Choose A Pet Wisely

Pets can be wonderful additions to our homes, and family. Depending on your family’s requirements and size of your home, you do need to put some thought into what sort of pet would benefit your family the most. For example, if your partner is allergic to cats then obviously it would not be a good idea to get a cat as a pet; or if your home is not that big and can tend to become overcrowded without a pet, then a big dog like a German Shepherd or Rottweiler may take up even more space and they also may be uncomfortable with the amount of people in your home; or, if your child has a phobia of rats then you will need to avoid getting a pet rat.

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It is not just your and your family’s needs that you need to think about, though. You need to think about what sort of pet would be happy living in your home, whether you have the time and capacity to care for it properly, and whether your budget fits with the expenses aligned to it. Dogs can be quite expensive to look after, cats not so much and pets like hamsters or gerbils can barely put a dent in your finances.

When you do get a pet, you also need to think about the safety of your home and garden so that your pet has minimal risk of becoming harmed or injured when relaxing in the house or playing outside in the garden. If you have decided to get a dog which has the tendency to be a livewire or prone to active bursts, then you will need to ensure there are no objects placed inside the home where they could fall on the dog if it, say, bounds through the kitchen, bangs into a cupboard and a kitchen appliance falls from the height of the cupboard (where it was kept) and falls on the dog. When the dog is in the garden, you could also invest in a vinyl PVC fence and other additions to prevent your dog from escaping and running out into the road.

If you have decided to get a cat, and it has been previously owned, make sure that it is not temperamental in certain situations such as when your children are trying to play with it. Also make sure that there are comfortable places for the cat to sleep and relax. For the safety of your children, place the cat litter tray in an area which they do not access much as the litter can be extremely hazardous to young children and – if ingested – can result in serious harm.

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Whatever pet you decide to get, put the research in before going ahead with bringing a pet to your home. Animals needs to feel comfortable and safe in their homes, too, just as much as we do. Do not buy a pet which you are unsure of, or if you don’t think you can dedicate time to it properly.

Your checklist for moving to Europe

 

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If you’ve decided to take off on a new adventure abroad, it can be an exciting and scary time. There are so many things you must try to remember, so it’s vital that you have a checklist handy at all times, with just a few key essentials on. In today’s post, I’ll cover some of the main ones…

  1. Paying your taxes

Your primary focus so far has probably been on how you’ll make ends meet when you reach your new home. However, have you considered the tax implications of moving abroad? Firstly, you’ll need to get in touch with HMRC about leaving the UK, and they’ll be able to tell you which documentation (usually a P85) you need to complete. This helps to ensure you’re being taxed appropriately, but note that if you’re paying tax abroad, yet continuing to receive interest income from savings in the UK, you will need to also fill out form R105.

  1. Sell vs Ship

When it comes to your possessions, there are two main options: sell or ship. You can sell all your possessions in the UK and opt to start again in your new home country, or you can ship everything over. Most people will argue this is very expensive, but this is far from true providing you know where to go. You can easily ship your house contents across countries via pallets to save money; make sure you partner with a reputable UK firm who also ship abroad, like Pallet Anywhere, and you’ll get a professional service for the best rates on the market.

  1. Taking your pet

No one wants to leave a family member behind on the big move, so planning your pet’s journey is just as important as planning your own. In order to relocate a pet, they must be micro-chipped by a vet and immunised against rabies at least 21 days before you’re due to travel. It’s always better to seek professional advice on their transportation too. If you’re planning to drive there from the UK to some quiet town in Europe, this is not so difficult to control, but if you’re flying it can become far more complex. Don’t forget that the move itself could be stressful and upsetting for your animal too, so read up on your particular breed of pet and how they handle change.

  1. Medical insurance

Finally, this is perhaps the most important element of your planning. With Brexit on the horizon, the European Health Insurance Card which covers pre-existing medical conditions has its days numbered for anyone in the UK, so it’s worth looking into future options. Thoroughly research your eligibility for medical care and social security benefits in your destination country, and check what kinds of agreements Britain has with certain locations, and how they will be affected as you settle down over the next few years.

If you’d like to read more about any of the points above, click here. Otherwise, please leave a comment with your thoughts and advice.

