Helping Elderly Relatives Maintain Independence

As people grow older, they begin to worry about losing their independence. One example of this might be concerns over whether they will stay in their own home or where they will live instead, and what support they might require to live as independently as possible.

If you have an elderly relative, it can be challenging to meet their needs but still respect their wishes, and it can be a daunting level of responsibility to work out solutions with them, and on their behalf. So here is some useful advice on helping elderly relatives maintain their independence…

Helping Elderly Relatives Maintain Independence

Adaptions to Home

In order to help an elderly relative remain in their own home, it is essential to consider adaptions that can be made to ensure their safety and comfort while living independently. If mobility is an issue, as is so often the case, then various aids are available to make life easier, and offer peace of mind.

Unless the person lives in a bungalow, think about buying a stairlift to avoid any nasty accidents and to make both floors more accessible. Well placed handrails in key areas throughout the home are also beneficial. Also consider a walk-in shower if possible too. Lastly, if a person needs a frame or walking aid to move around more easily then make sure this is easily available as well.

And don’t forget the little things! Walk around doing your own safety risk assessment of the home, checking for any potential danger. For example, trip hazards such as loose rugs should be made safe. A panic button that links to someone who can attend the property quickly in case of an emergency is also extremely helpful to have.

Stairlift

Carers

If personal hygiene, preparing food to eat, getting in and out of bed, or other daily tasks becomes a struggle then a carer might be necessary. This could be a live-in carer if needs are quite frequent and intense, or someone who visits daily (or several times daily) as and when needed.

My Experience

My late grandad was adament he wanted to stay in his home during his later years. He was of sound mind, but found physical tasks difficult due to limited mobility. This was in part due to age, and largely due to a partial leg amputation following illness. He lived in a bungalow and used a frame to get around. He had carers visit several times daily, to help him wash and get to bed. His shopping was ordered online for him then delivered and he was able to prepare simple ready meals in the microwave himself. He also had a cleaner. With these simple adaptions he was able to remain in his own home, as he wished.

A photo of grandparents of Living Life Our Way

Alternative Solutions

However, it is not always practical, or even possible, for an elderly person to remain in their own home. It could be that their needs are too intense or complex. One possible solution is for them to live with younger relatives; perfect if you happen to have a granny annex or enough space in your home, for example. There are many benefits to this, and it can be a wonderful experience for all parties I am sure. However, there may also be many reasons why this is not a possibility; not all circumstances are the same.

The other obvious alternative is a care home. Whilst this may seem like a daunting prospect, it can be a very good thing. Staff on hand at all times, plus friendships and company; there is alot to be said for this idea!

My nan, pictured above, could not stay at home as she suffered from dementia and needed more care than could be provided there. She lived in a nursing home for many years before she passed away; it was absolutely the right choice for her and the best place for her to be.

Whatever choices are made, remember every situation is unique. All factors need to be weighed up to decide on the best set-up for each of the parties involved. It is not an easy decision, but hopefully this post will help you consider some of the factors needed to reach a conclusion.

*This is a collaborative post. 

The Ultimate Indoor Gardening Cheat Sheet: Guest Post by Emma – Fixtures and Flowers

It’s a scientific fact that plants breathe life into the atmosphere. Without plants or trees to absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen the human race would have no source of clean air. The world would be forced to breathe recycled or artificially produced oxygen.

The more plants there is then, the less pollution there is. Cities with more trees have healthier populations than those that only have a park or two. This premise applies to individual homes as well. A household would greatly benefit from having more plants inside the residence.

The size of the home is irrelevant, what matters is that there are plants indoors to help clean the air. Other than a natural air purifying system, indoor plants can also produce fresh herbs, vegetables and even fruits. Starting an indoor garden is not all that difficult. Take a look at this ultimate indoor gardening cheat sheet to make it easy…

The Ultimate Indoor Gardening Cheat Sheet: Guest Post by Emma - Fixtures and Flowers

Planting in Soil using containers

The style of using pots and decorative planting containers is the classic method for indoor gardening. It is also one of the most popular and convenient ways to start an indoor garden. The containers can be made of any material, ceramic, metal, plastic or even stone.

