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27 July 2016

Steampunk 'Thomas Edison' Bell Jar Lamp From Iconic Lights: Review


I definitely have a distinct style when it comes to home decor, every room in my house has been done in whites and neutrals and I'm always drawn to pretty and feminine accessories. I've been brave in the past and attempted to try new things, but have always ended up disliking them and reverting back to my old ways. But it's become clear to me recently that I have a distinct lack of statement pieces in my home, and everything I pick out has become a bit same-y. I still love the style but have been in the market for something to make more of an impact (without stepping too far out of my oh so cosy comfort zone). And when I laid eyes on this industrial looking Steampunk lamp from Iconic Lights I knew it was just the kind of thing I'd been searching for, it instantly caught my eye on the site and I think it's such a cool and quirky piece. The copper and glass design still works with my current decor, and is a bit different without being too 'out there' which is perfect for me! 

This really is a gorgeous, well made piece; the glass bell jar section simply lifts off so accessing the bulb couldn't be easier. And speaking of the bulb, one great feature with this lamp is that you can find all kinds of different styles of bulbs to go in it. There are some amazing vintage looking ones on eBay with different shapes and filaments, however I'm using the Minisun E27 Filament Pear Bulb which not only looks really effective but is LED too so it will last for a really long time (LED bulbs have an approximate life of fifty thousand hours!) Aptly named after the inventor of the light bulb, this Thomas Edison lamp does a great job of showcasing his invention while keeping everything else simple.

I've had so many compliments about this lamp since I got it, it's a fantastic little eye catching piece and I'd go as far as saying it's one of my favourite decorative pieces in my home at the moment. Even my boyfriend who usually couldn't care less about my homeware finds has been nagging me to let him have it in his office (no chance...it's mine!) I think this would look great regardless of the decor you have in your home, and is versatile enough to be used in a number of different rooms. If you're after a piece that's unique but will still tie in with everything else you own then this is the perfect choice. And if you're homeware obsessed like me you'll have hours of fun searching through the  other amazing, unusual designs on the Iconic Lights website.

Have you ever shopped at Iconic Lights? 

26 July 2016

Surprising Benefits Of Adding Decking To Your Garden!

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At this time of year, most of us are looking for ways to make our garden look beautiful. To get the best effect, it's important to utilise the space well regardless of how big or small your garden is. A lot of landscapers recommend adding decking to the garden to make it look fantastic, here's why it's a great option and some of the surprising benefits!

It’s a great area for outdoor dining 
One great benefit of adding decking to your garden is that makes a perfect patio area for outdoor dining. It gives you somewhere safe and sturdy to put an outdoor seating area and although it's  technically off the ground it can support huge amounts of weight. So you don't have to worry about it breaking, even if you have a party with lots of guests! 

It’s easy to maintain 
Another surprising benefit of adding decking to your garden is that it’s easy to maintain. Timber decking doesnt actually doesn’t require much maintenance at all over its lifetime. As this feature reveals, you will only have to polish the wood once or twice a year with some UV inhibitor which will ensure the sun doesn’t ruin the wood. This will also prevent any mould or bacteria growing on the wood too. You need to decide whether you want to fit the decking yourself, or hire a company to do it although this is a more expensive option. If you're handy or know anyone that is, you could buy the timber yourself from a supplier such as George Hill Timber merchants, and turn it into a DIY project.

It can add value to your property 
Another huge bonus for adding decking to your garden is that it can add value to your property. Improving the garden is one of the most important things to do when you want to increase value to your home, and you could add up to two percent on your home’s value just from adding decking. A lot of potential buyers will find decking appealing, as long as it has been fitted and maintained well.

It can make your garden look bigger 
Another surprising benefit of adding decking to your garden is that will make your garden look bigger than it actually is. This is particularly handy for people with a smaller gardens, as it can make even a small space look really impressive. You should also consider how you lay the decking as it can affect how big the garden looks. As this feature reveals, using curves and angles can also add depth to a space. It will make your garden look wider and more beautiful. It can be time consuming, but it will look fantastic when it’s done.

It’s great for special occasions 
A decked area is ideal for special occasions, and is great for hosting barbeques and parties on. It's a sturdy area to set up a buffet table, and as it’s lifted from the floor, it’s like a stage and will enable everyone in the garden to have a great view. As it's elevated from the ground there's no worry about guests getting muddy feet too. 

