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Fun In The Sun: A Gorgeous Australian Summer in the Garden

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As we’re done with Christmas and entering into the new year, for us Aussies we’re moving into the hottest and most exciting months of the year. Summertime is a chance to get outside, have fun, see friends and family and generally pack in as many activities as possible. One thing that’s always worth doing is hosting some parties at home, backyard barbeques, afternoon tea parties and picnic style lunches aren’t too expensive and are a great way to get everyone together. But to throw get togethers in the garden you of course want to make sure it’s in the best condition possible. Here are some of the ways you can go about it!

Colourful outdoor furniture

Clean and Tidy
If you’ve neglected your garden over Christmas, chances are it’s looking a little untidy. Removing things like bicycles and tools strewn around, tidying up kids outdoor toys and putting away things like gardening boots and fallen pots will instantly make it look neater. You will need to pull up weeds, prune down bushes that have grown large and deadhead any plants that have started to die off. Using a jet washer you could clean down walls and paths.

Don’t Overlook General Maintenance Jobs
Things like removing twigs from roofs and gutters will not only make everything look tidier and allow rainwater to drain better but you also help to prevent bushfires by removing potential fuel. It’s important to prepare for the bushfire season, this is a huge threat to our homes as Australians so something to bear in mind. Other general maintenance jobs include checking outdoor taps to make sure the plumbing is ok and making sure tools and appliances like strimmers and lawn mowers are in full working order.

Tend To The Lawn
For most of us, the lawn is one of the most important features in the garden. It takes up the most space and helps to keep the garden looking alive and give it colour all through the year. But over the winter months, lawns can become flooded and parts can die off. If you have pets you might notice urine burn spots. Now we’re into the summer, grass will grow very well providing you keep it watered, so purchase some grass seed and sprinkle it down, both on the bald spots as well as throughout the rest of the grass. This will fill in sparse patches and generally thicken it up, and in a few weeks you’ll have a much healthier lawn. Use a hose to water the grass morning and evening, avoid during the middle part of the day when the sun is hottest to prevent it from burning.

Fill It With Colour
Finally, fill your pots, flower beds and borders with beautiful flowers to make the garden look pretty and well cared for. If you plant bulbs and seeds that flower at different times of the year, once one lot is dying off another lot will be coming through. Simply deadhead the blooms that have finished flowering and you get a spectacular colourful display all through the year, every single year.

Flowers at sunrise

A Night Time Ritual That Will Help You Win The Next Day

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If you’re struggling to get things done day to day, there are plenty of things you can do to help you get into a more productive mindset and finish off your to-do list once and for all. Although the things you do in the morning can definitely contribute to a more productive day, making sure your night-time ritual is great is crucial too. When your night-time ritual is on point, you’ll sleep easier, and wake up feeling ready to conquer everything you have on your list. These types of rituals can be hard to adopt, but they will pay off for a lifetime.

Let’s take a look at a guide you can use to create your own night time ritual that will help you to win the day!

Dim The Lights
A few hours before bed, dim the lights. It doesn’t have to be pitch black, but having as few lights on as possible will help to signal to your body that it’s close to bedtime. Because of modern day electricity, the body is easily confused. Most of our circadian rhythms aren’t in sync the way they should be, as bright lights make our bodies think it’s day time when really it’s night time. Dimming the lights in the evening will help you feel naturally tired when it’s bedtime, so you don’t lie awake for hours tossing and turning!

Take A Hot Bath
Taking a hot bath with the right bath products can help you to relax further, especially if you’ve had a stressful day. Not only will you feel every ache and pain in your body float away, your body temperature also drops upon leaving the bath, which is one of the best ways to drop off to sleep easily. If you want to supercharge the power of your bath, consider adding a bath bomb designed for sleeping, or even some essential oils.

Chamomile tea

Read A Motivational Book
Reading a motivational book before bed will fill your head with wonderful thoughts that can carry over into your dreams and the day ahead. Reading fiction is fine, if that’s what helps you to sleep, but finding the time to read self development books is also important, and will help you to no end in your waking life.

