Why to Consider Adding a Wall in the Bathroom

Why to Consider Adding a Wall in the Bathroom

Walls can be added to bathrooms relatively easily, although this isn’t an option which many homeowners consider. Most bathrooms are too small to make such an arrangement practical, but, if you have the space, adding a wall will come with a number of benefits.

Provides Privacy

Most people thinking about adding a wall in their bathroom are sharing it with another person. Privacy can be a problem in these situations, even between long-married couples. Adding a wall will separate the toilet from the shower or bath. You can even add a different door if the space allows it, meaning that one of you can use the toilet while the other is washing.

Creates a Nicer Spot for the Bathtub

If you have a larger bathroom, the tub is often hard to place. This is because it’s usually mounted against the wall, and seems a little too out of the way. Using a wall to divide the space will improve the room’s symmetry and balance. It also provides a space to hang towels, making it easier to reach out and grab one.

Close Outlets and Lighting 

An added wall can be fairly simple – something which is only used to divide up the space. However, you can also choose to have lighting fixtures and outlets installed. If the wall is placed next to your sink or vanity, you’ll improve the functionality of the room. Cords won’t run across it, and illumination will be improved where you need it most.

Breaks up a Larger Room

People typically want their bathrooms to be bigger, but those with bathrooms already on the large side often want theirs to feel smaller and more intimate. It can be difficult to do that since there’s very little which can be added to break up the space. However, an added wall is perfect. You can create an intimate nook in which to place one of your fixtures.

Adding a wall in your bathroom is easier than you think, and it’s more advantageous than most people imagine. If you could benefit from one, there’s no reason not to start considering the idea more seriously.

Interior Design Ideas for the Family Home

Interior Design Ideas for the Family Home

Let’s be honest – once your toddler starts walking, talking, and playing around the house, keeping your home clean, tidy, and stylish can become a bit of a challenge. But while you will most certainly have to give up some control (and will find yourself regularly craving a holiday weekend away to restore the balance), having kids doesn’t mean you have to compromise your eye for interior design. It simply means that you have to rethink your attitude a little. From minimalist design ideas, to easy origami animals for kids to create – here are four tips on how to give your home some style, co-designed by your children.

Choose your statement pieces – but make sure they’re resilient

Living with kids doesn’t mean that you can’t invest in nice furniture, but it is important to choose pieces that are sturdy enough to handle some wear and tear, without needing a professional clean every other week. Go for dark colours, leather, and patterned fabrics instead of cream coloured suede if you want to invest in a designer piece. When it comes to coffee tables and cabinets, think practical and go for smooth shapes rather than sharp corners. By thinking outside the box, you might even stumble upon a great piece of furniture that you wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Learn how to curate your kid’s art

Kids love painting and arts and crafts. No wonder – it’s a fun activity that teaches them valuable manual skills and is great to relax kids that tend to get stressed and worried. But if your kids are proud of what they have created, they will most likely want to see it up on a wall for everyone to admire. Whilst you might be hesitant at first to give your kid that prime spot in the living room that you had reserved for some “real art”, it’s time to shift that mindset. The trick is to curate your kid’s art so only selected paintings or projects make it up on the wall. This will not only make sure that you can pick and choose which art works will complement your home, but it will also instill a real sense of pride in the chosen artist.

Encourage variety

If your kids tend to stick to the same watercolour style every time they dig out the craft utensils, it might be time for you to show them what else is out there. You could, for example, introduce them to the art of origami – whilst it sounds difficult and fiddly, a lot of origami is simple, straightforward, and suitable for kids. Take a look at these easy origami animals for kids that you can make together. Another idea is to start a collage art project with your children. You can use family photos, magazine cutouts, or pictures you have printed to make collage art. Why not for example make a family calendar? You can buy plain white calendars in every art shop. Once you start to embark on bigger art projects such as these with your kids, the results will surprise you – and look surprisingly great on your kitchen wall.

