Featured Post: Garden Lighting Projects that Will Transform Your Garden

The other day I was looking at garden lights from LED Hut and was surprised by how much choice there was. Garden lighting has come a long way. It really does not matter what type of ambience you want to achieve you can do it.

A sleek chic look

If your garden is all about clean lines then strip lighting could be the way to go. In the past few years, it has fallen drastically in price. This form of lighting is no longer the reserve of hotel pools and the owners of palatial homes.

You can simply use it to highlight any steps in your garden, or you can get a bit more creative. The lighting can potentially be installed on each fence post to create a row of beautiful upright strips that look like they are hovering above the ground. Or, you can run it around the edge of pots to highlight them and turn them and the plants they contain into stunning natural garden sculptures.

A soft oasis

For someone who likes everything to be a little warmer and softer, there are plenty of options. Installing deck lights is a great way to light up the communal floor spaces in your garden. If you buy the right kind, they can also be used to light up floors that are made of harder materials such as concrete. The light they give off is usually soft and very relaxing. Using spike lights you can create soft puddles of light that pick out some of your favourite trees or garden ornaments.

If you have a body of water in your garden, do not forget to light that up too. There is nothing more restful that listening to the sound of running water while you watch your fish swim serenely by in an otherwise dark space. The fact the body of water is the brightest element in the garden draws your eye to it and helps you to focus only on that. It really is a great way to lull yourself into a meditative state.

A place to play and entertain

Many people like to use their garden to entertain, for them, good quality lighting is essential. It allows them to continue to cook and serve their guests long after dark.

Again, there are many options. However, usually in that situation, you want your lights to be mounted quite high so that they create big puddles of light. Taking this approach means that you will need fewer fixtures to cast light across a big area. However, when installing this type of lighting, you need to think about your neighbours. Light pollution is increasingly becoming a problem in urban areas.

More ideas

If you would like more inspiration, just click the link. The article you will be taken too includes examples of 38 innovative garden lighting ideas. Most of them are for the type of luxury lighting you see used in high-end hotels and large properties. However, as you will see, the vast majority of them actually work really well for normal residential properties.

 

 

Featured Post: Choosing the perfect family pooch

So you have finally decided it is time for the family to grow and you are ready for the patter of tiny feet. Add to that a wet nose and a wagging tail and it can only mean one thing. Congratulations, you are going to share your life with your first family dog, and thing will never be quite the same again!

Deciding to get a dog is a big decision in itself, but it is only the beginning. The next question is what sort. Ask ten people and you will get ten answers, because each breed has its own foibles. One thing to remember, however, is that it can be a mistake to generalize. Suggesting that a spaniel will be hyperactive or a Rottweiler will be aggressive can be as inaccurate as making assumptions about a human on the basis of their race or nationality.

Remember, every dog has a unique character of its own, so see beyond the breed. In fact, some of the very best dogs are of no discernible breed at all, and there are no end of cross breed puppies for sale that will make wonderful pets and not cost you the earth.

So now that we have the question of breed disposed of, what else should you consider?

Family dynamics

Every family has its own dynamics, and these will affect your choice of dog. Young kids in the household? If you have under fives, you need to supervise closely for the safety of everyone, but it makes sense to get a puppy that will have a chance to grow up alongside the kids. Just remember, every dog has teeth and will use them, so what’s more important is to set ground rules for everyone – whether they are two or four-legged!

Temperament

As we mentioned earlier, every dog has its own character – but the breed will at least give you some clues as to what traits you might expect to see. Working dogs, such as border collies, need their own space, while breeds like Dalmatians thrive on attention and fun. Gun dogs tend to be sociable and obedient, while terriers can be more of a law unto themselves. But always remember, nurture plays a bigger role than nature, so do not get too caught up in the stereotypes!

Training

A key aspect of a dog’s temperament is how easy it is to train. Again, there are some clues in the breeds here, but when it comes down to it, any dog can be trained with determination and consistency. With that important caveat in mind, you will usually find that working dogs – Labradors, German Shepherds, Collies and the like – are keen to learn and eager to please. Huskies are notoriously difficult – not because they do not understand, but because they have an almost cat-like habit of deciding for themselves whether or not to obey.

