Tidy Away Today has a new home!

Hi Everyone,

 

Just to let you all know that I’ve moved Tidy Away Today from here…

 

To here:

 

http://tidyawaytoday.co.uk

 

Just copy and paste the new address in your browser to find me, or simply click here to go to my new home

 

So everyone who has been following me please come on over to the new place and follow there now instead.  I’m having a bit of a ‘house-warming’ so I hope you can join me for virtual nibbles and a drink!  I’m also in the process of sprucing the new place up a bit and trying out some ‘redecoration’ – hope you like it!

 

I’ll be leaving this site open for a while but won’t update it – all blogs posts have been transferred over and I’ll be posting only from there, from now on.

 

Hope to see you there!

Antonia xx

A review of window film from Brume – Part 1

Because I’ve got quite a lot of images and chat to share about this subject, I thought I would split the post into two parts, otherwise it could be rather long!

Recently I gave you a glimpse out of the top windows of our conservatory to show how our neighbour’s new extension has impacted on the view.  Where before we saw blue sky we now look directly onto their new wall.

windows

Which is a bit of a shame, since that row of windows used to be quite a nice feature, now they seem a bit pointless.  So it got me wondering if there was something we could do to try and soften the new view a bit.

This is where the company, Brume comes into the story.  They make frosted and decorative window film, as well as coloured transparent film – designed to give windows an unfussy, contemporary look while providing extra privacy and security.  They are perfect for screening a not so wonderful view, too.

The Brume website is one that I could happily spend all day looking at.   Like its window film, the site is modern, ‘clean’ and attractive, filled with the sort of gorgeous home images that make me swoon.

brume

Happily for me, Brume very kindly allowed me to try out some of their window film for free, in order to blog about the process of applying it and share the result.

Can I start by saying how much I L.O.V.E. the way this clever film transforms a window.  The opaque ‘etched glass’ effect is just so gorgeous to me and the choice of cut-out designs you can have is fantastic.  So when you check out the Brume website, this is the sort of ‘eye candy’ you can expect to find…

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*Sigh…*

So, tell me… how do you even begin to decide on a design when there are sooo many gorgeous ones to choose from?  Not very decisive even at the best of times, it was a complete dilemma for me – until I came across this image

Now, you may not be aware, but I have a real ‘crush’ on anything with a star design; I don’t know exactly why, but something about that particular polygon gives me goosebumps.  It goes way back because I can remember being thrilled about buying some little silver star earrings after I got my ears pierced aged 8!

So – decision made, my original plan was to go for 4 plain frosted panes of glass, with one single star pane in the middle of the row.  Perfect.

Except, wait – hubby put a slight spanner in the works by saying he wasn’t sure about having film on all of the windows.  Hmm, well I suppose he does live here too, and as I didn’t even consult him on the star design idea it only seemed fair to take his point on board.  So to cut a long story short, we’ve ended up with a pretty cool middle ground, something a bit more original and actually better than Plan A, I think, thanks to Sarah at Brume coming up with an excellent suggestion that I wouldn’t  have thought of!

You’ll see what I mean in Part 2, but for now, here’s what you do when you’ve decided on a design, if you are going for the pre-cut window film.

1. Measure the window carefully

2.  Measure the window again

3.  Be absolutely sure of your measurements to the nearest mm!

Yes, if your window measures 60.7cm wide x 35.4cm high exactly, then that is exactly what you should order.  Brume precision cut your film to size so you can be sure of a perfect fit.

If, however, you are working to a tighter budget, you may find it more economical to buy their film by the metre, in which case you will receive your film on a roll and will have to measure and cut it to size.  It certainly is a good value option, perhaps if you’ve got several windows to cover and your not needing a cut-out design.

Applying the Window Film

I admit to being a bit nervous about fitting the film, having never tried anything like this before and wondered how easy it would be.

Brume advise not to fit it in strong sunlight and heat, because you apply the film wet and so in a hot room the water will evaporate too quickly.  Because this is our conservatory and we have had some amazingly hot days recently, I’ve had to wait a while to get cracking – frustrating!

