Freshen up your home for summer!

Freshen up your home for summer!

The warm weather has started and summer is upon us, so why not give your home a refresh for the upcoming summer months!

Brighten up

Adding bright colours to your home will instantly put you into a summery mood. Swap your current cushions and home accessories for something more colourful. Hanging up vibrant art work will help to brighten up your home, as will using floral and leafy patterns. Make your home even brighter by strategically placing mirrors around your home, which creates the illusion of a more open space.

Summer decor

Bring the outside inside

A great way to bring summer into your home is to fill it with plants and flowers! Greenery in your home not only looks nice, it helps to improve your wellbeing. Read our previous blog for loads of indoor garden tips. If you don’t fancy having real plants indoors, opt for fake ones or decorate with floral patterned accessories.

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Garden makeover

Summer is the perfect time to get out in your garden or balcony. If you haven’t grown your garden already, you can buy potted plants and flowers to scatter around your garden or hang off your balcony. If you have grass areas, now is the time to make sure they are neat and mowed, as you’ll be wanting to sit outside more in the warm weather! Create a relaxing outdoor space with seating, and hang up fairy lights to create the perfect mood for evenings outside.

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Defrost and a clear-out your freezer ready for more delicious summer treats. Stock up on summer necessities including sunscreen and after-sun, insect repellent and bite cream. Be ready for spontaneous days out by keeping picnic blankets, beach towels and sports equipment/games in your storage cupboards. Summer means BBQ’s, so give your grill a really good clean so you’re ready for guests, and to make the food taste even better.

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Top summer 2017 decor trends

Bright green was named the colour of 2017, and its the perfect colour for summer! Butterfly prints are also a big thing this summer, so get in on the trend by purchasing some butterfly print accessories for your home. Along with butterflies, any kind of tropical prints are a must have this season. Don’t be afraid to mix clashing prints either, its one of the top looks of the year! Rose gold was the big thing of last year, but this year its all about bronze.

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And when you’ve done all this hard work, why not treat yourself, family and friends to a summer party in your newly refreshed home!

Where to get the best vegetarian food in Leeds

Where to get the best vegetarian food in Leeds

Eating out as a vegetarian can be a bit tricky sometimes. But in the city of Leeds, you’ll be pretty well covered with a variety of different cuisines! In celebration of National Vegetarian Week, we’ve put together of where you can get the best vegetarian food in Leeds.

Roots and Fruits (Grand Arcade) – one of the most long running and well known vegetarian and vegan cafes in Leeds, serving a delicious array of breakfasts, salads, sandwiches and burgers, as well as tempting desserts.

Leeds Roots and Fruits

 

Hyde Park Book Club (Headingley Lane) – an intimate setting, often playing host to unique events, with a fully vegetarian menu, famed for using the Vegetarian Butcher in many of their dishes.

Leeds Hyde Park.jpg

 

Bundobust (Mill Hill) – a local favourite known for their vegetarian Indian street food and craft beers, Bundobust have quickly risen to be one of the top vegetarian choices in Leeds.

Leeds Bundobust

 

Global Tribe Cafe (Swan Street) – tucked away down Swan Street and above their crystal and gift shop, the cafe has an excellent vegetarian and vegan menu, with their homemade soups being a popular choice.

Leeds Global Tribe Cafe

 

Black Swan (Call Lane) – whilst they don’t serve a fully vegetarian menu, Black Swan have have introduced ‘Meat Free Mondays’ where they serve a different, 100% vegetarian 4-course tasting menu every week for just £18.95.

Leeds Black Swan

 

The Grub & Grog (Sheaf Street) – a vegetarian and vegan friendly cafe serving breakfast and lunch using ethically sourced and organic ingredients to create a wonderful menu that caters for everyone.

Leeds Grub ad Grog

 

Hansa’s (North Street) – offering award-winning vegetarian Indian cuisine that is often cited as one of the best vegetarian restaurants in Leeds, with the owner Hansa having her own cookery school and cookbook.

Leeds Hansas

 

Nichols Vegetarian Delicatessen (Harrogate Road) – venture out of the city centre up to Chapel Allerton where this small cosy cafe serves a range of sandwiches, salads and light lunches, all vegetarian of course.

Leeds Nichols Deli

 

Anand Sweets (Harehills Road) – another out of town restaurant but not one to be overlooked, they have a huge range of traditional Indian sweets, as well as curries, chaats and savoury snacks.

Leeds Anand Sweets

 

Humpit (Corn Exchange) – a vegetarian classic, head to Humpit for authentic and great tasting vegan food, focusing (obviously) on hummus and pita, and serving delicious freshly made juices.

