Home & Garden

21
Jun

Make Garden days fun, tasty and creative

Summer’s here! We promise it is. And once that warm weather hits, it’s time to start the great garden chill. Whether it’s BBQ galore, things to keep the kids busy, or just a nice place to relax with mates, we’ve got some great ways to get garden ready this season!

Let’s grow…

Keep kids occupied

No garden is complete without a piece of play kit for the kids. Believe us, it stops the whining when you’re trying to have five minutes of tanning time! Got a big space? You need a swing set in your life. Or, take on the trampoline challenge. It may take a while to set up, but once you’ve conquered it, you’ll have hours of peace and quiet and, let’s be honest, we all love a good jump when they’re safely tucked up in bed.

Smaller space? Get creative. Jumbo chalks are a great way to encourage kids’ creativity and can be used to draw pictures, hopscotch boards or, pretty much anything else, on paving slabs. Alternatively, draw a car or train track and bring out their toys, and there you have a quick and easy way to play right there.

Water play

No hot day in the garden is complete without water play. Whether it’s a paddling pool filled up and left in the sun to warm up, a slide and ride, or hose pipe spray, it’s a great way to keep kids entertained and cool too. Thinking about budgets? How about a baby bath as a little place for play? But even a pot or washing up bowl works just as well. Just fill it up and use it as a ‘swimming pool’ for their toys. Splashing!

Not your thing? A kids’ watering can is a great way to teach them all about the importance of nature and care… and a sneaky way to keep your flowers watered too. We didn’t say that 😉.

Garden glam

It’s no longer acceptable to just have a nicely mowed lawn – nope, garden style has moved on with lights, ornaments and garden crockery taking centre stage. So, keep on-trend. LED lights in a range of shapes and sizes are great for draping over trees to create a wonderland feel, or on fences to give a little nod to a festival. Add a couple of bright ornaments (we’re not talking gnomes) and hang a few signs on trees or by your garden table and you’re quickly bang into 2019. #yourewelcome

Feed me

You don’t need us to tell you that a BBQ makes a garden day complete! And the great news is there’s one to suit any chef and space! Not a charcoal fan? Go for gas. Small space? Take on a small round version, or, go disposable! Then get cooking. Stuck for inspiration? Take a look at these cool recipes we spotted on BBC Good Food. Oh, and let’s not forget dessert. Buy fun molds, stick in the juice and fruit and there’s a five-a-day snack. Just don’t forget our invite!

Stay sun safe

We don’t want to sound like our mums, but hot garden days call for sun safety! We wish we had a PHD to our name, but, well… we’ll leave it to the experts at the NHS, who recommend spending time in the shade between 11am and 3pm. The medical bods also advise using factor 30 sun cream and making sure kids are covered up with hats, UV swimsuits and sunglasses! Got a fussy tot? Invest in a UV tent. Not only will it keep them occupied, but it’s a great sneaky way to keep them out of the sun too!

Shopping insider at Chesterfield Pavements

Boots

Soltan Kids Once 8 Hr play Spray SPF 50+ 200ml – £10

Boots

Mini Club Blue Floral Keppi – £6

 

Tesco

Tesco Bbq Sweet Chilli Chicken Thighs 900G – Any 3 for £10

 

 

Tesco

NIVEA SUN Kids Moisturising Sun Spray 50+ Very High 200ml – £4.50

 

 

 

Tesco

Carousel 3 Ring 120cm Pool – £10

 

 

 

 

5
Mar

Get down & dirty with some spring cleaning

The sun is rising earlier, setting later, and slowly the temperature is starting to climb. But that also means that it’s time to get down and dirty with some spring cleaning. For some this can be daunting, and for others a cathartic experience to remove the clutter from their lives. We have some great tips to help make your spring cleaning an easy and simple process.

