Make Your Home Green: One Room at a Time (Guest Post)

It’s easy to say you want your family to go green and live a more socially responsible lifestyle, but when you start to actually think about putting a plan into action it becomes overwhelming. Many people’s first impressions of sustainable living include practicing recycling and refraining from leaving the water running while you brush your teeth. In reality, there is a lot more to living a completely environmentally friendly lifestyle.

A great starting place to focus on is your home. This is the place where your family gathers and where you spend a large amount of your time in your life, so it’s an important place to consider when you want to go green. In order to cut back on the intimidation factor, this guide will break down room-by-room how you can encourage more sustainable practices in your home…

Make Your Home Green: One Room at a Time

Living Room

Natural Lighting

The living room is one of the easiest places in your home where you can embrace natural lighting as an alternative to keeping bulbs burning. Keeping your curtains open and allowing natural sunlight to light up your living room will be better for energy efficiency and there’s also just something about natural lighting that makes you feel better.

If you can prepare for this while you’re building or choosing a house, look into floor-to-ceiling windows. These are a great interior piece that make your space appear larger and they allow for more natural lighting in your home. You can also consider skylights to provide an easier path for sun to come in through the top of your room.

A living room with huge windows flooding the room with natural light

Energy

A staple in American living rooms is a television. To reduce energy usage in your home, cut back on the tv or even eliminate it from your home. Encourage your family to play games together, spend time doing outdoor activities, or reading in the evenings.

Furniture

When furnishing your living room, or any part of your home, try to use recycled materials or repurpose materials in your home. For example, a chair or stool can serve another purpose as a side table. It takes less energy to manufacture goods from recycled materials than from scratch, so try use recycled furniture to help reduce energy consumption in the grand scheme of things.

If you’re buying new materials, purchase from companies that are certified for using sustainable materials. You can also find furniture made with bamboo, a super sustainable material held together by glue rather than toxic chemicals.

Paint

Speaking of toxic chemicals, make sure the paint you’re using for your walls contains low levels of volatile organic compounds (VOC) or a paint that’s entirely VOC-free.

Plants

Part of healthy living includes having good indoor air quality (IAQ). A sustainable practice to help remove pollutants from your air and live in a cleaner environment is to place plants around your home. Some plants naturally purify air and can help eliminate toxins to improve your IAQ.

A shelf full of artwork with a green plant in the corner of the room

Kitchen

Groceries

Industrial farming practices are harmful to the environment because of the mass use of resources and the chemicals emitted, so when you’re shopping for groceries, shop locally. Knowing your food was farmed locally will make your meals even more meaningful and personal.

Recycling

The kitchen is the biggest area in your home to focus on your recycling efforts since your family will be consuming food daily. Some examples of waste that can be recycled are plastic containers from yogurt or sodas, cardboard cereal boxes, and aluminum cans. Learn about what materials are recyclable and then set up bins for designated items. Be conscious of the items you’re shopping for too so you can plan in advance to use recyclable materials more often.

Laundry Room

Would you be shocked to find out that 39% of a garment’s environmental impact comes from the care of the consumer? If you think making minor changes to your life to follow more eco-friendly practices isn’t making much of a difference on the world, this fact can prove you wrong.

Some simple steps to get you started are washing your clothes in cold water, reducing the amount of loads you’re doing by waiting longer to wash items like jeans, using toxic-free detergent, and line drying your clothes.

Washing hanging out to dry

If you’re ready to look into other changes, you can pre-treat your clothes with an enzyme spray to hold you over between washes. You can also soak your whites in oxygen cleaner to remove sweat stains without having to run the clothes through the washer.

Bedrooms

Your Bedding

The main factor defining your bedroom is your bed, so you should make sure it’s environmentally friendly. There are tons of factors to consider in a mattress to make sure you’re getting your best sleep for your best health, and the sustainability should be one of them.

Look for organic mattresses made from 100% natural materials, or companies that are approved by Oeko-Tex or have a GREENGUARD certification. There’s also a plethora of options for organic bedding materials to dress your mattress in so that your bed can be “green” from headboard to toe. And when it’s time to get rid of your mattress in about 7-10 years, be socially responsible and donate or recycle.

Bed and bedside table

Sleep Aids

Have trouble sleeping at night? Don’t turn to pharmaceuticals. Instead try natural sleep aids like a warm cup of herbal tea. You could also do nighttime yoga. Stretching your body out helps relax your muscles and your mind making you ready for your best ZZZs.

Bathrooms

Water Usage

You’re probably using water the most in your bathrooms, so it’s a great place to start when you’re looking to cut down your carbon footprint. Simple steps include taking shorter showers or using LED bulbs for your lighting. For shorter showers, try a 5-minute shower timer that sticks to your wall and helps you monitor your time spent scrubbing off.

