Product Of The Week: Thinking Egg Mindfulness Tool

Product Of The Week: Thinking Egg Mindfulness Tool

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The kitchen utensil decorators use to achieve a smooth finish when painting

The kitchen utensil decorators use to achieve a smooth finish when painting

Painting is arguably one of the most simple DIY tasks – and this super affordable kitchen utensil painting hack could help to make it even easier. 

Painting a wall might be easy enough with a new tin of paint, but if you plan to save money by using leftover paint around the home things can get tricky.  One of the biggest issues novice DIYer’s face (vs a professional) are the imperfections found in old tins of paint. 

Bits of dirt, dust or hard crusted-over paint can ruin the finish when painting a wall, and often leave us awkwardly picking at our recently completed masterpiece trying to smooth everything over. But there’s actually a very easy way to avoid all of that, according to the experts.

Kitchen utensil painting hack

If you want to ensure a smooth, even finish when you’re painting a wall, furniture, painting a skirting board, or even a ceiling, Toolstation’s (opens in new tab) painting and decorating expert suggests using a sieve as part of your decorating routine. Yep – the very same, £2 sieve you use to drain your pasta (although you might want to buy a new one for this trick…)

The idea is that the sieve will scoop out all the bits of debris, leaving you with a pot of paint that’s like new.

They explained, ‘It might surprise you to hear, but a kitchen sieve is part of many professional painter and decorators’ toolkits.

‘Old paint can collect dust and debris over time, as well as flecks of dry, hard paint. Even brand new paint usually contains small lumps, which can prevent you achieving a perfectly smooth result – and there’s nothing worse than being left with a ‘bitty’ texture to your walls.’

Blue painted living room paint trends 2023

(Image credit: Benjamin Moore)

To actually try the hack when planning your paint ideas, they explain, ‘Simply position the sieve over a clean paint scuttle, and pour the paint through. 

‘Safely dispose of any particles that get caught in the sieve and start painting. After use, simply clean the sieve with warm soapy water or brush cleaner.’

And, this is a trick you can use time after time, according to the experts.

‘Unlike tights and stockings which were used by some decorators to strain paint for many years (and which had to be thrown away each time) a metal sieve can be used over and over again – far more sustainable,’ they said.

Sarah Lloyd, paint expert from Valspar (opens in new tab), agreed that this trick is a good idea – and clarified that it’s usually only necessary for older paint. She said, ‘Straining paint is more common if the paint has been used previously, rather than a brand new tin. As mentioned, by straining the paint you will be able to remove any debris, dust or dirt and create a much smoother application.’

pink walls and a cream sofa with pink curtains

(Image credit: Future PLC)

For a guaranteed smooth finish though, she also advised additionally cleaning your walls before painting.

‘While using a sieve to strain paint is a good idea, we would always recommend also cleaning your walls for the best and smoothest results. It’s a small tip that so many people forget about, but it can make a huge difference!’ Sarah said.

‘You should also thoroughly clean your brushes or rollers too, to remove any old paint or dust.’

However, not all decorators are fans of the tip. DIY expert Michael Rolland, from The Paint Shed (opens in new tab),  agreed that while straining your paint is a good idea, he wouldn’t personally advise using a sieve. He said, ‘A decorator would normally use a Ciret paint strainer if air had got into the (water based, usually) paint, and this has caused the paint to dry on the lid and then fall off into the paint, making it appear lumpy. 

‘And as mentioned, before paint strainers were released, a decorator would usually use an old pair of tights.’

But if you’re decorating at home and in need of a quick fix a sieve with definitely do. 

The kitchen utensil decorators use to achieve a smooth finish when painting

M&S’ new bedding perfectly captures this on-trend soothing mood of the moment

Marks and Spencer have done it again, with their new home range featuring neutral, floral bedding that perfectly embodies this on-trend colour scheme. As well as stocking up on the cutest planters and vases, M&S are gearing towards the spring season as we speak – and we’re so here for it.

