DIY Halloween Costumes That Your Little Ones Will Love

DIY Halloween Costumes That Your Little Ones Will Love

Halloween is one of those times in the year when parents the World over face the dreaded realization that they forgot to purchase an outfit for their little one. At times like More »

 

A Home Full of Joy: Decorating Everywhere

In certain things in life there is an accepted way, a common wisdom that most people accept and absorb and follow more or less unconsciously, instinctively if you will. You see this in the way people dress, act, and most importantly for today’s discussion, the way we design and decorate.

To an extent, this is a good thing. Society wouldn’t function if everyone was an iconoclast all the time, inventing new ways to make coffee in the morning. Language in itself would not exist at all, being working example of acceptance of community definitions in entirety. Sometimes, though, it’s necessary to choose your own path and make things totally, 100% personal. Decorating your home is one of those times.

The Traditional Way

Decorating your home usually involves a few simple principles, which are all sound:

  • Select a colour palette
  • Choose a basic style
  • Find flooring and furniture that fit your look
  • Paint the walls
  • Add wall art like canvas prints and other items to complement everything.

And that’s fine for specific rooms around your house. But this room-centric approach often leads to different visual experiences in each room, which can make them feel like islands of isolated design work, disconnected from each other and the rest of the house. This feeling can be exacerbated if the rooms are redecorated at different times.

Applying Design Everywhere

A way to conquer this problem is to forget some of the ‘rules’ of traditional home design and start thinking in terms of decorating everywhere. Don’t think of your rooms as isolated spots within the house, think of them as interconnected areas that flow into each other. In other words, consider the journey guests take through your home: From the entryway, they go to the living room for cocktails. Then to the dining room for dinner. They’ll visit the bathroom and the kitchen, and finish the evening in the lounge or family room, possibly even spending the night in the spare bedroom.

Then, look for opportunities to design and add decoration in less-than obvious places. The entryway is a good start – some canvas art or other design elements can turn a perfunctory space for shedding jackets and umbrellas into a pleasing first experience for guests.

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Image Source: TheCanvasFactory.com.au

Staircase landings are another spot often forgotten when you design room by room, and an ideal place for a vibrant print or other art.

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Image Source: Better Homes and Gardens

Another unusual place where a bit of wall art or other design can have a real moment of impact? Wardrobes, especially walk-in-robes, actually, are places where design usually goes to die, becoming congested with clothes and clutter. Think twice and open them up with something pleasant to look at – on the wall, the door, even the floor!

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Image Source: LifeStyle Australia

Finally, when painting your newly-designed home, consider your rooms as a whole and think about transitions. When stepping out of one room to go to another, the hall should pick up the colour palette of both and serve as a visual link between them – you could even use a gradient plan to slowly go from one shade outside of one area to another outside the next.

Whatever you decide to do to open up your home’s design, never stop thinking of new ways to have some fun with it. Once you start thinking beyond rooms the possibilities – just like the forgotten areas – are endless.

4 DIY Home Improvement Ideas for You This Winter

diy improvements

During the cold winter months your social calendar starts to slow down. Aside from the obvious Christmas peak period, darker nights and undesirable weather means you start to spend more time inside, freeing up a lot of your time. This give you ample opportunity to tackle some of those niggling tasks that you’ve just been too busy to tackle. As a result, the end of summer brings the time for change and not just in the physical season.

With more spare time, people want to spruce up their homes just in time for Christmas and also to match the colours of the Autumn and Winter months. When tackling those DIY jobs, it often refers to those little niggly improvements such as fixing broken lights, adding some new storage space or redecorating. The best bit about DIY improvements is that they don’t cost an arm and a leg to do as you obviously do it all yourself. So, to give you a helping hand we’ve listed 4 top tips to help you improve your home this winter.

  1. Give Your Social Spaces a Facelift

Now you have the time, take the opportunity to give your social spaces a makeover. You may be thinking, this is hardly a top tip but this is a simple step that offers the most benefit to you from a personal and cosmetic standpoint. Your interior can rejuvenate your home and create that haven a long, stressful day so you shouldn’t underestimate it as a DIY step. Refreshing the walls, adding new accent colours, introducing new furniture and even ornaments are all ways you can quickly give your space a facelift.

This winter interior trend is to invest in calmer, more relaxing shades to create a more peaceful setting to live in. After a dull day, there’s nothing worse than coming home to a dull home so treat yourself! You deserve to own a haven that you’re proud to show off so stop putting it off!

