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Category: Home & Garden

  1. Keeping your brand new kitchen energy efficient and warm in winter

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    Now that the clocks have gone back, winter is fast approaching; in fact I think it might already be here!  The mornings are colder, the nights are darker and temperatures have dropped dramatically.

    If you’re planning to update your kitchen space, you’ll most likely have a list of your top priorities, but many of those lists won’t have considered how you plan to keep the space warm. You might have spent a lot of time pondering the type of bespoke cabinetry you want or worktops, splashback materials and the appliances you and your family will need to keep things running smoothly.

    You might have even started to think about lighting and wall colours but the one thing that can often make or break the usability of a kitchen is often not given nearly enough thought.  That one thing is exactly how you plan to keep your kitchen warm.

    Whatever way you plan to heat your kitchen, from radiators and cast-iron ranges to underfloor heating, your choice will have a huge impact not just on how you use your kitchen when it’s complete but how you design the room from its inception.

    Keeping your brand new kitchen energy efficient and warm in winter

    Choosing the right boiler

    First things first, the key to a good reliable heating system is a reliable boiler. When you’re planning your kitchen design, whether it’s a modern design, traditional, or contemporary kitchen design, it might be worth factoring in a new boiler rather than repairing it if yours is more than 15 years old. 

    Older boilers are not nearly as energy efficient as new models. Updating an old system to an A-rated condensing boiler can reward you with a 90% increase in efficiency.  Replacing a boiler can free up some room for more cupboards or worktops.   Plus you’ll benefit from instant hot water if you opt for a condensing combi-boiler.  

    Underfloor heating

    This is an option that is widely considered as a lovely luxury addition. If you are designing your kitchen from the floor up, then underfloor heating gives comfortable radiant heat and can deliver great savings too.

    You can go down two different routes with underfloor heating. Depending on what type of heating you opt for, it can be used under most types of flooring including: stone, tile, wood and vinyl. It’s best to check your floor is a suitable match before you go ahead and invest, but a large kitchen with porcelain or ceramic tiles are almost always a perfect fit with underfloor heating. 

    One of your options is electric flooring – it is easier to fit, with it being a network of wire elements on a mesh that is placed below the flooring or wet systems, which use water pipes below the floor. An electric system is easier to lay and can be retro-fitted fairly easily if you’re laying a new floor, just check with your builder first.

    The second option is wet systems, which require more work, but are better suited to renovations, such as new extensions or completely new builds. 

    You can install underfloor heating without needing to sacrifice valuable wall space like you would with radiators – instead you can make use of that space for additional bespoke storage options, wine coolers, American fridges or simply some more cupboards.

    It is also vital to have your kitchen design finalised before the pipes or matts are laid for the flooring, as it would be an absolute waste to heat built-in cupboards, or under appliances. A floor plan from your expert designer will help any heating engineer advise not only the best pattern to lay the floor in, but also where to place the controls on the walls.

    Using a timed thermostat means that you can set the heating on to warm the room just enough so it’s a little easier to step into your kitchen on a frosty winter morning. 

    Keeping your brand new kitchen energy efficient and warm in winter radiator

    Radiators

    A safe option, that has been used for many years in the majority of homes across the UK are central heating systems which heat a series of radiators around the home. Usually already in place, updating them from dated 1970s flat panel models to one of the many stunning styles on offer from specialists such as Bisque or Aestus can completely change the look of a room.

    For contemporary schemes look at ladder-style vertical radiators in sleek white and steel finishes and for classic kitchens pick something a little more period in its look like Bisque’s Classic range, which echoes Edwardian shapes. 

    You might want to consider using an online calculator if you are considering radiators. There are plenty of online calculators to help you do this – just pop in the room’s dimensions, the number of windows and the calculator will give you the BTUs or wattage required.  

    Cast-iron ranges

    For traditional kitchens, you might want to consider an ‘always-on’ Aga, especially for farmhouse designs. They will provide a radiant heat to warm your kitchen on a winter’s morning but it can’t run a central heating system. If you want your heat-store range to do that, then opt for models from Stanley or Rayburn, which can often run up to 20 radiators. 

    Go mobile

    There are now mobile apps available for you to control your heating wherever and whenever you are. Investing in an app-controlled heating system, such as Hive or Nest, means you can switch your heating on and off with the tap of a button on your phone.

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    Keeping your brand new kitchen energy efficient and warm in winter 

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  2. Keeping Things Simple: 15 DIY Minimalist Tasks That'll Simplify Your Home

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    There’s something to be said for kitting out your home with as many luxury items as you can get your hands on, but it’s not the only way to go. One of the increasingly popular decor options is ‘minimalism’, a movement that prioritises the ethos of ‘less is more’. Incorporating this style into your home won’t just make it look cool (though it will); it’ll also improve your mental well being and allow you to do your bit for the environment. And the best part about it? You won’t need to hire anybody else to do it for you.  

