Monthly Archives: September 2013

How to Make Your B&B More Luxurious For Guests

Whether you already run a B&B or are in the process of setting your business up, there are ways to improve the experience of your guests when they stay. If you’re interested in providing high quality accommodation, you might want to try a couple of my tips on how to make your B&B more luxurious. I started running a B&B two years ago and have been fortunate to have great success in my business. I only have three guest bedrooms, but have put lots of energy into making sure that the limited space is used to the best effect. Regardless of your location there are always a number of changes you could make, so why not consider doing the ones I’ve listed below?

Dining_Table_Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast_blog

Better breakfast

First, consider what you are going to give your guests for breakfast. They have paid for a “bed” and “breakfast” so guests are sure to want something worth leaving their room for. When it comes to budget accommodation it is possible to simply provide cereal or toast, but those that want to do something extra could also do a cooked breakfast. We serve all local produce which our guests often rave about in reviews – these little things really do help.


Comfortable sleep

For the “bed” portion of the price, make sure to make it possible for your guests to have a comfortable sleep. I did a wholesale bedding order to get a bulk load of quality linen for use in my guest bedrooms. The beds and mattress are either king or super king so guests can enjoy plenty of space when they’re trying to get to sleep. I also think that pillows are really important so make sure to buy good quality ones as well as leaving spare ones in the room.

Fancy furnishings

When it comes to the rest of the room, you may also want to furnish it with luxury items. This goes for things like dressers and drawers, but also for soft furnishings such as pillows, artwork and lighting. I tend to pick matching items that all work together in a theme – we have a cream and coffee effect which guests say is nice and calming when they arrive. Boutique B&Bs may want to go for a funky look, but our location is in the countryside and suits a more refined effect.


Beautiful bathroom

One of the aspects of my guest bedrooms that I am most proud of is the bathrooms. Each bedroom has a lovely en-suite which means that guests can enjoy privacy as well as using it as an area to relax. Our bathrooms have a freestanding shower, a jacuzzi bath, and a toilet and sink. Towels are hung on a chrome wall heater, and the floor has built in under-floor heating. You might not need to stretch to all of this to make your bathrooms better though – I actually find that the most important aspect is cleanliness. I have a cleaner to do mine thoroughly as it is really important to me that the job is done properly; I’m much more skilled in the kitchen cooking breakfast!

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Halloween crafts for kids can be difficult and time consuming; however they don’t have to be, so long as you have the sort of imagination that will not only allow kids to experience a fun Halloween but accrue knowledge and information with regards to one or two interesting fields.

So no, you do not need that crazy ghost ride just some great kid ideas, be it ghost pumpkins, bat filled front door, batty sock puppet, mini ghost town candles, grave stone lollipops, doormats or spider webs, there are a myriad of ways that you can best engage you kids through crafts during Halloween.

Here are a few Easy Halloween craft ideas for kids:


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Batty pumpkins

Best used as table decorations, you can create batty pumpkins by encompassing a small pumpkin with black paint, allowing it to dry before using pieces of craft foam to design bat like eyes, creating angry pupils using a black marker, at which point you can attack bat like wings crafted out of black craft foam and secured using a tooth pick.

Ghost pops

Ghost pops are merely lollipops with white tissue placed over, a yarn placed under the candy to act as the body and a black marker used to draw the ghostly face.


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Paper plate ghost

Basic as it sounds; using construction paper, you cut three pieces out in the shape of a mouth and two eyes, then attaching pieces of crepe paper, preferably white, at the bottom, using a string attached at the top to hung the plate, and hence the ghost, up.

Ghoulish paper plate

Similar to the ghost plate, you simply use a marker to draw a face on the front of the plate, then cutting arms and hands out of construction paper that you can then glue to the sides of the plate. You might also include the pieces of crepe paper as well as the string of white yarn.

Foam ball spiders

You start off with a newspaper, spread out on a table at which point the child can draw foam balls across the surface using paint; once dry you can then use pipe cleaners to create spider legs, with glitter, wiggly eyes and rhinestones providing additional decoration.


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Decoupage pumpkin

This requires a bowl of glue that has been watered down. Tear tissue paper into tiny pieces, dip them into the bowl and attach them to a pumpkin. Wait until the glue on the pieces of paper dries before you can use a paint brush to apply additional glue over, which, initially white, eventually becomes clear.

Pumpkin monster

Sometimes it pays to go with the classics, the most common of which is acquiring a sizable pumpkin, cutting angry eyes and monstrous mouth like shape out of its surface and then inserting a candle within to provide that eerie look.

Halloween crafts can be difficult. And in some cases it can actually prove to be dangerous, especially for younger children. However with anything akin to an imagination and a proper adult to supervise and do whatever knife related carvings are necessary, the task should prove fairly simple.

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Snuggle Up with Winter-Warming Interior Decor


Winter is a time when most people seek out the comfort of their homes as opposed to spending time outdoors. The days are short and those who brave the weather usually hurry home to escape winter’s chill.

