Friday, 27 November 2015

Lighting up the outside of your home in time for Christmas

Christmas Lights

There’s no better way to get in the Christmas spirit than by decorating your home with sparkly, glistening Christmas lights. From twinkling fairy lights, to a light up Santa Clause and fibrotic ornaments, making the outside of your home look fabulous in time for Christmas is just as exciting as decorating the indoors.

Start by putting on a Christmas cd or a Christmas movie on the TV and enjoy the afternoon making everything look pretty. You should even treat yourself and have a cheeky Christmas inspired hot chocolate whilst you untangle all the lights.  

Outside lights really let everyone know that you’re in the festive spirit. Often it can be a bit of a competition in some neighbourhoods as to who has the best Christmas lights, so it’s essential to make sure your display looks the best. It’s not really a competition, of course it’s about having Christmas cheer, but a strand of lights wrapped around a bush doesn’t always cut it.

What type of lights is best?
Icicle, flashing or colour changing? Picking the right lights can be hard.  Creating magical displays for children (and adults too) is all the range so go with whatever style first catches your eye. The outdoor lights from Lighting Styles are amazing with some awesome and individual LED outdoor displays that are sure to get the neighbours talking. Why not pop a baby light up polar bear on the doorstep or place some light up deer’s in the garden for a little something different.

If you do prefer something less flashy and want more traditional exterior lights, you can still spread a little Christmas cheer by making them look really impressive. Well placed icicle style lights always look really nice around the eves of a house and a classic light up wreath on the door keeps it classy.  If all else fails, a small tree on the step with a few lights around it always looks great and very welcoming.

For those of you who do want to be a bit more adventurous, experimenting with colourful lights is so fun and really brightens up your home. Christmas lights can bring others happiness too with so many different colours and styles to choose from an eclectic mix can bring a lot of joy to passers-by.

Whichever way you want to adorn your home with gorgeous twinkling lights be sure to make sure you’ve decorated safely whilst being as magical as possible this Christmas. 

How To Light Up A Family Bathroom

Family Bathroom

Changing up your lighting design is one of the most underrated ways to dramatically transform a space. When it comes to designing a family bathroom, the key word is compromise - the space has to work well for everyone, with safety being a top priority for young children. With some help from the selection of bathroom lighting on offer at Scotlight Direct, here’s a brief guide to a well-lit family bathroom.

Safety First
Bathroom lighting in particular has to meet certain UK safety standards regarding wiring - and you need to get it right first time. House to Home write that you should divide up your lighting into different splash zones - from zone 0 (submersed lighting) to zone 3 (surrounding areas). Always hire a professional electrician to do wiring jobs for you, and choose child safety features also, including a string switch long enough for little arms to reach.

Layer Your Lights
When it comes to creating a pleasant light, you need to consider the different areas and the natural light on offer - you want a bathroom to be welcoming and well-lit, without being harsh. Spotlights over the bath and shower are great for functionality, and for smaller bathrooms can double up as a main light. Flush fittings are ideal as a central, overhead light, as it directs the light across the room. That said, you may also want accent lighting for highlighting artwork or great architectural features - think a small sconce with an LED bulb for efficiency and style.

Vanity Lighting
From shaving to applying makeup, creating the right vanity lighting is a must in any bathroom. It should be soft, but mimicking natural light so you don’t miss any spots. For even lighting, Better Homes and Gardens advise placing two incandescent lights, adding up to 75 watts either side of your mirror. A great space saver is a lit mirror or bathroom cabinet, which are becoming increasingly affordable.

Finishing Touches

The great thing about designing a family bathroom is that many elements can be changed with minimal fuss as your children grow. Waterproof, battery powered night lights are a often a good addition to a family bathroom for midnight trips to the toilet, while ensuring a feeling of safety during bath time. A wise investment is a good quality step ladder, light enough that it can be moved easily, yet sturdy and supportive for two minutes of tooth-brushing time. Decor, from paint colours to towels, can be made stylish and fun for kids - using seaside or nautical themes, for example.

Parenting Problems: Choosing A Bed For Your Child

Little Tikes Car Bed

As an adult, bed shopping seems a fairly standard process: you measure your room, go to a store and have a lie down on some test beds, choose what you want and wait for it to arrive. Choosing a bed for your child is less easy - for one, it will have to last them years of growing. While there’s a lot more to consider, the process is pretty similar - just make sure that your child is involved in the choice too.

Safety First
The first consideration when buying a child’s bed should be safety - this is an investment for the next 10 to 15 years of their life, so choose wisely. If opting for a standard single bed, you have little to worry about. Cot-like frames are available if your child worries about falling out, and these can be customised over time. When choosing a bunk bed, keep an eye out for quality materials and EU quality standards marking to show it has passed the required safety tests.

Choosing A Mattress
Children are very resilient, but a softer mattress is more of a guarantee of them getting a good night’s sleep, while supporting their growing bones. The Sleep Council advise taking your child to a store to lie down on some of the test beds and see what they like, but remember to check in regularly over the coming years to ensure the bed still serves them well. After all, a teen who is suddenly 6ft tall won’t sleep well on a short bed.