    I always say I'm a natural minimalist.  I never knew there was such a trend as minimalism, I've just naturally lived this way for a fair number of years.  It probably started when I moved no less than 10 times in 10 years!  Everyone knows moving is a stress and chore, so every time I moved I reduced my belongings so I'd have less things to shift.  This started me on my minimal journey.  Then I lived in a bedsit for over four years.  It was smaller than my living room is now.  A dinky room with a double bed, rug, sofa and kitchenette in which I had to squeeze all my belongings.  Living in such a small space meant I really had to be ruthless with my things and only keep what I needed.  This definitely had a huge impact on my minimialism journey.  Now I am obsessed with space, cleanliness and only having what I need.  One visitor once commented 'where's all your stuff?' when in a previous home of mine!

    Whilst I believe minimalism is a different journey for everyone and it is what you make of it, there is a trend beginning.  Below, I take a look at fifteen simple DIY ideas that’ll bring your home into the minimalist age.  

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    Source: Pexels.com

    As Simple as Black and White

    You’ll want to top up on paint brushes and paint because you’re going to need them. Minimalism isn’t just about having less stuff; it’s also about having a ‘look’ that is as clean and clear as simplicity itself. White walls mixed with black (or dark) furniture touches will do the trick. Of course, you can’t do everything with a tin of paint. When it comes to your kitchen, look at getting white tiles. It’s the white that does all the work, as it’ll make your home look bright and airy, a staple in minimalist homes.

    One Piece, Multiple Uses

    There is no limit to the human imagination, and if you don’t believe us, just take a look at some of the creative ways people are using their furniture to make sure that do more than just their original job. Remember, you won’t have too many items in your home once you’ve incorporated this design philosophy, so you’ll need to make sure that every thing does its job and then some more! There are boxes you can buy that are genuinely game-changing; depending on how you arrange them, you might have a desk, dinner table, or storage unit. When you need them to fill another purpose, just rearrange and hey presto: you have a different piece of furniture.

    Creative Storage Solutions

    Minimalism doesn’t mean you don’t get to own stuff. It’s just the stuff you do own needs to have value, and a continued place in your life. Still, you’ll need to get those items out the way if you’re 'going minimalist'. So what options do you have? You can’t have them all in plain view, so instead look at adding some creative storage solutions to your home. Take a look around your rooms: how much dead space is there in corners, below tables, or under the stairs? That’s where you’ll need to (neatly) store your belongings when not in use.

    Bringing the Outdoors In

    It doesn’t get much more straightforward than nature, so why not bring some of it into your home? Buying a few plants and dotting around them home isn’t so much a DIY job, but it will make a big difference to your home. As well as bringing with it all the benefits of having a plant in the house, you’ll also help break up the monotony of your black and white decoration. The best thing is that plants just can’t detract from the minimalist vibe of your home; get one, get ten. Your home will always look great.

    In the Garden

    And talking of nature: it’s not just within your four walls that you can become minimalist. Why not also take a look at your garden, too? Summer is made for sitting outside under a setting sun, and it’ll be all the sweeter if your outdoor furniture matches what’s happening inside your home. All you need is some pallet furniture & outdoor seating foam, and you’ll be able to create your own minimalist seating area. Easy to put together, beautiful to look at, fun to sit on: it’s a no-brainer.

    Let there be Light

    If you don’t know just how important lighting is to the overall look and feel of your home, then where have you been all this time? With minimalism, your lighting takes on even greater appearance, because it can make or break the whole aesthetic. It’s all about having bright, but not harsh lights. Make the most of floor lamps, and avoid lampshades on your overhead lighting; a soft light bulb will make it look much better.

    Let Your Culture Be Your Decoration

    There’s no correlation between having a minimalist home and having a boring home. Do not make the mistake of believing that you need to leave anything fun at the door! However, the type of things you have in your home will be influenced by your decor choice. A well-stocked bookshelf could be all the entertainment you need, while a painting that hangs in an otherwise bare room will always get attention.

    Essential Kitchen Items

    Take a wander into the average home, walk into their kitchen, and open a random drawer. What do you see? It’s usually a scene of chaos, with an odd and extensive assortment of kitchen items throw around with no order in mind. This will not be the case in your house. Instead, buy only the essential kitchen items, and then organise them well. There’s a lot of creative storage options you can find online, so take a look and begin your project.

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    Source: Pexels.com

    Get Rid of the Stuff You Don’t Need

    OK, it’s time to make some tough decisions, because you’re going to need to get rid of a lot of the junk you’ve accumulated over the years. Minimalism is about only having the items that add value to your life, and for most people, that’s only a few key items. Everything else must go! As a hard and fast rule, you should donate anything that you haven’t used in the past year (or sixi f you’re feeling extra committed).