Since most of the season is spent indoors, it makes sense to spruce up the interior decor to make the house as warm and inviting as possible. This is not as daunting as it sounds, as there are several ways to make the home comfortable and welcoming.

These tips and tricks are guaranteed to transform the home into a cheery winter haven by simply revamping a few key areas.

The walls

Walls could be decorated with warm tones and hues to instantly give a drab room a nice cheerful feel. The best colors to go for include shades of orange, red, rust or terracotta. Softer tones of gold and yellow evoke memories of summer and can brighten any space.

The more adventurous can choose to create a striking contrast in a room by combining traditional winter colors such as white, silver and grey with deep burgundy, teal or rose accents. Other warm colors can be combined with neutral backgrounds to make them really stand out.



The coldest spots in most houses include the areas near windows where chilly drafts can leach all the heat from a toasty room. The solution to this problem is to ensure that all windows are sealed and secure enough to lock out the cold.

Heavy drapes made of thick material can come in very handy when dressing windows. They also provide much needed insulation by helping to trap warm air within the room. The drapes can be color coded to match the rest of the room’s décor.


While bare tile or hardwood floors are enjoyable during summer, they can be completely unbearable in winter. Area rugs are very useful as they serve both functional and aesthetic purposes. They can protect feet from cold floors while adding aesthetic appeal to a room. To make a visual statement, rugs with vivid patterns or those that come in shades of cinnamon, pumpkin and other autumn hues can be strategically placed round a room.


Furniture and accessories

As temperatures dip lower, focus should turn on providing a cozy spot for guests to congregate and relax. Large comfortable couches and recliner sofas are perfect places to seek refuge from the season’s chill. The best seats should be made of soft upholstery for added warmth.

The seats can be accessorized using a variety of throws, pillows and cushions. These are available in different designs, shapes and sizes ranging from the simple to the elegant. There is something to suit every taste.


The right ambience in a home can work wonders during winter. Nothing screams cozy like a roaring fire and those lucky enough to own fireplaces should make maximum use of them. Lighted candles will also heighten feelings of coziness and intimacy.

Filling the home with the natural winter scents of cinnamon, sandalwood, bayberry or pine is a sure way to lift spirits on a snowy day.

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A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections: What is a Home Inspection?

Home Inspection - Magnifying Glass

In simple terms, a home inspection is a visual examination of the structural, electrical system and other components of a home. Used to identify unsafe and malfunctioning items, home inspections alert homeowners to any possible problem areas. Home inspectors are required to provide written descriptions of any issues found, and may recommend a course of action.

A home inspector’s report will contain a professional recounting of the home’s condition including the state of its heating and air condition systems, plumbing, electrical systems, walls, roof, floors, doors and foundation. Some inspectors, like ones from A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections will offer additional services, including radon and mold testing.

What a home inspector doesn’t do is predict the future. For instance, if an air conditioning system is in working order, the inspector will report it as so. However, a quality inspector will make note of the unit’s age, and may advise the buyer to replace it soon.

It’s also not an appraisal. Far too often, buyers expect home inspectors to place a price tag on a home’s worth. This is not what home inspectors do, nor will they provide buyers with any advice regarding whether or not they should purchase the home. Home inspections are also not code inspectors. They judge the safety of a home, and while they may make recommendations, it is not their job to pass or fail a home.


Today’s buyers are encouraged to demand that a home inspection be conducted before they close. By doing so, they are provided with a clearer picture of how much money they’ll have to invest in repairs. Some buyers go so far as to insert a clause in their purchasing agreement allowing them to back out should the corrective action be cost prohibitive. However, in most cases the owner is usually willing to negotiate a fair resolution.

The benefits of home inspections are many. For one, they dissuade buyers from making impulsive, emotionally driven decisions based on their own high level examination. Secondly, because home inspectors are required to provide detailed descriptions of their findings, the buyer will not only be alerted to any issues, they’ll also be notified as to the severity of the problem.

One of the main problems with the home inspection industry is that most home inspectors do not possess the necessary credentials and experience to do a good job. In fact, the average inspector is not insured or licensed. To make matters worse, general contractors often try to double as home inspectors. What home buyers fail to realize is that just because someone is good as constructing homes doesn’t mean they’re qualified to inspect them. To ensure a proper home inspection, buyers should consider hiring a professional from A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections.

The buyer is more than welcome to accompany the home inspector. This allows the inspector to explain any problems as they are found, and enables the buyer to ask relevant questions. The home inspectors at A Buyer’s Choice Home Inspections encourage buyers to join them, and are more than willing to teach them everything they want to know about their new home.

