Friday, 30 March 2018

6 Benefits Of Window Blinds For Your Home

If you are looking for new curtains for your home, why don't you consider window blinds instead?

Window blinds have a number of advantages and are a modern alternative to curtains. Here are 6 advantages of window blinds.

1. Available in a wide range of designs 



Gone are the days when window blinds were dull, boring and beige. Today window blinds are available in a number of designs. Material blinds can be printed with most patterns, whilst you can get blinds in every colour under the sun. 

2. Available in a wide range of materials


The main types are Roller Blinds that roll up and down, Roman Blinds are fabric based pleated blinds, Venetian Blinds that are slatted and Vertical Blinds that are ideal for floor to ceiling. Roller Blinds and Roman Blinds can be made from a stiff material, whilst Venetian blinds and Vertical Blinds are made from wood, metal, plastic or bamboo. 

The blinds can also be shaped to fit your window.   If you are looking for moisture resistant window covering for a bathroom or kitchen blinds are an excellent choice too. 

3. Can insulate your home



When you consider over 50% of the heat is a house is lost through the windows then energy-saving blinds make good money saving sense, as well as helping the environment. Duette are energy saving blinds with a honeycomb structure that traps air inside and are definitely worth considering if you want to save energy and money. 

4. Control light and privacy


Window blinds can be very good at controlling the light in a room. They fit close to a window and some can almost totally block the light making them a very option to cover a bedroom window for light sleepers, shift workers and babies.  You can get opaque blinds that let light in whilst controlling privacy, or fit blinds half way down a window for an alternative but still private look.

5. Are easy to clean


Most blinds just need a quick wipe with a damp cloth or a blind cleaner, which is much easier to do that wash curtains. This is especially good for those households that have people with allergies to dust mites and as they are easier to clean and more hygienic than curtains.

6. Available in a range of prices


Window blinds are available in a range of prices to suit everyone and every need and can be a cost-effective alternative to curtains.

So here are 6 benefits of window blinds for your home. Do you have blinds or would you consider them for your home?

*PR collaboration 


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Wednesday, 28 March 2018

5 Top Ways To Improve Your Home

Many of us would like to improve our home. Maybe it's not quite big enough, or the space isn't quite perfect. Here are my top 5 ways on how to improve your home and possibly increase its value too.

Build a conservatory



A conservatory is an excellent way to add extra space to your home whilst making the most of the sunlight.  A conservatory made of glass panels is very light and airy and it a great place to sit and entertain as well as chill out with family and friends.

It is also one of the ways to add extra value to your home according to property expert Phil Spencer and we all want that don't we?

Convert your attic



Converting your attic is the perfect way to create more living space whilst increasing the value of your home. This space could be used as another bedroom for a growing family, an office, or a playroom for example and thus could reduce the need to move home.

Things to take into consideration when thinking of converting your attic is how you will access the space if you need to insulate the attic, if flooring joists need to be reinforced and if you need to gain planning permission. A loft conversion according to Home Building magazine does not need planning permission but creating dormer windows may need planning, but also check this out yourself if you are considering this type of improvement.

Add a garage



Adding a garage to your home can help lower your car insurance by protecting your car from all weathers.  It also has the benefit of adding to the value of your home if you wish to sell.

You may have the space to add the garage already, so it may be relatively easy to do but ask yourself do you want to lose the living space? Or you may have to build the garage on to the house but this is still worth considering.

Adding a garage can be an interesting way of making extra money too as you could rent out the space if you did not have a car parked there on a regular basis. Sites such as Just Park allow you to rent out your garage space so it could be a nice little earner for you.

Bring the outdoors in


Bring the outdoors in by adding bi-fold doors to your home. As well as adding light, you can sit looking out at the garden in all weathers being warm and cosy in your home. 

Bi-fold doors maximise natural light and are far cheaper than an extension or loft conversion. Cheap bifold doors are readily available so this is a surprisingly cost-effective way of improving your home. 

