment at the same time is achievable, and the result can be a beautiful eco-friendly home. So if you are looking to renovate your house sustainably, here are some ideas…

A picture of a house with title of post written in sky next to it.

Building Essentials

Choose tradesmen who are environmentally conscious. Insist that they do what they can to reduce waste or recycle, minimising the amount that ends up in landfill. It is also absolutely essential that anything that does unavoidably have to be disposed of (as a last resort!) is done so responsibly.

If you are looking for an eco house refurbishment specialist in the London area, Twickenham based company Unique Design and Build offers energy efficient and green solutions designed to preserve the environment, and save money too. They understand that people might not have time to devote to labour-intensive projects or have a definite idea about how to make their ideas into a reality but still want the best results.

Materials

When choosing materials, try to use natural whenever possible. Alternatively, use recycled or reclaimed materials. Certainly make sure materials are non- toxic. Also try to source materials as locally as possible too, because of the environmental cost of transporting it.

As suggested in a Telegraph article “choose wood-framed windows rather than UPVC or metal. They are easier to repair, more insulating, last a lifetime and are less polluting than the cheaper UPVC (unplasticised poly vinyl chloride), from which many domestic window frames are made, which emits toxic compounds”.

A picture of architectural plans and colour samples.

Design Essentials

One of the key things to consider is insulation. Properly insulated walls, ceilings and floors help to keep heat in, which prevents wasted energy and also saves money. Fill cavity walls with insulation, otherwise they can be almost as wasteful as an uninsulated loft. On that note, ensure the loft is well insulated too! For all types of insulation, again use natural materials or recycled materials, if at all possible.

For heating up your home, underfloor heating is cost- effective and can be installed in older homes that are being renovated as well as new homes. Also, choose your boiler carefully. An energy efficient boiler that is regularly serviced will make a big difference to your energy bill… and the environment.

A picture of a room flooded with lots of natural light.

When designing your home, also try to allow for the maximum amount of natural light to reduce the need for artificial lighting. Install double-glazed windows, which are far more efficient at keeping in heat and therefore save energy, then team them up with thermal-backed curtains for even more energy saving.

For powering your home, rather than using fossil fuels, choose clean energy sources. It could well be a good investment to install solar panels for this. Alternatively, try to choose a clean energy company to supply your home.

Extra Considerations

Redecorating

Use water, rather than oil-based, paints with natural pigment as they are more environmentally friendly.

Furniture

Choose secondhand furniture, upcycle or select furniture made from recycled materials.

Fixtures and Fittings

  • Swap regular light bulbs for eco bulbs.
  • Fit a water-saving showerhead. You will save more energy if you opt for an aerated or low-flow showerhead. Same goes for sanitary fittings too.
  • Select appliances with high energy-efficiency ratings.
  • Install a rainwater collection tank.

*Disclosure: This post is written in collaboration with Unique Design and Build.

Shayna EcoUnified: Turning Plastic Waste Into Useful Architectural Tiles

Shayna EcoUnified is an innovative company that uses new technology to help tackle plastic pollution in the environment, by turning plastic waste into affordable yet high performance structural materials, in the form of tiles and blocks. 

A picture of the floor and wall tiles in a range of colours piled up with Shayna EcoUnified logo in the bottom corner of the image.
Floor & wall tiles available in different colours.

About The Company

Shayna EcoUnified are the first and only company in India and SAARC countries to have the technology to produce these. This has been achieved in collaboration with the Council of Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR)- National Physical Laboratory’s (NPL), with whom this technology was developed, tested and certified for usage in multiple applications.

About The Product

The products have a range of qualities that have been successfully tested. For starters, they are incredibly durable; they are weather and heat resistant, acid and corrosion resistant, and chip resistant too. They are also hygenic, since they are both anti-bacterial and anti- microbial. Last but not least they are practical; they have anti- static and anti- skiding properties, and are ready to use with no drying required.

In summary, they offer better structural stability at a lower cost compared to conventional materials, as well as protecting the environment from plastic dumping. For example, 600 waste plastic bags are used to make one 12″ x 12″ tile weighing 900g. Each tile costs less than ‎£1.

Uses

The tiles have a range of uses such as wall and floor tiles, pavement tiles and structures such as public toilets, shelters, park benches and guard rooms. They have recently been able to produce a prototype of a roof tile and will be starting the production of it in a few months.

An image of the prototype of a roof tile with Shayna EcoUnified logo on the bottom corner of the picture
Prototype of a roof tile.

Process

The entire process of production is 100 per cent eco- friendly. The types of waste plastic that will serve as the raw materials are PP (Polyproplyene), LDPE (Low density polythene), and HDPE (High density polythene). It will be processed at a controlled temperature to ensure no hazardous gases are emitted. Furthermore, all the stages of production is largely mechanical, further ensuring a safe and healthy environment.

