18 Aug 2017

What We Should Really Be Giving Our Best Friends For Their Birthday

Birthdays are always a demanding occasion (even when they’re yours), but when your best friend’s special day rolls around, it turns into something else entirely. A regular gift alone sometimes doesn’t feel like quite enough. So, here are a few ways to make the day truly special and make the most perfect expression of that most-valued friendship.

Something for just the two of you

For the gift, you should be one of the people who knows most of all what she likes. However, that doesn’t always make it easy to find something that’s going to have true emotional value. Forget the price tag, it’s the reaction you want to aim for. To that end, something that has special significance to the both of you, whether it’s a reference to a time spent together or an in-joke, can be just the thing to keep her spirits high. Personalised gifts are always a treat, too, taking the effort to get her something that’s uniquely to her, from you.
Your time

If she doesn’t have half-a-hundred other people vying for her time on her birthday, then taking the day out to spend pampering and treating her can be the perfect way to make her feel truly loved. A little quiet alone time can also make for a great contrast if someone else is taking the lead in organizing her birthday party. One that works a treat is having a special lunch for two with an afternoon tea. A day in a spa will leave both of you feeling refreshed and ready for a big night, too.
A night to remember

Of course, as her best friend it’s likely you’re going to have a hand in planning the party itself. If it’s a particularly special birthday, then consider making the night particularly special, too. Instead of just throwing a party at home or at your local, consider making your present to her a night amongst the high-rollers with club birthday packages for one of the most exclusive nightlife spots in the city. These packages involve more than just getting a private table that gives you some space to enjoy one another’s company. It also gives her (and the others attending) top-notch treatment and attention from the club’s staff, too.
Something super sappy

If you’re not the kind of friend who often verbally expresses just how much your pal means to you, then today is the day. You don’t have to make a speech of it, but rather it can feel a lot more genuine, considered and composed if you give her a letter thanking her for being a great friend. It’s definitely going to get some tears flowing, but that’s allowed on her birthday.

Your friend deserves to know how much she’s valued on her big day, and hopefully, the tips above give you a few ideas on how to do that. Whether it’s flat-out telling her, taking her out for a day trip or organising a night she’ll have fond memories of forever, it’s worth giving a little extra.


15 Aug 2017

Create a Rural Retreat (Even if You Live in the City)

Do you love country cottages They’re so cute and relaxed, not to mention that it’s hard not to admire them even if you’ll never own a country cottage of your own. But, do you just have to admire them? You might not have your own little place in the country, but you can create your own slice of country life right now in your own home.

Here are some country cottage interior ideas to transform your home into a rural retreat (even if it’s in the city):

Earthy Tones

Country cottages and rural retreats are known for their earthy tones and neutral colours, so if you want to transform your home, start by repainting those bright walls and getting rid of that patterned wallpaper. What you need is a more natural, blank canvas upon which to build your own rural idyll.

Traditional Furniture

There’s nothing wrong with modern furniture, in fact, it’s great,  but it won’t get you that laid-back country look you’re after. What you need are traditional pieces like duresta sofas and chairs, farmhouse painted tallboys and antique lamps. These will set the tone and give you the kind of no-fuss country ambience you’re looking for.


If you’ve ever been to a country cottage or rural retreat, you will probably have noticed that it was decorated with a lot of handmade quilts, samplers and cushions. These give the place a cosy natural feel that store bought items just don’t. If you aren’t any good at crafting, don’t worry because you can actually buy a lot of handmade homewares online. Just try to pick the most rustic pieces you can find.

Mix and Max

When it comes to fabrics, rural retreats are known for their mix and match approach. The curtains might be floral, but the bedding is striped, and there’s gingham on the cushions. You don’t have to have everything matching you know!

Wood and Stone

Natural materials are what rural retreats are all about, so avoid the plastics and go for oak, slate and even metals. If you can use reclaimed materials, which look even more rustic, then so much the better.

Traditional Carpets

If you don’t like carpet, then rustic wooden or tiled floors are perfect when you’re trying to create a country retreat, but if you’re cool with carpet, it’s even better. The kinds of carpets you should use are traditional patterned ones like those from Wilton. They have the right kind of charm that is typical of a little place in the country.

Install a Fireplace

I know it isn’t always possible, but if you are able to, installing a fireplace or two will do more than almost anything else to give your home that cosy country feel to it. There’s something about the smell of burning wood and flickering flames that just transports you to another time and place where life was a whole lot simpler.

As you can see, creating a rural retreat wherever you are is fairly easy, but you mustn’t forget the most important ingredient - love. It might sound cheesy, but the key to truly getting that country cottage feel is love for your home and love for your family. It creates the perfect atmosphere that country homes are so known for.


12 Aug 2017

A Smooth Transition: How to Introduce Your Cat to Its New Home

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Image via: Pexels

You’re probably stressed out about moving house as well - but nobody dislikes it more than your cat. They get attached to the place they live in, even more so than us humans who lived perfectly fine with a nomadic lifestyle for ninety-nine percent of our history so far. Moving house should, after all, not be that traumatic for us. 

Focus on your cat this time and make sure the transition is as smooth as possible; it will lower her stress-levels as well as yours.

The trick is, when you manage to stay calm, it will affect your kitty in positively too. She picks up on your body language and will copy your tenseness before the big move; stay calm and she’ll be inclined to feel a bit more relaxed as well.

Focus On Familiarity

Cats have an amazing scent of smell, as we know, and attach a myriad of emotions and associations to whatever they smell. It’s the same with us humans, by the way, and even though our sense of smell is nowhere near that of your cat, it is actually the biggest trigger we have to emotions and memories.

Do your cat a favour and bring something with that she is fond of and has vivid memories of cuddling with at your past home, playing with, or dreaming sweet dreams in. Rather than leaving it in the truck of the home movers, make sure it’s with you in the car when you move. Cats are indeed place-sensitive, but when you’re leaving her place behind, she’ll find security and comfort in the scents of her favourite toy or blanket.

Do yourself a favour too and soak up some comforting scents before you leave. You may not need the soothing scent of your favourite toy to feel calm - but a scent of lavender or chamomile can help you with taking the edge off.

Introduce Her In Small Steps

When you arrive at your new home, it can easily be a bit overwhelming if the space is big. She’ll spend a lot of time on exploring in any way, and the best way to take some of stress off is to introduce her to the new home gradually. This is especially relevant if she has a history of feeling stressed in new situations or around new people; if your cat is a fearless explorer, it may be alright to let her discover everything right away.

You’ll read her signs easily by keeping an eye on her the first couple of hours - if you find her sitting underneath the furniture for the rest of the day, it’s likely that your cat is feeling slightly overwhelmed.

Don’t Introduce New hanges

If you arrive before the home mover truck gets there, you should keep your cat safe in her carrier until all the furniture has been moved inside. You could also let her be in the bedroom, for example, if the bed comes in first so that she’s able to stretch her legs without intrusive furniture being carried around her.

Your cat is already going through so many changes, and it’s thoughtful to remember that she won’t expect a lot of furniture to arrive and shake up her world again, all of the sudden. Keep things as steady and calm as possible, and your cat will respond to the situation with less stress.

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