The Ideal Home Show Goes North!

I used to love going to the Ideal Home Show at Earls Court and when I lived in London I'd go nearly every year.  After moving up North I got out of the habit of going and it didn't seem like there was anything else in the area that was on the same scale, until now!  This year, for the first time ever, the Ideal Home Show will be held at Manchester's Eventcity, 6th - 8th June.

If you've never heard of the Ideal Home Show this event can only be described as one of the most iconic home events in the UK.  It's built its reputation on home innovation and has been a launch pad for numerous household products that we take for granted, such as the electric kettle or toaster. Know those items well? Yep me too!  

Founded in 1908 the show was originally launched by the Daily Mail as a way of increasing it's marketing revenue but it soon established itself as a yearly social event.  Going to the Ideal Home Show really is a day out.  In fact for some people, they'll visit again the next day, it really is that large a scale!

In the 1920's visitors would have been awed by the full size 'Tudorbethan' houses that had been built or the full gardens which had been constructed.  During 1957 visitors were treated to the first fitted kitchen to go on show.  Whole villages were built throughout the 1970's and 1980's and by the 1990's up and coming architects were invited to enter competitions to have their innovative designs constructed at the show.  You see it really is the show of all shows!

The event is usually split into seven show areas, which you can also read more about here: -


No house is complete with the finishing touches that make it a home.  Here you'll find top brands and beautiful products to add those final details.

Home Improvements

Whether you are embarking on a huge transformation or just making a few changes, Ideal Home Improvements can provide you with everything you need for the job.


If you're planning a new patio, looking for the perfect furniture set, or to turn your garden into that extra ‘outdoor room’ to relax in and enjoy, then Ideal Gardens has it all.

Food & Housewares

Browse the fantastic food stalls, try samples from across the world and find those culinary gems to make any dish even more delectable, all in Ideal Food.

Plus in Ideal Housewares discover some of the latest kitchen gadgets to help prepare food like the pros as well as make everyday household tasks easier.


Whether you are gadget savvy or just a beginner, there's something for everyone, from entertainment, gaming and household goods, to energy saving items that make your home eco friendly. Plus experts will be on hand to share their expertise and knowledge on gadgets and gizmos so you can equip your home with the latest technology.


Indulge and relax at the various beauty and cocktail bars, browse the latest products and pick up hints and tips on this seasons fashion trends.


Here you’ll find a dazzling array of must-have items, perfect for styling your home or as gifts for friends and family that you simply won’t find on the high street.

Super Theatre

Representing each section of the show, the theatre will host talks and demonstrations from the nation's most loved home experts. With everything from gardening advice to renovation and planning tips, the theatre will be the ultimate place to pick up the tips and tricks to improve your home.

Plus, interior styling advice, technology know-how and even some of the nation's best chefs giving some culinary tips for your dinner parties at home.

We're also treated to a celebrity line and this year these six famous faces will be representing various sections.

So if you're looking to update your home or searching for the next up and coming product then this show really is for you. Oh and failing that there's always the champagne bar!!

Tickets for the show can be purchased here or why not enter my competition to see if you can win a pair first.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Heating Just Got Clever

Technology is everywhere and over the last few years it's really evolved.  Essentially, when it works correctly, it's there to make our life easier.  

If someone had told me 10 years ago I'd be able to do the weekly shop from my phone, read the news, make video calls or even programme the Sky box, I'd have laughed in your face! My phone was for calls, texts and playing snake, my good friend.  Technology has moved on and for that I'm grateful - although I do miss playing snake!

As a busy working mum I have a million things to remember.  My phone is full of reminders, there's a lot of list making going on and post it notes are a daily feature in my life.  You get the drift and I suspect I'm not alone.  If I'm right then you're also probably the kind of person who comes home from work to realise you overrode the heating that morning and guess what? It's been on all day!  As soon as you open the door your greeted by a blast of heat similar to that of a furnace and you mentally tot up how much 9 hours worth of heating will cost.  A home that was empty I might add! You would cry however the air is so warm tears evaporate as soon as they reach the skins surface.  If this is you then Honeywell Evohome could be the answer to both our prayers.

What Is Evohome?

It's an intelligent heating system that controls the heating in your home, room-by-room, wirelessly. This means that for busy people like you and me, we can heat the rooms we use instead of the whole house, using a touch screen panel that connects to your internet. And guess what? There's even an app available on iphone and android! AMAZING!

