Nearly had you didn’t I? You thought I was going to go on about Christmas again but I am not. I am here to talk to you about kitchens and my long awaited dream of an open plan kitchen.

We moved into this house in 2011 June and my one and only stipulation with the husband was I would be allowed to change the kitchen around as I wasn’t happy with the current set out. He agreed and we moved in.

When we had the cash ready I was faced with a decision – wedding or new kitchen? I went for the wedding and we had a beautiful day I shall treasure for the rest of my life, however the kitchen was once again on the back burner.

The next time we had some cash available husband said it was his turn to pick and he chose a new caravan and a change of car. I was happy to go along with it as we love the time spent in our caravan and it’s so much nicer than our first one. I’ve just realised I have yet to blog about our new one!

I have been very clear that the next investment our family makes will be my dream kitchen, the one I have longed for since moving in.

I have been collecting ideas on and off on my Pinterest board

Follow Marianne’s board Kitchen love on Pinterest.

and as you can see the theme is white, bright and airy with a hint of pale blue and maybe just a touch of red or pink.

Here’s how I visualise my dream white kitchen

Colour scheme

White cupboards, tiled walls and work surfaces. Our house is quite a dark house and once the days shorten the light in here is really quite shady. White is great at bouncing the light around a room and also it works with anything.

For the tiled splashback running along the work surfaces, I love the oblong white tiles like those that can be found in old tube stations. I also love exposed brick but don’t think my bricks will be pretty enough to expose.

Currently I have a dark work surface and it’s rubbish for taking food photography photos, it’s really apparent that a lot of my decisions are coming from the problems I face when trying to take good photos for my blog.

The fun bit comes with injecting colour into the place and I want to go for lots of bright and beautiful colours. I love yellows and oranges, pinks and pale blues. I will see what I fancy once I am at that point and have a lot of fun.

Materials

Wood, aluminium, and ceramic tiles. I think a kitchen is a hive of activity and needs to be easy to clean above anything else, then beautiful to look at and then next up is practical. A white matt cupboard door will be fine for me rather than the gloss option we currently have. I’d like to break up the monotony with aluminium and light coloured wood.

Floor

Easy to clean is my number one factor when looking at floors and because of that tiles are the safest choice. I like the idea of a black floor but as it will run into the adjoining living room and off into the dining room I feel that might be too dark. I’m going to hold my tongue on this one until I’ve had time to research properly however I did see floors made out of pennies on Pinterest! Not that I’ll be doing that, can you imagine the time it would take?

Windows

The whole idea of moving the kitchen from its current position is because I’d like sliding patio doors out into the garden. the other window along the worktop I want to dress with a blind and I’d love to find one with chickens on or a fun talking point that also adds colour.

Storage

Massively important to me as I have a habit of collecting kitchen ‘stuff’. I have four types of plates now, serving dishes and plates, jugs, teapots and all manner of kitchen ‘stuff’ So i will be looking in to storing it all away nicely. I also want to make a utility section, maybe separated by a wall where the dishwasher and washing machine can be homed along with other cleaning equipment.

Appliances

Having ordered an oven a while back to fit the space left by the previous owners I now know I don’t want one that big any longer. It’s a menace to clean and uses too much electricity. I’d like to order a unit that fits into a cupboard, high up at waist level for easy use. I’ll definitely be fitting my Panasonic Combination Oven in which is a favourite.

I’d love a huge American style fridge and a much bigger freezer.

Dishwasher, washing machine and I would love a tumble dryer if there was space for it.

My Panasonic breadmaker, and my SAGE slowcooker, a Kenwood mixer, a SAGE ice cream maker. My Cuisinart food processor and a SAGE Boss would all be on my wishlist.

Sigh, so that is my dream kitchen folks, maybe another three years and it’ll be mine in the meantime I keep on dreaming and checking out the TSB loan calculator to see if I can hurry things along a bit.

Disclosure: This post is in collaboration  with TSB

Hive kit

It’s been a couple of weeks now that we have had our Hive Active Heating System set installed and we like it. It has opened up a whole new world of possibilities for us. Like turning the heating on without moving from the sofa.

We can decide what time our heating comes on and goes off and what time our hot water comes on and off. We can run both separately. This means I don’t have to heat up an entire tank of water just because I have the heating on.

Installation

It was so simple to organise, a couple of emails, I chose a date, mentioned I had the school run so the engineer would be aware I was momentarily out at certain times and then received an email confirming day and time.