As we’re rearing to leave the January blues behind us, many of us are probably ready for a well-needed pick-me-up and a way to give our homes a mood-boosting makeover. Well, we think that Marks and Spencer’s got it in the bag with their new range of homeware to get us through the final push of the January slump.

Here’s what we’ll be shopping from the new range.

Marks and Spencer living room

(Image credit: Marks and Spencer)

From the best duvet covers to upgrade your bedroom ideas to the sweetest planters for your house plant ideas within the new-in items, there’s definitely a pattern that we see with the reoccurring green and blue hues, and we’re for sure a fan.

Interior experts at Hovia (opens in new tab) had predicted these colours to continuously grow as a home decor trend for 2023. We know many of us favour neutral tones, but if a pop of colour is what you’re after, they recommend that we ‘stay within the safe lines of mellow and tranquil blues and greens.’ And that’s exactly what we’re seeing in the M&S Home range (opens in new tab).

Marks and Spencer bedding set

(Image credit: Marks and Spencer)

Thomas Høegh Reisenhus, sleep specialist and counsellor at TEMPUR (opens in new tab) chimes in the same fashion agreeing that while playing with colour is encouraged, our bedroom colour schemes should ultimately promote relaxation to help us sleep better.

‘To achieve this, we need light, airy, soothing tones; dusky pinks, soothing greens, hazy blues, and muted yellows are all ideal,’ he explains. ‘Patterns that are proven to relax the eye are perfect for bedding, however, such as floral designs and those that feature shapes with curved edges.’ The new M&S bedding could be an easy way to introduce patterns to your home.

Marks and Spencer sofa in living room

(Image credit: Marks and Spencer)

Having spoken to M&S, they revealed that plain bedding sets have actually been performing better than design bedding, with searches up 13% in the last 10 weeks. However, they think this is the case of these purchases being replacements rather than giving into the desire to partake in dopamine decorating.

So, if you’re not looking to splurge on the best mattress just yet for a boudoir upgrade, then we think that these bedding sets are the ideal way to update a tired-looking space, especially if you’re keen to create a happy home.

Have any of these caught your fancy? We especially have our eye on the tufted floral bedding set and the funky petal planter…

The kitchen utensil decorators use to achieve a smooth finish when painting

Molly-Mae just made a very strong case for this emerging lighting trend

After Love Island star, Molly-Mae took to Instagram to showcase her new lighting fixture to over one million fans, bubble lighting has been making the rounds more than ever, with search for them skyrocketing by 300% in the last week alone.

With statement lighting forecasted to be at its peak as an interior design choice throughout this year, bubble lighting is a home decor trend we think could stay for the long run – but what do the experts have to say about it?

Bubble chandelier display from BHS

(Image credit: BHS)

Bubble lighting trend

We’ve seen bubble plates as a new niche trend, but what about bubble lighting?

Since former Love Island star, Molly-Mae shared her new statement bubble lighting to fans on Instagram (opens in new tab), the lighting style has received quite the search boost, with Festive Lights (opens in new tab) reporting a 317% increase in just the last week.

Fans were keen to comment and express their own desire to add it to their living room lighting ideas, gushing over the influencer’s new home purchase. Additionally, the power of social media once again never ceases, as bubble lighting also made the rounds on TikTok, with this one video reaching over 26,000 views.

@_laurahome (opens in new tab)
♬ I NEED A BIG BOYYY – 𝓚✧ (opens in new tab)

Paula Boston, visual merchandiser at Festive Lights comments on the many trends we’ve seen enter the home decor space, like the vanilla girl aesthetic, barbiecore, and cottagecore – many of which have largely influenced people’s interior design choices – but noted that only some can truly last the test of time in the design space. We think bubblecore is here to stay.

She notes that ‘bubble home decor, and bubble lighting more specifically, offers the perfect timeless aesthetic which is contemporary, yet simplistic.’

