New trends Christmas decorations

John Lewis Christmas press launch reveals what’s hot for Christmas 2014

 

Two years ago it was Winterland, Christmas Holiday, Theatre, New Japan and Lapland and last year it was Rural Life, Odyssey, Vintage Market, Winter Wonderland and Forest Festival.

It does leave me wondering just how many variations there are on the Christmas theme! So it was with eager anticipation that I jogged along to the launch of the 2014 John Lewis Christmas collection.

 

Christmas scene with dog

 

This year themes range from the nostalgic, travelling back in time to Christmas past, through to fun and feel-good themes. And as usual we’re sharing the themes with you and asking which is your favourite in our competition to win a fabulous John Lewis 2014 Teddy Bear.

If you haven’t already seen the new John Lewis Christmas advert, or if you just want to see it again – here’s Monty the Penguin. I’ve been working with John Lewis for a number of years now, and I think this is my favourite Christmas advert yet.

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Six hot Christmas 2014 trends

 

So here are the top Christmas trends for 2014 as chosen by John Lewis – I wonder which will be your favourite?

  • Croft
  • Christmas Past
  • Copenhagen
  • Vibrant Vintage
  • House
  • Festive Friends

 

1. Croft

Beautiful and considered, Croft evokes a relaxed feeling with neutral tones accented with soft textiles, perfect for creating a white Christmas.

 

Croft John Lewis Christmas 2014 trend

 

2. Christmas Past

This trend brings the outdoor in with natural materials, woodland creatures and frosted berries. It’s the perfect look for capturing the essence of a cosy Christmas in the country.

 

Christmas Past John Lewis Christmas 2014 trend

 

3. Copenhagen

A key theme for 2014 this is the very essence of Scandinavian style – simple, contemporary and fashionable. Materials are natural and are used in modern, sometimes intriguing combinations such as the blackboard baubles, that can be written on.

 

Copenhagen John Lewis Christmas 2014 trend

 

4. Vibrant Vintage

A nostalgic, colourful collection of trims and accessories inspired by the past such as mouth-blown glass baubles from Eastern Europe and jewel toned droplets, perfect for a Christmas tree.

 

Vibrant Vintage John Lewis Christmas 2014 trend

 

5. House

A carefully selected collection of fun, contemporary decorations and lights, to create a cool and colourful Christmas theme.

 

House John Lewis 2014 Christmas Trend

 

6. Festive Friends

A fun and colourful theme ideal for a children’s Christmas. Highlights include the singing Santa lantern, owl tree decorations and this year’s Christmas character, a cute sausage dog which features across decorations, tree skirts and soft toys.

Festive Friends John Lewis Christmas 2014 trend

 

 

Competition Time

Win

 

John Lewis 2014 teddy

 

 

 

 

 

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We’ve got a John Lewis 2014 medium sized bear to give away to one lucky reader.

All we want to know is which is your favourite Christmas decorations trend from those above?

Pop it in the comments box below – but only one comment per person please.

 

So don’t be shy – tell us which is your favourite of our 2014 Christmas trends?

Good luck!

 

Alison x (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

You can visit the John Lewis Christmas Shop here.

Photographs: John Lewis

 

 

By taking part in this competition you are agreeing to 4Manchester Womens Terms & Conditions for competitions and prize draws.

 

Competition closing date: 9pm Tuesday 9th December 2014.

The winner will be the first name selected at random from all respondents. No purchase necessary. No cash alternative. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Closing date is 9pm Tuesday 9th December 2014. The winner will be notified immediately. Only one entry per person. UK entries only. No automated entries. Supporting ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions, loquax and  Competitions Time. If you are the lucky winner, your contact details will be forwarded to the providers of the prize, strictly for the purpose of fulfilling the prize and not for any other purpose.
Please note: Should you be notified as the winner, and you do not respond within 2 days of our notification, we reserve the right to re-draw the winner.

 

 

 

150 Years of John Lewis

Fun celebrations and a new range a celebrate landmark anniversary.

 

Which will you choose – John or Lewis?

150 years of John Lewis

 

To celebrate the 150th anniversary of a business that has grown from a humble draper’s shop opened in 1864, to the £4 billion international, award-winning business it is today; John Lewis Cheadle is pleased to announce plans for a series of commemorative events.

Kicking off on 3rd May, the shop on Wilmslow Road, will host a number of activities such as:

  • Children’s treasure hunt
  • Facepainters
  • Balloon modeller
  • Live music

As part of the 150th celebrations John Lewis will be working in partnership with Barnardo’s. John Lewis Cheadle has chosen to support the Benchill Sure Start Children’s Centre in Wythenshaw.

 

Exclusive anniversary range

 

Collaborating with some of Britain’s most loved brands and designers, John Lewis Cheadle are offering in store and online a carefully edited collection which has been produced exclusively for the anniversary.

The electrical department has teamed up with the iconic Henry Hoover brand to offer the opportunity to buy  a John or a Lewis Hoover, and in the Home department their own design studio is paying homage to the brand’s design history by taking key heritage prints from the archives and using them on new modern products. ‘

 

John Lewis heritage teapotJohn Lewis 150 anniversary cushion

 

National events

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The week will also see the launch of a series of national events, including a fantastic roof garden for it’s Oxford Street store in London.