It’s great next to a pool or pond
Not just for patio areas, another surprising benefit of adding decking to your garden is that it looks great next to a pool or a pond. Along with some sun loungers to relax on, it gives a really great looking area to your garden and helps to create another defined space. You can find out some more benefits and negatives of adding decking to your garden on this site

25 July 2016

Renewal Instead Of Replacement: The Benefits Of A Home Facelift


It tends to happen gradually. One day, you're sitting having breakfast when you notice there's a chip on the kitchen tile. Then it picks up; you see stains on the bathroom ceiling, worn paintwork in the hall and torn carpet where the cat has objected to being shut out of a room. Before you know it, you're longing for the delicious freshness of a newly decorated home. You spend hours looking online, admiring wide open spaces with white walls that are impractical but beautiful. Your current decor looks tired, and you want it to change. Of course, at some point in this idealistic thought process, you find yourself facing the reality. Save getting yourself on a tacky daytime TV show, a renovation is going to be costly. That's both in terms of the financial sense - how much for new bathroom tiles? Surely they lay themselves for that price? - but in time as well. 

So perhaps a full scale renovation and remodel is out of the question. Does that mean that you have to stick with the decor you once loved so much, but is now a constant source of irritation? No. What you need is a facelift - and that's not a comment on the appearance of your skin. That's fabulous. Well done you for all that moisturising. No, you need to give your home a facelift. It's still going to cost a little, but nowhere near a full factor change. 

1. Professional Cleaning
For most people, the idea of a cleaner is a pipe dream in the "something nice that I can't afford" pile. Once in awhile though, it's worth bringing in the pros to get to the bottom of tough stains. A proper professional will be able to make things look like new. Start with carpet cleaning and a thorough descale of taps and other areas prone to water damage. You may find things you assumed needed replacing actually only need a good spruce up. 

2. Simple Replacements
Replacing your entire kitchen would be a nightmare that would stretch your budget, not to mention the inconvenience. But if you're desperate for a new look, consider replacing the cabinet doors. The change will instantly update the area. You can apply this same philosophy throughout the house. Doors can be sanded and repainted; tiles can be cleaned and have vinyl transfers attached. 

3. Focus On The Small Things
We're constantly being told not to sweat the small stuff, but sometimes, the little things are what count. You may look at a room and see the big changes that need to happen, but you can actually give a facelift by looking deeper. For example, plastic light switches are never going to look good and attract dirty like anything. Switch them out for metal for an instant update. Light pulls can also be updated relatively inexpensive, as can toilet seats, curtains and cabinet handles. 

You might not quite be able to achieve the look of your dreams right now, but that doesn't mean you have to compromise on your style ideals.

24 July 2016

How To Add To The Value Of Your Luxury Home

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If you have a million dollar home, you may think that there isn't much that you can do to increase its value. This is not the case. It's always a good idea to give your home a luxury treatment and it can up the retail price of the property. In high-end properties, there is, even more, scope to do this as buyers have raised expectations.

Renovation
Whether you home is old or new, if you are looking for a top to bottom renovation job speak to a company like Million Dollar Makeovers. Getting a renovation is an excellent way of updating your home and adding to its value. You can address structural issues like moving walls and installing extra bathrooms and modernise the decor at the same time.

Extension
Another way to increase the value of your home is to add to the square footage. The higher the price of the home, the more space a potential buyer will expect. Most high-end homes have at least five bedrooms, so if yours doesn't make sure that you extend according. Buyers also expect ensuite bathrooms and dressing rooms in these types of properties. If you can't renovate to accommodate this, you will need to seriously consider extending.

Pool
What high-end home is complete without a swimming pool? You can choose to go for an indoor or outdoor pool depending on the local climate. If things get a bit chilly in the winter, you may want to opt for the indoor option as you will be able to use it all year round. If summers are hot hot hot in your location, then an outdoor pool is perfect for cooling off in the heat. Remember too that having a pool is often a deal breaker when selling a luxury home.

Garden
Its is no good if you house is kitted out in all the latest trends and luxury and your garden look like a wasteland. The garden of a high-end home should be an extension of the living space. It should contain ample room for relaxation and quiet time. The plants and walkways should be well maintained, and weed free and the design should reflect the style of the home. You will need to use the services of a professional garden designer for this. Also, remember to employ someone to help you keep on top of the regular maintenance to get the best look possible. This way they won't be a lot of work to do if you do decide to sell. 

Games rooms
Another way of increasing the value of your luxury home is to have features that are original and unusual. Games rooms and home cinemas are trending right now. Games rooms can include pool and air hockey tables or even a home gym. Home theatres should have projectors and real cinema seats for that movie illusion. The idea is that you have all the luxury of going out for the evening while staying in. Perfect if you need to avoid the paparazzi.







23 July 2016

Nougat London from Secrets and Scents


Nougat London Conditioning Hand and Nail Serum and Velvet Shimmer Powder: Available from secretsandcents.co.uk

Fragrances and pampering beauty products are two things that I can't get enough of, and so the website Secrets and Scents was always going to be a winner for me. I've been testing out a couple of products from one of the gorgeous brands that they stock called Nougat London; they're best known for their fashion items although they do have a line of luxury beauty products too. I had high hopes for both of these as soon as I spotted the pretty packaging, and I'm pleased to say they didn't disappoint. Here's what I thought! 