Ethics

Shayna EcoUnified are about to start fully fledged production in the next few weeks. The prototypes have been made by daily wage workers who they are hiring on full- time basis starting next month. The production site is adequately sized, the machine-run production area is covered, whilst the rest is open and full of greenery.

There are essential facilities provided on-site for labours, and filtered drinking water supply maintained. Health and safety measures are currently being installed. Also, they will be conducting training and capacity building sessions for women.

An image of three different colour interlocking tiles used for pavements. Shayna EcoUnified logo on bottom corner of image.
Interlocking tiles which are used for pavements.

Distribution

Once they become established in the Indian domestic market and are able to deliver maximum output, they plan to sell the product in other countries as well.

Find out more about Shayna EcoUnified on their website, twitter or facebook.

Songmics Bamboo Shoe Rack: Review and Giveaway 

As it starts to get more wet and muddy outside, having somewhere to store our shoes and wellies is essential! So it was handy to be sent a Songmics bamboo shoe rack to review.

#bamboo #eco #sustainable #interiors #home #review #songmic

The shoe rack was really quick and easy to assemble. It comes in four pieces screwed together with 8 screws. It took 6 minutes to put together and that was certainly on the longer side of how long it would take your average person. This is a video demo of assembly…

The shoe rack itself is nice and sturdy. It looks great and is very practical; the bamboo is very easy to wipe down and keep clean. I also like the fact that it is made from bamboo, which is highly sustainable.

#bamboo #eco #sustainable #interiors #home #review #songmic

The shoe rack measures 70cm long x 25cm wide, which fits several pairs of shoes in a row. The height is 33cm, with the bottom shelf starting at 8.5cm from the ground and a gap of 18.5cm between the shelves. This leaves space for small, flat shoes (e.g slippers or plimsolls) or other items on the floor below the bottom shelf, normal shoes fit on the bottom shelf and then wellies or boots go on the top shelf.

#bamboo #eco #sustainable #interiors #home #review #songmic

The rack can also be used for other purposes too. For example, it makes a stylish bathroom organiser. It looks modern and neat so would fit well in any room. I love it!

You can be in with a chance of winning one of these fab shoe racks by entering the giveaway below. One lucky winner will be drawn randomly by rafflecopter after the competition ends. UK residents only. Competition ends on 25th November 2017. Other T&Cs apply.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I was sent this item for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The post contains amazon affiliate links. This does not cost the buyer anything extra, but I make a small amount from sales made via the link. Thank you.

How To Make An Apple Bird Feeder: Protecting Birds in Winter

As it is starting to draw closer to winter and food for wildlife is becoming more scarce, I thought it would be a good time to share this simple, fun activity we did at home recently.

bird feeder, protecting wildlife, birds, winter, garden, nature, how to guide, childhood unplugged, outdoors

How To Make An Apple Bird Feeder

You Will Need…

  • Apple
  • Twigs – Thick enough to be a perch but thin enough to fit through an apple.
  • String or raffia
  • Peanut butter
  • Seeds

    bird feeder, protecting wildlife, birds, winter, garden, nature, how to guide, childhood unplugged, outdoors

    Step by Step Instructions

    Step 1

    Core the apple.

    bird feeder, protecting wildlife, birds, winter, garden, nature, how to guide, childhood unplugged, outdoors

    Step 2

    Carefully push the sticks through the apple. You might need to use a knife to help make a hole first.

    Step 3

    Tie the string through the apple. Use it to also hold the sticks in place if possible.

    bird feeder, protecting wildlife, birds, winter, garden, nature, how to guide, childhood unplugged, outdoors

    Step 4

    Use the peanut butter as ‘glue’ to stick the seeds on.

    bird feeder, protecting wildlife, birds, winter, garden, nature, how to guide, childhood unplugged, outdoors

    Step 5

    Hang it onto a tree branch. Then just sit back and observe the birds enjoying their treat!

    bird feeder, protecting wildlife, birds, winter, garden, nature, how to guide, childhood unplugged, outdoors

    Do you feed the birds in winter? What type of feeder do you have?

    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.

    kitchen organization, frugal organisation tips, home and garden, interior design, home decor, guest post, The Home Makers Journal

    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.

    kitchen organization, frugal organisation tips, home and garden, interior design, home decor, guest post, The Home Makers Journal

    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.

    kitchen organization, frugal organisation tips, home and garden, interior design, home decor, guest post, The Home Makers Journal

    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.

    kitchen organization, frugal organisation tips, home and garden, interior design, home decor, guest post, The Home Makers Journal

    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.