Larger steps to take to be eco-friendly in the bathroom include investing in low-flow toilets and motion sensor sinks to cut back on water usage.

Outside

Decor

For your outdoor decor, use repurposed furniture from inside your home rather than purchasing new items. You can use old chairs you’re no longer interested in having in your home or give an old piece a new function by converting a coffee table into a planter.

Gardening

Create compost piles from the materials in your kitchen to help you start a garden. You can grow your own vegetables and herbs too.

A painted green hand holding a plant

Transportation

Instead of emitting gases from your car daily, ride a bike instead. Bikes are practical, environmentally friendly, and will give you more physical activity during the day to help your health.

Creating a Green Home

If you’re interested in getting used to environmentally friendly practices but you’re still new to sustainable living it may seem challenging and overwhelming. Taking it step-by-step will help you naturally progress into new practices. Don’t try to change your entire lifestyle in one day. It’s a process that takes time and research.

When deciding how to move towards a more eco-friendly life, adopt a minimalist mentality away from consumer culture. This will help you cut back to the essentials and be on your way to having a green home.

Author Bio

Laurie Larson is a freelance writer from Durham, NC. When she’s not busy writing, she enjoys spending time out in nature and reading her favorite books.

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.

Brighten Up Walls With Some Wallsauce!

Do you rooms look a little dull? Are you trying to find a fun way to brighten up your walls? Or even trying to find new ways to improve your wellbeing? Whether you are designing the ideal child’s bedroom, creating a tranquil bedroom environment, decorating your cosy home office space, or perhaps even making a sensory therapy room – Wallsauce wallpaper murals might well be your perfect solution!

Brighten up walls with Wallsauce

Their beautiful murals will help you to create the perfect environment, whatever look you are trying to achieve. There are over a million designs to choose from; including fine art, fun kids murals, funky patterns and stunning scenes. You can also upload your own photography too!

I spent ages browsing their website just for fun, mentally redesigning every room in our home! There are so many amazing images to choose from. Here are some of my favourites…

Landscape Theme

The collection of landscape theme wallpapers are just so stunning, I literally couldn’t find a single one I wouldn’t love on my wall! Check out the waterfalls, they are particularly gorgeous. The Iceland photos grabbed my attention especially; they are literally the images I have in my head when I am practising visualisation and meditating. Simply beautiful. Here are just a few of the landscape choices available…

Yosemite landscape wallpaper by Wallsauce

Sunset jetty beach wall mural by Wallsauce

River sunset wallpaper by Wallsauce

Beach Scenes

I have written before how important I feel being around water is for our mental health; a concept known as Blue Mind. Therefore I adore the beach scenes and I think they would be fantastic for bringing an air of relaxation to any room in the home. I can imagine sitting in our lounge feeling like we are actually sat on the beach!

Windswept beach mural by Wallsauce

Tropical beach wall mural by Wallsauce

Forest and Tree Wallpaper Murals

Of course I definitely couldn’t go without mentioning this theme! I love the idea of bringing the sights of our natural environment into our home, and these tree images are so serene. They would be lovely in an office space, or in the bedroom – it would feel like camping every night! This birch tree scene is my absolute favourite…

Birch forest sunlight wallpaper

Kids Murals

There are loads of kids murals to choose from. No matter what your child’s interests, no doubt you can pick out the perfect decor for their room. I spotted a fab flamingo design that my flamingo-mad friend’s daughter would love for example! The fairytale scenes are fabulous for catching a young child’s imagination. Or maybe choose a map of the world for some educational value. Squiggle would have loved this arctic ocean scene when she was little…

Arctic puzzle kids wallpaper mural

Fairytale mural in a nursery

World map wallpaper mural

Sensory Room Ideas

If you are creating a sensory room in your home, some of these wallpaper murals would be brilliant for it. Obviously it would depend on the child and what you are trying to achieve – for example, whether it is a low visual chillout area to avoid overstimulation, or a highly stimulating, high sensory input for a sensory seeker – but there are some super funky designs and some nice calm ones too. I love this blue wallpaper if you are looking for something that is simple but not entirely plain…

Blue wallpaper

Whatever look you are going for, in any room, these Wallsauce wallpaper murals will jazz up the space and make designing your home much easier – and way more fun!

*Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. However, I have expressed my honest opinions about these designs! 

