Time for a change, time for entertainment

With New Year comes the obligatory New Year’s resolution.

I’ve made a few “promises” to myself and one of them is to entertain more (aka stop being a cave-dweller). I would like to have our friends over much more often, maybe throw a few more dinner parties and in general be more sociable. To achieve it, I need space. So the question becomes: What do I do?

Currently, we have a kitchen / dinner with a table set for four and a front room designed around our family entertainment – large sofa, space to play jumpy console games and to chillax in general. I think the front room will have to stay as it is simply because it is our family space and besides I don’t know how to tell Mark his front room is about to change. Now the dining room part of the downstairs area might just be the subject of a make-over.

My Dining Room

In order to entertain I will need space. If we have more than two people visit us be are quickly reminded of a major drawback to us entertaining. Sitting for hours on little wooden stools is not very comfortable, no matter how good the food, the company or even how many drinks you have had 😉 and there is no room to add full size chairs as the table just isn’t long enough, oh and it has very fat legs that don’t help.

So, what to do now?

The easiest solution would be to just buy a new set of slim chairs, but as our furniture’s quite old I am not able to find anything to match it nicely.

I like dark wood; solid wood, heavy furniture is very me but they make the space seems smaller and darker than it actually is. The more I think about it the more I feel I might be ready for a change.

I had a look around for some inspirations and I have a few ideas for my new dining room. I think I would still like to stick with the wood and keep the same rectangular shape of the table, but maybe this time we should get something lighter, with a more modern look…

Carlton Copeland Rodgers of YorkCarlton Derwent Rodgers of YorkClemence Richard Massive Rodgers of YorkKettle Stamford Dining  Rodgers of YorkQualita Goliath Rodgers of York

What do you think about my choices?

Would you attempt a make-over just to satisfy your need for fulfilling a New Year’s resolution?

Do you think I should just stick with my old furniture and maybe invest in some soft cushions to make long evenings by the table more comfortable?

I know this is a long list of questions but I am quite in the pickle and unsure what to do next.

* Post written in collaboration with Rodgers Of York

Let there be light – Sensio Furniture Lighting Solution

It’s 6am and I am up. Mark is still deep asleep and not snoring as he will claim later. I put my dressing gown on and slowly wandered to the bathroom for my morning routine. 15 minutes later I am done and it is time to get dressed… now I facing straight into that common dilemma… I will either be getting dressed in total darkness or I have to put the main light on, which will most likely wake up my non snoring other half… hmmm what to do, I need to rummage and find my outfit for the day!

Sensio has a solution – a rechargeable wardrobe light which can detect movement. You open your wardrobe door and taadaa – the light comes on!

Let there be light – Sensio Furniture Lighting Solution

I know as I was sent one for testing.

To be honest I’ve never even considered putting a light into my wardrobe, but having one, especially this time of the year makes a lot of sense. The light is bright enough, so I don’t have to play “cave woman” in the morning, yet it is angled into the wardrobe in such a way so it is not too overpowering for anyone else in the room, thus will not cause the waking up scenario I am so desperate to avoid.

The Sensio Solus has a rechargeable battery fitting. There is no wiring required so it is extremely simple to install, anyone can do it. If used for 2.5 minutes a day the Solus will only need to be recharged every 8 months or so, so it is really the definition of simple to maintain… I think I am taking at least triple this time to actually pick my clothes but still, the battery life is very impressive.

Key features of the Sensio Solus light (as stated on the website):

  • Contains a rechargeable Lithium-ion battery. No electrical installation required.
  • The product is cable free for ease of installation.
  • Rechargeable via a pluggable USB charger.
  • Angled surface light to reduce glare.
  • Features an integrated PIR (person in room) sensor which automatically switches the light on when the wardrobe/cabinet door is opened.
  • The detection range of the PIR is 2m, meaning the fitting can be positioned as required inside the furniture.
  • If movement is not detected for 30 seconds or more the light will temporarily switch off to reduce wastage of the battery power.
  • The run time of the product is 8 months based on 2.5 minutes of use per day. The charging time is 6.5 hours on average.
  • The perfect fitting for use inside wardrobes with several storage compartments.
  • The product has an additional on/off switch for optional use.

The price starts from £41.88. I know what you are thinking now… yes, I agree it isn’t cheap, but none of the new LED lighting products are.

Did you know that LED lightening is the most efficient lighting solution invented to date? For example an incandescent bulb releases 90 percent of their energy as heat, LEDs use energy far more efficiently with very little wasted heat. LED lights also have a significantly longer life span as well so no more days of no light whilst you try and remember to pick a new bulb up whilst you’re out shopping.

I think that for what it offers, the price isn’t as scary as it might at first look. And to be honest use of a light like this doesn’t have to be limited to a wardrobe. We have a pantry in the kitchen… with no light… it would actually be a perfect spot for this little Sensio Solus light… or a staircase… as the light is detecting movement it will turn itself on as someone is approaching… the uses are unlimited… all those very dark corners of your house, garage or even garden shed can now be bathed in useful bright light.

