Turn Your Living Room Into A Giving Room

For those of us who aren’t blessed with the largest property or the most expansive rooms in our humble abode, we need to think outside of the box when we are decorating. While we may not feel like we have enough room to swing a cat, we may be able to utilise some nifty space saving techniques that can also save a bob or two. Our living rooms are our sanctuaries. These are the spaces that you kick back, relax and spend most of your time in, whether it’s catching up with your favourite soap on the box, reading a book with a glass of wine, or having a good old catch up with pals. Take a look at how you can transform your living room into a giving room.

More Uses

Your living room may be a one trick pony at the moment, especially if you are struggling in terms of space. However, your lounge interior doesn’t have to just be that area where you sit on the sofa watching mind numbing TV every night. Consider creating a couple of zones within the room. Choose one corner to situate your TV rather than having it mounted onto a wall. This way, you are cordoning off your gogglebox capabilities. In another corner, invest in a comfortable chair. You might want to opt for a mid-century style vintage egg chair or a Scandinavian rocking chair. These are perfect for relaxing in with a cuppa or reading. A bankers lamp to the side or a floor lamp can make a pleasant change from being forced to read with the main light on.

If you have kids and you don’t have enough square footage for a playroom, an extra large rug will fill the space within your living room and give them enough of a play area for their toys in the centre of your room. While not ideal, trying to make your living room fit your lifestyle is the perfect solution for those more cramped pads.

Storage

No matter what size your property is, you will inevitably struggle with storage, and the dreaded clutter can always begin to encroach on your environment. The type of furniture and storage solutions that you try to incorporate into your living space can transform your lounge from a simple one dimensional space into a multi-functional room that can make your life easier. Footstools can come Ottoman style with storage under the stool. You might want to look at period pieces that merge drawers storage with a coffee table. These Danish inspired sleek designs utilise every iota of functionality and can ensure that your knick-knacks don’t clutter up your space.

If your kids are of an age where they have a ridiculous amount of lego and bricks and other toy paraphernalia, you will be keen to ensure that your living room doesn’t morph into a playpen. Get hold of a toy box that doubles up as a window seat or hide all of that kid clutter under the stairs. Storage solutions don’t have to look like filing cabinets or exposed shelves. Instead, you can find those nifty storage ideas within pieces that offer up both form and functionality.

Your living room is the most heavily utilised and enjoyed room within your home. Give it a new lease of life and turn it from a living room to a giving room.

 

This is a collaborative post.

Five Ways to Ensure That Your Food Business Is Successful

Small restaurants have it rough when it comes to becoming successful. Both medium and small sized restaurants have a tough job of maintaining a satisfied customer base while also trying to ensure that they have room to grow. So to help you out, we’ve prepared five unique tips to help you ensure that your food business is successful, even if you’re just in the planning stages.

1. Ensure that there is an excellent customer experience

Your patrons are going to expect you to deliver a top-notch quality experience. This includes impeccable service and excellent food. However, this doesn’t mean that you need to make everything absolutely perfect for the customer. As a small food business startup, you’re allowed to be more laid-back and casual. As long as your customers aren’t being treated poorly, your food, service and the experience as a whole will spread and you’ll get plenty of positive reviews.

 

2. Focus on food safety to build customer trust

Customers aren’t going to trust you if you’re not following any kind of food safety procedures. It doesn’t matter if you are following them either–the idea is to show that you’re actually following them and show that you’re following them by using signs. Catering signs promote food safety and they’re visible to both staff and customers. This puts the customer’s faith in your ability and it also keeps your staff reminded of how to handle food in your business. Be it the kitchen, in the dining room or even while serving, it’s often important to remind your staff of standard food safety practices to ensure that they’re following protocol.

 

3. Utilize social media as much as possible

One of the most underrated ways for small restaurants and food businesses to grow their brand name is to use social media. While it might sound strange, social media can be a fantastic way to grow a user base and get more people interested. Not only that, but if your products are successful and popular, then they’ll quickly spread throughout social networks and you’ll start to see more and more customers popping up thanks to online recommendations from influencers and friends of theirs that have visited your food business. 

 

4. Friendly and knowledgeable staff

It’s also important to have staff that are knowledgeable and capable of delivering excellent customer service. No one wants to visit a restaurant that is unfriendly, boring and where the staff has no clue about the menu. If one of your waiting staff is asked “What do you recommend?” or “What’s the special for the day?” then they’re expected to know.

 

5. Good food is a must

The atmosphere and the experience are also important, but perhaps the most important aspect of starting a successful food business is to actually have good food. The food will ultimately be the star of the show and no matter how good your restaurant or store is, the food is what you want all of your patrons to remember you for. Without good food, you don’t have a foundation on which to build your food business!

