Price Points: Bucket barbecues

Bucket barbecues | H is for Home

What glorious weather we’ve been having – day after day of brilliant sunshine! It’s a bank holiday weekend, there’s only one thing for it BARBECUE!

If, like us, you only have a small garden or patio, bucket barbecues are a much more practical option than one of those super-duper barbecue grills. Much as we’d love one kitted out with quadruple gas burners, rotisserie, warming cupboard and instant ignition – we’d have no room for table and chairs… or us!

The Hema bucket barbecue (#1) is so affordable, we could buy two and have one each. One for Justin’s steak / burger / rack of ribs and the other for my vegetable skewers and veggie sausages. I’m not best keen on them being cooked side-by-side.

My favourite is the Fortnum & Mason eau de nil number. It’s not dissimilar to the budget Hema example and is almost 3 times the price. By way of justification, I really like the detailing of this one and the fact that you can lift the grill off by the handle – vital when my kebabs need rescuing quickly from certain cremation! Oh, and call me shallow… but I do love the classic F&M logo too.

What’s your favourite barbecue food?

  1. Bucket barbecue: £15, Hema
  2. Gentleman’s Hardware barbecue bucket – black: £26.91, Amazon
  3. BBQ bucket in Eau de Nil: £40, Fortnum & Mason

Price Points: Fruit salad homewares

Fruit salad homewares | H is for Home

This run of sunny weather has seen us spending hours & hours in the garden each day. Pottering amongst the plants, al fresco lunching, reclining in deck chairs with cold drinks… oh, and doing some work of course.

It’s obviously had a big influence on this week’s Price Points post – bright, optimistic and fun.

Check out this cute selection of fruit salad homewares – each one under £30!

  1. Banana night light: £10.90, Amazon
  2. Sunnylife watermelon doormat: £29, Paperchase
  3. Outdoor garden pouffe – kiwi design by Fallen Fruits: £19.99, Selections

Price Points: Orange maxi summer dresses

Trio of orange maxi summer dresses | H is for Home

It’s August, the kids are off school, the Olympics are in full swing (Go Team GB!), the central heating hasn’t been on in months… I’ve realised in the past few weeks that there are gaps in my summer wardrobe. I have lots of summer shorts, T-shirts and walking gear but nothing slightly dressy.

I was thinking that I’m in need of a few maxi summer dresses – white, patterned, floral… but I’d really wanted to find one in orange – one of my favourite (and most summery) colours.

Surprisingly, when I went searching, I couldn’t find that many orange maxi summer dresses online and only a few midi ones. Of the ones I did uncover, one stood out head & shoulders above the others. There was a little hint there! 🙂

Number 1, the strapless example with a frilled bottom, is my favourite. The colour is perfect, a bright tangerine orange that looks great against tanned skin. I love its simplicity and blousy layering. I’d team it with chunky jewellery and a pair of strappy silver sandals.

  1. Strapless belted maxi dress: £29.00, JD Williams
  2. Frill maxi came dress: £40, Topshop
  3. Halterneck maxi dress: £49.99, H&M


Get your home ready for summer

Summer still life

Springtime is usually seen as the season to give your home an overhaul, but for us, this part of the year is merely the precursor to the most inspirational season of all – summer. Whereas spring is the time to get things tidy and to give your home a thorough cleaning, summer presents the opportunity to create an entirely new design on the clear canvas of a newly spring-cleaned home.

Paint cards, piantbrush and paint roller

Sometimes, all it takes is a new coat of paint on walls, doors and ceilings to completely refresh the look of your home, and we love any opportunity that allows us to go wild with different colours and shades. The summer palette is all about light, breezy hues which relate to the colours we’re currently seeing during the sunnier days of the year. Create a continuous stream of light which carries through the windows and into your living room, bedroom; and, in fact, any other room in your home by painting walls in a sunshine yellow. If you prefer the textures and patterns wallpapers can provide, opt for lighter shades with intricate patterns rather than papers with huge block designs. The more delicate the design, the more summery the feel.

Light-filled bedroom

It’s long been known that natural sunlight is a fantastic mood enhancer, and so you should ensure you make the most of summer’s lighter, brighter days by ensuring your bedroom captures as much natural light as possible. Swap heavy curtains that served their purpose during the winter for lighter, translucent drapes to maximise the amount of sunlight that enters the room. Treat yourself to brand spanking new furniture and take a look at the Bedstar range of wooden beds in white which will bring a fresh summery look to your bedroom. White furniture will really brighten up the room, so look out for wardrobes and drawers in a glossy white finish to complete your bedroom in a contemporary, seasonal style.