Storage Solutions
Fortunately for parents, there are plenty of different beds that combine sleeping with storage, perfect for two children sharing a room or for small bedrooms. Kids Beds Online offer standard bunk beds for sharers; while their cabin or high beds have space underneath for a wardrobe or desk. Some cabin beds have shelving units on the bunk alongside the bed, creating a bedside table to safely keep a glass of water and a reading lamp.

Working Together

It’s hard to overstate the importance of working together with your child to make decisions about their comfort and future. Although it may well be your house, their sleeping space is their chance for privacy, and it’s important to respect that. You might find the decision making process easier if you narrow down a few choices and allow your child to choose from those, and be sure to let them choose their own bedding - for younger children this creates a sense of security, and for older kids it’s a chance to exercise their budding independence.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Keeping Your Home Clutter Free With Children

When you have babies, toddlers and small children, keeping your home clutter free can be a bit of a nightmare. As soon as your child is crawling, they’ll be exploring, meaning that nothing’s out of reach. This problem is worsened further when they learn to walk and climb, and you even have to be conscious about what you leave on counters. However, there are simple ways that you can help keep your home clutter free with proper planning. Here are just three…

Use Sideboards as Storage
Sideboards are great for storage. They only have minimal depth, so don’t come too far into the room, meaning the play area is left untouched. This is vital, as your children will still need room to play and explore, so you don’t want your room filled with obstacles or other slip and trip hazards. There are a number of different styles that you can opt for, too. This means that you can get the exact amount of storage you need.

A sideboard can be used in any room, and they’re a universal piece of furniture. This means that, not only will a sideboard look good in any room, but it’ll look great for years to come, too. A timeless classic.

Use Under Bed Space Creatively
The best storage space is the space that’s completely wasted in your home. Take under the bed, for example. This is often left completely blank, only gathering dust. However, when you begin to think creatively, you realise that you can use this space to your advantage. It can be a great place to store toys in tubs, or any seasonal clothes that won’t be used for the rest of the year.

Make Cabinets Your Friend
Regardless of the fact that clutter is bound to fill your home, the one area you should prioritise keeping clutter free is the bathroom, closely followed by the kitchen. This is because, in spite of childproof caps helping keep prying hands at bay, it’s still incredibly easy for children to get their hands on lotions and potions. Due to this, you need to make cabinets your friends, preferably with locks so that anything harmful can be kept at bay.

So there you have it, three simple ways that you can keep your home clutter free. Of course, there are hundreds more, but these are just our favourites. Use your imagination and you’ll be surprised at the simple ways you can find to help. With a child, your home will always be full of clutter, but every little piece of storage you can have will help manage the problem. Hopefully with these helpful tips, your days of stepping on left out toys and LEGO will be over. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

5 ways to fall asleep fast


Okay, so there may not be a one-size-fits-all solution for insomnia, but there are many things you can try to help you to drift off quicker. Here are five:

1) Have a massage
If you have trouble switching off mentally when it comes to bedtime, focussing on the physical can help. You can hold a lot of tension in your body without even realising it and having a massage is a great way to release any pent up tightness and help you unwind both mentally and physically. You can ask your partner to give you a backrub, book an evening appointment with a professional therapist or even invest in an Adjustamatic bed with an in-built massage system.

2) Meditate
Meditation is not just for monks looking for enlightenment. Paying attention to the present moment, your thoughts, your feelings, bodily sensations and your surroundings can improve mental wellbeing and sleep quality. Known as ‘mindfulness’ meditation, this awareness involves lying or sitting in silence and concentrating on your breathing and other physical sensations. Whenever the mind wanders, attention should be brought back to these aspects. You can stream or download guided meditation sessions online if you need help getting started.

3) Talk more
Is a work dilemma, relationship problem or financial worry denying you entry to dreamland? While you’re unlikely to be able to find a solution in one evening, it may help you to bring your problems out in the open during the waking hours. Discussing your concerns with a trusted friend, relative or colleague could help to put your problems into perspective, identify potential solutions and lessen the burden of your worries in general. If you’re seriously anxious around bedtime and have no one to turn to, calling the Samaritans may help.

4) Forgo your evening tea/coffee
Caffeine addicts may not like the sound of the following piece of advice, but it should be heeded if you want to get shuteye faster. Caffeine is stimulant so should be avoided close to bedtime. Studies have shown that even an afternoon dose of caffeine can negatively affect sleep so if you really want to improve the quality of your nightly rest, you should try to wean yourself off eating or drinking caffeinated foods or beverages post-midday.

5) Wear earplugs
Does every whisper, bark or gust of wind sound like nails on a chalkboard once you’ve laid your head down? If you find it difficult to ignore noises, why not invest in a decent pair of earplugs? Whether it’s a snoring partner, loud neighbours or a busy motorway keeping you awake, earplugs can help to dampen irritating sounds, allowing you to drift off more easily.

These are just some of the ways you can improve your sleep hygiene and find your way to slumbertown faster. If you’re experiencing serious sleeplessness and think you need more help, however, be sure to consult your GP.