5 Tips About Choosing the Best Flooring for Different Parts of Your House

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The floors are one of the most important parts of your house. Sure, the roof protects everything inside and the walls matter as well, but you walk on your floors daily. They get plenty of abuse. For this reason alone, they need to be well cared for – after you choose the best ones, that is. Picking out new flooring from grapevine flooring should be fun, not a chore. These five tips, courtesy of Wraps Studio, will help you with the process. We’ll go room by room, giving you some ideas for the most common spaces in your home.

1) Go with a Low Maintenance Option in Your Mudroom

Mudrooms get a lot of abuse. They’re the first room entered, as well as the place where your kids will track in mud (hence their names) and place all of their belongings. You need a mudroom floor that will last, such as ceramic or porcelain tiles. Both are easy to clean and can take quite a beating.

2) Pick an Easy To Clean Rug for Playrooms

Playrooms require soft carpeting. Your kids will spend hours sitting on the floor in there. The best carpeting for this room is something that’s tightly woven, yet soft. Consider something made of nylon or polypropylene fibers, since they’re easy to clean. Carpet tiles are another great option, since they can be switched out easily when they get too damaged or stained.

 

3) Consider Soft and Warm Flooring In Bedrooms

Many bedrooms have hardwood floors. They look great, but the problem lies in the temperature. There’s nothing quite like getting out of a warm bed and stepping on cold floors! (Unless you like that sort of thing, since it helps you wake up.) Instead of choosing hardwoods for the bedroom, consider going with a nice mid-pile carpet from grapevine flooring. Carpeting is comfortable to walk on, is warm, and since the room won’t receive a lot of foot traffic, you can get away it something that is a bit higher maintenance.

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4) Choose a Versatile Option for a Guest Room and Home Office

If you have a room that does double duty, such as the classic guest room/craft space/home office, then you need a rug that fits the décor, yet doesn’t shout that it belongs in one category or another. Instead, look for a colorful rug or patterned carpet that looks like it should be in such a versatile space.

 

5) Think Outside of the Box in Your Kitchen

Tile is the most common flooring option for the kitchen. Some people also choose linoleum. While both of these are valid, since they’re easy to clean and will stand up to such a high traffic area, they aren’t exciting. Instead, you should consider something a bit outside of the box, such as wood laminate, cork, or even rubber tiles from Wraps Studio. These are all comfortable to walk on, which is great for a room that you’ll spend quite a bit of time standing up in.

 

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A Design For Life

“I was not; I have been; I am not; I do not mind.”

The ‘Epicurean Epitaph’, a quote attributed to the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, often now used at humanist funerals.epicurus-3

I found myself thinking about this yesterday, prompted by a Facebook meme.

It doesn’t just apply to a way of looking at death. It can also be a way of looking at life.

The basis of Epicurus’ philosophy after all, his lifestyle and that of his friends and followers, was looking for the things that make us happy and then as much as possible having those things in our lives.

Not in Hedonism: self-indulgent and unrestrained behaviour – a common misunderstanding of his ideas – but more in a satisfaction with life: involving moderation, respect for others and friendship.

“I was not; I have been; I am not; I do not mind.”

This could just as much be about happiness as it is a way of coping with the concept of our mortality. We all have peaks and troughs in our lives. There are times when things seem to be going well, when we’re making progress, when we’ve achieved some of our goals and are looking to continue onwards.

There are other times when life seems bleak, when nothing seems to work, where everything is going wrong – even to the extent that we give up hope.

Basic needs like food & water, shelter, safety, health, relationships. Simply said – not so simply achieved! Certainly not all at once. Sometimes we seem to have them all; other times none of it!

“I was not; I have been; I am not; I do not mind.”

‘A while back’ – I’m shocked sometimes when I think about just how long ago it was! – I was living and working in and around London, working in Finance.  I was “doing OK”, not great, but “OK”.