Working with Tony Woods, Royal Horticultural Society National Young Designer of the Year, and John Lewis’ own gardeners, one of the capital’s largest urban rooftops has been transformed.

 

John Lewis Oxford Street Roof Garden

 

Competition time

Win

 

To celebrate 150 years of John Lewis, we’ve got a John or a Lewis Hoover to give away to one lucky reader.

 

John and Lewis Hoovers

They retail at £129.95 so this really is a fantastic prize (you can read the product details here).

All you need to do is leave a comment in the box below telling us whether you’d rather have a ‘John’ or a ‘Lewis’ Hoover and why.

Me – It would have to be Lewis after the author of one of my favourite children’s books, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis.

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: John Lewis

 

By taking part in this competition you are agreeing to 4Manchester Womens Terms & Conditions for competitions and prize draws.

 

Competition closing date: 9pm Tuesday 6th May 2014.

The winner will be the first name selected at random from all respondents. No purchase necessary. No cash alternative. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Closing date is 9pm Tuesday 6th May 2014. The winner will be notified immediately. Only one entry per person. UK entries only. No automated entries. Supporting ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions and loquax. If you are a lucky winner, your contact details will be forwarded to the providers of the prize, strictly for the purpose of fulfilling the prize and not for any other purpose.
Please note: Should you be notified as the winner, and you do not respond within 2 days of our notification, we reserve the right to re-draw the winner.

 

Previous competition winners (last 6 months)

MINILAND Manchester – win a family day pass to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester (6th November 2013). Winner Andrea Lloyd.

New trends Christmas decorations – win a John Lewis Christmas 2013 teddy (11th November 2013). Winner Rachael Barratt.

Luxurious home products – win a throw from Linen Loft (15th November 2013). Winner Chris Fletcher.

Personalised Christmas Gifts – win a personalised mug from Photobox (18th November 2013). Winners Katrina Steward, Nicola McConnell.

Bathroom makeover – win a selection of pamper products (14th January 2014). Winner Georgina Jacobs.

Travelling with Kids – win Cryin Air travel packs (22nd January 2014). Winner Lily Bowers.

Farmhouse Breakfast Week – win a breakfast hamper (27th January 2014). Winner Janet Rumley.

Easy Valentine Heart Cookies – win heart shape cookie cutters (3rd February 2014). Winner Donna Lawton.

Black Dog branches into fashion – win a designer t-shirt (5th February 2014)

Interview with Rianna Phillips – win a designer mini pouch (11th February 2014). Winner Laura Vitty.

Ethical African Bags – win a BagsandMore demi lune bag and scarf (3rd March 2014). Winners Sandy Hendry and Jenny Miller.

Manchester Fashion Bee – win an Essential Burt’s Bees Kit (11th March 2014). Winner Angela Norton-Kelly.

Home Is In The North – win a Lomas & Lomas lampshade (17th March 2014). Winner Beatrice Henderson.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas – win a Mum’s Mumisms typography print (19th March 2014). Winner Natalie Gillham.

Celebrating National Puppy Day – win a pooch brooch (21st March 2014). Winner Claire Deakin.

Health and Fitness Workshop – win a place on a health and fitness workshop (1st April 2014). Winner Toni W.

Gorgeous SS14 Fashion Trends – win luxury nail lacquer (3rd April 2014). Winner Michelle Wild.

Bonbon Chocolate Boutique – win a luxury box of chocolates and £10 Golden Ticket (8th April 2014). Winner Bonnie King.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Is In The North Reviewed

The cream of northern independent interiors come to Ancoats

 

Over 500 style conscious home lovers popped down to the beautiful Hallé St Peter’s in Ancoats last Saturday for the inaugural Home Is In The North event.

The event promised to bring together the best independent interiors talent in the north, and it certainly delivered.

 

Home Is In The North

 

There was a fantastic mix of upholstery, lighting, ceramics, textiles, illustrations, gardening, woodwork, paper craft, embroidery, mosaics and lots more.

All were unique and none can be found on the high street. Organiser Rachael Adams from The Social Butterfly put together an edgy and talented group of designer / makers who really are at the top of their game.

 

Home is in the north

 

Lomas & Lomas

 

Ink Inc

 

Blooming Balconies

 

In addition to plenty of shopping opportunities, there were a succession of well attended workshops and interactive demonstrations taking place throughout the day.

Sian Astley from Moregeous Design Studio discovered the wonders of Annie Sloan chalk paint, interior design blogger Kimberly Hughes (Swoon Worthy) led a ‘create your own art’ workshop, while Hannah Wells, the Chorlton Sewing Bee from My Craftea Day ran ‘create your own cushion cover’ workshops.

