Roof Blinds for Light and Heat Control

velux blinds

Living in the UK, natural daylight flooding into the home can seem like a rare commodity, especially at this time of year.  Any home improvements that help to maximise the light are always welcomed, for example by installing modern bi-fold doors or roof lights.

Although I’m really looking forward to spring and the chance to enjoy a bit more of that elusive sunlight, it can pose a problem when trying to work or spend time on hobbies.  If your office, or sewing room for example, features a lot of glass, or channels daylight from above, it can be great for working in, but not necessarily on a very sunny day where you are dealing with heat or glare.  I know this only too well from previously having my computer desk set up in our conservatory – squinting for any length of time at a screen or notepad is not comfortable.

The most effective way of dealing with this problem is by fitting blinds.  This is an option I will be looking into for our conservatory, which has the dual problem of excess brightness and heat over the summer.  Blinds would definitely help by reducing the glare and deflecting some of  that heat too – not to mention giving us additional privacy.  Even though I no longer use my PC in the room, it is a large, useful space which we don’t want to be able to use for only part of the year.

In rooms with rooflights, often in a kitchen or loft room, roof blinds can really be essential and fortunately you can get a variety of styles such as roller, pleated or venetian in a range of colours and fabrics.  You can even get black out blinds to completely kill the light which is a great option in some circumstances, for example in a child’s nursery when they need to take a daytime nap.

Does too much or too little daylight pose a problem in your home and how do you deal with it?

Antonia new signature


Plan your Garden Décor in time for spring


Although this may not feel like the greatest time of year to get out into your garden, spring is only around the corner and on the brighter, dryer days of winter, it’s a good opportunity to have a good look around your outdoor space, do some tidying up, plan any improvements you’d like to make to your garden décor and think about the planting you’d like to do in the coming weeks.

I like to cast a critical eye over our bare garden at this time of the year because most things have died back, the weeds aren’t running amok and the grass isn’t two feet tall which all helps me to really see the problem areas, where the gaps are in the beds and what could be improved upon.

Though we’re not big gardeners, we do appreciate plants and nature and want our garden to look nice and to be able to enjoy sitting in it on any fine days.  Neither are we experienced landscapers, but this spring we are aiming to have a go at creating a garden path.  I figure that it shouldn’t be beyond our capabilities – we need to dig the path, level it with sand and set down some paving slabs or stepping stones so we have a route to the garden shed that will hopefully avoid us treading muddy footprints in the kitchen (which is what happens currently if we need to retrieve anything from the bottom of the garden).

Planning the path got me thinking about some other decorative and practical features I’d like to incorporate into our garden this year; a fire pit would be great as it means we could stay outside a little longer in the evenings even when the temperature drops.  Also, since our boys discovered the joy of making S’mores they would love to try that again, so a fire pit would be great for doing that.

Outdoor lighting is something else we’re keen to install, especially along the planned garden path and I can’t resist pretty string lights or lanterns in the trees or draped beneath the garden parasol.

I’d love to introduce a feature like an arbour (above) or maybe a pergola; my parents have one of these in their garden and the way their Clematis and Honeysuckle trails over it is lovely.  My dad built his own pergola from scratch, now we’re not quite so ‘hands on’ but we could construct a pre-made pergola kit, I’m sure.  Not only can they be good value, they’re a great way to add some structure, height and interest to a garden.

I’ve noticed that our fences are looking tired and faded, their green stain is patchy and washed out, so a fresh coat of a lovely shade designed for outside timber would perk them up nicely and give a smart new backdrop for when we do our seasonal planting.

So although these days can seem a bit grey, cold and uninspiring, take heart that it won’t be for too long.  This ‘down time’ in the garden is the ideal opportunity to plan ahead, so that when spring does come knocking you’ll be ready and waiting.

Written for Tesco

Antonia new signature


Review: Birlea Miami Single Bedframe from Mattress Next Day

Mattress Next DayWhen my eldest son’s bedframe broke recently he ended up spending a few nights sleeping on his mattress on the floor.  But by a stroke of good timing, before we’d had chance to shop for a replacement, Mattress Next Day got in touch to see if I’d be interested in reviewing something from their online store on my blog.

The mission at Mattress Next Day is to be the most affordable – and more than likely the lowest priced, comprehensive, and reliable bed and mattress online company.  Because they stock such a large assortment of beds and mattresses (over 80 different varieties of mattresses and over 50 styles of beds, bed-frames, and divans) there is a huge amount of choice, including well known brands such as Sealy, Silentnight, Sleepeezee, Dream Works, Serene, Sprungland and Joseph International.

