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Tag: home

Home Improvements – Working on Our Forever Home

Home Improvements – Working on Our Forever Home

*This is a collaborative post. 

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know that we’ve working on turning our house into our forever home. We weren’t always sure we were going to stay here, but after searching the market for new properties we realised how much we love our little palace. After many months renovating each room, we’ve finally gotten around the the last one. The living room!

We like a neutral colour scheme, brightened up with colourful accessories. I love hard floors too, I think they look fabulous and are much easier to clean! For that reason, Laminate Flooring is an absolute must. I do like a small carpeted area too, for the kids to play with their toys on. So a rug is also on my shopping list.

White walls and dark floors –

After doing a little research into decor themes, I came across a beautiful image of a room with perfectly white wall and a dark floor. I loved the look immediately and knew that’s what I wanted our space to look like. It looked elegant and fresh, the ideal combination to make our house feel like a home!

https://www.pexels.com/photo/apartment-architecture-book-bookcase-265004/

Rugs with attitude –

As I said earlier on, I do love to have a small carpet in the room. I think they make it feel cosy and it gives the kids somewhere to sit when they have their toys out. I love the really bright coloured rugs, ones that are a real statement piece. We’ve decided to go for a red theme, so I’m on the lookout for chunky red rugs to die for!

https://www.pexels.com/photo/apartment-contemporary-couch-curtains-275484/

Picture perfect pieces –

There’s nothing that make a house a home, more than filling it with photos of the family. Ever since we had children, I’ve struggled to find the space to fit all of the images I want to show off to the world. In our new living room, we have decided to use a collage of picture frames, instead of spaced out individual frames. That way we can show off more than one photo and we won’t run out of space too soon. Our girls still have a lot of growing to do and I intend to take snapshots of every moment!


https://www.pexels.com/photo/portrait-display-1134208/

Now that we have a plan, all we need to do is get decorating! My husband is very handy and is able to do the work himself, which leaves extra cash behind to really make the room look special. Since we are going to be in this house for many more years to come, we want to get it just right!

 

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5 Ways to Be More Frugal with Your Money

5 Ways to Be More Frugal with Your Money

*This is a collaborative post.

Being frugal is a great way to reduce the amount of stress you feel when it comes to handling your money. Let’s face it, hefty bills and a less than perfect bank account balance can be enough to keep even the most laid-back families up at night. Not to mention, stress over money can lead to issues with your relationships too.

Unfortunately, changing your spending habits isn’t as simple as just deciding that you’re going to spend less and save more. While you might start with good intentions, you still need a plan of action in place to make sure you achieve your financial goals. Here are just a few of the ways you can be more frugal with your money, without exposing yourself to additional cash headaches.

  1. Start with a Savings Plan

The first step in successful saving is automating the process as much as possible. For instance, look at your budget and figure out what you need to spend money on every month. That means separating the essential costs like utility bills, mortgage, and rent expenses, from other costs like the price of weekend entertainment. Once you know what your essential expenses, set up direct debits wherever you can so you don’t have to worry about remembering to pay them.

While you’re setting your direct debits up, make sure that you set up a payment to send a small amount of your income into a savings account each month. Not only does this make saving automatic, but it also ensures that your extra cash is out of your current account, and less likely to tempt you.

  1. Eliminate Waste

One of the biggest reasons that we spend too much money each month is that we over-spend on things we don’t really want or need. For instance, how much food do you end up throwing away each month because you made too much for a family dinner, or you didn’t have chance to use up ingredients before they went out of date?

Get rid of waste by carefully planning your meals and the other things you’ll need for the week and buying only that amount. Not only will reducing waste help to protect your finances, but it will create a healthier planet too!

  1. Buy Everything at a Discount

It’s easy to assume that you’re simply getting the best deal for everything you buy, but unless you search for better deals and discounts, you’ll never know. While the idea of searching through the web for free coupons and voucher codes might sound exhausting at first, you’d be surprised how quickly you can find a bargain. Using sites such as dealsplanet can be a brilliant place to start.

Although you might not have time to find a voucher for absolutely everything on your shopping list, it’s worth at least putting some extra time into your search when you’re buying a big-ticket item like a new TV or a pair of expensive shoes.

