Latest Posts

Make Your Kitchen Work For You

The kitchen is the beating heart of most homes. Most of us spend a fair amount of time eating and socializing in the kitchen, which is why it is so very important that we are able to make our kitchens work for us just like the rest of our homes should work well for us, no matter how we use them. Here are some amazing tips for doing just that:

A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place

If you don’t want to spend half your time in the kitchen tracking down your can opener, veggie peeler or that one pan that lets you make really good sticky rice, you need to get organized and choose a home for each and every appliance, pan, and piece of crockery in your kitchen. Assign all of your items a place, storing like with like and ensuring you always return them to their storage space when you are done with them., This one tip alone will make life in the kitchen so much simpler.

Declutter

If you have about 500 forks, at least three dozen straws, now’s the time to declutter. By getting rid of the stuff you have too many of or those kitchen gadgets you thought would revolutionize your life, but now never use, you can make it easier to find the things you actually need and, perhaps more importantly, you can make more space in your kitchen for cooking and entertaining.

Upgrade Your Kitchen Taps

Your kitchen sink taps might sound like an innocuous part of your kitchen, but switching them out for a better model can make a surprising difference. For instance, if you drink a lot of tea and coffee, or you always have something on the boil, switching your normal taps for one that dispenses instant hot water would make your life that much better. Similarly, installing a pull-out tap will make it easier for you to rinse and wash the dishes in less time than usual. Taps matter!

 Add a Touch of Comfort

If you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, it makes sense to transform it into the most comfortable space possible. Don’t be afraid to bring in cushions, comfy chairs, TV’s and anything else that will help you to enjoy your time in the kitchen more.

Make the Layout More Convenient
Do you have to walk halfway across the kitchen to get to the fridge from your chopping board? Are your coffee cups stored well away from the coffee machine? You could save a huge amount of time and effort by looking at the layout of your kitchen and moving appliances like fridges, kettles and washing machines so that they can be used more effectively and intuitively than previously.
The Entertainer
If you do a lot of entertaining in your kitchen, you should think about installing a wireless sound system, mood lighting and a foldout table, which will enable you to instantly transform the space from family dinner mode to crazy party space!

What tips and tricks do you have for making your kitchen space work better for you?

All the Things I Thought but Didn’t Say

In social anxiety

Words remain thoughts

More often than not.

Sometimes they are exactly the right words;

A well-timed anecdote 

A witty retort

An intelligent response 

All stranded in a chasm of fear

Unable to make themselves heard.

Often

As irony dictates

My mind is actually racing

Bursting with myriad thoughts

Yet none of them fit 

With what you just said.

Did I use the right fork?

Was it weird to look over there?

Do I look bored? 

Don’t look bored!

What the fuck did I miss while I was lost inside my own head?

Just laugh… just laugh!

You may mistake

The misplaced laughter

Or unanswered question 

As rudeness; 

Others have!

But don’t be fooled:

If I am struggling to keep up with a conversation 

Or fit in somewhere

It is most likely because I want to impress.

I’ve thought You look beautiful 

And What a lovely dress;

I know exactly what you mean

Or sometimes just hear this…

At times

Even thank you

Gets entirely stuck.

Thank you for not hating me

Mostly

I see how easy that could be.

I know social stuff should just come naturally;

That it shouldn’t be terrifying to speak.

But that’s exactly how it is

Every day.

So

To anyone who can see past

The strangeness

The inconvenience of it all:

Thank you for not judging;

Dare I say

Thanks for being a friend?

Top Tips for Stress-free Travel

It’s no secret that we love to travel but the whole process can be undeniably stressful. From finding a pet-sitter and getting to the airport to eating out abroad and finding the cheapest but safest ways to get around, there is so much to think about. I’ve come up with a few travel tips to hopefully ease some of the stress involved with travelling; as always, if you have any more to add, please feel free to leave them in the comments.

Solo travel 

Travelling alone can be daunting as well as exhilarating. My top tip is to plan ahead and take your time to minimise stress. Book your first night’s accommodation before you arrive, plan your flight to arrive during the morning so you have a safe few hours to explore, and spend your first full day acclimatising and watching how locals navigate their way through life, observing customs and rules. 

Couples or groups 

You may feel safer travelling with your partner or as part of a group but there can be power struggles, let’s be honest. My top tip is to communicate and compromise to avoid stressful situations. Be clear on who is in charge of passports and other documents, designate roles if there are a few of you (I like to nominate someone else as map reader seeing as I have a terrible sense of direction), take it in turns choosing activities and eateries so everyone feels considered.