 

This is a collaborative post.

Eco by Naty Disposable Nappies Review

Over the last ten years I have tried a lot of nappy brands! Having 5 children with all with sensitive skin it’s been trial and error to get a nappy that doesn’t bring them out in a rash.  Eco by Naty disposable nappies were one of the first brands I tried over ten years ago with my first baby, back when they were Naty by Nature Babycare. I mainly used cloth nappies with my first baby but found disposables to be more convenient for night time, holidays and days out.

For various reasons I haven’t used cloth nappies with my youngest two children. I use supermarket nappies as it is convenient to buy them when I am doing the weekly food shopping. I was pleased to get the opportunity to try Eco by Naty nappies again recently when they sent me some to review.

 

About Eco by Naty

Eco by Naty are a Swedish brand founded in 1994 by a corporate lawyer turned ecological entrepreneur who wanted to create a disposable nappy that wouldn’t have a detrimental effect on the Swedish environment. As well as selling biodegradable and environmentally friendly nappies, Eco by Naty now produce a whole range of products including baby wipes, nappy pants and skin care.

The nappies are made from natural and renewable material. The cornstarch film is naturally breathable which helps to prevent nappy rash. The wood pulp which is the main absorbent in the nappy is FSC certified. The nappies are free from chlorine, latex, TBT and fragrance. They have numerous certifications including one from the Swedish Asthma and Allergy Association.

 

What We Thought

I loved Eco by Naty nappies when I first tried them ten years ago but they have definitely improved. They are soft and fit Baby Girl perfectly. They are just as absorbent and comfortable as our usual nappies both during the day and at night. I will be honest, I expected them to leak overnight. Baby girl sleeps for 12 hours at night and our usual brand of nappy occasionally doesn’t last that long. I was pleased to find that the Eco by Naty nappies survived the full twelve hours.

The nappies have a lovely simple design. We tried the size 4 nappies which had a leaf pattern with a larger leaf on the front. Other designs include a flower pattern and a cloud pattern.

We were also sent some baby wipes to try along with the nappies. The unscented sensitive wipes come in a pack of 56. They are made from 100% natural materials and are enriched with soothing Chamomile and Aloe Extract. The wipes are larger and thicker than the brand I usually use meaning I need half as many at each nappy change. They are soft and gentle on the skin and are very effective at cleaning. The wipes are also available in a lightly scented version and in a handy travel size pack. We also tried the rash cream which is made from plant based, natural and certified organic materials. The cream is gentle enough for daily use and soothes irritated skin and reduces redness. Baby Girl doesn’t suffer from nappy rash but does occasionally get a little bit of redness on her bottom. I apply the rash cream at the first sign of redness and it clears it up quickly.

As well as nappies and other baby products Eco by Naty also sell a range of family products including hand cream, body lotion and shampoo. I was pleased to be able to try the hand cream as I get dry skin on my hands from washing them often throughout the day. My hands were noticeably softer after just one application. The cream soaks in to the skin well and doesn’t leave a greasy film.  I don’t like my skincare products to have an overpowering smell so I was pleased that the natural ingredients in this cream give a lovely subtle fragrance.

Overall I am really pleased with all of the Eco by Naty products we have tried. It is reassuring to know that they are gentle on my baby’s sensitive skin as they are free from harmful chemicals. If you would like to try Eco by Naty products you can use the code Jansfamilynotebook at the Naty webshop to receive 15% off your shop! (This excludes the subscribe and save box and the trial box).

*I  received a selection of Eco by Naty products for the purpose of this review. All thought and opinions are my own.

Sure Signs You Should Snap that Property Up

Have you been looking for the ideal new house for a long time and none of them feel just right? How do you know when you have finally found the right one? There is always the doubt that you will make a mistake and end up living somewhere you are not happy with, so just sit back relax and let’s talk about how you will know you have found your ideal home.

You Want To See More

If when you see the outside of a property it makes you want to see more that is a good start. Kerb appeal is an important factor in searching for the right home, and it is very probable that there have been a few that you have not liked the look of at all from the outside.

Of course, what the outside is like is no guarantee that the inside will be just as good. But it is an indicator that if the present owners have taken trouble with the outside, they will have looked after the inside as well. You will only find out if you enter the house.

 

It Feels Right As Soon As You Enter

You usually know as soon as you walk into a house whether it feels like home or not. If it feels warm and welcoming, almost as though it is embracing you, there stands a good chance that this is the house for you.

Some houses have a bad feeling about them, and often that is just relating to the viewer because it is not really what they are after. This can be particularly the case if it is the type of house you would not normally consider, but the agent has persuaded you that you really must view.

