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Bring a Touch of Luxury to Your Home with These Simple Tips

Ever noticed how you might find it hard to relax if your house is messy or unclean? Many of us are very susceptible to the environment around us – meaning that the state of our home can actually directly affect our mood. This is why if you are in need of a little R&R, the first thing you do before you put on Spotify and crack open the wine is to create a relaxing and luxurious space around you. If the room you are in is perfectly geared towards indulgence and opulence, you will find it much easier to let your worries drift away and have some quality ‘me-time’. As most of us tend to escape to our bedrooms when we need a little bit of space, why not start there? Read on to find out how you can add some high-class to your bedroom to make it the perfect sanctuary.

Lighting

Many of us often underestimate the power of lighting in our homes. You can have the most beautifully decorated room in the world; but if the lighting is poor, it can drag down the entire aesthetic. Lighting that is too harsh can give your bedroom a stark, industrial feel. So, avoid bright white lights (stay away from anything that resembles strip lighting!) and go for softer, warmer hues instead. This also gives you the opportunity to play around with different styles of lamp, depending on your personal taste. Some kinds of dim lighting can help to get you in the mood to sleep – although it’s best to also have a bright ceiling light for when you do need to be able to see better. However, it’s not just an overly lit room that can cause problems with your sleep pattern. You may have heard about the blue light emitted from mobile phones and television screens. This hue can stop melatonin being produced in the brain – the hormone that helps you to drift off to sleep. If you need to have electronics such as phones in the room with you before you go to bed, change the settings so that they send out an orange-based light rather than a blue one.

Your bed 

There’s nothing quite like falling into a big cosy bed after a long day. It can be one of the best ways to treat yourself. But if your bed is a little lackluster you will probably be missing that luxury feeling. Ever notice how much better you sleep in a hotel bed or when you are on holiday? Many of us forget to take care of our owns beds the way we would someone else’s. But you may as well start treating yourself sooner rather than later! A good quality mattress is one of the best investments you’ll ever make, so don’t just opt for the first one you see in the store. You can now find hundreds of different types of mattresses that cater for everyone’s personal preferences. Another way to make your bed a place of luxury is to invest in hotel bedding. After all, if you can have the hotel feel at home, why not get it? You will immediately notice the difference in quality and you will probably find that your bedding lasts a lot longer too. Finish the look by dressing your bed with a soft throw or some decorative cushions so it always looks inviting.

Blinds

I adore the look of a blind in a room, I think it can be so much more of a feature than curtains and is simple to tie in with a theme.  They are also versatile, being suitable for kitchens and bathrooms, lounges and studies and, of course, bedrooms.  The range of colours, styles and fabrics can be overwhelming but what this really means is that there is a blind to suit every taste, budget and home.

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Decor

One sure fire way to add a bit of extra sparkle to your bedroom is to add some high-class decor. It’s always the little things that can make a big difference, so don’t scrimp on them! Having trinkets and beautiful decor around your room can also lift your mood as well, as nothing dampens spirits more than a dull, uninspiring space. A fabulous piece of art displayed at a vantage point immediately adds a touch of class to your bedroom, and it’s a talking point as well. Or, you may choose to skip on the wall art and instead display a decorative sculpture on your chest of drawers. If you are settling in for a spa night, the one thing you need to add is a great selection of candles. The pleasant odour and the dancing light emitted by the candles creates a relaxing atmosphere and one that can help you drift off to sleep too. If candles aren’t your thing, you can get a similar effect with fairy lights and the use of incense to create a nice smell. Add a fluffy rug to your flooring and you’re good to go – after all, luxury is all about the details.

Craft Wishlist for Kids

Arts and crafts with kids is a great way to spend time together; it is relaxing, creative, encourages expression of feelings, thoughts and opinions and can be fabulously sensory. Jasmine has always been very creative, she just loves to express herself through artistic materials. I remember very clearly at nursery, and in reception class at school, she came home every day with a junk model or several paintings/drawings. Her book bag is always stuffed with sheets of paper and she has no fear of being messy – in fact, she absolutely relishes any opportunity to get stuck in.

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Making potions

Sonny was never as fussed when he was smaller but this year is getting much more into painting and drawing and sticking; for Easter, he painted hedgehog plant pots for his teachers as gifts and he really focussed during the process.

For me, art, craft and messy play activities could not be less about any finished product, it is all about the processes used to achieve the eventual outcome, and the fun they have throughout. As such, we get through a lot of materials and are always looking to replenish supplies. I’ve been browsing The Works Arts and Crafts section today and come up with a little wishlist of things I would like to buy before the summer holidays are upon us:

Set of four canvas blocks – perfect for splatter painting, preserving handprints and great as homemade gifts from the kids.

Colouring and sketch studio – I know Jasmine would love this and I think it is great value at just £10.

72 glass craft bottles – I always keep a stash of these in stock as my two both love making potions and these little bottles are ideal for containing their creations.

