Give Your Home a Makeover this Spring

31/03/2015

10 comments
spring flowers


As the winter months come to a close, spring is just around the corner. It's time to think about refreshing your home and breathing new life into your living space. You'll begin with a thorough cleaning, clearing out the dust, shampooing your rugs, and scrubbing the entire place from top to bottom. It's also the ideal time to give your home a facelift. With some simple changes, you can really liven up your haven.

Shake Things Up

As you're running through your home, tidying up, consider ways that you can experiment with your furniture arrangements. Bring down that treasured piece from the attic and pack others away. Consider buying that wicker patio furniture you've been eying. Trade your furnishing from one room for another. They say that change is good. See what it can do to revitalize your home.



white interior



Change Your Color Scheme

If you're tired of looking at the same colors on your walls, give your interior a paint job. You can go with bold contrasts or choose a scheme that will complement your furnishing. Add accents, such as throws, pillows, and new curtains that will blend with the new hues on your walls.

Renovate Your Flooring

Now is a great time to give your floors an overhaul as well. You can pick up an inexpensive rug to change the entire feel of a room. If you have hardwood floors, consider a new stain. If your wood flooring is unfinished, hidden by a rug, sand it down and coat it with stain for a rich, warm atmosphere. New tile or laminate can make an attractive new addition as well.


colourful interior
I want to change up our living space a bit this spring


Open Up Your Living Space

If your home is cluttered, get rid of anything that you don't need. Put items in storage. Recycle and pass on furnishings that you don't want anymore. Make sure that everything is in its place. If you tend to have lots of little items scattered everywhere, consider packing some of them away simply to give yourself more open space. You will discover that the less is better when it comes to home d├ęcor. A simple, streamlined look can really make you feel like you have more room to work with. You will also find it easier to keep your home clean when you cut back on your accents or extras.


colourful lights

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Premier Inn Tenby - A mini review

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family hotel room


Last month, just before Mr G arrived into the world we had one last mini jaunt as just the three of us and decided to have a night in Tenby in West Wales. We have been on day trips to this pretty seaside town many times and have stayed family close but never actually in Tenby as a lot of the hotels are somewhat outdated or the B&B's not that family friendly and when we are not camping it's nice to have somewhere you can drop in and know what your getting so it was nice to see a new Premier Inn has opened up as I think this popular summer destination really needed something like this - as much as we love boutique and independent hotels.

Location - right in the heart of Tenby, 1 minute away from Restaurants, cafes and the coast. It also has it's own parking attached to the hotel which is really convenient especially since we were travelling by car.

Rooms - we had a large and spacious family room which was spotlessly clean and had everything we needed including free-wifi, hair dryer, plasma TV and with the bonus of everything being new the shower was powerful and warm and the bed very comfy. We all had a good night sleep and thats really important when travelling with a young child.


Premier inn breakfast
Stylish breakfast room



Facilities - It has it's own restaurant which opens in the early evening, outside of these hours there are vending machines although like I said you only a minute away from the bustle streets filled with cafes. The reception is 24 hours and the staff are very friendly and helpful.

Breakfast - When travelling without a young child we would normally go explore the local are and have breakfast out but when your travelling as a family it is often more convenient to opt for the breakfast in the hotel before heading out for an action packed day. There were lots of choice, I opted for warm porridge with berries, while Mr A had poached eggs on a breakfast muffin and John went for a full english. They also had granola's, pastries, toast, fresh fruit, yogurts, fresh juice and costa coffee. The breakfast room is also very stylish and a comfortable place to relax and start the day.





Overall we would really recommend staying here as the interior was simple but chic, they staff friendly and helpful, the rooms nice and clean as well as free-wifi. You could not ask for a better location as well as a great breakfast selection at really good prices.