 

Home is in the north

 

Home is in the north

 

Home is in the North

 

The buzz and the feedback from visitors was amazing – I should know, I was rushed off my feet helping to man the reception desk. As people emerged with bags and clutching their new purchases, they enquired about the next Home Is In The North event, which I believe is planned for Hallé St Peter’s in Ancoats for Saturday 15th November 2014. Pop the date in your diary – perfect timing for a spot of Christmas shopping!

 

Grey Moose Designs

 

If you love looking at lovely interiors and homeware products, have a nosy through the slide show below – there are quite a few photos so get yourself a cuppa and a Hob Nob, settle in and enjoy.

 

 

 

Exhibitor list

 

 

For more information about Home Is In The North:

Website: eventsbythesocialbutterfly.com/home-north

Facebook: facebook.com/HomeIsEvent

Twitter: @HomeIsEvent

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: Garry Lomas Photography

Disclosure

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Make Tissue Pom Poms

Easy, pretty paper pom poms to brighten up any room

 

I’ve seen many beautiful home and bridal photo shoots prettily decorated by cute and colourful pom poms, so with Mother’s Day just around the corner and Spring in the air, I’ve asked our regular craft blogger Hannah from My Craftea Day to put together a tutorial for us so we can all go pom pom crazy!

 

Over to you Hannah ……

Hannah Wells

 

I love that pretty pastels are so on trend this Spring / Summer, so much so that I have decorated my own craft room and the studio at the Craftelicious Craft Café with lots of pastel tissue paper pom poms!

They are so easy to make and are perfect for adding a bit of drama or prettiness to any space.

 

 

Hang them in your windows, from your ceilings or in front of a mirror.

 

Craftelicious Craft Studio

 

 

You will need

 

  • Tissue paper – each pom pom requires at least 10-12 layers.
  • Scissors.
  • Thread (you can use coloured thread or invisible thread if you don’t want it to be seen when hung).

 

 

Pom pom tutorial

 

2. Unfold the paper from the pack. Most packs have 5 or 6 sheets in them.

3. Cut the all sheets of paper in half in one go.

4. Place all the layers of paper on top of each other. Fold over about an inch of all of the the paper layers (along the shortest cut edge)

5. Turn the papers over holding onto the turned edge and turn the edge back on itself about an inch again. You are creating a concertina.

6. Continue to concertina the paper until it is all folded.

7 & 8. Take a long piece of thread. Wrap it around the centre of your concertina’d paper and tie it in a knot (you may want to repeat this a few times to ensure it is securely tied around as this is what holds the pom pom together and what you hang it with).

9 & 10. Cut a curve at both ends of the concertina through all the layers.

 

 

Pom pom tuturial

 

You could also cut your edges into a more pointy curve to give a different shape to your pom pom (see image 16.)

11. Carefully start to peel the layers away from themselves towards the thread at the centre of the concertina.

12 & 13. You’ll need to peel half of the layers one way then turn it all over and peel back the other half of the layers towards the centre on the other side.

14. Repeat this with the concertina’d layers on the opposite side until you create a round shape.

15. Carefully fluff up your pom pom

16 & 17. Have a go at making lots of different coloured pom poms! You could also make different sizes by not cutting the paper in half at the beginning but still remember that you need 10-12 sheets to make a good fluffy pom pom!

18. Add some fun and springtime colour to your interiors!

 

 

4MCRWomen's Pom Poms album on Photobucket

 

 

Enjoy your pom poms!

 

Hannah x

 

Photographs: Hannah Wells

You can find Hannah at mycrafteaday.co.uk

Why not pop along to Craftelicious in Chorlton on a Thursday evening and join Hannah at her weekly sewing bee. Details can be found here.

 

 

Other articles by Hannah:

Handmade Valentine Cards

Festive brown paper wrapping

How to make a padded Valentine Heart

 

 

 

 

 

Special Offer on Canvas Collages

Capturing special moments in a photo montage

 

I must have several thousand photographs filed neatly away on my hard drive, which rarely get to see the light of day. Husband and wife team Sharon and Garry Lomas from Big Exposure Print have the perfect solution to unlock the treasured memories from your hard drive and to brighten up your walls this spring.

 

Over to you Sharon and Garry …….

Sharon & Garry Lomas

 

We live in a digital world of images.

It’s never been easier to snap away, up-load images to social media or share instantly with friends.

But all too often we leave many of the precious moments in our life lurking on our hard drives or social media galleries.

 

Let’s face it if you had a photograph frame for every picture you took you’d need to live in a very large house to keep them in – and have a lot of surfaces to dust!

 

Creating a photo montage

 

Creating a montage is a great way to group together life’s special moments like weddings and birthdays, or treasured family memories and special holidays.

It’s a fantastic way to tell a story too – a moment in time or a life in pictures for a truly unique gift.  A simple and unique way brighten up your home, office, school/college – no two montages will ever be the same.

 

Photo  Collage Canvas.

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Canvas collages are ideal for:

  • Weddings
  • Babies & Children – a great present for Grandparents
  • Family Trees
  • Holidays & Travels
  • Special Birthdays – a life in pictures
  • Leaving/Retirement gifts

 

Canvas Collage

 

 

A modern alternative to a pin board

 

Big Exposure Print specialise in creating handmade canvas photo montages which use up to 54 images, presented as a sleek, modern (tidy!) alternative to a pin board!

