Conservatory Update Plans

As the end of the summer holidays approaches, I am increasingly aware that having decided to hold fire on the change of layout on our ground floor, we are continuing to live with rooms that are completely un-used. This frustrates me and I am itching to do something about it.

As mentioned in this post, I am reluctant to share pictures of our conservatory because, well, I hate it! But, the time has come to make some decisions regarding this space so, if for no other reason than to have some ‘before’ shots, here are a few pictures of the area as it is now. (Actually, I spent hours cleaning these rooms for the photos, who am I kidding?!)

Home Heart Harmony Conservatory woes

 

Home Heart Harmony Conservatory woes

Home Heart Harmony Conservatory woes

Home Heart Harmony Conservatory woes

I can’t wait to get a proper roof on the conservatory – it’s south-facing and far too hot to sit in when the sun shines (even if it’s cold outside) but I do have one major concern. The room adjoining the conservatory is our ‘den’ (see below). At present, it is pretty dark and uninviting having no windows of its own. By replacing the transparent roof in the conservatory, it’s only going to get darker still and that is a concern for us.

Home Heart Harmony Conservatory woes

Hubby and I had a chat about these concerns and he has suggested leaving a vaulted ceiling into which we could fit VELUX windows. I’m thinking a couple of these windows in the new roof would allow a fair amount of light through. The only slight hesitation I had was that we would still be in the same position regards too much light overheating the room. However, I shouldn’t have worried as you can also get specially fitted blinds which are available in a range of options including black-out and energy-saving.

Home Heart Harmony Conservatory woes

Home Heart Harmony Conservatory woes

[Images source]

I just hope we can get moving with this project in the next 100 years! I don’t know why it seems to take us so long to commit!

As always, you can sign up to my email feed and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

This post has been written in collaboration with VELUX but, as always, all thoughts, words, opinions (and mistakes!) are 100% my own.

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

 

 

Lovely Lyme Regis

Whoa, it’s been too long!! I missed you! I hope you have all been enjoying every moment of your summer?

I’ve taken some time over the school holidays to relax and be with the family and I made the decision that I wouldn’t put pressure on myself to blog regularly while the children were at home. Well, today, I have the house to myself! Both children have gone off to spend the day with their friends and it just happened to coincide – that almost never happens does it?!

I so love blogging. Every day I’m not blogging, I’m thinking about blogging and I do miss it very much. You could say I’m a little bit obsessed! So, I thought while I had a moment, I would pop in and bring you up to speed on what we’ve been doing with ourselves.

The chore charts have been working really well and both children are still motivated to keep going. We didn’t expect them to do chores while we were on holiday so they’ve had a bit of a break which has helped but the help I’ve received from the children has certainly made for a more amicable time around here!

We have spent the last couple of weeks in lovely Lyme Regis. I have mentioned our love affair with Lyme before but this holiday was slightly different as we were joined by various different family members including nieces and nephews which seemed to make the time whizz by!

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis

We had a mix of weather – the first week was mostly good and the second week, less so! The kiddo’s are at an age now where they are starting to want to spend lots of time in the sea body boarding and playing games. They don’t really need as much input from us any more although, I’m not comfortable with them being in the water without an adult so, while my husband did the lion’s share (he is so good about getting in the water with them), my sister and I did dare to brave the freezing water temperatures as well!! I have to say, I find it very hard to let the children enjoy the water. Even though they are both strong swimmers I get so stressed about something going wrong, I almost can’t bear to watch. This is when I have to hand the reins over to their Dad and not watch! Otherwise I finish up spoiling everyone’s fun and ruin my own day as well as everyone else’s. Are there any other Mums out there who have struggled with that this summer? I’m willing to bet there’s a few! (Sorry this is such a bad quality image, I just love how it captures the fun! I’m not sure if all these children are even ours!!)

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis

I always feel like the people of Lyme make such an effort to make it a wonderful place to visit. During the summer they hold a ‘Lifeboat Week’ which is full of fun activities and events as well as a ‘Carnival and Regatta’ week which is also a jam packed calendar of experiences for the family. During Lifeboat Week, the ‘Red Arrows’ usually come and do a display which is just mind blowing. If you have never seen the Red Arrows, you should really make an effort to do so – it’s so worth it. Unfortunately, this year, the weather spoiled everyone’s fun and the event had to be cancelled. Boo!

