Category Archives: Home

How to store logs and keep them dry for winter

When we moved into our house in 2011, one of the things I loved the most about it was our open fire. It’s such a cosy feature and we love to sit round it in the winter; we sometimes even toast marshmallows on it. Most of our friends have had log burners or open fires put into their homes, so talking about how to store logs and season them is a surprisingly regular topic of conversation.

Our open fire is a relatively cheap source of heat. We get most of our logs from a gardener friend and all we need to do is season them before they’re put on the fire. Seasoning wood just means you need to dry it out. You don’t need to do anything more exciting to it than chop it up into the size you need, stack it up somewhere to dry out and then leave it for around two years. The amount of time you need to leave it depends on the kind of wood it is, but two years is a decent length of time.

How to store logs and keep them dry for winter

For the last seven years our wood has been stacked up in a small shed which came with the house. About a year ago the roof collapsed and the sides rotted and so it was time for a new place to store logs while they dried. We were keen to get something specifically designed to store logs, something which would allow the air to circulate around the wood and dry it out, whilst looking neat and tidy too.

When you’re buying a log store of your own, it’s important to make sure it has slatted sides and a raised slatted floor to allow the air to flow freely through the log pile. Good dry wood will give you a higher heat output and the wood will leave less tar and residue in your stove or chimney. We get our chimney swept every year and our sweep always compliments us on the lack of tar build up. If you burn wood which isn’t dry enough, the build up of tar could be a fire hazard. The tar could also make your chimney or log burner smoke inside the house, which isn’t great either.

How to store logs and keep them dry for winter

We’ve replaced our rotten old shed with a lovely solidly built log store. It’s from Gardensite and is made in Dorset from Swedish Redwood. The log store is guaranteed against rot for 15 years. We opted for the Melbury log store, it’s a nice classic design which would look unobtrusive in the garden. You can choose to have it delivered ready made, or flat-packed. We chose the flat-pack option and it took less than half an hour to put together.

We’ve put ours in our side yard and it takes up less space than the old shed, but somehow manages to hold more wood. We have given the log store a couple of treatments with creosote; we will make sure to treat it regularly to keep the wood in good condition. I am so pleased with the quality of the log store, we’ve already filled it with logs to dry out for this winter.

How to store logs and keep them dry for winter

Once our wood has been seasoned for at least two years, it is ready to burn. What we do is we have two baskets for wood in the house; one by the fire ready for burning and one in the pantry, so it gets to dry out inside the house a little more before burning. We know this two basket arrangement isn’t really necessary, but it does mean that if it’s raining there is extra wood in the house and no-one needs to get rained on to fill a basket.

How to store logs and keep them dry for winter

  • Stack logs neatly making sure they are raised off the ground a little.
  • Make sure air can flow in and out of your log pile, a log store with slatted sides is ideal for this.
  • Locate your log store in a sheltered spot, somewhere out of the wind and sheltered from the elements a little.
  • Think ahead. You can either buy seasoned or unseasoned wood. If you’re buying unseasoned wood, you will need to store it and season it yourself for a couple of years. Seasoned wood will still need to be stored appropriately to stop it getting too wet again.

If you’ve got a log burner or an open fire, it’s important to put some thought into where and how you will store and season your logs ready for winter. Where do you store your logs and kindling?

How to store logs and keep them dry for winter

Disclosure: We were sent the Melbury log store from Gardensite for inclusion in this blog post. All images and opinions are our own.

Holiday Memories: Vintage Style Cornish Art Posters

I’ve been holidaying in Cornwall since I was a baby. Cornwall has a way of getting under your skin and making you fall in love with it. Whenever I’ve visited Cornwall I’ve always picked up momentoes to remember the wide blue skies, rugged scenery and clean sandy beaches once I get home. One thing I’ve been wanting to bring home for a while has been a vintage style Cornish art poster. Artist John Dyer specialises in these. If you’ve ever visited Cornwall, you will almost certainly have seen his work on display somewhere.

The vintage style Cornish art poster I chose features a print from the well-known and acclaimed Cornish artist Joanne Short. Working with her husband and fellow artist John Dyer, Joanne has spent much of the last 25 or so years travelling around Cornwall and painting the stunning sights that she sees. You can buy their original paintings and prints in The John Dyer Gallery in Cornwall and they have recently launched their new range of affordable vintage style framed art posters.

Holiday Memories: Vintage Style Cornish Art Posters

We visit Cornwall several times a year as a family. Last year we spent a wonderful weekend in Rock as guests of Sharp’s Brewery and Chef, Nathan Outlaw. It was such a special weekend that I wanted something to remember it by. When I spotted this beautiful Vintage Style Seaside Cornish Art Poster by Joanne Short of the Camel Estuary, Rock in Cornwall I had to have it.