Make Yourself A Hot Sleep Tea
Sleep tea is a great tool to feel more relaxed and tired in no time at all. You have a few options; chamomile is great, as is rooibos. You can choose anything you like, providing it’s free from caffeine and makes you feel sleepy! Avoid adding sugar if you want the full sleep effects to take hold.

Make Sure Your Bedroom Is Suitable For Quality Sleep
If you’re going to drift off easily and enjoy a quality sleep, you need to make sure your bedroom is suitable for quality sleep. This means making sure you don’t have any lights interrupting your sleep pattern, and that your bed is suitable for you. Read mattress reviews if you know you need a new one; don’t leave it too late, or you could suffer with back problems! Make sure your duvet and pillows are all just right too, and that the temperature of your room is suitable. You shouldn’t have the room too warm, or you may struggle to drift into deep sleep.

Stop Watching TV And Using Other Electrical Devices
Watching TV before bed should be avoided, as should using your phone. If you read on your Kindle, utilize the night time reading features that gives a softer, yellow glow to the screen rather than a bright glow that will keep you awake at all hours. If you can stay away from electrical devices for a minimum of 1 hour before bed, you should find you fall asleep far easier and have a better quality sleep too.

Listen To Relaxing Music
Struggle to drift off? Create a relaxing music playlist and listen to this before bed. Instrumental music is great for this, and there are some playlists on Spotify ready made for you to look at. If you don’t want to listen to music, there’s a podcast called the ‘Sleep With Me’ podcast, designed to help those who struggle to drift off.

Try Stretching
Exercise earlier on in the day can help you to sleep better at night, but before bed, it can actually leave you lying awake for longer. How about gentle stretching instead of intense exercise? Try a few yoga poses to loosen up your body and help you to feel super relaxed.

Yoga

Meditate
Meditation is recommended by successful, productive people all over the world. If you don’t currently meditate, you could be missing a trick! Meditating at night time can get you into the right mindset for sleep, and help you to feel more relaxed in an instant. If you don’t want to meditate, a yoga session or even deep breathing for a few minutes can have the same effects.

Write A List Of Everything You Have To Be Grateful For
A good habit to get into before sleep is to write a list of everything you are grateful for. Write down the good things that happened to you that day, and write at least 3 things you have to be grateful for. Taking a few minutes for reflection over your day and your life will teach you to be more positive, and you’ll go to sleep on a happy note. If you want to start the day on an even better note, write down 3 things you would like to accomplish that day, and then write down a personal affirmation that resonates with you and will make you feel like kicking ass!

Use Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy is a fantastic tool for releasing stress, sleeping better, feeling happier, and so much more. All you have to do is use the right oils and the right blends to help feel the way you want to feel. You can add them to your bath or body products, and even find them in sprays that you can apply to your bed clothing. A diffuser can also be a good option to enjoy the benefits while you sleep!

Creating A Cosy And Chic Kitchen

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cozy kitchen look

It doesn’t matter what season it is, the kitchen is the hub of the home. It is where we all gravitate to because the buzz of activity is alluring. It is that place you go to butcher another Jamie Oliver recipe, where your kids pretend to their homework and where your significant-lover likes to hang out for no other reason except the fact you are in their, reading that book you were meant to start in the summer.

To put it simply, the kitchen is the most used room in the home, which is why you need to give it the makeover it deserves, and none is more on point right now than something sleek and utilitarian; cosy yet modern.

Now, most people’s reactions are to panic and fluster and think about how your bank balance. But there’s no need. All you need to know is a few accessorizing and styling tips and, voila, you’ll have that modern but lived-in vibe on show in no time at all.

1. Pretty In Pastel
Wooden cupboards no longer do it. They’re just so mundane and boring and what you want is something warm and lively. That is why you should add a splash of colour to your cupboard units by painting them in a light pastel colour, something like a soft duck egg blue or a mild shade of green. Warm and chic.

