28 November 2018

Interior Design Trends to watch out for in 2019

The New Year brings a fresh start as well as a bunch of new inspirations. Interior design is no different, but what can we expect to see in the new year? Read on to find the trends that will work their way into our homes in 2019. 

Colour of the year

Neutrals have long remained popular throughout home interiors, but 2019 will see us shift from cool grey tones to new neutrals. Dulux’s Colour of the Year for 2019 has been revealed as “Spiced Honey” – a warm, cosy amber tone. Dulux colour experts team up with design and societal trend forecasters to the select the colour of year, “Spiced Honey” reflecting a new mood of positivity for 2019.

The trend for barely there, warm earthy tones is set to dominate home interior palettes, from wall colours to décor and creating warm, positive atmospheres. This is one trend that can easily be incorporated into your home without fear of being too bold.

Go over to the dark side

On the opposite end of the colour spectrum, expect to see matt black make a bold appearance in homes and interiors. Introduce this trend into your home through lighting, home décor objects and sideboards to create a sense of drama and edge.

Matt black interiors can give your home a high-end feel, bringing sophistication and elegance to your space. Black is great for enhancing features – objects placed on a black background often stand out, which is perfect for showing off your stylish interior décor.

Divide and conquer

The popularity of bifold doors and windows looks set to continue into the new year, even making its way into our home interiors as room dividers, walls and showers.

This trend could completely open up a space, letting in more light and giving your home versatility and a modern edge. Opting for aluminium bifold doors minimises the amount of shadows that are cast into your home as a result of their slim frames.

Their chic, contemporary style will see them become a common feature across homes in 2019 as more of us seek open-plan living.

Technology is everywhere

It might come as no surprise – after all, it is everywhere in our lives – that technology in interior design is set to progress in 2019. The rapid progression of the smart home has seen multifunctional products flourish, and they could soon provide multi-purpose home décor.

Use of 3D modelling and virtual reality could even transform the whole interior design process.


Items made from natural fabrics and materials such as rice paper will become mainstream in 2019 as sustainable living becomes a responsibility. The move towards eco-friendly options has gained momentum over the past few years, with 66% of people admitting that they are willing to pay more for sustainable goods.

Look out for this trend in upholstered furniture, cushions, throws and tapestries as people search for more ways to incorporate natural elements into their homes. Embracing sustainable interiors will no doubt add style to your home and is perfect for anyone looking to connect with nature.

*Collaborative piece

26 November 2018

Seeing the Sights in Manchester

This weekend I did two things that I have always wanted to do in Manchester.

Usually when I am staying in hotels in Manchester it is for  special occasion, a night out or a shopping trip; I tend to stick to the same areas, bars and restaurants.  But there is so much more to Manchester that you can go and see.

So this weekend I decided to visit the Christmas markets (my first ever visit) and also to check out the Manchester Cathedral.  Although I am not religious or even a believer in any way, it does not mean that I cannot appreciate the architecture and the beauty of the place. 

How beautiful, right?  The height of the columns, the intricate detailing of the stained glass windows and have you seen that doorway??

I would also recommend seeing the John Rylands Library, the Bridgewater Hall Concert Hall and Calatrava Trinity Bridge.

After the Cathedral it was on to the Christmas markets.  Just a tad busy as you can see!

We decided to do the tradition thing and get a mulled wine to start our shopping out on a warm and fuzzy note.  £8 got us two delightful mug fulls of delicious and warming mulled wine and really got our shopping trip on to a lovely start.

After our mulled wine it was time to hit the food stalls located around the Town Hall and check out the welcoming Santa Claus!

Full of food, and one more mulled wine, it was time to start Christmas decoration shopping.  We were looking for some feature pieces to dot around the house rather than Christmas tree ornaments which we have in abundance.

The stalls had so much to offer!  What we quickly noted that it is worth shopping around to find what you are looking for as the prices differ, sometimes quite vastly, from stall to stall so it is worth checking everything out before making your purchases.

Although there are some gift based stalls, the Christmas markets are primarily for food and drink stalls as well as the usual Christmas decoration stalls so this is something that you need to bear in mind if you are looking for Christmas presents.  This beautiful Santa Claus is what we ended up bringing home, for the amazing price of ten pounds!

The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.

23 November 2018

Memorable fitness fads from the past decades

There is always some sort of weird fitness fad taking the nation by storm. Can you recall these four strange fitness crazes — or have you got involved in any of them while working out?

What do you think of barefoot jogging?
In the early 2010s, a group of runners began to wear a form of running ‘sock’ as opposed to their running shoes. Those who supported the fitness fad said that running in trainers or running shoes can make you more prone to injury, as it encourages running with unnatural form. It’s also said that running barefoot strengthens the tiny muscles found in feet, ankles and legs which can also reduce the risk of injury.

Although barefoot jogging isn’t as popular as it once was, it does still have a few supporters. Experts have said that switching to barefoot running without properly transitioning makes you prone to injuries though. Therefore, only try this one if you’re willing to practise walking barefoot before running. 

What do you think of hot barre?
Like many fitness fads that become popular, hot barre started in New York and Los Angeles. This craze involves doing classical ballet moves in a room heated to 40 degrees, and it took off around 2015. Advocates of the fad say that hot barre encourages you to gain a deeper stretch while helping you release toxins and feel detoxed. Then, as the body has to work hard to cool itself down, you can expect your metabolism to boost and number of burnt calories to increase.

Although hot barre isn’t as big as it once was, there are some derivatives of the exercise such as hot yoga. This is where classic mindfulness movements are performed in a heated pod — a guaranteed sweat stimulator whilst acting as a way to ease back pain.  