When there was a cloudier day recently, I went for it with the first window film panel.

First of all, I read the step by step instructions supplied by Brume which were clear and straightforward.  Then I watched the demonstration video on their website.

The first step is to clean the glass

Also go over it carefully with a scraper to ensure any little specks of paint or dirt are removed so it is perfectly smooth

Next, clean the window with methylated spirits on a cloth (available from DIY stores)

Now, you take a spray bottle, containing a pint of water and two drops of detergent and mist the glass generously

Lay the film on a clean, flat, dust free surface and – this is where you’ll need an able assistant – as your partner begins to peel the backing, you need to hold the under-layer (the sticky bit) and mist the surfaces as your assistant pulls them gently apart

Now for the scary bit!!  Once the back has been peeled off, hold the top two corners of the film carefully and offer the sticky side to the top of the moistened glass

And yes, in accordance with Sod’s Law this was the precise moment that the sun came out.  Heart beating and eyes squinting like the peepers of a mole emerging from the ground, I was trying to line up the edges and started panicking a little about the water evaporating before I could get the piece in place.

I think they key is to use plenty of water, which allows you time to move the film into position properly – I rushed this a bit!

Once the film is sticking to the glass and you are happy with the position you can start to smooth it out with the edge of a credit card.  As long as you go carefully, you can be quite thorough and firm with the smoothing, I found

Trying to see what I’m doing in the glare and not stuff it up!

All the squidgy water bubbles smoothed out eventually and it was rather satisfying!  The square you can see in the middle has the star design behind it – you don’t peel this off right away, but leave it for 3-4 hours.

Now a word of caution… make sure if you are doing this to stand squarely in front of your film so you can see all the window edges perfectly.  Sounds obvious, but I was standing slightly to one side of the pane of glass, balanced on top of a wooden chest, squinting through the sunlight and consequently what I thought was the rubber edge of the window on the left hand side, was in fact a thin sliver of the glass I’d left showing.  So, as my husband kindly pointed out as he came back in the room to inspect my handiwork, just as I was finishing up the smoothing, I had not lined up the film perfectly centrally.  GRRrrr…!

There’s a teeny gap on one side and a smidge of an overlap of film on the other.  I could have kicked myself a little bit – and Paul – at this very moment.  I’m sure if it hadn’t got so suddenly sunny a) I wouldn’t have rushed getting the piece up and b) I would have noticed the error.  Once it’s smoothed down, though, this baby is not going anywhere – so just to point that out.

Ok, so on the scale of disasters, it’s not so bad, I don’t even think it’s terribly noticeable.  Can you tell?  Go on, be honest.

Now you can.

DSC_0530

Oops.  But fortunately from the normal every day viewpoint – and certainly from this vantage point and distance – I don’t think you would ever know!

Phew, that’s a relief.  At least I’d done it and now knew what to mind out for next time and I felt more confident about applying the next piece.

I literally couldn’t wait to peel off the backing of the star shape and it did not disappoint!  Same process as before, I wet the backing sheet with the spray bottle and peeled it off carefully.  The next step is to pick out the shape with a pin.

Ooh, a lovely sneaky peak of what’s to come!

If all that has whetted your appetite for the big reveal, part 2 will be here soon, when I’ll also be sharing a very nice offer for Tidy Away Today readers from Brume, so get browsing those window film designs in the meantime and let me know, which one is your favourite?

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Benefits of vinyl flooring in the home

Whether you’re renovating a whole house, or just decorating a single room, deciding on a suitable flooring is one of the main considerations.

Vinyl flooring may not be the first thought in people’s minds when it comes to updating a floor, however it is a really good option for the modern home.