  1. Go Green

Unless you’ve been living underground for the last decade, you should know that more than ever do more and more people need to be now looking go green. Something that we’re all guilty of not fully getting on board with, now is the time to take an active step to improve our green footprint. By going eco-friendlier you will as a result see a multitude of long term benefits especially from a financial point of view. Whether you invest in recycle bins, upgrade your insulation or donate your old belongings rather than dumping them, it all helps! You will not only be helping your wallets health but you will be taking a great step towards benefiting our environment.

  1. Reinsulate Your Home

A home that is well insulated can help you out in many ways. Investing some money and time into insulating your home will not only help you enjoy a warmer winter, but it will also help you lower your utility bills to ensure your wages aren’t being eaten up by the central heating. There’s now even now electronic thermostats you can implement into your home that manage your heating around your home needs and lifestyle in a cost effective way.

  1. The Patio Party

A lot of people seem to think the garden is just for the summer, however this is no longer the case. When socialising with friends late into the night, there is no better place to enjoy it then around a fire pit in the garden. There are millions of rattan garden furniture ranges out there now that incorporate a fire pit in the centre of the seating. If you add an umbrella or canapé structure to the top of this to cover you from the rain, you can sit out, be warm and enjoy the night!

A great DIY project is to create an enclosure seating area that will house your social antics. Once you getting the seat in there, you can build walls of plants and flowers surrounding it to shelter you from the weather. Invest in some cute solar lights and a BBQ and your winter wonderland nights are solved. This is especially good for those of you who are limited in space inside of their homes -plus it’s another place to escape from the kids!

House Of Fraser Guide To Mixing Prints

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The Best Places to Visit in Hobart

Hobart

Australia has got to be one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. People flock to the different states of this country for various festivals, events, and must-see spots. But there is nothing like the unique vibe that Hobart offers its visitors.

Hobart is a picturesque destination dominated by Mount Wellington. If you want to be in a place where you can forget about the worries brought by city-stress, the cool climate of Hobart and its spectacular views will definitely be up to the challenge. There are a lot of tour packages and offerings for travel because of this. For instance, a car hire in Hobart offered by DriveNow is one of the go-to services out there because you can easily book a car you can use for laid-back road trips without the hassle and without breaking bank. Other rental companies also offer competitive rates that encourages tourists to have an epic road trip around Hobart. These car hire companies mirror the ease and comfort you will feel once you are on Hobart.

If you are already planning a trip to Hobart, here are some of the places you can go to so you can maximise your visit in this one-of-a-kind destination.

Salamanca Place

Being Salamanca Place will give you a glimpse of the bustling industrial life in the 1830’s. It is still very much the heart of art, culture, food, and shopping in Hobart. You will see the Georgian warehouses lining Salamanca place where they stored grain, wool, and other goods. Visit the Salamanca Market to shop for unique and artistic items, and of course, the fresh produce.

Museum of Old and New Art

Never miss an opportunity to visit Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) when you are in Hobart. Located at the banks of the Derwent River, it is a museum that looks somewhat like a fortress and it houses some of the most interesting and possibly controversial art in the world. Additionally, after going in its almost labyrinthine like museum, you can buy refreshments at the al fresco cafe and wine bar called The Source restaurant.

Pilgrim Coffee

There is nothing like a good cup of joe and delectable meal to go with it. Visit the Pilgrim Coffee and experience the most delightful cup of java. They get their coffee beans from all over the world and turns them into the best you will ever get to taste in Australia.

Battery Point

Get to feel more of the old-world vibe in Battery Point. See how Hobart is able to perfectly preserve the culture and heritage through its architecture with the modern and unique luxuries they offer to people.

The State Cinema

A historic place with a focus on entertainment, the Hobart State Cinema is an iconic venue that has been one of the locals’ favourite spots to frequent. They offer arthouse films and those which you will not get to see in your typical cinema houses.

There are still lots of reasons to visit Hobart. However, the best thing about Hobart is the general sense of calm and comfort that seems to exude in every place and in every corner.

How to Make Your Living Room More Comfortable

Aside from the kitchen it is the living room where you spend most of your time, it makes sense therefore that your living room feels comfortable. Most living rooms are the first room people see when they walk into a house as well so you want this room to feel welcoming and warm. Usually when we first decorate our living rooms they look great but after much time spent there, they can start to look messy and full, if you find yourself in this situation then here are some tips to help you bring back the comfort to your living room.