Keep it simple

One of the most important things to keep in mind when you try to create a style for your home is that it’s crucial to go for simplicity over clutter. A minimalist look for your flat or your house is always great, but it’s almost essential when you have small children playing in the living room and spreading their toys out in the kitchen. By keeping it simple, not only will your kids have fewer opportunities to knock things over when things get a little wild. But it also means that even if they spread out all their toys next to the couch, the room won’t feel to messy and cluttered, and cleaning things up after will be an easy and quick affair.

From easy origami animals for kids, to simple storage solutions – having children doesn’t have to be a hindrance to your interior design. There are loads of ways your family can enhance the look and feel of your home – give one of these simple ideas a go and see what you can achieve.

6 Great Wines To Enjoy This Summer

6 Great Wines To Enjoy This Summer

Whether the weather is suitable this year for those long relaxing picnics by the lake or fun and informal barbecues in our back gardens, we still want to pick the right wines that match the spirit of summer.

The following wines have been chosen specifically with the summer in mind.  There is something for everyone, from the light bodied reds to the easy to drink whites and the very robust and deep reds.  Even if you don’t or can’t source the wines listed here, it at least gives you some good ideas to work with when choosing the bottles for your various events, occasions and gatherings this summer.

The Whites

Quita De Azevedo 2014 Vinho Verde Portugal – The Perfect Picnic White Wine

This is a light and almost spritzy white wine.  It is not completely, bone dry, but is very dry all the same and made from the loureiro grape in the north of Portugal.

Château Beaumont Les Pierrieres Blanc 2013, France

I have to get something off my chest – the white Bordeaux is a completely underrated white wine and this particular one is a perfect example of why they are so good.  It tastes as good as any fine wine, but for the price of something more affordable.  Fermented in the same barrels that are used to make the Beaumont Red, the grapes are from the Burg and Blaye varieties.

Sainsbury’s Taste The Difference Gavi 2014, Italy

You can’t go wrong with white Italian wines during summer and this is a particularly good one.  It has a sharp and very vivid citrus flavour that reminds you of the taste of the juice from preserved lemons mixed with the those of white and pink grapefruit.  Made from the cortese grapes of Piemonte, it has a very crisp, direct and pithy feel.  It is the perfect go-to wine when you just want a drink of something tasty.

The Reds

Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Barbera d’Asti 2013, Italy

This particular red has a very silky and compact texture complemented with a taut, but juicy flavour.  There are hints of black and red cherries and it is the perfect accompaniment to home-made pizza.  It is made from bright barbera grapes in the north west of Italy.

Domaine Les Yeuses Merlot 2013, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

This is a very juicy all-rounder and even if you are not a particularly big fan of merlot, I am pretty sure you will enjoy the refreshing flavour.  There is a hint of lightly stewed damsons and redcurrant leaves that makes this the best choice when you want an uncomplicated red that will go well with any situation and meal.

Cigliuti Langhe Nebbiolo 2013, Italy

Another wine made from a grape found in the Piemonte region of Italy.  The barolo grape gives this wine its grown up and entrancing scent of sandalwood and dried petals of rose.  The tannins in this wine are as strong as a deliciously fragrant black tea.

Contemporary homes with an eco-friendly twist

Contemporary homes with an eco-friendly twist

More homeowners are looking to create eco-friendly properties that enable them to save money and reduce the impact on the environment. There are a number of ways that this can be achieved, whilst maintaining a contemporary look and feel to a property. As the demand for these products increases, more companies are investing significantly in eco-friendly technology, so that homeowners can continue to appreciate the benefits.

Eco-friendly technology

If you’re looking to integrate eco-friendly elements into your home, then there is a range of options available to you. These all provide you with different benefits and cost saving solutions, allowing you to cut your energy costs and do your part to protect the environment.

