Make the most of your utility room
Stuck at home? Make the most of your garden
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Top 2020 interior design trends
Great ideas for your home office
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Trends for 2020
Citrus colours and simplicity of layout give a wonderful sense of light and space.
Changing decorative details in our homes now and then helps keeps things fun, fresh and interesting. Interiors expert Lauraine Farley has picked some of her favourite trends for 2020 – just to get you inspired! ESPECIALLY popular for the year ahead are citrus hues, so keep an eye out for zesty oranges and yellows. Citrus shades, especially for the warmer months, give a new lease of life to the home. Not only are the shades beautiful, but they are also energetic and give the home a sense of vibrancy and warmth. Brighter colours reﬂect the warmer weather and by choosing these colours you can bring a bit of the outside, inside. This trend is all about making minor changes by incorporating small items
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such as throws or cushions, and so making this an easy trend to bring into the home. Pink is also a leading colour contender for 2020. Its soft and subtle variations like powder pink, girly, boreal or nude can really lift a room. It gives personality to white and softens strong or bright colors. It also gives a touch of sweetness to decorations and brings them elegance and reﬁnement. Pink can lighten up your space while not overdoing it. As part of of a total look, or with
small distilled touches on furniture, decorative objects or textiles, pink will always be beautiful.
If your home is a blank canvas (if you’re a millennial it probably will be), introducing a mixture of colourful patterns and block colours will inject personality into neutral schemes. Colourful abstract patterns are growing in popularity, especially in soft-furnishings, they have an eighties feel and can be the easiest way to transform a room.
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Metals are very ‘in’ for 2020 with everything from the industrial aesthetics of steel and oxidised metals, to the classics that are gold and silver. Metals can be incorporated into your decorative scheme through the use of accessories like lamps and mirror frames right Metals are very much on-trend this season, for anything from lamps and frames to tables and accessories.
down to the legs of coﬀee tables and other small decorative pieces. The use of metals will really bring character to any room.
We are increasingly looking for an idyllic oasis to turn to in our homes, especially in the spring and summer months. The Japandi trend is all about taking a deep breath and injecting a calm, fresh approach and sense of balance to one’s space, embracing the harmonious spirit of the seasons. And so our love of Scandi-style and Japanese-inspired design merge together in 2020 to bring us Japandi. The root of this trend is down to its muted colour palette. Using mostly neutral tones it embraces calming hues of pale blue, muted green and light pink with accents of richer shades like charcoal and teal.
Home&Garden Combining calming tones, natural materials and clean lines, the Japandi trend exhales an eﬀortless feminine elegance within the home. Both Japanese and Scandi styles share the principle of simplicity, where the home should be calm, uncluttered and minimalistic.
creating a soothing atmosphere with soft, neutral fabrics and materials such as rattan. A neutral palette sets a solid foundation to start mixing and matching textures. The fabric and rattan layers add depth to living rooms and lounge spaces.
White has long been a staple in terms of kitchen colours. From the walls to the cabinets, it has always featured, but this is about to change in 2020, as more and more people are turning to darker shades for their kitchens. Darker colours are generally easier to keep clean, unlike white and so choosing to use them on the walls of your kitchen will help conceal the ﬂaws of everyday use. You can also integrate darker wood cabinets and maybe even change the colour of your counter tops to match this trend. How about a black kitchen? It’s a bold and daring concept, but maybe it’s the thing for you?
For 2020 we are seeing a move back to Bohemian decor, but with a modern twist which is all about
Clockwise from top left: Japandi is a blend of the calmness and minimalism seen in Japanese and Scandanavian design; 2020 sees a move away from the use of lighter colours in kitchen design; Modern Boho is all about a soothing atmosphere and natural materials; Shades of pink bring elegance and refinement.
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Steps towards a more efﬁcient, sustainable home BY PAULA BURNS
HOW DOES IT WORK? Draught prooﬁng and insulating your home can reduce your energy bills by a whopping 60 per cent if done properly. The main areas of concern when it comes to draughts are windows and doors. Using draught excluders can easily insulate these. From brush strips to self-adhesive strips to rubber strips there are a variety of products available to suit diﬀerent materials. Once the windows and doors are proofed the next thing would be to insulate the loft. Again this can be a DIY job but ensure that there is some ventilation as condensation can occur.