Leeds Humpit

 

Filmore & Union (Harrogate Road) situated up in Moortown, this intimate cafe and deli is vegetarian and vegan friendly, with a focus on healthy and nutritious food, without compromising on flavour. They’re dog friendly too!

Leeds Filmore and Union

 

Inkwell Cafe (Potternewton Lane) – a creative art space for positive mental health in Chapel Allerton, Inkwell also have a vegetarian cafe on Saturdays, offering a menu filled with fresh, ethical and homemade breakfast and lunches.

Leeds Inkwell cafe

 

Cantina @ The Old Red Bus Station (Vicar Lane) – whilst they opened up over a year ago, the unique bar/arts and event space have just opened a 100% vegan canteen with an impressively varied menu.

Leeds ORBS

 

P.S. If you want to be within easy reach of all these amazing cafes and restaurants, check out these properties we currently have to rent in Leeds!

The best mill conversions in Yorkshire

The best mill conversions in Yorkshire

In celebration of National Mills Weekend, we’ve put together a list of the most impressive mill conversions in Yorkshire. These historic mills have been given a new lease of life as vibrant new leisure and entertainment spaces, whilst still retaining and celebrating their past.

Armley Mills, Leeds

Housed in what was once the world’s largest woollen mill, Armley Mills Industrial Museum showcases a wealth of gems located on the River Aire.  Step back in time to learn about the industrial history of Leeds from manufacturing textiles and clothing, to printing, engineering and locomotives.

Armley Mills

Canal Mills, Leeds

Given a new lease of life, Canal Mills on Brandon Street has been converted into a vibrant space for art, music and food, hosting many events all year round. They describe themselves as “a constantly evolving space for all mediums of creative output, from exhibitions, pop-up restaurants, live and electronic music events to fashion shows and theatre projects.” This weekend they are hosting ‘Grill at the Mill’ as part of Leeds Indie Food, and have a host of summer parties coming up.

Canal Mills

Thwaite Mills, Leeds

One of the last remaining examples of a water-powered mill in Britain, Thwaite Mills is a full restored working mill situated on the River Aire. Nestled on an island, the area is a rich wildlife habitat with areas of water, woodland, scrub and gardens attracting many species. You can take a wander round the museum to find out all about the mills past and present.

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Dean Clough Mills, Halifax

Painstakingly converted, the impressive Dean Clough Mills in Halifax is now a space for art exhibitions, unique shops, a mix of delicious restaurants and bars, leisure facilities and flexible work areas. They also have a hotel on site, and are set to add apartments to their already fantastic conversion.

Dean Clough Mills

Salts Mills, Saltaire

A brilliant addition to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Salts Mills provides a creative space for arts, dining and shopping, as well as independent businesses, in the beautiful town of Saltaire. They have numerous galleries, one currently showing a large David Hockney exhibition, unique independent stores, and a superb dining space.

Salts Mill

Caddies Wainright Mill, The Hepworth, Wakefield

Already a fantastic art gallery, The Hepworth in Wakefield converted Caddies Wainright Mill, a 19th century former textiles mill on the River Calder, into a contemporary art space adjacent to their main gallery. Named The Calder, the space opened in summer 2013 and has since been host to many inspiring exhibitions and events.

The Hepworth Mill

Fountains Abbey Watermill, Ripon

Amongst the many wonders at the Fountains Abbey Estate, you’ll find the Fountains Mill, built in the 12th century and one of the oldest buildings on the estate. Today the mill is an interactive exhibition where you can see historic objects discovered in the restoration, have a go at grinding some corn, and see the water wheel in action.

Fountains Abbey Mill

 

Moving home with pets

Moving home with pets

For anyone who has ever endured it, moving house definitely has its stresses and your pet is no exception. A new house with new smells in a new place is enough to send even the most laid back dog into a spin. But how can we make moving easier on our pets?

Cats

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On the move

Moving house can be a big deal for cats – much of their feeling of security and ability to relax comes from being surrounded by the familiar sights, sounds and scents of their own territory. It is also very stressful for humans too, so some thought and careful planning will ensure it’s a smooth move for everyone.

Planning ahead

There are two options for moving day: booking your cat into a cattery or taking them with you as you move. Which one you choose depends on your own personal preference and your cat’s character, as every cat is different.

Booking your cat into a boarding cattery

If you book your cat into a boarding cattery for a few days, you won’t have to worry about them while you move. This may be the easiest solution for both of you, but you will need to organise it well in advance and make sure your cat’s vaccinations are up to date prior to moving.