I met a girl, we moved in together. She was also “doing OK”. We went to restaurants, pubs and gigs: together and with friends. We travelled a lot. We moved to Brighton, then to Sutton Coldfield. We got married, then had children. Twins: Jake and Ellie. Great kids! Having been made redundant earlier I became their full time stay-at-home Dad: for 3 years, until they started pre-school in preparation for school proper. By this time we were here in Wales.

Now, 5 years later, we’re separated. I live alone, in a small house: fine just for me but nothing like our old family home. The children who were my life I see now just 2 days a week: most of 1 day on the weekend and 1 evening after school.  And to be honest I’ve struggled to pick up with my career where I left off. The industry is very tech-driven and seems to have moved on, irrespective of all my experience. My age counts against me too I think; having to start again as it were a lot of the jobs I am qualified for I think are taken by young people.

We had a big house, and a good lifestyle: travel, good food, fun. Now I sometimes struggle even with the basics. Then I spent nearly all my time with my beloved Jake & Ellie; now I often feel like I hardly know them, like they’re growing up without me.

It’s very easy to look back and think things were perfect though isn’t it? I know they weren’t, even then.

Further back –  in New Zealand, for instance, before I found my feet career-wise here – I sometimes struggled, financially and socially. Even after I moved to the U.K. there were difficult times: I got caught up in the mortgage interest rate crisis of the ‘90s, and leaving the somewhat extreme religious group I got mixed up in was necessary, but still difficult, not least as it meant cutting myself off from all my ‘friends’ & having to start again socially.

“I was not; I have been; I am not; I do not mind.”

I had tough times before, some good times, and now difficult times again. Life has its ups and downs. It’s just a question of perspective isn’t it? I’m trying to be grateful for what I do have. Great children who love me, food & shelter, safety, reasonably good health, friendships.

That’s more than millions of people all over the world can say. In many ways I’m lucky, despite what the reality of my life seems to be a lot of the time.

“I had not; I did have; I do not have; I do not mind”

I’m trying very hard to improve the things I can, while learning to accept and make the most of life as it is.

Thank you Epicurus: those are indeed wise words.

Three Beautiful Things

Some time ago there was a meme doing the rounds of the internets called “Three Beautiful Things” (3BT). It may still be there and I just hadn’t noticed, in some corner of the internet that I haven’t caught up with yet: it’s quite possible.

The basic idea behind it is that no matter how bad your day seems to have been that you can always try to find good (‘beautiful’) things that have come out of it. “The Power of Positive Thinking”, and all that. It’s a cliche, yes, but it works: as long as you’re not blinded to reality to the extent that you completely ignore your problems. The buggers have a habit of sneaking up on you when you’re not expecting it and biting your backside if you ignore them for too long, in my experience!

‘3BT’ is particularly good when you’ve had ‘one of those days’ where everything seems to  go wrong, or you have a setback of some kind on your otherwise Glorious Golden Path of Progress.

On days like that you sometimes find yourself scratching around to find some positivity! The “Three Beautiful Things” are still there though: you just have to look.  They may seem trivial, unimportant even, but they’re still there: and that’s what matters. They are still things in what seems like a bad day that can lighten the gloom. “Small is Beautiful”. When you find them you can realise that maybe your day hasn’t been so bad after all. ( I believe psychologists and life coach types call this sort of thing “reframing“). 

Without boring you with the details, my day today has been a bit like that – so here are my Three Beautiful Things.

    • I got my hair cut. I tend to let my locks – what’s left of them! – get straggly, and – as with many other things – put off getting them cut. Today I decided to get smartened up, and a lovely lady named Helen gave me a good smart cut, along with an equally smart beard trim. We had a good chat as well; chattiness is a skill most hairdressers have along with their cutting prowess. I look and feel much better.
    •  I treated myself to a big greasy bag of chips. With salt and vinegar: all the trimmings, a guilty pleasure!
    • I found a site for freelance writers which I think suits my skillset and experience, and which I think could prove very rewardng in days to come.
    • I updated one of my CVs with my recent experience to help with the possibility of finding some sort of ‘real job’  – as my well-meaning friends keep telling me  I should – in addition to my self-employed earnings.