Have an extra bathroom


Fed up waiting for the kids to finish in the bathroom, well why not add an extra bathroom to your home? Adding that bathroom can make your home easier to live in and increase it's value and practicality too. A new bathroom can be done for under £2000 so if you have limited money it's not as expensive as some of the other ways to improve your home. You don't need a lot of space to add an ensuite bathroom either!

So these are my top 5 ways of improving your home. Have you considered any of these ideas?

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Tuesday, 27 March 2018

A Guide To The Easiest Fruit And Vegetables To Grow

There are plenty of reasons why you may want to grow fruits and vegetables at home. Not only is it incredibly satisfying growing something that you can then eat, but you can also enjoy the process of growing something too.

Growing fruit and vegetables can even help you with money too, as it means that you will need to spend less money at the supermarket, but that you will still get to eat some delicious and healthy treats too.

The only trouble with fruits and vegetables is that they are not always an easy thing to grow. Particularly if you are new to gardening. With this in mind, we have put together our guide to the easiest fruit and vegetables to grow in your garden.

Before you start, invest in a fruit cage




If you want to try and grow your own fruit and vegetables then you are going to want to make sure that you have the right equipment. Fruit cages are a great place to start. They offer protection for those crops whilst they grow and are going to give your chosen fruit or vegetables a fighting chance to make it onto your plate.

The great thing about fruit cages is that they don’t have to cost the Earth and they come in a wide range of shapes and sizes too. This means that no matter the space that you have, you will be able to harvest yourself some crops that you can then take indoors and enjoy.

The fruits and vegetables that you can try and grow




So, want to start growing your own fruit and vegetables at home? Not sure what is going to work best for your ability? Salad leaves are a great place to start, not only are they great to eat during the summer months, but they are incredibly fast growing too, in fact, if you look after them well, you may find that you can cut off leaves in as little as 3 weeks, ready for you to enjoy.

Tomatoes are another great thing to grow yourself. You can sow these in the early spring and in no time at all you will have tomatoes that are ready to eat. They are simple to grow, which is ideal for children and if you are short on space then you can grow them in hanging baskets and window containers as well as planted in your garden too!

Fruit wise, strawberries are a great starting point. Strawberries are incredibly versatile and like tomatoes, they can be grown in pots or baskets as well as grown in your garden. They should be grown in April or May and in a few weeks you will have the ideal treat after tea. Not only this, but strawberries are a fruit that will also produce beautiful flowers too.

Herbs are a popular thing for people to grow, one of the most fragrant, useful and easiest to grow has to be mint. Mint is often bought as a young plant straight from a garden centre and will often grow all year round if you bring it inside during the colder weather. Not only does mint smell great, but mint also works in a wide range of recipes and drinks.

The benefits of growing your own fruits and vegetables



Now you know some of the fruits and vegetables that you can try and grow yourself, what are the reasons behind giving this a go? When you grow your own fruit and vegetables you are going to have the satisfaction that you have been able to produce your own food and feed your family a healthy and delicious meal. It is also a great family activity too, you can involve your kids and teach them how valuable it is to try and grow things yourself.

You can also save yourself some money too, which for any of us is a good enough reason to get out there and get planting.

There are so many reasons why it pays to grow your own, whether you are a seasoned pro at gardening or a complete novice who is just starting out. Make sure that you not only think about all of the things that you are going to need, but also think about which fruits or vegetables are going to be easiest to grow, giving you the experience, knowledge and confidence to then go on and try your newly green fingers on something that is altogether more challenging.


*Guest post
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Monday, 26 March 2018

The Physical, Mental And Social Benefits Of Playing Sport

We are probably as a society taking less exercise than ever. Many jobs can be done remotely, and two of our favourite pastimes in society today include watching TV and gaming. Also, social media means we are often at the end of a computer or smartphone chatting with our friends, rather than going out and socialising with them in person. 

Playing sports, therefore, is a great way of mixing with others and getting much-needed exercise, but there are also other benefits of playing a sport that you may not realise. In this post, I will look at the health benefits, both physical, mental and social of playing sport.