This colourful print reminded me so much of that wonderful weekend. I especially liked that it wasn’t the standard Padstow Harbour scene. The print came beautifully framed and looks fabulous in my light, bright kitchen; it really lifts my spirits every time I look at it.

The framed A3 sized print costs just £45 and I’m delighted with it. The white frame really helps the colourful print “pop” out. I love how the pools of water shimmer on the soft sand and how they’re beautifully framed by the elegant flowers in the Cornish hedgerow. Looking at it, you can almost smell the fresh sea air!

Holiday Memories: Vintage Style Cornish Art Posters

I love my Cornish art print so much; I think I’m going to buy a few different prints and make a feature wall of them. That way when I look at them I can remember all the wonderful holidays we’ve had and all the beautiful places we’ve visited.

For more information, or if you want to buy a print of your own visit The John Dyer Gallery’s website.

I was sent this Vintage Style Cornish Art print in return for this review. All images and opinions are our own.

Review: A New Stylish Slate House Number

There are many ways for your home to make a great first impression; an attractive front door, pots of flowers, a neatly swept path and an easy to read and stylish house number or nameplate.

Since moving to our home seven years ago, we’ve been slowly changing things to how we want them to be. The house has just been freshly painted throughout; the avocado downstairs loo is still on the to do list and this week, we finally put up a slate house number. We’ve been numberless since we moved in, visitors have for seven years been counting down the houses to find us. But the days of receiving texts saying “I can’t find your house” are hopefully now over.

Giveaway & Review: A New Stylish Slate House Number

We ordered our slate house number from The House Name Plate Company. They have been handcrafting house signs and numbers for over 30 years from their workshop in North Wales. I love a slate house number, we had one in our old house and we’ve been meaning to get a new one made up for years.

They have a huge range of signs, and numbers; available in many different colours and in materials such as natural slate, cast brass and aluminium, hand fired ceramic, solid granite and contemporary acrylic. It’s so easy to order; just choose your preferred sign or number style and use the online sign builder to preview and order your own house sign or number.

My sign arrived within a couple of days and was well packaged. We’d chosen a smooth slate and needed two digits engraving onto it. It cost just £20.99 plus £3 postage and packing. The slate came with all the fixings too, so all we needed was a drill with a masonry bit and ten minutes to put it up.

It looks so smart now and really finishes off the front of the house. Even the postman has said very complimentary things about it. I have no idea why it took us seven years to order and put up our house number plate!

To see the full range of house number and name plates, visit The House Name Plate Company website.

Giveaway & Review: A New Stylish Slate House Number

Disclosure: I was sent a slate house number in exchange for this review. All images and opinions are my own.

Review: Fantastic Services – professional cleaning

We’ve been without a cleaner for well over a year now. We’ve haphazardly tried to tackle this much hated chore by ourselves, but for some months now I’ve shuffled around the house trying not to look too carefully at the dusty corners and the dirty marks on the walls. A couple of times a year we like to properly blitz the place. One of those times is before the Christmas tree goes up. So this week we bit the bullet and booked a three-hour spruce up and scrub of our home from Fantastic Services.

Review: Fantastic Services - professional cleaning

It was ridiculously easy to book cleaning services through the Fantastic Services website. You just enter your details and what you need doing and the website comes up with a quote and a selection of time-slots for you to choose from. It’s as easy as that. If you get stuck there’s a live chat option too.

I have a large lounge and big kitchen to clean, as well as bedrooms and bathrooms, so I opted to have two cleaners come for a three-hour slot to properly blitz the place. This costs £78 but for a big deep clean it was really worth it.

I had a tidy up a declutter before the cleaners arrived. Having a seven-year old means my house often resembles a toy assault course, so I think it’s only polite to have a tidy up. There was no need for me to leave out any cleaning products or anything, they brought everything they needed with them.

Review: Fantastic Services - professional cleaning

The cleaners arrived bang on time and they were really lovely. I gave them a tour of the house, outlined what I needed them to do and I just left them to it. I sat working in my office as they cracked on with cleaning my house.

After the three hours were up I went to chat to them and have a look at how they’d got on. Everything I’d asked them to do they had done. They’d even cleaned things I’d stopped noticing; like my kitchen bin and that corner of my bedroom where all the spiders live. I think all cleaners are different and have slightly different things they like to focus on. We were very happy with their work and I think my house looked about 300% better for having them visit.