Install a smart thermostat

These types of thermostats have been around for a few years, but the technology around them is improving dramatically. This is enabling more property owners to reduce their energy usage and cut their heating bills, as the temperature settings can be adapted to suit their requirements more precisely. This new generation of smart thermostats can acclimatise to your family’s lifestyle and routine and then adjust the temperature accordingly. They are manufactured in modern and sleek designs, so that they blend in with your decor.

Automatic lighting

Over the past few years, more homeowners have taken on board the benefits of LED lighting. This reduces your energy usage, helping to save money, as they use lower wattage bulbs that provide the same level of illumination as traditional ones. However, you can now also benefit from custom designed lighting that switches on to a set brightness at various times. They can even be controlled through apps, so that you can turn the lights on or off or adjust them while you’re away from the property.

Smart appliances

As the technology behind smart appliances adapts it is becoming more eco-friendly as well, such as the introduction of ultra-fast washing machines that can accommodate greater loads. This means that a family would require fewer loads, reducing the amount of water and energy they are using. Some of these appliances even have Wi-Fi diagnosis systems. This enables them to troubleshoot an issue via the internet and diagnose what is wrong, which reduces the cost and inconvenience of having to call out an engineer.

Development of eco-friendly technology

As consumers demand smarter and more eco-friendly appliances, manufacturers are developing more advanced ways of working to accommodate these requirements. Some companies, such as the M1 Group, have invested heavily in eco-friendly technology. Within the buildings of companies that connect to M1 Group they incorporate a range of energy saving technology. This state of the art equipment and the building management systems have become integral to all their projects and enabled them to reach out to a new market.

In the future, eco-friendly technology will continue to grow and adapt to consumer demands. As we focus more on cost saving and reducing our impact on the environment, homeowners will want to incorporate technology into their property that not only works, but also looks good.

Do I need a plumber?

Do I need a plumber?

This may sound like a crazy question; however, today more and more people are turning into their own handyman and trying to do all kinds of repairs instead of calling a repair person. You may be able to accomplish a few plumbing repair problems, however, even changing a faucet you can run into problems.

You may think that you can do all the repairs yourself and you run out and purchase a faucet for the kitchen, ready to handle that leaky faucet. The problem is once you get home, you cannot find a shut off under the sink so you must first turn off the water to the entire home. Now, you do that and remove the old faucet. You think wow, this is quite easy. You grab your new faucet and put it into place but as you are doing this an old pipe that you are trying to attach the new pipe to crumbles in your hand. Now, you must replace the old pipe. You run back to the hardware store and grab a pipe. When you get home, you realize the pipe you purchased is smaller and will not fit properly. You also notice that the faucet you purchased is not fitting correctly in the space that is there for the faucet as you purchased one with a sprayer nozzle thinking your wife would like that but you did not realize you did have a place for one.

Now, you have the water turned off, the hardware does not have the right size pipe you need for under the sink and you have to take back the faucet and get a new one. Your wife is ready to cook and you have the kitchen under repair and no water. No longer is she happy and she is certainly not worried about a leaky faucet. All she wants now is a working kitchen.

You now have to call for a professional that can provide solutions for Clearview plumbing to get your home back in order. Of course, this is the worst case scenario but it all could have been prevented if you add consulted with an experienced plumber in the first place. Of course, if you know what you are doing and you measure you should be able to replace a faucet unless your pipes are old and need replaced as well. It is in your best interest to have your plumbing inspected at least once per year to ensure that there is nothing that could cause you problems such as roots breaking pipes under the house or worn pipes that may burst. The cost of having an inspection done compared to the costs of emergency plumbing issues is quite low.

The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Wine

The Ultimate Guide to Vintage Wine

Ever seen yourself as a bit of a wine collector? Perhaps you want to impress your friends with your vintage wine collection? Whatever your reason for wanting to learn more about vintage wine, it’s an interesting (and delicious) subject. In this ultimate guide I’ve put together everything you need to know about vintage wines. When to buy them, when to store them, and when to drink them. Most importantly.