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Alternative easter gift guide

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hand painted candle
How cute are these hand painted candle eggs £4.50


Easter doesn't have to be all about kiddies chocolate and sticky fingers, why not make it your own and as well as treating your family why not treat yourself to some Easter fun. Whether it be something cute for the home like the hand painted candles above or a nice little necklace or some wine to go with your Sunday roast, there are lots of alternatives to hollow eggs and even if you do want a spot of chocolate you could opt for something a bit more refined like some delicious Belgian  praline truffles. Here is a little Easter gift guide with a difference



Easter treats

Easter treats by laura-sidestreet featuring a crate and barrel dinnerware


1. Guylian Belgian Chocolate Easter gift box
2. Easter Rabbit interior decoration - Joss and Main
3. Lindemans Wine
4. Happy Easter Chalkboard £31 from Etsy
5. Crate and Barrel hand painted egg £3.50



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Monday Interiors with Zespoke Giveaway

30/03/2015

161 comments
Retro table
I love this retro table from Zespoke


I don't know about you but I love furniture that is functional, practical, stylish and best of all customisable - which is what Zespoke offer with their retro styled coffee tables, side tables and TV stands. I love these sixties inspired tables and how easy it is to customise them, with any colours and finishes you want, plus they also do some fun prints such at the Union Jack and London Underground.


london underground map


The tables are handcrafted by skilled craftsmen right here in the UK, each to the customers needs and are very high quality and would certainly add a dimension of individuality to your room. They also take care to be as environmentally friendly as possible by using the best materials and producing minimal waste in the process. I love the range of choices and colour and pattern combinations making each chair very unique.



retro table


Best of all the lovely people at Zespoke have kindly offered one of our readers the chance to win a voucher worth £250 to be spent at Zespoke so you have the chance to design your own stylish coffee table. It's super easy to enter and the giveaway ends on the 16th April 2015



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Street Style Sunday - Spring Throwback

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denim jacket
Casual style in the spring sun

It's that time of the week again - Street Style Sunday - I was really excited about this week as I have a lovely new outfit that I am eager to share with you all but the last two days have been spent under the covers as I have a cold and believe me I don't like good at all at the moment, in fact I look pretty awful, so I thought I would have a little throwback to what we were wearing this time last year.


monochrome fashion
Going Monochrome with a Vero Moda shirt, Max Studio trousers, HM shoes, Paul Costello bag

Spring is a bit of strange but exciting time of the year, one day you could wearing a big coat while the cold wind whistles through the air and then next day you could be in light shirt enjoying those first blissful moments of warmth from the spring sunshine.


denim dress
Joules dress perfect for spring paired with a Radley bag


I also cannot believe how much Mr A has grown, he looks so young in these photos from spring last year and it just seems he has sprouted up from nowhere, possibly because next to the baby he suddenly looks so much older.

Little White company
Mr A wearing a Little White Company shirt and Mini Club jeans

We would love you to join in with Street Style Sunday with anything fashion related - it could be what's inspiring you this week or what you and your family are wearing.



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Preparation Can Save Travellers Time and Money

5 comments

train travel
We use our two together train card and always travel off-peak for the best prices


Travelling is a hobby that strikes people of all ages. Experiencing the culture and imagination of any city or location can inspire even the most wide-eyed of tourists. However, travelling can be expensive and travelling abroad can get out of hand quickly. Hotels, airfares, rental cars, and sightseeing expenses can quickly tap the budget of any traveller. Finding cheap hotels in London is completely possible by using the right mix of travel dates, location, and public transportation.


family travel
We are always flexible with dates and travel to London/Brussels at a quiet time of the year

Travel Dates

One of the best keep secrets in the travel world is that dates and times of the year matter. Researching the destination and getting online quotes for a number of dates can reveal some pretty steep discounts during slow times. Since London is pretty much busy all year, it can be tough to shave a few bucks off the daily rates, but a bit of trial and error can present some savings.