What To Do When Turning Another Year Older!

When it comes to birthdays, it either leaves people jumping for joy or heading to hide under the sheets. After all, as you turn another year older, it can make people start thinking about their life. And what they haven’t achieved by their age. And it makes people fear for their future. In fact, birthdays are when people make the biggest changes in their life, in hope things will be different during the next year. Here are a few things you should do when you turn another year older.

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Go for a health check-up

Now that you are another year old, it’s time to think about your health. After all, as we get older, we can start to have health issues. And the best way to keep on top of your health is to go and see your GP. Therefore, it’s best to book in for a checkup to make sure everything is okay with your health. After all, even if you are in your 20’s, you can still encounter health problems such as high pressure. Therefore, getting checked over can ensure you can make changes to your life while you are still young to ensure you grow old gracefully. And remember to go for things like smear tests which could potentially save your life. After all, you are meant to go every three years after 25, so make sure you keep on top of this. And if you are overweight, now might be the time to make changes, so you can lose weight and get fit before you encounter any health problems.

Consider your future

Turning another year older can also make you think about the future. For example, you might start wondering if your relationship is for keeps. Or whether your job is actually right for you. And while you could always contact a psychic through sites like psychic directory to see what’s around the corner, it can be hard to truly know what the future might hold. But turning another year older could see you decide to speak to your beau about where they see the relationship going. In fact, it might push you both to move in together or decide to get hitched. And you could even consider looking for a new job if it’s not the one for you. That way, you can ensure you make changes which affect your future in a positive way.

Spend time with friends and family

It can be hard to keep in touch with our family and friends when we are so busy in our life. But life is too short, so you need to make sure you do spend time with them. Therefore, now you are turning another year older, you might decide to make sure you spend a lot more time with family in the new year. And your mum and dad will appreciate the extra time you spend with them. The best way to start is via your birthday. Arrange a party with your nearest and dearest to ensure you get some quality time with your loved ones.

And make sure you celebrate your birthday. While people often hide away from the fact they are getting older, it’s best to appreciate the last year. Look at my previous blog for some great birthday ideas to celebrate in style.

Everything You Need To Know About France’s Fantastic Attractions!

If France isn’t in your travel plans, then it should be. It’s the atypical land of romance and love, but it has so much more to offer than that.

A simple look pins France along its European neighbors and it might at first glance seem exactly like Spain and the Netherlands and all the other countries in mainland Europe. Those comparisons might be a bit off. Each country in Europe has such a distinct feel, with unique histories. Each country tells a story, and that is exactly the same for fair old France.

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France is the world’s number one tourist destination, and it’s very easy to see why. France is one of those countries that has it all, from history, tourist sights and attractions, amazing visages, monuments, greenery and of course plenty of amazing and beautiful cities to visit! That’s without mentioning the food – fresh cheeses, fine wines, frogs legs! Yum. Some of the world’s best restaurants and bistros are based in France, and of course – there are some amazing beaches.

There’s plenty to keep you busy in France, from kayaking, cycling, sightseeing, eating, sampling wines and almost anything else you can imagine.

Paris is the main destination in France and for a good reason – it’s the capital city of France and one of the main cultural hubs of the world from the Louvre to Notre Dame. Paris is full to the brim of history and was the center of the liberal French Revolution as seen in Les Miserables. Of course, underneath Paris likes the world famous catacombs! A creepy winding cave full of human remains.

On the lighter side, Paris is right next to Europe’s Disneyland, thus being perfect for a family getaway right next to Goofy, Mickey, and Donald!

Paris boasts the very symbol of France in the Eiffel Tower. This monument rises high into the sky and offers some iconic views. You can of course head to the Louvre to check out the world famous Mona Lisa among other famous pieces. There is also the symbol of France’s resilience in the splendid Arc de Triomphe. Paris is a microcosm of France and really does have it all.