Physical benefits



Loss of weight

Taking regular exercise means that you will expend calories and if you expend more than take in, you will lose weight. The British Dietary Association recommend eating 500 calories less a day which should give you a weight loss of a 0.5kg to 1kg a week if you are looking to lose weight safely. 

Toned body

Taking regular exercise should help to tone your body. Depending on the sport you take this may mean your legs will get more defined and muscular, for example, if you are playing rugby or jogging or your arms if you are playing tennis.

Improved fitness 

Exercise can help improve your cardiovascular fitness, your muscle strength, speed, endurance, agility and flexibility.  Improved cardiovascular fitness can help lower your blood pressure too.

Mental benefits


Improved concentration 

Regular physical activity helps keep your brain sharp, improving critical thinking, learning and good judgement. Research by the British Medical Journal has shown that a mix of muscle strengthing activity and aerobic activity is especially helpful in helping to improve concentration and thinking.

Relief of tension and feeling of well being

Exercise reduces the level of stress hormones in the body and stimulates the production of endorphins. These are natural mood enhancers which give you that feeling of well being. 

Improved confidence and self-esteem

Exercise is great for improving your confidence, body image and self-esteem. Research by the University of British Columbia found that a single bout of physical exercise can make us feel stronger, thinner, and happier overall with our bodies.

Social benefits



Co-operation and team building

There are many social benefits of team sports in particular. Football tournaments, for example, bring people together, builds relationships with others and helps participants learn about fair play and rules. It also promotes hope for a community and embodies a sense of pride.  

Making friends 

Joining a sports team or a sports club is a great way to make connections with new people. You all have a common interest, an activity that will bond you together and is easy to talk about after the event.

Learning about competition and rules

Sport is great for children and young people as it can help learn to respect authority, take direction, accept decisions and generally learn to live by rules. 

As you can see there are many benefits to playing a sport. The secret is to find a sport you enjoy and go for it! Tell me, are there any sports you enjoy watching or playing?

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Sunday, 25 March 2018

Easter Gift Guide And Win A Chocolate Tree Ends 22/04

Easter will be here soon, and I don't know about you but I get lots of chocolate! Whilst most people appreciate chocolate, in my gift guide below there are alternative gifts too.  

So without further ado, here is my Easter Gift Guide for the person who has everything.

A treat for all the family



Rather than buy a number of chocolate eggs why not buy a chocolate tree, with mixed truffles, made from Ferrero, Lindor and Belgian chocolate. This tree stands 25 cm tall, in a sweetly personalised vase making it a lovely gift for a true chocoholic. You can share it with all the family too.

For those young at heart



This unicorn mug is so cute, I love it! As it gets hot, the mane on the unicorn changes colour too. Priced at £6.99 it's the price of a large Easter egg and they will have it for years to come. Another brilliant gift from Find Me A Gift.

A present for your child


This bashful bunny by the brilliant brand Jellycat is super soft and plush. A perfect Easter present for a child, it's cuddly and would make a delightful gift. Priced at £9.99 it won't break the bank too and will last longer than any chocolate will.

For the beauty lover



I had to include this, I mean look at the name! This pretty compact mirror can be personalised with the name of your choice up to 12 characters and would make a great gift for beauty lovers everywhere. Priced at £14.99 from Find Me A Gift, its easy to 'Be Classy And Look Fabulous' when you have this mirror in your bag. 

For something really different


Can you imagine having a star named after you? Now your wish can come true. This beautiful idea is easy to do, just buy the Name A Star gift set, and you will get a presentation pack with a letter, certificate, map of the skies and more. Priced at £9.99 I think my other half would love this.

For the gamer


Now, this brings back memories! This retro TV games plug and play has over 200 retro games, you just plug it in the TV and you can play instantly.  Perfect for young and old alike, its fun for all the family and would make a great Easter gift and is only £7.99.

So which of these items would you love for Easter? To enter the competition click on the giveaway below and follow the instructions. You can win a chocolate tree from a selection from Find Me A Gift up to £26.99 in value. Good Luck!