JPAD_living_room

Tidy the Cables

Usually living rooms are full of tech, TV’s, gaming consoles, cable boxes, DVD players and more, all of this tech comes with wires and there is nothing more unsettling in the living room than wires hanging about all over the place. There are several cable tidy products on the market which will put all of your cables in one tidy place, it’s amazing how spacious the TV area looks when the cables are tidied away.

Use Scents

Comfort is a sensory experience and using nice smells in the living room is a great way to help you to relax. There are hundreds of products that you can choose from but my preference is the scent sticks, you simply place the oil of your favorite smell in the jar and place the wooden sticks inside. The wood absorbs the scent and emits it into the room, when the smell fades a little you simply need o turn the sticks over and the smell will return.

Sofa?

Sofas go through a lot in the living room, they are sat on, laid upon, jumped on and moved about, the average life span for your sofa to remain comfortable is around 3-5 years, if you are able to then look at buying a new sofa to bring the comfort back into your home. There is nothing quite like coming home from a long day at work to a super comfy sofa where you can immerse yourself. A sofa doesn’t have to cost the Earth, it just has to be super comfy.

The Walls

You don’t have to feng-shui your whole room in order to feel comfortable but there is some value in looking into some parts of the method. One such way is with art on your wall, you can find beautiful wall murals at places like House of Fraser Homeware sections and add some beautiful touches to your walls. The art should be something that either looks beautiful, relaxing or something that gives you optimism, items like these can really help you to relax. Feng shui suggests that you should have pictures like lovers kissing, open spaces like lakes and fields or anything with curved lines. As I said before, comfort is a full sensory experience and whilst you may not know that it is happening, being surrounded with artwork such as this can really make you feel relaxed and more importantly, comfortable.

Top 4 European Locations for Boutique Hotels

Boutique hotels are some of the coolest places to stay when you go away, these niche hotels are designed with style in mind and often have themes to suit the discerning traveler. Some of the best boutique hotels in the World exist in Europe and each time I go away the only place I want to stay is in these fabulous hotels.

During my trips around Europe I have looked for stylish hotels like these and I want to share with you my favorite cities with the best boutique hotels.

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Paris

I love Paris, it oozes with class and style and I try to visit as much as I can, the last time I went, I stayed in a beautiful place called the Coq hotel. The hotel was one of the most affordable that I have found in Paris and the standard was brilliant. Whilst it is a hotel, it is also a members club that holds regular arty gatherings with craftspeople and also lots of wine tasting evenings, right up my street. The rooms are beautiful, mixtures of wood and brass, classic art and natural colors, a great boutique hotel.

Berlin

Boutique hotels really suit Berlin, a city with one of the coolest art scenes around and a city that should be on everyone’s list to visit. I stayed in a super cool hotel called the Oderberger, the location used to be public baths and the building is still the same, albeit with a far smarter interior. The hotel utilizes small features from its past life for things like coat hooks, stair rails and tiled walls. The rooms are full of Earth colors, wooden features and still has those beautiful wooden beams, a beautiful hotel in a brilliant city.

Zurich

I absolutely love Zurich, I’d like to get back there more often and I plan to this year, the city is beautiful and if you use a car rental service like I did then getting around is an absolute synch. I stayed in the Hotel Helmaus, a hotel that is very central with amazing service and incredibly cozy. The food here was delicious, and the rooms were small but super comfortable and beautifully designed, if you are heading to Zurich then I absolutely recommend this delightful hotel.

London

London is absolutely packed with boutique hotels, they range from classic beauty to underground, grungy style and everything in between, you can find all sorts of cool hotels here and I love to sample them. Most recently I stayed in the Haymarket Hotel, a hotel that is very close to the theatre scene in London so if you’re heading to a show then definitely check this place out. The hotel itself has a spa that offers all treatments, perfect when you want a break from the busy city. All of the rooms have flat screen TVs, i-Pod docks and are beautifully designed with floral furnishings and modern lay out, I really loved this hotel and the afternoon tea here was very British and very tasty!

How To Build An Outdoor Slatted Love Seat

If you want to give your garden a bit of livening up this year then furniture is the way forward, get rid of any tired looking plastic tableware and replace it with handmade items. There is something very rewarding about building something yourself, especially something that you can enjoy using after you’ve finished making it, such as a seat or in this case, a loveseat. These cool 2-person seats look great in the garden, they are simple in their design, super comfortable and straight forward to put together. If you want to make yourself a love seat for the garden then read on and follow our guide.