  1. Grow your Own Food

A great way to reduce waste and minimise the amount you spend at the supermarket is to grow the food that you use the most often in your yard. There are plenty of great guides and articles out there that teach you how to nourish your own fruits and vegetables from scratch, and you don’t need a lot of space to grow most of the vegetables that you know and love. In fact, there are certain plants you can grow on your windowsill, or in a window box.

If you enjoy working in your garden, then you’ll also have a fantastic free way to entertain yourself, without spending any money on trips to the cinema or expensive restaurant meals too! You can even get the kids involved to make gardening a family event.

  1. Keep on Top of your Spending

Finally, a great way to be more frugal with your money is to make sure that you keep on top of your spending whenever you can. This means not only tracking the amount you spend on everything from food to bills, but also making sure that you’re getting the best deals from your suppliers too. For instance, every few months, it’s worth going online and comparing your utility bills.

Check you’re getting the right deal for the amount of gas and electricity you’re using, and compare other things like broadband packages, television, and even interest rates on existing loans. The more you focus on finding new ways to reduce your spending, the better off you’ll be.

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Does Staying at Home with the Kids Mean I Lack Ambition?

Does Staying at Home with the Kids Mean I Lack Ambition?

My husband and I had a conversation recently, mainly about the family life of professionals. He told me that one of his colleagues had informed him that he does so well at work, because his wife ‘lacks ambition‘. What he meant was, his wife had given up her professional role to stay at home with the kids and that it was the right choice for their family. It would seem that he appreciated this ‘lack of ambition‘ though, as he felt it allowed him to progress swiftly in his own career. As you can imagine, I was a little taken aback by his admission.

I’ve previously written about my marriage and I’ve commented on the main reason it’s working so well. That reason was the fact that I stay at home to look after the kids. Yes this is so my husband can progress in his career and yes it meant I had to leave my first business behind. Does it mean I lack ambition though? Am I forever destined to be mother and housewife, with no desire to follow my dreams? I think not.

Ambition doesn’t always wear the same mask –

The thing about ambition is that it means different things to different people. From being a teenager, it was always my ambition to work for myself. I knew I wanted to be my own boss and a lot of hard work got me there. My husband always dreamt of working as a medical professional, he continues to work hard in this field and he will go far. This demonstrates ambition in two different ways, but both are ambition nonetheless.

Stronger than my ambition to build a business, was my desire to become the best mum I could be. It was my ambition to become a stay at home parent, that was and still is the environment in which I want to raise my children. How can that not be ambition? It’s a dream and it takes a lot of working towards, I believe I have succeeded. I have have fulfilled my ambition.

I do always put my husbands work needs before my own, but that’s because I want to, not because I have to. Just because I want him to achieve his goals and because I’m happy to work around his aspirations, doesn’t mean I’m faltering on the ambition front. Ambition doesn’t just have to be associated with career prospects, it covers life as a whole.

There’s more than one way to skin a cat –

The comment this guy made frustrated me most, because my ambition to be self employed will never disappear. That’s why I built up a blogging and freelance writing business from home. Just because people don’t always fulfil their ambition by taking the traditional route, doesn’t mean it’s not achievable. I know from my own experience that anything is possible if you put your mind to it. Referring to your loved one as ‘lacking ambition’ is entirely unacceptable, given that there’s so much to be achieved without leaving the comfort of your own home.

So whatever your ambition may be, whether it’s to rise through the ranks of your company, to be a stay at home parent or to build a business of your own. Never, ever believe that you are lacking in ambition. Never let anyone tell you that you don’t aspire to do anything or be anyone. You are you for a reason and you’re already achieving so much.

 

 

 

 

 

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Working from Home: How to Meet Deadlines When your Children Refuse to Nap

Working from Home: How to Meet Deadlines When your Children Refuse to Nap

Thus far in my blogging career, I’ve been able to complete a sizeable chunk of the hefty workload whilst my children slumbered. I would put them down for their afternoon nap and sit down to a couple of hours work in the afternoon. Then when they went to bed in the evening, I’d grab a few more hours for good measure. It was a good balance and one that will be sorely missed.