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis

I took this picture back in 2011

However, Carnival and Regatta week (which runs less than 2 weeks later), was better. The weather was mostly good. One of the events I haven’t seen before was the ‘Walk of Light.’ If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen a picture. Basically, whoever wants to join in can gather in the gardens behind the main parade and get a ‘torch’ to walk in procession through the gardens and down to the beach (If you are thinking of getting involved in this next year, Parents beware, the torches are just large sticks that are set on fire). We happened to stumble across the procession as we were leaving a restaurant one evening and it was magic! This photo was taken from the other end of the beach and shows the procession moving down through the gardens.

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis

Gradually, the torch carriers begin to gather on the beach…

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis

Once everyone arrives at the sea shore, each person takes their turn to throw their torch onto a large beacon which grows and grows as all the torches are added.

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis

The atmosphere for all of this was electric. The weather was warm and the night grew darker and darker until all you could see were the flames and the lights on the building at the end of the historic Cobb.

We enjoyed some gorgeous days on the beach. The sun did come out for us and we were able to make the most of the good days.

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis

The only problem with visiting such a beautiful and popular holiday spot however, is that it does get slightly busy…

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis

Some days, you could hardly move on the beach – the weekends are especially busy as people come for day trips and things can get hectic!

I did manage to grab a quiet moment or two though. It was particularly nice that while the children were having lots of fun with their cousins until far too late at night, they did sleep in the next day, giving me a chance for a cup of tea and a quiet moment with my book in the morning…

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis

Hubby and I also managed to get an evening out without the kids while they stayed with my sis and when you have a view like this over dinner, you can’t really complain!

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis

We tried our hands at Mackerel fishing and we must have hit a good day because the fish were in plentiful supply.

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis

All the children really enjoyed this activity and whilst the thought of it was not something I was particularly excited about, seeing the children’s faces light up when they caught a fish, I quickly started to enjoy myself too. (Though my daughter and I did struggle with the fact that these poor fish were going to end up on a dinner plate – we apologised to every one we caught!)

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis

Funnily enough, this mackerel fishing excursion took place on the exact same day that we sailed off on our sunset cruise in South Carolina last year. There were some stark differences!!

Home Heart Harmony Lovely Lyme Regis 1

Very slightly greyer! And yes, it was raining just a bit! We did have fun though and the kids probably enjoyed it almost as much!

I could go on all day about the joys of Lyme Regis but I’m sure I’ve bored you quite enough already. We have done virtually nothing around the home this summer and I am itching to get started. Hubby has a fairly strict policy that he won’t do home improvements when the weather is nice (and that happens so rarely, I can’t really say I blame him). However, I do feel a bit like we are cursed with our projects of late. Hopefully, I will have some sort of progress to share with you very soon and I can update you then about all the trials and tribulations that have impeded our efforts!

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

P.S. – Sharing this post over at The Twinkle Diaries for Twinkly Tuesday!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

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Holiday Chore Charts

Home Heart Harmony Holiday Chore Charts 6Well, the summer holidays are here at last and I’ve been notably absent ever since! The first week of our break was very chilled out and it was just what we needed. We spent a couple of days away with family and since coming home, apart from a meet up or two with friends, we have just stayed at home catching up on things we had been meaning to do for weeks. We can now officially see what colour our bedroom carpet is again! Hurrah!

I love having the children home from school during the holidays and always feel really sad to see them go back but, like every other family in the world, we have moments when I’m absolutely sure my children are competing to see who can be first to make my head explode! In the interests of avoiding any mess this would incur, I have drawn up ‘chore charts’ for the kids this year. Nothing serious, just a bit of a hand here and there to avoid aforementioned explosion.

I’ve told the children that if they can keep up with these chores, at the end of every week there will be a ‘chore check.’ If I’m satisfied that everything is done, there will be a monetary reward. (We are putting the ‘Mum Bucks’ system to one side for the holidays, I felt like we needed something fresh to get everyone motivated! And yes, I am shamelessly bribing my children #don’tjudgeme)

Here are their chore charts:

Home Heart Harmony Holiday Chore Charts

Download a free blank version for your own use here

I’ve tried to keep it to the basic things I would expect from them (but the ones they seem to ‘forget’) as well as a few daily and weekly tasks to take the pressure off me a bit. I think they are more than capable of doing everything on their lists (they are now 12 and 9) and these are the small things that make a big difference to the overall state of the home. I don’t want to spoil their holidays by overloading them but they do need to understand that in order for me to have time to take them for days out and do the things they want us to do together at home, they need to pitch in and free up some of my time for the fun stuff.

