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    The great, big Christmas declutter

    It’s true, the Christmas countdown is on! If you haven’t already started, now is the time to get down to it and prepare your home for the festive season. Let’s be honest, as soon as advent hits, we don’t want to be cleaning, clearing and decluttering. We’d much rather deck the halls and dress the house in beautiful, sparkling adornments, ready for the merry chaos of Christmas.

    Whether or not you intend on inviting family and friends to the house for parties or dinner, the man in red is sure to make an appearance. And we all know that Father Christmas brings a whole load of stuff you just haven’t got the room for. By prepping your home before December, whatever surprises Santa has in store, you’ll know where it can be kept before and after Christmas day.

    The great, big Christmas declutter | Before you start

    Before you throw yourself into the deep end, make sure you’ve got the family on board. While you’re tackling the tough stuff, asking children and teens to help around the house is a great way to keep on top of things.  These recycling bins with colour-coded lids are perfect for separating waste and recycling – providing a way for kids of all ages to contribute. Adding recycling stickers helps to ensure that the right items end up in the correct bin.  Other overlooked bits and bobs include making the beds, pairing socks, washing pots. It’s about time, isn’t it?

    But where to start with the great, big Christmas declutter?

    Go from top to bottom, that typically does the trick. Get yourself up into the loft. Go through the Christmas decorations. Keep your faves and donate any golden oldies that don’t feel so festive nowadays. Dust everything off, and make a list of anything you need to add to your collection. While you’re up there, make the switch from summer to winter duvets.

    Don’t forget the little details

    As you’re cleaning and disinfecting the house, don’t forget to skim the skirting boards and door frames too! It’s easy to miss them. Steam mop hard floors, clean the carpets to freshen them up. In playrooms and children’s bedrooms, give the walls a good wash down. Those rooms have seen some seriously sticky hands, slime, muck, and gunk.

    Charity, Sell or Dump?

    Throw away any broken toys, while making a pile of any unwanted, older ones. Either take them to your local children’s hospital or donate to charity. They will make some children out there really happy this Christmas! Give teddies a bubble bath, in warm water and washing liquid, and as they dry off, rearrange the space so there’s room for any new arrivals.

    Storage, storage storage

    As you make your way into the kitchen, try to do the same. Clean the cupboards, buy storage to keep items organised. It’s great for categorising loose food items and packets, too. It’s always annoying when they’re falling about the place. Give appliances a good scrub, ready for the Christmas abuse! Don’t forget to throw out any BBE 1999 tin cans and spices. That is unless you’ve become rather fond of them over the last 20 years.

    More ways to prepare your home for Christmas

    And when all that’s done and dusted – quite literally – kick back, relax, and enjoy some online Christmas shopping with a cup of something mulled.

    Win a set of recycling bins with colour-coded lids

    To help you start your Christmas declutter we have a set of ADDIS recycling bins with colour-coded lids to giveaway to one lucky entrant.

    Prize: A set of three ADDIS recycling bins with colour-coded lids

    To enter simply complete the Gleam widget below, all entries are optional and each one completed will gain you more entries into the random draw.

    ADDIS recycling bins with colour-coded lids (AFFT)

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    5 Key Interior Trends That Are Going To Be Big

    Now that we’re fully settled into the final quarter of the year, it’s time to start noticing the shiny new interior trends coming out for autumn and winter. Although home, interior and design trends don’t tend to move quite as fast as fashion and accessories, there are still some big shift movements in colours, textures and prints.

    Rich tones, colour blocks, a touch of black, striking metal materials and big flouncy florals are just some of what’s to come this autumn and winter.

    So just before the temperature starts to drop drastically, here are five new interior trends for you to peruse. It’s a perfect time to start making some little home updates before everything becomes so centred around the Christmas period!

    1. Oversized florals

    The floral trend returns with a modern twist, and this one is a really lovely trend. Who doesn’t love and appreciate flower prints, especially when on a large scale? Look out for big blousy designs, where florals act as a statement print. They will be exaggerated, oversized and bold, and make a great design for cushions, bedding and rugs.

    Ideally, this oversized floral trend is best seen in the living room or bedroom, where you can scatter an array of cushions and bed sheets, with a matching rug. If you accessorise your rooms with this trend, remember to.keep the rest of the look simple. It’s all about the florals becoming the star feature, and pick out key colours to accessorise with.

