Friday, 24 February 2017

Creating a garden suitable for the whole family

You may have recently seen my spring garden inspiration post  where I wrote about the things I'd love to have this spring if we had our own garden.Having a garden that would be suitable for the whole family is important to us and its something that once we have our own place with a garden  we have many ideas for.

Here are some of our ideas:

Garden Dining Set
For us a good dining set is important to make the most of the lovely weather in the summer.
We would make the most of dining alfresco by eating most meals outside, having picnics and BBQ's too. I love the rattan dining sets from Fishpools as they are such great quality and of course the style is right up my street.

Dedicated play area
We would love an area of a garden that is a play area for things such as a swing and slide set, swimming pool etc. This would be so that Blake could make the most of being outdoors especially in the warmer months. 

Plants/fruit and veg
Having areas of the garden for plants to care for and for us to be able to grow our own fruit and veg is something for us that we would love to do. With Stuart being more into the idea of gardening and growing our own fruit and veg I came across some garden protective clothing from Engelbert Strauss that will be ideal for him to get out in the garden come rain or shine. Engelbert Strauss specialise in protective clothing for all situations especially for gardening, meaning that they are ideal brand hence why I'd choose them. As Blake gets older it would be great for him to get into gardening too and a fab way for him to start learning about plants etc in all types of weather. 

Lights and Decor 
Lanterns with pillar candles and/or solar powered lights would be perfect for the evenings to bring a romantic atmosphere  to the garden when your child/ren are in bed. There are also so many different garden ornaments and decor items such as wind chimes that can really bring your garden to life. 

If you have quite a few toys and or items for the garden than a shed is ideal for keeping toys, garden furniture and tools away. Not only as a safety measure for when the children are out but also for keeping items locked up so less likely the risk burglary.

Gazebo and other furniture
 It would be really nice in the summer time to have a Gazebo up in the garden. My parents used to have one up in their garden when my sister and I were children. It's ideal for having a shaded area in the garden during the hot months.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Best Date Nights on a Budget

If you are looking to have a fantastic date night with your loved one, but looking to save your hard earned cash, we have you covered. Here are some great date night ideas that will not only be fun and entertaining, but will keep you financially afloat.

Wine or Beer Tasting

Search online for local breweries or vineyards that offer tours of their establishments – its likely that they will offer tastings as well to entice you to purchasing their product. Places such as Meantime Brewing offer 2 hours of educational – and tasty – fun for you and your significant other. This is a great double date idea as well!

Volunteer Together

For those seeking to give back to the community but want to still spend quality time together, opt in to volunteer. This can be walking the dogs at a local pet shelter or cleaning up litter along a canal – anything that allows you to bond with your loved one on a whole other level. Volunteering is absolutely free, is life giving, and a great way to spend the day with a like-minded person.

Go to the Zoo

The zoo isn’t just for children; adults can enjoy the animal kingdom as well! Admission is often at a very low cost, but can offer hours of fun and a bit of exercise for you and your date.

Check out the Town

Depending on what city you live in, there will always be something going on. From a free skate night at a rink, to a festival happening at city centre, enjoy the free activities that may be offered to you. Check out your city’s website for a list of things going on, and embrace what makes your town special!

Homemade Happy Hour

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Who says you need to hit up a bar to enjoy great alcohol and company? Host happy hour from the comfort of your home. Search online for a new drink recipe (This strawberry daiquiri is a great place to start) and test out your mixology skills as bartender for the evening. Out of alcohol?  Order bottles from Hungry House and have them delivered to your door within an hour, and get your drink on!

Game Night

A great idea for a couple or a bit more adventurous as a double date, hosting a game night is a terrific way to have some friendly competition all while enjoying each other’s company. Have your date and friends bring over whatever game they have to offer some variety, or head over Amazon to peruse their never-ending list of board games.

Celebrating 35 years of Dear Zoo

We love the fun lift-the- flap book Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell and this year celebrates 35 years of the firm favorite. It's a book that toddlers and parents alike will love and children will love lifting the flaps to discover the animals that the zoo has sent. Including animals such as a monkey, elephant and giraffe to name a few,  however will the zoo send the perfect pet? 

 “I can hardly believe that Dear Zoo is celebrating its 35th anniversary! I really am enormously touched and delighted that successive generations of young children continue to love Dear Zoo - their obvious pleasure when interacting with it is so gratifying to see, and for me is the very greatest of compliments!” - Rod Campbell

Blake loves his copy of the book and is one of his favorites that he will take off the bookshelf and hand to me to be read again and again. 

On the 23rd February 2017 a special hardback 35 year edition is being released.  
With extra-thick paper, shiny foiled jacket and beautifully designed slipcase the edition will make the perfect birthday, Christening or Christmas present to be treasured for years.

Dear Zoo is a great classic with bright and bold artwork and is a must for children's bookshelves. 

