Top Tips For Moving Home

[AD] They say that moving house is up there with the top three most stressful things in life alongside the loss of a loved one, divorce or loosing a job – and I would have to say I agree to a point. Although with a bit of forward thinking and organising a lot of this stress can be alleviated and made into the exciting new adventure it should be.

Moving house puts strain on you both physically and emotionally. The expense of it all, the packing, the trying to fit everything into a tight schedule, along with cutting emotional ties can be overwhelming. But if we sit back and think of the exciting new journey ahead and set a plan to minimise the stress then moving can be turned into a much more positive experience.

Below I have left some of my top tips for getting ready for the big day and I hope they will be of help:

Book Your Removal Firm – The majority of people try to move over a weekend, which means that slots for good removal firms such as The Removal Man – House Removal get booked up well in advance. Different companies offer different packages so you need to make sure that the one you chose fits your specific needs.

Checklists – Start to make a list as soon as the ball starts rolling on your move. The list can start with things that can be done well before your moving date, right up to the big day and beyond.

Declutter – This is one of those things on the list that can be done well before moving day. You will be suprised by how much stuff you have collected over the years and for me getting this sorted is always a huge weight off of my mind.

Start by sorting things that can be sold on selling sites or given to charity and then sort the rest by taking stuff to the dump or even hiring a skip.

Packing – Label, label, label. One of the most infuriating things is moving into a new home and having to root around hundreds of boxes looking for things are they have been randomly packed or not labelled.

Think of each room separately and keep the contents in the boxes solely for that room. As well as labelling it for the said room also add an idea of what each box contains i.e. plates, kids clothes, bathroom accessories.

Sort Paperwork – Make sure that all paperwork is stored in the same, safe place that is easily accessible. Once this is sorted go through everything and make sure all the people such as banks, doctors etc know about your move. It is also a good idea to use the Royal Mail redirection service to make sure nothing gets missed.

We learnt the hard way with this and had a huge credit card bill run up by a new card going to an old address!

Utility Bills – Getting things like this sorted early makes for less of a headache. Making sure that things like broadband providers are booked in to your new adress in plenty of time means you haven’t got to wait to get things going once you are moved in.

Take all your meter readings for gas and electricity so that final bills can be met and you can start a fresh in your new home.

And most importantly of all enjoy it! Embrace the new start, look forward to your new journey and take it all in as you go!

Getting To Know Parquet Flooring

Parquet prevails when it comes to decorative flooring. Parquet flooring, which is made up of small pieces of hardwood placed together in geometric patterns, gives a dramatic design element to any room. Parquet flooring has recently made a comeback, thanks to improved manufacturing techniques that allow consumers to choose from a greater selection of wood species and themes. Continue reading to learn more about parquet flooring and whether or not its striking statement underfoot is suited for you.

What is parquet flooring, and how does it differ from other types of flooring?

It is formed of woodblocks attached to a sub floor to produce geometric designs and is available in both solid and engineered boards. It was first employed in France in the 17th century. A solid floor has the advantage of being able to be rejuvenated by sanding it down and re-oiling or lacquering it. Engineered flooring is more solid and pre-finished, making it ideal for installing underfloor heating. Professional installation is required since parquet requires a flat subfloor (to ensure blocks sit flush).

What kinds of parquet flooring patterns are available?

Traditional herringbone, chevron (frequently seen in Parisian residences), and the more sophisticated Parquet de Versailles and Mansion Weave patterns are all popular. Herringbone and chevron patterns, which are placed using bigger boards and create a bold, modern style that works well in open-plan rooms, are also popular.

Is parquet flooring simple to keep clean?

Yes. Sweep and mop it softly, just like you would a regular wooden floor. To protect it, seal it with strong wax oil or lacquer for a better gloss. Beeswax imparts a rich, mid-gloss sheen. Individual blocks of parquet can be simply removed and replaced if it becomes broken.

What kind of wood should I use for my parquet floors?

Oak is the most common, with colors ranging from golden brown to silvery grey. It can be colored by applying wax or colored lacquer to it. Alternatively, the boards can be fumed with ammonia to give them a smoky base – ‘many floors are treated in this way to give them a smoky base.’ Wenge and walnut are dark woods that lend drama, while pale maple offers a Scandinavian flair. You can also use a variety of woods and add tiles.

What about parquet flooring made from salvaged wood?

Although reclaimed flooring can be less expensive, the cost of cleaning, sanding, and sealing it often outweighs any savings. Original mahogany, sapele, and merbau parquet — no longer milled for environmental reasons – should be sought out.

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2020 In Pictures – You’ve Not Been All Bad

2020 will most certainly go down as a year to remember. Sadly this will be for all the heartache and loss it has brought to us all. But as with every bad situation you need to look for the good and for us there had certainly been some wonderful, simple moments that I will cherish forever, and as always I’m going to show you these in pictures as they convey the fun much more than my words ever could…

Christmassy Bedtimes With Great Little Trading Co.