Exercise

Every dog needs daily exercise and stimulation, and if they do not get it, they will become bored, stressed and often destructive – they are really not so unlike people. While working dogs need more exercise and longer walks than smaller breeds, even the tiniest terrier still needs to go out for a walk every day.

Featured Post: 5 Little things to look forward to this Spring

Now that the festive season is far behind us and the New Years celebrations a distant memory, we can get on with looking forward to the next season: Spring!

Whether you’re looking forward to a good Spring clean, clearing out those cupboards, donating old clothes to charity or treating yourself to some contemporary furniture from danetti.com one thing is certain: everyone loves Spring! Here, you’ll find a little list of things we can all look forward to as the weather warms up! Who knows, you might not even need your coat!

The weather and the days getting longer

This one is huge. After so many dark, cold nights we’re all lacking in a little vitamin D! Whether you’ve been heading to work in the dark and coming home in the dark or struggling to get the kids out of their dark bedrooms at 7am, a little bit of sunshine and warm weather is very welcome, and it’s been medically proven to be a great mood booster. Something we all need after the excitement of Christmas has been and gone.

The first flowers of spring

There’s nothing more heart warming then spotting a few dewdrop covered snow drops in the cold, hard ground. It’s a sign that winter is officially coming to an end. Soon to follow will be rows and rows of beautiful and bright daffodils, as well as crocuses and stunning tulips. Head to a local florist or supermarket and bring some into your home – avoid picking them if they’re growing wild. They are there for everyone to enjoy!

The leaves and blossom on the trees

We all love it when the leaves on the trees begin to turn orange and brown. But after several months of seeing nothing but skeletal tress with naked branches and boughs sometimes covered in snow and creaking in the winter wind, the idea of green leaves can seem like a distant memory! So, when the first flurries of blossom begin to grow, and the little buds of green begin to show on the branches it’s time to get excited!

Ditching that winter coat

When it gets to this time of year – it’s almost impossible to remember a time when you didn’t have to leave the house with a thick jumper, a coat, a scarf, gloves, hat and umbrella, not to mention getting all the kids wrapped up too! When the weather begins to turn, it’s so refreshing to be able to head straight out of the door and leave your coat and accessories behind! It usually means that getting the kids of out of the door is a little easier too!

Getting out your Spring wardrobe

With Spring on the way, you can say goodbye at last to those thick knitwear pieces, heavy jumpers and worn out cardigans! Head to the back of your wardrobe and say hello to those pretty spring dresses, lightweight leggings, ballet pumps, brogues and blouses!

What are you looking forward to now Spring is on the way?

Dangers in the home you may have missed!

We all want to keep our children safe, from crossing the road, and the importance of not talking to strangers to eating sensibly and always wearing a helmet if they’re on their bike or scooter. But did you know that most accidents occur in home?

We’re all well aware of the basics like, keeping your sockets covered and making sure pan handles aren’t sticking over the edge of the stove and having things like a first aid box to hand and thick soft carpets ready to cushion a fall are a great place to start – visit discountflooring depot if you’re looking for new flooring solutions.

But, as parents we should always be on the lookout for danger, especially if it’s right under our noses!

Here you’ll find some of the other dangers in the home that you may have missed!

Photo frames

I’ll bet that there are plenty of photo frames on display in your living room, and of course there should be! But if your child is being a little bit too rambunctious and they knock over a frame and it shatters, the glass could easily cut your child. Always ensure frames are kept well out of reach and if possible, replace them with plastic ones!

Candles and matches

Everyone likes to create a little atmosphere at home from time to time. Whether you’re relaxing, creating a romantic mood, or you’ve just got a new candle and you’re filling your home with it’s gorgeous scents. It is entirely possible for a child or even a toddler to accidentally light a match, no matter how limited their motor skills are. The best solution is to completely remove the matches from the room and place them well out of sight.

If a candle is lit and the child knocks it over, the wax could burn them – or if they’re intrigued by the flame they could seriously burn themselves. It really isn’t worth the risk, so why not try some flameless LED candles instead?

Window blinds

A very scary but very real danger in many homes. A small child can very easily become entangled in the loop of a blind cord. In some cases, this has proved to be fatal. If you have blinds in your home, cut the loops immediately to remove the risk of asphyxiation. Or better still, invest in some cordless blinds or window coverings.