Bottles of herbs with tomatoes

Adorning your home with blooming house plants is a fantastic way of having a constant reminder that summer’s here, even on the not-so sunny days. Select colours and species that make your heart sing, and of course, ones that match your carefully considered colour scheme. Decorate your kitchen windowsill with herb pots to add fragrance to the room and extra flavour to your cooking. Plants are extremely versatile in that they can perk up any room in the home, and you should feel free to mix and match the types of plants you place around your home. Pet owners should be aware that some plants are toxic to animals, so do research which ones are safe to be around your little critters.



How to make a home more comfortable in hot weather

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M House designed by Jamie Falla Architecturecredit

Depending on whereabouts you live, the summer months can be unbearably hot or a bit of a washout. Obviously, if your local climate is cool, damp and miserable, your main problem will be staying warm not cool, but if your summer is likely to be hot and humid, you need to take the necessary steps to ensure your home is comfortable.

There are lots of efficient ways to keep a home nice and cool when the weather is hot. Some are very simple; others are more expensive. Either way, it’s definitely worth spending a bit of time getting your home ready before the hot weather arrives or you could end up suffering in the heat.

Black and white photo of a woman and an early air conditioning unitcredit

Install air conditioning

They may be expensive, but air conditioning systems are the most effective way of keeping a home nice and cool when the temperatures rise. An air conditioning system is essentially a climate control device. It can be set to whatever temperature you prefer, be it reasonably warm or freezing cold. You can also adjust the temperature in different rooms, so if you prefer sleeping in a cool bedroom but prefer the living areas to be a few degrees warmer, air conditioning is ideal.

However, in order for an air conditioning system to run efficiently, it does need to be regularly maintained. Filters need to be checked once a month and replaced if necessary. Regular maintenance will improve the quality of the air circulating through your home and ensure the system runs economically. For best results, schedule air conditioning maintenance with an AC repair company in the spring so that any problems can be dealt with before the temperatures soar through the roof. That way you can enjoy a nice cool home even when it’s baking hot outdoors.

Vintage image showing man and woman inspecting a room thermostatcredit

Set the thermostat to the right temperature

It might be tempting to switch off the air conditioning if you’re leaving town for a few days, but this is a false economy. If you do switch it off, your home will soon heat up when it is hot outdoors and by the time you come home, the place will feel like an oven. Sure, it will soon cool down once the air conditioning kicks in, but the system will be placed under immense strain as a result. For this reason it’s much better to have the air conditioning running 24/7.

For best results, set the thermostat to a lower temperature at night when you need to sleep, and then turn it up during the day when you’re in and out or not at home. This will place less strain on your climate control system and help it to run more economically.

ceiling fan in a bedroomcredit

Buy some fans

Electric fans are a quick way of cooling a room down when the weather is hot. Fans don’t actually cool the air down, but they do circulate it throughout a space, so a fan makes the room feel a lot more comfortable. If it is a warm and sticky night, plug a fan in so you can enjoy a gentle breeze wafting over the bed. It might be a bit noisy, but many people find that white noise helps them fall asleep.

Window with 'Air conditioning works best with windows closed' noticecredit

Close the windows

Don’t open the windows if the weather is hot. All this does is let the warm air in, not to mention the insects. Try and keep windows and doors closed during the day – especially if you have the air conditioning turned up. It’s OK to open windows at night, however, as this will provide much-needed ventilation.

White sitting room with white curtains closedcredit

Shut the blinds and curtains

Always close blinds and curtains to keep the sun out when it’s hot. The thicker the curtains, the better, as thick fabric will block the sun more effectively. Some blinds are made from reflective fabrics, which is useful in rooms with a lot of direct sun, so consider buying this type of blind when you remodel your home.

Garden art galery built into a tall hedgecredit

Create shade outdoors

A useful way of cooling a home down is to plant trees and foliage on the side of the property that gets the most sun. Trees and shrubs don’t grow overnight, but in the long-term they’ll be a valuable sunshade. If this isn’t possible, you should definitely make good use of blinds and curtains instead.

As long as you’re careful, it should be possible to keep your home reasonably cool, even during very hot spells. And if you’re in the middle of a heatwave, stay out of the sun as much as possible and drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated.


Etsy List: Summer of sport

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'Summer of sport' Etsy List curated by H is for Home

We’ve had an exceptional summer of sport so far this year. The England team last week came 3rd in the Women’s World Cup – the best either the men or the women have done since 1966! We stayed up ’til way past midnight to watch the matches, but the quality and excitement made it worthwhile.

We’re a week into Wimbledon Fortnight and local girl Heather Watson gave Serena Williams a scare… and, for a while, the British public a glimmer of hope.

We’re currently engrossed in the Tour de France – an annual favourite of ours – last year’s Yorkshire Grand Départ a memory we savour.

Next week sees the start of The Open Golf at historic St Andrews in Scotland. I’ll be a golf widow for a week, but I might join Justin in watching the final few holes.

Summer of Sport
Curated by H is for Home