Choosing Window Shutters For Your Home

A recent trend when it comes to home decor has been the rise in popularity of the window shutter. Window shutters have long been popular in European homes, which may be why many of us think of Swiss style, chocolate box houses when we think of windows with shutters. But the reality is that this is just one style, and rather a cliched one at that (albeit very pretty.) Window shutters now come in many different variations and styles, and can suit the look and decor of most homes.


So why have they become so popular? I think firstly we have to look at the aesthetic value – shutters do look supremely stylish, and add a stylish edge to any room. The can be made to fit any window, and can help you to make a feature of your window, certainly creating a more vivid look than that which you would obtain through traditional curtains or blinds.

Added Security

Another factor in the rise of window shutters is that we are more security conscious these days. Many break ins are attributed to open windows, and those large panes of glass also allow potential burglars to look into our homes and see exactly what we have, allowing them to make a potential shopping list of our treasured possessions. Interior window shutters provide a form of visual security and privacy from the prying eyes from outside, without removing light.

Energy Efficient

Then we have the insulation/heating aspect. We want to keep our homes warm in Winter and cool in Summer. Plantation window shutters are just perfect for doing this. In summer they keep that bright sun glare out of your rooms, and also the light of the light nights when you want an early night. Fast forward to winter and they act like an insulating barrier, giving your home an extra level of protection against the cold weather. We want energy efficiency in our homes, and plantation shutters provide this.

More Hygienic

Think about those old net curtains we used to swear by, and how they had to be washed in something peculiar that looked like salt in order to keep them that pristine shade of white. (I clearly remember my nan using some sort of crystals, but have no idea what they were.) Lord help us if we opted for a cream or ivory shade – they never looked clean. Later we ditched the net but still had the draw curtains, most of which needed dry cleaning, making them both cumbersome and expensive to maintain.

Choosing shutters takes away all this hassle. They are both easy to maintain, and easy to clean. You don’t need any specialist cleaner, or need to have them cleaned professionally, you can simply use a damp cloth or a general household cleaner in order to keep them in good condition. A feather duster used daily will keep them dust free and help them to last for years, which will make them a clever investment that proves to be economical.

In these days when we look for convenience and time saving measures in all areas of our lives, shutters are one less thing to clean. That has got to be a positive.

Adding Quality

Anything that adds quality to your home also adds value, and this counts double if the item is also bespoke. Window shutters are usually made to measure for your window in high quality wood. They are perfect if you have unusual sized windows, the sort that you can often have difficulty in finding curtains for (I have a large sash window in my dining room that I struggled to find a blind for – I definitely had to settle for something that would not have been my first choice.) Shutters can be made in any size, and when you add in the security and energy saving plus points, these could definitely be an investment that pays for itself.

But aren’t they for more period properties…

The answer to this has to be a resounding NO. If anything, window shutters suit homes that have a minimal, modern look, as they remove the frills and fabric of curtains. The smooth wooden look fits into our ideas of Hygge and Scandinavian style that the Ikea generation have totally brought into. But that doesn’t mean that they won’t suit period properties, or those decorated in a vintage style. Plantation shutters come in a wide range of styles and finishes, you just need to chose the one that suits your home.

Are you tempted yet?



7 Tips for Getting a Great Prom Dress on the Cheap

Prom season is coming, and it’s time to start thinking about buying a dress. Buying a prom dress is a rite of passage almost everyone has to go through and you’re probably already getting excited about it. However, it can be a very stressful time as well, especially if you’re on a limited budget. But that doesn’t mean you have to skimp on quality; there are plenty of ways that you can get a prom dress on the cheap. Here are a few ways that you can save on your prom dress.

Look for Sample Dresses

One way that you could save money on your gown is to go for a sample dress. Sample dress are dresses that you will find on the floor, but they’re usually sold at the fraction of the price. In some cases, shops will sell these samples through sample sales, but in other cases, all you have to do is ask if they have any samples available.

They might also have some dresses available that may have some imperfections. These are usually sold at a discount as well. If the imperfections are minor and you feel you could fix them yourself or have them fixed, you can still save money, so consider this option as well.

Check for Almost Perfect Sizes

Don’t throw away a dress simply because it’s the wrong size. In some cases, you could buy a dress that doesn’t fit correctly and have it tailored to fit you better. Most shops will already have a tailoring service on hand, but you could go with your own tailor as well. But, before you hand over your dress to a tailor, make sure you do your research on them first. Try to find a tailor that is both affordable or talented. You could go online for reviews and get recommendations from close friends as well.

