How To Plan The Perfect Staycation and Holiday At Home

How To Plan The Perfect Staycation and Holiday At Home

We’re currently* allowed to travel – but that doesn’t mean that all of us want to or can. With better weather forecast, make the most of your time off work with the perfect staycation and holiday at home. Here’s how.

 (c) 2021 Pixabay
Make time for a leisurely breakfast or brunch. (c) 2021 Pixabay

Make time for yourself

If this week is designed as a holiday rather than a time to do projects, then time is NOT of the essence! Take some time to make a proper breakfast (or even brunch), particularly if this is unusual for you. Serve up some fresh fruit or scrambled eggs – anything that feels a bit indulgent and that you wouldn’t normally have time to prepare. Turn the radio on, open up the newspapers, put another pot of coffee on and get ready to settle in.

Treat yourself to a holiday purchase

If you were going to be spending the week away from home, whether that’s aboard or in the UK, you might well buy something new for ‘going away with’. Just because you’re not leaving home is no reason to stint, so if you’re in the market for a new pair of sunglasses, some expensive body cream or even a new pair of jeans, now’s the time.

Create the right environment

Transform the atmosphere of your home from everyday to special with lots of fresh flowers. These don’t have to be expensive, florist-arranged bouquets – an handful of grasses and buttercups foraged from a hedgerow works just as well. Add candles (cheap tea lights in jam jars will do the job perfectly!) and extend the ‘decorations’ to the outside as well, as hopefully you’ll be spending some time out there as well.

Create a holiday playlist

This one might seem a bit over the top but it really works! Music is very evocative, and a collection of light, fun, summery tunes playing the background will get you in the holiday mood.

 (c) 2021 Pixabay
Spend time outdoors. (c) 2021 Pixabay

Move outside

On a beach holiday, we tend to spend most of the day outside and even if it’s not particularly sunny it’s a great mood booster in other ways. Eat breakfast or drink mid-morning coffee outside, or stay out sipping a glass of wine as the sun goes down, even if you have to wrap yourself in a blanket! Being on holiday is all about breaking your normal routine, and just because you’re at home is no reason not to please yourself.

 (c) 2021 Pixabay
Watch the sunset with a glass of wine. (c) 2021 Pixabay

Plan meals

This week is all about not planning too hard, but the exception to that is food shopping beforehand! Stock up with lots of fresh food that needs minimal preparation, such as fresh pasta and salads. That way, if you feel like cooking you can do and if you don’t you can just throw a few things in a bowl and head outside.

Introduce cocktail hour

There’s something very indulgent about sitting down in the early evening with a drink, before you have to think about dinner. You don’t need to hit the hard stuff if it’s not your thing – just search the internet for alcohol-free cocktail recipes. Stock up with fresh fruit, juices, coconut milk, glace cherries – and don’t forget the cocktail umbrellas!

Tidy away your work life

Finally, if you work from home then make a point of clearing your desk and putting all work-related papers out of sight. Turn your computer off, and you could even go to the lengths of stashing it in the wardrobe! When you work from home it’s all too easy to ‘just check emails’ or catch up on the filing, but this will stop you relaxing completely and getting into holiday mindset. Set your out of office message, grab that cocktail and head outside.

*check the current restrictions on the Government website here.

All images (c) 2021 Pixabay

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14 Simple Ways to Increase Your Productivity

14 Simple Ways to Increase Your Productivity

How often do you end the day feeling like you haven’t accomplished what you wanted? You make plans, objectives and create a to-do list but still find yourself struggling to achieve the tasks you set out to do.

It is understandable, as being fully productive can be a challenge to many. The key to successfully ticking off your to-do-list relies on managing your time in ways that enhance your productivity. Whether you’re struggling to get all your home DIY tasks completed, or keep up with working from home, here are simple tips to increase your productivity.

How to be productive doing DIY
Photo by Roselyn Tirado on Unsplash

Do not multi-task

Sometimes you feel like you want to get your hands on every task to complete them at one go. But juggling many jobs can make you less productive. Instead, aim to focus on a single task at a time and see how much faster you complete them.

Set realistic goals

Goal setting is one of the best ways to get things done. However, goals can also be overwhelming. It is important to make your goals attainable to feel more in control of what you do. Breaking your goals into smaller, more realistic tasks helps you complete them more easily. This will also help you keep track of what’s been done and still needs to be completed, and make more significant tasks seem more manageable.

Complete more complex tasks when you are most alert

There is no denying that pushing harder tasks to later in the day is tempting. However, it’s essential to know that you are most productive in the morning, so it’s best to get the trickier tasks completed first whilst you’re more alert. 