Win A Chocolate Tree
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Friday, 23 March 2018

Reasons Why You Should Invest In A Caravan This Summer

The more I travel, the more I look for alternative methods of travelling. There is definitely something to be said for staying somewhere different and taking your (travelling) home with you as you explore the world. Us Brits think so too, with more British people than ever going on 'staycations' in the UK. So without further ado, these are my reasons why you should invest in a caravan this Summer. 



It's easy to get away more often

When you buy a caravan you have portable accommodation available at any time, so you don't have to plan ahead and can just go on an impromptu trip when you fancy it. Perfect if you are not a planner. Also, many caravanners go away frequently as it's so easy to get away anytime, perfect for a weekend or mid-week break.

It's a fuss-free way of travelling

No having to book a hotel, plan where to eat (if you are happy to cook on board), or book flights. In fact, if you are afraid of flying, it's a brilliant way of travelling and you can still explore further afield if you are happy to get on a ferry.



You can have all the comforts of home

Buying a caravan is great if you or your kids don't like change. You can stock it up with all the comforts of home, including your kids favourite food and toys and then just drive off to see the world. 

You can take your pets.

A caravan holiday is a holiday for all the family including your pets. Rather than put your dog in kennels you can take him with you, thus saving you money and also worry. You could even take your pet rats, gerbils or mice.


Modern touring caravans are amazing

Gone are the days where you would have to trek to the shower block in a caravan site as modern touring caravans are so well equipped these days, with toilets and washbasins as standard and many with solar panel TVs, a kitchen with oven and fridge, and sleek well-designed showers.  They are very comfortable and can even be quite luxurious.

It's a cost-effective way of travelling

With a used caravan costing not much more than a second-hand car, it can be a surprisingly cost-effective way of travelling. This is one of the main reasons a caravanning holiday appeals to families and groups of friends as it saves money when the alternative is booking a number of hotel rooms.  Of course, you do have to factor in site fees and petrol but when you compare it to hotel accommodation there is no competition on price after the initial outlay.

It's a great way to have a holiday and stay in touch with nature.




Caravan sites are often in the countryside or near the seaside so it's a great way of having a holiday and keeping in touch with nature. Many are even on farms which is especially great if you have kids, or national parks and National Trust properties. 



So these are my reasons why you should invest in a caravan this Summer. Have you ever taken a caravan or motorhome holiday? 

*PR collaboration
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Thursday, 22 March 2018

A Stress Free Move - Is that Possible?

Did you know that research shows moving home to be one of the most stressful things we can go through in life? The level of stress we experience is just under the amount that we usually feel when going through a bereavement. Who knew it could be quite that bad?!

True, moving is a difficult and frustrating process, but does it really have to be so stressful? Well, thankfully, there are things you can do to reduce all that stress and make it easier for you and your family. Here are some great tips that can help you try and make your move as stress-free as possible.



Hire Professional Help

The best thing you can do is to hire some professional movers, such as Shiply, to help you move. Once you’ve packed up all your stuff, the movers will load all the boxes and bulky furniture into their van, and they’ll then drive it all the way to your new home. Once they arrive, they’ll unload it for you. This saves you a lot of car trips between the properties and will save your back from some potentially very heavy lifting too

Do It When The Kids Aren’t Around

Your kids will just get very bored on moving day so it’s a good idea to do as much as you can when they aren’t around. That way, they won’t be too much of a distraction for you, and you won’t have to take your mind off the task at hand. So, if possible, set moving day for a weekday while they are at school. If you can’t move midweek, then think about sending the kids to their grandparents for the day.

It’s Never Too Early To Pack

It’s impossible to start packing for the move too early. In fact, you should start doing this well in advance. That way, you don’t have to worry about it being one big rush in the run-up to moving day. 
Make sure you make plenty of lists before you start packing too, as this ensures that nothing gets lost or forgotten. You should label boxes clearly so that they don’t get mixed up during transit. Labelling with the room the box is for can help with the organisation on moving day. Pack the box with the kettle in and some snacks last, so it is offloaded first. It's amazing how a sit-down and a cup of tea and a biscuit can make everything alright when you are stressed!