The last few months have seen my eldest daughter drop her naps altogether. My youngest does still nap, but not for long during daytime hours. This has thrown a huge spanner in the works where my business is concerned, as I’ve lost a whopping 14 hours of dedicated blogging time each week. At first I found myself in a spin of overwhelm and disorganisation. With even less time in the day to get on top of things, I felt like I was drowning in my work load.

Something had to change. Firstly I had to accept that nap time is no more. I’ve had a good run of 2.5 years of mid-afternoon bliss, but it was time to re-asses our daily routine to keep each of us as happy as can be. After much trial and error, we now have a good little routine going!

 

So, here’s how to meet deadlines when your children refuse to nap:

 

Split your days into activity blocks –

The key to keeping everyone in your house happy, is to allocate of time to meet everyone’s needs. In our house, the littlest still needs a short nap around lunchtime, so our day is divided into three blocks; ‘morning’, ‘downtime’ and ‘the rest of the day’. Our morning and the rest of the day is dedicated to our girls, we take them out, educate them and do everything else that comes with being a parent. Downtime however, is time for me to settle the girls down for an hour in order to get through some of my workload. I often enlist the help of Peppa Pig here, but it’s a good rest for the girls and time for them to recharge for the rest of the day.

Create a dedicated work space –

Having an area that’s just for you is a great way to make sure you meet your deadlines. My husband recently built me a desk area and it means that I can leave unfinished work to come back to later. I’m able to jump back into my chair and continue my project without having to wast time reorganising myself. It also means there are no little people using my documents as scrap paper!

Work into the night, but know when to stop –

I’ve accepted that If I’m to continue working at the level I’ve gotten used to, then burning the midnight oil is a given. As it’s the only real quiet time I have, I leave all of the more complicated projects until after the children have settled for the night. Working too late, too often can quickly lead to burn out though. So it’s important to recognise your limits and to hit the hay early once in a while. Burning the candle at both ends won’t be a benefit to anyone.

Use downtime to catch up on easy tasks –

If the kids are up and you’re finding it difficult to concentrate, tackling tasks that are simple will make you feel like you’ve been productive. It’s still work that has to be done and once you have time to yourself you can concentrate on the more complex projects.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help –

Sometimes things don’t go according to plan and getting things done becomes impossible. That’s when you need to admit defeat and ask for a little help. Whether that’s getting someone to watch the kids whilst you spend some time catching up, or outsourcing work that you just isn’t at the top of your priority list. Don’t try to be superhuman!

 

Photo Credit

 

 

 

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Four Easy ways to Make Money from Home

Four Easy ways to Make Money from Home

Ever since I gave up my first business back in 2015, I’ve made it my mission to find legitimate ways of making money from home. For a little while I was a stay at home mum, but like many others before me I needed something else in my life. I needed to feel the purpose that comes from having a business. I missed the excitement of building up my own empire and the rush from striking good deals and making money in my own right.

The good thing about working from home, is that you have the space to create multiple income streams. There’s the opportunity to seek out numerous ways to make cash, all from the comfort and warmth of your own four walls. I for one, have never looked back since I began freelancing. The fact that I make money from home means that I’m always here for my children, as well as constantly feeding my desire to be successful at work!

There are so many ways that you too can make money from home, all it take is effort and a lot of determination. Here are four easy ways you can make money from home;

 

Freelance writing –

Freelance writing is a great way to make money from home. If you love to write and have the skills to produce good quality copy, then this option could be for you. There are numerous online platforms that provide freelancers with work at their skill level, as well as giving them the opportunity to rise through the ranks as they gain experience. The beauty of this role is that you can take on as much or as little work as you wish and payment is usually made swiftly. If this is of interest to you, I’ve written about more about making money from freelance writing HERE! 

 

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Sell unwanted jewellery –

Most of us have jewellery in the house that we no longer wear. Whether they’re pieces that are no longer in fashion or they’re just not your cup of tea anymore, often they sit collecting dust. The fact is though, that you could be sitting on a pile of cash without even realising it! You can sell jewellery for cash with little to no effort, all you have to concentrate on is the reward. With gold prices currently at a record high, now is the time to get searching through your jewellery box. The best bit about it is that you can be paid for your wares in as little as 24 hours.

