Personalise Your Walls With Colour Graphics (£150 Custom Wallpaper Printing Giveaway)

Are you looking to brighten up your home? As I have written about before, I do love unique interior designs and I think that photo wallpaper can be so eye- catching! A well chosen design can really create the atmosphere that you are looking for in a room; whether that be a nice chilled out vibe, a fun place to play, or even to provide some extra visual stimulation to a sensory room. Whatever your aim, customised wallpaper can help you to create the look you want to achieve. 

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Credit: Colour Graphics

This custom wallpaper by Colour Graphics looks brilliant and would undoubtedly transform your walls and brighten up your room. It comes in traditional wallpaper, which requires standard wallpaper paste, or a handy self-adhesive version that doesn’t require anything else; it is almost like putting up a giant sticker! The design can be printed in whatever size you need too.

One lucky reader can win up to £150 custom wallpaper printing from Colour Graphics; to be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize, simply enter via rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Competition closes on 5th April 2017. Entrants must be over 18. UK residents only. One winner will be chosen at random via rafflecopter. Other T&Cs apply. 

November Rain Poncho: Review and Giveaway 

November Rain is an awesome stylish brand of poncho that launched back in November 2016 in USA, and are now available in the UK too. I was kindly sent one of these funky ponchos to review and also have a giveaway for one lucky reader to win one too! (See further down to enter).

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November Rain poncho – Ocean Blue design

November Rain ponchos come in a choice of three lovely designs. I admit I deliberated for sometime on my decision before opting for the plain Ocean Blue design (because I have lots of patterned tops and figured this would be more versatile if I might want to wear it partially unzipped anytime!) I was genuinely really drawn to both of the patterned designs too though; love them!

The poncho comes in a little pouch so it is easy to keep it in your bag then throw it on quickly when needed. (Make sure it is dry before you pop it back in the pouch though of course!) It is made with enough room that it can fit any size and shape, and will fit over layers too. It was abit shorter than I imagined; given the fact that I’m only 5 ft 1, I was surprised it didn’t go at least to my knees to allow for taller people. At least that meant Squiggle could also use it too if really necessary lol! 

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Squiggle wearing the poncho.

They are very well designed, with poppers to make ‘sleeves’ and a zip fastening at the front, plus a detachable hood too. The ponchos are printed using sublimation, which is an eco-friendly waterless method of printing. They also have reinforced stitching and heat sealed seams, meaning they are heavy duty and fully waterproof. It feels comfortable and lightweight to wear though, and looks stylish compared to most!

November Rain, poncho, eco, clothing, giveaway, green living, lifestyle, outdoors, review, Living Life Our Way
With and without the detachable hood.

The poncho retails at £49 in the UK but, as I said, it is great quality and is intended to be quite the opposite of the cheap disposable ones you usually find; this eco-friendly poncho is designed to last a lifetime. This is one of the main reasons I like it; it is much better for the environment to invest in one that will last, rather than create more waste using disposable or short-lived versions. 

But my absolute favourite thing? The brand pledges a full 10% of all turnover to water projects in developing countries. And November Rain is not limiting the resources given to just clean drinking water, they are also funding irrigation projects for crops in areas where water can be the main limiting factor for people being able to put food on the table. Thanks to their popularity, the company has already funded a hydroponic vegetable growing system at a children’s rescue mission in Northern Thailand valued at $3,000USD.

November Rain ponchos are born from Belinda Coker, the same founder of Envirosax – the original designer reusable bag. She explains: “After the success of Envirosax, I realized the importance of sharing the wealth created with those not so fortunate. It’s not all about the money, it’s about creating something that people love with benefits that keep flowing to those in need.” It is so important to make conscious choices, and I totally support brands who actively protect the environment, especially when they also give back in some way. So I am really impressed with this brand!

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You can also purchase these ponchos from Amazon UK or via the November Rain website for USA. 

Last but not least, one lucky reader can win a November Rain poncho! To be in with a chance of winning, enter my giveaway via Rafflecopter below. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Open to UK and USA residents. Competition closes on 2nd April 2017. Other T&Cs apply.

November Rain, poncho, eco, clothing, giveaway, green living, lifestyle, outdoors, review, Living Life Our Way

Disclosure: I received a poncho free for the purpose of this review. Thoughts and opinions are all my own. 
*This post contains an Amazon UK affiliate link. 


Appealing To The Buyer’s Senses: Sell Your Home Fast This Spring

Spring is the most popular season for selling a home which makes sense as all the flowers start blooming, people want to be moved into their new home before winter, they have just got over the stress of Christmas and there’s a little time to go before summer holidays. It certainly makes sense to put your home up for sale this season and figures from the Office Of National Statistics shows a 0.3% rise in the amount of property transactions made at the same time last year, and we’re only just in March!