Bubble chandelier display

(Image credit: BHS)

Julian Page, head of design at BHS (opens in new tab) had forecasted that we’d see ‘many lighting trends in circulation,’ expecting that we’d witness the rise of glass bubble lighting.

And why do we love it so much? ‘There is an increasing desire for lighting that looks as good switched off as it does on. This has led to more searches for bubble motif lighting, a trend set to grow as homeowners search for more playful and uplifting interior accents,’ Julian explains.

Bubble chandelier display

(Image credit: Future PLC)

We think it’s a clever way to light your home and bring playfulness and personality to any space. Dayna Isom Johnson, trend expert at Etsy (opens in new tab) agrees and confirms saying. ‘Gone are the days of cookie-cutter, all-white, “perfect” homes; today’s shoppers are looking to decorate in ways that truly reflect their personal style and bring them joy.’

Bubble-inspired forms are especially becoming a go-to aesthetic for anyone looking to elevate their space. If you don’t think you can commit to bold paint trends for your living room colour scheme, this will definitely be your showstopping design feature.

Will you be partaking in this trend?

The kitchen utensil decorators use to achieve a smooth finish when painting

The neglected washing machine mode that could slash energy usage by 35%

The eco mode is now a standard feature on washing machines, and according to experts, it’s the function we’re all sleeping on if we’re looking for an easy way to save energy at home.

Despite the money-saving opportunities that can be made through the eco function Sophie Lane, product training manager for Miele GB (opens in new tab) says that is only activated in 5% of cases for washing machines. 

The eco uses less water and less energy to wash your clothes. However while many of us will have seen the function on our washing machines it’s often left untouched due to rumours of the quality of the wash being inferior, and confusion over the length of the wash. 

kitchen with white sink, light grey cabinets, white washing machine, pink flowers and wooden flooring

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘Enormous amounts of energy are unnecessarily wasted as a result of not using the eco program,’ says Sarah. ‘As part of the energy label system, Eco programmes on both washing machines and dishwashers must meet strict legislative requirements which are monitored in laboratories and hence result in a good performance in everyday use.’

To achieve the same quality, a wash on eco mode does take longer than a standard wash because the water doesn’t get as hot so needs to run longer to get the same level of cleaning. However, it still makes savings because 90% of a washing machine’s energy consumption comes from heating the water.

White utility room with washing machine

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Lara Brittain, kitchen expert at Currys (opens in new tab) agrees that the eco setting can save money on your energy bills because it uses 35%-59% less energy than a hot wash. 

Using the eco mode will impact how much it costs to run a washing machine, saving you money on your energy bills and your water bills. Ava Pope, energy saving expert at Love Energy Savings (opens in new tab) says, ‘Washing your clothes on your machines ‘eco’ setting can reduce water usage by between 20-40%, which will make you savings of between £18.90 and £37.80 a year.’

neutral kitchen utility area, 1950s style washing machine curtain skirt, laundry basket steel jugs as vases, with flowers

(Image credit: Future PLC)

However, so bear in mind that certain garments will require a special or more intensive programme. For example, some stains will need to be washed at 60 or 90 degrees making the eco mode would not the best option.

For your average wash, however, the eco mode is the best option to save energy, water and money while not compromising on the quality of the wash.

However, it isn’t just the eco mode on a washing machine we’re forgetting, insights from industry surveys and pseudonymised data from connected machines from Miele revealed Eco programmes are only activated in around 25% of cases on dishwashers too. 

So next time you pop the clothes or dishes on to wash, consider if it’s time to switch to eco. 

The kitchen utensil decorators use to achieve a smooth finish when painting

George Home is selling a look-a-like for Oliver Bonas’ boldest lamp but £100 less

George Home has done it again, giving many an opportunity to get the high-end look for less with a dupe of Oliver Bonas’ stylish leopard table lamp – shoppers can save £100 on this statement decor piece.