Home Heart Harmony Holiday Chore Charts

I printed off a chart for each of the children, gave each one a coloured background and laminated them so that each chore can be ‘checked off’ with a dry wipe pen. We have put a copy of each chart on the fridge along with a whiteboard pen so that the kiddo’s can mark each item off as they go and I will wipe clean the ‘daily’ section each morning so they can start again. I have to say, perhaps I’ve passed down the love of all things ‘organised’ but both of my children are incredibly excited to get going with their chart! Let’s see how long the novelty lasts! ;-)

Home Heart Harmony Holiday Chore Charts

So, here we are, all set for a summer of harmony and un-exploded heads! I am really hoping for some better weather in the next few weeks. The start of the summer holidays has been a bit of a disappointment to say the least – I had envisaged ‘days in the garden by the paddling pool’ but it’s been more like ‘days snuggled under a blanket on the sofa’ so far. We are ‘stay-cationing’ this year so my fingers are very much crossed for an improvement.

Please forgive the lighter posting schedule over the summer, I will pop in here and there with an update or two but I am so aware that my children are growing fast and every minute they want to spend with me now is precious!

Has anyone else got any top tips for getting the children to help out around the home during the holidays (or any other time!)? I would love to hear about them in the comments.

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

P.S. Linking up at The Twinkle Diaries ‘Home Etc.’ Blog hop and Twinkly Tuesday!.

Home Etc
The Twinkle Diaries

 

 

How to make the easiest cake ever!

Home Heart Harmony Easy Cake How-to

We’ve had a fabulous weekend celebrating my sister’s 40th birthday. It was a gorgeous day on Saturday and we all went to a very lovely local hotel where we had a beautiful meal and some bubbly.

As I have mentioned before, I am the least capable person in the world when it comes to anything vaguely related to cooking or baking but with Mum and Dad being away on holiday until the day before the big day, I was put in charge of the cake. WHY? Argh!

By the time I found out about this, it was too late to get anyone else to make one so I had to bite the bullet and make my best effort. It turned out pretty well and my sister was delighted with it so I thought I would share with you all how I went about it just incase you are similarly domestically challenged and ever find yourself having to provide a cake for any occasion!

My sister doesn’t like butter icing but I was reliably informed that she did like this Betty Crocker Cream Cheese style icing.

Home Heart Harmony Easiest Cake Ever How-to

I decided that I would use this as a basis for the cake and thought about how I could make it look like anything other than a mess! One of my friends is a cake-making pro over at Minky Kitten Cakes and I remembered that she had recently shared a picture of a fruit-topped cake which I thought my sister would like (as she loves fruit). Using her picture as my inspiration, I proceeded to make the easiest (and most impressive!) cake I have ever made!! I surprised myself!

You will need:

  • A cake! (I wouldn’t dare to suggest that I know how to make a good cake but, for the sake of disclosure, I made a large-ish cake as there were around 20 people attending. I used 2 x 28cm diameter cake tins and made a victoria sponge mixture using 10 eggs, 500g flour, 500g caster sugar and 500g butter. I split the mixture between the 2 tins and cooked at 180 degrees for around 30 minutes. I spread jam and icing between the two and stacked one on top of the other.)
  • A tub of Betty Crocker cream cheese style icing
  • 1 punnet strawberries
  • 1 punnet raspberries
  • 1 pun net blueberries
  • 4 packets white chocolate biscuit fingers (I needed just over 3 but this will obviously depend on the size of your cake)
  • Ribbon
  • Some pretty flowers
  • Icing sugar to dust top

You know how they say that a picture can speak a thousand words? Well, I think this picture says everything that ever needs to be said about my cake-baking skills:

Home Heart Harmony Easiest Cake Ever How-to

Moving on…Note how the cake is lop-sided and the icing haphazard to say the least? Well, the best thing about this cake is that none of that matters! It is all about to be covered up by loveliness!

When you have baked and covered your cake in icing, you simply prop your chocolate fingers against the side of the cake all the way around and then tie your ribbon around them to hold them in place. As it happened, I was buying flowers for a friend at the florist this week so I asked them to make a bow to tie on my cake at the same time. They were very helpful and gave me some extra ribbon as well as leaving the ends of the bow long enough to tie around the cake. I secured the bottom layer of ribbon with icing at the join and then tied the bow around as a second layer, which worked well because it was thinner.