Dear Zoo has sold over 8 million copies worldwide since its publication in 1982 and is published in more than 20 languages. The original board book edition forms an essential part of every child’s first library, and Dear Zoo is available in a wide range of different formats and published By Macmillan Children's books. 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Wilf Books Subscription Service

Recently I came across WILF books and got a chance to try out their subscription service. Blake really loves us reading to him as well as looking through books on his own and babbling away to himself. The 3 books that we were sent are great for his age and interests. We had a book based on sharing, Peppa Pig fun at the fair and Elmer's weather. 

When you first sign up you will be asked to fill in a survey so that they know more about your child such as their age, interests and what type of books they love to read.Your books will than be delivered to your door on the 1st of each month. 

Here is a handy guide on how WILF books works:

When it comes to signing up for a subscription you opt for a monthly, 3 month or 6 month subscription. When Blake's subscription arrived I loved that it was addressed to him with a little note inside for him on a postcard. 

The books: 

This is a great little book about sharing. Blake is at an age where I am trying to get him used to sharing toys etc when we are out and about with friends or at places where he needs to interact with other children. 

Peppa Pig fun at the fair
A book about going to the fair - Blake seemed to love the story although I was a bit put off with one of the sentences in the book which I personally thought was a bit sexist. 

Elmers Weather
Blake has an Elmer book already but not this one. I love that it tells you about all different types of weather to help kids with learning and with such a lovable character.  

Overall I feel the subscription is a fab idea as children love books and the service provides you with books suitable for your child's age and interests. It's great that your child gets it sent in their name and they get a personal note for them in the box. 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Top 5 Key Components of a House You Should Not Often Change

There are some changes that you make to your home that are worth it, especially in the uplift it gives to the value of your property. But there are some components that don’t need to be changed as often as other, as Balustrade Components illustrate.

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1. Staircases
Your home may look like a simple box construction, but all these components work in harmony together to provide strength and structure to the building.
For example, as soon as the outer walls are complete, the roof trusses are added almost immediately, followed by the roofing material. This is because the roof holds the walls straight, and stops them from bowing out.
In some older properties, the staircase can play a vital supporting role too, especially staircases that are pinned to the outside wall of a home.
Deciding one morning to replace the staircase and ripping out the current one may only be a good idea if you have the DIY skills and mathematical know-how to replace it with a strong staircase that meets all planning permissions and building regulations.
Getting it wrong will mean expensive repair work, especially if the strength of a wall has been affected.
With professionally design and built staircases, they are created to last and as such, once you have your designer staircase, you really won’t need to replace it in your lifetime.

2.Supporting Walls
It can easy to assume that the only really important walls in your home as the outside walls. But properties over the years have been designed and built following different methods. This means that a wall that look insignificant could be acting as a central pillar to the home.
Supporting walls are all to do with evenly distributing the weight of the building and by removing a wall, and not replacing it with a load bearing lintel, potentially the house could shift or, worse still, collapse. 
The safest option is to ask a qualified builder or surveyor to identify a load bearing wall and if it is, to buy in the services of a builder to knock the wall down and fit a steel lintel or RSJ. 

3.Flooring Solutions
An important part of the interior design of your home, one of the most expensive components to replace are the floors and floor coverings in a property.
There are many ways of investing in flooring solutions that will last in the longer term;

  • Hard flooring – for hard flooring solutions, popular in busy households because they are so easy to keep clean, are polished concrete floors. With treatments by professional installers, you can have a concrete floor that looks nothing like concrete! Opt for a slate finish or the decadence of marble, for example. Add rugs for warmth and texture if needed.
  • Carpeting – wall to wall carpeting in the UK became popular from the 1930s onwards as was a means on insulation, as much as an interior design feature. Carpeting is suitable for all households, more so when you choose the ‘right’ colour and patterns. However, to make carpet last longer, try the following;
    • Best quality carpet for your budget – for a carpet to last a long time, choose the very best quality within your budget.
    • Stain repellent treatment – a treated carpet will resist stains much better, and is easier to clean.
Good quality underlay – underlay cushions the fibres of the carpet thus, prevents the all too common ‘walked on’ appearance. Many carpet fitters will say that the quality of the underlay is just as important as the quality of the carpet, if not more so.

4.Heating Systems
Another essential component that can be expensive to fit is the heating system in your home. And this is why choosing the right system is important.
Central heating is the most common type of heating system in a home, and has been in favour since the 1930s. But there is another heating system on the block: underfloor heating.
Wet or water underfloor heating is the most economical to run but takes more effort to install. However, it is a system that has few moving parts thus the chances of breakdown are minimal, and requires very little maintenance. 

There are times when makes changes will make a difference to how a home flows and feels, and this can add a significant amount of value to a family home. 
Again, this will take design and structural know-how but is certainly a worthwhile consideration in turning an older property into a home fit for the modern family. 

Balustrade Components provide a range of fixings and components that are essential in the structural changes made to a home.