Statement lighting has been on many an interior-conscious person’s mind as a home decor trend to jump on. We know that lighting is key to setting the mood for any space, so how much more when we think about the silhouette itself? The leopard lamp trend is a bold choice for living room lighting ideas, but one that we think is worth taking on – and George Home have just made it even more achievable even on a budget.

Bronze Leopard Shaped Table Lamp from George Home

George Home’s Bronze Leopard Shaped Table Lamp

(Image credit: George Home)

George Home’s Oliver Bonas leopard table lamp dupe

The Bronze Leopard Shaped Table Lamp (opens in new tab) is available to purchase for £35 in-store or online. George Home claims that shoppers can ‘make a wild statement with this leopard table lamp’ and that ‘it’ll make a real impact when lit.’

We think it’s a great dupe for Oliver Bonas’ Leopard Green Velvet Shade Desk & Table Lamp (opens in new tab), which retails for £135. Savvy shoppers can save £100 on this bargain buy. The main difference between the two table lamps is that George Home’s version is black as opposed to Oliver Bonas’ velvet green.

They’re both stylish statement pieces that would thrive in any space, especially as a daring bedroom lighting idea. ‘The wide and varied range of animal lights on the market shows that there is a desire to feature these quirky and fun statement lights in the home,’ explains Julian Page, head of design at BHS (opens in new tab). And we love them too.

Harriet Pringle, founder of Narchie (opens in new tab) predicts that statement lighting will continue to be a recurring theme in 2023 – but bigger. ‘You get a 2 for 1 with lighting, the effect of the light itself and the shape and colour of the lamp. A punchy lamp or lampshade makes a statement, and is a piece of art in itself.’

George Home hasn’t failed in supplying us with budget decorating ideas, and needless to say, the bargains just keep coming. They’re one of Ideal Home’s best-kept secrets for picking up fabulous dupes of high-end home decor pieces we have our eye on.

Leopard Green Velvet Shade Desk & Table Lamp from Oliver Bonas

Oliver Bonas’ Leopard Green Velvet Shade Desk & Table Lamp

(Image credit: Oliver Bonas)

And fans also love it and agree – George Home’s leopard table lamp has been said to ‘look like a very expensive statement piece’ and of ‘fantastic quality at a fraction of the price of other retailers.’

There you have it. Run, don’t walk to Asda.

This Is the Secret, Designer-Approved Source You Haven’t Heard About Yet for Art

This Is the Secret, Designer-Approved Source You Haven’t Heard About Yet for Art

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.

If you’re a regular France & Son, Scout & Nimble, or Horchow browser or shopper, then you’ve probably stumbled upon Four Hands. Known predominantly for their furniture and other goods, they’re a go-to source for many pro designers looking to furnish clients’ spaces with stylish, substantial pieces that ship in a fairly quick time frame. Well, now that the brand has officially launched their Four Hands Art Studio offshoot, designers — and everyone else! — can now shop approximately 800 ready-to-hang artworks by nearly 200 different independent artists working at the top of their field around the globe.

Part of what makes shopping for art so intimidating is the curation process: How do you find a piece that resonates with you, supports an actual living artist or late artist’s foundation/estate, and doesn’t cost a small fortune? That’s the void Four Hands Art Studio is trying to help fill. In their assortment, the brand has done the legwork to bring museum-quality, ready-to-hang works to market from a wide variety of sources working in different styles across multiple mediums, from watercolor and oil painting to collage and photography.

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You’ll find everything from iconic snapshots by Slim Aarons (licensed through Getty Images) to painterly prints from emerging artists that boast rich colors and textures, which rival the originals they’re reproduced from. The frames are all made from American maple, so you know you’re getting something that’s built to last, and the lead time for pieces is about two weeks (not including shipping). Pricing isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s on par with some of the other artist-driven marketplaces you may already know: Tappan, Artsper, Saatchi, or Minted. If you order through Scout & Nimble, which seems to have the largest Four Hands Art Studio assortment right now, know that every artwork ships free regardless of size, which is a nice added bonus.