Yes, I know: that’s four, not three.

Maybe my day really wasn’t so bad after all!

Separated

“Separated”.

What a word. What a big word! A word loaded with meaning.

“removed or severed from association, service, etc., especially legally or formally”  Dictionary.com

“severed”, “removed”. Reminiscent of surgical amputation, or tooth extraction: it sounds painful!

And it is.

Not quite married, not quite single. Both, and neither.

“But I’m not really married!” isn’t the exactly the world’s best chat-up line is it? Damn, I even wrote a song about it!

But that’s not the worst part – not for me, anyway. I don’t think it would help anyone – me, my children or their mother – to drag any recriminations, whys and wherefores all over the internet, and I don’t intend to.

“Separated”. Not just from my wife, from what is now the ‘family home’, but also – and most importantly – from Jake and Ellie. That’s the worst part.

Jake and Ellie. Who I’ve described as “the best thing I’ve ever done with my life”.  In low moments “the only good thing I’ve ever done with my life”.

Jake.  The Jake who I held “skin on skin” when he was born and who promptly stopped crying, then relaxed enough to relieve himself all over my chest. “The happiest moment of my life” I called it at the time.    DSCF2769

Ellie, my “Tiny Dancer”. The countless hours I spent cuddling her and singing her to sleep night after night, not leaving until I was sure she was soundly asleep.

That first year I spent with them, along with their mother, as a full-time parent was at once the richest and one of most demanding of my life.

The (for the first year at least) twice-daily walks in the double buggy, in all weathers, to give them the naps they needed. The vomit, the nappies, the sleep deprivation, the tantrums. Their first steps! Their first words! I remember tweeting “Teaching my little boy to roll a ball. Happy.” And I meant it. All those precious moments I spent with them, helping them live, learn and grow: three years a stay-at-home Dad.

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They’re now 8. At school, doing well, making friends, making music, playing rugby, and much more: so grown up! I see them so little by comparison. 1 day on a weekend and 1 evening during the week. I feel like they have been and are growing up largely without me.

It’s painful.

I’d defined myself and my life around them. And now we’re “Separated”. I left my heart with them and it’s still there: Separated.

Confession Time

There are an increasing number of stay-at-home & hands-on Dads – more power to them! There are many Dads of twins. And of course older Dads. But there can’t be too many who are all 3. That was one of the reasons I started this blog; in the hope that whatever experiences I had might be of interest to others: Dads, Mums, or those just looking.

How this all began.

It was supposed to be about me, me as a Dad, an unusual Dad, and how the experience affected and changed my life. I intended this to be a chronicle of an unusual parenting situation from an unusual perspective: my perspective, a bloke’s perspective. That’s actually what gave this blog its strange name. 1-DSCF3705

Best laid plans, and all that eh?

It turned out that it wasn’t about me – it never was, really – it was always about them: Jake and Ellie, my wonderful – now 8-year-old – twins.

I guess that’s one of the reasons I haven’t been too personal here over the years: not much writing about how I’ve been, how I feel, how all this has been affecting me, despite my blog’s stated aims.

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Another reason of course is that I am a bloke, and generally we blokes aren’t too good at that sort of thing: opening up about ‘feelings’, and ’emotions’ – or at least ones that don’t involve shouting at a bunch of other blokes as they run around after variously shaped balls.  In that way at least I’m what you could describe as a ‘typical bloke’.

And I haven’t posted much here, for a few years now; certainly nowhere near as much as I used to. In this blog’s heyday I was posting daily.  A lot of that of course is just due to the twins just growing up. They’re 8 and in school, and are very active in out of school groups and activities: I just don’t see them as much or spend as much time with them as I used to, so there’s just less to write about.

