How To Create A Stress – Relieving Garden

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

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The Science of Gardening

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

Use Your Senses

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

Smell

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

Taste

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

Sight

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

Touch

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

Hearing

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

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

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

Top 5 Space Saving Tips For New Furniture

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

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

Lighter Impact Furniture

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

Neutral Tones and Colours

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

A Dash of Dark Colour

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

Clever Furniture Choices

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

Think Vertical

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

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

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

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

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

Organise Your Bedroom #StorageForTheWin 

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

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

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

Top Tips To Declutter 

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

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

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

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

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

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Organisation and Storage Tips

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

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

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

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

• Use drawer dividers to organise smaller items effectively.

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

Win An Ottoman Divan Bed Base

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

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

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

    How To Give Your Home A Summer Makeover #InteriorInspirations 

    The weather may still be unpredictable but summer is officially here, so it is the perfect time to give your home a fresh new look! This summer, why not go for some of the following ideas:

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    Bright and Bold Colours

    Whether you opt for one or two select colours, or grab yourself a whole rainbow of items, choosing bold colours will really make the room pop and give you that summer feel. On my pinterest board below, you can see how this works particularly well on plain, neutral backgrounds. Contrasting colours also go beautifully together too if you are working with brightly coloured walls.

    Flower Designs

    Pretty flower patterns, give any room an outdoorsy summer vibe. From upholstered furniture to simply throwing a few cushions onto a sofa, and rugs to huge wall hangings, anything on this theme really creates that summer feel you are looking for.

    Bring Nature Indoors

    Moving on only very slightly from the flower theme, bringing nature into your home is another great way to get that summer look. I have written before about nature print wallpaper to bring the outdoors inside. This works well all year round and summer is certainly no exception. Real or artificial plants and flowers finish off the summer look perfectly in any part of your home. See my pinterest board below for some creative ways of doing this.

    Strong Geometric Patterns

    Duvet covers, throws, cushions and other home decor items in strong geometric patterns using bold colours on a light background are not only eye catching but undoubtedly summery too. This even works on an entire wall if you want to turn the striking meter up to the max!

    Set the Scene

    Another tip is to use world maps, beach or ocean prints that instantly draw your thoughts to travel and vacations; you’ll feel like you are on your summer holidays without even leaving your room!

    Don’t Forget Your Other Senses!

    Last but by no means least, remember it is not all about looks! Fragrance your room with a smell that reminds you distinctively of summer, play some relaxing ocean waves sounds and choose some cool summer textures to fully complete your makeover.

    Chill insurance are encouraging people to share their summer interior tips using the hashtag #InteriorInspirations on social media. They have also produced a fabulous ebook too, full of great ideas! 

    Do you have a favourite summery item of home decor? Or perhaps a top tip for keeping interiors cool in the summer? Get involved in the discussion on social media and/ or leave me a comment!

    *Disclosure: This is a collaborative post. 

    What To Look For When Renting/ Top Tips For Landlords #RentalInsights

    Recently homelet.co.uk carried out a survey and have found some interesting stats about tenants:

    • Overall 86% of people were either very happy, quite happy or somewhat happy with their landlord or letting agent
    • 75% of people surveyed claimed to be happy with the response to maintenance requests
    • 43.6% of tenancy agreements do not allow pets
    • 12.5% of people surveyed have had their deposit withheld with 39.1% of these down to cleaning and 19.3% down to re-decorating costs

    We are long term renters but have also been landlords ourselves too, so we have seen it from both sides of the fence. We have had some poor experiences as tenants, but have also had some very positive ones as well. Over the years, we have rented privately and through letting agents, in house shares, as a couple, and as a family, and have had our homes managed by many different companies along the way. Therefore I am pleased to take part in HomeLet’s #RentalInsights campaign, to share our experiences and top tips!

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    Renting as a family (especially with an SEND child) means that our experience, and our priorities, maybe different to other people in some regards. I know that before we started a family, we personally had a very different view on renting, whereas what we look for has shifted now that we are parents. For example, we used to move around every 6 months or so; a scenario we are most definitely very keen to avoid now! We both used to work full time so rarely gave any thought to how much notice we were given or how often access was ‘required’. Infact we were probably pretty quick to complain if things weren’t dealt with very promptly! These days, that is a disruption that we want kept to a minimum and we need flexibility with regards to timings, with as much notice as possible given too.