Incorporating solar energy into your home is not only good for your pocket but will also reduce any carbon footprint guilt you may have. By adorning your rooftop with the sci-ﬁ looking solar panels your electricity bills can be cut in half. HOW DOES IT WORK? Just like we learnt in school, solar panels convert the sun’s energy into electricity. While we may not be living in sunny Spain, the solar photovoltaic (PV) panels are proven to work despite our cloud-ﬁlled skies. A control device that is installed with the panels alters the electricity to allow it to power electrical items in your home. There are also add-ons available such as a hot water diverter that uses the excess energy to produce some of your hot water, again reducing your utility bills.
If you have ever sold your house or you’re on the property hunt you will have heard of a BER rating. The Building Energy Rating is a rating given to your home based on the overall eﬃciency of the building on a scale of A to G, with A1 being the most energy-eﬃcient rating you can get.
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deﬁnite room to improve on its energy eﬃciency. The latest incarnation is the ecodesign stove, that, as the name implies, promises to be friendlier to the environment.
Stepping out of the shower to toasty tiles is one of the great pleasures of having underﬂoor heating. The on-trend heating solution has found itself top of the class not only for its heat retaining abilities but also for aesthetic reasons. With no need for radiators, rooms are left clutter free.
HOW DOES IT WORK? All ﬁres give oﬀ carbon emissions into the atmosphere. However the more eﬃcient the ﬁre the lower the emissions. Ecodesign stoves are wood burning only and are designed to an A+ energy rating. As opposed to an open ﬁre there is little chance of cold air and draughts being drawn back into the home. Wood is a carbon neutral fuel and it radiates more heat, creating a warm and cosy home.
HOW DOES IT WORK? The laws of physics dictate that heat rises, so having its source underﬂoor means it is more eﬃcient. With no localised hotspots, underﬂoor heating creates a warm ﬂow throughout the house. Due to the use of radiant heat, which is similar to that provided by the sun, there is little or no need to dial up the thermostat during the colder months, thus making it more energy-eﬃcient and cost-eﬀective. For anybody embarking on a new build or a big renovation this is a no-brainer. Market Street, Skibbereen, Co. Cork
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Draught proofing Between ensuring the immersion was turned oﬀ and closing every door in the house, Irish people over a certain age will remember that it used to be quite an ordeal trying to save energy in their homes while also staying warm and comfortable. These days sophisticated immersion timers are the name of the game, and draught prooﬁng is also a lot more high tech than a ‘snake’ against the door.
Wood Burning Stove The wood-burning stove has come a long way in the past decade. Originally thought to be a sustainable step up from the open ﬁre there was
HOW DOES IT WORK? To understand it better the average 3-bed semi-detached house built before 2004 has a BER of E1, with an estimated annual fuel cost of €2,450. But the same house, with a BER of C would cost just €1,300 per year – a saving of €1,000. To have cheaper energy bills it might be time to look into improving your BER. Start by insulating your hot water cylinder and pipework, also insulate walls, attic, and ﬂooring. Other ways would be installing advanced energy eﬃcient glazing along with a more eﬃcient boiler.
If creating a sustainable cosy home for winter while saving a few euros sounds appealing, the government has introduced grants to help alleviate the cost in making homes more eﬃcient. The current grants available are for: • Insulation • Heat Pump System • Heating Controls • Solar Water Heating • Solar Electricity Before deciding on which grant would suit your needs best it is advisable to get advice from a building contractor, architect or energy advisor. Check out www.seai.ie for more details.
If you are setting up a home office try to do it in a part of the house that has good natural light, and don’t forget to make time to interact with your new office-mates!
Home sweet ... ofﬁce Advances in technology in recent years have really put the dream of working from home very much on the (kitchen) table for more people than ever. However, in recent weeks, the need to work ‘remotely’ has been thrust upon many of us a matter of some urgency. Niamh Hayes has some words of advice NOW, more than ever, more and more people are working from home. Whether it is by choice or a necessity at the moment, people are setting up home work spaces. You may be lucky enough to have a speciﬁc room that has become your home oﬃce or you may have to make use of another area in your house, either way there are some simple tips and tricks to make your oﬃce space comfortable and ﬁt for purpose.
