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.


Vileda hot spray

Cleaning floors – another of life’s tasks classed as Not fun But Necessary. Fact is they need doing and quite frequently too especially in the winter when the roads and pavements outside are wet as no matter how hard you try some of the muck reaches indoors.

We have a porch so that tends to be really mucky at the best of times which is good on one hand as the hallway is relatively clear but on the other hand it’s where a visitor sees first and gets an impression of me and my housekeeping skills.

Vileda 100C Hot Spray

I have always been a mop and bucket person and in my hot water I’d add a splash of fragranced detergent and off I’d go wiping back and forth across the dirty tiles until I was convinced it was clean. Hard work, a workout maybe? Both of those and depending on the weather I’d have to change the bucket of water too.

I was interested to review the Vileda 100C Hot Spray to see if it could do the job for me. If it worked it would be the ideal solution, quick, clean and compact enough to tidy away into a cupboard until next use.

Vileda hot spray

Light-weight and cordless

I took the Vileda Hot Spray out of it’s box and it clicked together in three simple movements requiring no screwdrivers or strength to do so. It is amazingly light even with the tank on the body full.

As you fill the tank with a jug of water you know it’s full when a little plastic sign pops up to tell you so. The tank is closed with a twist of the top to lock position and then you plug the cleaner in to charge.

Vileda hot spray

90 seconds to heat up

It only takes 90 seconds to heat the water and a green light shows up to show you’re ready to go. You unplug the cable and clip the cover in place so no water or steam can reach the electrical point and off you go, with no trailing cable.

There is a button on the handle and on pressing that water is squirted out of the bottom of the Vileda Hot Spray onto the cloth which attaches to the bottom in a velcro like manner. Running the Vileda Hot spray back and forth cleans the floor and picks up any hairs or bits on the floor too. It will keep going for 30 minutes cleaning time.

No more chemicals

Due to the high temperature used the Vileda Hot Spray will remove 99.9% of bacteria with its microfibre pad which is machine washable.

Can be used for different hard flooring all over the house including laminate.

RRP £59.99

Vileda hot spray


I like it, it’s light and easy to use plus it cleans well too. The product comes with one microfibre pad but I would like to have some extras handy. I would like to throw my old mop and bucket out but I won’t yet as should there ever be a leak I’ll need it to mop up the water but as far as cleaning floors is concerned the Vileda 100C Hot Spray will be my main man from here on.

Disclosure: I was sent a Vileda 100C Hot Spray for the purpose of this post. All opinions are my own.

Photography props crate

Will you take a look at that gorgeous box? I was Over The Moon when it arrived. It’s got my name on it and not only that, I now have somewhere to put ‘stuff’ in.

I am a grand collector of ‘stuff’ much to husband’s distress. I seem to accumulate stuff upon stuff and each stuff has it’s own use or worse still ‘Might come in handy one day.’ Anyway. I’ve been paying attention to my photography over the past couple of months. I joined in Emma’s Blog Photography course (which was excellent by the way) and as I learnt I gathered I needed props to make a photo look good. Hence the collection of my newest lot of stuff – photography props.

Husband gets a bit stabby when I leave too many props about the place and I can hear him huffing and puffing around the place, muttering under his breath and shoving my stuff here and there threatening to ‘sling it all in the bin’.

He also doesn’t get it.

When I came back grinning from ear to ear from a local DIY store with lots of strips of wallpaper he visibly panicked, ‘I didn’t know we were decorating?’ the blood draining from his face at the prospect of wallpapering. When I calmed him down by saying, nothing dear these are backdrops for my food photography…well he looked at me as if I had completely lost the plot. But how do you explain backdrops when you’re only just learning yourself to someone who is not interested in photography?

Sid Lid

I want to show you another of my little gems I have received recently, meet Sid Lid.

Sid Lid is a cute guy who keeps my pan open just a tad whilst it’s bubbling away, this means I can boil and bubble without all the water coming out of the pan (lid on and it gets too hot) or no bubble whatsoever (cannot reach boiling point and is a very unenthusiastic simmer).

