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Friday, 26 August 2016

How to create a contemporary living space that suits your style

If you’ve owned your flat or house for five or more years, the design choices you made back then may not fit with the lifestyle you lead now. Perhaps when you first bought there wasn’t enough money to then invest in some sleek updates. Or maybe you were happy with how you decorated and designed your rooms. But come the five-year mark, it may be time to step up and make some changes. After all, we update our wardrobe, our hairstyles and our working life every so often, so why shouldn’t we do the same with our house too? Room by room I’m going to take a look at some of the ways you can create a stylish home that reflects the way you live today....

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Living Room

Think about what you are trying to achieve in your living room. Do you love an industrial style look or do you prefer neutral colours and plush furnishings? Are you more of a bright coloured kind of person or do you lean more towards Scandinavian style? Think about style and design that make you feel happy and content and use that as your base. 

If you like a feminine style, you will want use fabrics such as velvet, fur and silks to decorate your living room. If you prefer a masculine feel, you may want to opt for darker, richer tones and include mahogany and bronze in your new design. 

If you can’t afford to change your sofa you can always get it reupholstered in fabric that suits your style. This could be anything from velvet to damask or leather to linen. Also, think about the accessories in your living room. If you like a shabby chic look, you can trawl vintage shops for great finds. Of if you want it to be more Hollywood luxe, invest in tall glass vases and fill with fresh cut flowers every week. 

Also, maybe add in a piece of artwork that conveys the mood you want to set. This could be anything from a retro art print to high fashion photography.

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Kitchen

This is where a bigger investment comes into play. Kitchens are often left until last as more money is often spent on them. If your kitchen is looking dull and tired though, it’s certainly worth the investment. Not only will it increase the value of your property, but once you have created a contemporary and airy space, you will want to spend more time here. And it can become a hub of socialising, entertaining and getting creative with recipes. 

Fully renovating your kitchen will enable you to create a more open-plan space. Open plan living allows you to embrace cooking, dining and entertaining all-in-one. It's your chance to completely redesign your kitchen to your exact specifications. This could include things such as glass-topped islands, integrated lighting and plush cabinets. Look to places such as http://www.therenovationcompany.com.au/ for inspiration and ideas!

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Bedroom

Your bedroom is your haven, and this is where you should create a relaxing environment to promote sound sleep and rest. Think about colours that keep you calm and soothed. If you are not too sure what colours to go with, a neutral or grey palette will always work well in the bedroom. If your bedroom is looking tired, simple updates can breathe new life into it

Consider changing wardrobe doors and investing in new lighting, both which can create a more luxurious feel. Use different textured of fabrics to bring life to your bedroom. Include Egyptian cotton, linens and voile. Make sure you have both bright lighting and subdued lighting for different effects. And with the bed being the focal point, invest in the best quality bedding you can afford. 

Also, ensure that your mattress is the right firmness for your sleeping needs. Keep this room light, airy and luxurious for a good night’s sleep 365 days a year!

Thursday, 25 August 2016

A long weekend in Blackpool

Last weekend we popped over to Blackpool as part of a long weekend off. I know we only visited a few weeks ago (see our last trip here, here and here) and it's only a few more weeks until the illuminations are switched on, but we just cant seem to stay away!

It was all a bit of a whirlwind with our time there being dictated by our good old British weather system (my goodness, it rained so hard!) but we still had an awesome time. If there's one thing I like about Blackpool, it's that there's heaps to do whatever the weather. 

We won a family ticket to the Sea Life centre as part of the #BlackpoolHasItAll selfie competition that is currently floating around on social media and being advertised across Blackpool itself. Yay! We seem to visit the Sea Life centre in Blackpool quite frequently as the exhibits change often and Emilia always loves seeing the fish. It's a great way to spend an afternoon when the weather isn't behaving! 

I love the way Sea Life use well known cartoon characters to encourage children to interact and learn. This time, it was all about Finding Dory. As we had just seen the movie at the cinema last week, the whole Sea Life experience was super for kiddo. There are opportunities to learn about blue tangs and clownfish along with a trail to complete and chances to spot Nemo, Dory and some of the other characters 'in real life' too!

The rest of our break was spent consuming far too much food (including the most amazing sticky toffee pudding I've ever had!), shopping, hiding from the rain in various soft play centres, spending far too many pennies in the amusement arcades, pottering along the prom and of course, another visit to the Blackpool Tower Circus.

We are such fans of the 2016 show, it has the most perfect mix of family friendly comedy, danger, thrills and excitement. And I just can't get enough of that water finale.... it's one of my favourite things!

Blackpool, it was so good to see you again! Until next time x 











Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Unforgettable places that you absolutely have to see

There are some places that you absolutely have to see at least once in your life. There are a number of reasons why they should be on your bucket list. Most of them are absurdly beautiful while others have a huge cultural significance. Do you need some inspiration for places to add to your travel list? Here are five of the best....