Things You’ll Need

  • Sanding Block
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil
  • Safety Glasses
  • Hearing Protection
  • Pine 2×4 Wood
  • Varnish or All-Weather treatment

For the wood, I like to use pine, it’s robust, inexpensive and has excellent durability, the sizings will all depend on how large you would like your loveseat to be based on how big your garden is, the dimensions given are just for the seat that I have built but feel free to alter them as you wish.

The Build

Once you have all materials ready, it is time to start, first with the seating area, I used 2 lengths of 2×4 at 50″ and for the width of the sofa I used 3, 25″ lengths, 2 for the outer seat and one for added strength in the centre using glue and nails to put each joint together. Once the seating area was finished, move onto the arms of the chair, you will be building 2 identical structures here so make sure your measurements are exact, the last thing you need is a wonky chair. The heights of the arms should sit around 15″ higher than the seat, so bear this in mind when measuring. Simply take 3 lengths and screw the armrest length onto the two pieces of wood that will be supporting the arm of the chair, once you have done this add a smaller length of ridged wood around halfway down, this is where the slats of the seat will be once finished.

Once you have these 3 frames completed it is time to attach them, using nails and glue attach both arms to the sides of the seating frame, constantly use your spirit level to make sure that you are keeping things straight. Allow the frame to set for a while before adding the slats to your loveseat, the slats should be slightly longer than the seat itself as they need to go under the arms and onto the ridges below. Once the frame has set you can start adding your slats, these can be easily nailed or screwed down. Finally you need some back support for your loveseat which can be done by using the same lengths of wood that you have used for the slats, place 3 of them across the back of the seat and you are all done. Last but not least, add some cushions and relax on your new home-built loveseat.

How To Build A Kick-Ass BBQ Pit In Your Backyard

When the sun is shining and you want to host a BBQ party, imagine that when the guests arrive they witness you, tending to your self-built flame throwing BBQ pit as you cook up some ribs for the masses. That dream can be a reality with just a little hard work, effort and with this quick guide for how to build a kick ass BBQ pit in your own backyard. Even if you don’t have construction experience, you can still complete this straight forward project with great results.

What You Will Need

Here’s the equipment you will need to have before you start;

  • Shovel
  • Spirit Level
  • 48 Bricks, same size (depending on space used and height)
  • Stainless Steel Grill, to measure
  • Concrete
  • Mallet
  • Sand
  • Large Metal Tray

Level of Difficulty

The build itself is not a highly difficult build, it is straight forward and as long as you keep measuring the level of your brickwork then anyone can do this. The job is pretty labor intensive, a lot of moving and carrying bricks can put strain on the back and on the legs so bear that in mind before starting and ask someone to help you if you are worried about the heavy lifting.

The Build

To start with we are going to build the outer walls of our BBQ pit, prepare the ground first by digging around 8 inches into the earth around your marked pit area, use some sand to put in the crevice and place your first bricks for your 3-sided outer. Continue to build the bricks up using your cement and ensuring to criss-cross the joining of the bricks for stability. Each time you have completed a layer, use your spirit level to check if it is straight, if it isn’t then concrete will still be wet enough to alter it a little. Once your wall has reached the sufficient level, usually just above your waistline then it is time to start on the inner part of our pit.

Follow the same process for the inner walls as you did for the outer area of our pit and slowly start to build up the brickwork of the interior. When you get around halfway up the outer wall it is time to place your metal tray, this will be where the fire will sit for your BBQ, there should be a greater distance between the floor and the fire than the BBQ grill itself and the fire so bear that in mind. To place the metal tray simply push it into the wet concrete on either side of the brick work. If you wish to be able to remove the tray for cleaning purposes then use 6 nails, 3 either side, and push them into the wet cement, once the cement dries you can simply move the metal tray as you like.

After this continue to build up the brickwork before placing the stainless steel grill, there should only be one layer of bricks above the grill to hold it in position and you should follow the same steps that you did with the metal tray to place the grill into the BBQ.

This of course is just the quickest and simplest way of creating a cool BBQ pit in your backyard, you can get far more creative or create bigger and better BBQ’s if you so wish, don’t be daunted, anyone can do it.

