What’s the one room that everybody dreams of designing in their house? The kitchen, of course! Not only is this room often thought of at the heart of the home, but it’s also where the family gathers at mealtimes, where friends come to socialize and where everyone gets to enjoy delicious food. So, it’s no wonder that we all want this space to look perfect. But it also has to come with the right equipment too. If you’ve ever wanted to design the kitchen of your dreams, here are the key considerations to make along the way.

Photo by wu yi on Unsplash

Consider The Space and the Light

Before you get ahead of yourself, you really have to start off by considering the space you have or may need. Sometimes, when you’re designing your dream kitchen, you may need to make the space bigger. To get the layout you need, you may want to break down walls into other areas, change around some of the utility hook up points or add an extension. By analysing the space you have an what you can do, you’ll be able to get a starting space to work with. What will you do about lighting – have you decided about having a lighting focal point or built into your units? I personally like these modern kitchen spotlights.

There are so many considerations so make sure you take a step by step approach in what is needed and the want list!

Rip Everything Out

When you’ve got the base of your kitchen ideas sorted, you’re going to need to rip everything out that you have. Before any work can begin to get that desired space just right, you need to give your contractors a shell or have them remove the unnecessary items. I have to admit that this was the most stressful bit as you can be without a kitchen for a few weeks and will need to make alternative arrangements.

Even if there are things you’d like to keep, they will need to come out to start with. You’ll just need to make sure you keep them in good condition during the rip out process.

Home In On Your Design

As any building work starts to commence to get your property and space just right, you’re also going to want to finalize the design plans you have for the fittings and fixtures. If you are having an extension then think about what style of roofing you’d like to have – thin k of the exterior as well as interior to ensure the best look from outside as well as in! Also long term you’ll not want to have repairs every few years so it is essential to get your kitchen shell spot on!

You may want to get a kitchen renovations expert to help you with the entire process, just to make sure that you have thought about all of your options and that the finished idea is perfect. At this stage, you’re also going to want to get paint colours, cabinets and designs all ironed out so that they’re ready to go.

 

Don’t Settle

When you’re trying to get renovation work done and fast, it can be tempting to make rash decisions just to get it done. But don’t. When you’re looking at renovating your home, you should make sure that you get everything that you want. Even if it means that you have to wait and while and save up for it. Because if you settle, you’ll always look at the parts you scrimped on and wish you didn’t.

Add Finishing Touches

And finally, make sure that you spend the right amount of time considering your options when it comes to the final design details. Things like tiles and cabinet handles, display units and even appliances can make or break your overall theme. So, you want to make sure they add to your dream look and help to create the kitchen you’ve always wanted.

We are still renovating out kitchen. We started last year and it has taken some time to find decor that is right so it’s the final touches now. Any tips let me know!


As the seasons start to change again, many people start to prepare their homes for the weather that will come. They check the gutters are clear and the fences are painted. Of course, inside the house there is plenty to do too.
Checks on the boiler, clearing out the chimney, and a dozen other little chores can easily fill a weekend. When will you ever have time to freshen the decor? With summer and new light you’ll want to spruce it up, you’ll be noticing all those unfinished home jobs now. Here are my tips from natural looking laminate flooring (great for those of you with children or pets compared to carpets) to simple tricks like moving the furniture around to create a new look. It really is easy to create a new look ready for summer for a few sleek changes. 

Replace what is worn

If your wall art is looking frayed, it’s time to let it go. It’s impossible to create a fresh new look with ‘weathered’ items. The same goes with carpets & flooring. I think that I would go for a natural looking laminate flooring as this is so durable with children about.  

As for the walls? Repair what you can with options like filler. But if the bumps and cracks won’t sand down, it might be time to call the plasterer for a fresh finish.

Think about replacements

If you like to change things each season, then set your home up to make that easy to do. Pick furniture that is easy to move.

Choose sofas and cushions that are standard sizes so they can easily be covered and recovered when you fancy a fresh colour.