Although quality can vary and it is recognised as not being maybe quite as durable in the longer term as some other floors (it won’t take strong chemical spills or repeatedly dragging furniture across it, for example), but generally as a low cost, good value and easy to maintain floor covering it scores pretty high.  Certainly, families love it for standing up to ‘high foot traffic’ and being easily cleaned when drinks and ice creams get spilled!  It is very moisture resistant and all it takes to keep it looking good is a little sweeping and mopping.  It can come in sheet form, or as tiles, and – although you may choose to have it professionally fitted – it is one of the most suitable flooring types to ‘DIY’ fit yourself if you feel confident enough.

You may be surprised at the sheer range of styles, designs and colours that it comes in now.  Forget about a limited choice of one or two old-fashioned looking beige tile effects on a roll, vinyl flooring has come a long way and become quite the cutting edge floor covering.

From rustic and natural looking to vibrant and glossy, it can cleverly mimic stone, tile and the beauty of a fabulous wooden floor, with a wide range of plank sizes, styles and colours, from the palest blonde wood shades, through to rich, dark tones.  Whereas you might not want to use real wood flooring in a bathroom, for fear of water damage, wood-look vinyl flooring is the perfect, water-resistant alternative!

There are some gorgeous bright colours and lovely textures that would be fabulous in a child’s room

Bold patterns or colour can give a floor a funky vibe in a teenager’s room or a home office, perhaps

It can look slick, modern and very contemporary in tones of grey, too.  With its clean lines, it is a great choice for homes and businesses.

Popular reasons why people are choosing vinyl flooring in their homes:

  • It is hygienic – those with allergies or asthma may be better off with a vinyl floor rather than carpets that can hold on to dust and allergens
  • It feels nice under foot, especially the more cushioned variety!
  • Great for a low budget renovation – you can even fit cheap vinyl flooring yourself to make further savings
  • Busy households and people with pets and children find it easy to keep clean and it can even reduce the noise
  • It can be safer underfoot when purchased in a non-slip or textured finish – I love these designs!

So don’t limit yourself to thinking that vinyl flooring is only suitable for the kitchen or utility room, clearly it can be a good option for practically any room in the home!  I was pleasantly surprised by the choice and great appearance myself when we bought some vinyl flooring for our downstairs toilet.  We opted for a silver-grey speckled finish which has proved to be robust and easy to keep clean, while giving the loo a modern look.  It was very affordable too, so I have been very pleased with our vinyl flooring purchase and would now even consider it in other areas of the house.

This was a sponsored post, but all words and opinions are my own.

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Putting Gorilla Glue to the test

I was recently sent some Gorilla glue to try out.  This American glue is now over here in the UK and has a reputation for being a fast, tough and reliable all purpose adhesive.

Gorilla Glue

DIY nightmares and tricky household repairs are supposedly a thing of the past for us Brits, now!

The additional benefit is that it is 100% waterproof and won’t break down in the outdoors.

It looks a little strange, because it’s brown.  Kind of resembles something you might put on your BBQ meats like a marinade (it is NOT a marinade and definitely adhesive only – just to be clear ;-))

I couldn’t think of anything to fix, until Paul reminded me about an outdoor terracotta garden clock my mum had bought us.  Because we didn’t put it up right away, and I’d placed the box beside the sofa, when the sofa subsequently got moved, it was squashed and cracked in two.  Fortunately, it wasn’t an expensive purchase and so there was nothing really to lose by giving the glue a try.

Outdoor clock

You are supposed to lightly dampen with water one side of the damaged item (don’t soak it) using a moist cloth or a fine mist-spray bottle.  I used a damp microfibre cloth.

Fixing outdoor clock

Then apply the glue on the other (dry) piece carefully, avoiding getting it on your fingers (it is recommended that you use gloves or a disposable brush, but I just went really carefully).

DSC_0501

Then you are meant to clamp the two pieces together.  If you don’t have a clamp you could use heavy books or an elastic band on lighter objects.  I scouted around and improvised with an adjustable strap thingummy and pulled it as tight as it would go.

DSC_0502

The glue oozed out a little so I wiped it off with a tissue.  It’s a shame some of the surface has chipped off, I might have to use a little paint to disguise the damage.