What do you think of plogging?
This exercise is something that has only became popular this year. However, some people haven’t looked back since. It’s a Scandinavian-based trend that encourages people to pick up litter while out running — improving health and the environment.

Where did the word come from? ‘Plogging’ is a mixture of the word jogging and ‘plocka upp’ — a Swedish phrase which translates into English as pick up. The exercise part comes from running with intermittent squatting and lunging so you can pick up rubbish from the ground. It is an effective calorie burner too — fitness app Lifesum estimates that a typical user will burn 288 calories from 30 minutes of plogging.

Looking to get plogging inspired? Check out your social media feeds. Head to Facebook or Instagram and don’t be surprised to see images of people in running gear with plastic bags ready to fill with litter. Could we see this trend become widespread sometime soon?

What do you think of high-heel workouts?
It might surprise you but wearing high heels when doing a workout has been found to offer a variety of benefits. Research has suggested that even walking in high-heels (below three inches) can shape the calves and improve muscle tone and shape.

Why not slip on some heels during your next workout? It is likely you’ll begin to see your balance get better. It hasn’t been fully determined whether wearing high heels for a workout can result in weight loss, but it can help you learn how to walk better in them.

As 2019 approaches, we have to wonder just what next year’s strangest yet popular fitness trend will be…

*Collaborative piece 

19 November 2018

AD - Let's Talk About Tattoos

I was counting up the other day and I worked out that I have 10 tattoos dotted around my body.  Everyone chooses an tattoo for one reason or another whether it be purely on impulse, something that means to them or just because they have found a decision that they love.

The first 3 tattoos I got were in my early twenties.  Sold by a shop that proclaimed that they would only last 3-5 years, I ended up with a few Chinese symbols and a design around my belly button.  15 years later, a little faded but yes, still there.

I don't mind them given their placement and lack of visibility, but if I had the option to make them disappear with ease, I probably would.

A few years older and hopefully wiser, I was a little more careful with my design choices and placement.  My stars on my left foot (see above), a little butterfly on my wrist which reminded me of my confidence transformation; birds in flight on my other wrist to remind me to always move forward; a commemorative symbol on my ankle for my dad and step dad.

Then, I made another mistake.  Thankfully, hidden behind my hair 99% of the time, so no one normally sees my tattoo mistake.

Tacky, isn't it?

I have thought a few times over the years about laser tattoo removal and for something like that, you want to go to the best.  Somewhere that is very professional, recommended and of course, does an incredible job.  I came across Pulse Light Clinic London during my research and was impressed with their client recommendations and the effort that they put in to show you the process, and the expected results.  

Operating since 1991, Pulse Light offer three different tattoo removal lasers - Q-Switch Rev Light, PicoSure and PicoWay.  All skin colours and all tattoo colours can be worked and even tattoos that other clinics have tried and failed to remove can be dealt with.

I worked out that one of my tattoos to remove, sized at around 2x2 inches would cost around £270.00 which for something that effectively safely removes a tattoo from your body is good value.  They also offer interest free credit on all of their packages and also offer a free consultation so that they can assess your tattoo, give you a price estimation and how many sessions you would need.

This is something that I will definately be thinking more about doing with 1 or 2 of my unwanted tattoos.  Thankfully the unwanted tattoos are hidden from the visible eye when wearing clothes or covered by hair, but you yourself always know that they are there.

Do you have any unwanted tattoos?

13 November 2018

How To Cut Down On Your Car Budget

Whether it is needed your daily commute, ferrying the children around to various schools and activities or just for day to day life, a car has become a necessity to 21st century living.  

It does not matter if you live in the suburbs or in the city, a car is a convenience that wins over public transport every time in terms of convenience and speed to destination.  My journey to work for example takes 10 minutes by car, 30 by bus.

I am currently getting back into the car market after a long spell of public transport and I cannot wait to get behind the wheel again.  That said, I am conscious of the costs that come with buying, maintaining and fueling a car so I have been looking around for some tips to help bring down the costs.

Buy Used

If you are looking to be economical and don't want a car that costs the earth, the best thing to do is buy a used car.  I am in the process of looking at second hand cars in Brighton to find a car at an affordable price.

With buying second car, your choices also open up much more and you are more likely to be able to afford a model that you could not afford new, but a version just a few years older that you will love just as much.

Find a Reliable Garage

Whilst in the process of looking for a car, I am also getting advice and tips from friends and family in my locality for a great and reliable garage.  Maintaining your car, making sure that it is serviced regularly and properly (without it having to cost the earth) is one way to keep costs down.

You want to find somewhere that has been recommended by at least three other regular users and look out for comments on pricing etc.

Save on Fuel

Aside from insurance and maintenance, one regular expense for your vehicle is petrol.  There are many ways that you can save money in this area just by following a few of the below tips:

  • Slow down - did you know that accordingly to AA research, dropping just 10 miles an hour on speed on the motorway can save you up to 25% in the cost of your fuel?
  • Reduce the weight - do you need all the stuff in the boot of your car?  Do actually use that luggage rack on top?  If the answer is no, get rid of it.
  • Be economical with the air conditioning.
  • Keep an eye on your tyre pressure.
  • Drive a manual car - automatic vehicles reportedly use 10 - 15% more fuel than a manual car.

Cut Down on Unnecessary Trips

How many times have you nipped to the shops, the supermarket or local town to buy something, only to return home and remember something that you forgot to buy?  I do it all the time.

To save making unnecessary journeys, pin a simple shopping list on your fridge and keep adding to it.  When you have 5-10 items on the list, go shopping and TAKE THE LIST WITH YOU!

How do you save money on your car budget?

*Collaborative piece