    The top priorities we have when looking for a family rental home, aside from location and so on, are three fold:

    Firstly, it must be a long term let. As a family, and especially with an SEND child, long term means years. Many agents consider 6 month contracts to be a long term let, so it is important to clarify what is meant by ‘long term’ for the particular property that you are considering. 

    Secondly, we need somewhere that accepts pets. They are part of our family; rehoming them is absolutely not up for consideration. However, as the survey suggests, this reduces our options by roughly half before we can even begin to think about any of the other factors that we need to consider. Sometimes a personal letter to the landlord, an offer of a higher deposit and/ or clauses added to the agreement can help with finding a pet- friendly property.

    Thirdly, we look for a suitable landlord/ letting agent. If initial conversations suggest that the attitude of the landlord, or approach to property management, is going to cause us stress and/ or prevent us from feeling like it is our home, we dismiss it. We also ensure that we are upfront about our own circumstances (home educating, SEND child etc…) so that we can find a good match for us. 

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    We have had some totally appalling experiences along the way though, both as a couple and as a family. This includes landlords letting themselves in without warning, agents showing round viewings after we have said it is not a convenient time, drastic rent increases regularly, keeping deposit without justification (prior to the compulsory deposit schemes) and even being evicted in the midst of our child having a health crisis (through no fault of our own; it was simply because they decided to sell). It can quickly turn into a nightmare if you find yourself in a difficult situation, so I recommend both landlords and tenants are clued up on their legal rights and responsibilities at all times. 

    The key points we would give to landlords/ agents is to build up enough of a working relationship with your tenants that you understand their personal priorities, and vice versa. Are they the type of tenant who will want every little detail dealt with immediately? Or do they need any essential work done around their schedule? Are they away alot anyway so people letting themselves in (with prior written notice of course!) is irrelevant to them, or are they a homebody who values their privacy and wants to be left alone as much as possible?

    The absolute crucial thing to remember is, for the period that they live there, it is the tenant’s home. And most people want, and need, to feel at home. It can be stressful living in a property where you feel like you are just visiting, or are made to feel uncomfortable in any way, and that in turn can affect peoples’ health and wellbeing. So putting yourself in the shoes of your tenant is a must.

    Understanding abit about the tenants and their situation, and knowing what matters most to them personally, helps everyone to have a more enjoyable, relaxed and positive experience. 

    *Disclosure: This is a collaborative post written as part of HomeLet #RentalInsights campaign. 

    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. 

    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…

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    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.

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    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

    Simple Ways To Reduce Energy Consumption In Your Home

    Last week I posted about energy waste and how to save money on your bills. I mentioned briefly how to reduce energy waste within the home. However, I think these tips definitely deserve their own post! 

    So here are some simple ways to reduce energy consumption in your home…

    Technology Use

    Leaving technology on standby or plugged in when not in use consumes small amounts of unnecessary energy that quickly adds up over time. Set technology to fully shut down automatically and/ or remember to turn it off properly at the socket. Unplug phones, tablets etc… as soon as they are fully charged then unplug the charger itself too. 

    Small Appliances

    Unplug small appliances at the socket when not in use to ensure they are not sneakily wasting energy. At the very least, ensure they are turned off properly at the socket. 

    Smart Power Strips

    Alternatively, a smart power strip is an affordable way to combat energy waste in your home. These clever strips cut the power supply to technology automatically when it goes into standby mode. Very smart indeed!

    Lighting

    The Lighting Superstore have created this useful infographic showing why LED bulbs are the way to go as part of their #LEDeasy campaign. In summary, LED lights use up to 90% less energy compared to incandescent bulbs. They also have a longer lifespan, are more environmentally friendly, are versatile in both style and placement, plus offer a wide range of lighting options in terms of brightness and colour too.

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    Heating

    Using your existing heating thermostat/ timer correctly to make sure your heating only comes on when you need it, as high as you need it and for as long as you need it, ensures you heat your home efficiently and only use the energy you really need. 

    Water

    Take a few moments to sort out any drippy taps in your home. Also switching your showerhead to an eco-friendly design is a fairly inexpensive way of saving water and energy consumption.

