Monday, 29 April 2019

Ways to create a summer entrance to your home

The blossoms are now falling from the trees giving way to lush green leaves unfurling and the swallows have returned to blue skies, summer is on its way. I have started spending more time in the garden and this is when I like the outdoors to transition into my home with doors wide open and fragrant scents of lavender and herbs in the air, breezing into the hallway or the kitchen. I like that feeling of the summer vibe being really apparent as soon as you approach the front of the house and of the garden carrying on into the home. It makes me happy to add little touches to transform the house entrance into a fresh new summer look and also consider long term improvements for a lighter summery style.
I love a home that feels both inviting and interesting to look at and have put together what I consider key aspects to create a summer entrance to your home:
Entrance Doors
The very first feature to bring visual impact to any home are entrance doors that are eye catching and bring light into the home, think of early morning rays beaming in through glazed door windows and the warm tones cast all day. Doors such as those from Pirnar, a family company started in 1968 who specialise in luxury innovative doors, create instant appeal and sophistication. Pirnar’s many options that can be chosen to suit your own tastes are door with windows set within them, or windows above and beside the door for optimum light, add to this illuminated door handles or surrounding LED illumination for balmy summer evening ambience. The choice of door finishes like aluminium or wood make their doors a very personalised feature for your home, the finishes can be chosen too, high gloss or matt, painted wood or perhaps the aluminium in different shades.
Entrance doors

Colour is something that can easily change the whole look of the house, a coat of paint over a weekend and instant new appeal – be daring with a summery colour; punchy pink or coral, a fresh green, sky blues or a cheerful sunflower yellow. There is a town nearby here that has many colourful doors, similar to a coastal village where the style is much more daring and it pays off, you can’t help but smile at their colourful charm. If a colourful front door is too dramatic for you then perhaps some colour to accessorise the entrance instead.
yellow front door

Blue Front Door
Accessories such as door mats give a seasonal perk-up to the house front. There are so many fun designs to choose from and they are inexpensive. I love how you can really choose something that reflects your personality such as your love for cats or sausage dogs or playfulness with fun statements. The 'hello' decal sticker shown below is my must have and for a keen instagrammer like me, it fits in well for those front door photo shots. And I still love lanterns, tall ones with candles in, either side of the door look lovely and welcoming as the evening comes.cheerful door accessories
Pots and plants are a must have to spell out summer - hanging baskets, troughs and urns filled with flowers such as geraniums, roses and petunias. Create your own planters in colour coordinated pots by using a spray paint for your own unique look, a colour to accent against your front door perhaps. Galvanised buckets look very summery filled with daisies and will last all season. Splashes of colour created by flowers can be done on a budget and if you remember to water, feed and deadhead regularly, they will flourish into the autumn. 
summer planting around a door
I adore climbing or rambling roses the most and for me they create the perfect summer entrance - there is a rose colour and type for every taste and a scented one will intoxicate both your guests and the bees. Recently I've bought a peachy one to adorn some grey painted trellis (to match the front door) and this will grow alongside a clematis - another climber where you can find almost any colour.
roses around a cottage door

An idea I spotted that looks great if you have a front garden or yard space is a little bench or a bistro table and chairs because if the evening sun is at the front, well then why not......? Sat there with a glass of wine/ mug of tea and being sociable to the neighbours or watching the evening passers-by sounds great to me. Garden furniture at the front of the house is very welcoming. It shouts of summer and sharing, I think that's what the key thing is about creating a summer entrance - it's a cheery hello of a space, not closed off and hiding like winter, of welcoming in rays of sunshine through doorways, of shiny materials and gloss or pretty seaside colours and fun accessories, of being seen and breathing in scent, of feeling relaxed and sociable. These extra elements to the front of any property will give the summer feeling and make you smile everytime you walk into the house.
pretty front of period property terrace

*Collaborative post

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Visiting Liverpool this spring #DinosaursUnleashed

It's nearly the school Easter holidays and I am thinking of places to take Little Bird to so he has a varied two weeks, one where he is occupied and has new and exiting experiences. A favourite city trip is top of the list and where better than the place I went to university.....Liverpool. 

