Lidl launch air purifying plants for UNDER £3

Lidl launch air purifying plants for UNDER £3


Yaaaaaaaaaaaassss!

Words by Maisie Bovingdon

Lidl has done it again.

The high street store has had us swooning over its range with Heidi Klum and sipping on their bargain prosecco – even the hangover free version – and now it is giving us a whole new lease of life, quite literally.

The label is set to launch a new range of five plants this week, which promise to improve air quality by reducing the pollutants in our home to make for a toxin-free zone.

Not just a pretty f̶a̶c̶e̶  leaf.

The collection will include Aloe Vera and Areca palm as well as the Spider plant, which also act to reduce humidity in the room; perfect for the balmy summer nights around the corner.

The packaging is equally as eco-friendly as each plant is wrapped in a brown paper sleeve – what more could we want?

The plants cost just £2.79 and will be available to buy from Sunday 14th April.

The news of their upcoming launch comes almost one year after the success of their house plants, which hit stores last June.

Last year’s launch saw the release of a Phoenix plant, Passion Flower Pyramid and Yucca and, if you’re a fan of Bear Grylls, you’ll know Yucca is highly sought after when stranded in the Amazon rainforest.

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I redecorated my lounge and here are the before and after pics

I redecorated my lounge and here are the before and after pics


A year ago, my husband and I did that adult thing of getting on the property ladder. It took us almost a year between deciding on a location (easy to commute from, that we could afford etc), being outbid on houses, sales falling through and finally moving in, but that’s another story altogether.

Having rented for years, I really wanted a place that we could put our stamp on, without going to the extreme of a project house as we just wouldn’t have the time or the energy to do it up.

The house we finally found was the perfect blank canvas, there was nothing wrong with it but the interiors were a little bland for our taste, and generally needed a little TLC. Whilst we ultimately want to do it all up, we’ve started with the lounge and dining area for now, and after a month of work, here are the before and after pictures.

Dining room decorating ideas

The way the downstairs area was set up made it look a little bit pokey. They were was a long hallway from the front door into a dining room, and then a living area through a small archway. So we decided to knock down a wall separating the hallway and the dining area, and make the archway bigger between the two rooms bigger, to end up with a more open space.

The original wooden floors weren’t in a great condition either, so we got some engineered wooden flooring put down too. As for the walls, we fancied something bold, so opted for Farrow & Ball’s Calke green everywhere.

Although it feels like we didn’t take away that much wall, we were really surprised by how much bigger the room seemed.

Lounge decorating ideas

Disclaimer: I hate carpet. I don’t like the look of it, or the fact it’s a pain to hoover and probably is a lovely home for mites and bacteria. So that went, and the parquet running the whole length of the house helped with the space issues.

There was a condemned door in the room that we had filled in, so that we could hang some wall art too, most of which we got from Society6. Once we saw the new room, we also realised our old sofa wasn’t the right style for the new space, which was a bit more mid-century, so we ordered the 3 seater Scott sofa from Made, in petrol green.

On the other side of the room, we had shelves and cupboards on each side of the fireplace. We realised we didn’t need quite so much storage, so we reduced the number of shelves and got rid of one of the cupboards, which made it feel more airy. For the remaining cupboard, our builder built custom doors, and we ordered some new handles off eBay to make them look a little bit more put-together.

I had seen a marble-encased fireplace on Pinterest, which I was really keen on recreating, and instantly added a luxe feel to the room.

Reading corner ideas

One of the things I wanted the most in the redesign was a reading nook. With that in mind, we got rid the little cupboard (it was just an excuse to not throw away things we didn’t need), so I could move my armchair back slightly, making better use of the space. I also added in this Made wall light to make reading easier, plus it fitted in nicely with the other retro lamps we had.

Hallway decorating ideas

The original hallway was the biggest bugbear, because it was needlessly long and dark. I feel in love with the Insta-famous lily pad tiles on Instagram, and managed to find them a bit cheaper on the Little Tile Company. And instead of completely filling up the space where we had the old door, we had our builders put in the STALL shoe rack from Ikea. It does come with legs, however we chose not to add those as having space underneath it makes the hallway neater and airier.