    2. Mixing Metals

    Taking on a more minimalist, luxury trend, natural metal is stepping forward as the key material for bathroom and kitchen design.

    We’re talking about those rooms which look ultra modern, clean and almost clinical. However, this season introduced a more mixed-metal theme, where you’ll find steel, nickel, copper and aluminium sat together.

    This mixed metal interior trend has been encouraged from the jewellery trend, where you’ll find people are more openly mixing their sterling silver pieces with their rose gold and beyond.

    And as bathrooms are part of a larger trend moving towards the more organic, less defined space look, it’s the perfect room to try mixing your metals. Steel baths can look stylish set against copper exposed pipes and chrome finishings.

    3. Jet black vibes

    Fans of monochrome will adore this trend. It’s all about the home wear accessories – and they need to be black. This is a new trend which can be adapted to suit any part of the home, but a stylish kitchen may suit this the most.

    You can make this trend work by using small blocks here and there, placing matte black or high gloss black accessories and finishings as you please. For kitchen and dining rooms, look at shelving units, kettle, toasters, placemats and devices. For living rooms or study spaces, look at sleek black desks, coffee tables and TV stands, with striking black frames to hold wall art.

    Combine this look with tactile pieces and a little bit of white to balance it out.

    4. All the shades of pink

    A slightly more feminine trend, but one that was big at the start of this year, and is going nowhere fast. Think of dusty, old-fashioned pinks which are all the rage for autumn. These are a perfect antidote to the usual rusty tones we see, and as it’s such an easy-on-the-eye colour it’s simple to apply to our homes.

    The warmer and the duskier the pink tones, the more they add warmth and colour to the home. And the beauty of pink is that the pink tones will work especially well alongside metallic, contemporary greys and the new wave of darker neutrals.

    If you’re feeling bold, go for statement upholstery like curtains or rugs in vibrant pink velvet. For a more understated look, try subtle pink florals across any linen, or a fresh pink introduction to your crockery and kitchen accessories.

    5. Earthy woods

    Earthy tones are a big trend for A/W18, with walnut and oak shades making their way as the big textures. These are fresher, more neutral tones of wood, and are being implemented into a lot of new mantle pieces, coffee tables and even doorways to give a more woodland feel to the home.

    Think rustic chic, and you’re on the right path. A few new trends for the season also include coffee colour woods, like mocha and caffe latte, used on finishes for a fresh and different feel.

    Now is the perfect time to look at ways of incorporating these new autumn/winter trends into your current home, before everything becomes Christmas inspired.

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    Photo Credit: Jean-Philippe Delberghe Ina Soulis Ella Jardim

    Are Your Household Finances Well Protected?

    No one ever knows what is going to happen in the future, so it’s best to try and plan for every eventuality. One of those eventualities that you might have to face is a financial crisis. The last one was back in 2008 when most of the world’s economies and markets took a big hit. Personal finances were also affected, and many families struggled trying to tighten the purse strings and protecting their household finances.

    Of course, you don’t want that to happen to you if you can prevent it at all. It’s important that you are prepared for the possibility of a large-scale financial crisis and that your household finances are always protected. Here are some tips that can help you out.

    Create An Emergency Buffer

    First, you need to make sure that you have enough money that will get you by if you ever run into any serious financial difficulties. If you don’t have this buffer at the minute, it’s a good idea to start saving up so that you can create one as soon as possible. This reserve of cash can help you out if you ever have to deal with any unexpected expenses or you or your partner were to ever lose your income.

    Reduce Your Expenses

    It’s always a good idea to try and reduce your household expenses, even if you are enjoying quite a comfortable time financially speaking. If you reduce them now to a sensible amount, then you won’t have to worry about making any big cuts to your expenses in the event of a financial crash. Not only that, though, but trying to cut down your spending as much as you can right now will make it easier for you to save more cash for your emergency buffer.

    Diversify Your Investment Portfolio

    If you have some investments, it’s worth taking a look at your portfolio to see if you can diversify it at all. The more diversified it is, then the smaller the impact will be from a financial crisis. That’s because your money will be spread across a few very different finances, and you won’t need to worry about one bad investment wiping out all your money. One way to diversify is to add some commercial property investments alongside any residential property investments. It’s also a good idea to go for different types of investments, including stocks, shares, and funds.