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The Mediterranean

There is no denying just how beautiful the Mediterranean is. The southern coasts of France, Spain, Italy, and Greece have some of the best beaches in the world. And the fantastic weather means you’ll probably want to lounge on the beach for your entire vacation! However, there is plenty more to see. Take long hikes through the breathtaking landscape to get to picturesque villages. Don’t forget to try the famous Mediterranean diet while you’re there. All the tomatoes, olive oil, and whole grains are super good for your heart! For an unforgettable trip to the Mediterranean, book deluxe digs such as the Quality Villas of Berkhamsted.

The Orkney Islands

Another area of outstanding beauty, the Orkney Islands are one of the most remote areas on the planet. These Scottish areas are the perfect destination if you want to hike along rugged coastlines. You can also enjoy the peace and quiet that comes with island life. Many people book rural self-catering accommodation and switch off from technology while they’re here. If you don’t want to be completely cut off from civilization, stay in the small town of Kirkwall.

India

To experience a completely different culture, head to India. This vast country is a sub-continent. So, as you can imagine, there is a lot to see and do! One of the best places to start is Delhi, a huge city of around twenty-five million people. You can experience everyday life by exploring the popular bazaars. Or discover medieval ruins among the city’s modern buildings. If you want to escape the hustle and bustle, head to Shalimar Bagh for its large lakes.

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Indonesia

Another of Asia’s gems, Indonesia is perfect for backpackers. You can travel easily between ancient temples and pretty villages on this collection of islands. Fancy a hike? There are plenty of dormant volcanoes that you can trek up. And once you’re done exploring the surrounding landscape, you’ll be able to relax on the beach with a cocktail! One of the highlights of Indonesia is the Ubud Monkey Forest, a sacred monkey sanctuary!

New Zealand

Another haven for backpackers, New Zealand offers a variety of attractions. Walk through glaciers and mountains around Milford Sound, one of the fjords on the south island. If you want to explore some Maori sites, head to the Bay of Islands. There are also lots of great destinations for unwinding and enjoying a relaxed vacation. Such as Waiheke Island, where you’ll find lots of beaches, vineyards, and bars. Film buffs will love the Hobbiton Movie Set, which was used during the filming of the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

So, what destinations are on your travel list? Let me know in a comment below!

Friday, 19 August 2016

Celebration // Zippos Circus turns 30!

I've always had a sort of love affair with the circus, it has to be said. There's just something so magical about it all, I can't get enough. Insanely talented human beings doing things that seem thoroughly impossible to the audience, those sparkling lights, the amazing costumes, the clowns (I love clowns!) the transient nature of it all....  one moment it's there, the next it has packed up and gone on to its next destination. I adore it.

I certainly have my favourite shows and I most definitely have a soft spot for Zippos Circus. It's become a tradition of ours to see their show each year and now Emilia is old enough to sit through a performance, we have been taking her to as many shows as possible! She's quite enchanted by it all and I love that these shows are so accessible for people of all ages. She gets so much out of it, to see her so inspired is truly wonderful.


2016 is an extra special year for Zippos as their circus turns 30. Incidentally, it is also 40 years this year since the story first began when Martin Burton first became the clown Zippo. This year is their 'celebration' tour and my goodness, what a celebration it was! 

We popped down for the opening night of the show as it arrived in Sheffield this week. Doors were open well in advance of the show starting so we were seated nice and early, not before stocking up on those obligatory circus purchases though.... programmes, popcorn and drinks!

The two hour show was incredible, cramming in everything from an aerial daredevil who walked upside down dangling from the roof of the big top (with no safety net whatsoever!), performing cats, an insanely flexible lady named Odka who squeezed her entire body into a tiny bottle and heart stopping knife throwing which had the entire audience on the edge of their seats. The show is an unforgettable and thrilling night out suitable for the entire family, I really do recommend it!


Here are a few of my highlights from the 2016 show....

Norman Barrett, MBE

This years show is once again hosted and led by the 'World's Greatest Ringmaster', Normal Barrett MBE. He's charismatic, immensely talented and his budgie act which sees the brightly coloured birds performing tricks on miniature apparatus is something I don't think I could ever tire of watching. He has real love for what he does, he's a complete legend!


Alex the Fireman

Slapstick comedy at its best. Alex combines comedy, precision and acrobatic talent perfectly in his act. Definitely one that you shouldn't be trying out at home! Kiddo has been talking about the man who's 'head was on fire' ever since we saw the show. We all absolutely loved him! This act is guaranteed to have you crying with laughter. So good!


Duo Galaxy

I'm so pleased to see these guys back again by popular demand. One of the most dangerous and visually thrilling circus acts, the wheel of death is simply incredible. This act is a firm favourite for me but Duo Galaxy take it to another level, performing whilst using skipping ropes, stilts and even a blindfold. Breathtaking, dangerous and completely mesmerising to watch!


Mr Lorenz

A unique clown act, Mr Lorenz is a rather dapper Italian with slicked back hair and groomed moustache. We loved the interactive musical performance using cowbells and multiple members of the audience to recreate a creative and rather genius version of "O Sole Mio". Lorenz is also a super skilled acrobat and juggler, he appears throughout the entire show and is a real joy to watch!


Zippos Circus is currently touring the UK and is in Sheffield (Endcliffe Park, S11 7AB) until Sunday 21st August 2016 so make sure you get your tickets to see this amazing show before they leave! Tickets are available from the circus box office on site or you can book in advance over on the Zippo's website where you can also find venue details, show times and lots more information!