After leaving it to set for 1-2 hours…

Fixed clock

Well, it does feel properly stuck solid now.  The glue must have continued to ooze a bit, even though I didn’t think I’d put too much on.  But any dried glue blobs can apparently be sanded or picked off.

Quite a bit oozed out on the reverse, but it doesn’t matter back there of course.

Clock repair

So here it is, up on the wall outside – let’s see how it holds up, but so far so good – maybe just don’t look too closely!

Outdoor clock

Gorilla Glue is available from uk.gorillaglue.com and all major retailers, starting at £5.49.

I was sent a bottle of Gorilla Glue to try out at home.  All comments and opinions my own.

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Coping with the clutter during the long school holidays

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/5632407/?claim=n33c9ksbhhs”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Excuse the funny coding above, but I’m trying to add my blog to Bloglovin so that people can follow Tidy Away Today that way – and this is supposed to be how you do it, by inserting the code into a new blog post!?!

Anyhow, those that know me are aware that I’m not a tidy freak.  At all.  Hence the blog, to try and motivate me to improve a bit!  I do enjoy the house more when it is clean, neat and tidy, but I don’t love the process of keeping it that way and am always on the look out for ‘short cuts’.

My ongoing strategy is to a) reduce our ‘stuff’ and b) ensure we have adequate storage for everything that’s left.  If something has a home, it can be easily returned and the clutter shouldn’t start to pile up.  Sounds easy doesn’t it?  A place for everything and everything in its place.  Simples.

Except that even when things are nicely stowed in labelled boxes, things can start to do this very quickly…

A crazy mess

That was yesterday, today was worse…

seriously?

Barely room to tiptoe through the mess!

Now, there’s a looong way to go before the new term and I’m slightly concerned that I don’t have much of a plan in place for clutter control.

As I said, I’m gradually trying to reduce the amount of toys and things we have in the house in general, as it is logical that a less full house will be easier to manage and maintain (same logic applies to the amount of clothes we have and the never-ending cycle of laundry).

Not everything we own has a designated spot yet and I still find myself searching for certain items that tend to ‘float’ around the house, because they don’t have a permanent place – everyday things like scissors, for example.  It frustrates me and wastes time, so that’s on my ‘to do’ list to address.

I rearranged some existing storage in the boys playroom yesterday – bulky toys have been assigned this large, inherited bedding box (which I hope to give a little makeover to, soon).

DSC_0465

I have also grouped ‘like with like’ toys a bit better and chucked out the broken things – we have also been gradually sorting the lego into clear boxes, by colour.

Wilko storage

This was at the very start of a long, slow process (we have sooo much lego…)

CIMG6763

I know some people may think this sounds mad and obsessive, but if you open a lego instruction booklet in the hope of building something, it narrows down the search a great deal for particular pieces if you at least know what colour they are!  Plus, it looks nicer organised into colours instead of multi-coloured boxes of mess. (Expensive mess, at that.)

mixed lego

I plan on taking some toy boxes upstairs to the boys bedrooms and rotating them regularly throughout the holidays, which should hopefully also minimise any boredom.

Recently, I printed out some star charts for the younger two and a chore chart for our eldest – with the lure of pocket money or a little Toysrus visit after all targets have been reached – I’ve included things like tidying up and being helpful.  You can find the behaviour and chore chart printables I used here if it’s something you fancy trying yourself – I have to say, having never really done anything like this before, the boys are still enthusiastic and we are about 2-3 weeks in.

Sample Image

I printed out and laminated this one for the younger boys, so they can colour in the stars with a dry-wipe marker and rub it all off when completed to start again.  There are loads of different styles and designs though to choose from, some are really cute and you can even buy personalised charts on Etsy.

But other than that, I’ve got nothing – nada!  So I’d love to know, what are your coping strategies to contain the clutter a little bit during the school summer holidays?  Are you just going to stay out all day, every day until bedtime?  That could work…

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The Beauty of Bi-fold doors

The amazing run of summer weather in the UK recently means we can get out and about more and enjoy the great outdoors!