Home Heart Harmony Easiest Cake Ever How-to

I bought some flowers at the supermarket four days before I would need them. They were still closed when I bought them and I purchased them early to allow time for them to open out. I bought a mix of pink peonies and roses but you could use any flowers you like.

Home Heart Harmony Easiest Cake Ever How-to

When I had finished tying the chocolate fingers, I left the cake overnight and then, on the morning of the day we would be eating it, topped it with the fruit (which I also purchased on the morning for freshness). After washing and drying the fruit with kitchen towel, I sliced the tops off the strawberries and placed them fairly randomly around, pointing sky-ward. I then literally ‘sprinkled’ the raspberries and blueberries in the gaps. It was as easy as that!

Home Heart Harmony Easiest Cake Ever How-to

 

I cut the flowers off at about 3 inches, dried the ends off and just stuck them down in the gaps between the fruit. There was no rhyme or reason to this, I just kept popping them in until I thought it looked ok.

Home Heart Harmony Easiest Cake Ever How-to

 

Finally, I dusted the top (including the flowers!) with a light layer of icing sugar.

And voila! The easiest cake ever. If I can make it, literally anyone can! And it received some fantastic compliments! Apparently, the kitchen staff were even taking photos of it! Who would have thought it?

Anyone have any other tips for fantastically easy makes that an imbecile could manage? Those are the ones I need to hear about!! ;-)

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

P.S. I’m sharing this post over at The Happy Housie, Thrifty Decor Chick and The Twinkle Diaries.

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

 

Home Etc

Weekly Organising Challenge – Organised Paperwork

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Organised Paperwork

Well, I’m a little ashamed to admit that my paperwork has got somewhat out of control. Our Command Centre has been a god-send in terms of keeping the paper clutter under control but eventually there comes a time when you have to make room for the new paper coming in and do something with what’s already in those lovely files. This has been my downfall. Initially, I was keeping on top of things and filing everything away around once a month but after a while I got a bit lazy about that (since the system was working so well, why struggle to do it once a month if it didn’t need doing?!) I now have a situation where nothing has been filed….all….year!! Oooops! The problem was, I hadn’t set up a new folder for 2015 so I just kept putting it off and putting it off. Well, enough of that. I have now purchased this delightful folder and some dividers so I thought I would get on and sort things out.

Floral folder from Tesco

Floral folder from Tesco

When I file my paperwork, I have always found that there are 5 or 6 main categories under which pretty much everything can be filed away. For us, these are as follows but I’m sure everyone has slightly different filing needs so maybe yours would be different:

  • Invoices
  • Insurances/Licences/Certificates
  • Finances/Taxes
  • School
  • Health

We then have a final section entitled ‘General’ for everything else.

I use one lever arch file for each year and section things off using dividers. I haven’t been able to find any really nice dividers so I decided to take matters into my own hands and create some pretty ones using some wrapping papers I recently found at Tesco along with some cheap dividers. If there is one thing sure to keep me using an organising system regularly, it’s having something pretty to look at! Always motivational!

The process

The process

I used the same technique to glue the paper to the dividers that I used for my pen pot and drawer update projects. Once the glue on the paper was dry, I laminated the finished item for extra durability (or just because I love to laminate!)

Well hello gorgeous!

Well hello gorgeous!

Now my paperwork is all organised in its new home and the command centre is once again on duty stemming the tide of paperwork flowing into our home!

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Organised Paperwork

Has anyone else been organising paperwork this week? I feel so good that some of these weekly projects are really making a difference to our home and we are facing the summer break in a much better, and more organised, frame of mind than we otherwise would have been. I just hope they can hold out against the onslaught of summertime chaos!

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

P.S. I’m sharing this post over at the iHeart Organizing Four Week ‘Wait No More’ Challenge.

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

 

 

10 Top Teacher Gift Ideas

Teacher Gifts

It’s that time of year again. We are nearing the end of another school year and life has gone a liiiiittle bit crazy. It’s almost like the run up to Christmas except with different activities! Either way – exhausting! We have a major family celebration season going on at this time of year too with my husband, sister and daughter all having birthdays within a few days of each other as well as our wedding anniversary and all the end of term events. Lots of celebrating and too many late nights! I need to get my head in the game and get sorted with presents, cards, cakes, outfits etc. We also have the added stress of getting our daughter ready for a week away with school which takes her away over her birthday this year. It will be the first time I have ever not been with her on her big day so I’m feeling a bit emotional about that!

