December 6th, 2013
Many people put so much time and effort into their garden to make it comfortable, visually pleasing and entertaining, but it is usually extremely short lived due to the very few summer months most of us receive. However just because the summer’s gone doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your outdoor space all year round, and make the most of the area. With a few simple changes, you could turn your garden into an impressive outdoor space that can be used whatever the weather.
Create A Platform
It helps to create a space where the majority of your relaxing and socialising will take place. Whether you decide to lay down some decking, a patio or some stone slabs, you need to ensure that you have a hardwearing foundation for your tables and chairs to go on.
You should also consider building a shelter to go over this area in case it rains or is overly hot in the summer. The open sides will still allow it to feel like you are sitting outside, and the fact that it is only partially covered means in nicer days you can move out into the rest of the garden where it is a bit sunnier.
In order to be able to comfortably sit outside during the colder months you may want to invest in a few outdoor heaters. You can pick up a few freestanding or wall mounted patio heaters that can help you and your guests to feel the warmth, despite sitting outside. They can be fuelled by propane, natural gas or electricity, so there are plenty of options to suit your set-up.
Another option is an outdoor fire pit or chimney, which can create a warming and glowing ambience which is extremely relaxing. There is usually the option of wood-burning, coal-burning or gas fuelled systems.
As the daylight starts to disappear, alternative lighting to illuminate the surroundings helps bring your garden to life. Rather than choosing bright and unnatural lighting, it may be better to opt for softer and more subtle lighting. Battery-powered fairy lights and solar powered lights are a great choice as they won’t cost you anything to run. You could also add a few candles for ambience, as well as lighting citronella candles to repel insects during warmer weather.
You could also use path lighting to illuminate any areas where people may be walking to provide them with a clear line of sight, preventing any accidents.
A hot tub is the perfect addition to any garden; not only do they act as a great form of entertainment when you have guests, but they also are an ideal way to relax and unwind after a hard day at work. Unlike swimming pools and jetted bathtubs, hot tubs are always set to the optimum temperature so are ready to use whenever you want, without having to prepare them or wait for the water to heat up.
The temperature can be adjusted so that during the summer you can cool off and during the winter you will be warm and toasty with the crisp air providing a breath of freshness. You may want to consider placing your hot tub under the covered area you have created, or you could use a gazebo type cover, so it can still be used if it rains. When looking after your hot tub it is essential you use the correct products from a quality supplier, such as Pool and Hot Tub Supplies, to ensure your hot tub is kept in the best condition possible.
Now that you have a garden that can be enjoyed all year round, you can make the most of your outdoor space whenever you please, whether you want to sit back and relax, or host your own garden party.
***This guest post was written by Ekta Mair on behalf of Pool and Hot Tub Supplies. They specialise in providing high quality swimming pool and hot tub supplies, from cleaning chemicals to inflatables and games.***
December 6th, 2013
The eclectic and colourful world of KARE Design has been featured on Achica this week, including our favourite patchwork bench. If you’ve not been lucky enough to catch the discounted offer, we also spotted that I Love Retro have the bench in stock, including some other designs.
There’s the popular floral patchwork bench, with its warming colours of pink and red, mixed with touches of blue. It’s a lovely piece of furniture to use in a hall, bedroom or living room.
For something a bit different, you could opt for the Aztec patchwork bench, with its bold contemporary patchwork pattern.
Or if you can’t make up your mind about patchwork, why not opt for this luxurious looking pink velvet bench. We adore the contrast coloured piping, which really sets the design off.
All the benches, plus some coordinating home accessories and soft furnishings, are available from I Love Retro.
December 4th, 2013
Stuck for Christmas gift ideas? If your lucky gift recipient is a foodie, enjoys a tipple or likes spending time at home cooking or baking, here are some fun, colourful and useful accessories for the contemporary kitchen that would be ideal as a presents.
Chunky jigsaw design coasters and trivet, £25.45
Beau and Elliott confetti double oven glove, £18
Reindeer or penguin wine rack, £23
Combination lock bottle stop, £15
“I could eat a horse” spaghetti measurer, £9
Biscuit dunkability mug, £12
3D dinosaur cookie cutter set, £11
Alessi parrot sommelier corkscrew, £35
Camembert cheese board and dish, £29.50
December 3rd, 2013
The kitchen is the most popular room in the house, it’s where the household congregates to cook, eat their meals whilst pondering over the day’s events, it’s used for entertaining and socialising. But if your kitchen is starting to look a bit dull and drab it can make it an unfriendly environment.
The good news is that even a few small changes and alterations can change the whole feel and look of your kitchen. So it’s time to revamp your kitchen and bring it back to life again with a splash of colour! Whether it’s adding a lick of paint to the walls or a glass splashback, we have the answers for a fab kitchen and the best thing is – it won’t cost you a fortune.