Your electricals

We know the importance of covering electrical outlets, but it’s just as important to switch any appliance off at the socket if you’re leaving it plugged in. Take your hairdryer for example – it’s very easy for a child to switch on – meaning that your child could easily burn themselves with the heat. In addition, if the hairdryer is switched on and left unattended near a curtain, or cushion it could start a fire before it has chance to cut out.

And always leave your straighteners out of reach when you’re done with them! We all know how painful burns can be!

10 Fun Activities to Do with the Kids This Winter

Winter can be a tricky time to be a parent. The weather is often poor, the days are short, and money can be a little bit tight after Christmas. So, what are you going to do with the kids at the weekend or during a half term? Well, here are ten fun activities you could try to stave off a serious case of cabin fever…

  1. Go on a treasure hunt

Fresh air is the perfect remedy for children who are feeling little cooped up, so head out into the great outdoors having devised a ‘treasure hunt’ of sorts. Make them a checklist of things to find, such as a spider’s web, a bird’s nest or a frost-laced leaf.

  1. Do some baking

Kids love to help in the kitchen, and getting them involved in a spot of baking is a great way to develop their confidence in the kitchen and start teaching essential life skills. Whip up a batch of muffins (they’re pretty forgiving if your little helpers are a bit heavy handed), or help them make some gooey chocolate chip cookies. Delicious!

  1. Walk along the beach

If you’re lucky enough to live near the coast (or want to bundle in the car for the weekend), why not head out to the seaside? A blustery winter’s walk on the seafront is great fun, and the kids will enjoy leaning into the wind and watching the waves crash on the shore. Treat yourselves to fish and chips after and remember to take photos to capture those happy memories.

  1. Build a snowman

With any luck winter brings a dusting of snow for the kids to enjoy, so if you happen to see any settling where you live, head straight out to build a snowman. Little ones might need some help to roll the snow, and children of all ages will love rummaging round the house for carrots, scarves and pieces of coal (or failing that, small potatoes) to make the snowman come to life. Just make sure you’ve kitted the kids out in warm stylish clothing before they play in the snow – a warm coat, a sturdy pair of wellies and a pair of gloves are essential items if they’re going to enjoy themselves.

  1. Make a winter campfire

Children love to watch a fire crackling as much as adults do, so why not build a winter campfire in your back garden? Be sure to build your fire safely, and then pull up chairs for some quality time as a family. You can swap stories, toast marshmallows and sip hot chocolate together.

  1. Build a fort

Remember how much you loved building forts when you were little? It’s a lovely thing to do with the kids, so sacrifice those just-washed bed sheets and drape them over the arms of the sofas. Pull in some pillows, add a string of battery-powered fairy lights and let the kids camp out there for the day. They can play games, eat their lunch in there and perhaps even take an afternoon nap…

  1. Play in the forest

It’s impossible to get our kids off their computer screens entirely, but you can certainly get them using their imaginations outdoors if you suggest a stroll through the forest. Encourage a bit of imaginary role play: wizard wands have been fashioned from many a twig, and a good branch doubles as a sword to do battle with any roaming dragons or bad guys…

  1. Have a dance party

Having a boogie round the house is a great way of exercising and improving everyone’s mood: no mean feat in the depths of winter! Find a good playlist, turn up the volume and encourage the kids to let loose. You can always throw a game of musical statues into the mix if you want to keep them at it for a little while longer.

  1. Host a film festival

There’s nothing nicer than being tucked up inside on a rainy winter’s day, so why not watch some films together? Add an extra element of fun by theming the films around food – a particularly good trick if you want to get your little ones to try a new dish. For instance, serve steaming bowls of ratatouille while watching the Ratatouille film, or tuck into spaghetti and meatballs while watching Lady and the Tramp.

  1. Get crafty

Finally, there are thousands of craft ideas to do with children if you look online, but one that’s particularly fun and requires little in the way of materials is this one. You’ll need basic supplies such as paper plates, paints, glue and elastic (all of which will be available at a well-stocked supermarket for instance), and so long as you don’t mind the kids making a bit of a mess, you’ll keep them entertained for hours.

So, which of these fun ideas will you be doing with the kids this winter? Let us know!