In the spirit of getting myself organised, I have been looking for inspiration for teacher gifts. I found some lovely ideas online and thought that they would be worth sharing just on the off chance you are also looking for ideas. We tend to try and keep our gifts low key and useful wherever possible and while I am not a teacher, I do work in a primary school so I get a flavour of the gifts that go down well and those that are not so well received!! So here goes, ten teacher gift ideas which might come in handy (with links to the original post for how-to’s etc)….

1. Pretty Clipboards 

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Echoes of Laughter

2. Beach Kit

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Sprinkle it with Fabulous’

3. Sharpies in a Cup

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

 

From ‘Slice of Heaven’

4. Pot Plant 

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Tiny Oranges’

5. Smart Cookies

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Crazy Little Projects’

6. Paperclip Jar

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Lil’ Luna’

7. Nail Varnish

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Gone Like Rainbows’

8. Paper Flowers

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Skip to my Lou’

9. Highlighter Jar

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Love the Day’

10. Teacher Survival Kit 

Home Heart Harmony 10 Top Teacher Gifts

From ‘Serenity Now’

That should give us all some food for thought! Most of these are fairly easy to put together and I’m sure the thought that goes into these gifts would be truly appreciated. If all else fails, gift cards are usually well received and there is always the option to club together with a group of other parents to buy a more substantial amount of gift vouchers which would really be useful to the recipient.

Does anyone have any great ideas for teacher gifts? I would love to hear about them in the comments. I hope you all enjoy the last couple of weeks of the school year, it’s such a precious time.

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

 

 

Weekly Organising Challenge – Organised Linen Cupboard

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Linen CupboardI should have called this post ‘Organised Ironing Piles’ because that’s essentially what goes on in here! I have tried and failed more times than I care to remember to keep on top of my ironing. There are just never enough hours in the day and I have come to accept that there is never going to be a time when everything we own is neatly ironed and put away. Am I the only one? Perhaps we have too many clothes?

Instead of beating myself up over piles of un-ironed washing all over the house, I have designated our linen cupboard as the place to hide it all!! Now I just have a big ironing session on a Sunday evening and a couple of smaller sessions through the week (usually at 6.30 in the morning when I realise the kids didn’t hang up their uniform the previous night or I don’t have anything left to wear to work!)

Before

Before

I have organised this space in the not too distant past but as you can see, things have spiralled out of control, yet again! I’m going to blame the change in seasons for this one (just as I did with my last challenge!) The top shelf is home to our towels. I forgot to take a ‘before’ picture of this bit prior to emptying it out part way but it was just a mess of towels teetering up out of my reach and falling over into the back of the shelf never to be seen again! The two bags at the bottom here contain all the children’s ‘out-of-season’ clothes and as yet (due to the fact that we didn’t really stop wearing our winter clothes until a couple of weeks ago) I hadn’t got around to switching things around.

After

After – Ignore the mess of wires, they are an unchangeable feature!

Last week, I made the children try on all the summer clothes that had been packed away in these bags and washed pretty much every item of clothing we own! I then packed away all the winter clothes that still fit, gathered up anything that didn’t fit to be passed on to smaller family members and ironed and put away all their summer clothes (all while trying to pack for a weekend away – it looked like a Chinese laundry around here!) The children have an ironing basket of their own which lives in their wardrobe but I try to stay on top of their ironing a bit better so they don’t have too much sitting around un-worn before they grow out of it.

The two baskets on the higher shelves were supposed to be one for me and one for hubby but things have got a bit messed up as time has gone on and there was some confusion! (Yes, really. Can you tell?)

Some of the clothes in the bottom of those baskets have been lost for a while now and I certainly don’t have the patience to lift everything out each time I’m searching for one particular item so they just got forgotten about.

All ready to be pulled out and ironed when the mood strikes! (So, never then.)

All ready to be pulled out and ironed when the mood strikes! (So, never then.)