Keeping your cat with you

This option requires a bit more planning. What follows is just a guide and, as everyone’s circumstances are different, you may need to alter parts of it to fit your own situation and your cat’s character. First, allocate a room in your home that can be cleared of furniture a week or two before the move. At the same time, decide on a room in the new home where you can put your cat when you get there. Ideally, both rooms should be out of the way so your cat can be left undisturbed for as much of the move as possible. About a week before the big day, start getting your cat used to ‘their’ room. Pop an additional sleeping place, litter tray, cat carrier and blanket in there. You could begin feeding them here too so they become really familiar with their ‘safe place’.

On the evening before the move, move their scratching post, toys and water bowl into the room and shut them in to make sure they don’t go missing. If you have more than one cat, make sure they have separate resources if possible, to help prevent further stress or any toilet accidents. If you know your cats don’t enjoy each other’s company, it may be better to give them separate ‘safe rooms’.

Moving day

If you are taking your cat to a cattery, do this the day before if possible, so they are away from all the commotion. If they are staying at home, keep them in their room, feed them a small meal, make sure they have fresh water, clean the litter tray and shut the door. Once you are ready to leave, you can put them into their carrier and load them into the car along with all of their belongings. Your cat may be less anxious if the carrier is sprayed with the synthetic facial pheromones a few minutes before placing your cat in the carrier. If they are prone to travel sickness it is worth withholding food for three to four hours before the journey.

Once you have arrived at your new home, take them to their secure room with all their familiar bits and pieces. You might also like to give them something that smells of you, like an unwashed item of clothing, to help them settle. Provide them with something to eat, a box or something to hide in, and make sure they have a litter tray. Then close the door and leave your cat alone for a while – tell the removal staff and the rest of the family which room your cat is in so they don’t disturb them or accidentally let them out. You may also want to tack a sign on the door.

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Settling in

It is a good idea to keep your cat in their new room for a few days; it can be overwhelming to have access to the whole of the house straight away. Most cats will let you know when they are ready to venture further and it very much depends on your cat’s individual character. However, when you let them see the rest of the house, make sure that all doors, windows and cat flaps are closed – they’re not ready for the outside world yet! Make sure they always have access to their ‘safe room’ in case they feel the need to retreat.

Going outside

It’s important that your cat feels relaxed and secure in their new house before exploring the great outdoors, if they are an outdoor cat. Some cats go missing shortly after moving house because owners have let their cats go outside too soon. These cats sometimes find their way back to their old houses. Cats should be kept indoors for at least three weeks to allow them time to regard the new house as a secure place and to build up a scent profile to help them find their way back.

If you do let them out:

• Do it just before a mealtime when they are hungry so you can call them back with their favourite food

• Open the door and step outside encouraging your cat to go with you

• Don’t pick them up – let them make the decision to go outside themselves

• Leave the door open so they can run back into the house if they feel insecure

• Only let them out for short periods at first – you can gradually build up the time they are out until you are confident they can come and go as they please

Before letting your cat out, make sure they are microchipped so if they wander off they can be traced easily. If they are already microchipped, don’t forget to change your address details on the central database when you move. Also, don’t forget to register with a new vet, who is likely to request your cat’s veterinary history from your previous practice. If your cat has existing health issues, you may wish to organise this before you move.

Dogs

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One thing that will ease the stress of moving for your dog is if you stay calm. Dogs are so in tune with their owner’s feelings they often pick up on our moods. So even if the removal truck hasn’t arrived yet if you’re antsy, there is a high chance they are too. In these situations, as hard is it may be, you need to keep calm not only for your own sanity, but your pet too. If you stay calm they will also feel calm. If your dog is comfortable at a friend or family members and has been there before, letting your dog spend time away from the stress of moving can help. If you don’t have a suitable babysitter for your dog, taking them for a long walk can relieve the stress of both you and them.

Sticking to Your Usual Routine

As you go about your day to day events, you will have an established routine that you will go about without even realising. Even though you’re moving and keeping a routine is the last thing on your mind, doing this will really help your dog feel more at ease. If possible, try to still find the time to feed your pet and walk them at the same times.

Dogs are really routine animals that feel most comfortable when the same events happen at the same sort of time each day. Keeping your pets in this habit before moving and then continuing it once you have moved will make the transition a lot more bearable for your pet. If you suddenly change the routine your pet could start to fret that something is wrong which can cause anxiety.

