Monthly Archives: June 2017

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Transforming Your Garden: It’s Not as Difficult as You Think

Although it’s officially summer, we haven’t exactly enjoyed an abundance of sunny days. Hopefully, that just means there’s plenty to come in the next few weeks. That gives anyone time to work on their garden before the sunshine arrives, so they can have a beautiful place to relax.

If you have a garden, you might not do much with it. Perhaps you have a lawn, and maybe even some borders planted with flowers. But if you’re not much of a gardener, you don’t want to spend too much time out there. Give your garden a summer makeover to refresh it for the summer.

Transforming Your Garden: It's Not as Difficult as You Think | UK Lifestyle Blog

Create more SPAAACE!

You’re probably thinking, how could you possibly create more space in your garden? It’s easier than you think, trust me! If you’ve seen any of my previous garden posts, you’ll know that my outdoor space is spread across two levels (above). Elevated decking is a great opportunity to add more entertaining or storage space in your garden.

I’ve been thinking about changing the existing steps in my garden to something that is not only a little bit more pleasing to the eye, but also opens up the space in the lower part of my garden. I’ve been browsing contemporary staircases, as well as the option to install outdoor wooden stairs that blend in with the rest of my outdoor space. 

Paving to Planting or Vice Versa

Your garden likely has grass or flowers, paving, or a combination of both. One of the most impactful ways of transforming the space is to switch things around. If you currently have paving, you could remove some or all of it so that there’s space to do some planting. If you have a lawn, you might want to use some of it to put in a patio or just a path. Garden patios don’t have to be difficult to install. You can do it yourself, or hire a contractor if you don’t have the time or skills. If you want to get some plants in, don’t just stick to flowers. You could grow some fruit and veg if you’re inclined.

Transforming Your Garden: It's Not as Difficult as You Think | UK Lifestyle Blog

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Create an Outdoor Living Area

Many families mostly use their garden to let the kids and the dog run around. But adults should make sure they use their garden to its fullest too. You don’t have to be a gardening fan to get outside and enjoy the space. If you just want to be in the sunshine and relax, you need an outdoor living area. It could be anything from a small table and a couple of chairs to a full garden furniture set. Of course, a barbecue is also essential during the summer months.

Give It a Facelift

Sometimes your garden just needs perking up. You might like the layout as it is, but everything is just looking a bit lacklustre. There’s still time for a quick makeover so you can enjoy your garden in the summer. You might not want to start growing new plants, but you can certainly buy some grown ones for your borders and flower patches. Give your patio a thorough wash with a pressure washer or one from and replace your old plastic furniture with something smarter.

Transforming Your Garden: It's Not as Difficult as You Think | UK Lifestyle Blog

Light It Up

Some lighting through your garden can make a huge difference. With warmer evenings, it’s fun to spend more time outside after dark. A bit of light will go a long way to making your garden more enjoyable. You could string some fairy lights through a tree, light some lanterns, or line some lights along your garden path. Even a fire pit could be a good addition to your garden. If you use solar lights or anything with a flame, there’s no need to do any wiring.

If you want to give your garden a makeover, it doesn’t take much. Just one weekend’s work could give you a brand new space.

2018-01-08T03:33:13+00:00 June 28, 2017|Home Decor|

Are You Planning a Wedding? Make it Extraordinary

I’ve been thinking recently about weddings. I’m often asked for advice on everything from whether to get married, to how to get married. What favours to put on the tables, a cool menu, interesting drinks options, and also which venue to choose. In my mind, a wedding is one of the most personal experiences anyone can have, so answering such questions if fraught with difficulty unless I really know the person well.

Let’s break it down, a unique congregation of people, no matter how small, each and every one of which is responsible for a little part of who the couple have become. Every wedding has been curated to be completely unique to the happy pair, from the words of the service to the dress; from the favours to the cake. What more can I really add to that level of authenticity? I’ve got a bit of help from some of the businesses out there in ‘wedding land’ and wanted to share a growing perspective, based on the importance of keeping things as ‘unique’ as humanly possible; our love of differentiating ourselves at every opportunity!

Are You Planning a Wedding? Make it Extraordinary | UK Lifestyle Blog

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The move is around unique venues, interesting food, style and theming, and it has a lot of good points to make about ‘The Wedding’. Why is it that so many couples are limited in options as to where they can have their event? The service itself doesn’t have a huge amount of options; Church, registrar, or for those who want to go more mystical, an outdoor space of cultural or spiritual significance.

We do the important bit, sign on the dotted line, but then take the occasion back to the conventional options of a local pub or a white washed hotel. What does that leave us with? A day where every facet of the event is unique, but both special couple and their adoring congregation are served up a cookie cutter venue for the wedding breakfast or celebratory banquet.

I spoke to some of the folk at Lime Venue Portfolio, who have a very good reason to encourage weddings to go the ‘unusual’ route and choose a venue with a little more spice thrown in; basically, they are a portfolio of said venues!

Are You Planning a Wedding? Make it Extraordinary | UK Lifestyle Blog

The guys at Lime Venue Portfolio, are keen to encourage couples to keep the unique feel of their wedding by choosing a unique venue for it. Extra special good news is that there are loads in the South West. Now bear with us here, unique can be scary, but let your imagination run free!