Wooden birdhouse – perfect for decorating and a good introduction to more learning such as caring for animals. You could also make your own bird food to go alongside it – simple and fun to do. An absolutely bargain at £2!

There are so many more items I could add to our wishlist – head to www.theworks.co.uk now for more inspiration.

This is a collaborative post

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Rockfish Torquay

The Torquay branch of Rockfish combines sublime location with beautiful seafood to create a convivial atmosphere. Situated on the banks of Torquay Harbour, the views really are special; aim to book a table for around 6pm to enjoy a sunset stroll around the quay after dinner.

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I’ll admit it – I’m not a great fan of seafood but found a good range on offer at Rockfish with something to suit all appetites and tastes. I started with delicious salt and pepper prawns whilst James had the calamari.

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The children were given an activity bag on arrival, which was a nice touch. The pack included stickers, crayons, a workbook and even a wallet. These packs are included in the £6.95 cost of a kids meal consisting of a main, side and dessert. Jasmine chose the beef burger as she refuses to eat seafood and Sonny had the fish fingers.

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For our mains, we adults opted for the fish and chips – I had cod and James chose haddock. I also added mushy peas and curry sauce to my order, both of which were gorgeous. There are so many different mains to choose from but personally I don’t feel you can get much better than fresh cod and chips.

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The children had ice cream sundaes for dessert, which looked amazing – we had hoped to try them too but we ran out of time.

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All in all, we had a lovely time at Rockfish Torquay, followed by a walk around the quay at sunset. Perfect!

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We received a complimentary family meal in return for this review; all words and images are our own.

How Technology Has Brought Us Closer

We all have been guilty of complaining that new technology has actually moved people away from each other, shutting us in our little virtual worlds. But is that always the case? There are technological innovations that have bought people closer by reviving communication and love for humanity. There are some important ways in which technology has made a part of a tight-knit sphere of community and acceptance.

For instance, let us take a look at online gaming. Whether its is Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing games (MMORPGs) or simpler games that people tend to play with others, this has bought us together in a community- the ‘gaming community’. And being a part of a community not only gives a sense of meaning to a person’s online presence, but also makes them feel like they are needed and they are a part of something bigger than themselves- a need that we all have in social relationships.

If you have ever gambled online, you know the effect the community can have on you. It is often speculated that people play online bingo mostly for the social experience that the game offers them. Though the bingo promotions and contests may be huge, people tend to stick to the game and stay loyal to the site because of the social features that they offer. There is always a way to find some lovely people in the chat rooms and to have an endless discussions about anything and everything.

So maybe now is the time to look at technology from a different lens. Instead of thinking of innovations as the portal to humanity’s doom, we should look at it from a wider perspective and figure out the ways it is helping us express ourselves better than we have ever had.

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Carluccio’s Exeter

We are very fortunate to be spending Easter with Cofton Holidays in Starcross, South Devon; a beautiful spot beside the River Exe. This evening, we ventured into nearby Exeter to sample the delights of Carluccio’s at Princesshay, a modern, sprawling open-air shopping centre.

Having never been to a branch of Carluccio’s before today, I suppose I was expecting something fairly standard in terms of Italian chain restaurants. What was delivered, however, was rather more authentic – the staff, the wine list, the ingredients, they were all properly Italian. The menu was a little more what we elaborately referred to as grown up than a number of other places we have eaten at with the children, providing no real “safe” options such as pizza, chips or chicken nuggets. I can see why this might be attractive to most customers – it’s always nice to get the kids eating similar things to the adults, after all. Not so great for fussy eaters though and it certainly presented a problem for Sonny who refused all of the food other than the breadsticks and ice cream. In all honesty, he was actually really happy with this but it did mean we had to feed him again once we got home, resulting in a super late bedtime.

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Jasmine, meanwhile, thrived in the environment, chatting away to our waiter, ordering for herself and even having a go at the Italian pronunciation of her chosen meal. Our waiter was very approachable and welcomed the children speaking to him, which I was very happy about. We try and encourage the children to practise independence where possible, in safe environments of course. Something like ordering your own meal isn’t a big deal to the majority of adults but can be daunting the first few times you have to do it. By exposing the children to these experiences at a young age, we are hoping to raise outgoing, confident, self-reliant individuals.

Anyway, I digress.

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We enjoyed three courses of really delicious food, particular highlights including creamy dolcelatte from the antipasti starter, signature rosemary and garlic potatoes with our mains and Jasmine’s exquisite dessert of cherry ice cream. The children both also really enjoyed completing the little workbook that doubled as their menu.

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Popping our Carluccio’s cherry in Exeter has encouraged us to seek out other branches closer to home, our nearest being Brighton, I believe. I am particularly keen to have another go at their gorgeous tiramisu; the best I have tasted in a long time.

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Thank you for having us, Carluccio’s, see you again soon.

We received a family meal free of charge for the purposes of this review; all words and photographs are our own.