Family travel

Possibly the most tricky yet most rewarding travel experiences you will ever have include carting small children across the globe. There are a million things to consider and yes, you will forget some, but try and remember that each family (and indeed every child) is different and your requirements will not be the same as your friend’s/neighbour’s/that annoying mum from school’s. My top tips are to stay calm and go with the flow as much as you possibly can, plan ahead and book accommodation and travel cards before you leave, and travel light – the last thing you need after a stupidly early start and a four hour flight with two bored, restless, tired children is to have to carry them and numerous hefty cases around a Greek island looking for a ferry port. Trust me, I know 😉

Corporate travel 

Travelling for business may sound glamorous but the reality can differ hugely. My top tip is to try and look for the positives and be brand loyal for the best rewards (particularly when it comes to hotels and flights). For more information on corporate travel, visit Reed and Mackay.

Above everything, my top tip for travel in general is to relax and enjoy it. I think travel is a luxury and those of us who are fortunate enough to be able to afford it should, at the very least, take the time to enjoy it.

Five UK and Ireland Travel Goals

Exploring the UK and Ireland is high upon my list of travel priorities right now. We are so fortunate to live in a country with such rich history and breathtaking scenery, it really would be a shame not to make the most of it. I have a list as long as my arm of places I would like to visit, but for now I will concentrate on my top five.

Northern Ireland 

Somewhere I’ve never been but would love to see is the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, which this walking tour encompasses. I’m intrigued by the legend that surrounds it as well as being fascinated by its geology. I can imagine the children climbing and jumping all over this impressive coastline, which is their favourite way to spend time. 

Snowdonia

We have been to Snowdonia before, staying in Pwhelli, but as Jasmine was too small to remember going and Sonny was not yet born, I would love to return with them. It is home to the most beautiful landscape I think I have ever seen and I would love to have a go at scrambling up Yr Wyddfa as a family. I would also like to ride on the mountain railway and visit the zoo.

Whitby

I’m not even sure why but I have wanted to spend time in Whitby ever since I was at school, many moons ago. Perhaps it is its literary importance that draws me, or maybe it’s just that it’s in Yorkshire and I have this heavily romanticised view of it, such as one only can of a place that they have never visited. Either way, its in my top five.

Lake District

Self-explanatory, I’m sure – don’t we all want to visit the Lakes?

Ireland

Ireland has been an obsession of mine for years and years. It started with Father Ted and from then I loved the accent, the comedy. I love the literature and the history too, and the scenery looks incredible. I’ve been to Dublin and we drove up the coast to get there, but what I would really like to do is an entire tour of the island. A magical, beautiful country deserves only the finest exploration.

Featured post

Last Minute DIY: It’s Not Too Late to Insulate Your Home

Many people around the world are lucky enough to have insulation installed around the home. Be it a drafty loft or thin walls, there are plenty of places that insulation can be installed to keep the heat in your home and keep the cold air out. We’re not out of the woods yet when it comes to chilly weather. There are still at least a couple of weeks to go until we’re free of the cold breezes and frosty mornings unless you’re lucky to live in a location that offers sun all year round.

Fortunately, insulation is fairly easy to install and, assuming you know where to install insulation, can be done with minimal tools and without much assistance. As long as you have the insulation rolls, some insulation adhesives and a bit of willpower, you can often get this done in under a week’s time for a medium sized loft.

But why install insulation? Winter is over soon!

The cold season is actually the best time for you to install insulation because it’s generally far easier to detect breezes. During the summer, you won’t feel the effects of your insulation installation and it can be difficult to tell if it’s actually working or not, or if you’ve missed some spots. If you install insulation in the summer to prepare for autumn and beyond, then prepare to take frequent showers as you slave away in the heat—at least during winter it’ll warm you up as you work!

Insulation lasts a very long time. Depending on the type of damage the might encounter, for example, a leak roof, the lifespan could be anywhere from 80 to 100 years. So why not get it done now so that you can install it, test it and experience the effects so that you’re ready for when winter comes around? It’s a cheap and effective way of improving your home and you’ll thank yourself later when the cold season starts again.

How do I get started?

The first step is to calculate how much insulation you need to buy. There are many insulation calculators that’ll help you work out how much you need, but you could also just multiply the length and width of the area you want to cover and multiply them together. For example, a room of 20m by 20m would require 400 square metres of insulation.

Once you’ve decided how much you need, you can start to roll it out and lay out onto the loft. There are several types of insulation installation. For example, you can line it across the floor of the loft, or you can stick it to walls. To attach them to walls, you’ll need some wooden supports to contain the insulation, but these can be easily bolted to the walls and measure to size depending on how much insulation you need.

Will I Need Help?

As mentioned before, installing insulation is just a matter of calculating the size, buying it and then rolling it out or lining the walls. However, if you want to insulate a wall that doesn’t have wooden supports to place the insulation, then you might need a hand bolting supports to the wall or carrying up the rolls of insulation to the loft. Aside from that, it’s a relatively straightforward job that won’t take long to finish.