Lovely mug of coffee
Photo by REGINE THOLEN on Unsplash

Take frequent breaks

Do you think working longer hours helps you get many things done? That’s where you go wrong. Longer working hours may take a toll on your productivity through burnouts. So, why not plan to have coffee breaks and enjoy Horsham Coffee Roaster products between your schedules. It will help refresh your mind and keep you going.

Set deadlines

The stress that comes with a deadline is a good thing for your productivity. You need something to keep you on your toes if you want to be more productive at what you do. Setting deadlines helps you focus on completing your tasks in time and improves your concentration.

Exercise

Physical exercise is a proven way of increasing productivity. Sometimes you become less productive due to burnout, which may call for a break to stretch and replenish your fluids. Plus, reduced productivity is also associated with chronic pains that develop due to the lack of physical exercise. For instance, if you spend most of your time on the computer, you may end up experiencing back pains that limit your output.

Create a to-do list every night

Creating a to-do list can help you be more productive and focused
Photo by Glenn Carstens-Peters on Unsplash

A to-do list is an excellent productivity aid. Creating a to-do list every night helps you get organized and focus on what you want to accomplish. Plus, a to-do list will offer you the satisfaction you need to keep going after ticking a task off your list.

Manage your time

Managing your time is the best way to increase your productivity. However, not everyone is capable of tracking the time taken to complete tasks. Using a time tracking tool will help you schedule and complete your tasks in time. This is also an excellent way to stay on top of your schedule.

Avoid distractions

It helps to identify where best to focus your energy. You may not notice them right away, but there are some things that take your energy yet do not count at the end of the day. They are just distractions that you should avoid.

To increase your productivity, you have to shut down the noise and avoid unnecessary distractions. Think about turning off your SMS notifications to give yourself time to focus on what is important beforehand. Or try and stay away from looking at social media whilst you’re trying to get the decorating done. 

Stay organized

Clean tidy and organised kitchen
Photo by Good Soul Shop on Unsplash

You cannot be more productive if you are working in a chaotic environment. 

According to research, mess and clutter reduces your concentration and may cause fatigue. If you want to improve your productivity, work on your organisation. Start by getting rid of all the clutter, then clean your space and have everything arranged in the right place to allow you the time to focus on the task at hand. 

Stay hydrated

There are many benefits of drinking plenty of water, and one of them is improving your brain functionality. With a lot of work to do, you may forget to drink water and get dehydrated easily. You may not notice it, but dehydration comes with fatigue that reduces your efficiency and productivity. Make an effort to have a water bottle with you whatever DIY task you’re working on

Always keep a bottle of water with you to keep hydrated
Photo by Vanesa Giaconi on Unsplash

Prepare your lunch

How long do you take for a lunch break? Rushing your lunch can be detrimental to your gut health as well as your productivity. The best way to ensure you have an unrushed lunch break is to prepare your lunch in advance. This way, you avoid the allure for spontaneously reaching for junk food and save yourself time to enjoy your lunch break.

If you want to improve your productivity when working from home, take a step back and think of how you can create an inviting work environment and work smartly. These tips will point you in the right direction.

Featured image credit: Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

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UK Bloggers Competition: Win £120 to Spend at M&S

UK Bloggers Competition: Win £120 to Spend at M&S

Fancy winning £120 to spend at Marks and Spencer? We’ve got together with a selection of other UK Bloggers to give you the chance to win a summer spending spree at M&S!

Whether you spend it on new items for your home, treats for yourself or your family, the choice is up to you! To enter, see below.

Meet the Bloggers

UK Bloggers August 2021 Summer Prize Giveaway Competition

The following UK bloggers have all come together to contribute towards this giveaway, offering you a chance to win an M&S e-Gift Card worth £120. Kindly support us by visiting some of the websites below or following us on social media pages.

CatsKidsChaos | Spillinglifetea | Real Girls Wobble | Missljbeauty | Monethalia | Koody | Felifamily | Hannah and the Twiglets | A Life Of Lovely | At Home With Alice | Make Money Without A Job | Earn Money Do Good | So Nostalgic | Craft Multimedia | The Grumpy Olive | Cantwells Cabin | StressedMum | Alice in Sheffield | Dull to Desirable | It’s Me Chrissy J | Best Things to do in Cambridge | Two Plus Dogs | Thrifty Chap | Jupiter & Dann | Miss Tilly And Me | Being Tilly’s Mummy | Internet Wages | Life With Ktkinnes | Christmas With Katie | Life in a Break Down | Simply Saving | A Suffolk Mum | Fresh Design Blog | Wotawoman Diary | StaceyLBlogs | Socially Rach | Best Things to do in York | Brunch or Breakfast? | Lodges with Hot Tubs | Fruit Picking Farms | Citrus Spice and Travels | A Life With Frills | Life Changing Side Hustle | Honest Mummy Reviews | Wander & Luxe | My Tunbridge Wells | Travel Bugs | Mind over Money Matters | Discover Kent

The Giveaway Prize

Win £120 to spend at M&S

One lucky winner will win a £120 M&S e-Gift Card!