2. Rug It In
Kitchen floors never get the style treatment. It’s as if we think they have to be made of exposed tiles or wooden floorboards and anything else is improper. Well, screw convention because you have every right to liven up your floor, and the simplest way to do that is with a rug – something vintage-inspired. It could fill the entire space or it could be a runner; whatever pleases your palette.

3. A Modern Twist
Back in the day, every kitchen had a fireplace, something that has been lost over time, albeit for obvious reasons. But that doesn’t mean you can’t shake up your kitchen a little bit by adding a gorgeous gas fireplace. It’s giving your kitchen a modern twist in the warmest way possible. Just imagine how cosy you will feel, kicking back in your comfy kitchen chair, flicking through your Kindle as a roast cooks in the oven. Mmmmm.

4. A Beautiful Banquette
You rarely see banquettes anymore. They’re furnishings that are all but reserved for fancy restaurants these days. Add one to your kitchen space, though, and you’ll get that rustic family feel in an instant – especially if you pile up the cushions; that will make it extra welcoming.

5. Bigger Is Better
We’re not saying you need to supersize everything in your kitchen, or even expand the kitchen itself. All you need to do is supersize that subtle focal point – the kitchen sink. It’s a great way to add that country-chic vibe to your countertops, turning function into beauty. It could be that you go deep, or you could go wide. Either way, an oversized sink works wonders.

Giving Your Home A New Lease Of Life

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Dining room suite

Shopping is addictive, especially when you are shopping for bits and bobs and tidbits for your home. It is the thrill of the chase, the attention to detail, the interior’s eye you need to have, and knowing what will keep your home looking fresh and neat and on top of the latest trends. But you can’t just do this every time you walk into a room and think it looks a bit drab or when your latest purchases start to lose their shimmer and shine three months down the line.

We know this isn’t going to please the shopaholics out there, but it should make the hands-on-DIY-ers do a few somersaults because we have pulled together a few tips and tricks to help you show your home off in the best light possible. Knowing how to maintain your things, how far a little bit of TLC can go and what will keep your home looking fifty shades of fresh are all great ways to keep your urge for new stuff at bay and your purse strings rather happy.

So, without further ado, here is how you can fall for your home – and what’s in it – all over again, time and again:

1. Upholstery That Looks New
Nothing is going to make your home feel more looked after than well-maintained upholstery. It is one of those things that can have such a big influence on the way a space looks. So, to keep your sofas and chairs and whatever else looking as new as possible, get into the habit of vacuuming the fabrics, rotating the cushions, cleaning up any spills effective immediately and fixing any rips or tears right away. Your bigger pieces of furniture are what make the biggest statement in a room, what gives you that vibrant luxury, so if yours look almost brand new then the rest of the room will benefit from the same vibe.

2. Polish For Perfection
Take a quick stroll through your house and look at the wooden furniture you have. If you haven’t polished it lately – or ever – then it probably looks as dull as dishwater. What you will find after one polish, however, is a difference so astounding that you will make it part of your monthly chores. Why? Because gleaming furniture is a great way to make a space look fresh. Of course, what you polish with can have a big difference. As a rule, use oil for older pieces and wax for those that still have their original finish intact. Trust us, you’re about to mutter/say/scream the words ‘wow’ (delete according to the time of day it is).

3. Nothing Says Fresh Like Flowers
Fresh flowers popped into each room is one of the most gorgeous and simple ways to really lift a space. It is what breathes some fresh air into a room, quite literally. Of course, keeping fresh flowers in your home is a) expensive and b) quite the nuisance, unless you get them delivered on a fortnightly basis, in which case revert to point a) again. But don’t despair just yet because the best thing you can do is learn how to grow roses yourself. You can close your eyes and imagine it now; a home full of red Mr Lincoln’s, Blue Moon’s, Charles de Gaulle’s and Just Joey’s; all of them just a simple snip away. Of course, by learning how to grow roses, you won’t just be making your home look gorgeous, you’ll also be adding a huge dash of magic to your garden too.

