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The benefits of upcycling furniture

Upcycling has become extremely fashionable in recent years as more and more of us try to live more sustainably, as well as assert our individuality in the way we decorate our homes. Upcycling takes many forms, from simple DIY projects to extravagant works of art by renowned designers. This article discusses some of the benefits of upcycling furniture and explains how anyone can try their hand at this fun pastime.

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Cost

It should go without saying that upcycling an existing piece of furniture is far more affordable than buying something new. Many pieces of furniture are thrown out simply because they have minor damage or because they are not in fashion anymore. Almost all items can be salvaged, whether by a quick sanding down and lick of fresh paint or by more extensive re-fashioning. For example, an unloved dining table can be given a new lease of life by replacing the legs, or cutting down the existing legs and creating a stylish coffee table.

Individuality

As Period Living magazine points out, you can easily transform outdated items with some simple TLC. This means you will have truly one-of-a-kind pieces no one else owns. And when someone asks where you got your brand new designer furniture, you’ll be able to proudly tell them you created it yourself. How about upcycling an old bureau into a quirky bathroom pedestal?

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And don’t just upcycle inside your home – there’s plenty you can do outdoors too. Give an old wooden chair a new lease of life by covering it in outdoor paint and using it in the garden. Transform chipped or damaged kitchen pots and pans into unique planters for your patio. Buying new bathroom roller blinds? How about turning your old bathroom roller blinds into a stylish window covering for your shed?

Environmental factors

Think of the feel-good factor you will get from revamping a pre-loved piece of furniture rather than purchasing something new. When you buy new furniture, you are responsible not just for the raw materials – be they wood, glass or something else – but also any chemicals used in the manufacturing process, as well as any air miles or road miles used to transport the finished piece to you. When you upcycle an existing piece, you are not further depleting the world’s resources or adding to pollution.

Throwing the Perfect Movie Party for Kids

You don’t have to spend a small fortune to celebrate your child’s birthday. They may want to celebrate it with lots of their friends, while you secretly panic about how much it will all cost, but there are ways of giving your child a memorable party that won’t break the bank. Hosting a movie party is the perfect idea for kids of all ages, and even better for parents when you realise how little it actually costs.

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Choosing the Film

The last thing you want is a group of frightened, upset children because the film you chose was too scary, but you don’t want them being bored with a film aimed at younger children either. Find out what your child’s favourite film is or ask for suggestions. Remember to look at the film certificate or classification to make sure it’s suitable.

The Food

A movie isn’t the same without popcorn, so keep an eye out in the weeks leading up to the party for paper bags to serve them in. You could hand each child their own bag before the film starts, or have a buffet table full of sweets, chocolate, crisps and other favourite film snacks for them to fill themselves with. You could even hold an intermission to allow the kids to have a food break with cake pops, pudding cups and fruit punch.

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Decorations

Realistically, children aren’t going to be paying too much attention to the décor, but it’s always nice to make it look amazing. The beauty of a movie party is that it can be held indoors so you don’t have to worry about bad weather, although if you do prefer to keep the party outside, you could always look into hiring a marquee or tent. If you really want to go all out, look for a home automation company such as http://digitalinteriors.co.uk to make the experience extra-special.

Think about what you like to do when you watch a film, and it’s highly likely that putting your feet up and turning the lights down low will feature. So for a child’s movie night, get out the pillows and beanbags out for them to lounge on. Fairy lights are the perfect addition to keep it cosy, whilst-battery powered lanterns make an ideal finishing touch.

Once the party gets started, pull up a beanbag and relax.

Why you should keep your home’s Victorian features

If you have a Victorian property, you likely want to show off the elegant features left over from this era and refrain from ripping it all out. Whether you have a tiled fireplace or ornate cornices, it’s so much better to celebrate these period, architectural features instead of renovating your home with garish modernisation. Listed below are some of the main renovations to keep in style with your historic home.

