Copper highlights and finishing touches

Our bedroom showing copper highlights with bedside lamps switched on | H is for Home

We’ve been adding some finishing touches to our top floor ‘bedroom-cum-lounge’ area. It’s a room that we spend lots of time in during the winter. Well, that’s an understatement really – we almost hibernate up there! It feels like our cosy den. There’s computer access, Sonos music system, big TV, comfy places to sit (or sleep) – and a wood-burning stove. We gravitate up there from September onwards as the days shorten and weather worsens.

New copper coloured glass bedside lamp | H is for Home

Re-decoration of the space has been a gradual process over the last year or so. We wanted an enclosed, warm and cosy feel. Lots of dark grey and black, with natural wood shades and metallic highlights. This pair of copper coloured, glass bedside lamps was our most recent purchase. We thought they were just perfect, especially considering that they came complete with the ideal shades. They’re from Wayfair, £54.99 each.

New copper coloured glass bedside lamp | H is for Home

We bought a box of LED filament bulbs for them which we thought would be prettier than plain white ones. The lamps are quite magical when lit, lifting and transforming the room with their warm, copper glow.

New copper coloured glass bedside lamp | H is for Home

This is no ‘minimalist look’ space and we add ornament quite freely – particularly antique mirrors, drawers, display cases, candle holders – and objects of interest. We love the ‘collectors’ look’ – so their are lots of fossils, feathers, skulls, pebbles and shells dotted around the room.

You might have noticed that expanse of furry loveliness across the bed – another recently purchased finishing touch.

Detail from our new faux chinchilla throw | H is for Home

It’s a very good quality, imitation chinchilla fur bedspread. The subtle colour tones of cream, brown and grey work wonderfully. It’s very tactile and super warm too.

Large antique copper bin being used as a planter | H is for Home

We’d been looking for a large container for an equally large plant. This fabulous copper log bin arrived in our local antiques centre one day, so it was a ‘must buy’. We love the reflective surface and aged patina of the metal.

Detail from a large antique copper bin being used as a planter | H is for Home

A bottom up blind for this room had also been on our shopping list for some time. We already have one fitted in the ground floor lounge. It lets daylight in whilst adding privacy at street level. Also, the view at the front of our house is much nicer at higher levels. Lower down it’s a bit grubby and industrial, further up is a lovely hillside with trees, shrubs and climbers clinging to the steep valley sides.

Dark grey bottom-up roller blind | H is for Home Dark grey bottom-up roller blind | H is for Home

The blind downstairs is a sandy, cream colour. However, for this room we went for a charcoal grey to match the curtains and compliment the overall scheme. We’re very happy indeed with the results. The view from the bed is much improved now – and we get a glimpse of a passing fox or the occasional deer nibbling at the vegetation opposite. Bliss!

Antique glass bauble | H is for Home

So, that’s the room re-decoration completed in the main. We have the option of picking up interesting objects and nature finds as we come across them. It can just evolve subtly over time. We hope you like the results so far!

Our custom-made roller blind from Contrado

Our downstairs cloakroom with new custom-made roller blind from Contrado | H is for Home

We’ve recently undertaken a programme of home improvements here at H is for Home. These range from quite major jobs like re-pointing gable-end walls and chimney repairs – to smaller scale tasks such as redecoration and general sprucing up of neglected corners.

The old white roller blind in our downstairs cloakroom | H is for Home

One room that needed some attention was our downstairs loo. The window area in particular was very tired – a bit grubby if we’re being honest!

Window sill with rust stains from plant tins | H is for Home

The old blind was dull and way past its best – and the sill had been stained by plant pot bases over the years. We discovered the lovely folk at Contrado on Instagram and they asked us if we wanted to try out one of their roller blinds. Perfect timing!

Vintage 12 Angry Men film poster | H is for Home

London-based Contrado offer a service whereby you can customise & personalise all manner of homewares, fabrics, gifts and clothing.