There is a timeless beauty in using free-standing containers. They bring a touch of nature indoors and brighten any room as well. They are also easy to handle because one can move them around the house with ease. There are a few things to keep in mind before starting an indoor garden using containers.

Sun spot

Choose an area in the house that takes inadequate sunlight. Proper sunlight is essential for a plant to reach its full potential. As long as the spot gets at least four to six hours of daylight then that should be enough.

Position the plants in that sun spot and decorate around it. Setting the plants in sun-filled setting will be easier than having to move the pot or container outside for it to get some sun.

Soil

Choose the kind of plants that are suitable to be grown indoors. Different types of soil fit the needs of specific plants. Research the type of soil required for the plants before starting an indoor garden. Each kind of plant needs a particular kind of soil.

Preparing the right soil for potted plants is crucial to keep them healthy. For most plants, a store-bought potting mix is an excellent soil base to start with. Then mix that with some compost, and that will create the perfect soil to nurture indoor plants.

Succulents would need a gritty mix that drains well. This is one of those cases where crushed gravel would be the perfect top dressing. Don’t forget to add homemade fertilisers to give your plants more nutrients.

Water

All plant life needs water on a regular basis. That is their primary form of sustenance. Plants absorb water and carbon dioxide to jumpstart photosynthesis.

Water the potted plants using a watering can. Water them early in the morning so that they have the whole day to absorb the water through their roots.

Hydroponics

Indoor gardening has gone through many innovations over the years, and hydroponics is one of them. Hydroponics is a soilless growing system that substitutes soil with an inert media. The purpose of the inert media is to hold the plant upright. It is the base of the plant which suspends it over the water.

Water culture

This is often used in the most basic hydroponics systems. To grow plants in water culture, first put each plant in a container or a growing tray filled with inert medium.

Then immerse the plant containers in an even bigger container filled with nutrient solution. For best results, use an air pump to create bubbles in the nutrient solution to help with aeration.

Nutrient film

This technique foregoes the use on any inert media and suspends the plants right over the nutrient solution. Holes are drilled through PVC tubes to house the plants, and their roots are allowed to grow at the bottom directly immersed in the nutrient solution. It is also advised to use an air pump when using this method to promote root aeration.

Drip system

Instead of the plants being suspended over the nutrient solution. This hydroponic growing technique circulates the nutrient solution throughout the growing media. A water pump continuously pumps the nutrient growing solution.

Aquaponics

This indoor growing technique would be perfect for people that own and love their aquariums. Instead of suspending the plants over a container with a nutrient solution this technique uses the nutrient from fish waste and feeds it directly to the plants.

The plants are set on top of a growing media which is then placed atop the fish tank. The microorganisms in the growing media would then break down the fish waste into proper nutrients for the plants. The plants would then absorb these nutrients.

The microorganisms found in the growing media would technically clean the water of any waste. Aquaponics is an efficient solution to the disposal of fish waste and cost-effective as well because it forgoes the need for the nutrient solution.

Aeroponics

Aeroponics is another new growing technique that can be used for indoor gardening. Here, the plants are housed in containers that do not have any soil and isn’t immersed in any nutrient solution. The containers are there to support the plant and provide access when water is sprayed.

The lower half of the container is filled with small holes or grills which allow the grower to spray water or nutrient solution directly on the roots. This is the same growing technique used by astronauts and is gaining popularity all over the world.

Conclusion

There are several paths to start practising indoor gardening. Choose the technique that best suits your personality. Consider all the factors, pros and cons of each growing technique. No matter what method is used the end results will be the same. Cleaner oxygen, fresh vegetable, fruits and a healthier lifestyle.

Author Bio

Author picture - Emma - Fixtures and Flowers

Emma is a part-time property developer, part-time home improvements and gardening blogger at Fixtures and Flowers, and full time Mum. Given her background, Emma has a lot of advice, tips and tricks that she loves sharing on her blog.

Maximising Space in Your Home

As autumn draws in, you might be thinking about how to make your home cosy for winter. Clutter, or general lack of space, can take away from that homely feeling and often prevents us from fully being able to relax. Finding ways to maximise space in your home, so that everything is organised and has its place, helps us to create an ideal environment for those winter lazy days…

Maximising Space in Your Home text with image of shelving in a small room

Storage

Wall to wall and/ or floor to ceiling shelves help to keep everything tidy so the rest of the room has more space. Storage can also be used to section off rooms and provide various areas within your home, creating useful spaces for different purposes.