An M&S eGift Card can be can be used online at marksandspencer.com or in over 700 M&S stores across the UK.

Terms and Conditions

1. There is only one prize of a £120 M&S e-Gift Card.
2. There are no runner up prizes.
3. This giveaway is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding all bloggers involved with running the giveaway.
4. The closing date for entries is midnight on 08.08.21.
5. The same Rafflecopter widget appears on all the websites involved, but you only need to enter on one website.
6. Entrants must log in to the Rafflecopter widget below and complete one or more of the tasks – each completed task earns one entry in the prize draw.
7. Tweeting about the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget will earn five bonus entries into the prize draw, increasing your chances of winning.
8. One winner will be chosen at random.
9. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date and will need to respond within 28 days with their email address, or a replacement winner will be chosen.
10. The winners’ names will be published in the Rafflecopter widget (unless the winner objects to this).
11. The prizes will be dispatched within 14 days of the winner confirming their address.
13. By participating in this prize draw, entrants confirm they have read, understood and agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

To enter the giveaway, simply complete any or all of the Rafflecopter entries below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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How to Protect Your Home Interior From Pets

How to Protect Your Home Interior From Pets

If you bring home a new member of your family, such as a cat or a dog, your dwelling changes. Pets inevitably leave hair, scratches and stains around the home, so you’ll need to do you best to protect your pristine home from too much unwanted wear and tear.

Of course, it requires lots of effort to protect the home interior from damage from your four-legged companions, but you’ll deal with it. Here are some key issues to consider.

Trim Their Nails

Trim your pets paws to help prevent unwanted scratching on furniture in your home
Photo by Katja Bayer on Unsplash

Trimming your pet’s nails will protect your floor and furniture from scratching. If you want to trim their nails by yourself, be very careful because some pets, such as cats or pugs, for example, scream when they see scissors close to their paws. To avoid wounds on your bestie’s paws, delegate this exploit to the vet or your groomer. They’re professionals in their fields and are well versed on handling your pet with care.

Buy Pet-friendly Rugs

Accessorize your floor with pet-friendly rugs, such as those made of sisal or seagrass. They’re durable, affordable and can prevent damage occurring to more expensive carpets.

Choose Hard Surface Floors

If you have a large dog, a hardwood floor isn’t a good idea because your pet can easily scratch it. Marble or other natural materials aren’t pet-proof because acids that our pets have in their spit can stain them.

The best bet for you is a ceramic tile. This is because you can easily clean it off. Also, it’s resistant to any stains. If your four-legged friend is fluffy, it has a cool place to rest and sleep.

Avoid Decorating With Small and Breakable Items

Think about what accessories you put on windowsills if you have cats in your home
Photo by Jez Timms on Unsplash

Puppies and kittens have a tendency to be lively, jumping and running around your home, so any small or breakable items could be at risk of damage You could hide them from your furry companions and wait while they become adults, or you could move them to places where they won’t get knocked.

To reduce your pet’s desire to get breakable items, keep them busy and encourage them to play with their own toys. Hopefully they’ll be passionate about playing with the toy and likely to pay less attention to fragile things in your house.

Move Plants To Inaccessible Location

There is the same story with your house plants. Our furry companions are often curious about plants, wanting to see what’s in the pot, knock them over or even try eating them. Some plants can be dangerous to cats and dogs, so do your research and ensure the plants you have are pet-friendly.

House plants can be moved to places or rooms that are out of your pets reach.

Treat Your Pet With Healthy Food

A healthy diet is the basis of a clean home, because if the food you buy doesn’t fit your four-legged companion, there could end up being a lot of unexpected stains in your dwelling.

Before buying any pet foods, ensure that the ingredients in it are safe for your bestie.  Ask your vet for pet food recommendations and buy top rated puppy food from reliable manufacturers. It’s also helpful to read reviews and look out for any product recalls, such as the Tiny Tiger cat food recall.

Choose Durable and Washable Fabrics of Furniture

Cute black and white rescue cat making itself at home on the back of a sofa
Photo by Milada Vigerova on Unsplash

Blankets cosy your home up. But your dwelling can lose its cosiness if your pet scratches your furniture, cushions or blankets. Aim to choose fabrics your pet can’t damage. For example, you can buy cotton, wool, fleece, acrylic, or polyester blankets. Check out these tips for more ideas on how to keep your home clean when living with pets.