Having a dedicated room in your house for your oﬃce is great as you can keep your work and personal life totally separate. Even a corner in a spare bedroom enables you to leave work ‘at work’ when you are ﬁnished. However, this is not always the case and lots of people are faced with making the most of another area in their house. Just like having a totally separate
room, your work space, even if it is in the kitchen or living room, should be separated from your personal life as much as possible. If most of your work is done on a laptop, avoid sitting on the couch. This is not only bad for your posture, but it also means that your work life spills over into your relaxation area and you might be tempted to turn on the television or continue to work outside of work hours. A corner of a dining table is better than sitting with your laptop on your lap. Mark a dedicated space on the table for your laptop, documents, stationery and anything else you need. If you are tight for space, moving these items to another corner of the house during mealtimes and in the evenings, and only bringing them out during your work hours, will not only help to free up space, it will help to keep your work separate from
everything else. If you have more than enough space for everyone to sit around the table and still keep your work things in one corner, it will save you having to put away everything and bringing it back out the next day.
Just make sure it is far enough away to avoid being hit by spillages!
A desk provides a simple solution to keeping your work separate from
Laptops have bad ergonomics and are not ideal for use over long periods. Get an external monitor, keyboard and mouse.
Home&Garden your personal life. It can be placed in any corner of any room, including a bedroom, dining or living room. By having a desk, you can keep all your work stuﬀ together and away from other living areas. A comfortable chair will ensure your posture is not being compromised while working from home. Some oﬃce chairs have good back and neck support which will help if you are sitting for long periods of time. If you are limited in your choice, a kitchen chair is better than the sofa.
When working from home, you want to be able to keep everything together so that important documents and ﬁles don’t go missing or end up in another room. Dedicate some storage space to just your work belongings. Multipurpose storage pieces will keep your oﬃce space organised. Many desks have storage underneath where you can keep documents, ﬁles, stationery and other accessories. Even a bedside locker, a cupboard in your kitchen or a drawer in your wardrobe can be utilised for storage. A simple tray or box next to your
worth getting so that you are not tied to being positioned right up against a socket. The last thing you want to worry about when working from home is broadband. Ensure your connectivity is up to scratch and able to deal with the extra usage. Laptops have bad ergonomics,
laptop or computer will keep your documents together and to hand, and strong shelving will keep books and other items oﬀ your direct workspace.
A space where natural light ﬂows in is always the best option so if your space permits, position your work area, table or desk near a window. To avoid glare, position your screen away from the direct light. If working near natural light is not possible, work in a space that is well lit with artiﬁcial soft lighting. If you work in the evenings, having a dimmer on your lights will allow you to dim them as it’s getting darker outside and you can get on with your work more comfortably. A desk lamp will keep your work area well lit and you can position it at diﬀerent angles as the light in the room changes throughout the day.
meaning they are not ideal to use for long periods of time. It is a good idea to plug your laptop into an external monitor, keyboard and mouse. It will be like working on a desktop computer. An external hard drive for backing up your work ﬁles may save time in the long run if your system crashes for any reason.
Above: Space may be at a premium, but do try to avoid cluttering up what little room you do have. Right: The armchair or sofa may be tempting, but think of your posture. Also it’s really important to try and avoid working in a space where you may be trying to chill out later.
When setting up your work-fromhome space, ensure it is located near to power sockets so that you don’t have to leave the area to charge your laptop or phone. An extension lead is
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Growing your own food, even if you don’t have a ‘proper’ garden, is easy, says expert Joyce Russell. LIFE has been turned on its head in the last few weeks and it can be hard to keep cheerful amongst such uncertainty. One positive boost is the enthusiasm for gardening that seems to have sprung up. Seed packets have been selling fast and a compost bin suddenly has a new allure. People are rediscovering the joys and possibilities of a small garden patch and even a back yard or sunny kitchen table can provide the perfect setting to grow-your-own. There’s a huge sense of achievement in watching something that you have sown as it starts to grow. And there’s a bigger sense again when you pick and eat the ﬁrst thing that has been tended from seed to mouth. Children love growing things too and they will often surprise you and eat something new that they have watered and watched with devotion for weeks. It is a wonderful thing to grow and eat your own food and you don’t have to aim for full self-suﬃciency in order to take on a growing project or two. Get out in the fresh air and enjoy some sun, while planting a potato in a bucket or planting a few lettuce plants in a garden bed. Aim for fast crops if this is just a start and you want some swift rewards. Aim longer term if you want to be sure you have plenty to pick and eat for months to come.