Pattern on our custom-made roller blind from Contrado | H is for Home

Customisable is a very apt word indeed. We measured the window and recess so the blind fitted perfectly. We chose which side we wanted the chain on, the material the chain was made of… even the pattern (and size of the pattern) printed on the fabric. We looked online and found a copyright-free design that we liked and Photoshopped it to get the exact colours we wanted. The blind was delivered swiftly and exactly as we specified. It’s very well made and the materials used are excellent quality. The large stylised flowers are reminiscent of Marimekko fabric designs we like. There are lots of house plants in our downstairs loo – and the window also looks out onto the garden – so the pattern picks up on all this natural vegetation. We went for a grey & orange colourway on a slightly off-white background. The room has an exposed stone wall with grey tones – also silvery chrome fittings and galvanised metal containers. There were already quite a few orange decorative touches in the room such as the vintage film poster and plant pots. The blind really helps pull it all together.

Our downstairs cloakroom with new custom-made roller blind from Contrado | H is for Home

Installing it was a straightforward 20-minute job. As we were changing the blinds we took the opportunity to touch up all the paintwork. We’re very happy with the results. It’s been a really good return on half a day’s work. It’s overall much brighter and fresher – and the blind really lifts our spirits when we enter the room!

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Wheel of George

Corner of our bathroom showing George at Asda products from "Wheel of George" colour selector | H is for Home

Asda has just introduced their “Wheel Of George” colour selector which helps you decide on decorating schemes and choosing complimentary accessories.

Corner of our bathroom in shades of green, yellow and naturals | H is for Home

We chose some products from their bathroom range using green as a strong colour influence. We love using green in a bathroom and this extract is taken from the design experts on the Asda blog:

The colour of cleanliness and clarity, green is a popular choice… Not only is it gender-neutral but it also evokes the feeling of relaxation and serenity. If you’re planning on painting the whole room in one shade of green, be sure to test out a patch in situ beforehand. With too little natural light, green can be very dark, cold and, with paler hues, almost grey. If you fancy adding just pockets of bold emerald, pine or lime to a room, start with a warm white or beige base. From there, beautiful green blankets, cushions and artwork will add rich injections of colour.

View of our bathroom with lime green towels and cream walls and accessories with colour coordinating print of a tiger in long grass | H is for Home

We have the complimentary shades of warm white, cream, beige and stone in abundance. Our bathroom has buttermilk coloured painted walls on three sides and an exposed natural local stone on the fourth. We have a plain white bath suite and there are slate tiles for splash backs – with wooden doors, floor and window sill. So, a perfect backdrop for our new lime green towels!

Our bathroom showing cream bathrobe and brown slippers from George at Asda | H is for Home

We then went about choosing some other accessories in whites, creams and naturals. The hyacinth storage containers and painted wire baskets with rope handles will provide much needed extra storage for all those bottles and jars. There’s also a sandstone soap dispenser and – for a touch of pampering and luxury – fragrant candles and diffuser, soft towelling dressing gown and faux fur-lined slippers.

Corner of our bathroom showing George at Asda candle and diffuser | H is for Home

We love the vibrant green with its layers of natural, neutral shade behind. We also like to introduce small pops of bright orange and amethyst into the space – provided in this case by sweet pea flowers, bubble bath and tiger!

Items featured:

lime green bath towels | dressing gown | mule slippers | soap dispenser

water hyacinth baskets | wire baskets | scented candle | reed diffuser


Valued possessions

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Legal & General has published an interesting article on how and why people (under) value their possessions. It makes for interesting and informative reading. Is something of value because of its financial worth, sentimental importance or how useful it is? We’ve given it some thought and have come up with a list of some of our most valued possessions.

Brass vintage lion door knocker

Antique brass door knocker

You’ll see one of our first most valued possessions before you even enter our house. This antique brass door knocker was given to Adelle by her dad when she bought her first flat back in the 1990s. It has travelled the country with us and adorned the front door of every house we’ve owned since then.

Pair of antique leather armchairs in front of the fire

Pair of leather club chairs

We were on the lookout for a pair of vintage leather armchairs for years. It was a case of  ‘right place, right time’ when we eventually found them. We just happened to visit our local antiques centre on the day they came in. We had a budget in mind and the asking price was about one quarter of the figure, so it was an easy decision. We absolutely love them – their style & shape, the colour, the comfort – everything. They’ll be with us for life!

