home and garden

    Taking the Leap and Making the Move Abroad

    Taking the Leap and Making the Move abroad

    While many of us feel happiest living in the place that we were born and raised, some of us dream of taking a leap and moving much further afield. Not just across to the next city. Perhaps across an ocean.

    Last summer we made a big move to the countryside, to the edge of the Peak District, just an hour from our previous home, but closer to the town where my husband and I grew up. It’s a very different life, but one that I absolutely love. I feel like I finally found my place. I’ve never had the urge to live abroad, but often regretted not trying it at least once. Who know once the kids are older maybe we will buy a house in the sun by the sea like the couple we bought our home from. Continue reading

    Garden, home and garden

    4 Things To Consider When Choosing Garden Furniture

    4 Things To Consider When Choosing Garden Furniture

    As 2018 begins to finally bed in, I’m finally beginning to think about the spring. It’s been a long, often harsh, winter, battling off a big bout of SAD and I cannot wait to feel the warmth of sunshine and enjoy longer days in the garden. Moving here to our house on a hill top overlooking the Peak District, in the heat of May sunshine last year feels like a dream. Our first holiday barn guests have been and gone, new ones checked in, and now that project is settling in, I’m beginning to think I might have time for the veg patches… Continue reading

    home and garden

    Space Issues? Consider A Garden Room

    Space Issues, try garden room

    A garden room can be a perfect solution to space issues in your home or it could simply be a retreat – a space to call your own. I’ve had my eye on both our barn and vintage caravan as places to work, but they are both destined to be let to holidaymakers, with the barn welcoming it’s first guests this weekend. Garden rooms have many uses, it could be a home gym, an office, a playroom for the kids or could even be transformed into a home salon. Continue reading

    home and garden

    How to Use Lighting to Create a Focal Point

    How to Use Lighting to Create a Focal Point

    Lighting is probably the most important part of any interior: it is how you create accents, add interest and change the atmosphere of the whole room. Though your main lights will certainly illuminate the room, you can add so much feeling via alternative lighting solutions like lamps, fairy lights or decorative lighting. Continue reading

    home and garden

    20 Creative Ways to Pay for Home Improvements

    Creative Ways to Pay for Home Improvements

    Home improvements, whether small or large, sadly need funds to go ahead. This is a valuable lesson Mr Hart taught me in Maths lessons, when he forced me to price up a bedroom redesign for my GCSE coursework. Actually I secretly enjoyed it and it was the moment when Maths began to take on a new significance and joy to me.

    Finding the money for projects before you’re able to carry them out isn’t always easy. It is something I still struggle with – saving up before I plough in! Larger home improvement projects might require a loan or saving for a while, but you can sometimes be more creative with how you pay for smaller ones…

    Sell Something

    If you’re planning some home improvements, you can usually think about how you might rearrange your home. Freeing up some space is often necessary, so perhaps you can sell some furniture or other items that you no longer need. When we moved from a Victorian semi to a country cottage there were definitely items of furniture that didn’t work anymore, but lots more local junk shops to buy cheaper replacement furniture in!

    Alternatively, you could consider making something to sell or even a side project that could bring extra income – especially if you’re a creative soul.

    Free Up Value in Your Home

    For slightly larger projects, you might need more money than you’re able to gather on your own. One option you could have is to use your home to get the money you need. You might be able to borrow against your property, release some of the equity or take out another mortgage for particularly large home improvement projects.

    Spread the Cost

    Spreading the cost of your home improvements is also a perfectly legitimate way to pay for them. For example, you can often break down the cost of a new kitchen into a series of payments or delay the payment for a certain amount of time.

    Start Making Some Savings at Home

    Just finding some smart ways to save at home can help you get the money you need too, particularly for smaller improvement projects. Some small changes in how you spend your money can make a big difference. Continue reading


    Boost Your Home’s Value, Fill Those Empty Garden Spaces

    Gardens really can play a part in the deciding of a home’s value but sometimes when it comes to viewings we can dry up a bit and stumble on how to sell them. Our sale was definitely helped by the landscaping we did, sinking the trampoline into the lawn really appealed to a family market and adding curved beds and a deck softened the shape and improved the flow between house and garden. It wasn’t anywhere near as expensive as we thought it would be. If you find the right gardener and have a bit of vision yourself you can keep the costs down.

    If you want to sell your home and get the absolute most for it, it is definitely worth focussing on your garden. Filling in the empty spaces within it will immediately make it feel more appealing.

    It’s hard to visualise how to fill the empty spaces in your garden sometimes, or more to the point to know what you should be putting in these spaces in order to boost your whole property’s market value. Here are some ideas:

    A decking area

    Decks are a great place to entertain on and also provide the perfect outdoor living space for somebody that wants to escape the hustle and bustle of their home. In our previous home we covered an ugly patch of tarmac with a deck and it was magic how much it suddenly felt like the kitchen had grown too. They really bring the outdoors in and vice versa. We also tidied up and ‘staged’ an old pre-existing deck at the end of the garden we’d never made much use of, adding seating and tables.

    Decking areas entice buyers simply because it means they will not have to have it fitted themselves, instantly saving them on the costs of time and money. They can make homes feel more fluid and larger.