One hundred years ago, young men across Europe fought raging and violent battles across France and Belgium as World War One drew to a climax. The battle of the Somme and the offensive at Verdun hold two memorials that will simply take your breath away. It’s always worth paying your respects and none more so to the countless lives lost in such a disastrous war. It’s also been over nine-hundred and fifty years since the Battle of Hastings in which a Norman invasion force conquered Britain and there are plenty of reminders on offer in Normandy. Talking of Normandy, one of the most iconic sites in the world lies there. Mont-Saint-Michel is a unique and majestic icon that towers above the tide.

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If you’re looking for something a little different, then France is home to most of the world’s largest ski resorts, and these aren’t crumbling old resorts, France works hard to keep them up to date. Booking with an agency like Freedom Ski takes a lot of hassle out of planning and also offers some amazing experiences.For example, look to the ski slopes of Morzine, which even has plenty to do if the slopes are too much for you! Situated in the foothills of the famous Mont Blanc, Morzine hosts restaurants and even a cinema! It’s close to Geneva, so it is also quite accessible. France plays host to the Alps, so there’s no end to snow-based excitement, and you can even venture to a few different countries through the Alpine mountain range!

Of course, France is home to champagne and some stellar vineyards. If bubbly or wine is your thing, then you can drive from village to village sampling the finest wines along the way! Be sure to hire a driver, though!

France is also home to plenty of green countryside full of history. The history of the French countryside is dominated by towers and castles. The most famous among these being the legendary Palace of Versailles. The palace is a pure dedication to luxury and excess, and the owners, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette paid the price for their glamor eventually! Full of gold, silver, crystal and majestic tapestries, the palace is full of wonder and glitz! Of course, the glamorous gardens are not to be missed.

If that leaves an impression on you, then the Impressionist art by Claude Monet hosted at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice will also tickle your fancies. If you want to see Monet’s inspirations, then make sure to visit the Giverny house and its beautiful gardens. Getting the picture yet? France is full of wonder!

It’s not just beauty, though – there are a few beasts in France and none more so than the metal beasts of Le Mans, home to the world’s most famous endurance race – the Le Mans 24 Hours. Head to the museum or the world famous circuit if you’re a petrolhead to see the inner workings of this world famous circuit! While not ‘technically’ France, a visit to Monaco and the world famous casinos are a must as well as the Monaco Grand Prix in Monte Carlo.

Of course, France is also where the food is at. The term ‘bistro’ is now worldwide, but these roadside cafes are places where you can sit back and watch France rush by you. Soups, bread and all manner of pastries dominate French cuisine, which is seriously tasty! From Michelin star restaurants right through to street cafes and of course, fast food – there is so much for you to taste in France!

It doesn’t matter what you’re into – France likely has something to offer from food, champagne, wine, history, and activities, there truly is something for everyone. France might seem like a typical destination, but that is for a good reason. It’s one of the best places to visit in the entire world.

The Lowdown On Alternative Medicine

Studies have shown that a high percentage of people – around 80 percent, turn to alternative medicines when they find that doctor-prescribed medications aren’t doing what they hoped that they would, such as reducing pain, for instance. With a lot of people turning to alternative medicines, you’ve got to wonder what the reason is – what makes alternative medicine so popular?

Alternative medicine offers a different approach to healing (and management) of a condition. It offers a natural approach to dealing with a health problem through herbal remedies, reflexology, chiropractic care, massage, nutritional supplements, and acupuncture.

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Today, many medical professionals are starting to recommend a combination of conventional medicine and alternative therapies, making them an even more popular choice when it comes to dealing with a medical problem.

So, with that in mind, let’s look at alternative medicine and how it works, along with the pros and cons of it.

Can make pain management easier

Sometimes, painkillers prescribed by doctors just don’t seem to work as well as you would hope. When this happens, out of desperation many people turn to alternative therapies in the hope that they will be able to get the relief that they need. Studies have shown that people who suffer from chronic pain are more likely to use alternative treatments rather than conventional ones, as they find them more effective. Plus, there’s the fact that many conventional painkillers come with worrisome side effects, such as addiction, for instance. Popular pain-relieving alternative therapies include heat and ice therapy, massage, and acupuncture.