‘Get out in the fresh air and enjoy some sun, while planting a potato in a bucket or planting a few lettuce plants in a garden bed’ you like the results before investing in equipment.
SUPER-FAST CROPS Sprouting beans and peas Method 1. What you need: A large jar with holes punched in the lid. • Soak a handful of whole dried peas or beans in water for a few hours or overnight. Some varieties work better than others but it’s worth experimenting with what you have. Dried mung beans, whole lentils, and peas all work well. • Drain the water out through the holes in the lid and leave the jar of swollen beans on a not-too-sunny window ledge. • Rinse the contents with fresh water once or twice a day. Take care not to shake and break sprouts as they start to grow. • When the jar starts to ﬁll with shoots
You can grow lots of food in a small raised bed. You can achieve similar results using buckets and other containers as long as the have adequate drainage holes. (Photo: Ben Russell) and leaves, pull a few out and see if they are ready to eat. Keep the contents damp and don’t let them dry out – they turn bitter if they shrivel and brown.
the peas over the top. • Keep the paper wet at all times. • Eat the whole thing when there are plenty of green shoots and leaves, or simply cut and use the tops if you prefer these.
Method 2. What you need: A plastic tub with four layers of kitchen paper in the base • Soak the peas as above. • Wet the kitchen paper and scatter
Method 3. You can buy a system of trays that are made for sprouting seeds. Maybe try one of the homemade methods ﬁrst and see if
Grow microgreens What you need: shallow tubs with drainage holes, seeds, compost or kitchen paper, clear plastic covering. • Fill two or three shallow tubs with compost or several layers of kitchen paper and water this until damp. • Scatter one type of seed thickly over the top of each tub. Use old vegetable seeds up if you want. Beetroot, chard, spinach, carrot, brassicas and any salad leaves work well. Don’t mix seeds in the same tub – they come up at diﬀerent times and grow to diﬀerent heights. • Cover with a clear plastic bag, or ﬁlm, and leave on a sunny window ledge or table until the seeds start to sprout. • Uncover and spray with water every day to keep the compost or paper, seed, and young leaves moist. • Cut the clean stems when they are 5-10 cm tall; use in salads and sandwiches.
CROPS THAT TAKE A FEW WEEKS
Dig over an empty garden bed and add some good compost or well-
ter time to enjoy growing? She also believes in the importance of any kind of gardening as a salve for mind, body and soul rotted manure if you can. You can use a pelleted feed, or pour strong tea over the bed, or chop and add seaweed instead, if garden stores are closed. •Try planting a row of seed potatoes. Choose early or second early varieties for the fastest crops. Put potatoes 15cm deep and 30cm apart in a row. You can try planting healthy looking potatoes that have started to sprout from the grocery store, if this is all you can get hold of. You should get some tasty potatoes in July. • Sow rows of salad leaves like rocket, mustard greens, and oriental leaves. These grow quickly, but they will need some protection from slugs and snails. • Buy small lettuce plants if you want to get oﬀ to a fast start. Or sow seed in a pot on a window ledge and plant out when around 6-8cm tall. • Keep the bed watered and use leaves when they are big enough to pick. More leaves will grow on cut-andcome-again varieties. A large container will do if you don’t have a garden bed. Make holes in the bottom of a bucket if this is what you have. • Fill with compost and plant one potato per bucket. • You can grow salad leaves in containers too. Scatter seed thinly and just cover with a thin layer of compost. • Containers dry out quickly so water every day if needed. • Lift the container from time to time and remove any slugs that are hiding underneath.