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Eco Furniture

The following is a guest post:

We’re all aware of the importance of reducing our carbon footprint and doing our bit for the environment, but have you ever stopped to think about the furniture you’re buying, and whether or not it is eco-friendly? Eco furniture is everywhere nowadays, from dining tables made with sustainable wood to ethical bedroom furniture, it’s easy to find furniture for your home that’s doing its bit for the environment. Our guide to eco furniture will help you to find the perfect pieces for your home.


Where to Buy

There are plenty of specialist retailers online offering eco furniture made from sustainable, natural resources, and it’s just a case of finding a website which stocks the styles you like. You’ll find that many high street furniture retailers have made a commitment towards the environment too, and now use more eco-friendly materials in the manufacture of their furniture, so make sure you do your homework before you purchase.

Go Organic

When it comes to filled or upholstered furniture, go organic wherever you can. This means looking for sofa cushions filled with natural latex foam and covered in organic fabric, or organic cotton or wool mattresses. You’ll be doing your bit for the environment whilst investing in a stylish, ethical piece of furniture!

FSC Certification

If you’re shopping for a wooden dining table or bed, look out for the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo – this means that wood has been harvested according to FSC requirements, so you can trace the wood to where it was harvested. You’ll find a list of FSC-certified furniture manufacturers on their website.

Vintage Finds

Buying vintage or antique furniture from a market or charity shop is as close to eco-friendly as you can get, as you’ll be recycling an old piece of furniture – one man’s junk is another man’s treasure! Scout around your local antiques store or market for the best bargains, and don’t be afraid to buy furniture with visible chips or scratches, as these can usually be repaired inexpensively.

Cardboard Furniture

It might not sound like the most practical choice, but sturdy, well-made cardboard furniture is a great choice when it comes to protecting the environment. You’ll find everything from shelves and storage solutions to bookcases and even desks online, and whilst you might pay a bit more for a designer piece of cardboard furniture, you know it will last.

Reclaimed Wood Sideboard Heritage Collection

Reclaimed Pieces

If you can afford to buy bespoke furniture, opt for an eco furniture maker who uses reclaimed wood. You can order exactly what you’re looking for and rest assured that it will be made with reclaimed wood such as scaffolding planks or other natural resources, so you’re doing your bit for the environment whilst enjoying a stunning piece of unique furniture designed just for you!

Eco furniture is growing in popularity, with leading brands and smaller furniture designers popping up online on a daily basis, so you should have no problems finding the perfect reclaimed wood dining table or FSC certified wooden bed to suit your needs!

This article was written by the interior furniture team at Ventura Design

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How to Improve Your Home in 5 Short Minutes

The following is a guest post

Not so much a 60 minute makeover – think of this blog post as more of a five minute facelift.

clip_image002OK, so most of the recommendations given in these tips will take more than 300 seconds (or five minutes), but the point is that you can drastically improve the look, feel and surroundings of your home in no time at all – and usually with little to no effort involved (and that’s something we all welcome, right?).

Try some of these handy hints that are sure to improve your home.

1) Add lime scale preventer to the cold-water supply

Do you have lime scale clogging up your taps and shower heads while leaving an unenviable white marks around your sink and plug holes?

Well, by investing in a gadget that fit into your cold water tank can help you solve these problems almost instantly.

Alternatively, a cheaper and more reliable option is to dose your water supply with phosphate. A bag of scale preventing phosphate can be suspended in the cold water cistern, which then adds to the water in even amounts.

2) Eliminate mold with a dehumidifier

A dehumidifier is good insurance against condensation and can improve the feel of your home almost overnight – as well as eradicating the terrible smell that accompanies it. Dampness and mold problems in the home are caused by moisture produced by cooking, showering, clothes-drying and even sweating and breathing.

One of these devices will rid your house of the moisture that heating and ventilation can’t deal with – not forgetting that awful aroma.

3) Replace the handles on your kitchen units

This is a simple way to breathe some new life not just into your kitchen units, but your preparation area as a whole. Some eye-catching knobs on the drawers and handles on the units can transform the feel of the room give the impression that you’ve had a new kitchen fitted, even though all you have done is spend a few moments applying a little elbow grease with a screwdriver – genius.

4) Exhibit some artwork

It doesn’t have to be dated old prints or weary watercolors, some well chosen paintings, pictures or ornaments can give any room in your home a new lease of life. Don’t just use anything you find lying around, put some thought into it and look for pieces that fit the mood that you are looking to create.

If you are feeling ambitious you could even try and make your own for that real personal touch (could take longer than five minutes, admittedly).

5) Add some flowers

Flowers don’t have to be just for birthdays and anniversaries. They can brighten any room with their colour as well as their aroma. If you are looking for something a little longer-lasting, how about installing window boxes so that you can enjoy year-round greenery from the comfort of your own home?

6) Replace your lighting

By merely changing your lamp shades or even using a different wattage of bulb, you’ll be able to enhance the whole mood of your home. Lighting is a really important part of any room and can help to create a feeling of calm and relaxation or a vibrant, lively atmosphere.

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