    Keep Abreast Of Current Affairs

    Did you know that the economy is often affected by current affairs? The markets and the economy don’t like any uncertainty in the news, and current affairs that are seen as negative could cause a little wobble in the markets, and they might end up losing value as a result. So, it’s a good idea to keep on top of what is going on in the world so that you can try to see any trends that might have an effect on your finances and investments.

    Make sure you protect your finances before it’s to late!

    8 Steps To Starting Your Own Garden

    Starting up a garden may seem tedious and cumbersome. But with the right knowledge, it can be easier than you think and of great fun too.

    Follow these eight steps and you will be having your dream garden…

    Start as small as you can

    It can be frustrating to start up something new in a big way than you can handle, especially if you do not have prior experience in doing it. Therefore, start small, and be open to enlargement.

    Select your site

    You may want an ideal flat surface to set up your garden. Locate a well-drained land with the right type of soil. You may also want to improve the soils with organic matter. The right location should be accessible, preferably close to your house. Your site should be well protected with a fence against pets that may eat up the vegetations. Also, ensure that there is a good and permanent source of water supply. If there is none, you can develop one by laying water pipes in the garden for proper irrigation.

    Make you soils fertile

    After selecting the right site of your choice, you will have to prepare a compost pile to make you soil fertile enough for the adequate growth of your plant.


    The first step to take before planting in your garden will be to remove every weed on your site. You can do this manually with your hands or you can use chemicals to get rid of the weeds.


    You can prepare the site for planting by tilling it either manually or with the use of a machine. Choice of the mechanism to use in tilling the land depends on the size of your site and your budget.

    Selecting your seedling

    This part plays a vital role in how good your plants will produce. So, you should be careful with the choice of seedlings you choose as getting good and healthy seedlings will yield better result while bad seedlings will produce badly or may not survive.

    Protect your garden

    After planting your seeds, you will be faced with the task of protecting it from being destroyed by human and animal pests like rodents, insects and birds. So, you have to protect your garden with a parameter fencing, using good pesticides and physically keeping watch of the garden.

    Nurturing your garden

    After having everything in place, you then start tendering your seedlings by watering them, applying manure, and getting rid of weeds when necessary.

    Congratulations! Now you have successfully developed for yourself as you follow the steps give above. All that is left is to nurture it, maintain it and enjoy watching your seedling mature into grown plants.


    Photo Credit: Kaufmann Mercantile Janelle Hewines Andreas Dress

    How To Feel Safe On The Roads

    Whether or not you are an especially confident or skilled driver does not actually make that much difference to how safe you might feel when you are driving. A big part of that is because you can’t ever control the behaviour of others, and that is something which you can bear in mind if you are trying to keep things in perspective. There are, however, many things you can do if you are hoping to feel safer on the roads, and it is definitely a good idea to make sure that you are aware of as many of these as possible. As long as you are taking care of some of the following pointers, you will find that you feel a lot safer when you are driving – and that will make a world of difference to your driving experience on the whole.

    Know Your Emergency Routine

    Let’s be honest, a lot of the bad feeling you get from the experience of driving arises from a fear about crashing. That is a genuine fear and it makes sense to be afraid of being in an accident – but you can allay this fear considerably merely by ensuring that you know what you would do in the case of an emergency. Having a rehearsed emergency routine in your head will likely make a world of difference, so it is something that you might want to think about if you are trying to improve your driving experience on the whole. Most people will need to first check everyone’s safe, call the police or ambulance, call a lawyer like, and ensure that the road is made safe. Make sure you are aware of your own routine.

    Be Cool & Calm

    The calmer you drive, the more likely it is that you will stay alive. Buy a lot of people struggle with remaining calm on the roads, and it’s not hard to understand wy. If you want to try and make this a little better, you might want to think about what you can do to keep yourself calm as you drive. This could mean that you carry out a simple little breathing exercise, for instance, or that you learn to take things slowly and one at a time even when behind the wheel. That will make a huge difference, so it’s worth looking into. See for more on this.

    Take Extra Classes

    Finally, remember that you are never too old for extra driving lessons. In fact, if you go out of your way to take more driving lessons, you will become a much more confident and sure driver, and this is actually a very good way to spend your time and money. You are that much more likely to stay safe on the roads, and you will be able to undo any bad habits that you might have developed over the years as well. That will ensure a safer drive at all times, and an increased feeling of safety too, therefore.