There was no mess at all and I was able to carry on all my normal housekeeping activities, like washing machines, dishwashers and so on whilst the British Gas engineer installed our Hive.

He removed the old clock in the airing cupboard which had the tiny teeth which you clicked in and out to show what time you wanted the heating and hot water to come on. He replaced it with the Hive Receiver, he did lots of tests with a laptop and I made him a nice cup of tea.

He left me with a Thermostat Kit, currently sitting on the mantelpiece waiting for a fixed position, and a hub attached to the router. His job was done in less than an hour and he left having explained very thoroughly what to do, which was simple to understand and didn’t take long at all.

Programming

I had to login to Hive and create my account and then go into My Account where I could slide markers to show what time I wanted the heating to come on. I could alter the temperature that I wanted the room to be and I could see clearly what temperature my home was indicating at that moment.

Hive heating schedule

There are two sections, first for the heating and secondly for the hot water, both can be controlled separately. This is great as I am no longer heating up a huge tank of water just because the heating has come on.

Hive hot water schedule

You can also find your temperature history which is really interesting for an overall idea of how you are heating your home and indicates where you may be able to cut back a bit and therefore save money.

All the pros

Hive info

Firstly to have Hive installed I did not need to change my supplier which is a headache in itself. There were also no extra or hidden costs for me as I am not a British Gas customer.

I read on the website that I can save up to £150 a year and we are hoping to achieve this by being more selective with our usage.

Control your heating from your mobile

Possibly the most exciting innovation that is part of Hive is an app which downloaded onto your phone (iPhone or android) allows you to control your heating wherever you may be via your router. Amazing!

The app offers exactly the same controls of deciding the temperature, times and periods for both your hot water and your heating. This will come in very handy on our return from holidays or weekends away when we want to warm the house up or maybe we’ve forgotten to turn off the heating and can do so whilst on our journey.

It also allows me to turn the heating on a bit if I am feeling chilly of an evening without arguing with the husband, actually he doesn’t even realise I have done it.

Hive temperature history

Frost

One last thing to mention is if the house does get cold there is a control called Frost Protection set at 5C. If your home goes below that temperature the heating will come on to prevent any iced pipes.

Verdict

We love it, it’s been very simple to use; on cold days I have changed times on my laptop to raise the temperature in my home on a recent warm day I have delayed the heating coming on. Come the Spring this will be very useful indeed as the weather is all over the place.

Disclosure: Legal & General provided me with a complimentary installation of the Hive system for the purpose of this post. If you are interested it costs £199 including the installation, please find more details on Hive website

Marie Kondo The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

OMG. I am a changed woman, well maybe not quite but I am on the way to being one.

I had seen some noise around the internets about tidying up and magical methods. Pfft! I said, what a load of rubbish, then I saw the words Life Changing method. I delved a bit deeper, read some reviews and articles and bought Marie Kondo’s book, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. I read it cover to cover in 2/3 evenings and I folded back pages on bits I wanted to return to.

William Morris quote

 

This lady from Japan started her research at the tender age of 5 and hasn’t stopped tidying since. Anyway, I’ll let you discover her words in her book as it really is a pleasure to read and I was itching to start before I was half way through but waited until the weekend as step 1 is clothes and I have way too much stuff.

Step 1 – Clothes

Marie Kondo The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

She advises you to get every garment you own and put it in a pile in the middle of the room. EVERYTHING. This is to make you realise just how much crap you own and see that you really do not need it all.

She has a breakdown list too but as I had just cleared everything out onto the bed I had to start at the top of the pile and work my way through it.

‘Take each garment in your hands and ask yourself “Does it give me joy?” If it doesn’t eliminate it.’

This was so surprisingly easy, some items I needn’t even ask myself but just threw them on my ever growing discard pile. Others I held on to, reluctant to let go.

Some of the more difficult items made their way back into my wardrobe, including one dress I haven’t worn for over 15 years but still can’t bear to part with.

Marie Kondo The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Marie says to ‘thank’ items that have served you well but is time to let them go. I DID find myself doing this. A part of me wanted to hold on to the beloved piece but the Marie Kondo in me knew better and I said my goodbye. That may sound really weird but try it and you’ll see for yourself.

Marie Kondo The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Marie does warn that you may make mistakes, throw something you later regret, only time will tell. I have got rid of dresses, jumpers and other bits that I later regretted but the regret doesn’t last that long and it’s certainly not so bad I can’t forgive myself. After all everyone likes shopping right?