We added coat hooks above it to maximised the space.

The result

It took about a month in the end to completely transform the downstairs living space, and between the labour and materials, we probably spent around £15k, as it involved a lot of structural work, re-plastering etc. I do think it’s useful to share the cost as we had know idea how much it would all be when we were planning this.

We also had most of our furniture (apart from the new sofa) already, so didn’t need to get anything new, however we originally bought most of it from Made, Danetti, Swoon and for homeware and accessories, Oliver Bonas, La Redoute and Zara home.

Also worth noting, when you are buying furniture from places like Made and Swoon, there is often a long waiting period (our coffee table took a few months to arrive), as they are custom made in small batches, so make sure you plan ahead.

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First-time buyer? This is the best city to get onto the property ladder

First-time buyer? This is the best city to get onto the property ladder


Noted.

house
Credit: Best Shot Factory/REX/Shutterstock

Buying your first property can feel like a distant dream – especially when you’re being told that you might never afford your own place because of your millennial love of lattes. Sigh. No wonder so many of us are thinking of leaving it all behind and looking at moving abroad instead.

However, if you’re not keen on upping sticks and want to stay here in the UK, it might be worth taking a look at MoneySupermarket’s First-Time Buyer Index to see which British cities come out on top for those who want to get their feet firmly on the property ladder.

The report looks at 35 cities and compares them against the most important factors for anyone looking to purchase their first property – job opportunities, average salary, disposable income, rate of contents theft and average cost of a one-bedroom.

And the city that has been selected as the most first-buyer friendly is Bath. Why? Because it scores highly for jobs per capita and leaves individuals with a large disposable income. In second place is Wolverhampton as a result of rising salaries, and in third place is Chester thanks to the increase in affordable housing. According to the report, the average cost of a one-bedroom is £106,050 (ahem, a pretty painful truth for London-dwellers – sorry).

Aberdeen and Derby come in at fourth and fifth place respectively.

So which cities are best avoided? Surprise, surprise – the capital came last, with one-bedroom properties a staggering £355,094 above the national average. Next up is Birmingham, as disposable income has dropped by 22%, and the third-worst is Sheffield due to the lack of job opportunities per capita.

Leicester and Edinburgh finish up in the bottom five, too.

So there you have it. If you want your own pad, Bath is the place to take the leap and make that commitment.

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Primark launches the cutest Alice In Wonderland themed homeware

Primark launches the cutest Alice In Wonderland themed homeware


Want.

primark alice in wonderland
Credit: Primark

We currently have our eyes on a fair few homeware collections. We’re obsessed with the ASOS SUPPLY homeware collection, which includes everything from decorative hanging planters, cute kitchen and bathroom accessories, cosy throws, sheets and rugs. We want everything from the ASDA sausage dog homeware collection, because who doesn’t want a pup cushion? And the Le Creuset Ultra Violet collection is purple perfection.

But if that’s not enough, listen to this: Primark has launched an Alice In Wonderland collection and it’s beyond cute.

It includes trinket trays, cushions, throws and candles to complete your home and turn it into a Disney dream.

The trinket tray is shaped like a cup from the Mad Hatter’s tea party with a pretty illustration of Alice herself.

It even comes with its very own saucer.

There’s also a patchwork-style Alice scatter cushion, in pink, blue and purple, and a fleecy soft purple throw covered in polka dots and flowers.

Lastly, there is a white mug candle that comes in various colours and has a lovely floral print.

Prices start at £5, and if you choose to buy everything in the collection it’ll cost you less than £25.

Bargain.

Last year, Primark released another Alice In Wonderland line, which included many themed accessories such as Cheshire Cat, White Rabbit, and ‘drink me’ bottle purses.

We’ll take one of everything, thanks.

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ASDA launches a sausage dog homeware collection and we want everything

ASDA launches a sausage dog homeware collection and we want everything


All of the yes.

asda sausage dog homeware

We’ve been absolutely spoilt this year when it comes to homeware collections. Last month we were more than a little excited to find out that ASOS Supply is now a thing, a homeware range that quite literally has something for everyone – think decorative hanging planters, cute kitchen and bathroom accessories, cosy throws, sheets and rugs.

