Devonshire Woman

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Add Value To Your Property Before Selling

One of the main advantages of stepping on to the property ladder is being able to upgrade from your starter-buy house to one that fits your description of “dream house” more accurately. Selling up and putting the money towards a new property could put you on the market in a position that you never thought you would be able to obtain. When selling your house, you want to be sure you are getting the best possible price, and in order to do that, a few simple additions or changes may be necessary. Below are a few options you may want to consider investing in before you put your house on the market.


Even though you are not adding to the number of bedrooms in your home, you will be adding to the living space – an invaluable asset to many large families. It allows room for another social area for either parents or children, so the occupants of the house aren’t always living under each other’s feet. Taking the time to research and choose a conservatory build that compliments the architecture and structure of your property will help to avoid that “stuck on the back look” a lot of conservatories are associated with. Due to the high traffic nature of a conservatory, it will be worthwhile investing in a durable and sustainable floor such as karndean flooring or similar. Going for a light colour of flooring will also minimise bleaching from the hot sunny days that will bless your conservatory.

Renovate The Kitchen

It seems nowadays that when someone looks at a house, one of the most important rooms in it is the kitchen. For some, it is a make or break factor in buying the house. The bedrooms can be redecorated, the lounge can have a new carpet put down, but replacing the kitchen takes money and time – money and time that a lot of people are not prepared to part with, especially if they have young children or are elderly. According to Phil Spencer, a new kitchen will add 4.6 percent to the value of your house if the price of it is in accordance with the rest of the property, so you make your money back.  

Modernise Your Bathroom

You don’t necessarily have to rip out the entire suite and change the tiling unless you are still sporting the avocado or maroon bathroom from the seventies, then you may want to consider a refit. It is more about the simple changes that can help a bathroom look like new. Redoing the grout around your tiles, fitting a new shower head and taps, and replacing the shower screen or curtain to a brand new design will work wonders. If you do decide on investing in a refit, make sure that the master bathroom has an actual bath rather than a standing shower unit, as this will be a lot more attractive and useful for families with young children. In any ensuites, a standing shower is suitable and will be useful for any potential elderly persons looking at buying your house.

With the demand for housing at the moment, it can be quite a competitive market to enter into, so it is a smart idea to make a few additions to your home to make it the most attractive in your local area.

Sprucing Up The Bathroom


It’s a new year and we are heading closer and closer to spring. This time of year is the most popular time for redecorating the house because the days are becoming longer and it is getting warmer too. If you fancy spending your weekend on a design project in your home, why not tackle the bathroom?

The bathroom is a part of the home which many people think they cannot touch unless they rip everything apart and start again, but this isn’t the case. Like any other place in the house you can make small changes to your bathroom at any time, and here are some ways to do it…

  1. Update the fixtures

The easiest way to update your bathroom and make it feel more luxurious is to update the fixtures you have in the room. This can be as simple as replacing a chunky radiator with one from Radiator Outlet, or changing your electric shower and buying a new shower head. Even changing your taps to sleek chrome ones will make a huge difference to the overall look and feel of your home.

  1. Be arty

Another example of ways to make your bathroom look newer with relaying all of your tiles is to add some artwork into the space. It might seem a little odd to think of hanging up artwork in the bathroom, but it is something which can really make a huge difference to a plain white wall and also offset any coloured towels you have in the room. The design doesn’t need to be complicated- an image of a cactus or a flamingo could be a fun pairing to make the bathroom feel like summer all year, but it depends on your personal style.

  1. Paint the tiles

If you don’t have the money or time to be retiring your whole bathroom, a short term fix can be to paint the tiles. So if you have moved into a house which has terrible coloured tiles, you can cover them until you have the money to replace them! You will need an oil based primer on the tiles before you paint them, and then a high adhesion paint on top.

  1. Have fun

The bathroom doesn’t need to be boring, you can have some fun with the design just as you would in any other part of the home. Add some coloured wallpaper, pieces of art, bright towels and paint your vanity a bold colour too if you like.

  1. Work it

Sometimes you may be faced with colour combination of tiles which you really aren’t too sure of, but instead of changing it, make it work. If you are stuck with pink and yellow tiles ( or another weird combination), try it add fun elements to the room and some chunky curtains to accent the colour, it might seem a bit weird  at first, but you could be making a great design in the end. Just think of how unique your bathroom will look!

Heating Your Home With Style

A new year may well have crept over the horizon and brought about a renewed sense of hope, ambitions and dreams, but the same old winter is still threatening to put all this want to achieve more in jeopardy. It’s just hard to get motivated when all you can think about is climbing under the duvet with a mug of hot chocolate (with marshmallows and whipped cream, of course!) with one intention: to keep warm.

