20 Sep 2017

7 Steps To A Pretty And Practical Kitchen


Having a pretty and practical kitchen can help to give your home the ‘wow’ factor. The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home. Just think of the many ways you use it! Maybe you use it to cook, eat, entertain friends, and take care of work at home. That makes this room one of the most important and multitasking throughout the whole house. Having both a pretty and practical kitchen is essential to get the most out of it. Here are 7 steps you can take to create your own!

Figure Out How You Use Your Kitchen Most

Write a list of the ways you use your kitchen currently, or the way in which you’d like to use your kitchen. If you want to use it to entertain friends, but you just don’t have the space, is there a way you could add more space? Perhaps you could go open plan, or get rid of cabinets that don’t get a lot of use. When you figure out what’s important to you, you’ll be able to create the most beautiful kitchen that you love spending time in.

Come Up With Your Favorite Theme

Coming up with your favorite theme can be tough, especially with so many out there. However, there are all kinds of places you can go for inspiration. Pinterest is a great place to start, or you could just ask a reputable company like Cane Brothers Kitchen Company for advice on the space you have now. When you have a theme you know you won’t get bored of, you’ll love the look of your kitchen.

Look At Your Kitchen Like A Clean Slate

Try to look past what your kitchen looks like now and look at it like a blank canvas; a clean slate. Start all over again. How could it look if you were to gut it out and start all over again? You’d be surprised at what you can create when you look at it like this! 

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Make Sure Your Lighting Is On Point

Lighting in the kitchen is crucial. You need task lighting to prepare food, and you may even need it if you like to work in the kitchen. Make sure you have the right bulbs, and that they are placed in the right areas too. If they’re in the wrong place, they could start casting shadows that will hinder your cooking!

Add A Focal Point

Having a few focal points in the home is a great way to create interest and add personality. In the kitchen, it’s a good idea to do this with your backsplash. You can easily create a great display of pretty tiles without having to spend too much money or time.

 Make Sure You Have Plenty Of Space For Prepping Food

You're going to need lots of space for prepping food, so make sure you have that. This is the reason kitchen islands have become so popular!

Ensure You Are Using The Space Optimally

Are you really using your kitchen space optimally? Is there a better lay out, or something you could get rid of to create a better space? There are apps you can use online to help you.


Have fun creating a pretty and practical kitchen!

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19 Sep 2017

Giving Your Home That Natural Look


Neutral colours, wooden textures and plenty of green plants are the hallmarks of a nature-inspired home. Whether you’re just starting out with DIY interior design or if you’re thinking about shaking up the feel of your home with the help of a contractor, consider giving it the natural makeover with some of these fantastic tips.


Choose Your Colours
Colours play a huge component in natural-looking homes. The types of colour you want to use are whites, greens, and other natural colours such as beige and light browns. The beige and brown colours emulate the feeling of wood, and the white colours are neutral and can go with almost any decor arrangement. It’s a good idea to mix some darker browns or even blacks to contrast with the lighter colours. Most of these colours can be achieved through natural means. For instance, if you use natural wood in parts of your decor, then you’ll automatically get the browns. If you use lots of plants in your home such as Chinese Evergreen or Aloe Vera, then you’ll automatically get some beautiful shades of green to mix things up.
Mind Your Materials
It was mentioned briefly in the colour section, but materials can add a huge dimension to the natural feel of your home. Using high-quality timber, such as from the likes of George Hill Timber, to make your own furniture or bolster decorations is far better than using random scrap bits of wood. The texture, feel and colour of high-quality timber is fantastic and breathes some natural life into your home. If you want to be even more decorative, then taking tree stumps and converting them into end tables or even seats can add style as well, but this requires a lot of patience and work. Make sure you avoid carpets as much as possible too and replace them with wooden floors instead. If you don’t like the feel of wood, then perhaps laminate flooring would be the ideal replacement. It gives you the look and colour of wood but is far easier to maintain than hardwood flooring.
Design Your Details 
Lastly, let’s talk about the unique touches you can add to give your home a welcoming natural feel. The types of plants you use are important. Although you should try and make them green as often as possible, there are some exceptions. For instance, Lavender introduces a pleasant smell into a room and looks beautiful in a pot placed on a coffee table or on a kitchen counter. Be careful because these smells can be overpowering for some people, so try to keep them as subtle as possible. Another good detail to remember is the type of ornaments and decorations you put on your shelves. Things like books and toys will stand out and ruin an otherwise natural-feeling room. Instead, try to add small plant pots, bowls, jars and other small details that fit the rest of your decor. Keep all of the clashing elements in cupboards and boxes to keep them out of sight.
Hopefully, these tips have given you some insight into how you can introduce a natural feel into your home.



