This post about my new DFS sofa contains three of my favourite things:

  • Winter
  • Cosiness
  • Sitting down

I’m not going to be one of those people, and call it Hygge just because I put a blanket over my knees, (I ranted about this), but I will say that I do like a cosy winter’s evening at home on the sofa.

What’s not to love really? Christmas is all done, spring is on its way, and in the meantime you have an excuse to put your pyjamas on at 4pm every day. Snuggle up with a cocoa, light some candles and crack out the Fresh Prince back catalogue. (Sooo excited that this is now on Comedy Central.)

My snuggling has been severely impaired until now by the fact that our biggest sofa was also the least cosy sofa in the whole world. It had no arms, no squishiness – what on earth is the point of a sofa with no arms? You may as well just sit on the floor and lean against the wall. That’s not very cosy is it? That’s like being 13 and on a school camp in an old mansion house and hanging out on the floor in the corridor because you think you’re cool.

No more corridor floor chic for me though.

I’ve got a new sofa from DFS – the Zinc 2 seater sofa, designed by French Connection. You see how comfy yet stylish I look?

DFS Zinc sofa review View Post

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amazon packaging

First up, I know. I know I shouldn’t shop at Amazon and that if I have a problem with Amazon packaging then I should go to my local shop with a string bag and chat to the greengrocer and generally be a better person. But I’m not, so let’s get over that. Sometimes I just don’t have time.

Okay, so Amazon packaging.

I have two issues.

Firstly, what’s with the tape designed to slice off your fingers??

I’m picturing a big meeting room with one of those annoying glass tables where you’re afraid to put your mug down in case you smash it. This is how I imagine the conversation going:

‘So, packaging ideas – hit me with them.’

‘Guys! I know what we should do! We should add some hidden cheese wire to our tape, so that the next time someone innocently slides their finger underneath it to try and open their parcel, they’ll just be left in a bloody mess!’

‘Genius! Then they’ll have to order antiseptic wipes and plasters – the ultimate upsell!’

It doesn’t stop there though. If you can actually open your parcel without hospitalising yourself then you’re in for a second treat.

It looks something like this:

amazon packaging

What’s that you say? That looks just like a massive box full of scrunched up paper?

It does rather doesn’t it?

Pull out the entire tree’s worth of paper though and inside you’ll find… what? A single book? A pencil? A box of tic tacs?

Seriously Amazon – what the hell is the matter with you? Why do you feel the need to send everything in boxes as big as the world when you know then you just have to fill them all up with paper??

It drives me nuts.

*orders colouring book from Amazon to calm down*

Images – Hadrian and Jeramey Lende both from Shutterstock

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I’ve got a guest post today from the master of all things money saving and making – Jon from The Money Shed. It sounds like a very cool app so well worth a look I’d say.

Pouch voucher app

Shopping online can be a hell of a drag sometimes. You find the item you want and usually the first thing that pops into your head is ‘Can I find this cheaper elsewhere?’ or ‘Can I find a discount code for this retailer anywhere?’

LUCKILY FOR YOU THE LATTER IS NOW A THING OF THE PAST.

YOU NO LONGER NEED TO GO SEARCH FOR VOUCHER OR PROMO CODES!

Pouch is an amazing new browser plugin that brings the voucher codes LIVE AND DIRECT to your web browser while you are shopping. So if there is an active voucher code out there then you will get presented with it straight away without a need to endlessly Google for an active one. View Post

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So you have the keys to the front door, and you’re finally in the home! It’s a great and exciting time for you, and you’re eager to mix things up and create that perfect pad. But before you whip out the paintbrush here’s eight tips to consider for getting everything right.

Do… have a plan

What will your home look like? Will it feature one, constant theme, or will each room have its own distinct character? Will the colours be bright and vibrant, calm and considered, or a blend of both? How will it be laid out? What furniture will I need? Before steaming in and buying a glut of DUY items, think of your future. Some of your plans might work, and some might not, but you’ve got a better chance of success with a little forethought.