At Big Exposure Print we prefer the handmade approach to create a quality canvas that will last for many years. Our frames are handcrafted in our studio, using sustainable kiln-dried softwood, your images are printed onto high quality cotton canvas which is then stretched by hand.

 

All you have to do

 

Send us your images and we will work our montage magic to turn up to 54 of your treasured memories into one unique photographic display.

We will send you a proof of the montage which can be amended to move pictures around and nothing is printed until you are happy and have approved the layout. Each montage comes with a metal hanger so you just need a nail and a hammer!

 

Canvas Collage

 

4Manchester Women reader offer

Special Offer

 

As a special spring deal to 4Manchester Women Readers, Big Exposure Print is offering the 60 x 95cm Montage Canvas using up to 54 images for just £45.00 (+delivery*) instead of £99.00, that’s better than half price!

Just visit bigexposureprint.co.uk, up-load your images and use voucher code: 4MCRMON

 

About Big Exposure Print

 

Big Exposure Print is a Cheshire based family run independent company with over 20 years experience in the print industry.

From flyers and business card, banners and pop-up displays to canvases, photographic print and digital wallpaper we offer a professional quality service, affordable prices and great customer service. Don’t just take our word for it, see our genuine client testimonials at bigexposureprint.co.uk

For the latest deals and flash sales follow us at:

Facebook: facebook.com/bigexposureprint

Twitter: @bigexpoprint

Email: info@bigexposureprint.co.uk

Tel: 0161 477 8080

*Delivery costs £8 and is via Courier and requires a signature

 

Sharon & Garry x

 

Photographs: Garry Lomas

Disclosure

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Is in the North

A new interiors event set to launch in vibrant Ancoats

 

Home is in the North

 

Home Is In The North, an exciting new interiors shopping event is launching for the very first time at Hallé St. Peters located in up and coming Ancoats, Manchester.

Saturday 26th April 2014, 11am – 4pm.

Built in 1859 at the peak of Ancoats industrial boom, Hallé St. Peters and its historic location will provide the idyllic backdrop to host an eclectic mix of 30 independent designer-makers from across the North who specialise in modernising traditional crafts.

 

Halle St Peter's Ancoats

 

The Exhibitors

 

From intricate wirework, surface pattern design, lustre glazed ceramics, bespoke upcycled lighting, fine art illustration and ideas etched in glass, many of the talented exhibitors are united and inspired by the industrial North.

Taking inspiration from key Manchester landmarks, is surface pattern designer Annabel Perrin who used the contemporary architecture of Salford Quays to create her ‘Imperial’ geometric pattern used in her cushions, footstools and fabrics.

Annabel Perin cushions

 

Continuing the ‘Industrial Chic’ trend is bespoke lighting designer, Richard Linford of Greymoose Designs with his upcycled lighting collection that experiments with camera tripods, sturdy steel basins modernised with colourful braided lighting cords.

 

Grey Moose Designs Industrial Style spot lamp

 

For a full exhibitor list click here.

 

Future Design Showcase

 

Home Is in the North, will also be launching ‘The Future Design Showcase’ in partnership with Manchester Craft and Design Centre, Northern Quarter concept store Fig & Sparrow and online market place What I Always Wanted.

The area has been created as a support network to give emerging artists and makers the unique opportunity to meet potential stockists in person and seek advice and guidance about building their brand.

 

Interactive Workshops

 

There is a full schedule of complimentary interactive workshops, demos and seminars taking place throughout the day. Highlights include a ‘Create Your Own Art’ workshop with interiors blogger, Kimberley Hughes of Swoonworthy, who will also be sharing her trend predictions for 2014 during a 30 minute seminar.

 

Home Is …… Where?

 

An event which brings together a collective of unusual and creative designer / makers requires an innovative approach to marketing. Therefore, to support and promote the launch of Home Is in the North, founder and creator Rachael Adams has commissioned a unique and conceptual collection of images entitled ‘Home Is… Where? ‘

Drawing on interior themes such as:

  • Waterside View
  • Industrial Living
  • Rustic Woodlands
  • Opulent Luxury
  • Suburban Independence

Five pop-up rooms were installed in five various locations within Manchester city centre and Chorlton, to explore the concept of modern home.

Whether you live in a semi-detached house in the suburbs or a converted church, hospital, mill, canal boat or even tree house, there are lots of exciting new trends that can transform even the most generic blank canvas.

 

Waterside View at Castlefield Basin

 

Home is - industrial

Photography – Stella Photography.

Interior Credits – Lisa Watson Quilts, Anthony Hughes, Greymoose Designs, Ink Inc, Manchester Mosaics, Natalie Laura Ellen Designs, Annabel Perrin Textiles, Northern Letters, Eclectic Chair, Claire Murray Designs.

 

 

Industrial Living at Greengate Square

 

Home Is in the North Greengate Square

Photography – Stella Photography.