Give Utility Companies Your Move-In Date

It’s always a hassle trying to get your new electricity, internet and gas accounts up and running once you are in a new place. To try and prevent this from becoming too big an issue, give your current utility companies your move-in date before you leave your old home. That way, they can move your accounts for you ready for when you move!

Prep Your New Home In Advance

If you can get the keys before your move-in day, you should work on your new home and prep it before you move all your stuff over. Cleaning it while it is empty will be a lot easier than trying to clean as you unpack.

As you can see, moving doesn’t have to be too stressful. The above tips should help you make it as easy as can be!

*PR collaboration
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Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Sewport - Bringing Fashion Designs To Market

Have you ever dreamed of having your own clothing business? Well, today on my blog I am interviewing Boris Hodakel from Sewport.

Sewport is a site that connects brands with clothing manufacturers. When I say brands, that brand though could be you, it could be your startup company, and it could be a way of getting your dreams realised. If you have a fashion idea you could turn it into a fashion business with Sewport. That is what makes it an interesting company to fashion designers everywhere. So over to Boris...



Can you tell me about Sewport, what makes the company unique?

How about starting a clothing brand without connections and deep knowledge of the process by just going online and finding everything nicely aligned in one place, does that sound like something new?

The modern digitisation trend is all around us, and fashion technology is not an exception. Clothing manufacturing goes way back; I think there were records of the first bone needles from 30 000 BC, so making garments is not a new concept. However, the way things are done and the technology behind this changes all the time, like we see sportswear and trainers being produced by 3D printed equipment or tubular knit technologies when the only step a human is involved in, is the design process and pushing the “start button” launches production.

Sewport is revolutionising and modernising the way brands and clothing manufacturers interact, by providing algorithms, tools to simplify and improve communication resulting in a streamlined process of garment production.

Our online platform bridges the gap between old age garment manufacturing and progressive forward thinking young and upcoming brands looking for clothes production online.

We understand the problems of both the brands and manufacturers first hand, our team has a deep understanding of the industry and how to make it more accessible to anybody. For we are not just some enthusiasts but a team of knowledgeable people who worked closely with an array of manufacturing companies (such as sampling studios, garment printing companies, fabric mills, trims suppliers etc.) for years when launching hundreds of different start-up clothing brands projects without the platform we now created to automate this.

Who is your average customer and why do they come to you?





Typically, the category is very general. Many of us at some point in our lives have thought about starting a clothing brand. Contrary to what most might believe, the percentage of male and female customers are almost equal, so fashion newcomers are not just women with dress ideas. Mainly aged 25-50, be it a hobby project, a lifelong dream, or a way to escape the 9 to 5 corporate job we have very different customers with truly diverse ideas that are looking for a place where everything can be taken care of - a one-stop-shop.

What does the customer need to bring to you so you can start the production process?




We always say, “It all starts with an Idea” so the customer seeking clothing manufacturing companies on our platform at least has to have a dream design in mind. Most have much more than that but if it’s just a vague idea there are designers and freelance specialists who can help finalize the idea to a technical sketch or even a Tech Pack.

What are the main stages of production?



Complete the prototype (technical designs, tech pack) -> Approve the sample (cut patterns for the style and make a physical sample) -> Grade to other sizes (if the fit is right, it is graded to other required sizes)-> Prepare all fabric and trims for production (calculate how much fabric, trims will be required for the X amount of garments the customer needs) -> Start bulk production

How long does the manufacturing process take?





This is a very common and straightforward question! A lot of customers ask this, and honestly, the answer will differ from clothing manufacturer to clothing manufacturer. Why? Simply because there are a lot of factors involved. In most cases, the completion of a production run involves the work of more than one company and always more than one department. Whenever you want a custom, not “off the shelf” product it will take time.

In part, because a lot of this depends on the customer. How fast can the customer approve the prototype? When will the fabric and trims arrive if these are supplied? Are there any last-minute changes?