 

Check Out The Bathrooms

Research has shown that the room most people feel uncomfortable viewing is the bathroom, and that many do nothing more than put their head around the door and scan it briefly. It is said that it appears that people do not like to let their feet touch the floor of a bathroom they do not know. This does seem a bit strange unless they are looking at the house in bare feet, but it appears that even in their shoes, some people have an aversion to going into other people bathrooms.

If you are happy to stroll into the bathroom and take a proper look, you should take this as a sign that this could be the house for you.

 

Ignoring The Minor Defects

You will always find minor defects in a property and if you find any of them are a problem, then you should not be buying this house. When you see things that need a small repair and that does not put you off, then it is more likely you have found your home. You may even get defensive about them, for instance, if the agent tries to point out that a new tap is needed on the kitchen sink, or that there is a crack in an internal doors glazing.

When you want to tell them that none of these minor things matter that definitely means you should be considering buying this house.

 

You Start Imagining How You Will Make It Look

Are you starting to see your furniture in the house and how you would like it arranged, the walls painted the colours you want and imagining the house with any other changes that would put your stamp on it are all a sure sign that this is the house for you.

Can you see exactly where your bed will go in the master bedroom? Have you already decided on a new colour scheme? Do you know where you will put your Christmas tree, or how you will accommodate visitors over the holiday season? If so, you can stop looking at other houses right now.

Do not waste your time viewing other properties, as you have probably found the right one for you and looking at more will just become a bit of a chore.

 

The House Covers All Your Needs

Before you go any further ask yourself if the house fits your needs? Does it have the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, for instance, and has it got an extra room that could be used as a home office or playroom? Does it have a garage, or at least the space to have one erected? Is the garden secure enough for your dog, or will you need to put up some new fencing?

It might not have everything exactly as you want, but if it fits your basic needs, you can alter it to provide some of the other things once it has become yours. Some of the things, such as painting, are far easier to do in an empty house. As desperate as you might be to actually move in, a couple of days delay could mean that you have the painting done beforehand. That will make the whole move easier to handle, and there will be less messing once you are in.

 

You Want To Tell Everyone

Have you found that you want to tell everyone about this wonderful house you have found? Have you taken a few photos to put on your social media page? Has that few photos for your social media pages turned into hundreds? Are you feeling excited at the prospect of moving into this house? All of these things make it even more likely that you have found the home of your dreams.

 

Sleep On It

Before you make that final step of offering to buy the house of your dreams, you should sleep on it and see if you still feel the same the next day. If you have a troublesome night because of all your plans for your new home or, you sleep soundly knowing you have found it, then the next day you can deal with the next phase of ensuring it belongs to you.

Good luck, I hope you find the home of your dreams and spend many happy years living there. There are so many amazing properties to choose from that it can be difficult. But if all of the signs are there, you will know when to act.

*This is a collaborative post.

How to Keep Your Home Safe From the Outside In

One thing that we all want, is to feel safe in the comfort of our own home. Our home is the place that we should feel safest of all – it’s where we sleep, eat, bathe, and have fun – it’s the place we always resort back to after a long day at work, so if you’re not comfortable there and don’t feel protected, then how are you ever going to truly be able to relax? It’s your environment, and it’s down to you to create a good one for you and your family, especially if you have kids – it’s their safe haven too.

 

There are many threats out there in the outside world – unfortunately, there always will be, regardless of how careful you are of staying away from it. Having said that, there are many ways to keep all of the bad things away, and that all boils down to the preventatives you put in place.

 

Here are a few ideas to get you on the right track.

Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

Securing your windows

Burglars tend to focus a lot on windows because they are often left open a little, even during the night, especially now the days and nights are so much hotter. Try and always make sure the bottom windows are closed properly with a lock. You should also make sure that they are working as they should, and if not, call in a double glazing repairs person to fix the issue immediately. If you do have blinds or curtains, it would be a good idea to close them once the sun goes down so that people can’t look inside and get any ideas, even more so when you have potential valuables on show.

 

Securing your doors

While your front door usually has a more secure lock, it can always be better. The same goes for your back door, if not more because burglars tend to sneak around the back to break in as they know the lock is normally a lot weaker – so make sure it isn’t. Call in a locksmith and get more secure locks fitted that aren’t as easy to pick or break altogether. If the doors are very old, you may want to get a whole new door as the wood might have started rotting from the inside making it a lot weaker.

 

Securing your items

You may not have things outside the front of your house, but it’s normal to have things outside the back as that is where your garden is. You may have tools left out, ladders, and maybe even a bike or two, but these are the things that all burglars look out for because they can either be used as a way of breaking in, or be stolen and then sold for a fair bit of money. So any items that are normally left out, make sure you secure them in a shed or garage that is safely secured with a padlock and even an extra deadbolt lock for that added touch.

 

This is a collaborative post.