I think Fantastic Services offer a really easy to use, well priced service. For a one-off clean (which I had) it was £13 per person per hour. There were no booking fees or extras added on top and they brought their own cleaning products and equipment.

Review: Fantastic Services - professional cleaning

Fantastic Services offer a wide range of services including regular and one-off cleans; gardening and landscaping; pest control and handyman services. They’ll even get you a Christmas tree and decorate it for you! They’re really easy to book and pay for online. The cleaners they sent me were very professional and did a great job. I’ll be booking them again!

Here’s a FANTASTIC Discount Code for you to use! Use the code “HodgePodge10” to get £10 off your first booking. Does not apply to regular domestic cleaning and Christmas services. Cannot be combined with other deals and promotions. Min charges apply. Subject to availability and area coverage.

We received a complimentary clean from Fantastic Services in return for an honest review. All images and opinions are our own.

Pretty prints and greeting cards from Shepherd Illustration

Shepherd Illustration specialise in wildlife illustration, art prints, screen print tees and greeting cards. They have a pretty, quirky, contemporary and unique style which is pleasing to the eye and looks great in any home. It’s always nice to send cards and gifts which you know are pretty unique and special. Something not mass produced and something which a small artist has produced and developed with care. This week I’ve been looking at the beautiful cards and gifts on Etsy made by Shepherd Illustration.

Shepherd Illustration is owned by Lauren Shepherd who is a motion graphics designer and illustrator based in Newcastle-Upon-Tyne. Her illustrations are predominately drawn in black fine liner pen with some gold detail. Most of her illustrations are of wildlife and wildflowers with others featuring anatomical drawings of parts of the body.

Pretty prints and greeting cards from Shepherd Illustration

I was very taken by this goose print. The three geese tied together reminded me of our three-person family and I have plans to frame it nicely and have it on the wall of my office at home. The description on her Etsy store does suggest that this print would be great on a nursery wall, especially if your family of two has recently become three and I quite agree.

I like both the simplicity and the detail of this A5 print which has been printed on high quality 300gsm recycled white card and individually signed and numbered. This print costs just £7.50 and would make a lovely gift for a new baby.

Pretty prints and greeting cards from Shepherd Illustration

This cuddly baby sloth is really detailed, even down to his claws. This would make a lovely gift for a first wedding anniversary (which is paper). This sloth print is also available as a greeting card. 

I love giraffes and I was pleased to find the giraffe greeting card in my illustration package. Again the detail is stunning, even down to the little gold heart on the neck of the giraffe. 

Lauren Shepherd describes herself as a “dachshund mom” so it’s not surprising that they do feature in some of her illustrations. Again these are drawn in black fine liner pen with accent details highlighted in gold.

Pretty prints and greeting cards from Shepherd Illustration

The greeting cards from Shepherd Illustration are priced at just £2.50. I always think that if you’re sending a card then it’s worth sending a good quality one. I often keep good cards I receive and keep them on my desk because they make me smile. These are the kind of cards which will make me smile. 

Shepherd Illustration have a good range of art prints, screen print tees and greeting cards available in their Etsy store and on their website. Something for all occasions, from new baby, birthdays and bereavement, all in their unique, understated style.

Note: Shepherd Illustration sent us these prints and greeting cards for review purposes. All images and opinions are our own.

Win a Vintage Oval Pocket Watch Style Wall Clock from Windsor Browne

Vintage furniture experts, Windsor Browne have recently re-launched their website, making it easier than ever to find furnishings and accessories to suit your own vintage and antique, rustic and urban style.

Yorkshire based Windsor Browne was a business which grew from a personal love of all things vintage and antique, rustic and urban especially the industrial chic look and the warm lavish highland ‘gentleman’s club’ style.

Win a Vintage Oval Pocket Watch Style Wall Clock from Windsor Browne

Windsor Browne was born in 2012, but their story doesn’t begin there. They’ve been successfully selling stylish furniture and accessories for over 10 years, though they’re gone through several incarnations in that time. Windsor Browne was once part of their sister company Melody Maison,which sells French vintage furniture and accessories. Windsor Browne quickly became a successful business in its own right, and is now one of the leading on-line home furnishing retailers in the UK.

With furniture and accessories sourced from around the world, Windsor Browne have a stunning range of clocks, small and large mirrors, hooks, stags heads, Leather pieces, Tartan pieces, rustic furniture and interior accessories all in their own distinct, unique and quirky style.

Their new website is full of gorgeous new furniture and accessories for your home. With a few key pieces it’s easy to change the look and feel of your home. A new mirror or a clock is a great way to set the tone and you can accessorise around that. 