Interior Credits –  Lisa Watson Quilts, Anthony Hughes, Greymoose Designs, Ink Inc, Manchester Mosaics, Natalie Laura Ellen Designs, Annabel Perrin Textiles, Sarah Evelyn Marsh, Eclectic Chair.

 

 

Opulent Luxury at Hallé St. Peters

 

Home Is in the North, Halle St Peter's

Photography – Stella Photography.

Interior Credits – Lisa Watson Quilts, Anthony Hughes, Greymoose Designs, Ink Inc, Manchester Mosaics, Natalie Laura Ellen Designs, Annabel Perrin Textiles, Sarah Evelyn Marsh, Eclectic Chair, Oh Bother Design, Charlotte Nash Textiles, Northern Letters, Claire Murray Designs.

 

 

Rustic Woodlands at Chorlton Ees

 

Home Is in the North, Chorlton Ees, Gary Lomas

Photography – Garry Lomas.

Interior Credits – Lomas & Lomas, Manchester Mosaics, Natalie Laura Ellen Designs, Eclectic Chair, Oh Bother Design, Charlotte Nash Textiles, Northern Letters.

 

 

Suburban Independence on Beech Road in Chorlton

 

Home Is in the North, Beech Road, Chorlton

Photography – Garry Lomas.

Interior Credits – Lomas & Lomas, Eclectic Chair, Northern Letters, Natalie Laura Ellen Designs.

 

Whether you are looking to spruce up your home this Spring, take part in a DIY tutorial or get invaluable advice from our event partners, Home Is in the North will be by far one of the better ways to enjoy your Saturday!

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Buy your tickets

 

For £3.00 advance tickets visit Eventbrite and Skiddle. Excludes booking fee.

Advance ticket holders will receive a free copy of our Home Is zine.

Tickets on the door. Adults £4.00. Children Under 15 Free.

To see a full list of exhibitors and more information visit eventsbythesocialbutterfly.com

Facebook: facebook.com/HomeIsEvent

Twitter: @HomeIsEvent

 

 

Competition Time

Win

 

To celebrate the launch of Home Is in the North, we’ve got a beautiful lampshade from Home Is in the North exhibitor Lomas&Lomas.

I love these lampshades – I have two!

 

Sparrow Grey & Blue Lamps

 

The lampshade is handmade with a Sparrow design, created from a photograph of the humble Sparrow and inspired by 1960s wallpaper patterns. As the lampshades are printed in the Lomas&Lomas studio it means clients can pick any colour-way they wish to suit their interior. Colour shown Blue/Grey.

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All we want to know is which is your favourite pop-up room from the photoshoot?

Me – I love Suburban Independence on Beech Road in Chorlton!

Pop it in the comments box below – but only one comment per person please.

Good luck!

 

Alison x (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: Garry Lomas, Stella Photography, Annabel Perrin, Greymoose Designs

 

By taking part in this competition you are agreeing to 4Manchester Womens Terms & Conditions for competitions and prize draws.

 

Competition closing date: 9pm Monday 14th April 2014.

The winner must be present to collect their prize from Home Is in the North, Hallé St. Peter’s, Ancoats, Manchester (between 11am – 4pm Saturday 26th April 2014).

The winner will be the first name selected at random from all respondents. No purchase necessary. No cash alternative. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Closing date is 9pm Monday 14th April 2014. The winners will be notified immediately. Only one entry per person. UK entries only. No automated entries. Supporting ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions and loquax. If you are a lucky winner, your contact details will be forwarded to the providers of the prize, strictly for the purpose of fulfilling the prize and not for any other purpose.
Please note: Should you be notified as the winner, and you do not respond within 2 days of our notification, we reserve the right to re-draw the winner.

 

Previous competition winners (last 6 months)

The Independent Interiors Show – win a house hamper (3rd September 2013). Winner Nichola Gill.

Indulge Fragrance Boutique – win bottles of perfume (8th September 2013). Winners Gillian Shiels, Leanne Williams, Julie Ward.

Creamline Dairies / Getting Kids to Eat Breakfast – win a Saturday Cookshop course with a celebrity chef (18th September 2013). Winner Sara Perry.

The Lounge Gallery – win a Michelle Keeling necklace (22nd September 2013). Winner Alison Ferrara.

The Perfect Princess Party – win a Princess fancy dress outfit (14th October 2013). Winner Emma Wolski.

MINILAND Manchester – win a family day pass to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester (6th November 2013). Winner Andrea Lloyd.

New trends Christmas decorations – win a John Lewis Christmas 2013 teddy (11th November 2013). Winner Rachael Barratt.

Luxurious home products – win a throw from Linen Loft (15th November 2013). Winner Chris Fletcher.

Personalised Christmas Gifts – win a personalised mug from Photobox (18th November 2013). Winners Katrina Steward, Nicola McConnell.

Bathroom makeover – win a selection of pamper products (14th January 2014). Winner Georgina Jacobs.

Travelling with Kids – win Cryin Air travel packs (22nd January 2014). Winner Lily Bowers.