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Reveal your flooring

If you are fortunate enough to have original flooring, do not be tempted to cover it up with laminate or imitation wood. Instead, why not expose the character of the flooring to its former glory? Recent years have witnessed an increase in people replacing their Victorian flooring, but with oak flooring in Ireland and the right procedures for cleaning and maintaining a well-heated home to prevent woodworm, you’ll have an aged but charming floor.

Update sash windows

Too many homeowners replace their stylish Victorian windows with ugly, modern versions. Whilst these might have their benefits through modern insulation, they offer none of the personality of the Victorian era. Fortunately, the sash window was designed to be adapted. These days, they can be made sound-proof and draught-proof while still keeping their authenticity.

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Keep it original

There are so many features remaining in properties from the Victorian era, and the most popular are the fire surrounds. A visit to any boot sale or architectural reclamation yard such as Wilsons Yard will open your eyes to how many of them have been removed. This makes them easy to find if your Victorian fireplace does need any decorative replacements.

Avoid anything fake

An increasingly common trend seems to be fake grass. If you love plants and wildlife, this is unacceptable, and our Victorian ancestors wouldn’t be too impressed, either. A decent-sized garden is one of the reasons people tend to move property. Unless you need to have synthetic grass to make it easier to maintain or limit the damage from your dog, your best bet is to re-turf and revel in your natural surroundings.

Keeping original Victorian features or sourcing them for renovation is something that will add character to your home. It will also be a great future investment if you decide to sell your home.

Ideas for the perfect Christmas party

With Christmas looming and the party season almost in full swing, if you haven’t yet organised your festive get together, it’s high time you put your thinking cap on. To ensure your yuletide bash goes off with a bang, here are some top ideas.

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Eat, drink and be merry

Christmas is the one time of the year you can overindulge on food and drink without feeling guilty until the New Year has at least been and gone. So, when it comes to organising party food and drink, don’t skimp at Christmas. Food can be heavy and filling at this time of year, so opt for lots of finger foods and light bites, such as vol-au-vents, blinis and mini versions of favourite dishes.

Certainly, it would be a sin to let the drinks run dry at any Christmas bash, so stock up on festive cocktails, eggnog, and mulled wine.

Create an ambience

You don’t need to go over the top to create a Christmassy feel to your party space. At the very least, a Christmas tree, mistletoe and a few strips of tinsel will suffice. However, you can add a few touches here and there that can add style to your festive setting. According to Goodhousekeeping, with no shortage of empty bottles lying around, once rinsed and decorated, they make perfect receptacles for candles.

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If you want to impress clients, colleagues or friends and family, but have no experience of organising a Christmas party, it might be an idea to get some assistance from expert party planners, such as http://davisevents.ie, which is an event agency in Dublin.

Set a dress code

Inject an element of fun into your festive bash and request guests to dress up according to a specific theme. You could suggest that guests have to wear a particular seasonal colour, such as red or green, have to wear a silly festive jumper or should come dressed as a Christmas character.

Organise entertainment

Food and drink aside, an essential ingredient of a good Christmas party is having some entertainment to keep everyone amused. This could be something as simple as having a top-notch music playlist, to organising a live band, or having a few festive party games up your sleeve. Again, if organising this is something alien to your comfort zone, seek professional guidance from a Christmas events organising company.

 

Simple home sewing projects for beginners to try

If you are a novice when it comes to sewing, it is important to try simple projects before you move on to more complicated things. There are many different items for the home or family that beginners can make successfully, mostly based on simple shapes and stable fabrics. Here are three easy but rewarding projects to begin with.

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Reversible scarves

These are easy to make and are excellent gifts for all members of the family. One side is cut from a soft woollen fabric whilst the other is a light printed cotton. Decide on the overall size and cut out the woollen and cotton fabrics allowing a half inch seam allowance all round. Place the dressmaking fabric right sides together with the cotton on top and machine stitch all round, leaving an opening in the centre of one short side. It is easier to stitch on cotton than on wool and the fabric is less likely to slip if you do it this way. Trim the corners, turn and press neatly before slip stitching the gap closed. This article in the Telegraph offers advice on choosing your first sewing machine.