LONGER TERM CROPS If you really get the bug and want to keep some veg growing in your garden for months, then there are lots of things you can sow now. Look at the sowing and planting chart for some ideas and look in books, or online, if you want some extra help. April is the ideal month for sowing many vegetable seeds, so choose which vegetables you like to eat and aim to grow some of them. If you
Top jobs for April • Add manure and compost to replace nutrients washed out of soil by heavy rain • Keep sowing and planting • Keep potting plants on if needed. Don’t let plants become rootbound. • Harden plants off before planting out. • Mow grass and use seed-free clippings as a mulch. • Protect fruit blossom from birds. • Sow and plant annual flowers in borders. • Put up frames and supports for climbing plants. • Keep pots and containers watered in dry weather. • Ventilate greenhouses and polytunnels.
Top tips for April
• Watch the weather forecast and learn to work with it. • Don’t rush to plant tender things outdoors until temperatures are consistently warm. • Plant new herbs if old ones are straggly and unproductive. • Sow purple sprouting broccoli now and you can be eating it at this time next year. • Keep potato rows covered if tops emerge in frosty weather.
Colourful crop! There is great value and satisfaction to be had from growing your own veg, but try to anticipate the harvest when you sow the seeds. (Photo: Ben Russell) are only starting out then I would recommend one or two courgette plants, runner beans, some beetroot and a few brassicas, like kale, cabbage and broccoli. These will give you some pickings over a good spread of time and some of the hardier brassicas will stand through the winter to keep picking in spring. Keep sowing all kinds of salad too. A sowing every month will mean that a
new row is always growing to replace one that is ﬁnished. There are plenty of things you can eat from the garden now, or at this time next year, but it is best to start simple and don’t over extend in the ﬁrst year of growing. Start small and add on as time and enthusiasm allows. That way you won’t lose the gardening bug and will keep growing food through many years to come.
• Choose organic approved slug pellets and avoid poisonous chemicals. • It’s better to feed fruit trees a little late than not at all. • Don’t let weeds set seed if you want to reduce their numbers.
BY PAULA BURNS
WHEN watching shows like ‘Room to Improve’ or ‘Home of the Year’ there is one room I’m always dying to see – the utility room. It may seem insigniﬁcant to others but it is a space I am envious of. Growing up back in the 1980s the utility room I knew was a dingy transition from the kitchen to the garden, ﬁlled with various bits, from old bike parts to oil cans and old paint pots. In short it was an extension of the
shed, nothing pretty and lacked any organisation. Fast-forward nearly 40 years and the utility room holds a status almost as important as its neighbouring room – the kitchen.
when it comes to plumbing as the utility room usually houses washing machines, dryers and a sink.
Having an entrance from the utility room to the back garden or side passage is very practical. Create a mini boot room with a bench that has cubbyhole storage underneath it for grubby shoes and outdoor paraphernalia, thus minimising dirty, wet footfall through the main house.
It’s all about ‘location, location, location’ when it comes to the utility room. If you’re renovating or building from scratch, choosing the right location for your utility room is paramount. The obvious choice is oﬀ the kitchen. It makes sense as it is easier
The utility room, by its very nature, is usually a compact room. However, the more space you can give it the greater its functionality. Think of the space like a mini-kitchen and create a triangle formula in terms of the layout that includes the washing machine, sink and rails to air clothes.
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Sometimes putting money into essentials like a range cooker is a must, leaving little left over for the utility room. However this doesn’t mean it can’t be both beautiful and functional. With so many ﬂat-pack options out there now, creating and building your own utility storage is easy. Having standalone shelving units along the wall gives storage space for all your utility must-haves. Pretty it up with some wicker baskets – that are an interior must have trend of the moment – for added storage.
Before you build decide what you want to use the utility room for. For most of us it acts more as a laundry room than anything else. If this is the case then the essentials are of course the washing machine and dryer. Another useful utility is a sink. Choose a deeper, wider sink like a Belfast style one. These are great for soaking hand wash only items. It’s also ideal for those mucky jobs like cleaning oﬀ boots etc. that you don’t want to do in the kitchen sink. A tap with an extending nozzle is also a great asset to have. If the space is too small to allow for a freestanding clotheshorse
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you can opt for wooden rails that are retractable from the wall that are not only practical but stylish too.
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While the utility room may be the home of all the dirty jobs it doesn’t mean it has to be the ugly duckling of the house. Trust me, this will be the one room most visitors will want to see during the ‘big reveal’ tour so why not make it pretty? Choose a neutral palate like a light grey or the clean aesthetic of white. Carry through the colours from the cabinets to the walls to create clean lines. If natural light is available, make the most of it by making the window bigger and keep it clutter free from curtains. Making the room brighter will in turn make chores a little easier while the sun shines through.