On the manufacturers' side: what is the quantity of the order, what sort of garment is required to be produced, how busy is the season at the scheduled production run slot time, how many people the factory can allocate to that specific production slot.

People need to bear in mind and consider when they want a quick yet accurate answer.

Having firm answers, definite information and being decisive when dealing with bulk production companies will ensure a shorter lead time.

In ideal conditions, it usually takes 1-3 weeks for a clothing factory on average to produce a sample or prototype. If it is a Sampling Studio or Atelier the lead time can range from a couple of days to a couple of weeks because they are more tailored to one-offs and small runs. Then for production of say 200-1000 items, it would usually take 4-6 weeks. European based factories and service providing companies on average will have a shorter lead time than manufacturers from the far east but the latter will not take on small runs. Again, this is just in general and does not determine the lead time for a specific company the Brand chooses to work with.

Do you have anything else to add?





Never move based on assumptions as the industry may be new to you, move on guided information. Starting and running a clothing brand is just like starting and running any business. Have a plan, have a budget.


Thanks to Boris for answering my questions! What do you think of a service like Sewport?

*PR collaboration
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Tuesday, 20 March 2018

A Garden Party With All The Fun And None Of The Stress

If there is one thing I love almost as much as jewellery it’s garden parties. Getting together your friends for an afternoon of chitter-chatter, tasty food, fun mocktails or a cheeky glass of wine and laughing at the stupid stuff we used to get up to and still get up to whilst singing along to whichever cheesy Spotify playlist we fancy at that moment. My current favourite is The Greatest Showman soundtrack! And when the sun comes out, there’s nothing that can compete with a good old-fashioned garden party. 



That said, they've always got that potential to be stressful.

Not once they get started of course,  just stressful to put together, which is mad because there’s nothing to it but food, drink and great friends. But still, stress finds a way to get into the preparing process. What I love about garden parties is that they whether they are more formal or casual they are still great fun. So, dear readers, I've put together a list of stress-free garden-party tips and tricks to get your spring off to a flying start. Enjoy.

1. Never Enough Lists



That’s right. There is no such thing as too many lists. This is because there is more to set up than you probably have thought of until right before your guests ring the doorbell. We’re talking about guest lists, playlists, ingredient lists, to-do lists, decor lists, and lists for just about anything else that crosses your mind. My advice: use that checklist-bullet-point-thingy in the Notes app of your iPhone. It’s a modern-day saviour. Or use the old school method of paper and pen!

2. No Mess, No Stress

You don’t want to have to be worrying about tidying everything up while your get together is still in full-swing, which is why you should minimise the damage sooner rather than later. Don’t worry, this is easier than you might think. Simply dot a few rubbish bins around the place so people can dispose of their own bits, head to Bridgman.co.uk to get some waterproof outdoor cushions should anyone spill anything, use disposable paper cups and plates and foil cooking tins so there’s no washing up, and nail down your gazebo so that rain can’t stop play. Little things like this really can help keep you chilled.

3. Bring Something To Share



Creating a feast that will make taste buds trip the light fantastic is a pretty tough ask, especially nowadays where side dishes tend to be the talk of a do. Anyway, to relieve some of the stress from your shoulders ask each of your guests to bring a dish with them too. It could be a dessert, it could be a salad, or a side, or a tasty plate of barbecued chicken. Anything that will keep the cost down so you don't have to spend all day in the kitchen. Not only will this see you have an array of foods to serve, you’ll be able to focus on other areas of party prep, like the decor or seating area or pressure-washing your decking.

4. Don’t Wait For The Day



Don’t wait until the day your garden get-together is meant to kick off before you start getting everything ready. That will spell disaster. That will spell a flustered hostess that hasn’t quite got everything finished, not showered. Not ideal. Instead, start what you can the night before. Put up your gazebo, take care of your garden, prep all the food you can prep, make loads of ice, bake your brownies and chill your prosecco. Everything you can, really, so you can relax and enjoy all the fun and none of the stress!