DSCF5334There’s another reason however that I don’t spend as much time with them as I used to, and as much as I’d like to. I’ve alluded to it here a few times but have never written explicitly about it. I’ve always meant to, but there never seemed to be a ‘right time’ for it. There probably never is. Also I’ve always tried to be positive here, and present my experience of parenthood as a positive one, which it largely has been, and this particular aspect hasn’t been positive. In fact it’s been bloody difficult.

“C’mon, spill it man: out with it then!”. Alright; OK then! That sergeant-major is still in my head it seems: more about that another time maybe…

OK, so (deep breath): we’re separated, my wife and I. Have been for over 4 years now,  since Christmas 2013, about a year & a half after we moved here to Wales, soon after the twins started school, just as we were all set to move into the new family home – which I’d selected mainly as it’s almost literally over the fence from their school.

I’m not going to lie: it’s been, and is, difficult. Any readers of this blog will probably know that the twins were, and in many ways still are, my life. They’re the only thing in my life that has ever given it any meaning, really.

The reasons behind it? I’m not sure I will or even should go into that here. And that’s partly because I’m not really sure. I do know that statistically there is a higher than average divorce rate amongst parents of twins: it can be very stressful! “Double the trouble, double the fun.”

As for the future: who knows? We’re still officially married, and we even actually talk sometimes: amicably, mostly. We should probably do more of that sort of thing.

So, anyway, that’s my News. It’s out of the way, it’s off my chest. It’s not before time that I ‘came clean’ here; I probably should have a long time ago.

I’ve gone on long enough already; I’ll write more another time.

Thank you for reading, if you’ve stuck with me this far. More later 🙂

 

 

 

BRING HOME THE BEST WALL PANEL

Written on behalf of CSI Wall Panels

For many people, home is not the place to live in; it’s a place where they feel energetic and want to refresh. There is nothing like being at home. We all have dreams to decorate our home extraordinary well: from the entrance to the bedroom, from the kitchen to the bathroom. We want every corner of our home to be perfect.

We think of everything. Right?!

Do we think of everything? The answer is NO.

We think of everything but the wall. What about the wall? What is there to think about it? You can’t move the walls; they are the boring, stationary and never-changing things. All you can do to is paint it, and just by adding a touch of colour, new wall colour, your room feels absolutely new and looks perfectly awesome.

But why only paint it? What if you have the option to change the texture of the wall as well? Moreover, along with that, you have various patterns to choose from. Yes! It’s an ‘old wives’ tale’ isn’t it? – the wall is only for painting. We bring you a perfect solution for that. Now a makeover starts and ends with the WALLS.

While renovating we actually focus what is between our walls; we bring different artefacts, showpiece, and home decor items to bring some beautiful changes. Why spend so much when you can bring astonish transformation with only one change?

Use WALL PANELS and give a dazzling look to your home, an innovative approach to change the look of home by adding a spice of texture and pattern to the wall. A wall panel is just a single piece of material. Wall panels come in a wide range of designs, shapes, sizes and colours, so picking the best one that suits your home is easy. The decorative wall panel will offer you all the inspiration needed to get your home the improvement you’re looking for; sensational change within no time and without much hassle.

We offer you a wide variety of wall panel material and types: for instance decorative, wood veneer, textured, gypsum, felt, panels for the ceiling and many more. You can play with different colours too; from light-coloured wall panels to bold coloured ones. We offer decorative acoustic or 3D wall panels too – an impressive and even ravishing look for your living room or bedroom – which come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colours and textures.

Colours help you to enhance your mood, so choosing the right colour for your living room or bedroom can improve your sleep pattern. Green and blue, for instance, are perfect bedroom colours, while white can have a stress-reducing effect. If you want to go for a completely white decorative wall you can choose different textures and patterns, which will add a stylish look to your bedroom. While white bedrooms depict a calm and peaceful ambience,  if you have smaller rooms where you cannot store so many decorative items for the wonderful atmosphere you want to create, you can balance it with our decorative wall panels. Select cleverly coloured, patterned and textured panels for the walls. If you add lighter colours like white or pastel tones it gives an impression of a bigger room, while bold colour gives the impression of optically reduced space. You can also add textures with 3D effect, and find the right light to give it a smashing atmosphere.