When Moving Day Finally Arrives

So now that the packing is complete and you are ready to start the task of unpacking in your new home, it’s time to take the journey with your pet. In advance, you need to have organised transport for your pet if you are unable to transport them with you. Then you need to decide if a travel crate or other equipment are needed. If the journey is long, make sure the route is planned out and you stop to offer your dog water and to stretch his legs and relieve himself if needed. Once you arrive at your new home, allow your dog time to settle and become accustomed to the surroundings before moving them straight in. Put their bed and toys in a quiet corner so they can have the familiar scent of their old home. Settle back in the routine as much as you can so your dog starts to feel at ease. Reassure them as much as possible.

Try not to leave your dog for too long on their own until they are fully settled as this can cause anxiety. Be aware that when some dogs become stressed from moving they can urinate to mark their territory and some will chew furniture or carpets. Keep an eye on your dog and their behaviour if you are worried about your dog chewing allow them to have a quiet corner and limit the furniture in that room. Provide your dog with lots of things that it can chew such as bones and toys. Keeping items of familiar scent close to your dog can also deter marking their territory.

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Getting External Help if You Need It

If you have moved your dog before and you are really concerned, speak to your vet who may be able to discuss medical options to help ease the stress for your dog over this time. The pet market is full of items that claim to help reduce stress in your dog. Like anything, the results vary from pet to pet, but look at reviews and speak to other people who have had experience with these products, as some work for some dogs where as they don’t for others. There are certain anxiety drops, sprays and even diffusers that you can start to use a few weeks before you move with your pet.

No Matter What Any Type of Change Takes Time

Remember that for you, settling in can take a huge amount of time. Even you will find you keep switching the wrong switch for the lights or opening the wrong cupboards; adjusting to new surroundings doesn’t happen overnight. For your pet, the change is so much bigger and so much scarier. Allow your pet time to settle and understand that they may become quiet or not act quite like themselves. Just follow your routine, give them space and offer reassurance to help them settle in. Allow everything to happen slowly and allow your pet time to adjust and take everything at his pace.

If your pet becomes excessively subdued and doesn’t perk up after a few days speak to your vet or other professional to check your them if needed. Moving is ranked one of the most stressful events in our lives, so it’s no wonder that after that rollercoaster you and your pet might feel slightly out of sorts. The most important this is to stay relaxed and in your routine. Some pets need space, where as some like extra attention; following their lead is best and once you have all settled in, you will be happy families again!

Easter activities in Yorkshire!

Easter activities in Yorkshire!

Cadbury Egg Hunt at Nostell Priory, Wakefield

April 1 – 20 

Head down to Nostell Priory and take part in Cadburys Easter Egg Hunt! Cadburys have partnered with the National Trust to create a series of action-packed family days out.

To claim your Cadbury chocolate prize, you will need to wind your way through the wild woodlands and alongside lakes to find the clues and puzzles left behind!

Nostell Priory and Park is an 18th century architectural masterpiece with landscaped park and gardens. Take a walk around the kitchen garden and follow the winding paths through the pleasure grounds.

The Easter Egg hunt is open 10:00am – 4:00pm and admission only costs £2!

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Eggstrodinary Science Show at Thwaite Mills Watermill

April 6

Every Thursday afternoon in the school holidays, Thwaite Mills will be running fun science and experiment sessions suitable for all the family. This week they are exploring eggs in the Eggstrordinary Science Show.

Admission is free to the museum and no booking is required. The show starts at 1:00pm – 3:00pm.

Leeds Thwaite Mills

Easter Adventure at Stockeld Park

April 8 – 24

There are all sort of fun events happening at Stockeld Park this Easter, from giant egg hunts through the Enchanted Forest, to meet and greets with the Easter Bunny and Little Bo Beep. Visitors can also design their own chocolate bar, get lost in a giant maze, have a go on some Bumper Boats, visit the Stockeld Park Ponies, and catch the Doris the Dragon Easter Show.

Day pass from £12.50

Stockeld Park

Easter Extravaganza at Stirley Farm

April 12

Hunt for eggs (of the chocolate variety) at Stirley Community Farm in Huddersfield, and enjoy lots of Easter themed fun. The farm, leased from Kirklees Council since 2011, is an exciting rural adventure into the world of food and farming covering 240 acres. Expect to get up close and personal with shorthorn cattle and find out more about food-growing, apples and beehives.

Admission fee £3 to £4.

Stirley Farm

York Chocolate Festival

April 14 – 17

The city of York has had a long and distinguished history with the confectionery and chocolate industry. Even back in 1781 the city boasted 8 confectioners for its 17,000 inhabitants. The annual York Chocolate Festival celebrates the industry, chocolate lovers, artisan chocolatiers, museums and attraction and shares a piece of York’s chocolate history. To complete the chocolate experience, local chefs and chocolatiers will be demonstrating how to make chocolate and how to use chocolate in sweet and savoury dishes. Admission is free!