 

Photo Credit

Complete online surveys –

As much as completing online surveys is never going to make you a millionaire, there’s still the possibility to make a little extra money for a rainy day. A quick Google search will present you with a whole host of survey sites, some pay in cash, others in points that can be exchanged for vouchers and some in gifts. The secret to making money from home with these surveys is volume. They take very little brain power to complete, you can do them whilst sitting in front of the TV of an evening. Do as many as you can in the time that you have and reap the rewards!

 

Photo Credit

 

Sell unwanted household items –

As with unwanted jewellery, many of us have a house full of things we no longer need nor use. An easy way to make money from home, is to list these items on online marketplaces and auction sites. Someone else is bound to want what you have and you can use the cash to get something that you really need instead. Not only are you set to make a tidy sum from selling your stuff, you’ll also de-clutter your home along the way!

 

Photo Credit

 

 

*This post was written in collaboration with Post My Gold. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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#MumisBest Guest Post – Lisa from What 2 Buy for Kids

#MumisBest Guest Post – Lisa from What 2 Buy for Kids

Welcome to another instalment of my new guest series #MumisBest!  #MumisBest is all about the ever-growing SAHM/working mum debate.  I really want this series to highlight that there’s no right or wrong way, but whatever works for you and you family.  If you’d like to take part do get in touch, I’d love to hear from you!  For now I will leave you in the hands of Lisa from What 2 Buy 4 Kids!

 

Juggling home and work life can be a challenge, but I love what I do and it’s all worthwhile! I work in the office Monday to Friday and try to do on average 35 hours a week. If I need to, I do work at home in the evenings, but I try to keep Saturdays and Sundays free for doing family things.

When the kids were younger, I was a SAHM, and I loved every minute. We had so much fun, enjoying activities, such as baking, gardening, arts and crafts, and imaginative play was a huge part of our lives! We also would meet up with other mums and children for playdates, trips to the park and activities such as Jo Jingles and Tumble Tots. But once my kids were school age, I needed to fill in the gap and extra time that had now been created. I wanted to do something that I was passionate about, but also do something that would allow me to work from home. Before I had my kids, I was a primary school teacher, so I wanted to use my knowledge and expertise as a teacher (as well as a mum).  I put my thinking cap on, and came up with the idea of setting up a website selling fun and educational toys and gifts for kids.

So, 7 years ago what2buy4kids was born. I started the business from my dining room at home. In the beginning I worked pretty much all the time, working when the children were at school and when they went to bed at night. It was handy working from home, though, as I didn’t need to rely on childcare. I could still drop the kids off at school and pick them up. The school holidays were more of a struggle and I had to rely heavily on children’s holiday camps, activity clubs and overnight stays at grandparents and friends’ houses were a godsend. I would try to have either a morning or afternoon off work now and again, so we could go to the cinema or the local park for example. Days out to the local farm, Chester Zoo etc…  had to wait for the weekends. Weekends became very special, where we spent real quality family time together.

Last year, my business had grown so much that I had no alternative, but to find larger premises with offices and a warehouse attached. Fortunately, for me, this came at the right time, as my kids were now old enough to look after themselves. I still do work lots of hours, but I do try to have Saturdays and Sundays off. Easier said than done, especially in the run up to Christmas!!!

The hardest thing about being a working mum is finding the right balance between work and home life. I sometimes feel guilty when I can’t drop and pick up from school, when I miss a school sports day, Christmas play or end of term concert, but I always make sure that someone goes in my place. I do my best to balance work and home life and that’s why I’m not always in the office. As I’ve already mentioned, my weekends are very precious, and we always try to do fun and exciting things on my days off.

Everyone’s situation is unique and different, and there’s no right or wrong answer, as to whether you should be a SAHM or working mum. My advice is to do what feels right for you, but if you are considering working, my top tip for working mums is to do something you enjoy and are passionate about – then it really won’t ever seem like you are actually working!!!