Can help to alleviate symptoms

When there’s no conventional medical treatment that can help to alleviate the symptoms associated with a certain condition, meaning that it can only be managed, not treated, a lot of people turn to alternative therapies. This is because sometimes there’s an alternative medicine that can offer treatment for the condition, or can at least help to alleviate the symptoms. Take calcium supplements, for instance, these can aid bone health and can reduce the symptoms that sufferers of a number of bone-related conditions are seeing. To learn more about how calcium works to aid bone health, have a read of this AlgaeCal calcium review and the comments from people who have tried the supplement. Although alternative medicine can’t replace conventional treatments, in many instances they can work well alongside them.

The cost can be high

One of the downsides of alternative medicine is that often, the costs can be high. This is because health insurance doesn’t tend to cover alternative therapies unless you are able to get a referral from your doctor, that is. Take acupuncture, for instance, many doctors now recommend it for helping to treat pain from a number of health problems. However, there are some alternative therapies and treatments that doctors can’t refer patients to, meaning that the cost of them can’t be covered by health insurance, putting them out of reach for many people.

So, there you have it, the lowdown on alternative medicine – hopefully, you now know everything that you need to.

Moving On After A Breakup

Breaking up with a partner is never easy, especially if you have been together for several years. When it happens, you will seldom feel like you have a cause for celebration, particularly when you try to process a range of complex emotions in your mind. When a breakup occurs, some folks don’t know the best ways of dealing with the situation.

Does that paint a familiar portrait? If so, you can take steps to stop your world being turned upside down. Here are some practical steps you can take to get through this difficult time and move on with your life.

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Move out

It sounds strange, but some couples that break up still end up living in the same home together! The worst thing you can do is stick around when you both agree you no longer wish to be together.

There is always somewhere you can go, even temporarily while you figure out where to live on a long-term basis. To lessen the burden, consider hiring a reliable removalist service that can help you pack your things. It probably makes sense to move your stuff while your former partner isn’t there.

Take some time off

You are hardly going to feel at your optimum while you are grieving over the loss of your relationship. For that reason, you should take some time off from work.

Going away somewhere for a few days can be a good way to take your mind off things. You might even wish to do so in the company of your closest friends or family members. Another idea might be to do some sports or other activities and pastimes that you enjoy doing in your spare time.

Don’t go through it alone

It’s also important you reach out to those closest to you and let them know how you feel. Suppressing your feelings will not help you to move on from this breakup! Remember that the process of moving on doesn’t take a few hours; it’s a gradual one that can take days, weeks or even months, depending on how painful the breakup was for you.

Do you feel you can’t talk to those closest to you about your relationship breakup? If so, it might be worth having some counselling sessions with a therapist to help you.

Stick to a routine

All too often, it can be easy to sink into depression following the breakup with a partner. To help avoid that happening, it’s crucial that you get back into a routine after the time you’ve taken off.

If you work, stick to your standard working hours as before. And when you finish work, find yourself activities to do in your spare time. Keeping busy will help you cope with being alone. Inevitably some friendships will also end because of mutual connections with people. Take the time to cultivate new friendships in your spare time.

Avoid drinking and drugs

Last, but not least, don’t drink alcohol to excess or take drugs to help you cope with your breakup. If anything, doing so will only prolong the grieving process.

Good luck with the future.

Wrapping Up Winter: Warming Soup Recipes To Try Before The Spring

After a long, cold winter spring is right around the corner. With a bit of luck, the weather will be better right up until later in the year. While most of us are keen to pack up our winter warmers and bust out the spring dresses, since it’s the final stretch we might as well try to enjoy the last of the cold weather. And what better way to do so than with a warming bowl of soup? While it’s of course something you can have at any time in the year, it’s far more special on a chilly winter’s day than it is in the middle of summer.

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All you really need is a good blender- sites like Healthy But Smart can help you to decide the best one to go for- and a few basic staples such as stock cubes and dried herbs. From there you can purchase some fresh veggies and get preparing these tasty, healthy recipes. They are just perfect for this time of year!