Help Your Home Help You

Rather than just assuming that your home is going to be the biggest bane of your life, for the rest of your life, it’s time to assume that your home is going to be able to help you. In so many ways, our home can be viewed as a pain; we have to go through the stress of money problems, problems with the home, price increases of mortgages… the list could go on. But we don’t want to focus on the negative side of owning a property. A home is meant to be a positive and happy place, and that’s the attitude we want to try and achieve. So if you feel fed up with the home you’re living in, and you feel as though it could be doing more to help you, then we’ve got a few ways to show you that it can…

Help Your Home Help You title inside home image

Let It Make You Money

This is the first thing that we want to talk about, because it’s probably the most exciting one for you. The prospect that your home might actually be able to make you money is one that you might not have considered before. But think about how your home is at the minute, and what you use it for. If you’ve got a three bedroomed house, but all of your children have moved out, then you really are wasting two rooms there. So, if you want to make money from home, you could always think about renting out a room. So many other people are doing it at the minute, but we already know what your first doubt is going to be. Yes, having a stranger in your home might be a little bit weird. But that doesn’t mean that you’re going to have someone living under your nose all of the time. You’ll find that the people occupying the room will want to be out of your hair just as much as you want them out of the way! You can make a lot of money from it, you just need to make sure you’re being fair with the pricing, and that you’re being a good host to the people you’re bringing into your home.

Something that is going to benefit you even further, because you’re not going to have someone random in your home, is renting out your drive space. If you look outside your home now, how many cars do you see lining the road. If you live on a main road, then we guarantee it’s going to be many. All you have to do is advertise a parking space on your drive, and we guarantee that people will come flocking for it. There really is a surprising amount of money to be made from this, so we do advise that you give it a go! Again, make sure the price you’re offering is reasonable, or you’ll be paying for an advertisement that isn’t even going to bring in any money!

Turn To Tech

Filling your home with the latest tech is the best thing that you can do. You’re either going to be someone who is a tech whizz, or someone who doesn’t have the first clue about what could be put in a home. If you’re the latter, then we’re here to help you. If we’re talking about tech that’s going to benefit you, we’re going to have to talk about home automation. It’s a cool feature that you’ll find in all the houses of the rich and famous, but it’s not just limited to them. You can easily have your own home automation system installed, and you can just watch your home life improve. So, what it does is allow you to control different rooms and features of your home, from either your phone, or from little control panels in different rooms. Imagine this… You’ve gone to bed, but you can hear the faint sound of the TV downstairs. What do you do, you get up and click a button from the comfort of your own bedroom, and the TV will turn off. Imagine you’re out for a nice meal, but the weather is so bitterly cold. You can turn your phone on, and adjust the heating setting so that your home is nice and warm for when you get home. It’s such a cool little system that you could have installed, that many people seem to be missing out on.

An organised modern living room interior

Keeping It Simple

Keeping it simple around the home is the best way that you can let your home help you. In fact, this is pretty much all to do with you. So many people clog up their homes with junk that they just don’t need, meaning that being in the home can make you feel rather cluttered. So if you want to help your home help you here, you’re first of all going to have to have a big clean out of the things that you don’t need anymore. Make space, and you’ll feel so much happier with the home you have. You can then think of unique storage solutions around the home, that will mean you won’t have to deal with as much clutter again. It might still be there, but at least it’ll be out of plain sight. There’s so many storage solutions you can choose from, such as these that are listed here. Try and keep it simple with things such as decor and furnishing as well. You don’t want to make your home look out of place by going overboard with the decor.

How else do you think you can let your home help you? Tell me in comments!

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.

Grange Raised Urban Planter: GardenSite’s Gardening Solutions for Small Spaces (Review & Giveaway)

As you all know, we love being outdoors in nature, and part of this includes gardening. I have written before about some of the food we have grown, or at least attempted to grow! So what do we think of our new urban planter from GardenSite? Read my review…

Grange Raised Urban Planter from Gardensite title with image of planter

About the Planter

Grange Raised Urban Planter is built using only FSC timber that has been pressure treated, and is resistant to rot and fungal decay. In fact, it actually comes with a 20 year guarantee against rot. It has six pre- divided sections to grow a selection of plants, and it also has a handy shelf underneath. The planter usually retails for £89.99 RRP but is currently on sale at £77.99 at the time of writing.

Delivery

The planter took just under a week to arrive after ordering. We were kept updated with the progress of our order and delivery details. The courier company they used was a good choice; they followed our delivery instructions, and they were friendly and helpful.

An image of all the parts of the planter pre- assembly

Assembly

The Urban Planter is very well designed so it only requires basic assembly instructions. It is very high quality thick wood, so you will need a decent power drill though; it couldn’t be done manually, or with a small basic electric drill that people have around the house to put together flat pack furniture. It took well under half an hour to assemble with the right drill.