In order to avoid a reoccurrence, here are the things I have done differently this time:

  • Labelled the baskets so my things don’t get mixed up with hubby’s again.
  • Folded our clothes differently so that everything can be seen at a glance.
  • Thrown out any clothes we no longer wear.
  • Packed away all our ‘out-of-season’ clothes in the same way I do for the children.
  • Limited the clothes we kept to the amount the basket will hold – one in, one out from now on. No more hoarding old clothes with holes in thinking I will patch them up. It just isn’t going to happen!
  • Rolled all our towels rather than folding. It makes it much easier to reach them as they take up less space and the stack doesn’t reach such great heights any more!
  • Continued using the bags at the foot of the cupboard for the children’s ‘out-of-season’ clothes as this was working well.

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Linen Cupboard

From now on, as I take things out to iron, I’m sure they will be replaced with clean items coming out of the wash. To add new items, I just tip the basket up on one end and insert the new ones at the top. I suppose at some point, the basket may become less full and things might fall around a bit but, let’s face it, that’s very unlikely!! Here’s a quick final before and after…

Home Heart Harmony Before and After Linen Cupboard

Does anyone have any super-star tips for staying on top of the ironing pile? I would absolutely love to hear them. Please share in the comments. I wish there was a magic spell I could cast to get everything freshly pressed and hanging in the correct wardrobe whenever I desire! In the meantime, I’ll just have to stick with hiding it all away!! (Shhh!)

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

P.S. I’m sharing this post over at the iHeart Organizing Four Week ‘Wait No More’ Challenge.

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

 

Painted Chest of Drawers

Home Heart Harmony Painted Chest Update

Well, progress has been slow in our son’s bedroom as we spent the weekend moving furniture out, which had a knock on effect everywhere! We knew we were going to need some extra storage space in the garage to get this project completed so we ordered a new shed (which we’ve been meaning to do for ages) to house some of the things currently stored in the garage. Of course, we had to wait for the shed to be delivered and then it needed to be assembled so what with that and the painting project I’m about to talk about, the week has run away from us once again!

Home Heart Harmony Painted Chest

This chest of drawers which I mentioned in this post was one we had made for us a good few years ago. It was originally untreated pine but it went to live with my niece for a few years and my sister had it painted white. I liked the white but after years of use by both my niece and then us again, it was in urgent need of a new coat of paint.

Home Heart Harmony Painted Chest

The unit will now be in our son’s new bedroom and as such, I decided white paint wasn’t the way to go. His furniture is all from IKEA and the shade of the wood is called grey/brown. I definitely didn’t want to paint this chest brown so I thought it would be best to pick out the grey tones of his existing furniture and paint this one a dark grey. This colour is called ‘Grey Steele’ and it’s from the ‘Colours’ range at B&Q. It’s a water-based Satin finish. I really wanted to update the drawer pulls as well so I took off the old ones and replaced them with these antique brass effect ones. I think the antique brass looks great on grey and I’m so pleased with how the unit has turned out.

Home Heart Harmony Painted Chest

For those that are interested in the process, I sanded the unit first using a palm sander and then used two coats of a primer/undercoat to make sure all the imperfections were well and truly a thing of the past. I finished up using two further coats of the grey but for the top coat, I used a mini micro-fibre roller to get a better finish. Each coat didn’t take that long but I did allow plenty of drying time between each one so it’s taken a few days (probably a week actually by the time I finished it). I have to say, the micro-fibre roller was a game changer. I had intended to use one from the start but I didn’t get around to ordering it until I was half way through the process. The roller made the job so much quicker and easier and the finish was better too. I wish I’d had it earlier in the process!

This chest will give our son additional storage (as he will be losing a full height fitted cupboard in the move) and will also provide an extra surface for all his gadgets which will mean his desk can remain much clearer for homework and drawing (he is a keen little artist). He has desperately needed an extra surface for some time so he will be delighted with this, I’m sure.

Home Heart Harmony Painted Chest

When I showed him the finished chest today, he was really excited about it, he loves the colour and the drawer pulls were his favourite part. I can’t wait to get the room done now. I think it’s going to be a slow project though. We have SUCH a busy few weeks coming up with big family birthdays, weekends away and the end of the school year. We are just going to take it a bit at a time and not put pressure on ourselves.

Why don’t we just finish with a quick before and after?

Home Heart Harmony Painted Chest Before and After

Has anyone else been updating furniture lately? I do love it when a piece of furniture can be given a whole new life with just a lick of paint.