*PR collaboration 
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Monday, 19 March 2018

Ideas For Renovating A Kitchen

When it comes to renovating a room in your house, a kitchen is usually the first thing to be changed. Whilst many of us don’t necessarily like to be in there any longer than we have to, there is no denying that kitchens are the heart of our homes and it is important to make sure we are happy with them.

However when it comes to renovating a kitchen, there is a lot you need to consider, and you don't want to make any mistakes with your kitchen renovation, so here are some tips for renovating a kitchen to a standard you are happy with.

Update Your Appliances



If you are completely changing up your kitchen and are of the ‘out with the old, in with the new’ mindset, then it makes sense to update your appliances in line with this. So many people are still using the ovens or fridges they first bought when they moved in years ago and relish the opportunity to update them to all new products. Whether you choose to give into the smart revolution and have all smart appliances in your home or whether you are still a bit wary of going completely ‘smart’, but want new features like a fan oven, or one touch hobs, then updating your appliances is a must when making big changes to your kitchen.

Make More Room


One thing I notice when I see people redoing their kitchens is that they are always looking to make more room. Of course, some people are limited in what they can do - if they live in a flat such as I, for example. There are a couple of things you could do, like removing a dividing wall to make an open plan lounge diner or if you live in a house,
 an extension leading off from the kitchen into a conservatory is perfect for making some extra space. 

Some people can get frustrated at the lack of dining space they have and how they have to utilise some of their kitchen to sit down and eat their meals. Wouldn’t it be perfect to have a conservatory where you can sit and eat meals together without getting under the feet of the cook?

There are so many different conservatory types to choose from so do your research - perhaps classic Edwardian conservatories are more your style or maybe a more modern style. There are other changes you can also make if a conservatory isn't an option, like replacing the unit doors, and unit tops. UPVC roof lanterns can help brighten the kitchen too and give excellent light for cooking, and your Instagram worthy photos.

A Lick Of Paint



Renovating a kitchen needn’t be a budget breaking expense, it can be done on a budget and sometimes all that needs doing is a little bit of paint here, an appliance or two updated there and some little changes such as a new door or some new cupboards.

Sometimes a lick of paint makes all the difference. You don’t need to completely redo your kitchen if that isn’t what you want but you can also completely rip it out and start again - the beauty of it being your house is that it is completely up to you.

*PR collaboration
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Sunday, 18 March 2018

Choosing The Perfect Wedding Cake

When it comes to your wedding, you want to make sure everything is perfect. From the venue to the clothes that you are wearing, to the people involved in your wedding party - everything has to be just right. The same goes for your wedding cake - it is such a massive part of your big day that it needs to be exactly how you want it, but how do you choose the perfect wedding cake when there is so much choice out there?

Choosing the right people to make it, is always something that should be considered first - perhaps choose a local company that has excellent feedback like the Perfect Pudding Company who make amazing wedding cakes in Essex and you know will deliver upon what you want. But once you have chosen the right people to make your wedding cake, then you need to decide exactly what you want. So how can you do this?

Think About Your Wedding Theme




Are you going for a traditional theme? If so, perhaps the traditional fruit cake option is the one for you. If your theme is tea party-esque, perhaps some cupcakes in a tower would be the perfect cake option for you. If you are keeping to a theme then it makes sense to keep the cake according to the theme also. If you are having a non-traditional wedding then let your imagination go wild!

Think About Flavours


Something that you really need to consider is the flavours that you both like. If neither of you likes a traditional iced fruit wedding cake then there is no point having one of those if neither of you will enjoy it - it is your wedding day after all. You may choose to go for chocolate or a vanilla sponge, red velvet, lemon or perhaps a carrot cake to be a little different. You could even go completely obscure and have a cheese tower cake instead - a savoury delight.

Size Matters



When thinking about your cake, it is important to remember that the size of it matters - after all, you will be wanting each guest to sample some for themselves. Whilst a wedding cake with a few tiers may go round a few hundred guests, a cupcake tower may be better suited to a wedding with a smaller amount of guests so everyone can enjoy the cakes.