Farmhouse Breakfast Week – win a breakfast hamper (27th January 2014). Winner Janet Rumley.

Easy Valentine Heart Cookies – win heart shape cookie cutters (3rd February 2014). Winner Donna Lawton.

Black Dog branches into fashion – win a designer t-shirt (5th February 2014)

Interview with Rianna Phillips – win a designer mini pouch (11th February). Winner Laura Vitty.

 

 

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

Thank you so much to everyone who entered our competition. The winner is Beatrice Henderson.

 

 

 

 

Great Interior Design Challenge

Amateur interior designers wanted for second series

 

I was hooked on Series One of BBC 2′s Great Interior Design Challenge!

The Great Interior Design Challenge

 

It only seems to have been away from our screens a mere moment, but now the search is on for contestants for Series Two!

I have to admit that here at 4Manchester Women, we were rooting in the final for Jordan Cluroe and his origami wallpaper, massive murals and super stripes.

But he was pipped at the post by Sarah Moore who we also loved for her use of small birds on wire lampshades.

As a child of the Changing Rooms generation it was really refreshing to see designs that I liked, without a hint of mdf or horrified home owner!

Each week the programme followed three amateur interior designers as they tackled the same room in the same style of house but in a different town, village or city around the country. Designs were pitched by the three contestants to their home owners in response to  their brief. So there was no huge trauma come the big reveal as they realised that the designer had disguised their treasured dresser with marble paint effect as part of an Grecian theme in a 1970′s semi!

Following great deliberation, the judges – Daniel Hopwood, award-winning architect and interior designer, and Sophie Robinson, ex-editor of BBC Good Homes and interior designer, chose the winning designer to progress to the next round.

 

The Great Interior Design Challenge

 

The hunt is on for series two

 

Are you passionate about interior design?

Do you have natural flair and creativity and think you have what it takes to improve the interiors of other people’s homes?

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Interior design mood board by Jordan Cluroe / 2 Lovely Gays.

In this warm-hearted television series, you could be named the UK’s best amateur interior designer.

If you think you have what it takes please email designing@studiolambert.com ASAP so that they can then send you back an application form.

It might seem like an impossible dream at the moment – but this could be you!

.

 

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: 2 Lovely Gays, BBC Media Centre

 .

The Great Interior Design Challenge 2013 book is now available (click on the image).

 

 

 

 

 

Bathroom makeover

Transforming a poky space into a relaxing haven

 

Like many Victorian houses, our upstairs bathroom was a later addition crammed into a tiny space. Previous owners had divided a back bedroom into a bathroom and box bedroom with an internal window.

It wasn’t our house’s finest moment and our cat was smug in the knowledge that there wasn’t room to swing him!

 

Old bathroom

 

Have a plan

 

Back in October we decided to enlarge and re-do our bathroom – which unfortunately meant we’d lose the box bedroom, but our plans did retain enough space for a walk in cupboard for all our ‘important things’.

This meant a hefty amount of ripping out and replacing of partition walls.

It soon became apparent that bathroom design wasn’t my forte – who needs to measure things?! If it hadn’t been for the free B&Q design service we’d have been in a proper pickle.

 

Bathroom plan

 

We wanted to be able to fit in a toilet, basin, separate bath, decent sized shower and a heated towel rail. To give you an idea of how much room we gained, our old bathroom finished at the chimney breast.

 

Shop around

 

I wouldn’t say that ours was a bathroom on a budget. But it was a bathroom with a budget. It’s incredibly easy to lose track of spending with all those little trips to the DIY store and visits to lovely home shops.

Decide on a budget and stick to it. In fact challenge yourself to come in under budget. £5.00 saved here and £20.00 saved there all add up. So much so that I managed to bring in the whole project (bathroom furniture, builders, plumbers, electricians, flooring) nearly £400.00 under budget.

While we did buy some items from B&Q after using their free design service, it really does pay to shop around and if you plan ahead you can pick up some great bargains in sales.

For example, we saved an absolute fortune by getting our shower cubicle and tray from Better Bathrooms during a sale. I’d also recommend looking online for taps. The temptation is to buy everything from the same place. However we saved £100.00 by buying our bath taps with rinser online.

We also made a significant saving by keeping the tiling to a minimum and by using basic £8.00 per square meter white tiles.

All of which allowed us our main extravagance – the floor. We decided that floor tiles would be too cold without underfloor heating and that laminate in a bathroom wouldn’t be particularly durable, so bit the bullet and went for Karndean. It’s incredibly tough and once it’s down, nothings getting through that sucker. We chose walnut for a bit of warmth and had it set on a 45 degree angle to give the room it’s little bit of wow factor.

 

Rip out and refit

 

I used a professional eBay selling company (Liz Law) to sell our old bathroom suite and shower. It didn’t make a fortune but it all added to the pot and the buyers duly turned up and carted it all away which was one less headache.

I’ve learned my lesson in the past trying to co-ordinate all the different trades people myself on projects. It was a nightmare. But now I have a Jason who is a plasterer by trade, but who can turn his hand to most things. He bought in a plumber and electrician and did all the co-ordinating which meant that the job kept moving smoothly.