When it comes to the ﬂooring tiles are the sensible option but they don’t have to be boring. Despite being the most impenetrable of design pieces tile trends can be ﬁckle. With this in mind the utility room is made for being brave and choosing that on-trend tile you most covet. Currently Instagram
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It might be used for some very ordinary, every-day tasks, but that doesn’t mean your utility room has to be boring. Be creative with tiling and colour. and Pinterest are awash with curated images of decorative motif and patterned tiles. This trend is not for the faint hearted and once down it’s not only time-consuming but also expensive to get back up. This is why I would recommend stepping back from creating a kitchen ﬂoor made for the Taj Mahal and leave the ﬂamboyancy to the utility room.
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THE benefits of a polytunnel are fairly obvious to most – an extended season, the ability to produce food that would not be possible outside and, of course, being able to operate in any weather. But something that is often overlooked are the benefits to our mental wellbeing, being able to escape for a while into a calming environment where every action you take will bring you closer to the moment where you sit at the table and think ha! I grew that! Indeed, many of our customers reflect back to us their experiences of taking a chair and a book, (maybe a G&T!) and just having a calm couple of hours among the plants. Now that children are home from school for a while, what better education could there be than learning how to grow their own food – a very valuable life skill that should be passed to the next generation. So, stay safe, and enjoy the new season because as gardeners we always look forward to a better future. • For more about polytunnels, contact Mark on 028-37268 or 086-3457351.
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Blossom watching while social distancing! BY JOYCE RUSSELL THIS is a handy idea for entertaining children outdoors while they are oﬀ school. It’s also a handy excuse for adults to learn a few things and it is something that can be kept up as the year moves on. Follow what restrictions are placed upon movement outside the home and work sensibly with this. There are lots of trees bursting into blossom now. Some are exotic varieties growing in gardens; others are our own native trees that push out a profusion of blooms in the hedgerows from now on. Can you identify them all? Do you know a crab apple from a cherry, a rhododendron from an azalea, or a magnolia from a camellia? Arm yourself with a bit of basic knowledge and set out on a project for the whole family. Drive a little, but only if this is permitted, or if you are only allowed to walk close to home, try spotting all the blossoms you can in the hedgerows, ﬁelds or over the wall of a neighbour’s garden on your daily exercise trip. Take a book if you have one to identify blossoms and look at the emerging leaves and bark too to give some tips. You can take photographs too, then set the kids at the computer to work out what they might be. Just remember not to get too close to other people while you do this! Wildﬂowers are popping through in all sorts of places as well as plants that have tiny ﬂowers or none at all. See what you can ﬁnd in cracks in the pavement, on walls, or in waste ground, as well as along the side of roads. Everyone should know what a daisy or dandelion looks like, but let’s go further and get children to know their local wildﬂowers. Again, a book or website is useful for identiﬁcation. Take photographs and please don’t pick anything unusual in case it is a rare ﬁnd. Watch out for celandines, primroses, vetches, cuckoo-ﬂower, violets, wood anemone, unrolling ferns, bilberry plants, bluebells … and so much more. New ﬂowers keep appearing in the strangest of places, as well as in our lush hedgerows, throughout the spring and summer. You could make a chart of ﬂowers to watch out for in the coming weeks and tick them oﬀ as you spot them. Or make drawings in a scrapbook of what you have found and remember where it is growing so you can watch out for its arrival in other years.
‘You could make a chart of flowers to watch out for in the coming weeks and tick them off as you spot them. Or make drawings in a scrapbook of what you have found ...’
• If and when you do go ‘blossom watching’ please stay safe and adhere to government restrictions currently in place re travel and social distancing during the Covid-19 crisis. Remember you don’t have to go very far to see all sorts of wonderful things in nature – you just have to look closely enough!