Before you even start cleaning, there are some steps you can follow to help you through the process:

  1. Draw up a schedule and break up your cleaning into easy to manage portions – by breaking it up over several days you won’t tire yourself out and the process can become more enjoyable.
  2. Tackle your cleaning one room at a time – by tackling one room at a time you can give it all your attention, for example, in your bedroom you can take the time to organise your closet and get rid of things you don’t wear or need.
  3. Get everything you need before you start cleaning to avoid having to stop.
  4. Create multiple piles of items as you go through your house, one for storage, one for charity and a rubbish pile for the things you want to throw out.

BE MASTERFUL WITH YOUR MUCK

The kitchen and bathroom are probably the worst places to clean as the steam from cooking and hot showers can make the dirt and grime more difficult to remove. There are plenty of tricks and clever products that will make this arduous task a lot easier.

  • Lemon cleans stainless steel – Simply halve a lemon and use it to scrub away those annoying streaks and marks.
  • Steam clean your microwave – Mix two tablespoons of white vinegar and a few drops of a scented essential oil of your choice with water and place this in the microwave on a high temperature for five minutes. Not only will it remove those tough stains and food build up, it will smell great too.
  • Organise your refrigerator – Place a lazy Susan in your fridge for bottles, jars and containers, to make it easier to get to the items that you want, and keep your fridge organised. Plastic containers are also a great way to keep your food fresh, and make it easy to see what you have in stock.
Images: Asda, Argos, Wilko

HOME Clip Fresh Plastic Food Containers Pack of 10 £16.99 at Argos
Sistema Multi-Coloured Klip it Food Storer 5 Litres £7.00 at Asda
Wilko Food Container Square 2.3 Litre £2.50 at Wilko

BRIGHT AND BLISSFUL BATHROOMS

Steam marks and water stains can be laborious to clean, and with so many products required for daily grooming, your bathroom is bound to look untidy unless you create clever storage solutions. Look out for storage products to ensure everything is kept neat, while being easily accessible.

  • Get rid of water stains and product build up – Tumble Dryer sheets are great for removing product build up on glass shower doors.
  • Keep your bathroom smelling fresh – Add a few drops of your favourite essential oil inside your toilet paper roll for a constant, pleasant smell.
  • Deep clean your shower head – Regularly fill a sandwich bag with baking soda and vinegar and tie this around your shower head. Let this soak overnight to loosen dirt and grime and use an old toothbrush to scrub it clean.
Images: Sainsbury’s & Wilko

ODIN Bamboo and white lacquer 3 tier storage unit £80.00 and ODIN Bamboo and white 3 shelf corner unit £80.00 at Sainsbury’s
4 Tier Storage Unit White £18.00 and Pop up Laundry Bin £3.00 at Wilko

Images: Wilko, Sainsbury’s & Argos

COLLIER Copper metal over door hooks £12.00 at Sainsbury’s
Wilko Over Door Rack £10.00 at Wilko
Croydex Hookover Steel Shower Caddy £11.99 and HOME 2 Tier Hookover Shower Caddy £6.99 at Argos

SOLVE YOUR STORAGE WOES

For most people, storage is an issue. Either there is not enough storage space at home, or drawers and cupboards are untidy, and things are difficult to find. But there are a few simple steps you can follow to make sure that your bedroom cupboards, laundry cupboard and even your sitting room are neat, and that everything has a proper place.

The great thing about storage, is you can choose whether you want to make it a feature of the room, or if you want it hidden. And when it comes to your wardrobe, vacuum packing the clothes is a great way to clear up some space.

HOME Single 2 Rail Wardrobe Frame £39.99, HOME 2 Tier Shoe Rack £19.99, Protect & Store Mixed Vacuum Storage Bags 6 Piece Set £11.99, and HOME 10 Pocket Hanging Canvas Shoe Storage £5.49 all at Argos

Images: Ryman, Argos, The Works

HOME Large Fabric Ottoman £32.99 at Argos
Habitat Jacobs Upholstered Storage Bench £250.00 at Argos
Really Useful Storage Box 9 Litre Pack of 2 £10.00 at Ryman
Floral Storage Suitcases Set Of 3 £7.00 at The Works

22
Aug

Store and restore for the new season

The last throw of summer is the prime time to de-clutter your home. For many, the end of the long summer holidays and the beginning of September marks the start of a new era and the perfect opportunity to restore your home to a calmer state. Not only is a clutter free environment less hazardous, it’s so much nicer to live in and will create a positive mind-set for every inhabitant. So when it comes to the shared spaces in your home, where should you begin?