Collection of vintage West German pottery vases

Vintage West German pottery vases

We buy & sell vintage homewares for a living, so have to be strict with ourselves with regards to keeping hold of items. We do live with certain pieces for a while sometimes. Well, we can’t live in an empty house can we? We have small collections dotted about the place – some temporary, some a little more permanent. Mid twentieth century design is an important area for us in terms of collecting, retailing & blogging. We like these 1960s West German vases with their amazing shapes & colours. They went out of fashion for many years, but are quite sought after again these days.

Collection of antique candle dowsers

Antique candle dowsers

It’s not all mid century modern in our house though. We like to mix eras and go for traditional antiques too – their history and previous life is fascinating. This small grouping of candle dowsers look back to a different age when candles would provide the only lighting in the house. It takes a long time to accumulate these rare & unusual objects so they’re very precious to us.

Small antique table

Small antique table

We love country furniture – especially cute pieces such as this little 18th century side table with its richly patinated fruitwood top. They have so much character and their small size makes them very flexible to accommodate in different rooms – and easy to move!

Adelle's collection of vintage handbags

Vintage handbags

Although most of them aren’t worth that much in monetary terms, Adelle would be devastated if anything happened to her vintage handbag collection. You won’t find any of must-have, thousand pound ‘It’ bags here. Each handbag is valued because it was either a birthday or Christmas present, a visual reminder of a day’s shopping in a nice town… or the perfect match for a going-out outfit.

Fudge, our Weimaraner, leaning over a brown cord sofa


Probably our most valued possession – if indeed he would consider himself a ‘possession’. We rescued this handsome young man when he was one year old – and he’s now ten. He hadn’t been socialised with other dogs much when we got him, he acted as if every meal would be his last, he didn’t know that fast moving cars might hurt him, he had separation anxiety, the list goes on. Generally a bit barmy, but we love him to bits!


Energy efficient options for cooling your home

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Living room cooled by a ceiling fancredit

Staying cool in your home does not have to mean watching your energy bills sky-rocket or cringing over your carbon footprint. Depending on the climate in your location, around 20-50% of your energy usage will go towards cooling your home, accounting for around 5-15% of your carbon footprint. If you’re looking for new and innovative ways to stay cool whilst cutting back on energy consumption, we’ve put together a list of ideas that you might find useful.

Man wetting his face with a shower headcredit

Personal cooling alternatives

Keeping our bodies cool is usually the main reason for wanting to cool a home, however it’s important to realise that keeping your body cool does not necessarily mean that you need to cool the whole area around you.

  • Ceiling fans – Installing ceiling fans and ensuring that they are set to circulate in the right direction to keep the air cool in the area is an energy efficient option. It’s a well known fact that a good ceiling fan can help you feel up to five degrees cooler in warm weather.
  • Take cool showers – Rather than turning on the air conditioning, it’s a good alternative to take a cool shower in the evening or late afternoon in order to cool your body down when it needs it the most.
  • Peppermint essential oilPeppermint essential oil can be very effective to cool the skin when sprayed directly, however it’s recommended that you avoid using it near the eyes.

Home cinema with drawn curtainscredit

Indoor home cooling

  • Check for drafts – To help seal the cold air in, you can apply weather-stripping, silicone caulking or foam sealant to doors and windows relatively cheaply. Insulating any electric switches or outlets, attic doors or crawl spaces is also effective.
  • Solar attic fans – Installing a solar attic fan will help to cool the hot air in the space, making it easier to cool the home and resulting in your home energy bill being up to 10% cheaper per year.
  • Increase insulation – Increasing the insulation in your attic, keeping your walls well insulated and installing double-glazed windows will all help to save energy by trapping more cold air indoors.
  • Close curtains – Keeping curtains closed can help to deflect sunlight and keep the room cool.
  • Use alternative cooking methods – Using the oven or stove in the afternoon or evening should be avoided as this can greatly increase the level of heat in the home.