Location

When it comes to travel, hotels located close to tourist destinations tend to cost a little more than others further away. Location matters in the realm of convenience, and hotels charge accordingly. Therefore, staying a little further from the heart of the city can save a ton of cash for travellers trying to keep the budget reasonable. Another option is to stay at a backpackers or a budget hotel chain. Cities like London offer landmarks and great experiences across a vast area, which means every location is pretty much a good one.



budget hotel
Staying at budget hotel chains is a good option for families in a city like London


Public Transportation

Not every city is equipped with effective and complete public transportation. Luckily, London has a tremendous public transportation system that can shuffle people around with little difficulty. Downloading an app to double-check schedules and plan routes is a big help as well. However, experiencing the city on foot is also a great way to uncover some out of the way places and restaurants many tourists never see.



active in the park
Remember to have fun when travelling


In the end, the combination of travel dates, location, and taking advantage of public transportation can save travellers some money when it comes to keeping hotel prices down. London offers many different options for accommodations and if you want to explore further afield and this applies to all cities especially if you are travelling in Europe, you need to make sure you have a valid international driving permit for the UK


Checking out the hotel options with different dates can reveal some impressive deals. Plus taking a few days to get familiar with the train and bus system before embarking on the trip will pay off huge dividends in time savings during the trip. In the end, the prepared tourist gets to see a bit more at a better price.

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Mr McGregors Garden Salad

28/03/2015

6 comments
morning reading


Easter is a really special time for us, it's one of those kind of holidays that brings back a lot of happy memories and simple pleasures. We are not talking about mindlessly buying loads of chocolate but rather all the little things that go with the coming of spring. Making crafts, spending time as a family, lovely breakfasts, good food and reading books together. So I was over the moon when I was invited to take part in the Happy Feaster Blog Tour by Ladybird Books and The Happy Foodie. We have been asked to take storytelling from the page to the kitchen by creating a Spring recipe inspired by our favourite Tales of Peter Rabbit! I've decided to create Mr McGregors colourful Garden salad with my little bunnies. It's super easy and healthy to boot.


healthy eating


It's super simple and a dish we hope to have a lot in summer from produce in our little vegetable patch.  You can make this salad as big or small as you want - I did two largish portions for John and I and it went down a storm

1/2 bag of Kale - washed and any storks removed
1/2 chopped red onion
1 chopped garlic clove
5-6 large chestnut mushrooms
10 halved baby plum tomatoes
Cubed Halloumi cheese
A dash of olive oil for cooking

Place the Kale, garlic, onion and mushrooms into a large frying pan and pour a little olive oil for cooking and gently fry for about 5 minutes until the kale is soft and cooked, then add in the Halloumi cheese for another minute. Remove from the hob and allow to cool before adding the chopped tomatoes. As the Halloumi is so flavoursome I found you don't need to add any other seasoning but that is up to personal choice.






For more Spring recipes, inspired by Peter Rabbit and friends, why not head over to The Happy Foodie and discover how celebrity chefs and their children are joining in!

If you've enjoyed this then why not stop by Handmade Mum today to check out what delicious Easter ideas she has for enjoying with your families.
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Simple things to help create a stylish home office

27/03/2015

8 comments
Apple Mac


Even if you don't work from home many of us have some kind of office space, wether it be for sorting out the accounts, a place to store your bills and paper work or where you run your business from I find not only keeping it fairly clutter free helps but also having one or two inspiring things that brings in some colour and keeps the creative juices flowing can go a long way in helping to create a happy home office environment. You don't need to spend loads to improve your home office space...just a few simple things could help.



chic office space
Flowers and pot plants add instant colour to an office space (image)


Pot Plants

Indoor plants have been proven to improve the health and happiness of anyone who comes into regular contact with them. A pot plant on top of a desk perks up a work space no end and provides that bit extra oxygen provides a much-needed combatant against fatigue. You do however need to care for it a bit, nothing looks more sad than a neglected plant.


desktop calendar
Desktop calendars don't have to be boring..like this free printable one



Desktop Calendar

These may have become a little obsolete in the days of Google calendars and Outlook diaries but they are still a handy tool for writing down dates or events quickly. As well as keeping you up to date with birthdays or deadlines so you don't forget (which I have done in the past)


