WIN £150 IN JOHN LEWIS VOUCHERS WITH EVEREST HOME IMPROVEMENTS: What One Thing In Your Home Is Irreplaceable?

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In the last few years I have found my shopping happy place. It is the place I retreat to when the bared midriffs in TopShop get too much (it’s official, I’m too old to show that much flesh), where I browse to get interiors inspiration and where I spend an absolute fortune on scented candles. I visit there for coffee, for cake, for manicures and for Clinique Bonus Time. This happy place is John Lewis.

To help bring my happy place to you I’ve teamed up with Everest Windows for a springtime treat! Everest believes a home requires constant care and attention to keep it looking its best – but some things are easier to fix than others.

While painting a hallway or picking a new living room carpet can appear to be a relatively tricky task (I’m so glad I have my dad for things like this), they are a breeze to sort out when compared to replacing faulty or old windows.

Which is why Everest replacement windows are guaranteed to last thanks to their A+ rated double glazing and a lifetime guarantee against discolouration of their uPVC windows.

To keep your home looking as good as Everest windows, together we are giving you the chance to win £150 in vouchers to my happy place!!

KS EC1891AO E HR BLYTH MAY 2011

All we want to know is: What one thing in your home is irreplaceable?

Barring the obvious answer – the children – my answer is tricky. Second to the above my bed is probably my happy place (If only I spent more time sleeping in it) but I’m going to say my MacBook Air because it’s full of memories and my blog. And I obviously bought it from John Lewis!

Enter below and give your answer in the comments to be in with a chance of winning.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow Everest Home Improvements on Twitter and Facebook to find out more about their windows and offers. Thanks Everest for supporting MTT and my happy place! 

Living Space Inspiration – Colour Pops

living spaces

I’m moving house!

Not now, not next month, not even in a couple of months. In fact, my house still hasn’t been built yet so it’s probably a safe bet to say that my house move is more than a little time away. BUT – I’m moving house!!!!! and I’m really excited about it. HOUSE MOVE!

I’m helping to design the house from scratch and having the input into how it will look has been amazing – so I’ve already been Pinning like mad (obviously) and have started to put together mood boards. Which leaves me wondering – HOW difficult was interior design in the days before Pinterest? I remember my mum having piles of Living Etc and Elle Decoration around the house so it’s a good thing we now have such wonderful online inspiration as IKEA Family Live (not just name checking it because I used to work there – I seriously love that place) and Apartment Therapy. Inspiration/Procrastination, who’s counting?

FYI Mum I haven’t forgotten you asking me to show you Pinterest… you are doing the important parts of the design anyway ;) I’m sticking to paint colours and cushions…

living spaces

Living Spaces

The first room I’m thinking about is the living space. I’m envisaging clean, neutrally coloured furniture (so wise with young children…) accented with pops of colour in the blankets, cushions and floorcoverings. The space will be open plan to the kitchen so I’m aiming to remain as minimal in my approach as possible, with clever storage to keep clutter down. Think colour, texture and fun :)

Main images: The Design Files

living spaces

White High Gloss Coffee Table, £129.99, FADS, Velvet Square Cushion, £45, Not On The High Street, Canyon White High Gloss Wide Bookcase, £349.99, FADS, Monty Lamp, £40, House By John Lewis, Flapjack sofa, £1195, Loaf, Studio Stack Mug, £4, John Lewis, Novello White Gloss Dining Set, £279.99, FADS, Octo rug, £95, Habitat.

 

The BIG investments to your property

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It’s easy to pick up small things for your home – those tiny mementoes or knick-knacks that give the place a little bit of soul. But what about those major purchases?

That’s where things get tricky. Before any big buy, you’ll have to get your calculator out, steel your bank account and be prepared to make tea for a lot of builders.

But these larger design overhauls can send the value of your property into the stratosphere. When it’s time to ship up and sell out, your additions could put pound signs in your eyes.

So, what grand purchases can you make to boost the value of your property?

The eyes to the soul

Are you still shivering next to your single-glazed windows? Then it’s time to modernise.

Windows, provided you contact the right company, are an ace way to boost the value of your property – and some prime double glazing will keep you toasty during the winter.

If you live in a listed building, however, you might meet some opposition. Speak to your local council and see if there isn’t some arrangement you can come to if you want your windows of a high-quality.

Provided the council aren’t an issue, the benefits you’ll reap from double glazing are great. Your house will be warmer, your property’s value will skyrocket and you won’t suffer the headache of street noise outside.

Extend yourself

Extensions are the motherlode of major projects in your home.

Whether it’s a new conservatory, an extra room or even an entire new section to your house, an effective extension can add thousands to its overall value.

Again, there might be some trouble with the council depending on the size of the project. Make sure to clear any building regulations before you fall afoul of local restrictions. More than this, be sure to notify your neighbours about your construction work. No one wants to become a neighbour from hell in their quest for a better home.

And don’t stop at a spare empty room. Find a use for it and make its style consistent with the rest of your home. You’ll have a great new place to enjoy and add a few grand to your property.

DON’T overextend

So many people think that endless additions to their property will eventually make it mansion-pricey – but it’s a little more complicated than that.

While additions to your property can make it more valuable, evaluators also take the mean value of other homes in the area into account.

This means, no matter how much you spruce your property up, you’ll eventually hit a glass ceiling in pricing terms.

If you plan to make a big investment in your home, make sure it’s what you want – not what the market tells you.

DIY At Home: My Top Tips

The Bedroom

I am a real homebird; I love my home, I spend a lot of time here and I like it to look as lovely as possible. But as I’m on a budget I try and get as much DIY and home improvements done myself, as the professionals can be a bit too expensive for my modest wallet. I think over the years I’ve become pretty good at turning my house into a home on a budget – this is how I’ve done it.