Don’t… rush the process

You may be absolutely desperate to get your property into a shape ready for a housewarming party, and that’s fine. But a ‘rush job’ of quickly buying furniture that you don’t really like, or painting walls and fittings quickly in a slapdash fashion, will not serve you well down the line. If you have to, concentrate on decorating one or two rooms at a time – and decorating these well – and then open these up to your friends.

Do… get your paintbrush out

Once you’ve decided on your them, it makes perfect sense to get the walls painted or wallpapered as soon as possible – and definitely before you’ve moved major furniture into the room. Covering chairs and tables in plastic sheets, or scraping paint off with a knife is a drain on time that you don’t need when there’s so much to do.

Don’t…. forget lighting

Whatever style of rooms you plump for, consider the quality and type of light and how that will affect the look. Think of colour, and mood, and the amount of sunlight – a lack of light can destroy the cosiness and warmth of a room with dark furniture. If you have the means, consider getting a new window or skylight installed, or perhaps different doors, through a company such as Ken’s Yard.

Do… choose a bed early

A persistent lack of sleep can lead to illness and weight gain at best, and depression, heart disease and cognitive dysfunction. So don’t spend too much time sleeping on the floor or couch. Indeed, choosing a bed is one of the more exciting aspects of building a home. Go for something that fits in with the intended style of the room, and don’t skimp on a good mattress.

Don’t… be afraid to experiment

This is your home. There are no parents or landlords to stop you any more, and that means the shackles are off. A bathroom decorated entirely in pink or purple? Fine. A front room styled entirely on the films of Quentin Tarantino? Great. A garden that’s completely paved over and garnished with statues from eastern mythology? Go for it – these people all did, albeit with a lot of cash behind them.

Do… fight the temptation that only matching furniture will do

As much as you may wish to live in a symmetrical, uniform home, where all the lamps and chairs and tables and carpets and other furnishings match up, a little randomness and quirkiness here and there isn’t a terrible thing. You don’t want your home to look like a set of showrooms or something akin to a catalogue home, do you? Trying to find items that perfectly fit in with their surroundings can lead to over-complication, or perhaps worse, a drastic let of space.

Don’t… buy everything at once

Not only will it cripple you financially, there’s a good chance that you’ll miss out on good deals or offers. Prioritising what needs to be done first – ie the bedroom – gives you time to plan out the home, and also measure up exactly what would fit well in any given space as you move along. You might move existing furniture around and realise that you can swap some items into rooms rather than buying new.

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Coca-Cola Ekocenter Vietnam

Can I just take a little self-indulgent moment please?

About six months into my blog, back in 2010, I remember being sent a free tube of hand cream to review, and being SUPER excited. (I looked up the review and it’s pretty good actually, although distinctly lacking in the image department. If you want to read it you can here. I describe the smell of the hand cream as ‘a bit like an old people’s home – that sort of sterile, overcooked veg, soiled trousers smell’.)

My point is, I never started blogging with any intention of it being a thing, and so every day I’m grateful that this is now what I get to do as a real, actual job. I’d never in a million years have dreamt that my blog would take me to FOUR different continents. It’s such a privilege. I’d never be able to visit such extraordinary places otherwise and I feel honoured to get to do such amazing things and share them with you.

Okay, I’m done, you can open your eyes now.

So, Vietnam with Coca-Cola. (HOW COOL?!)

Coca-Cola Ekocenter Vietnam

I’ve drunk a lot of Coca-Cola in my time, but never been to Vietnam, or to anywhere else in Asia for that matter. I’ve developed something of a travel bug though in the last few years and so when Coca-Cola invited me to Vietnam to check out the work they are doing there to support local communities, well, I wasn’t going to say no was I? 

First up though, I want to address the elephant in the room. There may well be some of you who are reading this and thinking ‘yeah yeah, what do Coca-Cola care about community? They just want to sell Coke don’t they?’ View Post

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