Travel Book

I find even when life and work is busy having some outlet for my wanderlust is a huge help, as well as being bale to dream and plan our next adventure, so having some kind of inspiring travel literature is always welcome on my desk.  A book such as Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015 offers some really inspirational travel ideas.



time to get stuff done
How cute is this coffee mug (image)



Personalised Mug

Everyone needs an office mug and it could be something really fun, quirky and cute. I also find drinking a midday coffee from my same favourite mug can be quite comforting and best of all you can make your own mug at Zippi and include an image they will appreciate or a phrase that will mean something to them.



artwork
I love this print from CardboardCities for £10


A Small Piece of Art

Have a trawl through a site such as Notonthehighstreet and see if you can find a nice piece of miniature art work which will brighten up their desk and maybe provide some inspiration.


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Instalife

6 comments
Instalife

I thought it was about time I did a little instagram roundup of what we have been getting up to the past few weeks. Since having the baby and my time recovering we have been trying to take things slow and enjoy all the simple pleasures such as the changes of the season, good food and min family adventures.

1. Indulging in some Easter egg crafting
2. The two boys having fun
3. Treated myself to "The Art of Eating Well" by Hemsley Hemsley
4. Daffodils always mean spring to me...I love having flowers in the home
5. My favourite breakfast smoothie - Banana and Oat
6. Cherry blossoms in Roath Park
7. Brotherly love
8. Homemade veggie soup for the soul
9. This little guy is growing fast

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Gift Ideas for Aspiring Artists and Art lovers

26/03/2015

9 comments
Bring Art into the home and creativity into your heart (image)

If you know someone who is into drawing, painting, sculpting or any other art form chances are you want to encourage their hobby. If they have a birthday coming up, other special occasion or you simply want to show your support try getting them one of the following gifts to really encourage them. A lot of the following products are available on Artifolk

Guidance DVDs

There are lots of instructional DVDs for all kinds of art forms out there. This is a great way to teach the basics and also develop different techniques. But if you think your friend is already too proficient in their art form to benefit you might want to gift them a DVD which offers instructions on a discipline they haven’t had much practice in.


Inspirational Books

As well as instructional books, you can also get books all about the lives and works of famous artists which will offer inspiration. It’s a good idea to buy a book on a contemporary artist rather than one from the far-off past, that way your friend may be able to relate to the subject more.




Starter Set

If your friend is a beginner to their specialism you may want to get them a starter set which will include the materials they need to progress in the hobby.

Portfolio

A portfolio is a must-have for any aspiring artist. A nice place to display their artwork is very important. This is a great way to prove how much you believe in the work that they are creating.

Magazine Subscriptions

There are a variety of magazines available which are aimed specifically at artists. Get a gift subscription to a magazine such as International Artist, Aesthetica or The Artist’s Magazine for frequent tips, advice and inspiration direct to their door.





Tickets to an Exhibition

Another inspirational gift would be to take your friend to an exhibition which you think will give them ideas about their own craft. Alternatively, you could get them a gift membership to a gallery such as the Tate and they can enjoy the benefits all year round.

Hopefully these gifts will allow your friend to flourish as an artist and you can claim to be their most generous patron!

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Mini Spring Adventures

25/03/2015

12 comments

outdoor fun


So since having baby G we have slowly been getting back out there as like some of you may already know we don't like to stay still for long and with spring arriving we have tried to make the most of every dry day with some kind of mini adventure wether it be at the park down the road, planting seeds in our back garden  or a picnic further afield, we have been enjoying the spring sunshine and while I am still recovering from the c-seeciton my Cosatto Giggle Stroller has been a god-send on these adventures with the little man being tucked up nice and cosy.






My mother, Mr A, baby G and I enjoyed a lovely picnic in oath park with some yummy fresh food, hummus, pittas to dip and what not after which we enjoyed a little walk around the greenhouse followed by feeding the swans some bird seeds. It's these simple pleasures that we really love and enjoy the most and seeing all the flower buds starting to pop up is very exciting, can't wait for all the outdoor fun we have planned this summer.