First things first, if the cupboards are looking a bit drab and dirty it can make the whole kitchen look a bit grim. Give them a good scrub down, it’s amazing how a quick clean can brighten them up instantly and make them look as good as new. If you have some spare paint, why not add a lick of paint over a wooden cupboard to give it a fresh look or add a splash of colour?
Are the walls looking a bit dull and faded? Give them a refresh, adding a lick of paint to the walls is amazing for brightening up the kitchen to make it a happy place again. If you got the time and the funds, be spontaneous and change the colour – it will make your kitchen look like it’s has had a total revamp. Feature walls are very in style at the moment, so why not add a variation or a brighter version of the dominating colour to make your kitchen really stand out.
Worn curtains can make your kitchen look very dated and restrict the sun light. So remove the old curtains from the window, as this will instantly brighten up the room making it appear more spacious. If you want something to block the sunlight, why not invest in some wooden blinds or a patterned roller blind. They’ll help your kitchen look fresh and bright and can coordinate with your interior design scheme.
Remove unnecessary items from your work tops…do you really need that pile of junk mail and newspapers on the counter? No? Find storage for them. De-cluttering your kitchen will make it appear much cleaner and more spacious. It might be time to think about getting a newspaper rack on the wall or clearing a drawer for all your spices so they’re not sat on the work top. It will also give you a lot more work surface to work with when you’re cooking in your new kitchen.
Bring your kitchen up to date again with some bright accessories, it doesn’t have to be garish, just a splash. Why not try a coloured butter dish, salt and pepper grinder, or a table cloth and some funky fridge magnets. Adding some colour will make you dated kitchen look very 21st century. If you’re feeling a bit spontaneous then why not add a coloured glass splashback from Lux Glass or some bright chairs to give you kitchen that fab retro look and bring your kitchen back to life.
***The guest post was written by Emily Lockey on behalf of LuxGlass, specialists in glass splashbacks & glass worktops. ***
November 29th, 2013
Today is well and truly a day for Fab Friday Bargains, as so many retailers have jumped on the Black Friday bandwagon.
If you’re searching in earnest for Christmas present bargains, home updates or treats for yourself, then here’s a quick round-up of some of the Black Friday deals available.
* There are Black Friday deals on electrical items for one day only at John Lewis. Plus, they are price matching promotions from competitors.
* At M&S, there’s 20 per cent off homeware from 29th November until 1st December
* BHS have up to 30 per cent off everything, blue free standard delivery on all orders
* At Selfridges you can get up to 20% off by using the promo code SELF2013, until Sunday 1 December
* There’s up to 30% off in every department at Debenhams
* Amazon is continuing to offer Black Friday Lightning Deals. They run until 1st December
* There are Black Friday lightning deals on offer at Very
* Argos have a range of special Black Friday deals, running for one day only. This includes 60% off furniture.
And here are some of the goodies that we spotted:
Oliver owl appliqué cushion, now £28 at M&S
Jo Clic Clac sofa bed in red, now £154.99 at Argos
Contemporary leaf eyelet curtains, now from £28 at M&S
Rocha. John Rocha silver metal leaf bowl, now £17.50 at Debenhams
Belkin kitchen chef stand and wand for tablet PC, now £16 at Very
Brown Lola bonded leather sofa bed, 70% off at Debenhams
Street Eats Chinese wok set, now £20 at BHS
November 28th, 2013
As part of their annual Black Friday celebrations, Amazon has been running a series of Black Friday Lightning Deals this week, where you get the chance to buy selected items at a discounted price.
With Christmas coming up, it can be a good chance to buy gifts at a good price. As the name suggests, each deal is only available for a very limited time, so you have to keep your wits about you if you have your eye on anything particular.
If you want to take part, do be sure to read how it works first.
Here are some of the home-related deals we’ve spotted that are taking place today, Thursday 28th November.
Evans Lichfield Belgian tapestry cushion – deal due at 11.15am
Le Creuset set of four mini casseroles in cherry – deal starts at 5.15pm
Breville Technique digital steam iron, 2400 watt – deal starts at 3.15pm
Kenwood food processor FPM250 – deal starts at 8.15pm
JosephJoseph Nest food preparation set (nine pieces) – deal starts at 7pm
Butler’s Grove Christmas favourites gift basket – deal starts at 7pm
SodaStream drinks maker – deal starts at 8.15pm
Lifemax automatic LED night light – deal starts at 8.15pm
November 27th, 2013
As the main entranceway to your home, your front door is important as it provides guests with the very first impression of your abode. It’s also something you use every day, so it’s arguably one of the most important things to get right when embarking upon home improvement projects.
A new trend emerging is coloured uPVC doors, but with so many available on the market, how do you choose the right colour for your home? There are 4 main steps you can take to help you decide what to opt for.
1. Explore for inspiration
Take a walk around the neighbourhood and have a look at the colours and styles other people have gone for. This is not only a great way for gaining inspiration, but it will also help you quickly realise what colours you like, and which ones you aren’t so keen on.
Keep in mind styles and tastes of the neighbourhood so your home doesn’t stand out too much, or contrast too harshly.