    Photo Credit: Samuel Foster Andraz Lazic Alejandro Salinas

    How to cook up a storm in the kitchen using Copper Stone

    Unless you’ve been living under a rock the last few seasons, you’ll definitely know that copper is the newly-crowned king of kitchen equipment. It’s super stylish and goes with almost all kitchen interiors, from cutesy countryside decor to contemporary, sleek gloss sideboards.

    But, as we all know, on-trend doesn’t always go hand in hand with practical kitchenware. That is, of course, unless you can get your hands on the stunning Copper Stone pans from JML.


    A pan for every occasion

    Like no other copper pan out there, JML’s in vogue Copper Stone range offers unparalleled heat distribution, incredible durability, and top-notch scratch resistance. Pans are available in three sizes as standard; whether you intend to cook up a warming Chilli Con Carne for autumn evenings, create a lean feast on their griddle pan, or an oriental sensation in their 28cm wok, there is a JML Copper Stone pan to meet your every culinary need.

    Easy to use

    An absolute breeze to use, along with their professional high-quality finish, you’ll be left feeling all Nigella like as you plate up a feast for your family. Even if you’re not intentionally attempting to put together a super healthy dish, the very nature of JML’s quality non-stick copper stone pans means there’s absolutely no need to use any fat or oils.

    I don’t know where you get your kicks, but washing up an easy clean pan after a delicious meal, certainly hits high on my list. Anything for a simple life, am I right?

    Quality without the associated price tag

    Typically, replacing kitchen pans can cost a fortune, so here’s where I hit you with the best bit. That’s right, we’ve not got there yet.

    JML’s copper stone pans are affordable as well, can you believe? Starting at just £19.99, they provide a cost-efficient way to modernise your kitchen and simplify your life with their ultra-non-stick technology. They’ll last too, thanks to the super hardwearing construction, meaning this is well worth the investment.

    What’s your favourite feast to cook for the family? Let me know in the comments below, and don’t forget to check out the copper stone pans collection at JML Direct. Swoon.

    Win a set of two Copper Stone Pans

    To help you cook up a storm for your family, JML Direct have kindly offered a set of two Copper Stone pans to giveaway to one lucky entrant.

    Prize: Two Copper Stone Pans (24cm & 28cm)

    To enter simply complete the Gleam widget below, all entries are optional and each one completed will gain you more entries into the random draw.

    Copper Stone Pans from JML Direct

    Featured Giveaway

    Is Your Car Burning Your Money?

    Having a car is not considered to be a luxury, more like a necessity. As the road networks are becoming more connected and the use of public transport is declining, most of us will need a car to get to work, do our shopping, and take the kids to school. Cars, however, can be expensive if you don’t pay attention to them, so make sure that you review the following areas regularly to reduce your motoring budget for years to come.

    Your Tax

    You are automatically assigned a tax rate for the car you drive, and you might think that that’s simply the way it is. However, it is important that you check whether or not you are paying too much. If you are single, and have a large 7-seater, with a huge tax rate, you might consider getting a smaller car and engine to save every month on your fuel and your other costs.


    Another necessary and expensive cost is your car insurance. Just because you have been with the same company for years, you don’t have to stick with them after the increase your premium. There are plenty of competitors ready to offer you a better deal on that might even suit your individual circumstances and your preferences better. Consider taking on an advanced driving course, too, to lower the cost of your premium.

    Fuel Cost and Performance

    You might simply accept the fact that your old car will gobble up gas, and there’s nothing you can do about it. In fact, there are some simple things you can do to improve your fuel efficiency. Empty that boot to avoid carrying extra weight around. Keep your tires inflated, so you are getting more miles per the gallon. Get your car serviced and the oil changed regularly, so you can benefit from the best possible performance.

    Repairs and Maintenance

    Before you buy a car, you will have to check the cost of original and aftermarket parts available. The general rule is that the more common your year and model is the easier it will be for you to find parts when you need them. Shop around for a reliable service provider, and stay away from expensive branded dealerships, unless they offer a discount.

    Depreciation Value

    Once you are certain that you can afford your first car, you will have to check the historic depreciation values of the model. You will lose money straight after you drive out of the dealership if you buy new, but if you buy a used model, you want to get the best value of your vehicle and make sure that you can sell it on later without losing too much money.

    Running costs of cars are going up every year. From fuel emission taxes to gas costs, and maintenance, you will have to get a good deal in every area to make sure that your car is not burning your money every time you are driving it.

    Photo Credit: Emil Vilsek Alexandru STAVRICĂ