Woman sat on chair reading. Wall to wall ceiling to floor bookcase behind her

Put things higher up

If possible, keep things off the floor. Try to put shelving above eye level to give a spacious feel to the room. Wall mount your TV too if possible. The more stuff on the floor, the more closed in and cluttered a room feels. Shelving and cupboards help to spread things out; display on shelves what you want to see and hide in cupboards what you don’t.

Wall mounted tv in a modern room with nature themed decor

Furniture

Fewer but well chosen pieces of furniture will maximise the space you have available. Small, low furniture gives the impression the room is larger.

On the otherhand, larger furniture can be multi-purpose so uses space effectively too. For example, opt for a day bed or bed with underneath storage.

Use Rooms Effectively

If you have a particularly large room, or open plan, you might want to consider making these rooms multi-purpose. For example, you could create a small office space in the corner of your kitchen. You can use storage to partition rooms too, as explained above.

Kitchen with a desk and chair in the corner. Multi-purpose use of space.

Outdoors

It is very useful to have some form of outdoor storage, to get some of your belongings out of the house completely. Sheds can be handy, depending on what you want to store. Garages also provide excellent storage, and/ or can be used as an extra working space as well. When trying to maximise space indoors, remember to think of your outdoor spaces too!

A solid shed for storage

Do you have any tips for maximising space in your home? I would love to read them in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

Cleaner Home Hacks

You may find it hard to believe, but some people love housework. They thrive on the constant cleaning that is needed. Most of us feel the opposite though, and do it because we have to, not because we get any pleasure from it at all. Anything that will make the chores simpler is very welcome…

Cleaner Home Hacks

Declutter Your Home

Nothing will make your home look messier and hardest to clean than clutter. Create some storage space, put things in storage in your garage or shed, or get rid of some. Ornaments are just dust collectors, and although it can be nice to have one or two in your living room or dining room, do not have loads. You have to clean them before you can clean the shelf they are placed on, so they just create more work.

Look round your kitchen and see what appliances are taking up space on your work surfaces. Do you use them all often, or could some of them be fetched out of a cupboard for their occasional use? Decluttering your kitchen makes it much easier to clean, and you will have more room to work on your surfaces.

Bathrooms can have toiletries, bath toys, makeup and anything else put away until they are needed.

Simple To Care For Flooring

A dirty or dusty floor gives the impression of a dirty or dusty room, so keeping your floors looking pristine can make the whole house feel better. Carpets can be a lot of hard work and if they get stained they may be ruined. Real wood floors are expensive, and although they can look brilliant, they only stay that way with a lot of care.

The simplest way to have a floor that looks good, is stain and water resistant, and is easy to maintain too, is to install laminate flooring from Factory Direct Flooring. It not only has these advantages, it is cheaper than most other floor coverings.

Vinegar And Baking Soda

These two items that many homes will already have in their cupboards can help to make short work of some of the hardest cleaning tasks. Simple things like putting some baking soda in with your wash will make the clothes come out brighter. Soaking watermarks with white vinegar, which you can pick up on Amazon cheaply, for a while will make them much easier to clean. Mixed together they can work wonders on a dirty oven or grubby pots and pans.

Forget the chemical cleaners. With these two products, you can do amazing things. Put some vinegar in water in a bowl in your microwave and set it to high for 5 minutes. Wipe out with a paper towel for a spotless microwave oven. If you have any stubborn stains, have the setting for 10 minutes.

Two short cycles of your dishwasher, the first with vinegar in a bowl and the second with baking soda sprinkled on the bottom, will bring your dishwasher up like new, and get rid of any nasty smells coming from it.

Mop dustpan and broom

There are lots of tricks to make your home cleaning less of a chore, and these three tips are just a start.

What are your top tips? Let me know in comments!

*This is a collaborative post.

Keeping Things Simple: A-Z of 30 Days Wild

K is for…

Keeping things simple.

A - Z of 30 Days Wild

One of the things I most love about 30 Days Wild is that it isn’t about expensive days out and organising extravagent activities; it is about celebrating the simple everyday things, slowing ourselves down and stopping to appreciate the small things. It is about reconnecting with nature, and our natural environment. Being, not just doing.