Marie Kondo The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I am so excited about my newly found method that I have stopped everything to sit down and tell you about it.

I have SIX bin liners of clothes and shoes to give to charity and I still need to tackle underwear, hats, scarves, belts and gloves.

Marie Kondo The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up

Step 2 is books and that is making me sweat just thinking about them

ronnie-blogger

We may not be living like The Jetsons just yet, but our homes are becoming increasingly dependent on new technology.

However, while the ability to control almost everything from your mobile phone and 3D mega televisions is all great, first and foremost, a home should be somewhere warm, safe and comforting, which is why Everest Triple Glazing is a great addition to the modern home.

everest

 

I am really excited to give you the chance to win £150 worth of high street vouchers all you need to do is answer this question:

“What one gadget would you love to have in your home that hasn’t been invented yet?”

Every answer will automatically be entered for a chance to win this great prize!  But you must answer via the Rafflecopter below to be eligible.

For me I need a robot that can sort out all my tech computer stuff, right now my laptop is full to the max and because of that I can’t make videos or do other things I need to do for work. Because I am lost when it comes to understanding computers and making available space on them I want a robot who will sort it all out for me, if he can also do my accounts that would be a bonus too!

Hey Ronnie the Robot – can you help me out?

Your turn, answer the question above to be in with a chance of winning £150 and don’t forget the extra entries too for Facebook and Twitter (answering the question is the only mandatory form of entry)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

Terms and Conditions

There is 1 prize of £150 John Lewis vouchers. The prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered
Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of Mari’s World and Everest Home Improvements
Closing date for entries is 10.12.2014 midday
One entry per person.
Entrants must log into rafflecopter and leave a comment.
Optional entry methods are to follow on Twitter and Facebook
The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen.
The winner’s name will be available on request.
Everest Home Improvements is responsible for prize fulfilment. The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address

 

everest

This competition is brought to you by Everest Home Improvements. Visit their website now to find out more about Everest Triple Glazing and many other products. 

 

Talliston houe room of dreams

How can you make your home feel fresh and current, and how can you achieve this with fairly minimal fuss. It’s important to remember that having a contemporary interior doesn’t just mean following the latest trends in colour and accessories, but is also about using everything from space to personality. Below are some handy tips on how you can modernise your home.

Outdoor Living

With the indoors becoming almost one with outdoor living, there is no better way to modernise your whole home than by sprucing up the exterior. Furniture and homewares retailers like Super Amart are perfectly primed to help you modernise your home using outdoor furniture and accessories, and can provide some much needed inspiration if you don’t know where to start. Make sure to include a link between the two areas though. For example, have a couple of pot plants inside, and include colours outdoors that are also present in the interior.

Clean and Crisp

Clean sharp lines have a very contemporary or modern appeal, and could be the direction you need when trying to modernise your home. The best way to achieve this is to remove all unnecessary elements in the room and keep each surface to the bare minimum. Boxing in trinkets, frames and books with shelving is an ideal tip, as it will help to define and tidy the space. Try to keep large furniture dressings to a minimum too, such as cushions and blankets, and don’t clutter your walls with too many pictures. Metals and glass surfaces also provide a very clean finish.

HomeSense owl cushion

Colour it Up

Nothing says modern like a new colour palette. The great thing about design trends at the moment is that it’s all about showing off splashes of colour or neon brights against a blank backdrop. If your walls are already neutral then you’ve taken the first step! If not, a coat of white paint will instantly freshen up the interior and bring your home into the current century. This will make it much simpler to pick some colours and features you love, and then tie them in through a range of accessories.

Feature Looks

Create a feature or focal area of the home to draw in people’s attention, and then keep the rest of the space minimal. You can have a lot of fun with this approach as you have the opportunity to really showcase your personality. A quirky lamp or statement rug will catch the eye, and for the art lovers, try dedicating a single wall to a colourful, dynamic piece that shows a lot of edge. Lighting is also another easy way to create modern appeal in your home. Change the bulbs to bright/natural whites rather than the yellow glow, and replace the fittings with a glass drop light or an oversized sculptural covering.

Modern can have a variety of meanings depending on the person applying them, so not every tip out there works for every person. The best thing to do is gather pictures you love and colours that define you, then apply them using the basic guidelines of minimal, fresh and clean.

Where is the least modern area in your home, and what do you feel are the elements that make it so outdated? Discuss your answers below.