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Coping in the Snow

The UK has seen more than its usual seasonal dumping of snow over the last few weeks. As ever, we seem totally unprepared and much disruption ensues. Perhaps we should get better prepared and assume each winter there will be snow. That way we can react better like countries such as Sweden or Canada. Here are a few ways we can get ready so next winter doesn’t catch us unawares: Read more

Gift buying chore

Maybe it’s a male thing or maybe it’s just a me thing but I am terrible at buying gifts for people. I wander round the shops, I browse on the net and I agonise over and over about what to buy someone, so I end up buying precisely nothing. Then it’s all a mad rush and I fall into that “anything will do” phase that you find yourself and it’s usually sifting through what’s left especially if it’s and event like Christmas or Valentines Day for example. There are people that specialise in this, so I’m told. That sort of feels like cheating to be honest and even more impersonal than buying something rubbish. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more

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.

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