I love how 30 Days Wild achieves so much in so many ways. It helps us to shift our mindset; supporting both of our physical and mental health. As well as fostering a desire to nurture and protect wildlife, and our planet.

Squiggle in the garden. Tree. Blue sky.

On that note, I am not going to rush myself to finish my A-Z by the end of the month. For me, that would contradict the whole purpose of the challenge. There would be little point in stressing over getting that done when I could be outside, watching the birds and observing the insects. Playing with Squiggle. Chilling in the sun. Enjoying just being in the moment.

I love 30 Days Wild. The A-Z will continue, in my own time. It’ll be done when it’s done. And that’s ok with me.

Stay Wild folks. I hope you have loved 30 Days Wild as much as we did. xx

Educational Resources For The Family Home

Whether you home educate or not, educational resources are an important part of every family home. From books and writing equipment, to art supplies and games, here are some of our top essentials…

Educational Resources for the Family Home

Reading Material

The number one must-have for all ages! Whilst this may seem like a given, I couldn’t write a blog post about essentials and not include it! And remember, it is not just all about fiction books; non- fiction material, magazines, catalogues, recipes, or anything else that is appropriate for the child’s level of development and that captures their interest also matters just as much too!

Squiggle reading Change It Cho by Clever Tykes

Writing Equipment

For older children, pens or pencils, and for younger children, a variety of markers, plus a good selection of paper, is of course a necessity for every child. Tablets/ computers etc.. are another form of writing that definitely should not be overlooked in this digital age, especially as those with SEND might find this form of writing easier. For a child-friendly email account to practise writing and communication, we use Tocomail.

Screenshot of a tocomail email with attachment sent by Squiggle

White boards and chalk boards are also another great way to practice writing. As Boo, Roo and Tigger Too explains: ‘Whiteboards are great for all sorts of activities. From drawing and counting, to practicing handwriting.”

Teacherboards sell a range of whiteboards and chalk boards, including larger versions for the wall and also individual, portable workboards too. Both are really useful to have in the home! They also have a lovely corkboard/ whiteboard combo that I just love, it would be perfect for keeping the family organised!

Cork and whiteboard combo from TeacherBoards

Creative Supplies

Whilst many parents understandably cringe at the idea of getting the paints out, particularly with younger kids, they are a vital resource! As are colouring pens, chalks, crayons, charcoal and other art supplies. Plus different items for collages. And don’t forget fabrics for textile projects too!

Squiggle drawing with art supplies

Musical Instruments

A small selection of percussion instruments for young children is on my essentials list. For older children, a chosen instrument to learn to play and practise is beneficial.

Kitchen Supplies

Measuring jugs, mixing bowls and a range of ingredients to carry out kitchen experiments are excellent for all ages! Perfect for maths and science.

Squiggle doing a science experiment using kitchen supplies

Messy Play/ Sensory Activities

For young children and SEND children, opportunities for messy play (such as cornflour, coloured rice, porridge oats, slime, sand and water for example) and sensory resources such as playdough, light ups, tactile objects, bubbles, and fidget toys are on my must-have list.

Nature/ Gardening/ Growing

Even if you don’t have a garden, you can have a go at growing your own food, such as herbs for example, indoors. Nature is without a doubt an essential resource!

A selection of gardening supplies for indoors and outdoors

Sports and Physical Games

Bats and balls, skipping ropes, hula hoops, and any other equipment that helps to encourage physical activity is of benefit. Most would consider a bike an essential, or things like scooters and skateboards too. Trampolines and climbing equipment is an asset but not all families have the space or finances for these of course.

Family Games

There are lots of educational games available. Orchard Toys is a popular brand, especially for younger children. Learning Resources also stock brilliant games, suitable for a range of ages. And don’t forget the classics like Connect 4, Dominoes, Scrabble and Uno for example; all of these are educational, as well as fun!

Orchard Toys game boxes

Electronics

Whilst we personally don’t have a strong emphasis on screens ourselves, mainly due to Squiggle’s specific needs and her own choosing, there are certainly plenty of educational websites, apps and games available to choose from. We personally liked Reading Eggs and Maths Seeds when Squiggle was younger and we found the Cbeebies website useful too. Soph Obsessed says Phonics Play has helped her son with alot his phonics.

Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs also recommends the LeapPad. She says ‘It has all kinds of games, songs, videos and apps that are both fun and educational.’

For older children, there are far too many excellent choices to name, but we did particularly like Smartick Method. Coding games such as Play Osmo are very popular at the moment. Minecraft is also a huge hit with many and has alot of educational value. Of course, the internet itself is beneficial for research purposes – and to develop actually research skills – too.

Squiggle using a smart phone microscope

Puzzles and Jigsaws

Puzzles are educational for several reasons. As well as fine motor skills, spatial awareness, problem solving and observation skills, as Big Family Organised Chaos pointed out, many also have educational things on them. Her children, like Squiggle, discovered alot about where countries are just from a world map puzzle for example.

For older children, larger complex jigsaws are a brilliant educational resource. Even adults enjoy doing these too!

Construction

Lego! So useful for counting, building and sorting! ~ The Mum Diaries

We use Magformers every day, for all kinds of learning for every age. Colours and shapes for the youngest, maths and engineering for the older ones, moving onto physics and more complicated experiments for the oldest. And all whilst they think they are playing. SO Great! ~ Inspire Create Do

What are your educational essentials? Do you have any favourite resources? I would love to read about them in the comments section!

Thank you to the following bloggers for contributing to this post, in addition to the others already mentioned:

Ankle Biters Adventures

Freddies Mummy UK

Joanna Victoria

Household Money Saving

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

How To Make Your Bathroom More Energy Efficient

When we spend time in the bathroom, we often tend to be using energy. Therefore, when you are designing your bathroom, it is important to think about the energy that you are going to be using every day, week and year. This is something that a lot of people tend to overlook. We tend to focus on the functions of the bathroom first, and then perhaps luxury and relaxation after this. But we should be thinking about how to make our bathrooms energy efficient. With that in mind, no matter whether you are moving into a new property or you are looking to make improvements to your current bathroom, read on to discover lots of different ways that you can start to save energy in your bathroom…

How To Make Your Bathroom More Energy Efficient

Switch Your Bath For A Shower

There are some homeowners that have bathrooms that contain a bath and not a shower. While you may prefer taking baths, they use up a lot of water and therefore are much less energy efficient. This is why it is a good idea to replace your bath with a shower or indeed have a showerhead installed over the top of the bath. Nevertheless, there are plenty of walk in shower options that look amazing and would completely transform your bathroom, giving it a luxurious and spacious feel. If you already have both a shower and bath in your bathroom, make sure you start taking showers more regularly and start saving baths for rare occasions in order to save more energy and consequently more money in the process.

More Bathroom Water Saving Tips

Taking showers more regularly than baths is not the only way that you can save water in the bathroom. Aside from this, it is important to look out for dripping taps. Dripping taps are a common problem in any home and they cause water to be wasted. You may assume that not a lot of water is wasted via this issue. However, more than 5000 litres of water per annum can be wasted through a dripping hot water tap. Just think of all of the money you are spending on a water and gas metre. Therefore, you can save a considerable amount of water and energy usage by simply getting your tap tightened.

Other ways to save water in the bathroom include thinking about how often you flush your toilet. You should also think about installing a dual flush insert device. This is a device that is designed to reduce the quantity of water used in every flush by around 50%. You can usually get these devices free of charge from your local water company so it is worth checking with your provider.

Check Your Extractor Fan

When it comes to the bathroom and wear and tear, condensation is one of the biggest culprits. The moisture in the air, which lingers from the shower, taps and bath, can climb to the walls. As time passes, this moisture will start to eat away at your fixtures and walls, which can cause issues with both damp and mould. In the end, condensation will mean that you need to remodel or replace your bathroom, which has a significant impact on the environment and will cost you a lot of money too. An extractor fan will work by getting rid of some of the moisture in the air. Therefore, it helps to lower the issues that have just been discussed.

To add some extra energy savings to your bathroom, you need to purchase an extractor fan with care. Look for one that has capabilities in terms of recovering heat. These fans will pull some of the warmth from the air, and they will use it to heat up a bathroom that may be cold. This provides you with further energy savings because not only are you dealing with the condensation issue that has been mentioned above but you will not need to turn your bathroom radiator on frequently and so you will save more money too.

