June signifies the beginning of summer, longer days, more sunshine (hopefully), the opportunity to spend more time in the garden, and planning trips to all those places you have been promising to visit!

As a nation of dog lovers it’s a great month to be out and about with your canine companion, and to carry out some basic health checks on your pet.  With early summer comes the moulting of a dog’s undercoat, and the arrival of the dreaded ticks which can cause not only soreness and general discomfort to your pet, but as bloodsucking parasites they also carry disease.  Regular grooming (preferably outside) will help remove excess hair whilst a good shampoo and a quick check for ticks will help keep their coats healthy, you can even try giving them a massage with a specialist brush such as the Massage Slicker from Mikki Pet Products. Remember nutrition plays a major part in how good your dog feels and looks, so check you are feeding the correct level of oils such as Omega 3 and 6 which help keep the skin and coat moist, supple and healthy.

With the dog all sorted it’s time to get out and enjoy long walks and visits to the thousands of pet friendly places around the UK.  The National Trust has many beautiful properties which welcome dogs, and you can check out dog friendly beaches around the UK via the Good Beach Guide

Have a great summer and enjoy our fabulous countryside.Isla & Tully

Spring Is In The Air

March 28th, 2017

At last the sun appears and the temperature becomes a little kinder!  Carpets of snowdrops have given way to daffodils and primroses, and the garden birds are very busy collecting material for making their nests.  All this activity may inspire you to think about spring cleaning or something we find far more therapeutic – going through the wardrobe and discarding items we haven’t worn for ages, turning out books, and unwanted gifts, and sorting them into boxes to take to either the charity shop, recycling, or giving to a friend we know will make use of them.

This activity can extend to the kitchen and bathroom too; as most of us have accumulated vast amounts of food items, such as finding you have five varieties of sugar, various bottles of oils, half empty bags of flour, every variety of pasta known to man, an assortment of spices and various jars of pulses. When it come to the bathroom, unwanted gifts of soap, hand cream, bath oil, body powders, an assortment of face cloths, and towels that have past their best are usually on our list.

 

New Esprit Bath Mats From Modern Rugs

New Esprit Bath Mats From Modern Rugs

The upside of all this sorting out is that you will have room to add some new items to your home.  Venture into the garden and pick some spring flowers and budding twigs, putting them in a pretty vase or jug better still treat yourself to new vase or jug.  If fresh flowers are not available think about a fabulous dried flower arrangement from Pollyfields

Think about a new rug, or runner for the hall, and if the budget will stretch a larger or more extravagant rug for the sitting room or bedroom.  Look no further than Modern Rugs for inspiration, who literally have hundreds from which to choose across a vast range of price points.

If a major project is on your list for 2017 such as a kitchen take a look at Rational  who have a great range from which to choose.  And of course if you are renewing your kitchen you will probably want tiles.  Try looking at Tile Mountain whose vast range covers every tiling surface, walls, floors, work surfaces and so on.

Whatever your spring clear out extends to be sure to enjoy it and share the experience with friends over a well earned coffee or glass of wine.

February is a time to love your home as well as your nearest and dearest!  Here are some ideas to brighten those often grey days, and where better to start than in the hall with adding a colourful rug.  Contemporary or traditional, patterned or plain, be bold, make a statement. The choice of fab rugs from Modern Rugs will be sure to give a warm welcome to your visitors.

Splash out on some new cushions and a throw for the sitting room, add some spring flowers in a pretty vase. A bowl of pot pourri or dried flowers such as these from Pollyfields will add a lovely aroma even on the bleakest of days.

When it comes to the kitchen and bathroom, adding a new  blind,  some colourful storage jars,  fluffy towels and a new bathmat in the bathroom will raise the spirits. However, if the budget allows perhaps it is time to redecorate these important rooms. With tiles usually featuring in both these take a look at the wonderful selection from Tile Mountain

Sometimes a simple and inexpensive item can transform a room – an arrangement of twigs and catkins from the hedgerows, a bowl of delicate snowdrops, several candles grouped together or a new picture are sure winners!

And when you have made these changes, be sure to treat yourself to a new lipstick, hairdo or large glass of bubbly – or maybe all of them!

Show Your Home Some Love

January, the month when we all make great resolutions, whether they be personal goals, planning exotic holidays, learning something new or tackling major DIY tasks for the home!  A visit to Top Drawer this month left us with lots of ideas for decorative items for the home, and illustrated the ‘in’ colours for Spring 2017!    From cushions and throws to lamps, and accessories,  muted shades of grey, silver, green, and deep pinky mauve proliferated!   Pantone unveiled their colour of the year as Greenery,  and it would seem many manufacturers concur with this choice, so if you are looking for ways of brightening your home consider a new rug from Modern Rugs, such as Spring Leaves, or go for the Wedgewood Intaglio featuring one of the greys also tipped to be in for 2017.  If planning a new kitchen or bathroom Tile Mountain’s lime green Metro Tiles add real vibrancy, or if choosing the grey route take a look at their Brix Anthracite range, it’s a faux mosaic that replicates the effect of split face slate, but at a fraction of the cost. Finally, with all the dreary weather January can bring why not brighten up a room with addition of a Lavender wall hanging, Pollyfields have some great choices that not only look great but smell good too!