On top of that, the Le Creuset ultra violet collection dropped, with everything from beautiful purple egg cups to their iconic casserole dishes in the bold and bright hue.

But if you want even more interiors inspiration, look no further than ASDA. The supermarket has launched a sausage dog homeware collection, and we want everything.

That’s right – for the dog obsessed among you, there’s the option to pick up some sausage dog bedding sets and kitchenware from George at ASDA.

There are quilt covers and matching pillowcases with white and yellow pups printed on them, with single sizes coming in at £10, doubles selling for £12, kings retailing at £14 and super king sets are just £16.

If your bed isn’t pooched up enough, you can also invest in some sausage dog cushions to really set it off. For just £7, it’s all very on trend in mustard yellows and muted greys. There’s even a ‘woof’ cushion in the set, and it’s a necessary addition to any bedroom.

asda sausage dog homeware

Credit: ASDA

You can also get your hands on a fluffy grey throw for £6, or some doggy themed rugs, with prices dependant on size and starting at £25.

And if you want this beautiful theme to continue into the bathroom, there are even some yellow and grey sausage dog towels to add to your collection, and they’ll set you back between £4 and £9.

asda sausage dog homeware

Credit: ASDA

Finally, you can add the print to your kitchen cupboards with cute glasses and mugs.

asda sausage dog homeware

Credit: ASDA

Erm, could there be a more perfect homeware range?

We’re actually in love.

And we’ll take two of everything, thanks.

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Le Creuset releases new ultra violet collection and we’re in love

Le Creuset releases new ultra violet collection and we’re in love


Happy Valentine’s day to me

le creuset ultra violet
Credit: Le Creuset

The ASOS SUPPLY homeware collection launched this month, and we’ve never been more grateful for premiere delivery (and Klarna, for that matter). From cute elephant trunk hooks to abstract print rugs, there’s something for every millennial.

But if you’re looking for some proper grown-up kitchenware, your wishlist will undoubtedly include at least one thing from Le Creuset. From their iconic casserole dishes to their signature grillet pans, the colourful brand is absolutely winning when it comes pieces that are both fun and adulting-friendly.

The kitchenware pros have just released Ultra Violet, an ‘ultra-vibrant, ultra-gorgeous, ultra-modern’ collection that is – you guessed it – all violet. But it’s not just any old purple hue, it’s ‘bold, bright and brimming with attitude’.

le creuset ultra violet

Credit: Le Creuset

Le Creuset said: ‘Add vibrancy to your kitchen with Ultra Violet, a new purple inspired colourway that is totally on trend. Sometimes a colour just chimes with the mood of the moment: right now, the shade of our times is Ultra Violet.

‘No ordinary purple, it’s bold, bright and brimming with attitude. Modern and stylish, it’s a cool and confident pop of colour in your home.’

Prices start at £8.50 (bargain), with egg cups, stackable ramekin dishes and handle gloves for less than a tenner. If your budget stretches a little further, you can pick up a grand mug for £17, or a boujie butter dish for £30. Oh, and there’s a rather charming purple tea pot for £45 if high tea is your jam.

And if you really want to push the boat out, you can invest in one of the brand’s iconic casserole dishes. Price varies depending on size and style, but the most expensive could set you back around £275. Sounds pretty steep but if you consider the cost per use then it’s definitely a worthy purchase.

How many weeks until payday, again?

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ASOS launches affordable homeware collection and we want it all

ASOS launches affordable homeware collection and we want it all


Two of everything, please

asos supply homeware collection

Everyone loves ASOS. Whether you’re looking for a vintage leopard print coat or a some high-waisted holiday shorts, it’s the one-stop destination for whatever you require.

And in news that will excite and delight anyone who loves a good geometric print rug or some origami-inspired glassware, ASOS SUPPLY is here to satiate your need for cool and affordable homewares.

The fashion website’s first homeware collection will include everything you can think of – decorative hanging planters, cute kitchen and bathroom accessories, cosy throws, sheets and rugs.