Win a Vintage Oval Pocket Watch Style Wall Clock from Windsor Browne

I’ve very much fallen for the Vintage Oval Pocket Watch Style Wall Clock on the Windsor Browne website. It’s a real statement piece, a beautiful clock with a touch of rustic French charm, with distressed clock face that gives it an aged look. It is finished in antique cream with roman numerals and measures 47cm x 40.5cm x 5cm (width x height x depth). The Vintage Oval Pocket Watch Style Wall Clock is available for £36.95 and I love it.

Visit the Windsor Browne website to see their full range of vintage and antique, rustic and urban style furniture and accessories.

Win a Vintage Oval Pocket Watch Style Wall Clock from Windsor Browne

To be in with a chance to win a Vintage Oval Pocket Watch Style Wall Clock from Windsor Browne (pictured above), simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will receive a Vintage Oval Pocket Watch Style Wall Clock from Windsor Browne (as pictured).
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 7th May 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.

Making a style statement with your composite front door

First impressions are everything. A smart and stylish front door is a great way for you and your home to make a statement. When we moved to our current home six years ago I wanted a front door with a bit of flair. Having moved from an estate where everyone had virtually identical white uPVC front doors, I was determined to make a more stylish statement about my new home.

Of course, there’s a reason why uPVC doors are so popular. They are considered to be more secure, well-insulated and hard-wearing. These days modern composite doors have been engineered to have all of the positives of a uPVC door, but with a sense of style most white plastic doors lack. Plus they’re available in a range of finishes and styles to suit all tastes.

If you’ve never heard of a composite door before, they have solid timber cores and are fitted with multi-point locking systems. Composite doors are designed to easily fend off even the most determined intruders. Hard-wearing and thermally insulated; a composite front door has the practicality you need in a secure front door, but with an individuality you can enjoy.

Making a style statement with your composite front door

It makes me happy to walk down my path towards my lovely solid bright blue front door; knowing that behind it is the secure oasis of my home. My front door looks pretty unique and it gets a lot of compliments. You certainly can’t miss it. 

People think a front door is just a door, but it can say a lot about the individuals who live in the house behind it. The colour, the style and the door furniture can tell you so much. This article in House Beautiful – what your front door says about you makes for quite fun reading.

Of course, choosing a style and colour for your front door might not just be a case of personal taste. You might be wise to consider feng shui when selecting a new door. Which direction does your house face? This article could help you to select the most auspicious colour for your new composite front door, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Whatever you decide in terms of colour, style, finish and furniture for your front door; safety and security come first. Choosing a modern composite front door over a generic uPVC one will help your home stand out from the crowd.

This is a collaborative post.

Making the most of natural light with aluminium roof lanterns

Until I had a family of my own I didn’t appreciate just how much room kids take up, with their toys and games and general bouncing around. It’s nice to have a space just for the grown-ups. In my Grandma’s time, her house would have a parlour reserved for visiting adults which was absolutely child free. These days many family homes have a well turned out conservatory for grown-ups to enjoy some clutter free quiet time.

Of course conservatories have a whole range of different uses. Most people build them for the extra space and to take advantage of natural light. Natural light is so important. It can be a great mood booster and can help reduce the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder (known as SAD). I often walk into the sunny atrium of a large public building and feel uplifted, purely because of the light. But how can we bring that uplifting feeling into our own homes?

Installing aluminium roof lanterns in our homes is one way to maximise the natural light levels in your new or existing conservatory, kitchen or flat roof extension. Aluminium roof lanterns are made to measure and are available in standard white finish or a wide range of colours and finishes.  

Making the most of natural light with aluminium roof lanterns

From the inside the roof looks like a solid glass panelled roof. The glass panels help the conservatory to retain heat and this means that you can use your conservatory or extension all year round. 

Dark homes can feel a little oppressive. I love these ten ideas to bring light into your home. Trimming down trees, cleaning your windows and having lots of light reflective surfaces can really make a difference. 

If you’re building an extension, or you need to replace the roof of your existing conservatory or extension; aluminium roof lanterns are beautiful, modern, efficient and stylish option. I adore the idea of a light filled room we can use year round. Somewhere to relax with friends, a quiet space to read; or a vibrant colourful family room where we can enjoy meals, crafts and games. A conservatory or extension can add so much to your home and is a great investment, it makes sense to maximise the natural daylight in your home by installing aluminium roof lanterns.