We have also been slowly trying to get our garden ready, pulling weeds, tidying the boarders and hopefully if I get some free time to mow the lawn and clean out our mini greenhouse in preparation for growing some veggies. We were also send some bulbs from Bakker Spalding who are celebrating their 70th birthday and we cannot wait to see what pops up from our bulb collection, hopefully something bright and fun to add some much needed colour to our garden.


De-weeding and making room for our bulbs.
What mini adventures have you been getting up to this spring?
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Build a Suit Wardrobe with These Amazing Style Tips

24/03/2015

2 comments
mens wardrobe
How amazing is this men's wardrobe, so better than mine (image)


Let me guess…

Your other half want to build a suit wardrobe but doesn't know where to begin. Of course, there is a ton of information available online about how you should dress and what to buy but it’s often confusing and overwhelming than helping you to decode men’s styling. In short, it sucks, doesn’t it?

But you’re not alone. There are terrible fashion faux pas that many men make, including both mortals and celebrities.

When it comes to building a suit wardrobe, you need to be strategic and plan it out. Now, a quality suit is expensive and you will need more than one in your wardrobe. And this can burn a hole in your pocket. To resolve this dilemma it is crucial to decide which suits to buy first. In this post we are going to rank suit colors, starting with the most useful and versatile so that you can prioritize as per your budget to build a functional suit wardrobe.

Engineered Garments
In vesting in quality mean your clothes will last much longer


1. Navy Blue

The versatile and de facto color for men’s suits, navy blue should be your first choice when building a formal wardrobe. In fact, this color edges out any other color, including charcoal grey throughout the United States when it comes to suit color.

Navy suits are one of the best options for business wear and ideal for men of all age who want to fit in. The color offers a unique advantage that makes it a discerning item in suit-wearers’ closets. Navy blue is a ‘young’ color that provides the wearer an impression of youthfulness. It is therefore quite obvious that both veteran dressers and first-time suit buyers prefer to keep the benefits of navy blue suits while building their wardrobes.

In addition, it is a simple and straightforward color and it is easier to customize a navy suit by adding a few fashion forward details.

2. Charcoal Grey

A charcoal grey suit is as versatile as navy. However, it offers one advantage of navy suit, i.e. this color is more suitable for a younger man as it makes him look a little more mature. Besides, it is exceptionally easy to match a charcoal grey suit. This is a neutral color and firmly on the grayscale. You can therefore wear it with various colors and become more adventurous your shirts and ties.
You can wear this suit to work, business meetings, weddings, church, or funerals. 


Suit



3. Medium & Light Grey

A medium grey suit is a little lighter than charcoal and it is almost similar to Cambridge grey in terms of versatility. However a medium grey suit lacks the formal touch of a navy blue and charcoal grey suit. That being said, you need to worry about it at all as hardly a few people can tell the difference.

A light grey suit, on the other hand, is distinctively lighter than other shades of grey and it is a good choice during spring, summer and fall. However, a light grey suit should never be your first-suit as is more casual. Consider buying this only after you have the other “basic suit colors” in your wardrobe.

This suit provides ample opportunities to add patterns such as herringbone or checks into your wardrobe.

4. Dark Brown

If you have a darker complexion and dark hair to compliment your good looks, a dark brown suit is a must-have. In fact, this color can also be worn by blonds and redheads with ruddier complexions. Dark brown is effective enough in adding some color to your closet but remember that this is not really a formal suit.

It is advised to stay away from dark brown suits if you have some formal events to attain or if the event has strict business dress code.

In terms of color mixing, a dark brown suit works well with a pale blue and pale lavender/pink dress shirt. A white or beige dress shirt will also look good with this suit. For more casual look, you can combine it with whit gingham shirt and tan/black turtleneck sweater. 