Party favour bags

For unique party favour bags, make your own from scraps of fabric. Select printed dressmaking fabrics and cut rectangles measuring 11 by 7.5 inches. Fold each rectangle in half with right sides together, and sew each long side and one short side with a half inch seam allowance. If you have pinking shears, finish the open side with these. Turn the bag inside out and fill with treats. They can be tied closed with a strip of contrasting fabric.

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Scented sachets

You will need some different pretty cotton fabrics such as those available from http://www.quality-fabrics.co.uk/dressmaking-fabrics-14-c.asp and some moth repelling lavender buds. Cut the fabric into five-inch squares and sort into pairs of complementary colours/patterns. Sew them right sides together with a half inch seam allowance, leaving a gap where they can be turned right sides out. Fill with lavender and sew the opening closed. These will keep your stored linens fresh for months or could be placed under pillows to aid a restful night’s sleep.

There are many sewing projects that beginners can make at home, but starting with these really simple ideas will give you the confidence to tackle more complicated items very soon.

What’s Hot in Photography?

As with any industry, photography is subject to fashions and trends as well. Here are some recent trends that have had an impact of how professionals take photos:

  1. Going Green

Plants have increasingly been making an appearance on the photography scene. The use of large palm fronds has been a recurring theme in many interior design shoots. Even small, well-arranged succulents have been getting in on the act. Plants will soften an interior and it would appear that people posing for photos like to half hide behind them too.

Green is the easiest colour in the spectrum for the human eye to see and has always been associated with feelings of calm and soothing. Maybe we are also becoming more environmentally conscious as getting out and taking landscape shots is also becoming increasingly popular.

  1. Collages

Instagram is inundated with photographers uploading their work so how to make your work stand out from the crowd? This is where the use of collages and diptychs come into their own as a way of standing out from a sea of square images. This method is employed in magazines as well and looks fresh and funky. Perhaps this is a trend that might take off in displaying wedding photos in a unique and unusual way. To discuss the latest trends in wedding photography for your big day contact a Bournemouth Wedding Photographer like nickrutterphotography.co.uk

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  1. Minimalist Fashion Shots

Recent trends have taken us away from decadent, glamour and focused more on understated urban fashion in realistic, often stark surroundings with no touch-ups or softening. Makeup and hair looks are becoming more minimalist as people seek a more authentic look rather than the traditional digital enhancing that has taken place in recent years. This trend should continue to be popular as there is a call for more realism and diversity in fashion photography as a whole.

  1. Technique is Everything

The thought process behind taking a photo will become more important than the image itself. It’s the clever technique that makes the photo timeless. As we are bombarded by images more than ever, online and on social media, new emerging photographers will need a personal technique with which to stand out and create stunning timeless images.

  1. Visual Storytelling

In the past, it was enough to place our photographs in an album but increasingly we are seeing visual books and photo journals being used to showcase photos in a form of storytelling. Finding new and exciting ways to present photography will remain a continuing trend in the field and will no doubt be employed by young emerging talent.

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  1. Technology

The progress of technology never ceases and with new equipment comes more creativity and experimentation. Increasingly, equipment is becoming more advanced and easy to use, giving rise to a wide choice of lighting options and sensors etc. This gives photographers a much broader scope for trying different equipment, experimenting with different methods and constantly aiming for the ultimate in high-quality photography.

Why Visit the Wye Valley?

Planning a trip couldn’t be easier if you’re travelling to the Wye Valley and the Forest of Dean. There are many towns and villages within easy reach so you’ll have somewhere different to visit every day. Here we take a look at some of the fascinating towns in and around the Wye Valley:

Cinderford

This historic town is a market town in the heart of the Royal Forest of Dean. There was once a ford here but it was replaced by a bridge in 1674. This was a result of improvements made to the town after the upheaval of the English Civil War. Thanks to the elevation of the town, it enjoys wonderful views across the valley and of the River Severn. It’s a main commercial area of the Forest with a vibrant open-air market and plenty of pubs, restaurants and shops.