Red Wine

Let’s kick off with everyone’s favourite. Red wine is a collectors dream, that can quickly turn into a nightmare. Knowing when to lay down your wine (posh speak for storing it away) and when to drink it, will ensure no mishaps at your next dinner party. Here are some of the most popular wines and years, to get you started.

  • Burgundy – If you have any bottles before 1988 bin them now. They’re past their best. Anything from 1988 until 2000 is well worth opening at your next dinner party. With 2005 being the best vintage full stop. Although you can still let it lay for another year or two if you own a bottle.
  • Rioja – Everyone loves a good Spanish Rioja. The recent batches are some of the best, so are well worth buying up and keeping hold of. Some of the nicest vintages can be found on sites such as http://www.nicks.com.au – so, stock up and let them lay.  If you want something to drink right away then look for a 1994 bottle where possible. You can even go back as far as 1987 if you really want to show off.

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Photo from Flickr

White Wine

Now the sunshine is out, most people prefer to drink white as opposed to read. It goes down a treat with a barbecue! There have been some incredible years for some of our favourite whites. However, there have also been some pretty awful years. Here are some of the best wines and vintages for white wine.

  • Burgundy – The Cote D’Or version of the red, this white wine had one of its best years in 2010. If you can get hold of a bottle let it lay for another year or two. Anything from 1992 onward is pretty much ready to drink, so ditch any bottles before that year.
  • Chablis – This white wine seems to last the test of time a little longer than the Burgundy. If you have any bottles from 1990 then you’re in luck. From then on you’re fine up until 2004. Except any batch from 1994, that’s already turned bad.

Port

Want to stock up on some vintage port for Christmas? It may seem a million miles away, but it’s worth being prepared. Fortified wine lasts a lot longer than other bottles, which means you can go pretty far back without it going bad. Even bottles from 1983 could be stored for a little longer before being their best. One of the greatest vintages of port was served up in 2010. Leave this in your wine rack for a while and it’ll be one Christmas drink to remember. Can’t wait that long? Find yourself a bottle from 1994, for a great vintage.

So, which vintage wines will you be stocking up on? You can keep up to date with what’s good (and what’s not) using a vintage wine chart. Check the bottles you already own and gauge when they’ll be at their very best.

Is It Really Possible To Make Your Own Wine, And Would You Want To?

Is It Really Possible To Make Your Own Wine, And Would You Want To?

Living in the UK, I’m prone to a mixed bag of weather. Certainly not the warm and sunny climates that my bottles from Italy and France have enjoyed! Still, it seems that more and more Brits are making their own wine. It seems even the Romans were able to make good use of the little sunshine we do get each year. There is a lot of equipment needed, but it could be good fun to try it out!

Grape vines are surprisingly easy to grow. Plant them next to a wall, and use some supporting string or trellis to help keep them upright. You need more width than height as they like to spread out. Of course, finding space for enough vines to provide adequate quantities of grapes might be tricky in the city! You need to harvest about six kilograms of fruit to press for wine.

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The source of this image is Flickr

Once you have your fruit, and you have pressed it, you are still a few weeks away from enjoying a nice drink. Fermentation and clearing take a little while. You may want to wait up to a year before enjoying the wine. But for many trying this out for the first time, you’ll probably want a glass as soon as possible. There are no guarantees it will taste as good as you hope, but for a bit of fun it could be worth a go!

Of course, there are many other fruits you can use for drinks, jams and cooking. If you visit a website like http://www.pomonafruits.co.uk/, you may be quite surprised to see just how many different types of fruit you can grow. Most fruits can be grown in pots or hanging baskets. This means less back breaking digging and more munching on yummy crops of fresh fruit. Fruit trees have always interested me. Finding out just how many species of fruit trees I could choose from has got me thinking about it even more.

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The source of this image is Flickr too

If you’ve never grown fruit before, you might want to start with strawberry plants. They are incredibly easy to grow and can be planted almost anywhere. If you don’t fancy getting down on your knees in the dirt, you could plant them in hanging baskets and let the fruit and leaves cascade down. Raised flower beds can be really good for fruit or vegetable growing too. If you’ve only got a little terrace or courtyard, why not try planting in some decorative pots to brighten up the area?