This is perfect for busy homeowner whose plans constantly change on a day to day basis.  Can you remember to change the settings on your timer everyday? I can't! Life is busy.  Decided to work late one night? Re-programme your heating to switch on just before you arrive home.  Woken up early to a frosty morning and realised you forgot to put the heating on?  Switch it on using their smartphone app and hide under the duvet until it's warmed up!

Not only can we heat just the rooms we're using, we can control when they're heated whether we're at home or not.  This could potentially save you 40% off your heating bill.  With energy bills forever increasing perhaps this device is worth installing. Honeywell have a handy system planning tool to help you figure out which rooms you'd like to install, how much it's going to cost but more importantly how much you're going to save.  This tool is so simple I swear a 2 year could figure it out.

So if you're a busy person where one day varies from the next, perhaps Evohome is worth the investment.


We're On The Road To Somewhere

As you most probably know I'm a sucker for vintage homeware.  I'm like a magpie, except instead of being drawn to something shiny, I'm drawn to old and quirky!  I find it nearly impossible to walk past a charity shop or flea market without going in and I love upcycling some of my vintage finds. 

Vintage clothes on the other hand is a different matter.  Although I really appreciate vintage clothing, I find it quite difficult to find clothes that fit me properly.  Shapes and sizing have really changed over the decades and vintage sizes usually tend to come up a lot bigger.  This makes it trickier to find something when you're not even sure what size to go for.  I can't tell you how many times I've come out of a changing room broken hearted because the garment was either too big or too small, and guess what? No other sizes available. Wahhhh.

Luckily for me there are fabulous shops such as Rivers And Roads, who specialise in vintage inspired fashion and they have plenty of sizes to go around!

Rivers And Roads is a one person Manchester based outlet, who have made it their mission to find you quality fashion you'll want to keep forever.  And they're right, because since they sent me this Swan Song Top it's the only thing I've wanted to wear! I'm really impressed with the quality of the shirt, the material is really thick and all the buttons are sewn on really well, possibly hand stitched, I'm not too sure.  Either way the buttons don't appear to be going anywhere soon.  I also love how the pleats on either side of the shirt are intentionally different widths.  This brand have obviously paid attention to detail  and I can't tell you how many compliments this shirt has received!

Shirt - c/o Rivers & Roads
Wide legged trousers - River Island
Black skinnies - Warehouse
Dolly shoes - New Look

As well as this rather awesome top, Rivers And Roads also have a whole other heap of vintage inspired clothes and accessories. Here are just a few of my favourites...

So, like what you've seen so far?  I hope so because Rivers And Roads are offering my readers (that's you) 15% off any purchase valid until the end of April.  Just enter the discount code AGIRL2014 at the checkout. Happy shopping. x


Bespoke Wedding Stationery

If you follow me on Twitter and if you read this recent blog post, you'll know I'm getting married.

Although I'd already got an idea of what kind of theme, etc we were going for, I wasn't prepared for the thousands of suppliers and choices that were available! There is every imaginable style going. It's daunting to say the least.

We'd been hunting for some wedding stationary for a while and hadn't been able to find anything we like on the high street, when Paper Themes offered us a chance to review their bespoke Save The Date cards.  We actually weren't thinking of having Save The Date cards, as we're trying to keep costs down, but thought it would be a great way to trial their service. I have to say I'm really pleased with the quality and design and we'll most likely be ordering our wedding invitations from them! Winner!  The cards and envelopes are quite thick and a really good quality and, although we didn't have to pay for them, the price seems reasonable at £1 each.  I should also add the envelopes are self-adhesive, which is handy if you've got a lot of cards to send and our cards arrived really quickly!  I don't know about you but once I order something I'm pretty impatient and want it straight away!

The have lots of styles available but their website is really easy to navigate and you can soon narrow down your search.

One of the other things I love about this company is that their invitations and stationery are designed and manufactured in the UK (Shipley, West Yorkshire to be precise), so it's good to know you're helping to support British manufacturing when you're ordering from them.

Our vintage style cards

Bespoke Save The Date cards
 Bespoke Save The Date cards
Bespoke Save The Date cards

Although Paper Themes specialise in bespoke wedding stationery, they do so much more, including table decorations, wedding signs, balloons, cake accessories, DIY kits, personalised posters and wrapping paper as well as invites and cards for other special occasions such as baby showers, etc.  In fact the list seems endless so you should probably go check Paper Themes out for their full range.  They'll even send you some free samples!

Have you ever had any bespoke stationery printed?


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