You can bring an extra dimension to a basic common wall. It feels good to be surrounded by beauty. doesn’t it? A simple change to your walls can bring warmth and add that reviving aura: the wall will speak thousands of words. There’s no need to add other showpieces when you can have these amazing, beautiful and decorative wall panels.

A wall panels gives a model-refashioning look. It comes with the perfect accent; you can give the decor a traditional or contemporary look using wall panels. Now make the walls pop and let them be the centre of attraction in your home like never before! After finishing with wall panels installed over them, they not only change the eye but attract attention. They are unbreakable and will never lose their shape: hence you can use them for wall decoration both  indoors or out, whatever you need. Change the entrance, and you will be surprised to see the outcome.

Alternatively, want a quick makeover of the bedroom to try different textures? Small changes can make a big difference; this is definitely true with our wall panels. A wall panel will add a beautiful touch to the decor. Wall panels will give your home a look you and your friends will be surprised to see. Incorporating felt wall panels, architectural wall panels or architectural wood veneer wall panel to white bedrooms will give a glaring look to your room. They give a complete insulation on your walls, with no spots, no rots in future and no wasted energy.

The wall panel is ideal for any exterior and interior applications. It needs virtually no maintenance. You can include it in offices, conference rooms, building receptions, homes, flats, reception areas, entryways and more. These wall panels are water-, impact-, and stain-resistant, and they come at a very affordable price. As well as being durable and timeless they are also stylish, instantly adding a dramatic that raises the room’s ambience and leaves a lasting impression. They are perfect for any room, including the garage, basement, study or utility room.

You have endless options to choose from and possibilities with which to decorate your home. Good interior decor now has an ally: you can balance the style of the furniture using wood veneer panels. You can style any room using vivid pastel, cool tones and texture. They are elegant, cordial and balanced, and can be suited to the taste of a home’s inhabitants. And using wall panels can help you not to go overboard with decorative items: balance and harmony is key while designing the room to support the look you seek.

Little Things Can Change a Life

I went to my local grocery shop yesterday. I had a little money in my pocket (for a change!) and I needed food to eat; it’s just something we all do when we need to.

As I entered the shop I saw a friend going in at the same time.

Now I won’t bore you with the details, but I’m going through a hard time at the moment, a lot of which is about my being very limited in how much I spent there, & my making a beeline for the bargains section. Among other things.

It’s summer here in Wales, allegedly. We’ve had some nice days, but this wasn’t one of them. It was raining heavily, cold and windy.

In short, I wasn’t in the best of moods.

I greeted my friend when I caught up with her: “Hi Liz”; she replied in kind.

In my very British way, as I often do, I then said ironically, “Nice day isn’t it?”.

Because as far as I was concerned it wasn’t. But, you know, I was muddling on through anyway, as you do.

Her response? She turned around, with a big smile on her face, and said, “Yes, it is!”.

She seemed completely genuine.

It wasn’t! But to her it was. I was taken aback!

That changed my mindset.

Yes, the weather was terrible.Yes, this, that and the other. And I know my friend has problems of her own, as do we all. Yet it was still “a nice day”!

It was a nice day because she had decided it was. So it was!

Yes, I was broke. Yes, the weather was awful. Yes, this, that, the other, and everything else. But I could still decide it was “a nice day!”.

Yes, I have problems, at the moment it seems too many. But compared to most of the world’s people I’m lucky. I’m not starving. I have a roof over my head. I don’t live in fear of being bombed. I have friends. And I have my music.

Today is a good day! I’m gonna make it that way.

My Sunday Photo 24/7/16: Meet The Band!

Introducing…The Jallie Band!

Featuring: Jake on metal gazoo, and Ellie on mouth organ! And Daddy banging rhythmically on whatever is to hand. (Sounds of wild applause and cheering)

They were pretty good too!

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