York chocolate story

 

Creating the perfect bedroom

Creating the perfect bedroom

When it comes to your bedroom, creating a space that is cosy and calming helps to promote relaxation and a better nights sleep. With March being National Bed Month, its the perfect time to re-think your bedroom and create your own personal sanctuary!

 – Functional –

Getting the right mattress is one of the most important things in your bedroom. Make sure you get one that’s comfortable, supportive and right for you. Mattresses should be changed every 8-10 years. Adding a mattress cover will make your bed even more soft and comfy.

Choosing thicker curtains will help to keep your room darker at night for a better sleep, and dimmer switches, lamps or fairy lights will help to you create the right brightness. Getting the balance between warm and cool temperature of your bedroom is also really important.

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Having a place to sit other than on your bed makes sure you have separate spaces for sleeping and for relaxing. Placing a night stand by your bed means you’ll have all your essentials to hand. But a cluttered night stand results in a cluttered mind; just have essentials such as a drink and a book etc to keep your bed a relaxing space.

The main things to avoid in your bedroom are technology, clutter and pets. Keeping pets and technology out of the bedroom will help you sleep better, and ensuring there’s no mess or clutter helps you feel more relaxed.

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– Comfort –

Comfort is key, especially in your bedroom. Cushions and throws are a simple yet effective way to make your bed really cosy and inviting. Be careful not to overload though, you don’t want 10 minutes of tidying every time you get into bed! Carpets are great for bedrooms to create a cosy feel, but if you have wooden flooring try putting down a soft rug to take the hard edge off.

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When it comes to bedding, have sheets that are nice and soft. Opt for lighter coloured bedding and more subtle prints for a more relaxing feel. There’s also nothing better then clean sheets; make sure to wash them every couple of weeks. And don’t forget that duvets and pillows need washing regularly too!

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 – Decor –

Choosing a theme will create a consistent look throughout your bedroom, which helps to create a calming space. So whatever your style and preferences, have a focus when decorating.

Lighter colours are ideal for the bedroom, with pale blue being noted as the best bedroom colour due to its calming effects. But any light, soft colours will help to make your bedroom feel more spacious and relaxing.

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 Adding personal touches to your room such as special ornaments and mementos will make it feel like your own space. However, its best to steer clear from family photos in your bedroom, and choose art work instead that creates a calming effect for you.

Nature is a proven way to make us feel calmer and is actually great for our health and wellbeing; add in some natural textures and house plants. As well as the visual and touch aspects, create a calming scent with reed diffusers in natural fragrances such as lavender and sandalwood.

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Give your home a spring update!

Give your home a spring update!

Refreshing your home for spring doesn’t have to mean spending loads of money, and realistically nobody repaints their home for every season. With just a few cheap and simple updates, you can say goodbye to the cold, dark winter months, and welcome spring into your home!

Texture trends

If you’re looking to buy new accessories to update your home for the new season, then try copper, marble and acrylic, the biggest trends this spring. Copper adds a warm but modern touch, while marble offers a sleek feel, and acrylic makes your space feel bigger and fresher.

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Colour palette

Spring is all about pastels and bright colours to mimic the lighter days and flourishing new plants and flowers. Lavender and mint  fit with the pastel trend without being too sickly, and if you prefer more subtle colours go for creamy neutrals. Yellows and greens are also perfect for spring.

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Lighter fabrics

Switch out your thick bedding, throws and curtains for less heavy fabrics to help let the light in, and opt for soft, lighter colours to give a fresh feel and open up your space. You can still use throws to create a cosy feel, but choose ones with more vibrant prints.

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Nature

Spring is the time of year when new life is beginning, so bring this idea into your home with lots of greenery and fresh flowers. If buying new furniture pieces, go for wood and earthy textures. Choose house plants that are easy to maintain such as the snake plant of rubber plant. If you don’t want real flowers and plants, decorate with accessories in floral and leafy patterns.

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Fresh scents

Don’t just think about the visual aspects, scents can play an important role when giving your home a spring update. Having house plants and flowers will create natural scents in your home, but to give them a boost try placing reed diffusers in floral and citrus scents around your home.

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Hygge

The latest home interiors trend is hygge (hue-gah) which is a Danish word which went applied in the context of your home means to ‘decorate cosy, live simply’. Whatever makes you feel cosy, whether its cushions and throws or strings of fairy lights, add these to your home along with a more simple approach to home decor to avoid clutter and create a calming environment.

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