It is possible to make homemade wine with almost any kind of berry. You must keep everything the wine touches sterile to avoid illness. One recipe from the internet calls for sixteen cups of fruit, two cups of honey, one packet of yeast and filtered water. Sounds simple. Of course, the fermentation of the fruits takes a bit of effort. And the waiting… I could open up a lot of shop bought bottles of wine in that time! Still, for a bit of fun, and to make something of homegrown fruit crops, it could still be worth a try.

Helping A Loved One Acquire Assisted Living

Helping A Loved One Acquire Assisted Living

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It’s not really a part of life that we like to think about all too often but sometimes we are forced into making tough decisions. One of the hardest can be putting our loved ones into care.

Assisted living isn’t just for elderly, but it is the most common form. In most cases, it will be a parent. This person brought you into this world and it’s only natural that you want to look after them now. Unfortunately, that might be beyond your remit of capabilities.

We won’t lie, you should be prepared for an emotional roller coaster and there will probably be moments when you temporarily regret your choice. Rest assured, though, it will be for the better in the long-term.

Here are some steps you can take to ensure you get the best help for your elderly loved ones:

Acknowledging There’s A Problem

Often the hardest stage of seeking help for either yourself or a loved one is accepting that it is needed. In an ideal world, we’d all love to take care of our own problems. Sadly, that isn’t always possible.

Acknowledgement is the first step on the road to finding the solution, whether it’s fixing the foundations of your house or helping a loved one get the attention they need. The fact you are reading this post suggests that you’ve already come to terms that your relative probably does need help.

With acceptance comes the chance to resolve. The next step is to get help.

Research

Help can come in many different forms and knowing which is best for your loved one is often half the battle.

This is the case with all forms of seeking help but is especially true when helping an elder relative get the best sort of assisted living arrangement. Dementia patients will require a home offering specialist care, such as Bria Health Services, for example.

Thankfully, the internet means you have a whole world of information at your fingertips and can carry out as much research as you feel is required. Ultimately, though, you should consult the professional advice of a doctor. They will be able to give a much stronger verdict.

Ultimately it’s a case of different people, different needs. It is crucial to get this decision right. Knowing your specific requirements is a huge breakthrough in finding the best solution.

Act

You don’t want to see your loved one suffering any longer. It’s important to get them the required help as soon as possible.

Many people take a negative view on the concept of seeking help but it is often the only genuine solution. By now, you already know this to be true with regards to your loved one.The sooner you get this sorted, the sooner everyone can get back into routine. Not least for the patient.

Putting someone you love in unfamiliar surroundings will be difficult at first. Humans are resilient, though, and will settle pretty quickly. Once they have, it will be a much better place for them to be. Assisted living will provide a far more comfortable future, which is all you can really hope for.


What To Do When You’ve Agreed To Look After A Friends Pet

What To Do When You’ve Agreed To Look After A Friends Pet

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I love to share my home with my friends and family. It’s fantastic being able to have a house full of guests. Because I have a large home, I was thinking, what if my friends ask me to look after their pet? If you’re not a pet owner, the thought can be a scary one. I’ve had a think and tried to pull together some tips, just in case!

Ask For A Checklist

If you don’t own a pet, I think it’s a good idea to ask for a to-do list. Even if you own pets, I’d ask. Each pet is different (much like their owners!). I’d want to know what food the pet likes and when it likes to eat. I’d also like to know of any allergies or illnesses I might notice while caring for them. If it were a dog or cat taking medication, I’d want to some tips on how to deliver it to them.

There are a few other things to think about such as cleaning, walks and even their favourite toys. Having a discussing before you take home any pet is worthwhile.