How To Build Your Own Motorhome

If you are looking to combine your love of DIY and travel then what better way to do it than by building your very own motorhome. This may sound like a daunting task at first but once you start the planning process you’ll see that if you keep things simple then you could be heading off on the open road in no time at all. This project is by no means simple and you will have to spend a lot of time both during the planning and the construction stages. Without further ado here is how you need to go about building your very own motorhome.

The Motor

First and foremost, you will need to buy the vehicle, the best thing to look out for here is a van with a good wheel base, similar to the ones that plumbers, construction workers and electricians use, these have plenty of space for you to play with, excellent stability and sufficient horsepower for carrying your home. Keep your eyes peeled at auctions and second hand traders for the best bargain and you should try to buy one that is no more than 6 years old.

Simplicity

When it comes to designing your home, simplicity is key, if you overcomplicate the build then it could leave you frustrated at not being able to get it finished, it could end up costing far more than you bargained for and it also allows more things to possibly go wrong. Measure your space in the back of the van and draw out a plan for the bed, the sink/kitchen area and any seating or cupboards that you wish to install.

Warmth

The first key to turning your van into a motorhome is insulating it and protecting it from the weather, to do this you need to do exactly the same as you would do in a house, prepare your frame for your false walls to sit in and use insulation behind each wall board. Once this is complete then you should look to seal any holes or crevices from the outside. Now that you have your walls in and your insulation sorted, you can begin to plan out the rest of your home.

Stability

It is important that whatever cabinets, attachments, beds or seats that you place in the rear of your motorhome are full stable, remember that you will be driving your motorhome on bumpy roads and round bends, the last thing you need is unstable furniture bouncing around. Fold away items are perfect to use in the back of the motorhome such as beds and seats, these can provide space when you need it and can pull out when it is time to sleep, if using these then ensure that they have excellent fixings that will keep them from opening out during your travels.

Water and Electric

If you are building your own motorhome then the best thing you can do is to buy an electric generator to power the sockets in the van, an electrician will be able to install wiring in your dry walls before you commence the rest of the build. For water and bathroom facilities, the sensible option is to forego these and stick to using campsites, you can make your own motorhome fully plumbed but the cost and the effort of doing so doesn’t prove worthwhile.

Family Travel Guide To San Francisco

San Francisco is a perfect city to travel to with your kids if you are looking for a family-friendly big city experience. Last year I took my little crew with me (husband, son 9 and daughter 7,) down to Frisco for a 4 day break, having deliberated over which city to go to for some days. We choose San Francisco as despite being a huge city it appeared to have a more outdoorsy vibe about it and we weren’t wrong. There is so much to do here for the whole family and here is a quick guide for you on what you can expect from San Francisco.

Accommodation

As with any big U.S. city there is numerous hotels and motels for you to stay in that offer rooms for the entire range of budgets that you may have. The question in San Fran isn’t which hotel to stay in, but where, we only had 4 days and didn’t want to spend them driving from location to location, a central hotel was necessary. We stayed in Presidio which is just a few miles away from the bay, it was a perfect location for our activities and an area surrounded by hiking trails and wooded areas with views of both the Bay and the famous Golden Gate Bridge, it was hard to believe we were still in the city.

Family Activities

There is an incredible array of things to do in San Francisco for families, many of which are absolutely free leaving you with more cash to spend on treats. Here is a list of free activities that you and the family can do in Frisco.

  • Asian art museum
  • San Francisco museum of modern art
  • California Academy of Sciences
  • Exploratorium (An exciting view of science and wonder in a fully interactive center)
  • Wells Fargo history museum
  • Center for the Book (All things literary with a huge children’s learning center)
  • Golden Gate Park (Huge park with botanical areas, children’s playground and open spaces)
  • San Francisco Zoo ( Free entry, additional costs for tours and transport available)
  • Beaches and Parks

As you can see, having fun in this great city doesn’t have to cost the Earth and there is plenty of fun to be had for all the family.

Landmarks

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge is without doubt one of the World’s most iconic landmarks, this 3 mile long and 1 mile wide suspension bridge spans the Golden Gate Strait and must be visited on a trip to San Francisco. You can cross the bridge by car, sail under it on a ferry or simply pull up beside it for a photo opportunity, there are also tours available that gives you all the important details about this landmark. Another icon in San Francisco is the famous Lombard Street which features a steep hill with 8 hairpin turns on it, the street as been popularized by many movies in which it has featured and if you have time then make sure you take a drive down this crazy road.