Bio:

Hi – I’m Lisa, wife to Jeremy and mum to 3 kids. Chris is my eldest, Emma came along two years later and Katie is the baby of the family. I live in a small village, called Appleton, in Cheshire. I run my own business, what2buy4kids, which is an online toyshop selling good quality toys and gifts for kids from birth to 12 years.

You can see more from Lisa here:

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Vremi Baking Cups – Review & Giveaway

Vremi Baking Cups – Review & Giveaway

We’ve had a lot of fun this week at The Tale of Mummyhood HQ, as we’ve had our baking hats on. We were lucky enough to be sent a selection of Vremi Silicone Baking Cups and the girls couldn’t wait to get messy! I’m the first to admit that baking isn’t my strong point, but with the help of Hubs we managed to create some edible buns that we all enjoyed!

The great thing about these baking cups is that you get so many. With twenty-four in the pack you can make enough cakes for everyone and some for when the kids are finally in bed! They come in 4 different colours, pink, yellow, blue and green, which was great to help us identify who’s cakes were who’s!

 

 

So, how did we get on?

Having only used paper baking cups before, Hubs and I were super impressed with the ease of the Vremi silicone cups. They are so much stronger than the paper ones, so our cakes kept their shape in the oven and there were no spillages because of collapsing sides! They are non-stick too, so when you remove your cake from the cups you get the whole lot, rather than chunks of cake being left on the side of the paper.

As a parent the best thing about these cups is that once they’ve been used, you just throw them in the dishwasher ready to use all over again! This means that there’s no messy washing up to do and there are always baking cups in the house if the girls decide they want to make cakes! I know that our baking cups will get so much use as our girls get into baking. I think the practice will be good for me too!

 

If you’d like the chance to win your own Vremi Baking Cups and Apple Slicer, all you have to do is enter using the form below. Please do take a peek at the terms and conditions…good luck!

 

Win the Vremi Silicone Baking Cups and Apple Slicer #17

*We were sent the Vremi baking cups in return for this review. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Home Improvements – Creating the Ideal Office and Home

Home Improvements – Creating the Ideal Office and Home

Ever since we moved into our house over five years ago, we’ve struggled to decide whether or not it would be our forever home. In that time, we’ve gotten married, had 2 children and recently we finally decided that this place is where we’re meant to be. So over the past few months we’ve taken the time to make a few changes to our humble abode, it was time to get our four walls working for us!

 

Our Home Improvements –

The thing about the property we live in, is that it doesn’t have a great deal of storage room. We didn’t really see this as a problem until we had children, but these days we struggle to find the space to store all of the kids toys. It’s also not been easy to find the space to store my work things. Working from home suits me, but it means that I’ve had the find an area to fit an office into our home!

Luckily for me I have a very handy husband and he’s been a busy little bee! He’s created the perfect office for me, with heaps of built-in storage for all of my bits and bobs. I now have a large desk, giving me the space to focus when I need to, he also added a few of my favourite accessories to give my work space character and to make it a happy place to sit when I’m putting in the hours!

Not only did we need this room to include an office space, but it also needs to function comfortably as a dining room. So Hubs found us the ideal round, extendable table that we can all sit around as a family and enjoy our meals. Then once dinner is over the table can be made more compact, so that we have plenty of space to use the rest of the room!

 

Photo Credit

 

Long Term Home Improvements –

As well as making these small yet effective changes to our home, there are also a few bigger plans that we have in the pipeline! One way to increase the amount of space that we have is to add a conservatory onto the side of our house. I’ve always loved the look of lantern roofs and I know it would make the perfect, bright play room for our girls! Not only would this extra room would provide some much needed space, it would also create the perfect reading room for when I finally get time to chill out! 

Even though our dining room is feeling better than ever before, I can’t help but think it would feel so much better if it had doors that opened up onto our garden. Spending hours at my desk would be made so much nicer during the Summer months if I could open up the room to enjoy the weather at the same time. Hubs and I decided to get a bifold door quote, as these really would make or home perfect for all of us!

Our house is set to be our dream home once all of these improvements have been made. I can’t wait sit back and relax in our perfect little palace!

 

What improvements would you like to make to your home?

 

Photo Credit

 

*This is a collaborative post.