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper

Tomato soup is a classic, but the addition of red pepper gives it a greater depth of flavor and works incredibly well. Cut tomatoes in half and place them cut side down on a roasting tray with some sliced red pepper, an onion cut into wedges and some cloves of garlic and drizzle with some olive oil. Cook until everything is roasted and tender. Add the soft veggies to a blender along with some vegetable stock- add it slowly until the mixture reaches the perfect ‘soup- like’ consistency. You could add some chilli and herbs of your choice along with salt and pepper and then transfer back into a saucepan to heat. Add a swirl of cream or creme fraiche if you like to add richness, and serve with some hearty bread. The perfect way to warm up after

Anything Goes Veggie Soup

We all buy vegetables with the best of intentions, but even the most careful amongst us can end up with waste. This is unfortunate, not only is it a waste of money but it’s harmful to the environment too. Having some go-to recipes to minimize food waste is always a good idea, and this soup is just the thing for the job. If you have any miscellaneous veggies left over at the end of the week, boil them up and add them to the blender. Onions, celery, carrots, butternut squash, garlic, just about anything goes. Add some boiled potato or sweet potato to thicken the mix, along with herbs of your choice. A great way to use leftover fresh herbs (which spoil quickly) otherwise add whatever you fancy from your dried herb selection. Blend it all together again with some stock and you have an extremely healthy and tasty dish.

Leek and Potato Soup

For a super hearty and filling soup, you can’t go wrong with leek and potato. Trim and carefully wash the leeks, making sure to wash downwards to avoid rinsing any grit back into the stalks. Then saute them in butter with some chopped onion, and add to the blender with your soft boiled potatoes. Blend with some milk until you reach the right consistency, and season with salt and plenty of pepper. You can add herbs of your choice too, chives work well. Again swirl in some cream or creme fraiche for a luxurious extra and enjoy.

The Practical Guide That Keeps Romance Getaways Romantic

For some couples, there is nothing better than a romantic getaway to revive the fire of passion. For others, the mention of a romantic getaway holiday causes a cold sweat. Indeed, while most people love the idea of a time for your couple in a beautiful place of the world, romantic getaways can go terribly wrong. But don’t worry, there are some things that you can do to make sure that you are not taking any chance with your romantic vacation. Make it count with some practical common sense.

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#1. You Need To Invest Time And Money

For a start, you need to accept that while you might want to be spontaneous and easy-going, a romantic getaway needs to be prepared carefully. As a rule of the thumb, a romantic vacation involves luxury, as, whatever you might think of it, camping holidays and hostel tours rarely appear on top of the list of most romantic breaks. Romance needs the right atmosphere, and this can only be done if you choose to invest time and money in your holiday.

#2. Plan The Journey From Your Home To The Hotel

The world is full of romantic cities. But to take an obvious example, Venice is a typical destination for romantic holidays that go wrong. Indeed, the journey from the airport to the town is exhausting if you rely on public coaches, and it can be difficult to find your way to the hotel in the labyrinth of small streets and canals. So make sure to look for a transport service such as bookwatertaxivenice that can get you from the airport to your hotel easily. You even get your personal water taxi to navigate the canals quickly!

#3. Avoid The Tourists

Coming back to Venice, the common mistake of most holidaymakers is to pick the highly touristic season, July and August, where the town is crowded, and the lagoon’s mosquitos are out in force. Additionally, summer couples often complain about the stale damp smells in the Venetian alleys. The city is very hygienic, but the summer heat and the crowds have negative consequences. So, before picking your romantic city, make your research and avoid the worst months!

#4. Book Your Tickets In Advance

Wherever you choose to go, you need to appreciate that there will always be other tourists around, even if you pick a low season. So if you are planning to take your lover to a trip to the museum before going to the opera in the evening, well done, this is a perfectly romantic agenda. But consider booking your tickets in advance if you want to avoid the queues that could ruin your day. Most attraction places and concert houses allow you to book online, even in old Venice! So don’t waste any time.  

#5. Pack For The Weather From The Forecast

Once you have picked your dates carefully, booked everything, and are ready to pack, you should always check the weather forecast before choosing your clothes. Too many romantic getaways are ruined by couples packing for the weather they hoped for instead of the one that was forecast. So, if you’ve picked the beginning of Spring to go to Venice, don’t pack all your summer tops without checking the weather. March and April can be very cool, even by the Adriatic sea.