Very organised suit wardrobe (image)


5. Black Suit

More traditional and less versatile, a black suit is a good investment when you have more formal events (with strict dress codes) to attain. One major disadvantage with black is that it does not work with every skin type, for example, it looks flattering on men with dark hair and darker complexion. However, redheads and men with lighter complexions must avoid this color.

When it comes to decide shirt and tie combination with a black suit, options are unlimited. But consider that the contrast will be stark, no matter how subtle the color it. One thumb of rule you must follow here is that never wear solid black suits for professional and business activities. In fact, save your black suit for the most formal occasions like a black tie event and funerals

6. Tan/Khaki Suit

Khaki is the new black and is the haute new colour for of the season. In fact, they are ideal as your summer suit and can surplant your brown suit in terms of versatility. Here are some lookbook inspirations for your tan/khaki suit.

Nothing can spice up your wardrobe like a khaki suit; it looks great put together and also works amazingly well as separates, especially the jacket. But remember that thing got to fit as the light-colored jacket is much less forgiving and the silhouette must be spot on slim. 


John wearing a white shirt in the South of France



7. White

Be very selective with this color and it is better left alone unless you have a personality like Roger Moore, Ralph Lauren, Tom Wolfe or Leonardo DiCaprio. You will, for sure, draw a lot of attention with a white suit. But if you want a contemporary Gatsby look, invest is a quality white linen suit.
You could however opt for a white shirt instead for a more casual look.


An Additional Tip

There is another major thing you must consider when buying your formal clothes, i.e. tailoring. When buying suits, it is recommended to opt for tailored items. A well-fit suit will complement your body shape and size.

Unfortunately, tailored items are expensive and often out of the reach of average shoppers, but not anymore. For example, online retail stores like OwnOnly, offers an affordable line of bespoke business and casual suits for men. This e-store offers completely customizable suits and dress shirts for men with a guarantee of both fit and style. You can therefore invest in quality items without breaking your bank. 



suit jacket
John having fun in a casual Ralph Lauren blue suit jacket


Conclusion
Congratulations, you now know everything you need to buy your new suits! Remember that building your suit wardrobe is a long term investment and will take some time to complete. Be strategic, you don’t have to buy everything now and also always remember to have fun, take some risks and feel good in what your wearing.

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Monday inspired living

23/03/2015

4 comments
beautiful bedroom
Hello Monday (image)

Goodbye weekend and Hello Monday....this week I wanted to share some happy thoughts and interiors to start off the week in a happy and positive way. I am feeling full of wanderlust at the moment but in the same breath have been enjoying some homely time, enjoying the simple pleasures, cuddles with the boys in the morning and making some yummy pancakes this morning. What is so wonderful at the moment is the change of the season, from winter into spring and the beautiful light that is now starting to flood in through the windows each morning.

Here is to a great Monday and hopefully an inspiring and creative week


bedroom in the eaves
How stunning is this bedroom (image)
inspiring quote
A quote to live by (image)
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Street Style Sunday - Kids Edition

22/03/2015

8 comments
Paul smith shirt
Mr A wears Paul Smith tee, Ralph Lauren shirt, M&S trousers and Vans shoes


So it's that time of the week again for a little fashion inspiration and I thought it was the perfect moment to share a new love with you...the wonderful online kids store from France - Melijoe.com which stocks some amazing clothes. Having two boys I sometimes feel limited when it comes to cute, quirky and stylish clothing as a lot of highstreet stores seem more geared towards girls but the great thing about Melijoe.com is that it has a great selection of both girls, boys and baby clothes and Mr A simply loves his Lion Paul Smith tee paired up with a Ralph Lauren shirt.


Ralph Lauren shirt


Like I mentioned they also do baby clothes and have some seriously cute outfits. We are looking forward to summer and sitting outside in the sun and I love this stripped Ralph Lauren vest for Mr G, who is going to be a whole 4 weeks in the next 2 days (time is seriously flying by).

Ralph Lauren baby


Would love you to come and join in with Street Style Sunday - a family fashionable linkup for anything fashion related.




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