ASOS SUPPLY homeware collection

Credit: ASOS

And they’re catering for everyone with a range of items for both the minimalists and those who like things a little louder. The ASOS SUPPLY collection offers a Eclectic Luxe line for statement pieces, Cool Minimals for the Scandi-obsessed and Global Traveller for sustainable, 70s inspired items.

ASOS SUPPLY homeware collection

Credit: ASOS

There’s something for every room in the house, and with prices starting at just £10 it isn’t going to cost you a fortune – you won’t even have to wait until pay day (probably).

ASOS SUPPLY homeware collection

Credit: ASOS

All prints featured in the collection have been designed by ASOS themselves, created specifically with twenty-somethings in mind. So whether you’re crammed into a house share in central London and looking for a way to chic things up, or living at home in and longing to give your room a much-needed update, it looks like ASOS could be the answer to your prayers.

ASOS  SUPPLY launches on 4th February, so put the date in your diary.

Things will undoubtedly sell out very quickly.

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UNCLE is bringing a kinder approach to renting – and we’re sold

UNCLE is bringing a kinder approach to renting – and we’re sold


Marie Claire tried a night in the rental startup’s Elephant and Castle apartment building, and we didn’t want to leave…

uncle

For most millennials, once you’ve moved out of your family home or university accommodation, the next step is renting. From dodgy landlords to colour-changing mould, the murky depths of the private rental market can always be relied on to provide a learning curve, but rarely a positive experience.

For Ryan Prince, this was totally unacceptable, and he founded rental start-up UNCLE in 2015. Intrigued by their mission to take the ‘lord’ out of landlord, we had to take a look for ourselves…

What is it?

With four apartment buildings in London, and one in Manchester, UNCLE is a chain of rental apartments which offer stability and reliability for those seeking a new home. UNCLE owns all of the buildings, so there’s no faffing around with different landlords and agents.

We were lucky enough to try an overnight stay at their Elephant and Castle location. Just two minute away from the tube station (and London’s most complicated roundabout) the building is in an incredible location, but somehow manages to feel welcoming and relaxed.

Greeted by the concierge, we made our way up to the 44th (!) floor…

What you can expect?

Every UNCLE property has certain aspects as standard like on-site resident managers and super-fast internet, but some do vary by location. Uncle’s Elephant and Castle boasts a Sky Lounge (more on this in a minute) on the 45th floor and a fully kitted-out gym, all included in your rent.

The Sky Lounge functions as more than a place to gawp at the utterly incredible panoramic views of London: it’s the social heart of the buildings too. During my tour, Kassy Essiet, the Elephant and Castle building manager, explained that the building had a great sense of community, and Sky Lounge plays host to different parties organised by the residents.

I attempted to work out here…

The extras

Chatting with Kassy during the tour, she explained about another UNCLE USP: their women-only viewings. Founder Prince is pretty clear about the importance of this, saying ‘We may be called UNCLE, but we’re for everyone. We hope our women-only viewings reassure anyone who might be concerned about this kind of thing. Everyone should feel safe in their home.’

With your safety sorted, let’s move on to comfort. While you can choose your UNCLE apartment to be furnished or unfurnished, when you go for the former, UNCLE goes for the best! All furniture is from Made.com, which gives each apartment a put-together and sophisticated feel. Special shout-out to the bed in the apartment, where I genuinely had the best night’s sleep I’ve had in years.

uncle

Yes, this is what the living room *actually* looked like

So, what do you get?

For a fixed price, which does vary depending on which city and location you’re living in, say goodbye to agents’ fees, and hello to guaranteed repairs within 48 hours (or a day’s rent back), leases of up to four years and pre-agreed rent increases.

The rents themselves are pretty varied, starting from £895 a month for a studio apartment in Manchester, going all the way up to £2300pcm for a furnished one bed apartment in Elephant and Castle. Even in London, though, the price points are variable – if you’ve got two friends you want to share with, UNCLE New Cross works out at around £800 pcm.

If you can work out the pricing, the sense of security and community that make a rented apartment feel like a home, we have to admit that we’re sold on UNCLE.