No more darkness – let there be light!

Sensio Furniture Lighting Solution

Review – EcoArt from ThePackagingSite

my new ecoart from thepackagingsite

When I was asked to review a piece of EcoArt from ThePackagingSite I thought to myself… oh cool, I can get another canvas… but I was wrong. An EcoArt might look like a canvas when you first see it from a distance but it is not… it is so much more.

So what is an EcoArt?

EcoArt products use environmentally friendly solutions; from the materials they used, the manufacturing processes down to the delivery of the final product.

The entire range of corrugated products is made using papers from either a recycled or sustainable source. Furthermore, all the products are manufactured in the UK, reducing the environmental impact of importing goods from around the world.

This is why throughout the entire EcoArt collection you will see the following symbols:

EcoArt from ThePackagingSite

My EcoArt arrived securely packed in a large cardboard box. Inside, it was neatly wrapped in bubble wrap. The product reached me in perfect condition and I don’t see how it could get “broken” when using a substantial packaging method like this.

First thing which struck me after opening the box was a lack of smell. The canvas I had the pleasure to review before had an overwhelming paint smell once you finally got to it; EcoArt is fragrant free, which is a big plus as not everyone likes or even can stand a strong smell of paint.

Secondly it was unbelievable light. I could literally lift it with my one finger. At first I didn’t understand how this is possible… then I noticed the lack of a wooden frame. How cool is that? The whole product is made of paper! Again the fact that it is so lightweight is a huge plus. Imagine yourself getting a lovely family portrait for your Granny and she is not able to move it; with EcoArt this situation will not be a problem at all. I would say it is children and elderly friendly… at least when we talk about its weight.

And finally the quality… it is perfect:

EcoArt from ThePackagingSite

Nice sharp colours, just like the original picture.

EcoArt

Lovely crisp white and perfectly finished back.

EcoArt from ThePackagingSite .

And perfect corners.

The cardboard frame has 4 openings in the back… this is where your picture hooks will go. With some pictures this might not be needed but I am sure we have all seen pictures which can or could be hung in different ways… EcoArt thought about this so you can just remove it from the wall, flip it or turn it and pop it back up… it really couldn’t be easier.

When ordering your EcoArt you have two options. You can pick one of the lovely pictures which they feature on their site; there is a selection of abstracts, animals, cityscapes, flowers, landscape and seascapes… or you can design your own EcoArt by creating it from one of your own pictures. Personalised EcoArt can be created as a square, rectangle or a panel frame, where you would split your photo into a few frames, which together will create the whole picture.

The prices start from £14.16 for a rectangle EcoArt with measurements of 30cmx20cm. Having in mind how environmental friendly this product is, I think that this is a great price.

EcoArt from ThePackagingSite ..

So, what do you think?

Would you buy this environmental friendly EcoArt to decorate your walls?

If you are planning on getting one, you can use discount code: ECOTWENTY. This will take 20% off the price but it only applies to personalised canvases.

* Product was provided free of charge for review purposes. The opinions expressed in this review are honest and my own .

#Kitchentales – A tale of a forgotten island

#Kitchentales – A tale of a forgotten island

Getting your own house is hard but getting it furnished is even harder, especially when we talk about the kitchen.

When we bought our house we wanted something different; we wanted something which will have the “wow” factor, something which would make us smile every time we enter the kitchen… mainly because for us the kitchen is the heart of the house but also because it is our home and we wanted it to be perfect and reflect a bit of “us”.

This task proved to be very hard.

You need a lot of skills if you ever want to create what we wanted to achieve, but we have negligible skills when it comes to building our own furniture; therefore you need a lot of money, if you want to buy something original that is standing out from the crowd, but alas we didn’t have the money and still don’t have the money so what is left, luck, you need a bit of luck… yes, we got that one right…

A few years after we had bought our house we decided to take down the wall between the kitchen and the dining room. This seemed to us like #Kitchentales – A tale of a forgotten island a no-brainer decision – our kitchen was small (in our opinion, most of our guests however tended to disagree with us) and the dining room being also on the small side was never really used. We had a second smaller table in the kitchen and this is where we tended to eat all meals. So making one huge room from the two smaller ones was the perfect idea. The building work progressed pretty fast and we no longer had a kitchen and a dining room, now we had kitchen-diner. We had this huge room filled with nothing… none of our old furniture looked any good in this new space, mainly because they were just too small.

There was only one thing for it… We had to go shopping!

