Bright ideas for illuminating your home on a budget

April 12th, 2015

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collection of vintage lampshades as ceiling lightImage credit: Godrich Interiors

A gloomy, dimly-lit home can dampen the mood and if you constantly have to rely on your overhead lights to brighten and cheer up a room you’ll undoubtedly be spending a lot on your electricity bill. If you’ve been wanting to make some drastic changes to solve the problem but haven’t the budget for it then don’t despair. We’ve got some bright ideas that can help you illuminate your home without having to spend a fortune…

White-washed loft bedroomImage credit: studio mark ruthven

Paint it up

One of the most inexpensive ways to brighten up any room is to paint the walls with light colours. Whites and pastels trick the eye into thinking that the room is brighter and larger than it is. Light-coloured walls also reflect the sunlight coming from outside during daytime, so you won’t have to turn on your interior lights. Aside from the walls, you can also paint the trim, doors, and stairs with pastel accents to make your home look brighter.

Wrap-around mirrors in a bathroomImage credit: Celia James

Reflect light with mirrors

Mirrors are budget-friendly and instant fix for dreary rooms that lack natural light. Aside from reflecting the existing light from a lighting fixture or a window, mirrors also create the illusion of space, making a room look larger than it really is. For best results, install a mirror opposite a window. The bigger the mirror, the better. Visit a local market for cheap but fab gilt-frame mirrors for a dramatic effect. Aside from mirrors, you can also use reflective surfaces such as mirrored trays and glass bowls and figurines to add sparkle to a room.

Fairy lights in a child's bedroomImage credit: Corynne Pless

Decorate with inexpensive decorative lights

Those string lights you decorated you home with for the holidays can be used to illuminate you home all year round, especially in the bedroom where they work to give off a relaxing feel. You can place the lights across your headboard or over the bed for that dreamy and romantic effect.

Tall multi-armed floor lamp in a mid century modern decorated sitting roomImage credit: Trunk Creative

Brighten dark corners with lamps

Do you really need all your lights on in the evenings when you’re getting ready for bed? Save on electricity without stumbling in the dark with lamps! You don’t have to get those expensive fixtures; a trip to the bargain store (or probably your attic) will do. Keep an eye out for lamps with character, or something you can spruce up yourself to make it suit your home’s interior design. Place the lamps in dark corners or next to a chair for a cosy reading nook.

Angular bedroom painted in pastel coloursImage credit: Gemma Zimmerhansl Interior Design

Use light or pastel colours

Decorate your home with pastel-coloured items, such as furniture, sheets, and drapes. A light-coloured palette can add a lively and airy feel to a small space, such as the bedroom. Divan Beds Centre bed bases in white, cream or beige can make your room look brighter and feel less cramped. While you’re at it, change your bedding to match your new look.

With these tips, you’ll be able to have a more illuminated home while keeping your savings intact. As you can see, when it comes to illuminating your home on a budget, changing one small thing can make a big – and brighter – difference.

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Charity Vintage: Guzzini picnic set

April 11th, 2015

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Orange vintage Guzzini picnic set for sale on eBay for Charity by Kiveton Park & Wales Community Development Trust(ends 12 Apr, 2015 18:42:32 BST)

This Guzzini picnic set (or Pic Boll to give it its proper name) epitomises the 1970s! It’s orange, it’s moulded plastic and it’s a perfect space-saving bit of design. It was designed in 1977 by Carlo Viglino, here’s a great vintage ad from the time. This example is for sale by Kiveton Park & Wales Community Development Trust* with a starting bid of £9.99. They generally sell for between £20 & £30.

*The mission of Kiveton Park & Wales Community Development Trust is to provide the means by which the communities in Wales Parish can play an active part in the regeneration of their neighbourhoods so as to improve facilities, increase opportunities and enhance the quality of life of all residents.

Gimme Five: Tumbling tomatoes

April 10th, 2015

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Selection of 5 types of tumbling tomatoes | H is for Home

Our potatoes have been chitted & planted out, the first of our veg seedlings have sprouted, it’s time to start thinking about getting some tomatoes started.

Our garden (and allotment for that matter) is really shady, a definite no-no for sun-worshipping toms. The sun only hits our back garden from around 1pm, and only at a height of 4 foot and above. We have a tall south-facing fence so we’ve decided to try growing tumbling tomatoes along it. We have a couple of hanging baskets and just bought some hanging grow bags.

