Saturday, December 3, 2016

How To Design Your Garden As An Extention Of Your Home

As the summer approaches, it’s time that we start to consider the changes we would like to make to our outside spaces. The idea of bringing the inside out is becoming more and more popular as time goes by. It brings comfort and style to the forefront of our exterior designs, and so the garden can act as an additional room in the house. An attractive garden can add a lot to the value of your home, so even if you’re thinking of selling up soon, it’s worth considering how on trend your garden is. These are a few suggestions for how to bring the inside out.

Outdoor Furniture

Gone are the days of tacky plastic furniture and mouldy deckchair cushions. This is the age of enlightenment for outdoor furniture. From beautiful wicker designs, to love seats in a million colours, you can choose exactly the style you’d like for your garden. It’s all about comfort and relaxation. Outdoor cushions are an absolute must; you’re basically creating a living room outside. People even have portable projector set-ups so they can have their own outdoor cinema.

Glass Pool Fences

To make your garden feel like an outside extension of your home, you want to keep it as open plan as possible. If you are lucky enough to have an outdoor swimming pool in this hot weather, safety will be one of your number one considerations, especially if you have children around. That’s why a barrier from Glass Boundaries is a great addition to your space - it has the benefit of safety, without breaking the space up visually. It also adds an element of sophistication to the pool area.

BBQ Kitchen and Bar

These days, just having a barbecue and outdoor table and chairs isn’t cutting it. People are going for the full on outdoor barbecue kitchen, with portable mini fridge to keep the beer and meat cool, preparation area, and even a full blown bar. The garden is the best place for entertaining guests in the long summer evenings, so an area created with parties and food in mind is a great use of space.

Festoon Lighting

If you’re entertaining in your garden after dark, one bright security flood light isn’t going to offer the atmosphere you’d probably like. Strings of festoon lights look really festive and fun, and offer a slightly more subtle glow. Outdoor fairy lights also make a really cute addition to a garden, and are available in a variety of different colours and brightnesses. Try varying the combinations to see what works for your garden.

An outdoor area isn’t just for the kids to run around and get muddy; it’s an extension of your living space, and it needs to be decorated as such. Beautiful plants and trees can only go so far in creating an area that is perfect for relaxing and entertaining. Good quality outdoor furniture and some cushions are a great place to start, and a barbeque is obviously an essential.


Monday, November 28, 2016

Keeping cool this Summer

I don't know about you but the weather here in Melbourne is finally starting to warm up.......finally!! The sun has been peaking through the clouds quite a bit lately and as soon as we see that tiny beam of light we are outside enjoying every bit that we can. The girls throw on their shorts and t-shirts, otherwise known as me digging through their closets trying to find any form of clean clothing to shove on only for them to get dirty again.....ahh the joys of motherhood. We are outside any moment we get enjoying the sun, playing in the sandpit, going to the park, anything that involves being outside getting some of that Vitamin D.

Very soon though that sun is going to be beaming so strong that the second you walk outside is like walking into a brick wall of solid heat. Well it does that in Melbourne in the peak of Summer anyway. On days where the weather gets above 40 degrees celcius we all start to look for ways to keep as cool as possible but still enjoy the summer sun. With young kids it is a little bit different, I spend most of my time battling between wanting them to be outside playing, slapping sunscreen over every bit of their skin and wanting to keep them cool and maintain a reasonable temperature. I love Summer but sometimes it's hard.

So what can we do to keep cool when that super strong heat kicks in, well here is a few ideas for you:

First and foremost put on the air conditioner

These things are amazing and I swear I will never live without one again. If you don't have an air conditioner in your place then start saving, they are worth every cent. I have my home set to a certain temperature during the day, that temperature goes down a little in the warner months, but as soon as the temperature goes above my locked in guide the air conditioner turns on and cools the house down again. I LOVE LOVE LOVE it, I know the house will always be nice and cool even if it isn't outside. Whilst I have split system air conditioner at the moment I am hoping to install a ducted air conditioner in my next home, they are quite popular in the states that tend to stay warmer for longer, ducted air conditioning in Brisbane must be super popular.

When the air conditioner is on the kids can basically enjoy their normal routine, including sleeps for the little one. She normally gets super hot and sweaty during her day sleeps in Summer, not with our trusty air con!! Night time I don't tend to keep ours running, unless of course it is a real stinker (as we call it here in Australia).

Pool/Sprinkler/Hose/Water Slide

Basically anything involving water is an amazing way to keep cool in Summer. I wish we had a pool but instead we have almost everything else in the above list. The sprinkler is always a hit with the kids, they get to run around, get wet and squeal while the sprinkler chases them, you can't go wrong. The hose is a constant form of enjoyment for the 2 kids......and their father, I can't decide who loves it more. We have a blow up pool with a slide attached to it, all you do is throw the hose at the top and voila, the kids have a water slide and mini pool. They don't care how big it is, as long as they can play in it and get soaking wet!

Fresh Fruit and smoothies

There is nothing better than fresh fruit on a warm day, and sometimes it's nice to mix it up a bit and blend it all up in a smoothie, or even blend it and freeze it into ice cream moulds, this one is always a hit with the little ones. Summer fruits are so amazing, why not make the most of the great selection and stock up the fridge or fruit bowl. Every time my girls say they are hungry I always offer them a piece of fruit, they are getting a bit older now and starting to want other things, now I get to offer them a smoothie or a frozen fruit ice cream and they are thrilled, happy kids, happy mum, is that how the saying goes??