Garden with rectangular shaped pruned treescredit

Outdoor home cooling

  • Plant trees – Planting native, deciduous trees will provide a shade for your home from the hot summer sun. In the winter, they will also serve as a solar heating option for your home when they shed their leaves.
  • Solar screens – Using solar screens on the outside of windows can make a large difference, and are definitely worth investing in. They are also removable, meaning that you can take them down in winter.

Air conditioned living roomcredit

Energy efficient air conditioning use

Although every effort can be made to cool yourself and your home without switching on the air conditioning system, there’ll be times where eliminating using the air conditioning may be impossible. Knowing how to use your air conditioning wisely is important to be energy efficient and get the most out of your efforts to keep your home cool.

  • Exhaust other options – Before turning on the air conditioning it’s important to make sure that you’ve tried every other possible method to cool your home.
  • Consider a small evaporative cooler – These use water blown through wet pads in order to cool the air.
  • Maintain regularly – Annual, proper maintenance of your air conditioning unit is essential in order to be energy efficient.
  • Replace old models – If your air conditioning system is over ten years old, investing in a newer, more energy efficient model can result in halving your energy consumption.
  • Keep it clean – Ensuring that the area around the outside compressor unit is clean will increase air circulation and provide more efficient home cooling.
  • Check air ducts – Climb into your crawl spaces to check for any drafts coming from the air ducts, as insulating them will decrease the loss of cool air and increase energy efficiency.
  • Close doors – Closing the doors around your house will help to keep the cool air trapped inside each room, especially if you have a two-storey home or high or vaulted ceilings. However, you should also consider your thermostat placement in order to avoid inaccurate temperature gauging.

Have you got any great tips for home cooling that you’d like to share with us and other readers? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.


Moving house hints & tips from the professionals

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vintage Paris Metro parked outside Merci Merci in Parisimage credit: A Magazine

Thousands of people move house every year in the UK and most of them find the task to be mammoth and one that causes a great deal of worry, anxiety and stress. You can make the process of moving house a lot easier on yourself if you take some advice from people who know all about the ordeal and understand how to make it go as smoothly as possible.

self storage units with orange doorsimage credit: Wikipedia

Use self-storage

Before moving house, it’s wise to decide which items you’re going to bring with you, which you want to dispose of and which you’d like to have put into storage. Make a note of this and call in the self-storage experts way before the removal van shows up. This way, you’ll have cleared the things that you don’t want to take with you to the new house. And so, by the time the movers come to collect your things, you can simply tell them to take everything. This way, the process is less confusing and time consuming.

overstuffed postboximage credit: The Guardian

Change your address in advance

To avoid missing any important mail, change your address well in advance of the moving day. Some of the important ones to tell include your bank, place of work, utility companies, insurance companies, council tax office, doctor and dentist. You may want to change it on your favourite online stores too such as Amazon and eBay so that any deliveries you order will show up at the right address. Don’t forget to do the same with any subscriptions to which you‘re signed up. To be on the safe side, you can pay the post office to redirect your mail to prevent anything going astray. This is a good idea because you can’t rely on the new residents at your previous home to forward it on to you or to keep hold of it for you to collect.

cardboard moving boxes piled up in a kitchenimage credit: Ben W

Start packing early

According to the BBC, you should calculate how many boxes you need in advance so that you don’t run out halfway through packing. They also suggest that you ‘don’t completely fill large boxes, as they will be too heavy to move’ and that you should use sturdy packing boxes for heavy items in case the box falls through and damages your belongings. Packing early will ensure that you leave yourself plenty of time to get things sorted out before the move. The process of packing the contents of your entire house routinely takes far longer than anticipated. It’s a good idea to pack one room at a time and label each box so that the unpacking process will run a lot more smoothly.

moving day cardboard box illustrationimage credit: Movers to Alaska

Pack a ‘moving day’ box

Pack a special box or boxes containing items you’ll probably need to access as soon as you get to your new place. Cleaning products, phone chargers, pet food – and don’t forget your kettle and tea & coffee making supplies!

unfurnished room with cardboard boxesimage credit: Bicycle Buddha

Before the move

Before you move into your new home, it’s advised that you do a good sweep over the property. Give it a good clean and then make sure to check utility meters, take readings and make sure the electricity, gas, water, smoke detectors and such are in proper working order. Prime Location advises movers to contact your solicitor if you arrive at your new home and find that items that were included in the sale (curtains, carpets etc.) are not present. They also suggest that new residents should consider getting any door and window locks changed on your new property because ‘you never know who the previous owners may have given spare keys to in the past.’