Containing extracts of white tea, vitamin E and aloe vera this hand and nail serum is both soothing and moisturising. I can be a bit lazy when it comes to hand cream because I can rarely be bothered having greasy hands for ages afterwards, but this is so easily absorbed it's no hassle whatsoever. The pump lid means it's easy to dispense with no faffing around with squeezy tubes, and unlike most hand and body products the scent lingers for a good while afterwards too. The peony fragrance is sweet, light and floral- from the packaging to the scent it's a gorgeously girly product that ticks all of the boxes for me. At £20 this is a higher end product, but you need such a small amount it should easily last a year of regular use. And plus the weighty glass packaging is so pretty it makes a great display piece for your dressing table too.

I have to admit I had some reservations about a shimmering spray, I spent most of my pre-teen and early teenage years covering myself in 'body glitter in a can' at any given opportunity and my tastes have moved on from then somewhat as you can probably imagine! However it's worth withholding judgement here because this stuff is absolutely beautiful- it gives the loveliest shimmering highlighting glow to the skin without a chunky glitter particle in sight. It looks great on the collarbones/ decolletage area especially over a tan (or fake tan in my case... crap British weather problems). I'm a huge fan of the packaging too, the contrast of the square bottle with the vintage style perfume atomiser works really well.

Have you tried anything from Nougat London? 

21 July 2016

Current Obsession: Cold Shoulder Trend

images from Stylewe.com

For the most part I don't follow fashion trends that much, but there's one that I've gone absolutely crazy for this summer and that's the cold shoulder trend. You can't step foot in a shop, peek on Instagram or read a fashion blog without seeing bared shoulders at the moment, but with it being such a flattering style I'm more than happy to get on board. It shows a bit of skin without being skimpy, and unlike with full open shoulder dresses you can happily wear it without having to worry about bra straps. You can find the trend in tshirts, jumpers and even shirts- although my favourite is definitely cold shoulder dresses. Here are a few of the pieces I currently have my eye on! 

I honestly can't decide which of these I like the best. I always gravitate towards black when it comes to clothing items, but the white is so perfect for summer and would look stunning with a tan. They look like they'd be really comfortable, and could easily be dressed up or down depending on what accessories and shoes you wear.

This gives you the overall vibe of an off the shoulder dress, but you wouldn't have to worry about it falling down! The lace straps and fitted style give it quite a dressy look so it would be perfect evening wear, you can't go wrong with a little back dress on a night out.

I love the relaxed hippy/ festival look this one has, the paisley print is really cute plus it has a nice flattering cut that would suit most body shapes. The lightweight material looks ideal for summer, but I think you could easily wear it into the autumn too with tights and boots. Since the cold shoulder trend is set to continue into the autumn, I know I'd get plenty of wear from something like this!

How do you feel about the cold shoulder trend? Are you on board?

20 July 2016

Upgrading The Kitchen? Don’t Forget These Crucial Factors

For most families, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house. With it being such a well used space, when it comes to making an upgrade it’s imperative that you make the right decisions. Here are five elements that should be at the top of your agenda, get these right and your new kitchen is guaranteed to leave you smiling.

Safety
The kitchen can be very dangerous, therefore you need to be sure that your gas cooker and other key appliances are of the highest quality and are fitted safely. After all, problems like gas leaks carbon monoxide poisoning could be fatal. You'll need to ensure that dangerous items like cleaning products and cutting tools are kept away from children, by keep them high up or locked away. Cupboard locks are a great way to prevent children and pets from getting into low down cupboards.

Lighting
The world feels a whole lot brighter when the sun is shining, and increasing the natural light will improve your kitchen. Not only will it create a better atmosphere, but it can help you avoid accidents too. You could knock an internal wall down to make the kitchen and dining room an open plan space, or install skylights.

Ventilation
As the kitchen gets so hot when you’re cooking (and may also mean a lot of steam and smoke too depending on the cooking style) suitable windows and a quality extractor fan should be considered. A well-ventilated room will prevent cooking smells from lingering, and prevent excess smoke from damage paint and wallpaper too. 

Purpose
Your kitchen is one of the liveliest parts of the house and that’s because it fulfils many roles. When designing your kitchen, you need to know that it can satisfy those needs. Are you looking to incorporate a breakfast bar with stools, or a dining area? If you're looking to use your kitchen to entertain friends you could consider the best layout and even install appliances such a wine fridge or built in wine rack. A kitchen refit could be your chance to start following healthier eating habits, consider growing fruit and veg in your garden and then cooking up a storm in the kitchen.

Personality
Above all else, this is your kitchen, so make it that way. Personality is what makes a house a home, and decorating your kitchen in the right way is essential. Choosing a colour scheme will have a telling impact on your interactions with the space. Meanwhile, decorative plaques and wall accessories can accentuate those vibes too. As long as it makes you happy, the upgrade is a success.