There are so many other ways to keep cool, eating salads and cold food instead of warm food, try and stay out of the kitchen as much as possible, let kids run around in their underwear, who cares when they are running around in your backyard, and of course wear protective clothing like hats and sunglasses. Always remember to put on sunscreen too. I wear sunscreen every day, even if it is winter. My daily moisturiser contains SPF because you never know when that sun might pop out and decide to pump up the heat, it is Melbourne of course, four seasons in one day as they say.

I really hope this warm weather does keep going so the girls can really enjoy their backyard, even if it is only temporary (moving into our new house soon, will share progress asap).


Photos: credited

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Get your Home Summer Ready

I know I know the warm weather has not quite made it to Melbourne yet. We get some beautiful days then BANG, the next day its raining. However, after all my wishing and hoping I think the weather is starting to turn around and before we know it the sun will be out and we will be kicking ourselves for not getting ready for summer before now. So throw on your rain coat and get outside and start getting your home ready to summer. Ready for those steaming hot days of splashing in the pool, sunbacking, catching up with friends on the decking with a BBQ and a drink or even just having a picnic with your kids on the grass. However you choose to spend your summer now is the best time to get prepared for it. So where to start you ask?? Well here is a good list to get you going..

Clean out the Gutters

If your weather is anything like it is here in Melbourne, Australia then I won't even need to explain why this part is essential and is on top of the list. The Summer weather here can go well above 40 degrees celsius, so hot, add a bit of wind and it is basically asking for a fire to erupt, we have constant fire warnings in the middle of summer so it is super important to make sure your home is ready for the worst. So get up that ladder and clean out those gutters.

I have family who live in country Victoria surrounded by bush, these people will often pack a box with all their valuables weeks before the peak of the summer weather so they have it ready should they need to evacuate quickly. Such a smart thing to do, get your family ready just in case, have a fire plan in place and make sure everyone knows what to do. Jump on the CFA website and have a look at their Fire Ready Plan.

Get the Air Conditioning ready for action 

On those super hot days it is so great to be outside playing and enjoying the sun but it is also great to have a break from that when it all gets a bit too much. If you have any older people living in the house or even little babies/kids like I have in my home it is really important to clean the air conditioning filter. I can't say I have done this myself but last time I watched someone do it they broke the whole air conditioner and they had to wait a few days to get it fixed, no one wants to be stuck in the heat with a broken air conditioner. So rather than cleaning/fixing it yourself, why not get the experts to do it for you.

It can be a bit risky dealing with electrical products without the proper knowledge so make a call and reduce your stress by getting someone in to do the residential or commercial air conditioning repairs. Let's not forget that a lot of us have to go to work each day and would rather not be sweating while we're trying to work. The last thing you want is to finally get the sun out and not be able to cool your home or office down. Imagine, you pick up your air conditioning remote, press the on button and oh oh........nothing works. Then you're stuck with sweaty armpits and that uncomfortable feeling until it gets fixed, why not get in before that happens.

Clean the Windows

Who likes to clean their windows???? NOT ME!! However as much as I hate cleaning the windows, I dislike it even more when I pull back the curtains to let the beautiful sun come through and see finger prints, dirt and all forms of smudges blocking the view. I might be the only person that feels this way but I can tell you right now that you will be so incredibly satisfied once you have finished it, you will really embrace that view even more! And besides, the amount of dirt on our windows (landscaping our yard has made it a bit messy) meant that I could barely see the kids running around in the backyard at all, dirt smudges the size of footballs.

Water Play

If you are one of those lucky home owners who have pool in your backyard then.......I'm jealous! Aside from that, get that pool clean and ready for the first warm day to hit so you can embrace it. I would love a pool to play in when the warmer weather comes, however I'm not one of those lucky people so if you're like me, make sure the sprinkler works. Go and grab one of the blow up pools or the cheap shell pools from Bunnings Warehouse for the kids to play in.

Spruce up the Backyard

I always like to make sure my grass has survived the winter, and if not, just before the warmer months hit us I will put some lawn seed down to fill the gaps so the kids get great grass, other than weeds and dirt. It makes it so much easier to run around and play games or have that little picnic on the grass. It is a simple thing but can make a big difference.

Fix the Decking

By fix I don't necessarily mean get out the nail gun and buy some wood, unless of course that is needed. What I mean is get out the hose, give the decking a really good clean. Get rid of any rubbish or left over junk from the previous months. Wipe down all the furniture and get rid of any spider webs, throw the cushion covers in the wash and maybe even replace the inserts if necessary.

Aside from the decking one of the other most important things I like to tackle is the BBQ. Pull everything off and give it a great hose down, make sure the gas bottle is full because as soon as that sun comes out we are outside enjoying it and eating pretty much every meal on our newly cleaned decking and decking furniture. Dig out the kids outside toys and clean them up, throw them in the dishwasher if you like, so much quicker and easier. Hose down and wash anything bigger that needs a clean and you're ready to go.

Now bring on this warm weather, we're all ready for it, so let's get outside and enjoy the sun,


(Photos credited)