HAZARD-FREE HALLWAYS

A clutter-free hallway makes life easier. Imagine walking in and out of your home without tripping over a pile of shoes and seeing coats thrown over the stair banister or a chair. How about having a designated place to put your mail, a spot to empty the contents of your pockets into, and a nominated place to drop your keys?

Say goodbye to an unruly mess of shoes at the front door and keep them stowed away neatly in a specialist shoe storage cupboard. You’ll have less dirt and dust trampled through your home, plus the top of the shoe cupboard can also be used to store keys, letters and loose change. If you have the space for a console table then invest now. Those small drawers will hold a bucket load of small objects you don’t want to be on view. Lastly invest in a coat rack, be it a freestanding one or a wall mounted one, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one.

Images: The Works, Wilko, WHSmith; Argos

9 Drawer Wooden Chest £10 and Decorative Wooden Box £5 from The Works; Laura Ashley Grace Gold Floral Print Multi Drawer Unit £13.99 from WHSmith; Wicker Letter Holder £6.00 from Wilko; Hygena Lydiard Gloss Shoe Cabinet £134.99 from Argos

LIVING ROOM LOVE

Dual-purpose furniture is the way to optimise storage of your belongings and keep your living room tidy and clutter free. Make your coffee table work harder for you and invest in one with shelves or secret compartments.

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Alternatively a wooden chest or dresser with drawers where you can store bits and bobs, and ottomans and footstools used to store away your winter blankets, cushions, board games and magazines, are all great investments towards reclaiming your sanctuary. Also think about optimising your walls for storage. Floating shelves, cubes and hanging racks will help create more space and work brilliantly for books, plants, ornaments and photo albums.

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Images: Wilko, B&M Stores, Argos

Clovelly Coffee Table Grey £150 from Wilko; Multi Compartment Shelf £9.99 from B&M Stores; Habitat Bumble Coffee Table £119 from Argos; Ladder Bookcase £70 from Wilko

A STRESS FREE WORKSPACE

The big challenge when de-cluttering your workspace or home office, whether you are working from home, or your kids are using it for homework, is managing all of your paper clutter. Paper clutter is a beast, so whether you decide to keep it or trash it, you’ll need to file it or shred it.

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To make your work area work for you, create filing storage either with drawer inserts, collapsible boxes or a separate filing cabinet, utilise drawers for stationary and equipment, desk tidies, cable ties and invest in a shredder to sit nicely underneath the desk on a specialist under desk storage stand.

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Images: The Works, WHSmith, Argos; Ryman

New York Collapsible Storage Box from The Works £6.99 or 2 for £10; London Underground Collapsible Storage Box from The Works £7.00 or 2 for £10; Safco Wire Under Desk Printer Stand Black £75 from WHSmith; Rexel Style Plus Shredder £69.99 from Argos; Bisley Cabinet 5 Drawer £51.99 from Ryman; Totally Tropical Pineapple Pen Pot £7.99 Ryman

CRAFTY KITCHEN TIPS

The most used and the most sociable room in the home can be a huge challenge to keep clutter free. Because the kitchen has so many different types of items stored in it from food to appliances to Ziploc bags and utensils, everything needs to be stored logically and in its correct zone. Begin the de-cluttering process by choosing either a zone or a type of item and then work on the list from there.

Why not organise your countertop with specialist racks for spices, mug trees, storage bottles and containers and free up your cupboards for food, crockery and pots and pans?

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Images: Poundland, B&M Stores, Wilko, Argos

Large Glass Storage Jar £1 from Poundland; Retro Tea, Coffee & Sugar £8.99 from B&M Stores; Vertex Copper Finish Fruit Basket and Mug Tree £28.99 from Argos; Hygena Tea, Coffee and Sugar Stacker £17.99 from Argos; 6-piece glass spice rack £6.00 from Wilko

Seek out clever solutions for creating tiers within your cupboards and products that can utilise the inside of doors, under the sink and the top of the fridge.