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

P.S – I’m sharing this post over at The Happy Housie, Thrifty Decor Chick and The Twinkle Diaries.

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

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Are we losing our children to technology?

Home Heart Harmony - Are we losing our children to technology

It’s been a while since I talked ‘family.’ Our kiddo’s are growing waaaay to fast and, as we approach the end of yet another school year, it is scary to think about how much has changed around here, even in just the last 12 months! As many of you will know, we had a power cut last week which knocked out our wi-fi router. As I mentioned, it was a long week but in lots of ways, it was soooo good to have my children back for a few days! That sounds so awful doesn’t it? I’m aware of how bad it sounds. The way in which we spent the week really brought to the forefront of my mind an issue which has been troubling me for quite some time now so I thought I would ‘share’ with you all. They say a problem shared is a problem halved don’t they?

Our daughter is 11 and our son is 9 and they both have access to iPads and laptops. When we decided that they would be allowed to use these devices, it was largely as a result of their insistence that they ‘needed’ them. All of their school homework was posted online and they often needed to use a computer to complete it. They assured us that they were the ONLY children left in the entire universe that didn’t have a device of their own! Hmmm, I’m not quite sure that was the case (in fact, I think the truth was being seriously stretched).

However, having given the issue significant consideration (and having got sick and tired of the constant arguing over my laptop) we decided to take the plunge and invest in some technology for the children. This was both the best and worst decision we have ever made! Don’t get me wrong, these devices and the ways in which they can be used are incredible! (Let’s remember that I am not exactly whiter than white when it comes to the issue of technology over-use! I have both a personal and blog Facebook and InstaGram account, I write a blog and share it with the world electronically. I know that there are two very strong sides to this argument!) If I’m honest, in situations where children are required to sit still and quiet for a extended period of time, these devices are an absolute gift from heaven! However, the trouble really starts when you need to get them away from the screen and back into the real world.

I have spoken to many friends and acquaintances who are parents and they all seem to be struggling with the same issue. Whether it be the family PC, a smart phone, a tablet, an Xbox or Playstation or even the Wii which was purchased with a dream of ‘family game nights,’ everyone seems to be facing the same dilemma. We all want our children to be accepted by their peers, we don’t want them isolated socially because they can’t take part in group messages, oovoo chats, FaceTime or IG direct messages, but at the same time, we want them to be a part of the family, we would quite like to spend some time with them every now and then and ideally, we’d like them to just put the sodding thing down once in a while! Speak to parents of older teenagers, and you hear a much more serious story. Hushed conversations reveal real concerns about burgeoning gaming addiction, unlimited access to pornography, cyber-bullying and young lives wasting away in front of a computer screen.

I do sometimes feel like the situation is spiralling out of our control and we often discuss ways in which we can act now in order to prevent more serious problems from developing further down the line. I really do feel strongly that we need to get a handle on this issue A.S.A.P! As a solution-driven person, I am always looking for ways to resolve a problem and I would love (seriously, really, please tell me) to hear how you are all dealing with this situation in your own homes (or if it’s even an issue). I really feel like I need advice on this! It seems like such a simple problem to solve but in reality, we don’t want our children to be the only ones whose parents are coming down hard on them. We don’t want to be fighting a constant battle. We want them to be happy, to be able to communicate and socialise with their friends, we don’t want them isolated or targeted for torment. But, our priority is our family, our time together and the health and well-being of our children. With that in mind, for what it’s worth, here are a few ways we have tackled, are tackling and are planning to tackle this issue with our own kids (with varying degrees of success and failure!) Please, share yours with me in the comments:

  • Limiting the time spent on devices to a set period each day
  • Only using devices at the weekend
  • Confiscating devices one (or more) hour(s) before bed
  • “Earning” device time with good behaviour and/or chores
  • Turning off the Wi-fi at certain times of the day or week
  • Not allowing the children to know the password to download new apps
  • Linking all the children’s devices to our own Apple ID so that we share photo streams, apps, internet favourites and accounts.
  • Setting parental controls with PIN codes known only to us.
  • Talking regularly with our children about ‘self-monitoring’ and the need for time away from the screens.
  • Encouraging them to participate in regular clubs and activities outside of the home.
  • Not taking their devices everywhere with them.
  • Discussing cyber-bullying and things which could harm themselves and others if shared online.
  • Getting out of the house together regularly to enjoy time as a family

I realise that these are not always realistic and I know how hard it can be to encourage the children to spend their free time doing things other than the one thing they want most. It does feel a bit like we are quietly fighting a never-ending battle but it’s one we are determined to win! Don’t forget to share your tips for tackling this problem in the comments, I would love to hear from you.