2. Choose a colour that suits your home
If your favourite colour is flaming fuchsia, consider how it may not quite work for a front door in your traditional cottage.
Aim for a colour or shade that works with the rest of your home’s exterior, such as brickwork and the roof so that all of the elements works in harmony to give the impression you want to create for your home.
If you have bold door furniture such as ornate handles, door numbers or letterboxes, ensure that these are taken into consideration too.
Or if you’re going for completely new double glazed uPVC doors, think about if you are going to add extra details to the door later, and how they will impact on the colour.
3. Choose a colour that illustrates your personality
Just because you should select a colour that matches the rest of your exterior, it doesn’t mean that you have to opt for something boring.
In fact, statement colour doors can work really well to contrast other aspects of your exterior in a positive, interesting way. If you want to choose a statement colour for your door and are unsure which one to go for, consider that the most fashionable ones include red, orange, yellow, blue and green.
4. Visualise the new door in your home
You may have finally chosen the colour you’re going for, but what happens if you take the plunge and then it doesn’t look anything like you’d imagined?
Some companies and door manufactures provide technology to show you exactly how the door will look as part of your exterior, so hunt around for those.
If this isn’t available, there’s any easy way to do this yourself. Take a photograph of the outside of your house, making sure that you get all of the elements in it. Then, cut out the door and replace it with the design and colour of the one you are considering.
You can do this a number of times with as many doors as you like until you find the perfect combination.
***This is a guest post from Anglian Home Improvements***
November 25th, 2013
All those busy growing moustaches for Movember are beginning to look a bit bushy!
If you want to continue to remember Movember long after it’s past, then here are some fun Movember inspired homeware ideas. Some of the items even support Movember fundraising.
Brown Kikkerland moustache clock, £10 from RiverIsland
Life is Like a Moustache wall sticker, £19.99 from The Binary Box, with 30 per cent of the price going to Prostate Cancer UK
Mr Moustache mug, £7 from Lisa Angel
Moustache cushion, £25 from John Lewis
The Enthusiasts Guide to Moustaches wall stickers, £19.99 from The Binary Box, with 30 per cent going to Prostate Cancer UK
Thabto moustache doormat, £25
November 22nd, 2013
Following on from the outdoor twig Christmas trees we recently featured, here are some indoor trees that look effective too.
The modern twig trees are available in two sizes – the small one looks really sweet and ideal for the centrepiece on a table or windowsill – and the branches are dusted with a light frosted effect. They’re pre-lit too (mains powered) and the branches can be gently bent to the shape you require.
Adorn them with a few Christmas decorations or leave the branches bare for a more natural effect.
The frosted light up trees are from Cox and Cox and are priced from £40.
November 22nd, 2013
‘The weather outside is frightful…’
This is definitely ringing true as the coats, scarves and gloves have escaped the dusty under stairs closet and are being brushed off ready to brave the external chill. Fortunately, the comfort of your home should invite cosy slippers and hot mugs of cocoa rather than the bitter air, but somehow, the presence of a simple radiator doesn’t create the atmosphere that is so often seen on Christmas cards.
Stoves are perfect for any type of décor or fire surround and offer a focal point of the room that many other types of fireplaces don’t. Easy to maintain, light and clean, there are many advantages to choosing this type of fireplace and not just for the gorgeous glow they give out on a cold, winter’s eve.
‘But the fire is so delightful…’
Stoves and open fires are the perfect accompaniment to any home. With a roaring fire visible to all, there is no better way to make a feature of a room and there are so many different styles to suit your property, from traditional black iron fronts with brass handles to retro fronted stoves which would look perfect in a city home.
If you’ve never before considered an open stove, then now is the perfect time to look. With so many suppliers, they’ll be able to help you choose what size, style and colour would be most appropriate so you won’t be left on your own to decide.
Furthermore, the amount of choice available these days makes this home necessity suitable for any property and any room. By choosing the right supplier, you can find a stove that represents your style, needs and of course budget!
‘So, if you’ve got no place to go…’
Why spend money on expensive meals out? The affects that a stove can create make it perfect for a romantic night in with a home-cooked dinner and a bottle of wine, or for creating a welcoming atmosphere when entertaining guests.
Although popular among many homes, there are still many people who haven’t seen the full affect a real fire can have, and the relaxation it can create. Although lighting the fire is done so with such ease, the effect it provides looks like a real effort has been made – impressing all those who walk through the door.
‘Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.’
With the weather turning and more time being spent in the home, there is no better place to be than in front of an open fire in the warm. Until you’ve had the opportunity to feel the heat within your bones, wrapped up watching a good old fashioned film, you may have never experienced total relaxation – the only thing to make this any better is being surrounded by the ones you love.
Let us know what you think makes a stove fire more special at this time of year, or whether you are currently considering this for your home and why.
***This guest post was written by Jenny Pilley of Clifton Fireplaces; the number one supplier of stunning stoves and fireplaces to suit both modern and more traditionally designed homes.***