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Littledean, Drybrook and Ruardean

Not far outside of Cinderford are the villages of Drybrook, Ruardean and Littledean. Here you’ll find warm, welcoming country pubs with great food. In Littledean, you’ll discover the bizarre gaol designed by architect William Blackburn, imposing and made from red sandstone. At Littledean Hall is a Roman temple which wasn’t discovered until the 1980s. It is thought the temple here was a shrine to the water deity of the River Severn.

Ross-on-Wye

This attractive market town is shaped by the distinctive St Mary’s Church spire which has overlooked the town for more than 700 years. It’s an iconic destination in that it’s been called the birthplace of modern tourism and the area has long been a magnet for visitors. There are plenty of things to see and do, including mini golf, art galleries, the amazing hedge puzzle and the ruins of Goodrich Castle. There are some stunning wedding venues in this area so if you’re looking for a Wedding hotel venue Gloucestershire then visit http://www.thespeechhouse.co.uk

Gloucester

For a city, Gloucester is relatively small but this makes it easy to get around and see all the sights. From the historic docks to the cathedral that was used in the filming of the Harry Potter films, there are lots of tourist attractions to enjoy. The Quays offer a state-of-the-art shopping, restaurant and cinema complex in the heart of the renovated Victorian docklands. There are two museums to visit and the National Waterways Museum located in the docks.

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Newent

Newent is located in the north of the Forest of Dean and as beautiful unspoilt historic market town with buildings as old as the 13th century. The half-timbered market house in the centre is the focal point of this lovely heritage conservation area. Newent Lake is a haven for wildlife and the town is also famous for its annual onion fayre. The surrounding countryside is picture postcard quality with fields, ancient hedgerows, narrow lanes and woodland charm. The iconic daffodil walks are a must in the springtime.

Symonds Yat

There is much to do on the water here with canoe hire being very popular. If you want to experience outdoor pursuits then there’s also kayaking, climbing, raft building and abseiling adventures available here. For a more tranquil experience, a visit to the butterfly zoo and maze is highly recommended.

5 reasons to choose a staycation

With the average professional’s life becoming increasingly hurried, it stands to reason that short getaways where people can escape the grind, deviate from the routine and recharge their proverbial batteries are essential to maintaining a healthy mental state.

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Staycations are here to stay as more Britons ditch the extravagant out of town holidays and opt to stay closer to home. According to a recent report by Visit Britain, the number of people vacationing at home is up by 23% year on year. So it’s clear that Britons are viewing this phenomenon as a viable holiday option with a number of wins:

Saves money and time

This approach to affordable holidaymaking offers the obvious perks on money and time saved from exhausting and expensive air flights and complex visa applications. Travellers can also escape the ever-thorny process of searching for and securing foreign accommodation.

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Offers added convenience and flexibility

Planning a large family vacation internationally or domestically comes with its own logistical gremlins. A holiday in one’s local city provides the convenience and comfort of being close to the familiar but is also perfect for those who are more spontaneous in personality and need the flexibility to cancel a holiday should the weather turn for the worst suddenly or the office calls in with an urgent project.

Saved money can be redirected to luxury spending

Shorter local holidays offer the possibility of extra discretionary funds that travellers can splurge on luxuries like spas at a local hotel, fine dining or a theatre date with their partner. While Airbnb offers a slew of affordable accommodation options, for the more discerning traveller, boutique fully serviced apartments Birmingham No.8 Waterloo Street apartments may just be the perfect fit.

Provides an opportunity to explore the local city

The UK is replete with a rich cultural heritage and history yet few locals give themselves the opportunity to indulge in these treasures. A holiday at home allows travellers to enjoy epic adventures locally.

Supports the local green economy

Millennials are looking for opportunities to live out their lives with greater altruism. Staycations offer them the opportunity to contribute back to the green economy – less travels by car, train or plane equates to reduced carbon dioxide emissions which does a world of good for the environment.

4 Reasons to Take Occasional Breaks from Your Work Routine

No matter how much you love what you do, everyone needs a break work. The everyday routine can stress you out and create friction in your mind, resulting in headaches and susceptibility to illnesses, like annual flus and more serious diseases. Stress is a killer, for sure. Which is why it’s important to take occasional breaks from the ins-and-outs of your usual work routine.