Tidy Away Breakables

If you’re thinking of looking after a friends cat or dog, my first instinct would be to tidy away anything that might break. Animals love to explore especially if it’s somewhere new! I’d make sure anything fragile was out of reach or locked away. Remember, if it’s a cat they can climb quite high. Moving something to the top shelf might be effective if you have an extra mischievous cat.

Stock Up On Supplies

I’d imagine the owner of the pet would provide you with a few bits to make sure their pet has everything they need. I liked to feel ready and prepared, so I’d browse a site like www.petfleas.co.uk first to see if there’s anything useful for the pet. It might be a good idea to have a few extra treats. Any pet will like you more if you feed it something special!

Watch Out For Hair

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Fluffy animals get hair everywhere. In my hair-busting kit, I’d have lint rollers and rubber gloves. Why rubber gloves? If you use a damp rubber glove on a surface, the hair will stick to it like magic. You might want to adapt your cleaning schedule and give everywhere a good vacuum once the pet has left.

Stay Alert

When I’m looking after anything that doesn’t belong to me, I like to be careful. When you’re dealing with a living creature, you need to be more vigilant. Watch out for open doors, busy roads and anything that could cause harm to the animal. If you do have kids or young children visiting your home, speak to them about the pet. The poor animal will be more nervous as it’s in a new environment, and kids can be a bit too enthusiastic sometimes.

What other advice would you offer someone who’s looking after a friend’s pet? Let me know.

5 Top Proseccos to try this year

5 Top Proseccos to try this year

‘To-do’ lists help us to organize our activities in a better way and not to miss anything. They may include long term goals such as to master Chinese language, to earn your first million and to go to live in Goa, as well as endless routine tasks. As often happens, we try to set our goals at the beginning of each year and start the incoming period with new guides. With them in mind we want to bring new experiences into our lives, shift to a new level and climb new mountains in personal and professional life. ‘To try Prosecco’ sounds not so global and ambitious. Indeed, this task has nothing to do with long-term goals. However, the little things in life make all the difference – and this little goal might add a touch of class to your everyday.

A glass of Italian sparkling wine called Prosecco does not warrant big changes, but, for sure, it may make your day, bring pleasure and inspire to great deeds. Watching the bubbles coming up from the bottom and bursting on the surface is like meditation, they hypnotize you and make you relax. New to prosecco? Frizzante Prosecco is lightly sparkling, and the name Spumante Prosecco says that you should expect full effervescing.

What is important to know is that Prosecco is best within first year after bottling. That’s why this fizzy wine should not be kept for a special occasion for a long time. It is produced in such a way to save freshness of wine. So, unlike a bottle of champagne, don’t put your prosecco away for a special occasion – drink it to celebrate the little occasions!

The reason why it’s made for drinking today, not tomorrow, is the way it is produced, named after Eugène Charmat and has other names such as the Italian method, or the Tank method. The stainless tanks are the place where juice is fermented for the second time. This method made it possible for Italian winemakers to offer affordable sparkling wine to the customers all over the world. French way of vinification is pretty different, because the second fermentation occurs in every individual bottle. This process requires more labor and time. And of course, the price (from 40USD) of Champagne bottle is considerably higher than Prosecco (from 10 USD). So, opt for prosecco and you’ll pay less and get bubbly wine with delicate flavors and scents.

This year we suggest you to taste the following five Proseccos:

  • Marks and Spencer Prosecco is dry with citrus flavors and lime scent.
  • Valdobbiadene Prosecco Spumante DOCG has creamy flavor with the notes of autumn fruits. Mix this type of Prosecco with peach puree and enjoy Bellini cocktail.
  • Zardetto Prosecco Brut is delicate and rich sparkler with peachy and spicy flavours.
  • Sommariva Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene Superiore DOCG NV is refreshing with stone fruit notes.
  • Sorelle Bronca Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG Extra Dry NVhas the scents of acacia and pear.

Celebrate the everyday and  try one of these five top Proseccos – they’ll put some sparkle in your life for less than you would think!