Tip: The PDF instructions on the website are different to the paper version it comes with. Take a look to see which you find easier to follow! We personally found the website PDF version clearer.

It is worth noting that the planter is very heavy so ideally it needs two people to move around. Or assemble it in the right place!

Grange raised urban planter

Our Verdict

We really like this planter. It is really sturdy and of excellent quality. The shelf underneath is useful as storage, or even for small potted plants that like the shade.

The six sections make it easy to grow a selection of plants within a small area. It doesn’t take up too much space, so is a genuine solution for small urban gardens. Also, we often have cats hanging around our garden, so we appreciate the benefits of a raised planter!

It is not cheap but it is made extremely well and is therefore worth the cost, in my opinion; I personally would consider it decent value for money. Overall, we definitely recommend this planter!

Grange raised urban planter by GardenSite

Check out the full range of stock on GardenSite for other planters and a wide range of other garden items. I spent ages browsing their website, they have an excellent selection!

Giveaway

I have teamed up with GardenSite for one very lucky person to win a Grange Raised Urban Planter! Competition open to UK residents only and ends on 3rd June 2018. Other T&Cs apply. Enter via rafflecopter below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*Disclosure: I was sent the urban planter for the purpose of review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

How To Build a Swimming Pool in Your Back Garden

With summer almost upon us, and the recent spell of hot weather, you might be considering building your own swimming pool in your garden. To many, it might seem like a waste of space and money in a country that doesn’t often reach warm temperatures! However, there are quite a few benefits to having your own pool, and don’t forget it can be heated so once you are in it is fine; I remember having an outdoor pool at my Primary School and it was such a huge asset.

It is relaxing and good for your wellbeing. And of course it is a wonderful luxury to enjoy the peace and privacy of your own pool. But also, there’s nothing more sociable than having a swimming pool in your back garden that you can then invite friends and family to enjoy too.

At this time of year you’re probably already thinking about getting your garden into shape and the thought of having such major excavation work done in your back garden might feel prohibitive; indeed, the process of building a swimming pool does necessitate the need to bring in diggers to excavate a huge hole in the middle of your lawn. In many ways, that’s the trade-off, as the pool is likely to take a huge chunk of your garden lawn out of the equation. That said, if you’ve always dreamed of having a pool in your back garden, here are a few simple steps to help turn your dream into reality…

How To Build a Swimming Pool in Your Back Garden with swimming pool background image

Design

The first factor to consider is size, which will obviously be constrained by how large your garden is, and the next factor to consider is depth. If you are having children use the pool or you’re not a particularly strong swimmer, then it is recommended to keep it under 1.2 metres, which is what most fancy gyms set their pool depth to. You also need to consider what colour you would like the tiles to be – blue is the classic colour, whilst there are many startling designs that embrace deep reds and purples to create more of a design statement.
The next consideration is lighting and shape. Generally speaking, the more complex the design, the higher the cost to create the swimming pool.

Get Permission

In order to build a swimming pool in your back garden, it’s likely that you’ll need to gain planning permission from the council.

Excavate The Area

The first step in terms of building the pool, once you’ve designed it and been granted permission, is to start excavating the area! You could employ a contractor to take care of everything, or if you’re on a budget, you could hire construction equipment yourself, as at this stage all you’re really doing is digging a big hole in the back garden. It is, however, vitally important to have been granted permission before starting to dig, as there may be hidden wires or pipes that you could unearth.

Consider Material To Use

The three main options to choose from are concrete, fibreglass, and vinyl.

Grade the Ground and Frame Walls

The next step is to even out the ground. This will make building the walls and laying the floor much easier. With the hole dug out, and the land flat, the walls can now be built with wood and metal rebar.

Put in Plumbing and Electricity

You’ll want to get an experienced plumber to take care of this specialist task, as you don’t want to have to undertake emergency plumbing should there be an issue down the road. Indeed, it’s important to hire a plumber that is experienced in swimming pools, as an inexperienced plumber could ruin your pool.

You’ll then want to hire an electrician to install the lights. Understandably, bad wiring plus water is not a good combination; so it’s advisable that you read up on how to prevent electrocution before going any further, or attempting to do it yourself.

Pour the Floor, Build Walls and Tile

The next step is to pour the floor and build the walls, then tile them, but remember to add a moisture barrier to stop the water from seeping out.

Fill The Pool

The final step, of course, is to fill the pool with fresh water that is subsequently treated with a cleaning agent such as chlorine.

Lady swimming in a pool

Have you ever considered a pool in your garden? For most it is just a pipe dream… but if it ever becomes your reality, now you know what to do!

*This is a collaborative post.