Ever year we go to this fab city and find something to explore, we find Liverpool so vibrant and always offering new events so it's always interesting. This year, Liverpool ONE have a fantastic augmented reality event called Dinosaurs Unleashed which incorporates technology and dinosaurs for a super prehistoric adventure with the family. There is an app that you download and when you visit the shopping area Liverpool ONE there are dino activities for you to take part in - collecting points when you find giant dinosaur eggs to hatch, then go to feed them at 'Chavassic Park', then once fed they are ready for the Battle Arena. The event has been put together with National Museums Liverpool to provide an informative event that is fun whilst learning fascinating facts about dinosaurs. Little Bird would love this and the benefit is that I can do some shopping and we can go for a bite (!!) to eat too.  I think he will especially love petting the dinosaurs that we find and having pictures taken with them. Special park rangers will be on hand to assist with the app, offer dino facts and to help you have a great time. 
Liverpool ONE Dinosaurs Unleashed

After this I think a trip to the World Museum would complement our shopping and dino experience. I used to help out at this museum when I was a student so this is a particular favourite place of mine and I love to take Little Bird there. The dinosaur gallery is excellent with life size casts of dino skeletons and footprints. The rest of the museum is equally brilliant, especially the bug house and the aquarium. My area was in the natural world galleries, helping with the bird specimens and learning museum curation techniques. There is so much to see here and I recommend combining the museum with some retail therapy so the dinosaur themed day will work very well for us and keep everyone happy. And if the weather is hopefully sunny like the lovely spell we have been having, then a skip through the Liverpool ONE fountains will be fun.

Every time we visit Liverpool we like to have a walk around Albert Docks with its maritime history and cultural feel. The duck boat always makes Little Bird laugh and it's pleasant to sit and both people and boat watch. If you're feeling arty then the Tate is a must and is free entry (as are most of Liverpool's galleries and museums). Over Easter there is a colourful bunny trail at the Docks, collect stickers for the trail booklet to keep your children entertained. Also there will be an Easter themed selfie station and crafting activities.
Albert Dock

Liverpool always puts on such a good show and is a city to be relied upon for events on school holidays to entertain as a bonus to its attractions. We could spend a few days there so our one day will be absolutely jam packed full. Finally I will take us to the cathedral preferably when I know the bells will be ringing as I've been lucky enough to see them being rung up in the tower. Some time to gaze at the gothic architecture is always a favourite of mine and luckily Little Bird also likes to explore and do the mouse trail around the building. 
Anglican Cathedral Liverpool

Have you visited Liverpool and what did you like to do? Have you any family recommendations?  We can't wait to see the dinosaurs and see if we can remember their names.

*Collaborative post

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Road tripping Shropshire #StoppingDistance

Now the spring is here there is nothing that we love more than getting out onto the road and exploring. A whole new county to look around and discover the history of, from the start of the Industrial Revolution at Ironbridge to the cairns and Iron Age hill forts atop some of the majestic hill ranges in Shropshire. At any available opportunity, we love to go on road trips, sometimes with nowhere in particular to go to, we head out in a direction and just come across interesting places.

Wenlock vintage road sign

It is however clear to me that driving around Shropshire is a lot harder than it was back in Cheshire and this is for several reasons, mostly the hills and narrow lanes. Therefore, it is very important that our car is safe on the roads by having regular services and checks. The main aspect of living here in Shropshire is the high terrain, my village is the gateway to the Shropshire Hills so many times we are off over a hill or down into a valley and with the UK weather being so changeable the road surfaces can quickly change and affect driving.

Kwik Fit have been running a Stopping Distance campaign to raise awareness of altering your stopping distances in different weather conditions; twice as long to stop in wet weather and a whopping ten times as long to stop in icy and snowy weather. Certainly, driving around my new area which is incredibly rural and remote has had its difficulties over the winter, some of my routes being up in the hills had a decent amount of snow and some areas receive a lot of rainfall and run off from the top.
Above Church Stetton

So for example crossing the Long Mynd and its very steep drops, which we drove over at the weekend is very nerve wracking at times and close attention needs to be paid to the weather and road conditions, also ensuring that the car isn’t going to break down!! Making sure the car is roadworthy is something that can be checked with an MOT test at Kwik Fit and they are able to provide checks to brakes, batteries and of course tyres.  

Were you aware of the recommended stopping distances? Take a look at this video.

Added to the rainfall making the roads wet is the land drain run off from fields and the streams so even in the summer, most of the narrow lanes seem to have trickles of water running to torrents after a downpour. Stopping distances on the narrow single lanes need to be adhered to as you never know when you will meet a car coming from the opposite direction and the brakes need to be swiftly applied. There are a lot of tractors thundering around the countryside and it’s common to find yourself reversing back down a single track lane to a passing point when finding yourself face to face with a large tractor or milk tanker (I dread this!). With the hedges being high in places, you really have to gingerly drive down some lanes in case other road users are not as careful as you.
Driving in Shropshire

Then add lots of animals into the mix, cows crossing the road, lone sheep on a hill road, horse riders.

Mud on the roads from farm traffic is another to be careful of for making the road slippy .....did I mention pot holes too!! 
Cows going to be milked

PotholesRural driving, especially in Shropshire has encouraged me to take better care of my car for if I'm driving around with Little Bird I want us to be very safe and definitely not break down or come back to my car and the battery is flat. Also to drive much slower on these narrow roads, taking greater care and regularly looking at the tyres. I didn't do this and learnt the hard way with a flat tyre on a busy road near Shrewsbury.

Collaborative post