    A shed

    Something else that helps to shoot a home’s valuation price way up is practical storage spaces on the property, and there is no better a practical storage space than the humble shed, especially a decently sized one. We invested in a shed before we sold, painted it blue and shoved EVERYTHING in it we didn’t want cluttering up the garden and house! Clutter free viewings and a big storage area for our potential buyers – double win!

    So, with that big old space at the end of your garden, put a shed in it!

    Raised Beds

    More and more people are using their gardens as places to grow their own fruit and veg, and the chance to do so with a ready-built raised beds could draw a certain type of customer to your home, and thus boost the value of it. Even those who don’t want to grow their own will appreciate really well laid garden beds for shrubs. People often think they will do more gardening than they will, but selling the dream of home grown veg can be a big lifestyle pull towards your home.

    When creating a raised bed area in your garden, you could go for one of two options. You could simply set out an area of soil that is in the perfect position in regards to getting shade at certain times, sunlight at certain times and water at certain times. Or, in a larger garden with an empty space, you could add a greenhouse to the set up, preferably one that will work well in the long term, such as those provided by Cultivar.


    A gravelled area might not add any sort of greenery to your garden, but it can enhance it all the same. It is durable even when untended to, so you will be appealing to the buyer that doesn’t want to have to do too much to the garden that they purchase at any point both in the present and in the future. We lead busy lives these days, there is a big audience out there looking for low maintenance elements in a garden.

    A child’s play area

    By turning your garden’s empty space into an area that your children can run around and enjoy themselves in, you will be appearing to the family demographic. In our last home family bidding wars on family friendly properties with great gardens were a common occurrence. So, designate an area to children’s playtime by laying the area in a durable flooring, such as astro turf, and then bringing in a host of play equipment, such as swings and slides.

    A relaxing getaway

    Partly catering to an older demographic, but also appealing to pretty much everyone, is a relaxing garden getaway. In creating the perfect spot in your garden for relaxation you will provide the next owners of your home with a sense of your housee being a home, that intangible feeling that encourages people to make an offer with their heart! To create a relaxing getaway, first of all try secluding the area with hedges or maybe even a fence, make sure that both sunlight and shade can reach the area and make sure there are plenty of comfy places to sit within it.

    Creating a garden that will boost your home’s value is about appealing to as many different types of buyers and customers as you can and knowing who your home is likely to appeal to. Some people value practicality, there will be some that value the garden as a place to relax in, there will be some that value the garden as a place for their children to play in, there will be some that will want to use the garden as a harvesting tool, and there will be some that just want the garden to remain durable even when untended to.

    Fill all the garden spaces in a way that will cater to a wide audience, you’ll have loads to talk about in viewings and will sell faster and add value to your home.

    Collaborative Post

    Photo by Lucas Gruwez on Unsplash

    home and garden

    Bring A Touch Of Class To Your Home On a Budget

    When it comes to interior design, there are endless directions that you can go in. I think we all secretly crave a little bit of class in our homes, although we probably all have a different idea what it means to us.

    What does a touch of class mean to you?

    My style is pretty eclectic, so when I think of classy I think of antiques, treasures and old things. Perhaps you want to bring a touch of exotic, bohemian charm to your home, maybe you prefer shabby chic. Perhaps classy means cutting edge style, shiny fabrics and glittery textures, or something exceptionally well made. It’s entirely up to you. Continue reading


    4 Garden Lighting Trends I Love

    Garden Lighting Trends for 2017

    To mark my 40th birthday, my friends from Uni and family came to stay at the new house overnight. As Saturday came to a close we lit a campfire and let the kids toast marshmallows. Bit by bit the grown ups tucked kids into their beds and returned to the fire with a beer or a glass or red. We talked into the night, danced under the stars and as I crept back and forth to the house a few times I realised I was getting over my fear of the dark. With friends and laughter I felt braver.

    I’m not a particularly anxious soul but I’ve been known to go into complete panic if I wake in the pitch black. Our move has meant we have a lot more garden and I love it, but it also takes courage to roam it alone at night. Continue reading


    How to create your garden retreat

    She shed

    I’ve looked at no end of pretty she sheds on Pinterest, but the shed that has most influenced me has to be Roald Dahl’s. I wrote about his marvellous place over on my family travel blog, Parentshaped Travels. When we move house next month, the summerhouse is getting a makeover and I want it to be a place to write. Although, I think each member of the family has a different plan for it. So I’ve been getting my research in early, just so I am ahead of the game.

    Continue reading


    Tales from the House Hunt: Dream Like Bathroom

    Dream bath ideas

    What does your dream bathroom look like?  We looked around a lot of houses trying to find our perfect house and it’s given me a few ideas. A couple of places I will always remember, had the most incredible views from the bath, one of a lake and one of the hills – I lingered, plotting long, uplifting bubble baths as I gazed on nature. Sadly the bigger picture meant a bath with a view wasn’t enough to swing it. Another house had the hugest, most dream like bathroom with a roll top bath, but sadly no garden. Some things are more important than others.

    I love the idea of being able to appreciate the outdoors from a warm bath. Although, not too outside please. There was also the place that time forgot, the house my kids still shudder when they think about. On the kitchen table, by an ancient range was a yellowed copy of The Times newspaper from 1964, in the living room a small pile of lonely paperbacks caught the sunshine, upstairs we crept past chipped paint colours and curling edges of wallpaper patterns time had long forgotten… Continue reading