Clean bright minimilistic bathroom with plants on windowsill

Big Changes That Can Make A Difference

As you can see, there are a lot of little changes you can make to the bathroom that will make a big difference in terms of energy efficiency. However, of course, there are a number of big changes you should consider if you are in the process of planning or remodelling your bathroom. This represents the perfect time to make some significant energy efficiency improvements. There are a number of different ways that you can do this, including choosing a condensing combi boiler to replace your old boiler, cylinder and water tank, as well as installing low flow bathroom taps to both your bath and basin, replacing single glazed windows with double glazed windows, choosing a reduced capacity bath, or better still shower cabins, and installing a low flush toilet.

Choose Energy Efficient Lighting

Of course, this is an energy efficient tip that you can implement all around the home, not just in the bathroom. Nevertheless, it represents an excellent way to make some further bathroom savings. Simply replacing your incandescent light bulbs with LED light bulbs or compact fluorescent lighting will make a massive difference. Yes, you will have to spend a little bit of money in order to purchase these types of light bulbs. Nevertheless, they cost much less to use and they last a lot longer, which means that you will save much more money in the long run by switching to this type of lighting.

Bathroom Insulation

Another way to make energy savings in your bathroom is with insulation. Next time you are thinking about getting new bathroom fixtures or tiles, you should insulate the walls in your bathroom. If you are currently living in a property that does not have cavity wall insulation, you will have no doubt noticed that your bathroom is not as warm as the rest of the house. If you add insulation it will make the bathroom as well as the rest of the house a lot warmer and more comfortable to live in. This means that you will need to spend less money to keep your house warm during the winter months.

Insulation is not only something that can be beneficial in terms of your walls. You can save money by insulating your hot water pipes as well. Plus, it does not end there, you can also use a jacket, so long as it is at least 75mm thick, in order to insulate your hot water tank. This is extremely beneficial because it will reduce your loss of heat by a massive 75%, which will save you a considerable batch of money every year. Not only this, but it means that your water will be kept hotter for longer and this means that you will use less energy overall and again save even more money.

High-efficiency Faucets and Shower Heads

Last but not least, you can also save a lot of money by investing in a high-efficiency showerhead. The vast majority of showerheads have a flow rate of 2.5 gallons per minute. You can reduce this amount by half or more by investing in a high-efficiency showerhead. High-efficiency faucets also provide you with a great way to reduce the flow of water that comes through your taps and again save energy.

As you can see, there are many different ways that you can make your bathroom more energy efficient. Some of the suggestions that have been provided require little effort on your behalf and, therefore, can be implemented today. However, there are some ideas that do require substantial expense and time, and so you may want to reserve them for when you are planning to remodel your existing bathroom. Either way, if you embrace a number of ideas that have been presented to you in this blog post, you will be able to save a considerable amount of energy in your bathroom. Not only is this a great way to help the planet, but it also means that you will reduce your utility bills by a considerable amount in the process.

*This is a collaborative post.

Budget Décor Ideas That Can Change A Room

Sick of your tired, outdated décor, but don’t have enough spare cash for a renovation? The good news is that with a little bit of DIY, it’s possible to transform just about any home in your property – without breaking the bank. A new lick of paint, some fresh throw pillows, and a touch of personality can be all it takes to give your home a new lease on life. So if you’ve been dithering over your decoration options for some time now, and you’re not sure how to get started, the following budget décor ideas could give you the inspiration you need…

Budget décor ideas that can change a room

Start With a Splash of Colour

Let’s face it, few things have a bigger impact on the way your rooms look, than the colour of the walls. A quick lick of paint can be an inexpensive and easy way to give your property a much-needed lift. Whether you’re adding a statement wall to your living room or sprucing up your bedroom with some relaxing neutral colours, you’re guaranteed to get a great outcome with just a small investment.
Just be careful not to go too over the top with your colours. Dark shades can be hard to fix if you decide you’re not as fond of them as you thought you were.

Dark blue painted wall. Picture hanging on wall. Home decor. Interior design

Rethink and Rearrange

It doesn’t cost a thing to look at the furnishings you already have and move them into different places around your room. Switching the location of your bed, or moving your sofa to another corner of the room can be a great way to change the way the space looks. Plus, while you’re moving things around, you’ll have a great opportunity to get rid of any clutter that you don’t use anymore. Put your unwanted items on eBay, and you could make a bit of extra cash for the summer.