The problem is, selling it isn’t guaranteed. Even with the best estate agent, right price and sale timed exactly right; there could be around 160,000 other homes for sale or more at this time of year to compete against. Therefore you really need to have your house presented in its best possible light, and then some. One of the easiest ways to approach getting your home ready for sale is by ensuring you are appealing to all the different senses of the homebuyer, including that extra sixth sense too! So here are some tips to help get that sale…

home and garden, home decor, interior design, lifestyle, sensory

Sight
The visuals are always the first thing anybody thinks about when they prepare their home for resale, and quite right to, because the majority of buyers will look online at homes before booking any viewings, so what they see of your home in those few photos counts for a lot. So really, before you get into any depth with your home aesthetics, you must make sure your sale photos are as good as they can be. Don’t be afraid to ask your estate agent to retake them.

The second visual a buyer will see is when they see the outside of your home either when driving by, or when they come for a viewing. Curb appeal does still exist and it really does matter, so invest in a lick of paint, clean those windows, get any clutter removed, and trim that garden up – buyers are very quick to make judgements.

Other key changes to make relating to sight are:

● Light, Light, Light – get as much natural light in your home as is possible as nobody likes a dark home. Clean those windows, get those pot plants off windowsills, open the curtains and invest in ambient lighting for the evening as one downlight is not flattering to any space. If you have lots of block doors between rooms, consider switching them for an internal bifold door with glass in, which keeps the rooms separate, but still lets in lots of beautiful light.

● Clutter – you have to depersonalise and declutter your home so that potential buyers can see themselves living there. They will struggle to imagine their own chapter starting in your home if your story is splashed all over the walls and mantelpieces.

● Details – Little details like a dirty tea towel or a grubby kitchen corner will catch a buyer’s eye. Try and have someone come over to point out all the potential visual issues you might have stopped noticing, so you can adjust accordingly.

home and garden, home decor, interior design, lifestyle, sensory

Taste
Clearly, food and drink has nothing to do with selling your home, so we’re going to instead talk about personal taste in decor, which does have a lot to do with selling your home. Your taste may well appeal to a lot of buyers if it is fairly neutral and modern. If your taste is quite strong and you have say, leopard print bedding, 80’s pattern wallpaper, a large collection of gnomes in the garden, or a Barbie pink bathroom, then you need to do a bit ofredecorating before you put your house up for sale. You will absolutely be surprised at what a lick of paint can do for one room. You might love your statement wallpaper, or treasured Victorian wall tiles, but somebody else may be completely put off by them and struggle to see past them. For a more saleable home, you have to neutralise your taste in interior design.

Sound

If you play music when a buyer comes round, they will think that you are trying to cover something up, like a noisy neighbour or road sounds. Instead, try to avoid noises that may disturb the feeling of tranquility, like the sound of a washing machine, or perhaps your barking dog. Where possible, have animals and children with someone you trust during viewings, and keep noisy appliances off.

Smell

Any smells that are too strong will again, just like with sound, seem like you are trying to cover up the smell of damp or rot. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim for a fresh, clean smell, or have a natural smell running through the house. Avoid heavily bleaching when you clean, or using chemical air fresheners and instead use standard cleaning products, have fresh scented flowers about the house, and if you do bake regularly, it will do no harm having the smell of freshly baked bread or brownies running through the house as somebody comes over.

Touch

Even though a surface can look clean, it might not be clean, so try and make sure all surfaces have at least been wiped down. A buyer might run their hand along a surface only to find it is sticky, which will then make them wonder about other things that aren’t as they seem. You might also want to add ‘touchable textures’ to the home, like faux fur throws, thick knit poufs, silky curtains or fluffy towels, which will provide a subconscious air of luxury, which is sure to impress buyers.

The Sixth Sense

When you sell your home, it is important that you try your best to work with the sixth sense of the buyer. The sixth sense is; ‘gut feeling’, the ‘funny feeling’ the ‘it just felt right’ sense. Although you cannot control the feeling a person gets for a home, you can control the feeling a person gets for you and the way you present your home. Nobody is entirely honest when selling a home, as in they don’t point out the flaws. However, there is a line between covering up issues, and simply making the house look its best and focusing on its highlights. A truthful, but positive representation of your home will appeal to a buyer. There’s this underlying fear of being ripped off when buying a home because estate agents don’t have the best reputation for telling the truth, and there is a lot of money involved. Buyers will always be seeking the truth and the practicalities of a home, and they will also be open to possibilities and suggestions. Be truthful, and talk about all the parts of your house that you love, or the different ways you have used different spaces. If you aren’t running viewings yourself, pick an estate agent with personality, who will ask the buyer questions about themselves and make suggestions. If you can appeal to their sixth sense, you’re already a long way towards getting an offer.