    The Big Stuff

    Of course, you won’t be able to get rid of everything. Some things will have value, sentimental or financial, and you won’t want to take them to a charity shop. There’s an easy solution: put in storage. That way you can keep your home minimalist without having to part with something you value.

    Wires, Wires, Wires

    You can’t have a simple home if there are wires all over the place. Aside from detracting from the overall beauty of your home because there’s nowhere for them to hide, you need to remember that technology isn’t always good for you; the sheer presence can disrupt your mind, which is the opposite of what you’re trying to achieve! For your tech, go wireless. A laptop and speaker is all you need anyway.

    Quality over Quantity

    Moving forward, when it comes to buying items for your home (or anything else), you should keep in the back of your mind that it’s better to buy one quality item over five average items. A high-end product will naturally cost you more, but it’ll look better, and will last much longer. Your home doesn’t have to look cheap; by buying a great item, you’ll just be outlying the money you would end up spending on replacing the average goods over the years anyway.

    Mixing Rustic with Contemporary

    It’s not always easy trying to achieve the minimalist look. But there is one handy rule you can keep in the back of your mind as you’re creating your look: that mixing rustic with contemporary will always result in a good look. That means having exposed, untreated woods and trendy electrical items mixed together to create a vibrant living space.

    Tonal Similarities

    Every home needs to have accessories, and yours won’t be any different. When it comes to buying your pillows, throws, and other odd sorts that every comfortable home needs, opt for items with tonal similarities. It’ll create a cohesive, uniformed look. However, you should also take steps to mix up your tones, too, by adding a splash of colour here and there. A touch of gold, for instance, will help focus the eyes and bring the room together.

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    Source: Pexels.com

    To the Future

    The last task is ongoing. Its aim is to keep the minimalist vibe of your home here for the long term, and it goes like this: when you buy a new item, you have to get rid of something else you own. This might sound strict, but it’s the only way to ensure that your home doesn’t become cluttered!

    Final Thoughts

    There are a lot of advantages to having a minimalist home. You’ll be happier, less stressed, and - perhaps best of all - your home will look amazing. It’s the cutting edge of home decor, so take the tips we’ve outlined above and begin the process of simplifying your house - and your life. You won’t regret it, especially when you have a house that you love to spend time in.

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    Why every woman should create a capsule wardrobe
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    Keeping Things Simple 15 DIY Minimalist Tasks Thatll Simplify Your Home

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  3. It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas! Luxury Decoration Ideas

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    Okay, so Xmas is less than two months away. But, another way to look at it is, Christmas is only a month and a bit away! When you have kids, it’s inevitable the pre-Christmas excitement will start early. And, as a parent, it’s nice to get involved and indulge the little ones at this time of year. With that in mind, the following are decoration ideas which get the blood pumping with festive spirit. Be warned, though: they’re on the luxury side. If you can’t go over the top at Christmas, when can you go OTT?

    Image from: pixabay

    The Chris Pine Of Trees

    No house is complete on December 25th without a tree. However, not to be an evergreen snob, but some are better than others. To begin with, a fakie will not do! Nope, out of the question. Anyone who wants an element of luxury this year has to get the real deal. Why? It’s because they look the part and are much easier to decorate. With a selection of baubles and tinsel, the tree will ooze class. Also, there is the smell. A true Chris Pine smells hearty and warm and kick starts the imagination with one whiff. A lot like the man himself!

    A Wreath Ledger

    Before you read on, just know the Christmassy/celeb puns are over! A tree, ironically enough, is an indoor feature. Sadly, the outside and exterior of the house can go unnoticed. As far as luxury goes, there is no excuse for missing a base. Let’s face it – properties with lights and decorations outside look the bomb. However, gaudy illuminations don’t scream elegance and class. What does are the wreaths which you can find here. Created with luxury in mind, they are both subtle and dominating at the same time. Along with a little extra greenery, your home will be the belle of the ball.

    Walter White

    Ah, the celeb puns are over yet the fictional character jibes are just beginning! If there is one colour which is luxurious, it’s white. Aside from the fact it’s light and vibrant, it is glossy and has a remarkable (Charlie) sheen. Therefore, the entire house should have a fantastic contrast which mixes deep greens and browns with whites. Also, there is the fact it matches with the outside when the snow hopefully starts to fall. The great thing about white paint is that it is perfect inside and outside. So, get to cooking!

    Mix And Match

    Of course, you can add as many Christmas features as possible and it may not make a difference. The luxurious nature of the house depends on the current interior. If it isn’t up to scratch, your home will seem untidy and cluttered at best. The key is to use small accessories to accentuate the style. Rather than change furniture, add a candle or lamp to the room. That way, there is a warm, ambient lighting which is softer and stylish.