- Google is your friend
If you know what you want to do but aren’t sure how to do it, give it a Google. Chances are there’ll be a DIY blogger out there who will have written about it or posted a video. Et voila! No professional needed and you’ll feel pretty proud of your very own hard work. I particularly love the blog Little Green Notebook for tips and inspiration.

- Internet/budget shopping
If you visit the large home superstores you probably won’t be paying the best prices. Do your research by searching online – I find you can always get a great bargain at Wickes, their own-brand paint is particularly great!

- Find A DIY Friend
Do you have a friend who is good at DIY? I don’t trust myself with a drill so I’m always in need of help and my Dad is my very own DIY friend. He can literally do ANYTHING when it comes to home improvements and I must have saved thousands over the years by trusting his talent and skill ;)

- Pinterest
There’s no use in spending money on home improvements if you might not like them in years to come. Before I look at making changes I put together room themes and ideas, just to make sure I don’t change my mind a couple of months down the line. Pinterest hasn’t failed me yet!

Through sticking to a few thrifty tips like these I am well on the way to saving for a mortgage. If you’re looking at getting a loan for some home improvements do check out this handy calculator, before you know it you’ll be well on your way to a Pinterest-worthy abode.

 

Thankyou TSB for supporting MTT!

Tried and Tested: Scented Candles

scented candles

Scented candles: my new obsession. Or actually a not-so new obsession, as I’ve been burning the scented little lovelies for years and years and years, but an obsession that’s grown as time goes on. Though not this winter, because weirdly there’s something I find a bit odd about burning scented candles at Christmas time.

Bear with me on this one.

For me scented candles mean spring time, floral scents; they’re uplifting with promises of sunshine and daffodils, not cosy days on the sofa under winter blankets. I love them in my lounge, in my bathroom, in my bedroom – every room of the house from Spring (yay!) to Autumn. While I’m working, relaxing, or taking one of those loooong baths that happens once in a blue moon.

Scented candles are one of the best bits of being a grown up. I love them.

Here are my favourites… burn and be merry! Though don’t burn unaccompanied, obviously. Or near curtains. Or children. You know the drill.

scented candles - Diptyque

Diptyque
Arguably the most blogged about candle, Diptyque hails from Paris and creates some of the loveliest room scents you will ever sniff. I adore the Baies and Vanilla varieties, with Baies being their bestseller (I’m not surprised, it’s divine). Light one of these on an evening and you’ll enjoy a scent that will last a couple of days.

Get yourself down to Liberty where you can sniff them all (I often used to retreat to the Diptyque counter after work) or buy online. Maybe not a snip at £40 but they truly are the most elegant and beautiful smelling candles I’ve ever come across.

scented candles - cowshed

Cowshed
I adore pretty much anything the Soho House group touches: Shoreditch House, Soho House, Dean Street Townhouse, Pizza East, Cowshed Spa. Their products are truly not to be sniffed at (please excuse the pun…) and I love how the scent of their products takes me back to their venues.

Their hand wash and hand creme in particular is marvellous with a long lasting calming scent – you’ll always find it atop my bathroom basin. I’m also a fan of their Grumpy Cow uplifting candle (£30). I’m yearning for their amazing food and brand of relaxation just thinking about it…  will someone please take me to Babington House?

(sidenote: please reassure me you also have a Tangle Teezer in each room of your house?)

scented candles

Daylesford
I cooked a brilliant three bird roast one Christmas from Daylesford and have always rated their food, so who’d have thought they do such amazing candles as well? I picked up their Fig Leaf variety for half price with my Ocado shop this week so it was a total bargain, too. The scent may not be as sophisticated as Diptyque but it’s strong and it marks. Top marks, Daylesford.

Have I missed any? Which scented candles do you rate?

 

Marsala In The Home

I love colour. Which is a pretty silly statement as everyone in the whole world loves colour, am I right? I imagine “I don’t like colour” doesn’t get uttered very often, ditto “god, isn’t black so uplifting?” or “I really love what you’ve done with the grey in this room”.

So yes, colour = good, 99% of the time.

I sometimes worry that I misjudge the colours in my home. As a summer person I find I am drawn to light colours – white plays a big part, as does mint green, light blues, pinks and yellows. I tend to shy away from the darker hues that invoke cosy and warm memories of winter; the fewer reminders I have about this season the better. But I wonder if this gives a more childlike, less sophisticated feel to my house. We’re all zig zag carpets and star print cushions… uni student vibes.

In 2015 the colour of the year is Marsala – a gorgeous shade of deep raspberry that’s having me re-think my living space. This isn’t burgundy – a colour that immediately makes me think of Christmas time – but is slightly lighter and more fun. It’s starting to make me consider my aversion to deep hues.

I’m a huge fan of changing the look of a room with small touches – cushions, rugs, carpets – which means a quick makeover can work out relatively inexpensively. Here’s my 2015 Marsala shopping list:

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This Paris Red rug gives a hint of Marsala without being too overpowering. I love patterned rugs for giving a bit of interest and this one from Carpetright is perfect. It starts at £49.99.

Who doesn’t love a Roberts Radio? This one might have a vintage look but the colour will bring you bang up to date. From £160, BoConcept.

IKEA have totally mastered the art of the cushion cover and I love the pops of Marsala in the new DVÄRGPALM, £4.

If you really want to go all-out on your Marsala the Super Regent Twist carpet from Carpetright is a good way to go. £32.99 m2.

I can’t get enough of flowers in my living space and this engraved look vase would be perfect – £79 from BoConcept.

Will you be adding some Marsala to your home this year?

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