Happy selling! 

Do you have any top selling tips? I would love to hear them – share in comments! 


*This is a sponsored post

A Quick Cuppa With… Just Average Jen

Hi all, I hope you’re having a good weekend! Today, I have a wonderfully inspirational lady ‘over here’ for a cuppa. She writes a lifestyle and food blog after going on an immense weight loss journey. You should see her before and after pants! (Check out her IG for that!) But before I pass you over to Just Average Jen for our Q&A, I just want to take a mo to say a few things before I forget lol… 

Firstly, I hope you are all enjoying the guest series! Do leave them a little love if you get a mo and/ or hop over to find them on their own sites too. And thank you to everyone who has taken part so far, I love reading about different people!

Secondly, the next cuppa will be this Wednesday rather than Tuesday. Myself and Hansla will be doing a little interview swap too, so my own answers to this Q&A will be published over on her blog then – so fun!

Lastly, please drop me a line if you want to take part in this series; artists, authors, musicians, bloggers, charities, self- employed/ independents… you are all very welcome to take part! I would love for you to get involved!!! Drop me an email on livinglifeourway@outlook.com Thank you 🙂 x

Right, over to the interview…

A Quick Cuppa With, Just Average Jen, weight loss, dieting, fitness, blogger, guest post, interview, Q and A, lifestyle, inspiration

Introduction

I’m Jen, I’m in my 30’s (and even when I am not I will stay that way forever, I really do not want to be 40!!). I live with my partner Stuart and my 11 year old son Ben. We are an average kind of family. My son has special needs which of course does add an extra dimension to life. I am a quite self conscious person and have depression.

Tell me about your blog/ business. What is it, what inspired you etc…

Just Average Jen is a lifestyle and food blog. I started my blog in 2015 after people kept telling me I should write a book or write a blog to share my story. The idea of writing a book scares me a little so I decided to start a blog!

I lost over 10 stone in weight dropping from a whopping size 30 to a size 6-8 by healthy eating since I joined Slimming World. I didn’t do any exercise and lost the first 8 stone of my weight in just 37 weeks. This weight loss has completely changed my life as I am sure you can imagine. So many people say that I am inspiring and look to me for tips and recipes to help with their own weight loss journeys so this is one aspect of my blog. I also talk about running as since I lost my weight I have started running and completed a half marathon and I am planning more races this year too.


My blog doesn’t just cover weight loss and running, it also looks at improving confidence and as such clothes, make up and other ways to become the “real” you. I review items linked to the subjects of my blog, so pretty much anything from food, to household items and clothes to make up with the odd other random item thrown in there too. I am just an average person and my blog aims to come across as that, the girl next door kind of blog about things that affect average women like me!

How do you relax/ spend your ‘free time’?

I love to run when the weather is reasonable, I don’t mind when it is a bit chilly or a little wet but I do draw the line and do pick and chose a little when I can! My blog is also something I enjoy doing for me and spend a lot of free time doing.

What is your favourite family activity?

I love playing board games with Stuart and Ben, not because I like board games because to be honest I am not a big fan of them but I love the way they bring our little family together away from electronics for an hour or so just having fun together!

We love outdoors and nature here at Living Life Our Way… What’s your favourite outdoor activity?

On my own I love to run, but as a family my favourite outdoor activity has to be when Stuart and I take Ben to the airport to watch planes taking off and landing. We love walking around there, Ben loves watching the aeroplanes and getting all excited about our next holiday or remembering the previous holiday.

Where is your favourite outdoor place to visit?

I love the River Trent at Gunthorpe bridge not far from me. It is a beautiful place to walk and so very relaxing. I also love going on holiday to Majorca but I guess that doesn’t really count as a place to visit as such.

What’s your favourite animal and why?

I love hedgehogs, they are cute but spikey and I find them intriguing in the way they curl up to protect themselves.

And finally…


Tell me one random fact about yourself.

My waist now measures less than one thigh did when I was at my biggest!

Lastly, is there anything else you are bursting to share with us all?

No, but thank you for letting me share my blog with your readers.