[GIFTED] I am like Mother Christmas, and the minute Halloween and Bonfire Night are out of the way it’s full steam ahead with Christmas prep for me!

I actually love the run up to Christmas more than the day itself. The children are all balls of excitement and there just seems to be a little magic in everything.

When it comes to decorating the house I’ve always left it to the downstairs, and have never really thought about doing anything in the children’s rooms before, so when I was kindly sent some Christmas Bedding sets from Great Little Trading Co. I knew this was going to be a new tradition for us.

I went out a got a mini Christmas tree – lights an all and a poinsettia for their chest of drawers which was the perfect match for the bedding sets.

The crisp white 100% cotton sets come with a duvet cover and making pillow case, both of which has a super cute Christmas print with woodland animals and of course Father Christmas himself.

You can also get matching stockings and Christmas sacks that would complement the bed sets perfectly; and the classic theme means they can be used for many years to come.

This year has been a little sparse on the magic front, so this has made a lovely addition to the boys room and has definitely got them more than ready for Christmas!

Four Beautiful Garden Trends

[AD] When it comes to clothes fashion, make up, or interiors trends we are used to seeing these changed regularly along with offered advice and tips on how to keep things up to date.

However there are some parts of our lives we might not think about updating as much as others, such as gardens. Rest assured though there is a trend for everything if you look for it. So when it comes to gardens there is plenty to choose from of you are looking for some new garden inspiration.

Here are some of the most beautiful garden trends, which can help you transform your garden into something you enjoy.

Botanical Gardens

Starting with a classic that will never go out of style, the botanical garden trend is perfect for those who like their garden to feel like a jungle, or one of those immaculate National Trust gardens you have to pay to visit. The general theme of a botanical trend is lots of plants and flowers, and any accessories that tie in with the theme. Think gorgeous leaf prints on outdoor cushions or stunning floral flowerpots. Whatever you choose the botanical garden trend will never fo out of style; it will always only enhance your garden! Treat yourself to some new trees or some delicate lights to dangle in the garden to transform it into a cosy place.

Indoors – Out

A stunning new trend for gardens operates on the idea of bringing what you would originally be an indoor style right outside! This can apply to almost anything, but most lovers of the ‘indoor – out’ style have been mainly searching for ideas on outdoor kitchens and outdoor bars in 2020. While this is very much a sign of the times right now, not being able to go out much, or at all, this is an excellent trend when it comes to making full use of the space on the property and enjoying what you have.

You can base you ‘indoor – out’ style on any room you like – your imagination is the limit. Just make sure you think about the very interchangeable weather we are often blessed with when using things outside!

Wildlife Friendly

Those who love the garden are Turing it into a sanctuary for wildlife. This includes but does not go beyond your mainstream birdbath and seed feeder that is annually hung on the tree. It is much more common now to build ‘insect hotels’ which are designed to help anything from hedgehogs to wood lice! Planting wild flowers and plants that can help to sustain wildlife, which also happens to be a stunning addition to any garden. And don’t forget there are options now to build homes for toads and frogs to shelter from the winters bite! The one thing that’s unique to this trend is that is focuses less on clearing and cleaning up the garden, and more on how wildlife can benefit from the stray plants or the unruly compost pile! It might not be as ascetically pleasing as others, but helping our wildlife is a beautiful trend that should continue. For those who want to go that extra mile for their little pals, consider getting a pond. A pond is one of the best places for wildlife to flourish, just make sure to keep it clean and use a quality, branded filter such as OASE filters to keep the environment healthy.

Cosy Accessories

There was almost definitely a time where the only thing that might have been expected to be in the garden was the odd shovel or a shed, but so many things have changed since then, and a garden is essentially room with its own right. This tied in with the ‘outdoor – indoor’ trend, can see people bringing some new sought after furniture and accessories into the garden such as day beds and fire pits.

For those who love napping, there is no reason not to enjoy the last of the summer sun simultaneously, and for pits offer gear long into the night, which are both perfect for making the most of your garden before it gets too cold.

The Best Home Improvements To Increase Value

For many of us, home improvement is currently top of our agenda. Wether you have moved to a new house and are keen to put a stamp on it, or you home is simply up for modernisation, there is always something on the to-do list.

Most of us however don’t have the time to do everything at once and have to prioritise carefully. Below are a few things to improve your home’s long term value and appeal.

Fix Your Roof – There is nothing more off-putting than a dodgy roof. The idea of paying out for roofing costs is something that puts off many potential house buyers. Additionally a poor maintained roof will lead to problems such as damp, water damage and heat loss. This is why roofing repairs should be top of your list of home improvements. As with any job requiring the professionals, make sure you get plenty of quotes so you can compare prices.