January interiors inspiraton

January Interiors Inspiraton

Window treatments are a quick and simple way to add personality to your new home, bridging the gap between the inside and outside. Choosing what works best for you will include several considerations including light, sound, and privacy. We’ve taken a look at the latest products and designs available

Window Dressing

Window Dressing

This year’s 100% Design exhibition didn’t fail to please, the fabulous setting of the Grand Hall, Olympia was perfect and even boasted it’s own DJ busting out tunes from a central raised plinth. In the kitchen and bathroom section German kitchen manufacturer, Rational, caught our eye with a contemporary kitchen created from their Atmos range with a new glass door which is bonded onto a hollow substrate to reduce weight. On a more decorative note, we loved the bespoke acoustic wall coverings created by Anne Kyrro Quinn, and the craftsmanship in the beautiful leather covered handles by Turnstyle Design.

100 percent design

 

 

Wonder Walls

August 31st, 2016

If you’re looking to create an instant impact in your new home, then consider decorating the walls with wallpaper or a mural. If you choose just a single accent wall, then you can create a focal point without it overpowering the space. Here’s a roundup of our favourite wallpaper designs.HF July 2016 Wonder Walls

Country Florals

July 14th, 2016

HF July 2016 Country Florals

One of our latest features for Homefocus Magazine

Want to bring an ever lasting summer into your home? Then make a start by adding flowers to your interior scheme. There are many different products to choose from, including wallpaper, fabrics, and accessories, we’ve picked a few of our favourites here.

Social Media

With more than 30 years experience we can say it is not an exact science, and some would say it is open to interpretation!  However in today’s fast moving business environment, the absolute explosion of new technology, has brought with it the ability to assess the impact on a company’s services, products and image, in a way not even envisaged ten years ago.

Welcome to the world of social media marketing, and what is now a consumer driven society.  Whatever the size or activity of a business, there are sound reasons for embracing these latest methods of communicating.  How?  Listed below are a number of key indicators that can easily be employed to help monitor your company’s PR activity.

  • Is your company featured in digital versions of mainstream national newspapers and magazines
  • Are you asked to guest Blog on a major website
  • How much editorial coverage does your company receive
  • Is your company featured in relevant features within leading magazines for your industry
  • How many product reviews (if relevant) does your company receive
  • What case studies have you had published
  • The amount of activity on your company’s Facebook page (increasing number of page ‘likes’)
  • Twitter activity – how many people are following you
  • The number of business contacts you develop via LinkedIn (and/or similar)
  • Engagement in relevant discussion groups
  • Are you reaching your target audience
  • An increase in traffic to website/number of hits
  • An increase in sales
  • An increase in enquiries
  • Has your company been entered for any awards
  • What are your company’s SEO rankings

Essential to the success of any PR campaign or project (however large or small) is, defining at the outset what the client’s primary objectives and expectations are, establishing what the budget is, and then building and maintaining excellent communication between agency and client, plus and most importantly, regularly monitoring and assessing progress throughout the campaign.

Jeannie Rennie

With over 30 years’ experience of working in PR and marketing, we have found that there are still many companies who are confused by the plethora of services offered under the banner of PR.  This is hardly surprising given that whilst the Chartered Institute of PR (the professional body for the ‘industry’) defines public relations as follows;

Public Relations is about reputation – the result of what you do, what you say, and what others say about you.

Public Relations is the discipline which looks after reputation, with the aim of earning understanding and support and influencing opinion and behaviour. It is the planned an sustained effort to establish and maintain goodwill and mutual understanding between an organisation and its publics

Interpretation of this definition, and how to plan and execute a PR campaign for your own business, can be daunting!  Hopefully the following hints and tips will help.

  • Decide what it is you want to achieve e.g. brand building, driving more traffic to your website, exposure in particular media, increasing enquiries, raising your own profile, engaging with your target market/s
  • List priorities for achieving these goals
  • Is social media important to your business e.g. Twitter, facebook, Linkedin?
  • What current marketing activities do you already engage in? e.g. promotions, exhibiting at trade/consumer shows
  • Do you have the skills/expertise in-house to plan and implement a campaign?
  • Decide whether you are looking for help with a particular project and/or want a sustained campaign
  • List your expectations of the PR agency you employ, goals/timeframe
  • Set a budget
  • Write a brief
  • Look for a PR agency that has experience in your industry/markets/areas of expertise, and establish who would be handling your account if appointed
  • A good relationship with the agency you employ is vital, work with people that you both respect and like. Good communication between agency and client is vital in achieving your objectives
  • Ensure you have regular contact with the agency and that monthly activity reports are issued by them. Meet face to face on a regular basis. Email is great, however what happened to picking up the phone?  So many misunderstandings from hastily sent emails, from both agency and client – after all we are talking ‘communication’ here!