Refresh Your Mind

When you break up the monotony of work, you give yourself a break from stress and hassle. No getting up super-early to meet a deadline. No rushing to shower and dress to make it to a meeting. No spending hours at a desk or on your feet for the profit of someone else. Occasional breaks refresh your mind and center your focus. So, when you do return to work, you will be ready for the challenges, which helps better manage the stress.

Unwind Your Nerves

Breaks from work are prime opportunities for you to do something great for yourself. Take a bubble bath, sleep in for a few hours, sharpen your mind with challenging brain teasers, and watch a bunch of television. Or, better yet, plan a trip, charter a cruise, or go on a nature walk to breathe in fresh air and really clear your mind. Do things that you love to do while you are free to do them.

Bolster Your Business Knowledge

If your work is your life, fueled by passion for a specific hobby or interest, then you probably thrive on new ideas and innovative business strategies. In which case, some of your break from work could be used to bolster your business knowledge. Do some research to better your business ventures, especially if that business is your own.

Live in the Moment

Taking a break from work allows you to live free and clear for a few days. You can plan your days as they come, live in the moment, and really focus on doing the things that make you happiest. Not to say you should hop in a plane and jump out in a daredevil stunt, but you should totally get back to the basics with hobbies and interests that make you smile.

Why should you take a break from work? Because you should work to live, not the other way around. No work, regardless of what it is, should be worth your life. Take a moment, take a break, and get back to who you are when you’re not stressed out by deadlines and time constraints.

I Will Survive!

If you’ve ever watched the film Castaway starring Tom Hanks, you might have wondered in passing if you could survive as well as his character did for that long on a deserted island. It seems we have become obsessed with matters of survival and there are many online games that feature scenarios where you must survive being abandoned alone in hostile territory. In the highly unlikely event you find yourself in your own version of ‘Stranded’ then here are some potentially life-saving tips:

  1. Don’t Panic

Easier said than done but many people, with no survival experience, have survived for long periods of time by clear thinking and the ability to remain calm. Keeping a positive mental attitude enables people to continue with life-saving routines and not give in to despair. For all your outdoor kit needs, whether on a desert island or a harmless hike, you need an Online bushcraft store. For more information, visit angloforro.co.uk

  1. Water

This needs to be priority number one as you can survive for longer without food than you can without hydration. If you’re not conveniently located near a stream, you’ll need some kind of water collection device. Search for something that can be used to catch rain or any possible caves where you might find dripping water. You can also locate water by digging a hole, putting a container in the bottom surrounded by wet leaves and covering with tarp. Weigh down the tarp or any other plastic with rocks so water will collect and drop into the container.

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  1. Food

Eventually hunger will make you stir crazy but avoid the potential dangers of unidentified plants and stick to bananas or coconuts if you’re on a desert island. Fishing is your best bet if you’re surrounded by ocean. It’s not easy but you could try using a sharpened stick or maybe a safety pin for a hook. Look out for crabs on the beach and molluscs, clams and seaweed are all edible.

  1. Avoid Getting Hurt

If you have been injured from a plane crash or ship wreck, you must see to your injuries first and try not to sustain any other whilst you are on the island. In a tropical environment, a small cut can turn septic quickly and ultimately lead to gangrene. The best piece of equipment is a bit unexpected but is actually a pair of wellies. Keeping your feet dry, avoiding cutting your feet on broken shells or the poisonous barbs of a cone shell or jellyfish make wellies a life-saving item. They can also be used to collect and store rainwater. So, forget the matches and the spear, what you really want are wellies.

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  1. Shelter

During the day, you’ll need shelter from the sun and believe it or not, you’ll need shelter from hypothermia if thunderstorms occur in the evenings. Sleeping arrangements must be off the ground in case of snakes, building a fire around your shelter will also help deter them. If you can find any sort of netting then this should cover your sleeping area to avoid insect bites as much as possible. Avoid building your shelter underneath a coconut tree as you don’t want one falling on your head!

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