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.

 

Weekly Organising Challenge – Under-stair Cupboard

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge Understairs Cupboard

Oh my!! It’s been a long week around here. We had a power cut last Monday evening which knocked out our wi-fi router and we had to wait aaaalllllll week for a new one to arrive. I know, it’s been rough! I feel like this post was never meant to be! I’ve battled the wi-fi break down, then when we got a new router, I couldn’t get the printer to connect to it to make my labels, then when I finally managed to connect, I had to clear half the files off my computer to make room for the new printer drivers I needed to download, then the laminator ate my labels and I had to start again, then I ran out of ink, then my tripod broke whilst I was trying to take photos!!

Anyway, enough of the problems, I have finally made it!  This week’s organising challenge was a biggie. I can honestly say that there has not been a single day in at least the last six months that I haven’t thought about tackling this area. And that whole time, it has been gradually getting worse and worse and worse until we reached this point…

Duh Duh Duuuh!

Duh Duh Duuuh!

Ladies and Gentlemen…I give you…the cupboard under the stairs! It makes quite an impressive statement doesn’t it?! I cannot believe or understand how we have allowed this situation to escalate to this degree! WHERE does all this stuff come from?! I wish I had counted as I was working how many coats, bags, hats, scarves and pairs of gloves there were in here. I can’t imagine why we have so many.

You may (just!) be able to see from the before photo that, unbelievably, I have tackled this nook in the past. I even separated things out into drawers and labelled them as well as some of the hooks. Clearly, that didn’t work out too well.

I think the change of seasons is where we fall down with this cupboard. What we need to do is put away our ‘out-of-season’ coats until we need them again leaving just the ones were are currently using. But alas, I have been a bit slack about this.

The other problem with this space is the shape. As with most under stairs cupboards, it is smaller in the back and not easy to get to so it really needs to be saved for storing things we rarely need. Trouble is, I forget what’s in there! So, even if we do need the things back there, I don’t ever remember they are there anyway!

Apart from throwing out all of the rubbish and donating anything we no longer needed to charity, here are the things I’ve changed in an attempt to make this area work harder for us in the future:

  • I designated areas for separate belongings – coats, bags, sports kit and the pup’s stuff.
  • I put away all of our ‘out-of-season’ gear in vacuum bags to be kept elsewhere and be swapped out when the Autumn arrives.
  • I made a ‘wipe-clean’ inventory of what’s tucked away in the back of the cupboard using a laminated print-out and whiteboard pen so that it can be easily changed/updated as necessary and stuck it at the front of the cupboard.
  • I re-labelled the drawers and hooks to encourage everyone to use them correctly.

It’s tricky to make this space look pretty for photos but here are a few of the dramatically improved ‘after’ shots to give you an idea of what’s changed! (Though now I’m thinking it needs a serious re-paint!):

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Understairs Cupboard

 

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Understairs Cupboard

 

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Understairs Cupboard

 

Home Heart Harmony Weekly Organising Challenge - Understairs Cupboard

The 'Before and After'

The ‘Before and After’

Have you been joining in with the weekly organising challenge? I must admit, it’s harder than I thought it would be to tackle a space each week (especially with a hundred technical hold-ups!!) Maybe I should re-name this the fortnightly organising challenge?! I suppose at least, it is keeping me on track and slowly but surely, we are improving things around here. I’m off to paint a chest of drawers. Don’t forget to send me your ‘before and after’ if you’ve joined in with the challenge this week!

To check out my previous ‘organising challenge’ posts, click on the links below:

As always, you can sign up to my email feed (see sign-up box top right on a computer or below on a tablet or smart phone), and follow me on FacebookTwitterPinterest and Instagram for updates between posts. Thanks so much for reading. Until next time…xoxo!

P.S – I’m sharing this post over at iHeart Organizing’s ‘Wait-no-more Organizing Challenge’

All text and images are copyright Home Heart Harmony unless stated and opinions are my own. Single images may be reproduced only if they remain in their original state and must be credited back to Home Heart Harmony with a link to the site. Failure to do so constitutes a copyright violation.