Do what you want


At the end of the day, your wedding is about you and your partner. It is so important to remember this and to choose what you want and not what other people think you should have.

It is okay to take advice but don't be afraid to go with your gut instinct and your preferences. Whether you want a many-tiered fruit cake or a one-tiered chocolate cake, whether you want cupcakes or a cheese tower, whether you want something completely obscure or want to keep to traditions, it is all about what you as a couple want. As long as you are both happy, then that is always going to be the perfect wedding cake for you.


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Friday, 16 March 2018

Simple Tips For Looking After Your Heart

We all want to live longer, don't we? Well, there are certain things we can do to look after ourselves and look after our heart. Here is a roundup of advice from respected websites, research and the NHS.

Eat Healthily




I'm a firm believer in everything in moderation but there are some things you can do to actively look after your heart. 

Current advice is that a balanced diet should contain at least 5 portions of fruit and veg a day. This doesn't have to be fresh fruit, it can also be frozen, tinned or dried. You can only count fruit juice, beans and pulses once in this equation.

Too much saturated fat and trans fat in your diet can increase the amount of cholesterol and increase your risk of heart disease so try and replace with polyunsaturated fat and monosaturated fats.

Rapeseed oil contains less saturated fat that all commonly used cooking oils so when you are looking for an oil to cook with it's a good choice. Replacing saturated fats with some unsaturated fats such as rapeseed oil, as part of a healthy balanced diet has been shown to reduce cholesterol levels in the blood, which may help to lower the risk of heart disease.

Fish oils can also be added to the diet, either by eating oily fish twice a week or as a supplement. Fish oils contain Omega-3 fatty acids, which are essential to help protect the heart.  Always check with a pharmacist or your doctor if you are considering taking fish oils or vitamin supplements and are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Reducing salt can help your blood pressure remain low, and adults should eat less than 6g of salt a day.

Get Active




It's well documented that an active lifestyle can reduce your risk of heart disease. Adults should do 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week. You need to be active enough to be out of breath, so try an aerobics class, cycling or even brisk walking.

Simple things you can do include trying to not sit down for long periods and build more activity into your lifestyle. On lunch breaks go for a walk, on coffee breaks walk around the office. If you work from home, make sure you get out doors a couple of times a day to get some fresh air and exercise. Exercise also helps with stress and helps lower your blood pressure.

Check out these NHS guidelines for more information. 

Quit smoking


If you are a smoker, quitting smoking will be the best thing you can do for your heart as smokers are twice as likely to have a heart attack as someone who has never smoked. If you live with smokers too this can also increase your risk of a heart attack.

For help with quitting smoking, ask your GP for advice. They can refer you to specialist NHS stop smoking team and can prescribe treatment to help you stop. Popular stop smoking options are nicotine replacement therapy, and medication to stop the cravings. 

Be a healthy weight




People with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 and above are considered 'obese'. It's a hard-hitting term but simply means you are 20 percent above your ideal weight. Why it is important is because it can put you at higher risk of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and more.


Eating less and moving more in the simplest terms will help you lose weight. There is a lot of advice on there on losing weight. If you do have a lot of weight to lose, ask your practice nurse/GP for advice and support.

Social support, such as joining a weight loss group has been shown to help you lose weight. If you are trying to lose weight on your own, a slow weight loss will help you lose fat and not muscle and is more achievable.

Limit alcohol 



Heavy drinking can damage the heart, however, some research suggests moderate drinking, less than 14 units a week could help protect it. It's important to also spread alcohol use throughout the week and avoid binge drinking. Drink alcohol with food to limit the effect on the body, and consider having a non-alcoholic drink in between your favourite glasses of wine, beer or spirits. 

Check out this article for a round-up of research into drinking alcohol and to make up your own mind. As always pay attention to up-to-date advice from respected medical professionals as things do change. If you are pregnant check out the advice for you as the Chief Medical Officer in the UK advises the safest approach is not to drink at all to keep risks at a minimum to the baby. 

Tell me, what do you do to look after your heart?

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