Of course, the obvious option is to crank up the heating and then accept you’ll burst into tears when that energy bill finally falls through your letterbox at the end of the quarter, but that isn’t going to keep you warm at night.

Don’t despair, though; we’ve pulled together a list of stylish, gorgeous and gorgeously inexpensive ways you can keep the frost away until the sun comes back out to play:

  1. Delightful Drapes

There is no insulation more beautiful than a lovely pair of curtains. They don’t just do the job of trapping the warmth in your home, they do so with style and elegance, lifting the ambience of your home from the moment they are hung on a rail. It could be that you put a pair of voile curtains at the bottom of your stairs to keep the heat in your main living spaces, while adding another layer of grandeur to your interior, or you could opt for some long drapes that form a puddle on the floor, which is how we imagine every window in Buckingham Palace is styled. Of course, thicker is always better.

  1. Ravishing Rugs

Nothing looks more stylish and inviting as sleek wooden floors, the kind that greets you at the front door and draws your eye to the rest of the home. The problem is, they’re cold. Sure, they look warmer than a pumpkin-spiced latte, but they let the heat slip out (as your cold toes will have no doubt let you know). That is why you need to pop down to Ikea and invest in one/two/three/five (delete accordingly) thick-pile rugs to dot around your home. Put a sheepskin rug by your bed so that getting out in the morning feels amazing, pop a Persian number in your bathroom to make it more bearable in the middle of the night and plonk something luxurious down in your living room. You want something to nestle your nearly-frozen toes into.

  1. Fire It Up

Feeling warm goes way beyond just turning the heat up. It is embracing everything that makes you feel fifty shades of cosy. It is that hygge way of life. That is why a natural log fire has to be considered because nothing feels cosier than snuggling up on the sofa, blanket pulled up to your waist, last summer’s book in your hands and a fire crackling away in the background. Just thinking about it is warming us up ten degrees. Yes, they can be costly, but that dazzling statement is well worth the pennies, as your toasty tootsies will tell you.

5 Simple Ways To Sweeten Up Your Mealtimes

When you’re a bit of a sweet tooth, you probably find mealtimes bittersweet. Even if you’re a foodie in general, you know that you need to get through the main event in order to access the sweet stuff. And that can often be torture in itself. At the same time, you’re also going to find that you’re forever wishing you could get your sugar fix without the nasties that come with it. Because we all know that sugar isn’t all that good for you. In fact, too much of it can actually be bad for your teeth, and your health in general. So, you may be looking for alternative ways to sweeten up your mealtimes without having to turn to sugar. If you are, these ideas should suit you perfectly.

Add Some Fruit

First of all, you should definitely think about incorporating more fruit into your diet. Whether it’s to have after your main meal, or with it, fruit will always sweeten up what you’re about to eat. Full of natural sugars – and lots of vitamins and minerals too, it’s a healthy balance. You can even add fruit to things like salads to make them much more exciting and sweeter to eat too. If that’s a bit much for your more traditional mind, you should definitely save some fruit for afters instead.

Try An Alternative To Sugar

If your brain still wants to have something sugary after you’ve had your main meal, you could try to work with some alternatives. Although you may not think a maple syrup diet swap is what you want, it could really work for you. Drizzle it on some fruit and you’re ready to go. You could also try the same by using it in recipes, or even something like Stevia or coconut sugar in your recipes so things can be kept a little healthier.

Follow With A Topped Yogurt

Opting for yoghurt is often a really good idea. Although some yogurts are going to be full of sugar, greek yogurt is great for you. It’s packed full of protein, low in sugar and fat, and tastes good too. By topping it with some exciting stuff, you’re also going to find that it makes for an incredibly sweet dessert at mealtimes.

Choose Your Drink Pairing Carefully

Next up, you could also turn to your drink of choice too. Because sometimes, a really fruity and flavoursome beverage is all you need to sweeten up your mealtime. From homemade lemonade to fruit tea, you’ll be able to pair up the perfect drink to make your main feel that much more exciting.

Try Some Sweeter Veg Choices

Finally, maybe you would benefit from working with some sweeter side dishes too. Although this won’t always work for everyone, you should definitely think about doing things like beetroot or pickled cabbage with your meals. Sometimes, you just need to mix up your palette a little to be able to create a great dish that is going to satisfy your sweet tooth as well as your hunger pains.

Making Fitness Fun In The New Year For A Healthier New You

A new year is a perfect time to access what’s happened over the past twelve months and have a fresh start. However, once you’ve taken all those fairy lights down; it can sometimes be a challenge to find your January motivation, especially when it comes to exercise (the British weather at the beginning of the year never helps). Therefore, it’s worth thinking about you can make fitness and a new routine, something fun. Fun stuff will always keep you motivated, and your momentum will increase week by week, building up your stamina, health, and wellbeing. If you can discover ways to enjoy exercising and fitness, you’ll be well on the road to a healthier and happier new you, and your new habits will last for the years ahead.

