New Reader? Start Here!

Make your new kitchen fit for a party

Make your new kitchen fit for a party
In most houses, the kitchen is the heart of the home. It needs to be fit for multipurpose – fit for a family by day and fit for a party by night, for instance. As the saying goes ‘you will always find me in the kitchen at parties…’

But how do you design a kitchen that can accommodate both whilst still reflecting the ‘wow’ factor? Kitchen design specialist Harvey Jones has utilised their expert knowledge to offer you the best advice and inspiration to help you create the kitchen that is the perfect medium between family living and a great party venue for all your guests.

1 – Add a peninsula or island for your guests to gather
 A kitchen work surface that can be accessed from both the centre of the kitchen and outside can be utilised as a breakfast station and yet can also be quickly transformed into a buffet station to hold all your party nibbles. Barstools can be added to accommodate those who want to sit and enjoy the party food with a glass of fizz in their hand too.

2 – Create a drinks station 
Every party needs a drinks station, or a bar. Tambour-fronted or double-doored breakfast stations are all the rage at the moment but can easily be turned into a bar for parties. Cereals, bread and biscuits can be easily replaced with glasses, snacks and cocktail-making essentials. Access to a plug enables you to add tech like a blender or ice machine to your bar, and incorporating a wine cooler or mini fridge into the design means your guests will always have access to their favourite tipple, chilled or poured over ice.

3 – Have plenty of places to sit 
You can add a new dimension to kitchen seating by adding a bench to your design, or ensuring you leave room for an extending dining table. You want to have a place for your guests to gather and socialise together. In the early stages of designing your kitchen, you should consider where you might store extra chairs. Fold-away chairs are the easiest to conceal and store away until a party. You might want to consider building in a multipurpose utility cupboard where you can store these extra chairs alongside your vacuum, mop and bucket and your ironing board though. It’ll be a space that hides them away out of sight, but leaves them right at hand when you need them.

4 – Light it up 
Nothing creates a party mood more than good lighting. Whilst you might not want funky, colourful lighting all year round, you may want to consider adding a few extras in the design process to make sure you have light settings for all occasions. Colour-change LED lights can be concealed underneath cupboards and island work surfaces, or below plinths and even behind glass splashbacks. This means you can have a little something up your sleeve to really help set the mood for your guests. Not only that, but zone lighting and dimmable switches help to define areas of the kitchen and create different moods suitable for any occasion whilst wowing your guests.

With a little help for Harvey Jones, you can design your perfect party kitchen in no time.

The Benefits of Beauty Sleep

The Benefits of Beauty Sleep

Getting a good night's sleep is so important that it should definitely be top of the list in your beauty regime. Rest and relaxation ensures your entire body is rejuvenated, and your skin has time to repair. Unfortunately, not enough people understand just how important achieving a full 40 winks really is. Tired, puffy eyes, and grey skin is not a pretty sight, and if you don't feel fully rested after sleep, no amount of make-up can hide the consequences. But don't worry! I have some great tips about how to ensure you get the sleep you need in order to keep yourself in tip top condition.

 Get Some Exercise!

This may sound odd, but by doing some exercise about an hour before you go to bed you can actually benefit from a full night's sleep. You don't even need to leave the house and there are plenty of aerobic vids online that you can do in the comfort of your own home. Studies show that moderately intense exercise can help you fall asleep faster and keep you asleep for longer too. Daily exercise will also keep you in great shape too, helping you feel, and look fitter. 

Invest in The Right Bed

Since you are going to be spending around eight hours each night in bed asleep, you really do need to invest in the best bed you can afford. While researching which beds are both great for getting a good night's sleep, and are affordable, I stumbled upon the Bedstar divan bed and mattress range which is available online. Divan sets are reliable, sturdy and exceptionally comfortable, which is precisely what you need to snooze the night away.

Buy The Best Bed Linen

Synthetic materials are not great for your skin, and if you have sheets and duvet covers that are made using man-made materials, your skin could be suffering. Softer materials such as Egyptian cotton and linen are perfect as they gentle against your skin. The softer the material, the more comfortable you will be and therefore the more sleep you should get. Natural materials also tend not to crease, leaving lines on your face like rougher fabrics may do which is not what you want to wake up to in the morning! 

Turn Off Your Phone!

Flicking through your social networking site, and posting amusing updates can appear to be an innocent way to relax as you lie in bed, but it could actually be the reason you aren't getting enough sleep. Besides preventing you from truly entering the relaxation zone, the blue light radiating from your phone, laptop and even television can interfere with your ability to wind down at the end of the day. Make a resolution that once you enter the bedroom, you will do no more than relax in your cosy bed, and leave all social networking until the morning.

Taking Mental Health Seriously

Taking Mental Health Seriously
A few years ago now I got diagnosed with mental health problems. At the time I was pretty embarrassed of it, and didn't really speak up much about it. Once I decided to I learnt that actually a lot of my friends had similar problems, and really there isn't much of a stigma around them. 

In fact mental health is a lot more common than I first thought, with 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental illness each year. But still there's not a lot of awareness of mental health issues. I know personally I've struggled in the past to get help for mine, and I've found it's often because there's a lack of funding or research into mental health in young people. It often felt like I was fighting a never ending battle with my GP to even be put forward for CBT, and I honestly think it's down to a lack of awareness, and I know a lot of my friends have had similar problems. 

I came across this infographic from MQ Mental Health Charity and thought it raised some interesting points about mental health, particularly about the funding constraints meaning that some people aren't receiving the treatment and support that they need. 

MQ Mental Health are a charity that are all about understanding mental health, ensuring that it is treated, and ultimately prevented. And with the help of their supporters they can understand better mental health. Personally I am very keen to get involved with with supporting such a great charity, if you'd like to as well you can find more information here