4. Make Your Kitchen Magic Again
Whether you have lovely wood counters or marble tops, you need to look after them. It really is as simple as that. When it comes to your wood surfaces, that tends to mean getting scratches out, which is best done by gently sanding down any marked areas and then rubbing in food-grade mineral oil. As for marble tops, your biggest problem is probably going to be stains. It is just one of those surfaces that is rather prone to discoloration. The best way you can avoid this is to clear up any spills as and when they happen, otherwise, you may want to check out what the people at the Natural Stone Institute have to say on the matter. Nothing is going to re-ignite your love for your home like fresh looking kitchen surfaces.

5. From The Floor Up
When you walk through your front door, you tend to be looking down, which is why your floor is so important. It is what grabs your eye and guides your sight, encouraging you to follow its path into your home. It is what creates a subtle first impression we tend to overlook. So, if you have wooden floorboards but don’t want to have them refinished, then the best way to freshen them up and make them look their absolute best is to rub oil into them, or wax if they are really old. The shine this gives them will make you feel like you have just stepped into a period property that is being presented to go on the market. That is how fresh your home will look.

6. Give Your Rugs A Fluffing
Can you remember how delightful and comfy your sheepskin rugs looked when you picked them up from the store? They were divine, right? But now look at them. It’s only been a couple of months and already the wear and tear have trodden the life out of them. To prevent this from happening, and given them that beautiful bounce again, simply wash them in mild soap and then air dry them. While they are drying, simply shake your rug out and then brush the rug out with your old hairbrush and, voila, they’ll look just as amazing as the day you brought them home.

Don’t worry, we get it; home maintenance and cleaning is hardly as fun as shopping for new things. But there are two things that make your hard graft better: that feeling of satisfaction and the longevity you give your stuff – that new lease of life.

Bring Your Kitchen Back To The Future

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We all want a home that is up to date and still in style years after we bought it. To do this, you need to make sure that you are upgrading and renovating rooms like the kitchen. If you don’t look after spaces like this, they will quickly fall out of style and you won’t even want to spend time in them. You’ll find yourself ordering takeout more often rather than taking the time to cook in a kitchen when the out of date interior design work makes you depressed. But that’s all about to change because we’re going to look at a few examples of modern kitchens and the changes you can make to take yours back to the future of style.

Light It Up

Styled to Stun

There are so many fantastic modern style ideas on display in the picture above we’re not sure where to begin. Though for now, let’s focus on how the lighting has been used to make the room stand out. Look at the lights above the countertop in the centre of the room. These are being used to create an industrial aesthetic that fits into the minimalist theme of this space. You can see that it is complemented beautifully by the bare brick wall at the back.

In another area, you’ll spot that the extractor fan, a necessary part of any kitchen, has been dressed up with curved lights around it that make it less of a practicality and more of a design feature. Even the lights on the shelf below seem to give the room a little more character and colour, drawing attention to a unique design feature.

Minimise The Storage

Using your windows

Every great kitchen needs storage space. Otherwise, your room is going to look like a cluttered mess. You can see here how the storage style has been used to clash with the bright shade of the wall in a dazzling way. As well as this, look at how these custom kitchen cabinets are created to be minimalistic. Your eye is instead drawn away to the bright colour and indeed the windows.

You might also notice that this particular room doesn’t have that much lighting and that’s certainly by design. With such a large window space, why would you need to fill the room with bulbs? This is an example of how you can use the design and layout of the room to your advantage decorating.

Looking Ultra Expensive

Wont cost as much as you think

Yes modern kitchen designs can look a tad expensive, can’t they? But they’re not really. You might have spotted that marble style wall in the picture. But we would bet good money that’s not marble but rather a marble wall covering that has more in common with wallpaper than the actual material itself. Still, it doesn’t change the fact that it looks stylish, modern and could be a perfect way to bring your own kitchen up to standards.

We hope you have fun using these possibilities to style your kitchen to stun in the modern age.

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