* We were given tickets for the show in exchange for an honest review

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

In photos // Heeley City Farm

Last weekend was one of those where we didn't get out much and ploughed through an enormous 'to do' list instead. Holiday shopping, work in the garden, eBay prepping.... nothing too arduous but nonetheless, still stuff that needed doing sooner or later!

After the task of painting an insane amount of trellis panels in our garden on Sunday morning, I decided i'd had enough. We popped over to Heeley City Farm to enjoy a well earned afternoon eating ice creams, visiting the animals and enjoying the sunshine! The farm is a wonderful place to spend a while, Emilia loves the little park and the cafe serves really good food.... including Our Cow Molly ice cream, yum! 

I thought i'd share a few photographs of our afternoon there. It's clear here that I seem to have taken a shine to all the gorgeous flowers out at the moment!

If you're local and haven't visited Heeley City Farm before then you must give it a go! There's plenty of visiting information on their website and lots more about all the wonderful work they do, not just at the farm but across the city too.










Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Beautify your first home with these amazing ideas!

Buying your first home can be pretty overwhelming! There will always be plenty of things that you want to change to make it more your own. Many of these things will be cosmetic changes to alter the look and feel of the place. Other changes may include some remodelling work or even installing a new bathroom. These can be big projects to take on. But they are also the most wonderful opportunities for you to flex your creative muscles.

Often, when you first move in, the purchase itself has drained every last penny. You may need to decorate on a budget and only make minor changes. Use the bank holidays to make the most of any DIY store sales. You can pick up good quality paint at a discounted price. You may also be able to buy some soft furnishings too. Don’t be swayed by the price when it comes to picking your palette colours, though. Find a sample of what you’re really looking for and do your best to stick to it.

Inheriting a central heating system can be a scary prospect! One of the most important things you can spend money on in your first month is a boiler service and safety check. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very real threat you need to be safe from. If it’s an old system, you might be tempted to replace a few of the radiators to give your home a more modern and warmer feel. Something like the Phoenix Orla radiator gives you a contemporary, mirrored look. You can even add a heated towel rail for the bathroom!

If you’re looking for a fresh start, why not update the style of your whole home? If your downstairs rooms don’t have coving between the walls and ceiling, you could consider adding it. Coving softens the look of the room and adds to your elegant styling. You can install this yourself if you like. Your local DIY store could even cut it to length for you. When it’s installed, you may want to paint it and the ceiling the same white colour. It will blend better when the shade of white used matches. If you’re feeling very ‘handy’ why not update your skirting boards too? The coving and skirting will frame your rooms beautifully.

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Wall decals have recently become a popular way of decorating your walls. You can choose patterns, words, or images to add some extra style to a room. It’s a really good way to add some character, a splash of colour, or just a little detail to a room. They are very inexpensive and quite easy to install. Many designs come in different sizes to suit your space. You could have a curly tree winding its way up your staircase. Or why not a few bubble details to lighten the room?

It doesn’t matter if your budget is big or small. There are plenty of great ideas to bring the beauty of your style into your new home. Why not break your ideas up into little projects that you can tackle over time? Add your own personal touches to make your first home the most beautiful place you’ve ever lived!

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Things I've loved this week // 018

A little Sunday round-up, some of the little things that I've been loving this week!

Holiday shopping

Yep, it's still a few months before we head off to Florida but i'm starting to pick up some holiday bits.... I like to be prepared! I bought not one but two pair of sandals from the Seasalt online sale this week, one pair navy and the other a most beautiful Tiffany blue. They are insanely comfortable and make a nice change from my usual Birkenstocks!

A Saturday pub lunch

My husband has been a bit poorly this week and with all of us feeling a bit rough, we decided to stay local this weekend. We popped up the road to our local pub for lunch and I satisfied all of my food cravings in one go. Burgers, chips and the most amazing warm hot chocolate fudge cake, washed down with good old Thornbridge beer. It sure is good to indulge once in a while!

Elephant spotting

We found a few more elephants this week as part of the Herd of Sheffield trail. Our favourite was Elmer's Aunty who is located up at Forge Dam, just opposite the cafe. She's a bit of a patchwork wonder, very pretty! Elmer's Aunty is a little further out than most of the other elephants on the trail but well worth the visit.... the walk from Hunters Bar/Endcliffe is lovely and flat too if you want to make a morning or even a day of it! 

Tattoo booking!

This week I booked an appointment to get another tattoo from one of my favourite artists. As you can imagine, i'm super excited! Their instagram page is one of those I visit daily and i'm so honoured to be adding more to my collection very soon indeed. Joe is insanely talented so if you're not following over on instagram then do it, do it now!

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Sheffield by the Seaside

Sheffield by the Seaside is a thing that happens every year and is something I never took any notice of during my years of working in the city centre. Now we have kiddo though, we are always looking out for fun things to do... even better if they are free! This event is a little bit of seaside magic right in the city centre and this week we visited it properly for the first time! All good!


What have you been loving this week? Let me know in a comment below!