After hours on the internet and endless trips to all the furniture shops near us we still had nothing. We knew that our budget would not allow us to get what we really wanted so the time was coming to make some sacrifices; we knew we would have to compromise on our dreams… but then something magical happened… fortune did decide to smile down on us and we were able to buy the furniture of our dreams (more or less) from friends of ours who were downsizing. We purchased an awesome solid wood table. It is huge and could easily seat 6 people though it only came with 4 chairs unfortunately. We also snapped up a triple fronted sideboard and few other bits like coffee tables and lamps… all of them for the fraction of the cost, mates rates are the best rates.

#Kitchentales – My tale of a forgotten island

It was great to see our empty space finally taking form.

That said all the furniture was placed in the dining room part of the kitchen-diner. Thus we still needed something to fill the kitchen part. We had always planned on having an island. We wanted the extra work surface space for food prep and ideally some more storage, but all island are always very expensive. To add to our dilemma we had now surrounded ourselves with dark solid wood furniture, so the island would have to match, which we knew would be very hard to source with our budget, so the search continued…

Then by chance one day we visited a furniture store in a town close by. A few people had mentioned it to us in conversation – it is full of handmade solid wood furniture from the Far East we were told. We had a strong suspicion that the contents of the shop would be out of our price range but curiosity overcame us and so we drove to have a look anyway. The store was and still is amazing; the furniture in it are like pieces of art, most of them are unique and just one off mainly due to the materials they were made from (mainly old fishing boats). We were over the moon with this shop, yet we couldn’t buy anything as the prices were as we suspected, a bit too high. Still, we loved it so much; we kept driving there over and over again just to have a look once again in the hope of some great bargain or the sale of the century. After few trips we knew most of the pieces in the store by heart, but still it was a pleasure to be there even if they were not ours.

One time during our trip around the store (the shop has 3 floors and a lot of small corridors, so it is like a rabbit warren) we spotted something we had never noticed before… in the corner behind some huge doors was an island… dark wood, hand carved and looking extremely dusty was an island. It had no price tag and 100s of other items stuck on top of it and a huge tarpaulin. We instantly fell in love with this dusty, dirty piece of abandoned, neglected wood. We contained our excitement as we didn’t even know if it was for sale, and if it was would we even be able to pronounce the price. As it ended up it was indeed for sale, one concern laid to rest. The shop keeper, a wonderfully enthusiastic man admitted even he had forgotten about it. As he recalled the piece he told us the story; apparently someone had ordered a whole kitchen matching the style of the island but alas for them the island was made in the wrong size, it didn’t fit in their kitchen so they refused to buy it. Their loss, was about to become our luck! The island was perfect for us. We just had to have it! We negotiated hard and a bargain was struck with the owner in order to help us afford it; we figured out that he would be happy just to let it go especially as he had forgotten about it.

A few days later our beautiful island arrived. It took six grown burly man to carry it in – the wood part is one solid piece and it doesn’t disassemble into smaller parts; the only thing that they could remove in order to make it lighter were two granite work tops, thankfully.

#Kitchentales – A tale of a forgotten island

Once the island was delivered, and placed in its new setting that was the moment that our kitchen finally took its final form. We had a wonderful kitchen! We were so happy!

So you see, sometimes all you need is a little hope and a lot of luck!

#Kitchentales A tale of a forgotten island

* This post is an entry for the “My Kitchen Story” Linky Challenge, sponsored by Fairy Platinum.

Out With The Old… In With The New! – Let there be light!

Out With The Old… In With The New Banner

Furniture Choice is currently running a pretty cool blogger competition. They will award £500 to one lucky winner to spend on any item / items they want from their website. All you have to do is to blog what and why you need it.

As our house is still a “work in progress” I couldn’t just walk away from the chance of getting something new replaced in our home.

Having had a very long browsing session through their website I settled on giving some love to our kitchen. Our kitchen needs replacing as a whole but we made a partial make-over a few years back by restoring all the units. We removed the wall between the kitchen and the dinner room creating a lovely open plan space. It looks good and we are pleased with it except for one small corner…

Out With The Old

We do not use this door into the conservatory simply because on the other side of it is a huge dog bed. This set up although not ideal, works for us… all we have to do is to walk a few steps further and enter the conservatory via the old dining room double doors. Using the space the way we are also gives us much needed storage space… but as you can see from the attached picture not a pretty one 🙁 We have a long standing plan to replace those cheap units, which originally (years back) were in the office, with something much more stylish and that match the rest of the room. Our final goal is ideally to replace all the kitchen cabinets with oak ones so my pick from Furniture Choice seems to be the perfect dream match, which will stand up to our future, long term plans.

Behold Michigan Oak 2 Door Sideboard

In With The New

Pretty isn’t it?

I really think this is the perfect piece of furniture for us, being much lower (only 80cm) than our current furnishing in this corner will allow all the light usually blocked by the units to flow into the kitchen. I can visualise this set up in my head and I am sure it would be lovely.

Out With The Old… In With The New

What do you think? Will it work as well as I am imagining it?