Hopefully we’ve helped lessen the anxiety of your upcoming house move. Best of luck in your new home!


Making Moving Day Stylish – The smart way to pack

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Man, woman and little girl with smiley face cardboard boxes on their heads

Moving day is fast approaching and packing needs to start in earnest… but what do you prioritise, cost-effective packing; care of valuables; easy unpacking at the other end? Happily, by packing smart it’s possible to manage all of these priorities and still have energy for the excitement of the move!

These top tips have been compiled by a family run removals firm with over 15 years’ experience packing up people’s belongings and transporting them the length and breadth of the country.

young man moving a cardboard box full of stuffImage credit: Kasey-Samuel Adams

Cost-effective packing

• Once you know a move’s imminent, save packaging from parcels and purchases to recycle for your own packing (get others to pass theirs on to you as well).
• Use household linens as additional packing. Items such as towels, tea towels, linens and tablecloths can all be used to wrap fragile goods – a considerable environmental and wallet saving on bubble wrap!
• Use the local pound shop for everything else you need: labels, tape, string, marker pens, self-seal bags – no need to spend unnecessarily in this area by buying branded goods.
• Gather plenty of boxes well in advance, either from your removal company or by collecting your own from local shops and supermarkets.

bubble wrapped mannequins sitting on the floor in an empty roomImage credit: Tambako The Jaguar

Purposeful packing – with the other end in mind

• Don’t leave it all until the last minute: plan to pack each room over a couple of days or evenings, depending on your work schedule.
• Don’t pack for the sake of it: now’s the time to purge your home of things you don’t like / want / use.
• Taking everything you need into each room with you makes packing quicker and more productive.
• Think relative size for wrapping: if your lounge holds all your tiny ornaments, make sure you take your napkins and smaller linens in there, ready for wrapping, along with smaller boxes. Similarly, keep your clean towels and linens close to hand in the kitchen and dining room for your crockery and bigger dishes.
• Consider relative size and weight for packing: pack heavy items into suitably sized boxes which can be lifted without injury.
• Think too about any extra rooms you’re gaining at the other end. So if you’re gaining a conservatory, identify the items you’ll want in there by visiting each room in your current home and gathering the items. Then it’s a case of packing them into the boxes marked ‘conservatory’ before you pack up the rest of each room.
• Ensure that every single box is labelled with the room it’s intended for at the other end.
• Dedicate an area of your current home for your vital, still-in use items – this tends to end up being the kitchen because the kettle’s always in use until the last moment! Keep a plastic folder there too of all vital documentation to do with the move, including identification documents, so that it’s all to hand on the day and not accidentally packed away.

bubble wrapped pug

Care of valuables

• If you have some extremely valuable pieces, you may want to let a trusted family member take care of these for a few days over the moving period or move these yourself.
• If you’re keeping your valuables with you, pack them in boxes marked for a person, along with a mark, such as an asterisk. Make sure everyone in your household knows what this mark means and use a trusted family member to be responsible for these particular boxes at all times. This is a useful job for a relative who’s helping with their car (so long as their insurance covers all eventualities).
• Finally, on that note, the smartest way to pack for a move is to ensure that your contents and car insurance and / or your remover’s insurance covers all of your possessions whilst they’re in transit as well as sitting around in boxes.


Community Coordinator, Alex Murray, says:

“Alliance Removals is a family-run removals firm (established in 1997) with a strong emphasis on making moving home as flexible and as easy as possible. Knowing how to pack your belongings effectively and efficiently may not seem like the world’s greatest skill but we’re all a bit jealous when we see people getting on the plane for a two week holiday with just hand luggage and moving home should be no different!”