 

 

Bathroom ripped out

 

The bulk of the job took around three weeks and we were done and dusted within around four.

 

The finished article

 

Well we’re not 100% finished – we still need a few pictures, to find a blind and to put up a couple of shelves. But it’s pretty much there.

 

Bathroom Mirror

 

Bathroom

 

Bathroom

 

When you’ve got a white room with white bathroom furniture and white tiles, it’s important to inject both colour and personality. We chose to have a feature wall over the bath which we painted a thistle colour.

I also rooted around the house and found the sheepskin rug, an old chair which my granddad made from bits of air raid shelter when they were bombed out during the blitz, and various random blue things. I added shells collected from holidays and our honeymoon memento The Surprise which came from the deck of a Windjammer we sailed on in New England.

 

Bathroom details

 

It’s pretty obvious but still worth mentioning. If you’re buying taps, showers or anything with handles, make sure that they all match. Don’t choose modern taps for your bath and basin and a vintage look shower. Make sure everything is from the same era and the same shape. If you’ve got a cylindrical rinser in the bath then choose a shower with a cylindrical rinser.

We even managed to match the handles on our shower cubicle with the handles on our new wall cabinet.

 

 

Bathroom details

 

Matching bathroom handles

 

I love our new bathroom. We’ve got oodles of space and it’s a room I really enjoy spending time in now. It’s our lovely relaxing haven.

 

 

 

 

Competition time

 

To transform your bathroom into a relaxing haven we’ve got a goody bag packed full of treats to give away:

Beauty products

 

  • Guerlain La Petite Robe Noire eau de parfum.
  • Jimmy Choo Flash eau de parfum.
  • Selection of Philosophy products including Living Grace eau de parfum.
  • Indian Summer hand and body lotion.
  • Sanctuary cleansing facial wash.
  • Sanctuary skin softening soufflé.
  • Jergens skin moisturizer.
  • Body Shop coconut hand cleanse gel.

 

 

All we want to know is what your dream bathroom would look like?

Pop it in the comments box below – but only one comment per person please.

So don’t be shy – whether it’s Moroccan spa or Scandinavian sweat lodge, we’d love to know?

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

Photographs: Alison Staples

 

By taking part in this competition you are agreeing to 4Manchester Womens Terms & Conditions for competitions and prize draws.

 

Competition closing date: 9pm Friday 24th January 2014.

The winner will be the first name selected at random from all respondents. No purchase necessary. No cash alternative. The Editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into. Closing date is 9pm Friday 24th January 2014. The winners will be notified immediately. Only one entry per person. UK entries only. No automated entries. Supporting ThePrizeFinder – UK Competitions and loquax. If you are a lucky winner, your contact details will be forwarded to the providers of the prize, strictly for the purpose of fulfilling the prize and not for any other purpose.
Please note: Should you be notified as the winner, and you do not respond within 2 days of our notification, we reserve the right to re-draw the winner.

 

Previous competition winners (last 6 months)

Cocktails & Dreams – win a cocktail making masterclass at Lock 91 (29th August 2013). Winner Nicola Robinson.

Creative Stitches & Hobbycraft Show – win tickets (1st September 2013). Winners Claire Jackson, Pauline Rendell, Joanna Arthur, Fran Morgan, Liz Ferguson, Michelle Smith, Dil Price, Pam Gregory, Linda Weatherley.

The Independent Interiors Show – win a house hamper (3rd September 2013). Winner Nichola Gill.

Indulge Fragrance Boutique – win bottles of perfume (8th September 2013). Winners Gillian Shiels, Leanne Williams, Julie Ward.

Creamline Diaries / Getting Kids to Eat Breakfast – win a Saturday Cookshop course with a celebrity chef (18th September 2013). Winner Sara Perry.

The Lounge Gallery – win a Michelle Keeling necklace (22nd September 2013). Winner Alison Ferrara.

The Perfect Princess Party – win a Princess fancy dress outfit (14th October 2013). Winner Emma Wolski.

MINILAND Manchester – win a family day pass to LEGOLAND Discovery Centre Manchester (6th November 2013). Winner Andrea Lloyd.

New trends Christmas decorations – win a John Lewis Christmas 2013 teddy (11th November 2013). Winner Rachael Barratt.

Luxurious home products – win a throw from Linen Loft (15th November 2013). Winner Chris Fletcher.

Personalised Christmas Gifts – win a personalised mug from Photobox (18th Novemberr 2013). Winners Katrina Steward, Nicola McConnell.

 

 

THIS COMPETITION IS NOW CLOSED

Thank you so much to everyone who entered our competition. The winner is Georgina Jacobs.

 

 

 

Lighting away the winter blues

New Year Lights to Brighten Up Your Home

 

Let’s face it – January can be a dreary month, with the excitement of Christmas behind us, the back to school blues and seemingly endless cold – so it’s important to find creative ways to keep yourself active, productive and happy in the months ahead!

 

Lighting

 

One of the key causes for our more subdued mood in the winter months is a lack of sunlight, and this is widely linked with the prevalence of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) in the winter months.