There will always be backup excuses in your mind as to why you need to skip or miss out on exercising during a day or week. However, if you push through the first few challenges; you’ll be able to continue getting into shape and feeling great on the inside. There’s no time like the present to think about how you can make your fitness regime a fun one, so get out your notebook and pen, and start writing a list of the things you might like to do. Don’t be fearful of trying more than one thing; some things are more suited to some than others, and you might surprise yourself at how much you enjoy and activity you’ve never done before. The following are some ideas, inspiration, and tips, for those who want to get back into the swing of a healthy lifestyle and enjoy a fit and active year ahead.

One To One Help

The gym is a place where you’ll have a plethora of potential workout and exercise options. The new year is always a time when gym memberships are going for affordable prices, and it could be just what you need to begin your fitness journey. You’ll never know if you’re a gym bunny unless you visit one and try it out. For those nervous to turn up and start using equipment and weights that they have no experience with; pay a little extra at the beginning for some one-on-one sessions so that you can get into the swing of what works for you. A fitness expert and personal trainer will be able to advise you on how you can achieve the results you want through exercise, suggest any natural supplements they feel will benefit your progress, and help you to get in a routine that suits family life. Time in the gym will be a chance to exercise and escape the duties of parenthood for an hour or so; you’ll return energised and refreshed and able to take on the challenges of kids, and a work-life balance.

You might be nervous to start any sort of exercise that you’re not used to, whether that’s pilates, running, or weight training. Therefore, investing in the help to teach you how to do something, and encourage you to progress and do more, will ensure that you’re more likely to stick to your new-found passion. Before long, you can start exercising and training alone and will have the confidence and skills to head to any gym session or fitness class without the support of someone else, making them a great investment for the new year. You can build a rapport with your trainer, making your sessions fun and motivational, so start looking at what and who is available to help you today.

A New Class Of Friends

Whether it’s at the gym (that you’re now so accustomed to) or in your local community centre; fitness and exercise classes are the perfect, fun way to start enjoying getting active. A class full of people all learning together is a great way to meet new friends, and you’ll be able to encourage each other and push one another forward. It might be something like Zumba or keep fit that spurs you on; dancing to music (check out for music inspiration!) is the ideal way to release those endorphins and let loose after a busy week. Picking up the skills in a dance and exercise class will allow you to do your own sessions at home in between going to see your classmates and teacher. You can meet up with fellow members of the sessions and enjoy your yoga, tai chi, or pilates together; make it social so that it’s always a fun activity and you’ll never get bored.

If you’d rather blow away the cobwebs and get outside more; a running group is a great way to exercise with company, and you can all work together to get faster and build up your stamina. Jogging, hiking, and running groups are another way to ensure that you can continue the sessions outside of the set days and times so that you can increase the amount you do. Ringing up a friend or running partner to utilise your local park together can end up in a well-deserved coffee and a catch up afterwards. Have a look online, or in your local paper to see what’s happening in and around your area. You can contact a group through email or social media, and begin talking to members before you meet up for your first session, which will help alleviate any nerves. Remember that you’re all there for the same or similar reasons; to have fun, improve your skills, and get fit, so enjoy yourself!

Make sure that you give everything you try a chance; sometimes things can get off to a difficult and challenging start as your body and lifestyle won’t be used to it. However, once you’ve broken through the barrier and lept over that first hurdle; you’ll be amazed at the difference your new fitness and activities have made in your life. You’ll gain confidence, motivation, much-needed time to yourself and with other people, and you’ll be able to have fun during each step along the way. Make 2018 a fun-filled year, and you’ll be a happier and healthier new you in no time!

Creativity + Recycling = Upcycling. This is how and why you should do it.

Upcycling is a trend that seems to have taken the world by storm in the last few years. It’s all about taking something old and giving it a fresh lease of life by altering it and renovating it, so it fits a new purpose in the home. It can be a super fun, creative project too, as well as there being some pretty important reasons underpinning it, just read on to find out more.

Why bother to upcycle?

Perhaps the popularity of upcycling in the last few years is in part due to the realisation that many of us are making that we can no longer endorse a throwaway culture.

Image here

A culture that gets rid of things for the simple reason that they no longer fit the most current trends in decor, even though they are still 100% fit for purpose. This wasteful attitude is thankfully something that many people are putting behind them as they learn to respect and care for the planet more, hence the rise of recycling and its sister task upcycling.  

How to upcycle: Step 1

The first step in upcycling something is to find an item of furniture to work your magic on. You can use something that you already have in your home, or you can purchase something cheaply that has been pre-loved.

Traditionally the latter has been slightly more difficult because if you pick a large or bulky item, it can be tough to get it from the seller to your house.