Choose Lighting With Care

The right lighting can transform the atmosphere of any room. A dimmer switch in your bedroom can give you a fantastic romantic effect, while a fresh shade for a lamp in your living room can brighten up the space. Try replacing mismatched lamps with stylish matching ones or replace your old bulbs with some bright LED ones. Remember, your lighting doesn’t have to just be about fixtures either. You can always consider using fairy lights to add a touch of sparkle to a room, or turn to candles for a romantic vibe.

Transform Your Windows

Speaking of lighting, don’t overlook the power of natural light. You can create an excellent focal point in your room and bring more light back into your property with the right window furnishings. A set of cheap shutters is all it takes to give your home a warm and rustic look or to add personality to your kitchen. There are plenty of colours to choose from, and you can always add a potted plant to your windowsill to complete the look.

Update Your Soft Furnishings

If you can’t afford a new bed or sofa for your home, but you think your soft furnishings look a little lacklustre, try adding a new throw or set of pillows to the mix instead. There are plenty of beautiful and affordable cushions out there that will help to add glamour to your space almost instantly. If you’re not certain which colours you should go for, you can take inspiration from your wall and floor palettes.

A sofa with colourful cushions. Soft furnishings, home decor. Interior design.

Embrace Artwork

Finally, artwork is a great way to show your own unique style in any room. Often, it’s best to stick with pieces that have been pre-framed if you want to get a professional look. However, you can always look for custom frames for your own pictures if you prefer. Additionally, it’s worth looking at large pieces of artwork that add scale and volume to the way that your property looks. If you’ve got little ones, and you really want to make your home your own, you can always consider asking them to help you make artwork for certain rooms that you can frame in unique ways to bring a touch of vibrancy to any space.

Transforming Your Home On A Budget

At first, transforming your home on a budget can seem an impossible task. However, with the right decorations, a fresh lick of paint, and a few simple changes, you can quickly create the home of your dreams – no matter what your tastes might be.

Home cushion on sofa, with other cushions.

*This is a collaborative post.

Gadgets Every Bathroom Needs

The bathroom is the ultimate place in your home where you can escape from the rest of the world and exist in your own peaceful bubble for a while. It is the place where we relax after a stressful week, sing karaoke with the shower head and make life’s biggest decisions. The bathroom is a hugely important part of our home, and there are loads of technologies to add to the space to make it perfect…

Gadgets Every Bathroom Needs with faded image of bathroom as background

Waterproof TV

Having a TV in the bathroom is the ultimate way to relax on your spa evening. Just imagine how amazing it would be to lie in the bath, a glass of wine in hand, while watching your favourite movie…sounds good, doesn’t it? A waterproof TV is no new gadget, but it is certainly one you will want to invest your money in this year. To make sure you don’t lose too much space in your bathroom you can have the TV fitted to your wall.

Whirlpools

The whirlpool bath is the ultimate way to treat yourself after a stressful day and is super relaxing to lie in. You can buy a whirlpool bath from many different places online, but the best ones also include mood lighting. Imagine dimming the lights, getting into the bath and simply enjoying the silence as coloured light fills the room… it can be a great addition to your bathroom and will be something the kids love too!

Bidet

This is a gadget which has been around in countries like Japan for a long time, but we haven’t really started using them much in this part of the world. The easiest type to install into an existing bathroom and use are the ones that fit onto your toilet as an add-on device. It can be a brilliant system for those with disabilities or limited mobility, such as the elderly.

A TV Mirror

If you only have a small bathroom to work with, sometimes it is better for you to get two items in one neat package. For example, if you only have the room to hang a mirror in your bathroom, you can get one which doubles as a TV. It means that you can enjoy your favourite TV or news in the morning as you brush your teeth and when you switch it off, you are faced with a regular mirror!

Double sink in bathroom. Large mirrors. Bathroom accessories. Large vase of flowers in centre

Shaving Socket

One of the most irritating things that can happen in the morning is losing your shaving adapter when you need a trim. To avoid this problem in the future you can have a shaving socket fitted into the bathroom which means you can plug straight into the wall and groom without the stress! It is a much more convenient way to shave and it saves you having to buy an adapter!