It will be a while yet before the UK sees those dark winter nights stretch into the lightness of spring and summer, but refreshing the lighting in your home at this time of year can be a highly effective and instant way to lift the mood – without breaking the bank.

It’s also a great way to maximise small spaces and create a beautiful ambience in your living space.

 

table lamp

 

If you do suffer from SAD, there are some great options in lighting which have been specifically developed to treat sufferers such as SAD light boxes. Seasonal Affective Disorder, when it has a long and substantial adverse affect upon the ability to carry out everyday activities, is deemed as disabling and therefore qualifies for VAT relief!

For a slightly gentler approach, try a combined SAD light with an alarm clock – see this lumie bodyclock which is available on Amazon. The Bodyclock alarm clock wakes up with a natural, gradually brightening light – helping you feel refreshed, alert and energised all day. The light emitted from the Lumie cues your body to produce more cortisol, setting a healthy sleep/wake cycle, aiding early mornings and beating winter blues.

 

Lumie Bodyclock

 

Perfect for a (slightly more!) pleasant start to those dark, cold winter mornings when the alarm goes off and you just want to curl back up in bed!

 

Designer lighting

 

On an aesthetic front, there are some fantastic options available for all tastes – from bright and funky shapes to vintage style or elegant spotlights.

Leucos Nia LED lighting

 

If you are looking for some unique designer options, Lamp Commerce designer lamps has some beautiful designs.

We have fallen in love with this Leucos Nia Led hanging lamp, free shipping is an added bonus!

It’s also well worth looking into the most efficient, energy-saving and sustainable solutions for your home.

 

LED light bulbs by GE are a popular option for long-lasting energy smart LED light bulbs that act like incandescents, with dimmable, soft light and instant brightness in familiar bulb sizes.

So whether you are looking for something to lift those winter blues, or simply to add a cheerful piece of interest to your home, refreshing your home lighting could be just the thing you’re looking for.

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

 

Photographs: Bart Heirdholgabot* on Flickr, Amazon, Lamp Commerce

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Top home buying / renting tips

What to look for when making your choice


Whether you decide to pay rent or finance a mortgage, investing in a home is a major decision. It’s really important that you thoroughly investigate every aspect before signing on the dotted line.

You don’t want to move into a new place just to discover it’s not up to the job!

 

House made from tools

 

Here are six fundamental things your should look for when buying or renting a home:

 

 

1. Comprehensive Maintenance Agreement

 

Most homes will require some maintenance and repairs over time. If you are not very handy with home repairs and upkeep, it may be better to think about renting a home that has a comprehensive maintenance agreement, rather than to buy one that you will be solely responsible for maintaining.

Rental companies like Rentify can connect you with a reliable landlord that will handle all the extra work that comes with owning a home.

 

 

2. Convenient and Safe Location

 

It is important to double check the home’s surrounding neighbourhood to make sure it is close to the facilities you’ll need (e.g. shops, transport links, schools etc).

The home you are buying or renting should also be an area where you feel safe to walk around by yourself. Make sure to explore the surrounding area at different times of day to make sure you’ve got a good feel for the place.

 

Little house on the prarie

 

 

3. A Spacious Kitchen and Bathroom

 

There are two rooms that you will later regret if you don’t make sure they have ample elbow room and counter space – the kitchen and the bathroom.

If you have ever lived somewhere with a small bathroom or kitchen, you’ll know yourself exactly how frustrating it can be. If you can’t afford to purchase a property with a spacious kitchen and bathroom, then have a look at what’s on the rental market.

 

Shaker style kitchen

 

 

 4. Ample Closet Space

 

Fighting over closet space with your spouse or children can be incredibly frustrating. Make sure to compare the space in the house you’re considering buying or renting with the amount of space you are currently filling.

 

 

 5. Modern Décor and Fixtures

 

I don’t know about you, but I’m not keen on décor, taps, or appliances that look old or outdated. They are a clear sign of future hassles or repairs, plus they distract from the overall appeal of the home.

If you are choosing a rental property for a long-term lease, try to find one with modern décor that suits your taste and style.

 

Modern taps or faucets

 

 

6. Tucked Away Mudroom

 

Mudrooms are specifically designated spaces that are perfect for the high traffic of little feet. They are usually incorporated as part of a back or side entrance to the home, so visitors don’t see all of the mess they can accumulate.

 

Contemporary Mudroom

 

Mudrooms are growing in popularity because people don’t want the appearance of their beautiful front foyers ruined with a load of running shoes, backpacks, and sports kits.

Finding the perfect home to buy or rent can be tricky, which is why it is so important to thoroughly evaluate all of your options.

So don’t forget, when looking for a home, think about a comprehensive maintenance agreement, convenient and safe location, spacious kitchen and bathroom, ample closet space, modern décor and fixtures, and a hidden mudroom.

 

Alison x  (your 4Manchester Women Editor)

 

 

Photographs: Images of Money, I Audio Guide, Susan Serra, CKD, A Yee, Maegan Tintari on Flickr

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