Luckily there are some companies with excellent reputations like the one you can read about in these Shiply reviews that can hook you up with a delivery driver that can perform this service for you. Probably, at a much more reasonable rate and with a lot less hassle than if you had to do the job yourself.

Step 2


Once you have the item of furniture, it’s time to work out what to do with it. It may just need some surface work doing like sanding down, a lick of paint, or a coat of new varnish? However, you may choose to something a bit more ambitious and disassemble the original piece to create something completely new.

A good example of this includes retro TVs being used as pet beds or bookshelves, as well as wooden pallets being broken down into shelves or used as headboards.

Step 3

Once you have an idea of what you will create, you can then get to the fun part. This is the actual creative and craft work that may include decoupage, painting, building or sewing depending on the materials you are working with, comes in. Check out for some inspiration.

Image source

Step 4

Lastly, once you have your upcycled furniture piece finished you should do two things. The first is to check its safety of the job you have completed. After all, you don’t want shelves falling down, or seats breaking under people!

The next is to put it in its assigned place in the home and enjoy it. After all, you have created a thing of beauty and function and stopped loads of waste ending up in a landfill too. Well done you!

Cotley Farm Christmas

Last weekend my family and I did something really exciting, we bought our first real Christmas tree! Now the boys are of an age where they will not destroy or pull the tree over, we thought it was time to get one. So when we were invited to Cotley Farm in Whimple, East Devon, how could we say no?

Cotley Farm has been on my radar for a few years, it’s the place to go if you want a good quality Christmas tree.  It also has the added bonus of a wooden lodge full of festive treats and real life reindeers.

There was good signage to the farm (we easily found it using our sat nav), when we arrived it was very busy (we went the busiest weekend for the farm) but there was plenty of parking and it certainly didn’t feel too busy as everything was spaced out. There was a little site map at the entrance to easily navigate around the farm.

We first headed into the Christmas Cabin, it was a quaint wooden lodge full of decorations, local food, drinks and treats.

Everything was displayed beautifully, there were lots of lovely things on offer to help decorate your chosen tree plus plenty of gift ideas.

The boys were desperate to see the reindeers, so they jumped in to sleigh ‘Cotley 1’ to get to the barn.


Reindeer sign cotley farm

The boys were convinced that the reindeers were Dancer and Prancer! The reindeers were all cosy in their barn, they have a busy evening on the 24th December apparently. Inside the barn were also piglets and sheep (with the sweetest little lambs). They also have calfs in a separate barn, so the cuteness factor was sky high.

The reindeer lodge was so festive, it was decorated beautifully.

Before we chose our favourite tree, we (as in me) was enticed by this sign…

This was such a lovely touch, i didn’t feel like we were just buying a Christmas tree, it was a full-on festive experience. The mulled wine was delicious and warming, even the mince pies were warm, Cotley Farm certainly know how to spoil their visitors.

It was now time to go pick our tree, the tree farm was full of families looking for that perfect tree, and there were so many to choose from. They have a variety of sizes and types of fir, so whatever space you have or budget there is something for everyone. A full list and prices can be found here. We went for a 6-7ft Nordmann tree. The staff were working so hard, we did not have to wait long at all, and they were very patient. I think we were quite relaxed about choosing our tree, but some visitors were very particular about what they wanted. Again the staff went with the flow and helped everyone get the tree that they wanted.

The boys fully embraced the tree picking, if you watch my little video at the end you will see my littlest boy jumping around with so much excitement when he was shown the tree. This has created a lovely memory of Christmas for me, so much better than going to a store and picking a tree.

Lester, who owns the farm and helped us pick our tree let the boys pull the tree through the netting machine, they loved that they prepared our tree for home.

We loaded our tree on the car and then ventured in to see the baby reindeer (so cute) and the nativity scene in the final barn.

Once home, we put up our beautiful tree. I didn’t realise how much i would love having a real tree but i can not stop looking at it.

We got straight into decorating our tree, we decided not to go too crazy with the decorations, we wanted to see as much of the tree as possible.

Here it is, our Cotley Farm Christmas tree, we love it!

If you are not in the Christmas spirit, you certainly will be after visiting Cotley farm.  A lot of thought and care has gone into making visitors have a christmas experience when they visit. It’s not just about buying a tree but bringing the family together and making the day rememorable. I can see why Cotley Farm is a place families return to year after year, it becomes a place that is part of family traditions at Christmas, one of which will be ours too. I am already looking forward to going again next year. If you would like to see more of our day at Cotley Farm, i have put a little video together to share my experience with you.

I was invited to review Cotley Farm in return for a discount on a Christmas tree. We had planned to buy our tree from Cotley Farm this year, so this is my honest opinion of the farm as a first time visitor.