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Images: Wilko

Corner Plate Rack & Hanging Shelf Storage each £3.00, Telescopic Stand & Overdoor Pan Lid Rack each £2.50, 3-tier Kitchen Organiser £4.00, Overdoor 2-tier basket £5.00 and 2-tier Storage Rack £8.00 all from Wilko

KEEP A LID ON THE KIDS ZONE

Whilst we know it’s hard to get your little one to keep their play area tidy, you can always arrange toys and books into brightly coloured cubes and fun, colourful storage units. Look for ones with plenty of drawers for toys and arts and crafts so you’ll be able to keep clutter to a minimum.

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Images: Argos

HOME 3 Tier Childrens Basket Storage Unit £29.99 and HOME Beech Effect Sling Bookcase £19.99 both from Argos

Stackable storage boxes are perfect for storing toys and games and will also save on floor space. Pop-up tidies are a great invention as they can hide a multitude of toys and they can be folded away as a flat pack when you’re not using them.

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Images: The Works, Poundland, Wilko

The Hungry Caterpillar Storage Suitcases – Set Of 3 from The Works £6.99; Plastic Clippy Boxes £1 each from Poundland; 3-Pack Stackable Dinosaur Boxes £10.00 from Wilko

3
May

Bring the inside out

Give yourself a better work life balance and get back to nature by making the most of your outside space so you can feel more Zen. Why not reap the wellbeing benefits of your outside space? Whether you have a garden, patio or balcony, design your outside area as an extension of your inside space and use it as a calming retreat to dine al fresco, have a post-work glass of wine or relax with a book.

Your garden is an extension of your home, and can offer you an ‘extra room’, especially if space indoors is limited. Interior trends are making their way outside more than ever before. As us Brits are beginning to want more comfort from our outside spaces, so think about creating your garden as you would an interior room or a conservatory. Both of the major Swedish interiors trends – hygge and lagom – translate to the outdoors. Whether you want the cosiness of hygge or favour the more minimalist, pared-back approach of lagom, that being not too much, not too little, the latest Scandi trends will work in your garden, too.


For hygge influences look out for furniture with soft lines and sumptuous cosy cushions, and for lagom influences keep it minimal and understated with sleek, pared back furniture in natural, raw and recycled materials and elements of metals. There is no reason why you can’t blend the two styles for your own unique look and personal preferences.

 

SWEDISH TRENDS – GET THE LOOK

You’ll be able to recreate this look with ease from a variety of department stores and high street chains that all provide beautiful garden furniture. From places like Debenhams, Argos Wilko and B&M Stores for large ticket items to Home Bargains, Primark, Poundland, Poundworld, Tesco, Sainsburys and Asda for accessories.

Home 8 Seater Rattan Effect Corner Dining Set £399.99 Argos

Home Rattan 2 Seater Duck Egg Patio Set £199.99 (was £269.99) Argos

Venice Rattan Hooded Day Bed £399.99 and Venice Hanging Egg Chair £125 both B&M Stores

Garden Snuggle Egg Chair £275 and Garden Egg Lounge Set £225 both Wilko

 

NATURAL MATERIALS

As the popularity of natural materials rise in interiors, so it is with patio and garden furniture. Less synthetic materials, more natural timber, and free-flowing pieces are the key.

Forest Sleeper Benches and Table Set £399.99 Argos
Pine Potting Table £79.99 Clas Ohlson

Miami Swing £279.99 and Reclaimed Wood Rocking Chair £49.99 B&M Stores

 

INSIDE OUT LIVING

The distinction between indoors and outdoors has become more blurred as homes are now being designed and renovated to “open up” – creating open plan spaces inside leading to the garden or patio via glass sliding doors, the same applies to balconies. That feeling of flow warrants a comfortable outside space with lounge like seating that resembles a three-piece suite, or sturdy dining furniture that helps to create a feeling of an ‘extra room’.