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Home&Garden VEGETABLE SOWING & PLANTING GUIDE can sow (S) or plant (P)
best time to sow (S) or plant (P)
Note: some of the early and late sowings do best if given extra covering (or heat for tender crops) and if early or late varieties are used.
cabbage (SuMMer) cabbage (SPriNg) carrOt
P S SP
S P S
FlOreNce FeNNel garlic Kale
KOhl rabi lettuce (SuMMer) lettuce (wiNter) leeK
ONiON (SetS) ParSley ParSNiP Pea
PePPer POtatO PuMPKiN raDiSh
S S P SP
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ShallOt SPiNach/SPiNach beet
Niamh Hayes offers practical and creative suggestions for anyone planning a child’s room
THERE will come a time in your little one’s life when they will venture out into the world themselves and into a bedroom of their very own. Whether that is when they are a baby or a little bit older, a child’s nursery or bedroom is a space that can be full of fun and creativity. While it is important to make it visually appealing, it is also important to make it practical for both the child and adult.
When picking a colour for a nursery or child’s room, ﬁrst take a step back and look at the space. Is it a big or small room? Is there a lot of natural light or only a limited amount? Dark colours can swamp a small room and can absorb light, while lighter colours will make the room seem bigger. If you are creating or transforming a room for your baby, keeping the colours in the room neutral will give you a blank canvas that you can add to or change at any time as they grow and develop their personality. Think diﬀerent shades of white, cream, brown and grey which will make a great background to any other colour. The traditional blues and pinks are still popular but if you don’t want to paint the whole room one of these colours, you can keep the overall room neutral and paint an accent wall a more daring colour. If your child is a little bit older, they might have their own favourite colour or a favourite toy that you can use as inspiration for the colour of their room. Changing one or two walls is a great way of letting their personality shine through, while also keeping it practical if you want to change the colours in the future. Neutral walls are also another great idea for kids’ rooms, as like nurseries, you can add colour in other ways such as furniture and accessories.
If you are pulling your hair out trying to decide on a colour for your child’s room, picking a theme instead can be a practical way of deciding on colours and how to decorate it. Themes such as animals, the jungle, ballerinas,
Have fun with colour – start with neutral shades on the walls and then add/change colourful accessories like rugs, pictures and bedding as desired. Storage should be practical for adults but also accessible for children. High shelves are fine for long-term storage or for those less-played-with toys, but favourite dolls and teddy bears need to live closer to the ground! pirates, the sea, books, or a cartoon character can inspire the colours and accessories for the room.
ahead when it comes to the need to change bed sizes as the child grows. This may help you decide on the layout of the room. A nursery should be a comfortable, soothing place for adults as well as babies. Whether it’s for night feeds, changing time or relaxing a baby, the adult should be able to get comfortable with a rocker or armchair and foot stool. Kids’ rooms should be practical for them as much as anyone else. An accessible shelf or bookcase which is low enough for them to reach and where they can place their books themselves, will encourage them to read and give them ownership of choosing what book they want to read.
Storage in a child’s room should be practical for both the adult and child. In a nursery, you will want to have essential items such as nappies, wipes, creams and other changing items, as well as blankets, bibs, vests and clothes available to hand. Dressers and wardrobes should be organised with items that you can use now at the front, rather than stuﬀ the baby doesn’t need at the moment. Multi-purpose storage furniture will make the most of the space in the room. Changing tables can include storage for essential changing items. Benches that the child can sit on can double up as a storage unit for their toys and books.
Accessorising a kid’s room is where you can be creative and have fun. Choosing your soft furnishings, textiles and bedding before buying your paint is the golden rule of
The crib or bed will be the main piece of furniture in the room. Think
decorating as you will always be able to ﬁnd paint to suit the colour of your accessories, whereas it’s more diﬃcult to ﬁnd suitable accessories to match a speciﬁc paint colour. Placing giant teddy bears in the corner, sticking decals or hanging pictures on the walls, adding a brightly coloured rug on the ﬂoor, curtains on the window or cushions on the furniture will allow you to introduce any colour that you like. Babies spend much of their time lying on their backs looking up so placing a mural or some decals on the ceiling will give them endless entertainment. For a nursery, a night light creates a safe and comfortable space and is essential for late-night feeds. For older children, a small lamp can create a cosy, story-time glow. Installing a dimmer on the main overhead light will help to avoid any harsh lighting in the room and will keep a nice atmosphere as the light changes outside.
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