Consider Renting

If you’re only going to wear that dress once, why don’t you consider renting it? Renting a dress is a great way to get a better dress for the cheap and there are tons of options available nowadays. Many shops online and offline will allow you to rent dresses and some bridal shops will offer rentals on bridesmaid dresses, which can also work as prom dresses.

Make your Own Dress

While this option isn’t for everyone, you could always consider making the dress on your own or with the help of someone you know. However, you have to have basic experience with a sewing machine and be armed with a solid dose of patience.

One of the pros of making the dress yourself is that you can customize it all you want and really let your imagination run wild. However, don’t expect to get a couture level dress if that’s your first time sewing anything. And you also need to be reasonable when choosing materials. However, if you feel that’s within your scope of expertise, you can check for patterns online that are relatively easy to do on your own.

Customize an Older Dress

If you aren’t 100% solid on your sewing skills, this is another option you could consider. You could pick up an older dress of yours and make it over. You could add accessories, add new fabric, or have it shortened or lengthened.

Do a Dress Swap

Do the rounds and ask your friends if they or someone in their family might have a prom dress they aren’t using anymore. A lot of people keep old prom dresses and won’t mind doing a swap with you or simply giving it away if they have one that is collecting dust.

THE O.C., Cam Gigandet, Mischa Barton, Benjamin McKenzie, Navi Rawat, ‘The Party Favor’, (Season 3, aired April 27, 2006), 2003-2007. photo: Greg Schwartz / © WB / Courtesy: Everett Collection

Buy it Online

One of the easiest ways to get a huge discount on cheap prom dresses is to go online. But before you do so, there are some things you have to know to make sure that you’re satisfied with your experience. First of all, make sure that you double check their return warranty. You have to pick a shop that will allow you to return or exchange a dress.

Also, make sure that you have your measurements professionally taken by a tailor. This is critical. Some sites will give you instructions on how to do it yourself, but there still is some margin for error. So, make sure you have a tailor do it for you to get the best result.

You should also consider which type of shoes you’re going to wear with the gown, as it will make a huge difference on which dress you pick. Depending on whether you are going to wear high heels or flats, you might need to adjust the length of the dress accordingly. Also, make sure you consider indie retailers, but only if they have a verifiable reputation.


These few tips should allow you to get a great prom dress on a budget. Make sure that you take your time and consider the options at your disposal, so you can make the best deal possible.


Travel: Try A Cruise This Summer.

If you are currently planning your Summer holiday, it might be time to think about trying a cruise. Cruising is by far my most favoured form of holiday, it is suitable for both couples and families and offers you the chance to stay in luxury whilst enjoying a whole wealth of destinations. I have cruised 4 times now, and am currently looking at a cruise for next Summer, when my dad will be enjoying his 65th birthday. So, if you think cruising is not for you, here are some of the reasons why you should reconsider.

You hate flying

If you are one of those people who hate flying, then a cruise that leaves from a UK port could be the perfect solution. If you choose a Fred Olsen Cruise Ship, you could leave from any one of the 10 ports that they use around the UK including Southampton, Tilbury, Harwich, Dover, Falmouth, Liverpool, Newcastle and Greenock. This takes away that fear of flying and means your holiday starts the minute you get to the port.

Lap of Luxury

Cruising is a feast for the eyes and the tastebuds. Cruise ships are beautiful and are designed to address your every need, with spas, shopping and multi swimming pools onboard. For entertainment, many have their own theatres with nightly shows, as well as talks, quizzes and even midnight movies under the stars.

And then there is the food. You can quite literally eat like kings, and eat all day long if you feel the need. There are five star restaurants offering the best in haute cuisine, and buffets for those nights when you just want to chill out with a burger. Afternoon tea, midnight snacks, pizza delivered to your room – it is all there in your floating palace.

But I don’t do formal…

A cruise ship allows you to enjoy the holiday that you want, so if formal is not your style, you don’t have to do it. There are plenty of bars and informal dining options that you can indulge in.

Similarly, if you are worried about the size of the ships, you can choose a smaller option. I have traveled on a ship which had thousands of passengers, but the Fred Olsen line only has between 804-1,350 passengers on each voyage.

The best of both worlds

Cruising can combine sun and sunbathing, with all the best that a city break has to offer. Every day you will arrive at a new port of call, and then you have the choice to explore and enjoy all the new city has to offer, or you can stay on the ship and enjoy the sunshine. A cruise really offers the best of both worlds and allows you to make the decisions.

If you do want to explore, you can do this at your leisure, or you can book one of the many excursions your ship has to offer.

Cruising is the ultimate in holiday experiences. If you think it is not for you, maybe now is the time to think again.