Make sure your base colour palette complements all the colour swatches you think you might lean toward when you want to change things up. Greys, creams, and olives all work well with a wide range of vibrant tones.

Painting yourself

If you choose to tackle the painting yourself, there are a few tips that can help you achieve a great finish. Start from the top down. That means, start with a satin or matt white ceiling. Here’s an example of what our finished boys room was like and the look we will go for in our living room.

Use wood paint for the doors, door frames, and skirting boards. Wait for all this to dry. If you spot spots of paint, you can use a baby wipe to remove them once they are dry.

Now use decorators tape to protect the white edges and block in your wall colour. You’re finally ready to get that roller busy!

Strong and subtle

Good decor usually features a strong accent colour and then several more subtle shades of the same. This also opens up the choices for soft furnishings or covers. So long as it matches one of those choices, it will probably work really well. You can do this for your window dressings, table cloths, vases, cushions, rugs, and wall art.

You might even paint the chimney breast in the strongest colour, or the wall around the window. A feature wall with lots of photos scattered all over is also a great idea and doesn’t cost much to do. 

Bold or block colours that are classic are great this season. We have just painted the boys room a denim blue with white skirting. It looks very strong and smart with minimum risk of grubby hands marks!

Moving around

Sometimes simply moving the position of your furniture can help to make it look like a completely different room. It can even help you to shift the focus in the living room. Lighting can do the same. Change the position or direction of the lights to highlight something else for a quick and easy change.

There are plenty of ways to freshen the room and even more ways to give the illusion you’ve worked hard on something new! Throws, cushions covers are a great way to give your seating a new lease of life/ I’m incorporating yellows and teals this spring. 

These are just a few ways that you can change up you home and your decor. If you try any of my ideas do let me know and I’d love to see some of your links over on my facebook page Free Spirit Living or tag me @chellemccann on Instagram.

 

As you know I have been looking at various things to do during half term that won’t break the bank. Here is part two of my list.

Plan A Day Trip

If you are short of cash but have a little why not put a special day down to splurge a bit on a day trip away from home. We may choose our splurge day to be a day out in London. To save money I’ll look at discount attractions in London and plan a day that the kids will love whilst also saving money as well. I find one day at the end of the holiday with something super to look forward to really helps if we have a lull in the week. The first few days of holiday time are often spent regenerating energy zapped by the school term.

Have A Love Bomb Day

If you haven’t heard of love bombing as a term I would still think you are doing this already. Sit down with each of your children and ask them what they would like to do. Explain that you are dedicating a special day to them where they decide what you are all doing for the day. You may be surprised how simplistic their day is and also how cheap – for example one of my children wants me to have a sleepover in their room with a movie. Sounds great, right?

Visit A Local Attraction

Look out for what is going on in your home town. There may be special offers during the break for those who can prove they have a local postcode. We love a regular trip to the Sealife Centre in Brighton and so are considering their annual pass.This means we can go and visit as much as we like through the year and go as a group or for 121 time with each child. A picnic at the beach if the weather is nice after is a must. There is also the i360, Brighton Pier or a short trip on the Volks Railway.

I’d love to know what you are doing in your half term and if you have any smart money tips too!

Do you have a relative or know someone who is bad at managing money? There’s a good chance you are not alone. Almost everyone has that one person in their life who remembers to call when they can’t make ends meet and need some help.

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

When you care about someone, it’s hard to see them go through financial hardship. It’s even more concerning when you see that their difficulties could easily be avoided if they made better financial decisions.

It gets trickier when you have older family members, like uncles or parents, who made some unwise financial choices. So, if you decide to support a family member in financial hardship, Alpha Car Finance has these tips for you.

Talking about money.

Money is a touchy subject for most people. That’s why it’s important to be sure if your family member has a problem with handling money. Because you are concerned about their financial well-being, you might get too eager and offer unsolicited advice. So, wait for them to feel comfortable enough to discuss their financial woes.