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12 Sep 2017

Stay In Touch With Your Roots Even When You're Abroad


Digital technology has transformed virtually every aspect of our lives. Few of us could have imagined twenty years ago (if you’re old enough to remember) what a difference it would make to the simple things in life, like staying in touch with people abroad. But the communication revolution has totally transformed our world, meaning that even when you go away for a year to the remotest parts of the planet, you can still stay in touch with your roots. 
It wasn’t always like this, of course. In the past, if you wanted to phone home - and phoning was usually the only method of communication - you had to find a payphone, load it up with plenty of credit, and enjoy perhaps a five-minute conversation with a loved one. Today, though, communicating while on vacation is either very cheap or totally free.


Here are some of the ways technology allows you to stay in touch while you’re abroad. 


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Blogging 

Blogging about one’s adventures while traveling was once a really niche activity. But thanks to Wordpress, Blogger and other tools, telling people about your travels is easier than ever. You can set up a blog for free and post text, pictures, and videos of your experiences for all to see. What’s more, it gives you the time and space you need to communicate effectively, without having to think up everything on the spot during a phone call. What’s more, it gives you a kind of permanent record of your experiences. 

Low Bandwidth Communication Apps 

Not only do blogs contain photos, but they also document your emotional experience and provide context. Skype, Zoom and other live video streaming apps are all well and good for keeping in touch if you travel to a developed country with 3G or better connectivity. But what if you’re on a gap year or a career break in the Amazon rainforest or the Mongolian steppes? How do you stay in contact then? 


Quite easily, actually. Today there are apps, like Viber, which work similarly to Skype but skip the video. In other words, you get all the same functionality as Skype, but your bandwidth requirements aren’t nearly as high. You can do things like voice calls, send texts and send images and the system works on practically every platform, including Android, Apple, and Blackberry.

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Postcard Apps

There’s nothing quite like receiving a physical postcard from somebody you love abroad. If you’re in a tourist hotspot, picking one up is usually pretty simple. But if you’re in the middle of nowhere, or well off the beaten track, it might be a bit more challenging. A postcard app, however, can solve this problem. Rather than having to go and find an actual postcard, postcard apps allow you to specify what message you want to send on the back of a card and then instruct somebody to send it out on your behalf. No more looking around for tourist shops - you can send a card straight from your phone. 

iMessage

Two apps, iMessage, and Facetime are great companions for owners of Apple and Android devices. They allow you to call whoever you want from your laptop or cell phone, giving you a chance to both see and hear your family, no matter where you might be. Facetime and iMessage are ideal for people who know they’re going to be away for the holiday season, allowing people to stay in touch for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Easter and other events in the calendar. 

Create A Call Schedule 

If you’re in a different time zone, it can be a challenge to stay in touch, especially when the difference is more than 9 hours. But organizing a schedule with loved ones and setting aside specific communication slots can really help. If you miss a slot or the call doesn’t connect straight away, send a message immediately saying that you’re trying again. 

Dropbox 

Communicating about your travels isn’t all about picking up the phone and having a conversation. It’s also about showing people what you’ve been doing and who you’ve met. Data services, like Dropbox, are perfect for this kind of thing. You could upload all sorts of things to the cloud to show people what you've been up to on your trip, including photos and music you’ve heard. You can also use Dropbox to keep family updated on your activities if it’s nighttime where they live. Dropbox gives users 2GB of data for free - plenty for photos and sound files. You can also get access to more space if you get a friend to sign up to the platform.


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