    My top 5 personal energy-saving actions for my own home:

    • TV, console and freeview box are all on the same strip anyway; so easy to turn it off at the socket! 
    • Ensure other technology is also turned off at the socket or unplugged when not in use. This includes unplugging mobiles as soon as they are fully charged!
    • Unplug kettle, nutribullet and microwave (and any other small appliances) when not in use. 
    • Use LED lightbulbs.
    • Use heating thermostat effectively.


    What are your top home energy-saving tips or eco-friendly actions you will take in your own home from now on? Tell me in the comments!


    *This is a collaborative post.

    Energy Waste: How To Save Money On Bills 

    Energy waste is a huge problem – for everyone. It not only impacts our environment but it also costs money too. This infographic by Underfloor Heating Trade Supplies shows how much energy the UK wastes and how this compares to other countries. Perhaps more importantly, it also explains the ways we can save energy (and how much money this can save).

    Did you know that the UK wastes a shocking 54% of its energy? Furthermore, the average UK household wastes a massive £250 per year just by not being energy efficient? EEK! Overall, in 2010 the UK used almost 330 billion kWh. For comparison, Africa uses approximately 19004 kWh annually.

    Worse still, the amount of energy wasted in 2012 by the US economy could power the whole of the UK for 7 years. Now that really is shocking! The average American household also uses 2.7 times more electricity and 1.3 times more natural gas than the UK too.

    So what can we do to reduce energy waste, and therefore also save money? Well, quite a few things actually! Simple changes can make a big difference; turn off technology properly (not just leave on standby!) and/or set them to auto shut down, unplug small appliances when not in use, use smart power strips, use LED lightbulbs and change air filters regularly.

    To reduce energy consumption in your home you can make investments that will save you money in the longer run. For example, buy the highest star energy efficient appliances, invest in smart blinds and ceiling fans, install a dual flush toilet and water-saving shower head, and use light dimmer switches.

    Underfloor heating is very energy efficiency. To maximise this, make sure your home is properly insulated. Also, use a heating pump. Last but certainly not least, use a smart thermostat to further save energy and therefore heating costs. Ideally this would be in conjunction with underfloor heating but either way it is well worth investing in. 

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    *This is a sponsored post.

    Bring The Outdoors Into Your Home With Pixers Wall Murals

    It is certainly no secret how much we value the importance of the outdoors and our natural environment. Even when we are at home, we still like to be reminded of the world outside! One obvious way to do this is through wall art. 

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    For example, PIXERS have a lovely selection of natural wall murals that would brighten up your home and give it a nice relaxing vibe. There are lots to choose from, such as these beautiful ocean scenes that I really love.

    Pixers, wall mural, photo wallpaper, wall art, home decor, interior design, Living Life Our Way

    The website describes the self-adhesive wall murals as ‘tear- and crease-resistant.’ Apparently they are easy to stick on and can be removed then relocated several times too; the website states “you can easily install them unassisted, and then move them from place to place as often as you please, whenever you want – you’ll see how simple this is.”

    We are in a rented home so generally we are very limited in making our own interior design choices. However, I wonder if these wall murals could be a solution to this? They can be used to style your interior in the way that you personally want and transform ‘your’ home, even if it is not really yours. As long as they are easy to remove and don’t leave a mark, I think maybe they could be a good answer for renters? But whether renting or not though, they sound like a really simple and effective way to create your own unique look. 

    The photos can also be edited and customised to really make them feel like they are more your own too. Or you can even use your own photos, so the possibilities are endless! I like the idea that you can properly make them into your own individual creation.

    The wall murals can also be ordered in a range of sizes to suit your room. Entire walls can also be covered with photo wallpaper, like this example.

    Pixers, wall mural, photo wallpaper, wall art, home decor, interior design, Living Life Our Way

    There is even a washable version that can be wiped down easily; handy for family homes. They also state they are eco-friendly and ‘print in the latest ecological HP Latex Printing technology. The inks we use are odorless and 100% safe.’

    If nature art is not your thing, there are many other types of designs too. For example, I spotted some really funky abstract art designs and patterns whilst I was browsing the site. It seems like there is something for everyone! I have never tried these but it sounds like they might be worth checking out.
    *This is a sponsored post.