Sid Lid isn’t personalised but I forgive him for that, I can’t compete with such a great name.

If you’re looking for gorgeous gift ideas especially personalised ones take a look at Getting Personal for lots of fun and gorgeous ideas.

Disclosure: Getting Personal sent me through the above gifts for the purpose of this post. I chose them and I love them.

Yay! The new sofa has arrived and the twins are trying out the reclining seats ???? we’re ready for half term now.

A photo posted by Marianne Weekes (@marisworldblog) on

We’re ever so excited in Mari’s World as we have bought a brand new sofa. We made the most of the Blue Cross sales around and selected a corner sofa with reclining seats, ohhhhh! Check us out!

The fact is our old sofa Dad had brought brand new 17 years ago in his bachelor days and well time had taken it’s toll, the girls had left plenty of marks and the material was wearing thin in places. And well, you know, it didn’t look nice. It was dated.

BUT in it’s favour it was very comfortable with a good head rest which dad had stipulated was a must when we were searching for a new one.

Anyway it was only last weekend we visited our local furniture store to take a look at what was on offer. We took the girls with us and when they discovered how to open the reclining seats there was no stopping them! They tried every sofa in the house.

Dad and I had an argument over a red leather model which he liked and I didn’t at all. I was very firm, I may have scared the shop assistant. After over an hour we finally settled on a leather look brown one. Dad signed his life away with various paperwork that needed completing whilst I hurried the giggly girls out to the Poundland next door.

The sofa could be delivered on Wednesday – it was Saturday and I still had to rid of the old one so we plumped for Friday and I prayed that the British Heart Foundation would be able to pick up before then.

BHF were brilliant, totally on the ball and we arranged for a Thursday collection.

And then their van broke down.

And then on Friday the brand new sofa was delivered.

And then it looked like we had our very own furniture shop but as we sat on our Brand New Sofa with our legs up and the TV on. We smiled at our new purchase remarking how lovely the leather look fabric was. How the girls MUST NOT be allowed in any circumstance to jump on the treasured piece and how good a Samsung 3D TV would work so perfectly in this new ambience.


‘A 3D TV?’

‘Yeah, Tesco had some great offers on.’ Husband takes out the iPad and whilst reclining on his new sofa he starts his next search for a 3D TV.

Smug Mug Mari's World


Recently SmugMug invited me up to London to the Nikon School of Photography for a tutorial on taking photos of children, I was handed a Nikon DSLR and shown how to use the settings which have always baffled me and then take photos of a gorgeous baby girl who was our model for the afternoon. A wicked experience. Not only did I take away with me lots of great tips which I shall share with you (jump to the bottom of this post for 10 ways to take stunning portraits) but I also learnt about SmugMug. Sadly Nikon wanted their camera back but you can’t have it all eh? I’m definitely putting one on my Santa list this year. This was taken during my photo session.

Nikon baby photo shoot

What is SmugMug?

SmugMug is an online photo storage solution but not just that. It is used the world over by professional photographers as a photo sharing website. It allows you to store and share your images securely without stripping any of the details like Facebook and other online photo storage places do. It allows you to present them beautifully and keep all your images safely in their own place in the cloud.

Did you know that you should store your photographs in at least THREE different places?

SmugMug told me all about the 3:2:1 formula (see below) and I realise I am totally in trouble should a hard drive fail me or worse my laptop get stolen. You should have

  • 3 x copies of each image
  • 2 x different forms of storage, ie. hard drive plus 1 other
  • 1 x form of storage offsite like SmugMug for example

If you cherish your family photos or you use photography for your work then you really want to look into storage offsite like SmugMug.

Nikon photography session

What’s the UK Consumer site?

Where SmugMug originally was aimed at professional photographers looking for secure storage and a place where they could share and sell their images, today they have opened their doors to the consumer, ie you and me. What are they offering us?