Mattresses are available in a variety of sizes, including small single, single, small double, double, king size, super king, and odd sizes. You can find the common sizes listed on the website but they can have a mattress made to any size you need and have it delivered to your door, within 3 to 4 days of your order!

For my son, it was just the bedframe we needed to replace, he has a memory foam mattress that he finds very comfy and supportive so that was staying.

We chose the Birlea Miami Bedframe which is a simple pine bedframe with a honey finish and a modern slatted head and footboard:

Birlea Miami

It’s a quality bedstead, offering a sprung slatted base for extra support and strength – and great value too at a current price of £110.99 in the winter sale for a 3′ single.  Although assembly is required, there are step-by-step instructions included and it was not difficult to put together.  It is ideal for my son’s room and he really likes it because his old bed didn’t have a headboard and his pillows would slip down between the bed and the wall, so now they stay put.  It’s a timeless design that I feel would suit any style of interior decor.

We’ve just re-decorated my son’s room to give it a more grown up feel, since he recently became a teenager ,and the bedframe fits into the new scheme really well.  The wood is a nice colour – warm without being orangey and it suits the new wall colour behind it (I’ll be talking some more about the room’s makeover in another post soon).

Bed 2

Thanks to Mattress Next Day for a superb service and product, you just can’t fault this bedframe for the price.  If you need a bed or mattress quickly and on a budget, this is certainly one place to consider.

Antonia new signature


8 Ways to Make the Most of Small Spaces

compact kitchen

Many of us can feel we lack space at home, especially in modern houses.  But with some creative thinking and interior know-how you can really make the most of your small spaces.  Read on for some useful tips and tricks in today’s guest post:

Whether you’re living in a chic city apartment or a first family home, putting your individual stamp on a property can be difficult to achieve if you’re limited for space.  Follow these helpful tips to add personal touches to your home while giving the illusion of space, and create useful storage points without adding clutter.

  1. Extend curtain rails beyond the window frames. When your curtains are open they won’t sit in front of the window, it will allow in more light and draws the eye outward. If you cover your windows up, you’ll make the room appear smaller.
  2. Attach small bedside tables to the wall. Not only does it raise the height of the table so you can reach it easier but you can also place a basket underneath for additional storage. Use reliable tools to fix them securely as they can be heavy and will likely be taking the weight of books and table lamps too. An electric drill, spirit level, screws, wallplugs and a screwdriver will do the job.
  3.  Add another rail in your wardrobe. Using pvc pipe and some rope you can easily add a second clothing bar to you closet. Perfect for small apartments or if you have young children who struggle to reach the top bar. Why not use a tension shower curtain rod allowing you to adjust the height as needed.
  4.  A corner sofa will give you more seating space and take up less room than having a small sofa and an armchair. You’ll open up half your room with free space and will be utilising a corner which is often left empty or filled with clutter anyway.
  5.  Use mirrors and glass to create the illusion of space and bring more light into the room. A large mirror over your fireplace can transform the room. Again, this is one for the drill and some large screws as mirrors can be very heavy.
  6.  Use your vertical space above the toilet to hang shelves. Use decorative boxes on the shelves to contain/hide the clutter. These floral boxes from Debenhams are so pretty and will hold plenty.
  7.  Trade a frosted-glass bath or shower door for a clear glass one. Being able to see through the glass will open your whole bathroom up.
  8.  Choose clever furniture: a sofa bed in your lounge that doubles up a guest bed when needed; a nest of tables that can be neatly stacked away when only one is needed, or an ottoman that opens up for storage. We love this stylish silver two-drawer night stand by Dunelm.

Final Weekend of the Dotcomgiftshop Sale

One of the online brands I always enjoy working with is dotcomgiftshop , not least because they were one of the first to support my blog when it was still fairly new.  They are great at engaging with the blogging community and I am grateful for the items they have gifted me for giveaways or as props for some of the projects I work on.

Not only that, they always have great gifts and home goodies in stock that are guaranteed to make you feel happy!  With such a wide range of cute, cheerful and retro designs at affordable prices, it’s always a pleasure to have a browse and this weekend sees the end of their winter sale, so there are some incredible bargains to be had – with up to 70% off.

Here are a few things that have just dropped into my virtual shopping basket – oops!

dc winter sale

Such fab bargains, how could I resist?

But I also like the look of many of the new pieces that are coming in, in fact I’ve added quite a few to my mental wishlist.  These products are just some that have recently caught my eye…

dc new arrivals

Aren’t the colours amazing?  They make me feel like spring may be just around the corner…

So if you haven’t checked out the dotcomgiftshop winter sale yet, don’t forget it ends this weekend.

Antonia new signature