= This is a collaborative post =

Interiors: Melody Maison – Shabby Chic furniture & accessories

Like many people, spring is the time I tend to look around my home with fresh eyes and start to think about re-decorating, decluttering and re-organising things. It’s also a great time to really ring the changes and invest in new furniture or accessories. In recent years, vintage and shabby chic furniture has been one of the key home interiors looks. Specialists in vintage, French and shabby chic furniture, Melody Maison are one of the leading companies specialising in this style. I’ve been finding out a little more about them.

Melody Maison was started in 2004 a small spare bedroom in Yorkshire. The company grew into a leading retailer of shabby French Chic and vintage style home furnishings.

Vintage & Shabby Chic Furniture from Melody Maison PLUS Giveaway

Melody Maison is a real family business, with cousins, brothers, aunties and daughters all working together. They pride themselves on exceptional customer service, with everyone striving to provide the very best service every step of the way.

They design, manufacture and distribute French style furniture all over the world. Their range of furniture is either designed by and made exclusively for Melody Maison, or sourced from selected suppliers. 

“French style” can mean so many things in interior design. From the understated pale aged shabby chic look, to the ornate and grand rococo style, to boudoir style chic using jewelled colours paired with gold. French style furniture is rarely modern in design. Vintage and shabby chic styles are full of character and can give your home a bespoke one-of-a-kind look.

Their website is full of so many gorgeous pieces of furniture and accessories for every room in your home, including clocks, lights and mirrors. I’ve quite fallen for this White Wooden Window Pane Mirror which I think would look fantastic in a conservatory, or in a sheltered spot in the garden perhaps.

Vintage & Shabby Chic Furniture from Melody Maison

This Window Pane Mirror is made from wood to look like a rectangular window with 2 sides and panes of mirror where glass would be.  It is painted white with a washed finish to look aged, and it can be wall mounted. Its dimensions are 49cm wide x 58cm tall.

Visit the Melody Maison website to see their full range of vintage and shabby chic furniture and accessories.

Home Fragrances from Quinn Lilly PLUS Win a Reed Diffuser

Like many people I love to have scented candles around the house. I like different fragrances at different times of the year. Right now I’m all about fresh zesty scents to liven up my home. Now I’m a parent I try not to have lit candles around my son, so candles are reserved for after his bedtime.

A few years ago I discovered reed diffusers, which are ideal if you enjoy home fragrances, but without the worry of burning a candle around children or pets (or if like me, you forget and accidentally leave it burning all night long). I always have at least one in the house these days. I’ve recently been introduced to Quinn Lilly, a luxury home fragrance brand based in Scotland. They specialise in reed diffusers, glass candle jars, travel tins, fragrance oils and car air fresheners.

Quinn Lilly started making candles and other home fragrances in 2015. They work to create high quality soy wax candles and other natural fragrances which are sourced from different parts of the world. They strive to ensure their products are environmentally friendly and use combinations of natural soy wax and oils to try to create cleaner products. Soy wax is free from pesticides and herbicides, which make the wax eco friendly and cleaner for the environment and your home too.

They have four signature fragrance collections to choose from – Grapefruit & Mimosa, Lavender & Rosemary, Lime Basil & Mandarin and Pomegranate. Plus a range of other fragrance products available. 

Home Fragrances from Quinn Lilly PLUS Win a Reed Diffuser

Quinn Lilly’s luxury reed diffusers last for around three months and cost just £12.99. They’re stylish, elegant and are ideal for discrete fragrancing in any room of your home. With a range of beautiful fragrances available, which would you choose?

To view the full range of Quinn Lilly candles, reed diffusers and other home fragrance products, visit their website

Win a Quinn Lilly Reed Diffuser rrp £12.99

To be in with a chance to win a Quinn Lilly Reed Diffuser (RRP £12.99), simply complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

Check out our other giveaways over on our competitions page.

 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms & Conditions:
1. The competition is open to residents of the UK only aged (18) and over.
2. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
3. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter widget above, complete any mandatory entries and any optional entries you would like.
4. The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
5. The winner will receive a Quinn Lilly Reed Diffuser (RRP £12.99).
6. The closing date for entries is 11.59pm GMT on 23rd April 2017.
7. The winner will be informed by email within 7 days of the closing date.
8. The winner will be asked to provide a full UK postal address with postcode for delivery purposes.
9. The winners name will be available on request
10. Address details will be passed onto an agency to post the prize out to the winner, and is therefore beyond my control. I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post although I will endeavour to liaise with the agency.
11. Your email address may be passed on to to the promoter for marketing purposes, you may unsubscribe at any time.
12. Entry to this giveaway confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.
13. HodgePodgeDays decision is final in all matters relating to this giveaway.