Find out more about Jen and her amazing journey here…

Blog: www.justaveragejen.com

YouTube: www.youtube.com

Facebook: facebook.com/justaveragejen

Twitter: @justaveragejen


Instagram: justaveragejen

#Blogtober 2016 – Day 22: My Biggest Accomplishment

This is so subjective, isn’t it? What one person considers an accomplishment, someone else might take for granted completely. For some people, sometimes, just managing to get out of bed and take a shower is an accomplishment. And I think we should acknowledge that! It is important to celebrate achievements, both big and small.

For me, a small achievement recently has been to manage to juggle my time effectively to find more time for myself as well as everything else! I used to be really bad at this but now I understand the importance of doing so.

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Graduation Day

In terms of bigger accomplishments, I am proud that I achieved a first degree BEd at university. But then again, I am equally proud of myself for going against the grain by leaving the system, adapting my lifestyle and choosing to home educate in order to meet my daughter’s individual needs. I wonder if I would have made the same decision if I had not been a teacher though? Funny how life works out!

#Blogtober16

#Blogtober 2016 – Day 15: Timeline Of My Day

For most people this is probably a really straightforward one but our lifestyle is abit different due to Squiggle’s needs. We tend to have very loose routines, which can be easily adjusted as required, rather than a tight schedule. We enjoy the freedom and flexibility that home education allows, to do things at our own pace and go with the flow when needed. This really helps Squiggle feel able to actually do more, without too much pressure. 

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Squiggle does have a very simple but fairly rigid evening routine though. We have dinner, tidy up, bedtime snack, brush hair, strokes with one of our cats, clean teeth and goes to bed. This is a routine that she has developed herself, to help her to feel ready to sleep. 

I have blogged about our home ed week before so this theme ties in with that. You can read more here. We love our lifestyle! 

#Blogtober16

Project Green Challenge 2016: Aiming For Zero Waste

As part of Project Green Challenge by Turning Green, I have been collecting all the waste I have produced for the last 24 hours.

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Waste produced in 24 hours

I do aim to refuse, reduce and reuse; and feel I have done quite well with this! BUT there is plenty more to be done and there are a few things this challenge has taught me…

I never thought about the cat food! I didn’t even check to see if the fish is from a sustainable source let alone consider the packaging it comes in. This is now a top priority on my to do list.

Obviously some things took more than 24 hours to become empty and therefore become waste (ie plastic film toilet paper packaging and handwash bottle), so it just so happened they fell into my waste pile during the challenge. But this led me to think what would have mounted up if the challenge had been over a week, or a month? 

Aside from the plastic film packaging around the toilet paper (I wonder if there are paper alternatives to this?) the main culprits would be household items (handwash, shampoo/ conditioner, deoderant and washing liquid containers) and plastic fruit containers, so I need to take a closer look at potential alternatives to these. With the exception of the plastic film wrap, the other plastics do all get recycled locally, but this is not ideal and is a last resort. Refusing, reducing and reusing is better if possible. 

Last but not least- crisp packet and coke cans- I really should cut out the junk food and drink! The packets end up as landfill. The coke cans are recycled and are arguably much better than getting a plastic bottle version, especially if the cans are packaged in cardboard, but cutting them out completely would be better for a multitude of reasons of course!

So, you’ve opted for reusable carrier bags, you say no to straws, you have a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, you take food in reusable containers and you refuse plastic cutlery, taking your own reusable version instead (or just do without!) You have come along way in reducing your waste, which is great! But what are the next steps in aiming for a zero waste lifestyle? Here are some more things to think about…

Look at your household items. Handwash, washing liquid, cleaning products etc… Can you find alternatives that have less packaging, or is more easily recyclable materials at least? Or buy in bulk- bigger versions mean waste less often at least! 

Check your beauty and hygiene products. Shampoo and conditioner, soap, deoderant, wipes, scrubs etc… Can you find a reusable substitute for some items, such as wipes? Are there alternatives that come with packaging, such as shampoo bars? Or could you even try making your deoderant or face scrub? I had a go at making my own coffee face scrub as part of 5gyres #beadfree campaign about banning microbeads (tiny toxic plastic beads). It worked really well! Oh and don’t forget to look out for those pesky microbeads too! 

Choose food products with less packaging. Buy fruit and vegetables loose if possible. Look out for paper or cardboard alternatives to plastic. If unavoidable, choose bigger packets so less waste overall. And remember to take reusable packaging, containers and bags with you to use whenever you can! If you have pets, remember to consider the items you buy for them too. 

No doubt there are lots of other ways to help achieve zero waste, I would love to hear your tips too!

For more information watch this video: storyofstuff.org

Also see these websites for more information:

 www.5gyres.org

 www.trashisfortossers.com

For reusable products (US) check out: www.ukonserve.com