Outdoor Sofa with Chaise Longue £199.99 and Aluminium Furniture set £189.99 both Clas Ohlson

Westbury Luxury Corner Rattan Set £299.99 (was £399.99) B&M Stores
Venice Rattan Effect Sofa Set 4pc £169.99 (was £300.00) B&M Stores

 

THE FINISHING TOUCHES

Layer up chairs with dreamy cushions and bright-coloured throws, add some fairy lights, lanterns and candles to create a calm and magical ambience. Garden and patio lighting is an important feature, rather than a functional afterthought. Use solar lights and motion sensor lights to conserve energy and use beneath big plants, hanging from trees, and to light pathways.

Cushions, candles, tealights and fairly lights all Primark

Solar powered garden and patio lights all Poundland

3
Aug

Storage solutions for your sanctuary

Now is the time to de-clutter your home because a spacious and clutter free environment promotes good things, is less hazardous and let’s face it, so much nicer to live in; and it also creates a positive mind-set. So where should you begin? Why not optimise your storage at home using clever storage solutions to streamline your environment?

LOVE YOUR LIVING ROOM

Dual-purpose furniture is the way to optimise storage of your belongings and keep your living room tidy and clutter free. Make your coffee table work harder for you and invest in one with shelves or secret compartments. Alternatively a wooden chest or dresser with drawers where you can store bits and bobs, and ottomans and footstools used to store away your winter blankets, cushions, board games and magazines, are all great investments towards reclaiming your sanctuary.

Images: Wilko

Images: Wilko

SPACIOUS HALLWAYS

Every family has an abundance of shoes, most of which will get removed at the front door. Why not dissipate an unruly mess and keep the family’s shoes stowed away neatly in a shoe storage cupboard? A tall or wide shoe cupboard is a must to store shoes so that you don’t trample dirt and dust indoors, plus it keep them hidden away. Again a dual-purpose piece of furniture, the top of the shoe cupboard can also used as to store keys, letters and ornaments.

Images: Argos

Images: Argos

TIDY KIDS MEAN HAPPY ADULTS

Whilst we know it’s hard to get your little one to keep their bedroom or play area tidy, you can always arrange toys and books into brightly coloured cubes and fun, colourful storage units. Look for ones with plenty of drawers for toys, stationary and other bits and pieces, so you’ll be able to keep clutter to a minimum.

Images: Argos

Images: Argos

Stackable storage boxes are perfect for storing toys and games. Invest in ones with a crocodile lid so you and your child can easily access both sides of the box without having to take off the whole lid or pull out the whole box if it is stored under a bed or desk. Because these boxes are stackable, you can also save on floor space.

Pop-up tidies are a great invention as they can hide a multitude of dirty laundry, shoes and toys and they can be folded away as a flat pack when you’re not using them.

Images: George at Asda

Images: George at Asda

A GROWN UP BEDROOM

Make your bedside table work harder for you. A bedside table should be stylish but it must be practical, so make sure you choose something that can multitask all your essentials. Folding storage boxes are a great way to store extra bed linen or chunky, winter knits. They usually come in faux suede or leather with a padded lid and can be used as additional seating in the bedroom. These storage boxes can easily fold up in seconds so you can store it away when you don’t need it.

If you have a dressing table or a flat surface on a chest of drawers then utilising this area with storage and Perspex or mirror tidies for cosmetics is a good way to keep things neat and away.

Images: Home Bargains

Images: Home Bargains

SAVOUR A SLEEK STUDY

To make your study area work for you, create storage in specific areas that you occupy most often. If you have a study, an office or even a desk area, utilise and desk tidies and drawer inserts to maximize on your space and hide clutter. Drawer inserts are perfect for creating a bespoke organising system and they fit into most existing drawers. Crates and drawers that can sit upon the desk are also great for hiding clutter; you may even find some have a dual purpose with a front facing noticeboard or chalkboard.

Images: Clas Ohlson and Wilko

Images: Clas Ohlson and Wilko

Lastly think about optimizing walls for storage. Perfect for any room in the house, including bathrooms and kitchens, floating shelves, cubes and hanging racks will help create more space.