De-misting Pads

You may have never heard of this item before, but it will soon become your best friend in the bathroom. How annoying is it when you have had a shower or a bath and can’t see yourself in the mirror? Well, demisting pads are here to take away that steam without leaving smudges or fabric on the mirror. It will make the world of difference to you when you are in a rush to get ready and they don’t cost much at all.

Smart Taps

A tap isn’t just a tap these days, there are many different types of tap to fit everyone’s needs in the home. There are taps with LED lights, boiling taps available at www.tapwarehouse.com and even smart taps which do many different things. A smart tap can use facial recognition, motion, and touchscreen to help make your bathroom experience the best it can possibly be. For example, you might prefer a certain temperature when you have a bath, and with facial recognition, the taps will set the water to that temperature just for you. It is a gadget which can be incredibly fun and will impress all of your guests too.

Shower Head Speaker

One of the greatest joys of the bathroom is singing in the shower, and with this shower head speaker, you can do just that. It will play the radio or a playlist if your choice and you can sing to your heart’s content every time you take a scrub! You can also buy shower heads which have LED lights on them for a fun, disco experience!

Programmable Shower

While we are talking about fun technology for the bathroom, we can’t skip by the fun you can have with a programmable shower. If you fancy a more personal experience when you go for a wash, you can buy a programmable shower which will let you change the temperature, lighting, pressure and volume for music all in one place. You can even create your own preset for every time you visit the shower, and this will make things unique to you and what you enjoy every day.

In Summary…

There are many different gadgets you can bring into the bathroom, and you can make the setup as simple or as savvy as you want. Have fun with things, make it unique to you and don’t be afraid to go crazy with a few gadgets – if you know you will use them! After all, it’s your personal space. Make the most of it!

What is your favourite bathroom gadget? I would love to know! Tell me in comments.

*This is a collaborative post.

Could You Conserve More Water At Home?

There are lots of regions around the world that constantly suffer from droughts and a severe lack of water. Even though most of this is all because of the hot climates in which these regions are, some water shortage is still down to bad management and use of the world’s resources. In fact, even we can help these struggling areas by trying to limit the amount of water use in our own homes. Not only will it help those who are a lot less fortunate than us, but conserving water also gives you a chance to cut down your monthly water bill, which can save you money off your utilities.

So, ready to try and save a bit more water? Here are some things that you can try…

Could You Conserve More Water At Home? Background image of flowing water from pipe

Fix All Your Leaks

If you have some leaks in your pipes, you should get these checked out by a plumber. Whether you need to get your toilet pipes looked at, or you need to call someone to take care of some drain repair outside, getting all of these pesky leaks looked at will help you conserve more water. It makes sense if you think about it – you won’t be losing quite as much of the blue stuff once the plumbing is taken care of and it all stays in your pipes rather than dripping out of them!

Take Shorter Showers & Get A Bucket

Showers conserve a lot more water than taking a bath, so it’s always a better idea to jump in the shower rather than taking a soak. But that doesn’t mean that water is safe in the shower! Try to cut down your shower time to under 5 minutes.

Also, most of us run the shower for a while, while we wait for the water to heat up to the right temperature. Sound familiar? Well, that will be wasting a lot of water – as it heats up, it will just be going straight down the drain. To put a stop to this, you need to collect all of this wasted water in a bucket. Then, once the shower is hot enough, you can move the full bucket to one side. All of this collected water can be used out on the garden, or even to flush your toilet!

Don’t Leave Taps Running So Much

Something else that I’m sure we are all guilty of is leaving the tap running too much. For instance, do you leave the tap on while you are brushing your teeth? If so, that’s not good for the environment as it is wasting quite a lot of water. Instead, turn it off while you brush. You can then turn it on again when you need to rinse your toothbrush.

Use Your Washing Machine Wisely

Clothes do not need to be washed as often as people think they do! Don’t throw every item of your clothes into the washing machine after every use; underwear yes, those outer layers no! Try to make sure you actually have a full load of necessary washing to do before you switch the machine on. And use the eco cycle if you have one!

What are your top tips for saving energy at home? Let me know in comments!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.