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On Its Way — Prepping the Home and Garden For the Summer

The warm days and late nights certainly make people feel happier and more positive, so why not use those vibes to spruce up your home both inside and out. These six simple tips are sure-fire ways that you can make the most of the summer to enjoy your home and surroundings even more.

Bring out the barbecue

As it starts to get warm and you start to prefer eating in the garden, check your BBQ is clean and in full working order, ready to receive those bangers and steaks that will no doubt be grilling on it over the next few months. Stock up on charcoal and firelighters so you can have an impromptu BBQ if a bunch of buddies suddenly turn up. If you don’t have a BBQ, see if you can create a temporary one made out of brick in the corner of your outdoor space, then dismantle it as the nights start to draw in.

bbq

Prep up your garden tools

Make sure your garden tools and other features are pristine and up to the job. Do you have the right hand tools? Will the lawnmower start up properly? If you have a pond, does it need to be dredged and cleaned? And finally, if you have a fence, wouldn’t it look so much better with a timbercare product, which you can get in a variety of colours?

Give your garden a spring clean

Spring clean your garden: Prune any bushes and borders, get rid of weeds and fertilise your lawn. Buy some manure and work it into your soil with a pitchfork. This will provide the nutrients that your plants and vegetables need to flourish. If you’ve planned ahead, any bulbs that you planted the previous winter should have burst into life, providing your garden with a further splash of colour.

Bring the warmth (and colour) indoors

Why not bring the outdoors indoors by placing some fresh flowers in rooms to fragrance your home. Buy some cushions with bold floral patterns on them and/or re-upholster your furnishings with petals or pastels. Summer is the time to embrace the light and warmth so use light fabrics, colours and tones.

Let the light in

Speaking of light, make the most of the summer air by throwing open your windows and doors. Not only does this let the refreshing breeze waft through and the light come flooding in, but you can use it as an opportunity to check the condition and state of the hinges on windows and doors. These take more of a beating in summer due to their constantly being opened and closed. Make sure they shut tight and fasten securely before winter rolls round again — you don’t want to discover you have a draughty home when it’s chilly outside.

Seize on the heat

Lastly, take advantage of the natural heat to save some money (and also some discomfort in the sweltering warmth). Swap your heavy curtains and other fabrics for lighter ones. Change your bedding for sheets. Turn off the central heating and use it for hot water only.

Above all, enjoy this most lovely time of the year, it won’t be too long before it’s dark again.

Still, these long summer nights will be a delicious memory to keep you warm during the cold weather!

GP – Janey Thompson is an interior design enthusiast and summer is her favourite season. When winter comes she likes to get away to somewhere warm.

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My Single Friend’s Romantic Rendezvous Blogger Competition.

Let’s just start this post with this sentence – £150 worth of ASOS vouchers up for grabs! Think of all the bikinis you could get with that, if you were going on a holiday this year…… {let’s not get me started on that}

To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is write a post about your most romantic moment. It can be absolutely anything you want it to be (as long as it’s true and happened to you, Pretty Woman doesn’t count) Maybe from when you were young and had your first kiss, to the wedding proposal – anything you like! Use your own pictures, music, extracts from letters, the more romantic the better! Be creative, and have fun with it! (make sure you link to My Single Friend)

There are three prizes for the lucky winners,  the first prize is £150 worth of ASOS vouchers, second prize a £75 ASOS voucher, and the third prize a £50 ASOS voucher.

If you’re interested in taking part, just drop Debbie an email debbiefletcher90@gmail.com and she will give you all the details and the t&c’s.

Entries close on 28th July – so get writing!

If you win, let me know what you buy!

SP

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Creating an outdoor play area for the kids.

Do you spend a lot of your time worrying about how to keep the kids happy when they aren’t at school? Are you, like many parents, quite old fashioned in your beliefs that children should spend as much time outside as they can rather than being cooped up indoors?

While kids do usually love playing out in the garden, they can get easily bored and try to return to their video games indoors. So, why not create a play area that will keep them engaged, occupied and entertained?

Here are some tips on creating the perfect outdoor play area; it’s actually a lot simpler than you think!

Creating a safe environment

Before you go out and buy anything for the play area, you first need to ensure its safe. Try and look at the area from a child’s point of view. With falls and accidents a probability, it’s important to make sure the area has a soft floor. If your garden is currently made up of paving slabs, there are a few materials you can buy that will help to make the area safer – rubber flooring, synthetic turf and soft bark are all fantastic options.

It’s also a good idea to provide shade in the hot summer months. Consider installing an exterior awning for added sun protection. Not only will it keep your kids safe, it will also look fantastic too.

Let your imagination take over

Designing your kids play area is the perfect opportunity to release your inner child. There are endless possibilities which you could try and you could even ask for your kids for their input in order to create something truly special that the whole family will love.

Obviously your budget will play a part in what you can do, but there’s something out there to suit all price ranges. If you are lucky enough to have large trees in your garden, an off the ground den could be a great idea, or how about a built-in trampoline? This may be a little costly but it will be a great crowd-pleaser at children’s parties and summer barbeques and will also ensure older children can enjoy the new outdoor play area as much as their younger siblings.

Outdoor chalk boards, sand pits and swings are some of the other pieces equipment you might want to consider and might be more affordable than you realised.