Mark Ridsdill Smith aka the Vertical Veg Man recommends ‘Cherry Cascade’ for hanging baskets. In a Telegraph gardening trial ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ came out tops. After some research, we’ve come up with this short-list of tumbling tomato contenders.

  1. Tomato ‘Tumbling Tom Yellow’ (10 seeds): £2.25, Marshalls
  2. Tomato ‘Gartenperle’ (25 seeds): £1.49, Crocus
  3. Tomato ‘Cherry Falls’ (15 seeds): £3.19, Mr Fothergill’s
  4. Tomato ‘Romello’ F1 hybrid (6 seeds): £3.99, Thompson & Morgan
  5. Tomato ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ (8 seeds): £3.99, Suttons

Cakes & Bakes: Yorkshire tea loaf

April 9th, 2015

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Buttered Yorkshire tea loaf and cup of tea | H is for Home

This week’s Cakes & Bakes features a traditional Yorkshire fruit loaf. We often sits down for a tea break at about four in the afternoon – and absolutely love this kind of thing as an accompaniment to our brew. Sweet, sticky and full of good things to give you a mid afternoon energy boost.

Yorkshire tea loaf ingredients | H is for Home

There’s a very simple list of ingredients.

Soaked dried fruit | H is for Home

It’s vital that you soak the dried fruit in tea overnight – it makes a big difference to the end result so don’t be tempted to skip this stage!

Adding egg and sugar to Yorkshire tea loaf mixture | H is for Home

It’s everything in one bowl method.

Yorkshire tea loaf mixture | H is for Home

 Preparation is easy so you can’t go wrong!

Uncooked Yorkshire tea loaf mixture | H is for Home

The loaf keeps well for up to 2 weeks, but it probably won’t hang around that long though.

Baked Yorkshire tea loaf mixture | H is for Home

It’s delicious served on its own or with a thin scrape of butter (thick scrape in Justin’s case).

Baked Yorkshire tea loaf sliced | H is for Home

Even just looking at it in pictures, we’re tempted to get the kettle on!!

Click here to pin the recipe for later!

Yorkshire tea loaf
Yields 2
The perfect accompaniment to a cup of afternoon tea!
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Ingredients
  1. 350g mixed dried fruit (currants, sultanas, raisins, mixed peel. Try adding a tbsp of crystallised ginger)
  2. 350ml strong tea brewed for 3-4 mins
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 200g brown soft sugar
  5. 270g self raising flour
Instructions
  1. Brew a large, strong mug of tea (we usually use loose Yorkshire tea... of course! But any strong breakfast or afternoon tea will do!)
  2. Put the mixed dried fruit into a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Allow the tea to brew and cool slightly before pouring it into the mixing bowl (it should just about cover all the fruit
  4. Cover with cling flim/Saran wrap for a few hours, ideally overnight, to allow the tea to plump up the fruit
  5. In the morning, preheat the oven to 170ºC/
  6. Grease 2 x 450g/1lb loaf tins ( or 1 x 900g/2lb loaf tin)
  7. In a measuring jug, lightly beat the eggs before adding them to the mixed fruit and any un-soaked liquid
  8. Add the sugar and combine well
  9. Pour evenly into the loaf tins and bake for 40-50 mins or until an inserted skewer comes away clean. If you're using a 900g tin, baking will take about 60-75 mins
  10. Leave the loaves in their tins to cool completely before turning them out
  11. They'll keep for a couple of weeks if wrapped in baking parchment and kept in a cool, airtight container
Adapted from Clandestine Cake Club
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Love is the Rug

April 8th, 2015

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Fireside vignette

We’ve really missed our real fires this winter. Our chimneys starting leaking smoke throughout the house so we decided to halt burning until they’d been sorted out.

Fireside vignette | H is for Home

Well, that day has come – hurrah! New flue liners have been fitted and we’re ready to light our fire again. We’ve even had an extra wood-burning stove fitted in an upstairs bedroom.

Fireside vignette

We’ve spruced up the fireplaces so they look welcoming once more. The finishing touch was provided by a lovely new hearth rug sent to us by Allfloors Express. It’s hand-made from natural jute and helps soften the space.

Fireside vignette

Also, the texture & colours work really well with our modern rustic look, complementing other natural materials such as wooden floors, slate tiles and log stacks. It looks so good we might have to get another one for that upstairs hearth too! It’s still just about chilly enough to have small fire chuffing away, and we’re really looking forward to pulling up a comfy chair to enjoy the warm glow and flickering flames.

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