Sometimes, all a family member needs is someone who will listen. Allow them to share where their money goes, how much they spend on certain things, and then try to offer some advice. The more they open up to you, the better your advice will be received.

Be a good example.

Aside from offering advice, you can also be a good role model for your family. When they see you are doing your best to stick to your budget, save money, and pay off your monthly bills, you’ll become more credible, and your relatives and friends are more likely to heed your advice.

Determine the cause of their problem.

Many people get into debt in various ways. They might have a gambling problem, a substance abuse problem, or using their credit cards uncontrollably, among other things. Whatever it is, you can help in sorting out what got them in trouble.

You are in a better position since you can see the big picture. Once you identify the root cause, try to help them resolve it and, hopefully, they can avoid repeating the same mistakes.

Be cautious when lending money.

Sometimes, we may tend to give a loan and hope that these money problems will naturally disappear. However, most of these problems may stem from bad financial choices or lack of money management skills.

Lending money straight away will not solve anything and might only make their problems worse. Instead, help them improve their decision-making and money management skills by sharing how you have personally overcome your own financial challenges.

Put it in writing.

If you do decide to offer money, make sure to set clear guidelines. While it may appear overly formal, it is a good idea to put any agreement or transaction you may have on paper. Is it a loan or a cash gift? Be clear about it and set expectations. If it is a loan, set a deadline and have an agreement when your relative must pay it back.

Set clear boundaries.

Seeing a family member go through financial difficulty is tough, but ultimately, they must learn how to be responsible for their own finances. While there is nothing wrong with extending help, there’s only so much you can do. You also have your obligations to worry about and need to think about securing your own future.

Do you know someone who is financially struggling? What did you do to help them? How did you deal with their situation? We’d love to know. Please share your experiences with us by leaving a comment.

Busy families find it hard to get the time required when cleaning up the house. Perhaps they’ll leave unwashed dishes in the sink for a day or two, maybe the shower glass gets a little grimy, or perhaps the stains on the carpet will soak in for a little longer than they should. Whatever your family situation, it’s completely understandable if you feel you don’t have enough time to actually take care of your house.

However, it’s still no excuse to leave your house looking like a mess! So to give you a hand, here are a couple of ways to help you get the most out of your cleaning time.

Staying organised

Firstly, make sure you stay organised. Getting things done is difficult if you aren’t focusing on the task at hand, so make sure you get some sticky notes and keep them on your fridge to stay organised. If you want a little more warning, consider setting up alarms on your phone or keeping a notebook handy of all the tasks that you need to accomplish during the day. As long as you stay organised, you’ll be able to clean up quickly and painlessly without feeling like you’ll need to waste most of your day on it.

Don’t clean what isn’t dirty

If you see stains and dirt, then clean them up. If you don’t see noticeable stains on your bathtub or your shower window, then don’t clean it! Many people assume that you need to scrub down and disinfect everything in your home several times a week to stay clean. Unless you really hate the idea of germs, this isn’t needed and it’s actually better for your immune system if you’re exposed to some bacteria now and then. If you want things to stay cleaner for longer, then consider using products like Nanokote to create protective barriers around surfaces, or dust filters on devices like computers to trap the dust and make it easier to clean.

 

Declutter the home

It takes a while to declutter but letting go of things will help you keep your home cleaner for longer. With less furniture and items on the shelf, you have less to dust, less to clean, and more room to breathe. Stop hoarding items and learn to let go. This is probably the most time-consuming idea on this list, but it’s also one of the most effective if you want to be efficient while cleaning your home.

Don’t hide the cleaning supplies
If you’ve ever wondered where to keep cleaning supplies, then there’s a simple answer: near the source of stains. If you have something to clean the bathtub, then keep it near the bath. If you have a hand vacuum, keep it in the kitchen so suck up bits of crumbs and spills. If you have a surface cleanser, then keep it in the kitchen for easy access. The less time you spend gathering your supplies, the more time you have to clean and the less time you waste.