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Who is Marie Kondo? Why the Netflix star’s folding and tidying hacks will change your life

Who is Marie Kondo? Why the Netflix star’s folding and tidying hacks will change your life


Brb, off to get organised

Marie Kondo folding
Marie Kondo folding

Noticed the new Marie Kondo show on Netflix when you log in? If you haven’t heard of her before, she’s about to change your life.

Kondo is a Japanese tidying expert, who has made her name (and her living) through a series of ‘how-to’ guides and books, including bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up – check it out on Amazon.

She has made an art form of organising, and trust us, once you’ve mastered her folding and tidying techniques you’ll never want to leave a pair of socks or a pile of crumpled T-shirts lying about again. This is life organisation at its very best.

Tidying Up With Marie Kondo Netflix series

In case you didn’t know, you’ve been folding your clothes wrong your whole life. But don’t panic, as with Marie Kondo’s folding techniques and organisation hacks, everything’s about to get a little better.

The first series of her Netflix Original premiered in 2019 and consists of eight episodes seeing Kondo help a range of people organise their homes and lifestyles, from parents of toddlers to home downsizers, students and empty nesters. (We’ve already got our fingers crossed for Tidying Up with Marie Kondo Season 2.)

The Marie Kondo folding method

So, how does the whole thing work, exactly? Kondo’s folding techniques (which have their own name – the KonMari method) are based on storing and folding clothes vertically rather than horizontally, which makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

Keep scrolling for a selection of Kondo’s short video tutorials. Armed with the below, you’ll never have to rumple a whole pile of T-shirts to reach your favourite Zara number that just happens to be right at the bottom. Again.

How to fold a T-shirt

Organising underwear

Organising socks

Obsessed with the Kondo way yet? So are we.

Season one of Tidying Up with Marie Kondo is available on Netflix now

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Here are the best countries to move abroad to

Here are the best countries to move abroad to


Ever fancied emigrating to Dubai?

move abroad

Anyone saving for a deposit in the UK knows what a slog it can be – hopeful first-time buyers can wave goodbye to spontaneous weekends away, start inviting friends round for dinner rather than out, and star questioning whether they really need that weekly Friday night takeaway. The UK’s housing crisis is one that just doesn’t seem to be going away, with reports stating that it takes 22 years on average to save a deposit for a home, and that many millennials have given up on becoming home-owners altogether.

Yet if you’ve ever fancied a move abroad your luck may be in. Thanks to economic trends and government policies, not every country is going through quite the same housing crisis. MoveHub, UK experts in international relocation compared salary progression and property prices in 33 countries in 2016, in order to find out the best places for first-time buyers to move abroad. And the undisputed winner?

UAE

That’s right, the United Arab Emirates, home of Dubai, Abu Dhabi and the world’s only seven-star hotel, took the top spot thanks to a boost in wages, combined with a slump in property value of -7.96%. This was followed by Spain (2nd ) and Greece (3rd), both of which have had their fair share of economic woes in recent years.

move abroad

UAE is number one on the list

The UK was not featured in the top five (shocker), coming in at a rather woeful number 16 after house prices rose by an average of 5.7% last year, while wages increased by a paltry 2.3%.

move abroad

The UK did not fare quite so well…

Singapore

A long-time favourite with ex pats, came in at a respectable number four, largely thanks to government intervention to slow down soaring house prices (despite the country seeing salaries rise by 3.7%).

move abroad

Singapore has long been a favourite with ex pats

Harriet Cann, head researcher at MoveHub stated: ‘In general our research shows house prices going up and wages stagnating. Yet in Singapore where a government has intervened, the gap has narrowed, meaning there are steps that can be taken to curb this disparity.’

Erm…UK government please take note.

Turkey however fared even worse than the UK, with property prices growing by 16% whilst salaries rose by just 0.6%. Its location as a strategic ‘bridge’ between East and West makes it a prime location for foreign investors, which is driving property prices sky high.

move abroad

Foreign investment has driven property prices up in Turkey

Here are the best and worst places to move abroad

Best Countries

UAE

Spain

Greece

Singapore

Switzerland

Worst Countries

Turkey

Colombia

Egypt

Sweden

Hong Kong

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