Pieces come in a wide variety of sizes, and, of course, the bigger you go, the more expensive they get. Four Hands has a decent selection of sizable offerings under $500; some favorites include the work of artist and registered nurse Aileen Fitzgerald, whose framed landscapes hark back to early Impressionism, as exemplified in her 24-inch by 16-inch piece Hillside Haze II (shown above) and artist Kara Buse, who produces atmospheric desert photography, like her work Light Leaks 12.

In general, art tends to be on the splurgier side of the home purchase spectrum, especially when you’re supporting someone making a living doing what they love (either directly or through a marketplace that’s dedicated to discovering talent). Whether you spend a lot or a little on a piece though, if it truly strikes a chord in you, it’ll bring so much personality to your space that it’ll earn its keep on your walls in spades.

Historical Apartment With A Neoclassical Interior

Historical Apartment With A Neoclassical Interior

This dwelling has seen a lot of history unfold in the center of Kyiv since 1909. Following the bombing and fire in 1941, the building underwent a major reconstruction in 1950. This individual apartment redesign began just a month before the pandemic hit in 2020 and was completed in 2022 amidst war. Designed by Oksana Dolgopiatova, the apartment has a view of the National Academic Franco Theater on one side and the statue of Independence Square on the other. Inside, the apartment is a sophisticated sanctuary with striking molded ceilings. Neoclassical motifs add elegance and flair. An open-plan layout and glass walls give the living space light and airy feel.

Recommended Reading:  Grey Based Neoclassical Interior Design With Muted & Metallic Accents

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The kitchen utensil decorators use to achieve a smooth finish when painting

George Home’s spring range went TikTok viral overnight – our edit of the best buys

George Home’s new collection has hit the Asda shelves, and over 300,000 people on TikTok have their eyes on it thanks to a keen-eyed shopper’s video that went viral in just 24 hours.

We have to admit, we’ve been loving George Home. From being our best-kept secret for sourcing fabulous dupes for high-end home decor to simply selling bargain buys to ensure you stay up to date with home decor trends, we understand all the buzz. And with their new range featuring pieces starting at just £3, we’ll be having a snoop in the Asda aisles ourselves.

George Home Cottage Twist range

(Image credit: George Home)

George Home Modern Cottage range

A TikTok video (opens in new tab) showcasing some items from the new collection went viral in just a matter of days, racking up over 300,000 views and 40,000 likes. Everyone in the comments was gushing over the home decor saying, ‘Oh I want it all’ and tagging their friends urging them to go for an Asda trip.

@thirteenthirtyonee (opens in new tab)
♬ Sure Thing (sped up) – Miguel (opens in new tab)

George Home’s new Modern Cottage range (opens in new tab) is available to purchase in-store and online. Starting at just £3, it’s looking like a favourable early spring decorating idea.

‘A blend of rural and urban life, the Country Cottage collection is the perfect trend for a mix of pastel tones and natural materials. Gingham, pleats and florals add to the spring/summer feel running through the trend,’ says Asda.

But with all the options to shop, what’s actually worth picking up? Here are three things definitely worth keeping your eye on.

Additionally, a special honourable mention would be these Gingham Check Cotton Cushions (opens in new tab) that we also think are to die for. We think they hold up as a more affordable version of John Lewis’ ANYDAY Gingham Check Cushions (opens in new tab), for £5 less (gotta take the savings wherever we can, after all).

George Home cottage twist range

(Image credit: George Home)

Of course, there are plenty of other items definitely worth considering, so having a snoop for yourself is always advised. We’re also extremely aware that it’s still winter and this range seems more suited to spring and summer home decor, but a home can always do with a mood-boosting makeover, especially with the January blues among us.

George Home cottage twist outdoor dining

(Image credit: George Home)

And I don’t know about you, but whatever the season I’ve got my spring and summer mode on, fantasising about picnics in the park and outdoor dinner parties. With this collection, I’m already adding to my garden party ideas as we speak.

If you need us, we’ll be at Asda.