A minor downside is that our houses may have been a bit stuffy and hot.  Wouldn’t it be lovely to be able to open up the entire back of your house to let the fresh air and sunshine right in, removing any barrier between home and garden during these sunny days?

That is the beauty of having bi-fold doors installed.

The popularity of bi-fold, or bi-folding doors has increased ever upwards since we first were introduced to their concept.  I first saw them on the home improvement TV shows I love to watch and have coveted them ever since.

The fact that many people in this economic climate are choosing to stay in their existing homes, doing them up instead of moving, has pushed up the demand for these eye-catching home features.

They have become much more affordable and as a home improvement they guarantee to add style, enjoyment and even value to your home.  It doesn’t matter if you just have one small wall or a giant corner room to open up on two sides with bi-fold doors, when they are bespoke they will make the most of whatever space you have.

Being able to bring the outdoors in is a beautiful benefit of these amazing glass doors, as well as the massive increase in natural light and air flow they provide.

There are different types to choose from, you can opt for aluminium bi-folding doors:

Or timber ones…

bi-fold timber

Or composite…

It is a nice feature if you can make the floor levels inside and out flush, so as to enhance the flow and make the outdoors truly feel part of the room.  If you use the same floor materials, such as tiles or flag stones for the kitchen as well as the patio that will make it even more seamless.

However it’s not essential to do that – as you can see below, contrasting floors – and even levels – can also look really nice.

Yes, my future dream home would certainly feature a large row of bi-fold doors leading out onto a beautiful large patio.  But the good news is, although I might have to wait for my dream home to happen, I’ve realised that it is not necessary to win the lottery to afford bi-fold doors, nor own a massive house –  look how these stunning doors can work just as beautifully in a much more compact size…

With bi-folding doors it is possible to enjoy the outdoors from the inside and make the most of any finer days and of course the view out onto our gardens.  Or when entertaining, folded right back a party can spill outside and children can run in and out to their hearts content as they play!  I love the versatility, options and greater access to the outdoors that bi-fold doors can give a home owner.

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This is a commissioned blog post, but all opinions and words are my own.

What a week!

It seems I haven’t blogged in ages!  It has been the busiest couple of weeks ever, as lots of you with kids finishing school for the summer will know.

A whirlwind of work, school leavers assemblies and concerts, school BBQ, parents evening, family BBQ, birthday parties x 3 and a school disco – in amongst the usual swimming, scouts etc.

It has been emotional as our biggest boy left juniors ready to go on to high school… (hiding my tears behind the shades so as not to embarrass him too much.)

Last day

Our middle son left his infant school to go to junior school…

photo (11)

All topped off today with a crazy birthday party in the garden for our youngest, who turned five.

Beau's birthday

All in this heat, too!  (Musn’t complain, though – nice to have a summer for once.)

I know I’m not the only one who has had such a crazy countdown to the school summer holidays.  Our giant chalkboard wall kept us on track, so it’s good that it is working for us.  (In fact, I only forgot one thing last month.)

chalkboard wall

Finally tonight we packed off our 11 year old to Scout camp for 3 days, so at last there’s some quiet time, as the other two boys fell asleep on the sofa, absolutely wiped out from today’s excitement.

Shame I have nothing of substance to blog about!  I do intend to get back on track next week – got some lovely projects lined up, with help from those kind businesses who sometimes send me stuff and share offers with Tidy Away Today readers.  First up is a great product that should help us minimise the impact of our neighbour’s new extension…

windows

Plus lots of finishing details in the boys’ bedroom, hopefully.

What else to tell you?  I’ve started choosing a ‘storage product of the week’ over on the Tidy Away Today facebook page, which I will do a round up of on the blog once a month.  Ooh, and I entered a blog giveaway at The Ana Mum Diary and won this utterly gorgeous silver friendship bracelet, with our boys’ initials on.

friendship bracelet

Talking of giveaways, don’t forget to enter mine to win those Dotcomgiftshop storage goodies – closing date is 3 August at midnight.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

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