Add Solar Panels – Once you’ve got the roof repaired and the scaffolding is still up, it’s worth looking at installing solar panels. Not only is it environmentally friendly, it will also future proof your home and save you money on your energy bills. adding solar panels may seem like a lot of hassle, but once they have been installed they are surprisingly low maintenance. Do check online to see if there are any grants available before you start.

Install New Windows – Making sure your windows are up to scratch will not only make sure your home is more energy efficient but will increase its value. There are plenty of other reasons to install new windows in your home too. Older style windows often only provide one or two opening panes, whereas good quality modern windows will come with options to slide, swing or tilt and turn. Choose a design that will suit your needs and complement your homes character and age.

Get A New Front Door – You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but a home will be frequently judged by its front door. Therefore a new front door is a quick and worthwhile improvement to make. Older homes may benefit from a traditional wood style door, but a good quality composite door with a wood grain effect can work just as well. New build homes will often have a standard white uPVC door. Switching this for something modern and stylish will make your home standout from the rest.

Filling Those Walls With Poster Store

[GIFTED] When we moved into our home a few years ago now, one of the things that I fell in love with was the high ceilings. They make each and every room light and airy and create an illusion of lots more space. That being said this also brings with it vast expanses of walls that need filling to make it less clinical and really put our own stamp on it.

Art work as your know can be pricey so I always look for companies that offer good quality, different art at affordable prices; and this is where Poster Store really fits the bill.

Poster Store is an online company that supplies a huge range of Scandinavian inspired posters and frames to compliment your chosen work.

Their prints cover a whole range of interests from photography to modern art, fashion to maps and much more. The variety means that you can find anything to suit any taste or home design.

I was actually really surprised that their collections drew my eye towards black and white prints which is not something I would ordinarily go for…well I did sneak a bit of colour in too!

The coloured print was actually my favourite and it complimented the drinks tray perfectly as there has been a few evenings where I have felt like this after indulging!

My husband always says I don’t consider him when it comes to styling the home and I have to admit it is made up of pretty much all my tastes. So I the dining room I have selected some of his favourite things and made a gorgeous collection of black and white photos.

Lastly was the landing which is still definitely a work in progress. I wanted to keep it more calming as downstairs has a lot going on and anything to help the kids become more restful at bedtime is a bonus.

I absolutely love the simple lines and flowing designs of these pieces and now all I need to add is a few plants for a little bit of colour!

The black frames really make the designs stand out and the quality of them is outstanding.

I always opt for a black frame, but they offer a great range in black, white, silver and gold and also if you like a natural look with a wood finish there are also oak and walnut available. They all come in a range of different sizes to fit the prints perfectly.

The amount of different choices can be a little overwhelming if you don’t have a definite idea in your head, so Poster Store has given lots of hints and tips and inspiration pages that can help you towards picking pieces that are right for you.

So head over and take a look and let me know what you think. If something catches your eye you can save 30% on all posters (excluding Selection posters and frames) until 13th September using code thejoyoffive30

What Families Look For When Renting A Home

[AD] The rental market is growing all the time, with a lot of people having to stay due to not being able to get on the property ladder and many just opting to stay in rental properties due the the flexibility it gives them.

Whatever the reason there is a whole host of things to consider when moving with a family and some things are often overlooked by both tenants and landlords; so I have compiled a few top tips for you below to make these decisions a little easier:

Schools – One of the top priorities for most families is the location of the nearest public and private schools and how well they perform.

Recreation – Having parenting groups, open space, playgrounds, libraries etc that are easily accessible is a big must for many families.

Crime Rate – We obviously all want to keep our families as safe as possible so one factor would definitely end to try and find an area with a low crime rate.

Community – This isn’t something everybody would find important, but a lot of people like the opportunity to be able to be part of a wider community for support, finding friends and getting together at different types of events for the whole family to enjoy.

Parking – Coming from someone that has only just found a property with good parking this is a big priority – especially when you have a young family.

Having to drag your shopping along the street with small children in tow is never fun and can add additional stress to your day.

A Safe Home – You could find a beautiful home that completely fits the bill in many ways, but there is a banister free stair case or a sheer drop off of the patio area that simply would be safe for your family. This is something that both tenants and landlords should consider.

Pets – Pets can be a important part of the family so with many landlords not accepting pets this is something you most look into.

Gardens – Gardens are an extension of the home and something a lot of people look for in a property. With small children you need to ensure this area is safe and can work with outdoor toys etc.

Insurance – This is import for both the tenant and the landlord to get right as for a landlord there are many more things to factor in being able to compare landlord insurance to ensure things such as theft, loss of rent and malicious damage are a must.