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7 Ways to Make a Small Room Feel Bigger

7 Ways to Make a Small Room Feel Bigger

From tiny houses in the wilderness to shoebox-sized urban studios, plenty of people are living in smaller dwellings today. And while there’s a lot to like about the snug feel of small spaces, they often need a little bit of careful decorating to prevent them from developing a cramped feeling.

Don’t worry, though — you don’t have to be a professional decorator to know how to create a gallery wall, use mirrors in your decorating or use low-profile furniture. These, and other tools and techniques, provide surprisingly simple methods that can help you make a room feel more spacious.

Ready to infuse your small space with a big personality? Our seven tips below will show you how.

Clean and tidy home interior
Source: lilasgh/Shutterstock

1. Choose low-profile furniture

Furnishing your space with lower-profile pieces is one easy way to create a roomy feel. Compare two couches with the same floor footprint but different heights and the taller couch will always appear to occupy more space. This holds true for other furniture as well, and it’s an important element of choosing furniture for a small room.

The mid-century modern style is one that includes a lot of low-profile designs, so it’s a good place to start looking. Simplicity is another good quality to look for in your furniture selections for a small room, as furniture with a cleaner and more minimal design will help you keep the room’s level of visual stimulus manageable.

 2. Keep rugs, curtains and drapes simple or eliminate them altogether

Reconsider that huge Persian rug with the complex design. In small spaces, a large, busy rug can feel overwhelming and take up too much visual real estate. One or two small rugs with elegant designs can still look great in a small space, depending on how they’re used. But many people designing for small spaces opt to do away with rugs entirely

Many of the same considerations apply to curtains and drapes. First, they absorb light and occupy visual space even when they’re open. Second, they obstruct your view of the outdoors, which is a surprisingly important part of creating a roomy space. Just being able to see out a window, even if the view isn’t spectacular, is an effective way to make a room seem more spacious.

3. Loft your bed

Remember that thing we just said about low-profile furniture? Well, forget about it for right now because we’re going to talk about loft beds. If you’re working with a small bedroom area, a loft bed might be exactly what you need to give yourself some space for other furniture, like a home office area or a couch.

Naturally, you’ll need to do some due diligence to make sure the room can accommodate a loft bed. Figure out if you’ll have enough distance between the bed and the ceiling to avoid an uncomfortable sleeping experience, and please make sure your bed won’t be near a ceiling fan! Don’t forget that you’ll also need the same things that any bed requires, so see if you can add a wall-mounted nightstand for the necessary late-night drinks of water and phone chargers.

Add modern colourful chairs to your home for a pop of colour
Source: Photographee.eu/Shutterstock

4. Lighten up your colour palette

The general rule about colours is that lighter ones will make your room feel airier and more spacious. Paler colours allow light to reflect around the room and give the human eye an impression of being inside a larger space. A combination of white walls and white ceilings is an unbeatable choice for pure space and breeziness.

If all white is too stark for you, consider an off-white colour or breaking up your white walls with some colourful wall decorations. For a really bold statement, think about grabbing some peel and stick wallpaper to create an easy accent wall. Furniture with slightly darker colours can also offer a great contrast to lighter walls.

5. Create a gallery wall

What about wall decorations? Generally, you’ll want to avoid anything very large that will occupy too much space and attention (sorry, taxidermied moose head). Instead, consider opting for a gallery wall decorative scheme that combines multiple smaller pieces into an elegant ensemble.

OK, but what should go on your gallery wall? The answer is “pretty much anything you want,” as long as it’s not too large. A standard 8.5×11 sheet of paper or below is a pretty good benchmark for gallery wall pieces in a small room. You can also choose one larger piece that goes near the centre and cluster other smaller pieces around it, which will provide an attractive contrast.

Home storage solutions make tidying up easier
Source: ezhenaphoto/Shutterstock

6. Add one or more mirrors

Mirrors are one of the oldest and most reliable tricks around when it comes to decorating small spaces. Their reflective properties can subtly influence people to perceive a room as larger than it actually is. Look, all we’re saying is that there’s a reason magicians use them, OK?

What’s more, mirrors are versatile. Each different type of mirror has its own properties that can convey different spatial illusions. Full length mirrors, for example, are good at making your ceilings seem extra-tall. Small face mirrors can make an excellent component of a gallery wall. And a long, skinny mirror mounted on a wall can make that wall appear substantially longer.

7. Show clutter no mercy

Clutter will clog up a room’s space and energy faster than just about anything else. That means that keeping your space clean and clutter-free will be one of your most important tasks in developing its spacious character.

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