 

 

 

 

 

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Gingersnap Colour Changing Light Box – Review

Gingersnap Colour Changing Light Box – Review

Recently Hubs and I have spent some time renovating our little palace. We’ve managed to regain a bit of the adult space that disappeared shortly after our first daughter was born. We’ve enjoyed relaxing in our new environment over the past few weeks, but we both felt that there was something missing. After having a big de-clutter, our living area felt bare and in need of a little life! So when I got the chance to review the Gingersnap colour changing light box, I couldn’t wait to spruce up our room with this super cool feature!

Before our light box arrived I spent some time looking over the Gingersnap website. Not only do they have light boxes, they also have vintage lighting and neon lamps, among so much more. I absolutely love the look of the vintage lamps, I’ll definitely be heading back to Gingersnap as we work our way through the other rooms in our house!

Light Box Love

I’ve always loved the look of light boxes and this one does not disappoint. When it arrived the girls and I had a great time sorting through the letter and emoji packs. The guys at Gingersnap also sent over an extra coloured letter pack, perfect for mixing and matching our messages. There are so many emoji’s to choose from and after much consideration, I found the social media icons most apt for this project!

 

 

The best thing about this Gingersnap light box is that, unlike some of the more standard options, it has a colour changing back light. You can choose from the traditional white light, or by clicking the button for a second time you can switch to an array of beautiful bright colours. Our eldest daughter has recently begun to learn her colours, so she’s had a total ball shouting out all of the different colours as they change!

 

 

Our new light box sits pride of place in our living area. I love spending time changing the messages, they’re a real conversation starter when we have company! If you’re after a super cool addition to your home then I can’t recommend this product enough, it’d make a really great gift for friends and family too!

 

Gingersnap would like to offer my readers the chance to win a light box of their own. All you have to do is enter using the form below…good luck!

 

 

Win a Gingersnap Light Box

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Easy Staircase Makeovers for the Family Home

Easy Staircase Makeovers for the Family Home

Usually, when it comes to decorating the family home, the stairs are not our first priority. After all, how often do we notice them – we go up, we come down, we repeat. It’s sometimes thought that decorating your stairs can be expensive, but actually, providing they are structurally sound, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to update your stairs, and it can be quite simple!

 

Photo Credit

Strip it Back

One of the easiest ways to makeover your staircase is to get back to basics. Tired of seeing the boring old beige carpet every time you go up the stairs? Get rid of it! Replace it with a glossy wood or a more exciting carpet. For wooden stairs, why not try sanding the wood down and refinishing it with a new stain? You’ll be surprised at the difference it will make. You can buy a wood stain for under £10, so all you need is a trip to B&Q and some determination.

Change it Up

Buying stair parts to change up your staircase is more straightforward than you think. Whether you’re looking to replace your old wooden spindles with a contemporary glass panel, or you like the look of a traditional iron staircase, it’s easy to do. Your first step (pardon the pun!) is to buy from a reliable stair parts manufacturer. You’ll be able to buy spindles (the vertical posts), newel posts (the top and bottom posts), handrails and base rails either separately or together, so you can change as much, or as little as you’d like. If you want to change the whole staircase, you can buy a stair kit.

 

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Get Creative with Paint

Ah, paint. Another affordable way to make a huge difference to any room, and the hallway/staircase is no exception. Paint your walls a complementary colour or make a statement with a dark forest green or blue (the colours du jour for interior designers at the moment). If you’re feeling more adventurous, why not paint the risers – that’s the vertical bit – black or white.  

Play with Patterns

You use your stairs every day, so why not try to make them a little more fun? Keep the stairs plain, and then experiment with a patterned stair runner – monochrome stripes look chic with white stairs. If you don’t want to be committed to a stair runner, why not try a funky rug? You could focus on bright colours for spring, rust orange for autumn and go all-out-fluffy for winter.

 

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Decorative Touches

If you’re reluctant to change the stairs themselves, have a think about the decorative touches you can add to the area instead. A gallery wall of family photos as you go up the stairs is always a nice touch, as are fairy lights entwined through the spindles – although this may be best saved for the colder time of year!  

Changing your stairs doesn’t have to expensive. You can do as little, or as much as you’d like!

 

*This is a collaborative post.

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