  1. A fabulous home for our photos that looks like an art gallery. There are dozens of templates to choose form each one completely customisable allowing you to create a beautiful website in just one click.
  2. A safe home for our photos. SmugMug allows you to keep your memories completely private or share them with your loved ones. You choose the level of accessibility and security your photos receive. Both photos and galleries can be password protected and non searchable. You can right click protect, watermark or unlist your photos individually.
  3. An easy to organise home for your photos. It is deigned as a tool to enhance daily workflow and help users better organise their digital lives. The organiser tool allows users to easily access content and photos through their file system.

Smug Mug Mari's World

What are the key benefits?

  • Security and safety of storage
  • High quality of images and videos
  • Customise your site to suit you
  • Use the site professionals use
  • Option to monetise your work as well as buy merchandise and prints
  • Tailor the package to suit your needs choosing from four different products at different prices.

How private and secure is the service?

Privacy controls: SmugMug enables you to keep your images and videos completely private. You choose the level of accessibility and security, your site and galleries can be password protected, non searchable, have right button protection and watermarking.

Storage: The site allows you to keep your images safe from an unreliable PC, a dropped tablet or a stolen phone as your memories are all backed safely with Amazon Web Services, the gold standard in cloud storage.

What is the image quality like?

Images are stored on the site at the resolution that you’ve uploaded, SmugMug does not down res any photos. Photos are stored at a high resolution for ultimate quality. Power and Pro users get unlimited storage for 1080p HD video. You can save in multiple formats, embed them everywhere and replay them in every resolution imaginable.

Nikon baby shoot

What do I like about SmugMug?

  • Prices start from as little as $5 a month
  • There are no storage limits on SmugMug. None.
  • It’s simple to share with family only or publish to Twitter of Facebook or by email.
  • You can choose the privacy you want  for individual galleries or the entire site.
  • You can embed the photos for blogs and forums.
  • You can label your photos by typing in keywords.

Upload from your smartphone or tablet with the SmugMug apps

NIkon baby shoot

Also offered

A very quick email support with friendly human beings available all day, every day, all year round.

Take a look at my SmugMug site – it’s a work in progress but you’ll get the idea. I have set two galleries to public and other family shots to private which I can share with my extended family by password. This project should keep me busy for a while plus I can label all my snaps so if I need a shot of a cake for a post I search cake and voila! They all come up

nikon baby shoot

10 ways to take stunning portraits

  1. Alter your perspective – Change the angle, get up high and shoot down on your subject or get as close to the ground as possible and shoot up.
  2. Play with eye contact – A strong gaze will give a powerful impact and creates a connection between the child and the viewer. The direction of the child’s eyes can give character too. Staring off camera creates a story as hidden from the viewer, If child is looking at something inside the frame it creates a second point of interest.
  3. Look for a full range of emotions – Don’t just take pictures that are sweet, try fascination, tears, passion and even boredom.
  4. Experiment with lighting – Side lighting can create mood, backlighting and silhouetting your child to hide their features can be powerful. window light is very beautiful for taking photos indoors but use a reflector to put light on the shadowed side of your child’s face. Use a large piece of white card.
  5. Move your subject out of their comfort zone – head and shoulder shots are nice but making your child jump or doing something silly with their body might turn out to be surprisingly unique.
  6. Shoot candidly – Posed portraits limit your creativity and block your child to a standard ‘camera’ expression. Take photos when the children are in a space they enjoy, they will be more at ease, reacting naturally. Get them to have fun and be spontaneous. The photos will be full of life.
  7. Use accessories – The child must be the main point of the photo but by adding accessories to the shot like a hat or a pretty piece of fabric creates another point of interest adding enhancement and depth.
  8. Play with background – By choosing a dramatic, colourful or minimalistic background changes the shot a lot. Experiment.
  9. Go with a wide angle – A wide angle lens produces creative and memorable portrait shots. You just need to shoot in a slightly different way.
  10. Share your photos with the right tools – Use SmugMug! with secure photo sharing you can create an online photo album where you can store all of your photographs in a simple, safe and secure place.

Nikon baby session