Homefront: Win The Home Maintenance Battle Every Time

It is many people dream, to own their own homes, and they save up all your hard earned cash for years to do this. But not everyone considers all of the responsibility that comes along with having your own property. When you live in a rented accommodation if something breaks, all it takes is a quick call to the landlord or letting agent to ask them to sort it. However, when something breaks in the home that you have paid for you have to deal with it yourself. Which can be stressful, costly and generally a bit of a battle. However, there is a way of winning this battle every time. Read on to find out more.

Be Preventive More Than Reactive

One of the best ways of winning the home maintenance battle is to take a preventative rather than reactive stance. That means keeping everything in reasonable condition, so the likelihood of a major problem or disaster is reduced.

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For example, checking and repairing a roof tile can prevent a major leak. Which could result in damage to your home furniture and result in dangerous mold.

Similarly watching out for the safety of plug sockets and getting them rewired by a professional like Mr Switch when they need it is the way to go. Rather than ignoring the obvious health hazard that this would pose until someone is hurt.

Have Trusted Professionals On Hand For Emergencies.

But, no matter how well you maintain your home, you cannot discount that emergency maintenance issues may occur. Especially due to circumstance beyond your control.

Bad weather can often cause structural damage or flooding. Which can result in a who host of issues such as damp, rot and electrical safety problems.

That is why it is best to make sure you have a trusted professional for each area of maintenance that could go wrong. Check out your local area for electricians and plumbers before you need them. So you will always have someone you can call out in an emergency.

Little And Often

Another important element of winning the home maintenance war is to make sure that you do these jobs little and often. That means it’s better to pick a small job or two to do every week,  then leave everything to the last minute. Which will be demotivating and you will be less likely to complete them to the standard that you want.

Cleaning Is The Best Start

If you home isn’t clean it pretty unlikely to be well maintained either. If you can’t find the time or energy to run the vacuum around or do a bit of dusting is unlikely you will have each the roof for leaks. Or the wall in the garden to see whether its crumbling or not.

In fact, just the act of cleaning can help you keep on top of your home maintenance issues better. This is because as you go around and clean you are much more likely to notice the little jobs that need doing. Rather than just ignoring them until they become too big to handle.

One Space Living: The Studio

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There is a lot to be said for living in one space.  No running up and down the stairs, plenty of space to get about and a huge amount of natural light.  One space living doesn’t have to be small, if it’s large it can be cosy.  Let’s take a look at how to create the ultimate single space home.

Sectioning off parts of your home so you have privacy between certain areas can be tricky, especially if you don’t want to lose all that natural light or take away from a beautiful large floor space.  If you are looking for an industrial vibe you could install toughened glass panels and then use frosted glass window film to give you a little privacy between bedroom and living space.  This will slightly diffuse any natural light coming into the building but you won’t lose the light which is really important for both our health and boosting the most of the space.

Using furniture to make clear divides between your relaxing space, your work space and your dining is a really great way of sectioning a room without walls or panels.  Using a large piece of paper you can roughly sketch out how this will work then piece together mood boards to ensure you have a style which works together.  If you love the minimalist look, which does compliment single room living, then check out Ikea and the range of great matching furniture which can continue a room whilst giving you definition in each zone.  

Another clever way to separate spaces is to use material.  Bold materials from the ceiling to the floor which can be opened and closed depending on the feel you want in your home.  If you are enjoying a quiet evening watching a romantic film you could mimic the feel of a cosy, two person cinema.  Whilst dramatic materials are exciting they will lock out some natural light.  So you could also create this feeling using light materials which will allow the sunlight to burst through.  Play with ideas in different areas and bear in mind that material is pretty easy to replace when you get fed up.  

Bouncing light from various objects or corners can fool the eye into thinking something is there when it is really just a shadow.  You can create dramatic themes on walls with coloured light systems and even set parts of your space into complete darkness to bring a large room in on itself, also master the art of accessorising to bring added personality to your space.

Single space living is a fantastic and a great chance to get really creative and understand how small things can have a huge impact if used in the correct way.  However you must remember the most import rule of living the open plan life.  Tidiness and order are vital.  One mess in the kitchen and you can’t close the door and forget it! So make sure you have great storage solutions and keep everything hidden away (not under the bed) from your guests.