    Christmas is just around the corner and it’s best to prepare early. Go on – do it for the kids!

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  4. Using Antiques In Your Home Without Going Back In Time

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    Using antiques in your home can give it a truly unique look, as well as help you to incorporate some sentimental accessories. Maybe these accessories have been handed down to you from other relatives, or maybe you simply saw them in a thrift store and liked them. Whatever the case, you want to make sure you can use these antiques in your home without going back in time. What I mean by this, is that you don’t want your home to begin looking unappealing and outdated as a result!

    Using Antiques In Your Home Without Going Back In Time - Lylia Rose UK Life

    Keep It Minimal

    Make sure you keep your antiques minimal. You especially shouldn’t have too many standout pieces in one place, or in close proximity to one another. Your room will begin to feel too cluttered, and you’ll take away from each special item with each one you add. You shouldn’t be detracting from the impact of anything that you add. Perhaps choose one object in each room, and consider making it a focal point. One of the fireplaces from Westland would make a great choice for something like this, but it could even be a clock or a painting. You’ll give your room plenty of character when you take this approach.

    Mix Both Antique And Modern

    Make sure you mix both antique and modern pieces so that your home still looks like it belongs in this era. If you try too hard to make your home look like a throwback, it’s could look ridiculous.

    Carefully Think About Your Colour Scheme

    The colours that look best in each location will vary from room to room. Dark furniture can take over a small room and make it feel gloomy, but in a large room these colours look much better. Make sure you think carefully about the colours in the space you’re thinking of adding your antique item.

    Keep a Common Theme Through Your Home

    If you manage to keep a common theme throughout your home, each of your antique pieces will still have a great impact, and you won’t find that it’s ‘too much’ at all. Why not choose one particular style, such as French or English? You can then enhance the one you’ve chosen with a few modern items. Things can easily be tied together with things like curtains and lampshades. Just make sure you avoid giving your home a cluttered feel while you’re working it all out. Getting the balance right will be challenging, but you’ll have such a sense of satisfaction once you manage to get it done!

    You don’t want to step into your home and feel like you’ve entered a period drama. Even if you think that’s what you want right now, once you make the changes you’ll likely have second thoughts and wonder why on earth you decide to go for a theme like that. Giving a nod to past eras can be fun, but it’s still important to have a beautiful home, and modern furnishings can be far more comfortable and durable than in the past. 

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  5. Garden Improvements the Whole Family can Enjoy

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    Home improvements are usually to boost the value of your house, adding a patio or improving your garden space, or painting your home a more aesthetically pleasing colour. But, what home improvements can your whole family enjoy? The kids aren’t going to care about many of the improvements you make for your home, however, there are some ideas and projects that the whole family can enjoy in the garden.

    Garden Improvements the Whole Family can Enjoy

    Relaxation

    After working hard all day it can sometimes be difficult to relax at home, and there are certainly many home improvements that can help with this. If you do want to invest in a more luxurious item you can buy Spa City tubs, as an indoor or outdoor hot tub might be the right buy for you. If you’d prefer something a little more practical, there are some more affordable options for home pools. This is definitely a long term investment, but it something parents can enjoy, as well as the kids. Hot tubs are the perfect entertainment for future BBQs and dinner parties too, as well as for relaxing in.

    Painting the Garden Fence

    While you might not want the kids to help you give the dining room a new lick of paint, there are some projects they can get involved with, and they can let their enthusiasm run wild. Painting the garden fence (especially bright colours) can be a great activity for the whole family. Your children can try something creative, and feel a sense of accomplishment at having helped out around the house. The best part: no messy carpets. A little light painting in the garden means the inside of your house won’t suffer, even better.    

    Planting and Repotting

    Getting your kids involved with planting or repotting in the garden can encourage them to learn about wildlife and help to tidy up the garden, or it can just be a relaxing activity. There are also certain plants and shrubs you can buy that encourage bees and wildlife, meaning a little bit more entertainment for them, while learning something as well. Whatever season it is, getting them outside and helping out will benefit your garden and your children.

    Homemade Bird Feeders

    Another idea to encourage wildlife in your garden, and also a family crafts project, is homemade bird feeders. Encouraging wildlife not only helps your garden to thrive and grow, but benefits the environment in which you live too. There are so many household objects you can recycle to make bird feeders! You can use bottles, old cartons or any kind of plastic container you would usually throw away. It can be decorated with paints, twigs, buttons, or anything else you can get your hands on. This is fun and simple DIY project that can help your garden to thrive.

    Whether or not you have a lot of time and resources to spend on garden improvements, there are some ideas here for everyone. Home improvements can be fun, relaxing, or simply an activity the whole family can enjoy doing together.  

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    Garden Improvements the Whole Family can Enjoy

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