A couple of their venues are Exeter and Wincanton Racecourse. So, for those of you equine inclined, ideal, but also for those of you who like to indulge in pageantry, history, and fine hospitality. If these guys can serve up premium executive style banqueting for the gentry, they can do it for the wedding congregation; easy access for the elderly relatives, everyone will find it, its original, so what’s not to like?

Are You Planning a Wedding? Make it Extraordinary | UK Lifestyle Blog

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If you need more convincing on racecourse, how about a zoo? Bristol Zoo Gardens to be precise. Its quirky, but so are most weddings. It’s not like they are throwing you into the Lion enclosure, but if you do care about the world, if you’re animal lovers and you want to make a statement, why not? The rooms are genuinely beautiful, the food is amazing, dancing and lights with a backdrop of the penguins? It’s one that will be remembered and the pictures will look awesome!

Are You Planning a Wedding? Make it Extraordinary | UK Lifestyle Blog

Then there is M-Shed; beautiful, original, stylish and contemporary. Situated by the water, making amazing visuals, it’s an inspiring place to get married and utterly unique. And, if you’re looking for another cultural setting, how about Bristol Museum & Art Gallery. For those with a taste for the splendid, this is something really special. Again, picture a wedding set in an art gallery, surrounded by fine artefacts, cultural riches; the sort of backdrop that will add to the theming and tone of your day.

Are You Planning a Wedding? Make it Extraordinary | UK Lifestyle Blog

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If you are getting married, congratulations first of all. Secondly, I’d advise you to take a real look around and get the very best choice of venues for your special day. These unique ones aren’t to everyone’s taste, but they are really good options. You may be thinking that these are not wedding venues but leisure attractions or sporting arena’s, but don’t be concerned, these days the two are not mutually exclusive. These are venues that understand the world of special events and have really nice people with the experience to light up your wedding.

They also do very, very good food, so don’t think that you’ll be serving up the daytime lunch menu of panini and muffins. They have highly experienced chefs, ones that work with the couple to create a menu that is also unique to the theme and tone of the event. They can cater for all the dietary requirements and add a personal feel that you won’t get in ‘chain’ venues.

Are You Planning a Wedding? Make it Extraordinary | UK Lifestyle Blog

I like thinking about weddings and such like, there must be a real thrill to those at these venues that they get to see so many memories being made within their walls. For me, it’s nice to see them taking this responsibility seriously and bringing something special to the party.

Find more or the unique world of wedding venues at

2018-06-04T01:28:32+00:00 June 28, 2017|Weddings|

How to Fight High Blood Pressure With Food

High blood pressure is a condition that affects millions of people at various points throughout their lives. The good news is that it is controllable through medication. Even better you can help keep it in line by taking some extra steps by adjusting your diet.

How to Fight High Blood Pressure With Food | UK Lifestyle Blog

Losing Weight

Your blood pressure can often increase alongside your weight. If you can take measures to control your diet and exercise, then it will help reduce high blood pressure. This means taking general steps to eat more healthily: avoid snacking between meals, reduce sugar intake, eat lots of protein, avoid excess carbs and processed foods, and other similar things. If you are unsure, then you can ask your doctor if he or she thinks your weight is contributing to your blood pressure. Remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution here so consult an expert if you are unsure.

Eating a Healthy Diet

Weight loss, alongside healthy eating, can help control your blood pressure. The first step is to keep a food diary. If you can track how your diet is affecting your blood pressure, then you can identify which are problem foods. In general, though it is a good idea to try and boost your potassium intake as this can help control the effects sodium is having on you. The best sources of potassium are fruits and vegetables, both of which are key ingredients in maintaining a healthy lifestyle regardless.

Avoid Sodium

The effects of sodium on your blood pressure can vary, but reducing your intake always helps. As a rough guide, you will want to limit your sodium intake to 2,300 mg per day, though this could be lower for you depending upon other factors. To avoid it, you should consider some of the following. Double check food labels, you would be surprised just how much sodium is added to things.

Avoid processed foods; excess sodium does not just turn up naturally so if you are preparing meals with fresh ingredients then your sodium intake will naturally be lower. Do not add salt while cooking, this one is pretty obvious but most recipes do call for the addition of salt though removing it should not make a huge difference. If you are finding that everything suddenly tastes too bland, it is okay to increase your sodium to be close to what it was, then gradually decrease it. Your palette will acclimatise with time.

Limit your Alcohol Consumption

This is a bit of a strange one. In sufficiently small doses alcohol can decrease blood pressure. So having a glass of wine or two with a meal can help, but as with many things in life, an excess can cause problems. If you drink more then not only will you find an increase in your blood pressure, but it can limit the effectiveness of your medication.

Reduce Caffeine

Coffee, tea, sodas, energy drinks – they can all make us feel better and provide energy. However, they can also increase your blood pressure particularly if you are not used to them. Again the effects are not the same for everyone and people who tend towards a high caffeine intake may find that they can continue at their usual levels. The key is to avoid a sudden increase. If you are in doubt at all, talk to your doctor about what is best for you.

2018-01-08T03:33:13+00:00 June 28, 2017|Health|
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