There really is something to suit all budgets and preferences –all you have to do is let your imagination run wild!

This is a guest post, please see my disclosure policy for all the boring stuff. 

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How can you make the most of your evening once the kids are in bed?

It is the belief of many parents that they must place their child’s needs first before anything else. This is a noble idea in theory but in order for parents to be best able to deal with their kids, they also must allow time to relax in order to take care of themselves not only physically but mentally as well. For this reason, it is important that parents find some time to enjoy activities they enjoy. For many parents an ideal time to do this is after the kids are in bed as there is often a nice slot of time until parent must go to bed themselves. There is a wide range of activities in which parents can engage.

Some parents find that this is a great time to get caught up keeping in touch with friends and family which can be done through a number of ways including social media. Some parents enjoy spending time catching up on other people’s activities as well as reporting their own. This can be done via Facebook or Twitter but some people also find they enjoy chatting real time using Skype, this gives parents a chance to visit with other adults without having to leave home.

Gaming is another activity that many parents find both relaxing and engaging. For instance, online casinos such as www.i-phonecasino.co.uk provide a wide range of casinos games for the novice player as well as the expert and couples may choose to play certain games together. For instance, craps and roulette are fun group games in the casino and can be just as fun at home. With bonuses offered, it is possible to get some free play in while at the online casino.

A third option for parents would be to catch up one reading, this could be: a book, newspaper or magazine and electronic readers are quite popular but the important thing to remember is that the reading should be for pleasure and not work-related. Reading is a past-time that is slowly disappearing from children’s lives which is quite a travesty; this particular choice could be the one you would like to pass onto your children when they wake.

{GP}

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Tactile Textures

rolltop1

I love bathrooms. No, let me say that again, I love a well designed bathroom. There is nothing like sinking into a huge deep bath with bubbles up to your neck, candles everywhere, magazines within reaching distance and big fluffy towels. I’ve always been a bath girl, when I was younger I remember taking the radio into the bathroom at home playing a whole cd and just laying there for hours. Bliss!

I don’t really get the time to do that now, if I try and have a bath while the boy is still up, either he or some of his toys will join me “lets see if this boat floats mummy…..” so I tend to have the best baths when the kids are staying with their grandparents because I can literally lay there until I’m one big wrinkle.

brick wall

Our bath here isn’t my favourite thing. It’s short and shallow. I’m quite tall, but not to extreme measures, but I cannot get my legs flat in the bath. I can get my torso in and my legs go up against the tiles. Or, I can sit up and bend my knees. So, you know. Fun. My dream bathroom would have a free standing rolltop bath. Long enough for me to lay down in, but even if it wasn’t, I could hang my legs over the edge! I love textures in a bathroom, exposed brick walls against modern sinks and an old fashioned bath. Plants, animal print, patterned tiles and dark wooden floors, making it seem like a proper inviting space to relax and unwind.

brick2

If, unlike me you’re less of a frustrated interior designer and an actual one then C.P Hart have a great trade selection with lots of inspirational products to help create your perfect bathroom. They also have several showrooms throughout the UK.

In the meantime, have a look at my #tactiletextures board on Pinterest.

Follow kateagreen’s board #TactileTextures on Pinterest.

SP

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Superhuman Heroes!

If a child could build a superhero powers he or she may choose X-ray vision, flight or the ability to shoot flames from their hands. These are impossible of course – but there are people walking this planet who have seemingly-impossible powers that mere mortals would find unbelievable.

For example, Stig Severinsen went 22 minutes without breathing in 2012, while Chao Lu showed that he can memorise more than 67,000 numbers – and recite them back over the space of a day.

Ready Steady Store has prepared a quick list of world record breaking achievement that stretch the limits of credibility – for more information check out the infographic above.

Provided by readysteadystore.com

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Webloyalty infographic reveals summer holiday plans

Just thought I’d share with my readers this pretty interesting infographic about summer holidays! Webloyalty is an online marketing company, and they frequently released in-depth reports looking at the UK retail sector. These reports often look at holidays, and what people are planning for their time off each year.

Recently, Webloyalty released a new report and infographic, looking in depth at our 2014 holiday plans. I don’t know about you, but I’m planning to stay in the UK this year as we have so many weddings to go to.

The Webloyalty report shows that in total, people in the UK spent £8.95 billion on summer holiday items last year, and this figure is forecast to rise to a whopping £9.18 billion this year! It seems like a lot to spend on flip flops and sand trowels, but I suppose flights and accommodation are always a little on the expensive side.

The Webloyalty infographic, which accompanies the research, reveals that the item we are least likely to go on holiday without is our smartphone, but that we are most likely to forget to pack our phone charger! This can be particularly annoying if you are travelling outside of the UK, and you have to think about adaptors, and there may also be a language barrier..

It’s no surprise that 22% of women said that they could not go on holiday without their hair dryer – but I was quite surprised that 3% of men said this too! It’s quite a bulky item to take on a plane, so maybe this is a reason most people do not wish to take theirs with them.

Here’s the infographic to accompany this research, but if you’d like to read more about it, just head over to see the full report on the Webloyalty website.

Webloyalty UK Summer Research Report 2014

You can find Webloyalty on twitter @WebloyaltyUK and they share all their reports via Slideshare on Webloyalty UK.

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