Friday, 30 December 2016

How to Find the Best Solar Solution for Your Home

Solar energy is an abundant source of renewable energy. It occurs naturally and can be replenished over time. It also contributes to reducing global warming and is considered the safest source for the generation of power. With off-the-grid living gaining popularity, solar power is considered the cheapest - free and safest form of usable energy. Guest contributor Mary, investigates how to find the best solar solution for your home.

The energy from the sun or solar energy is being strongly considered as a sustainable way to power both residential and commercial structures globally. Since it is believed that fossil fuels are getting depleted, the use of the sun’s energy is an alternative source of power and as a potential solution to environmental problems.

At present, there are various types of solar technologies that take the sun’s energy and convert it into usable resource of energy are gaining popularity among netizens. Why? As the technology improves, people are seeing the advantages of this alternative source of energy especially with the increasing price of fossil fuels and global warming.

Solar power can increase the financial efficiency by providing a source for heating and cooling. It can be used to heat a building during the cold months, and in addition, it also heats the water in the building. Moreover, solar energy can be likewise utilised for cooling. With the presence of solar technology, this can decrease the heating and cooling expenses of a household by a huge amount. In addition, this kind of energy can be used to power different appliances in a home. Utilising this alternative solution works to the advantage of both property owners as well as to the environment. Who wouldn’t want lower energy bills, an increase in the home’s value and a decreased carbon footprint? 

So, what are the best solar solutions for your home? Finding the best or right one for your home doesn’t have to be an impossible task. There are many solar technologies available but here are the best options to choose from:

Solar Panels 
This is a great way to add value to your home as it helps to save energy and lower monthly energy bills. By installing solar panels in your home, you can lock in lower rates for solar electricity. There are many companies specialising in solar power solutions and systems like ABB that produce products that enable the generation, transmission and distribution of solar power for both residential applications and large photovoltaic plants. So start making use of the free ‘fuel’ which is sunshine!

Solar Hot Water System 
With this kind of technology installed in a home, it is possible to create as much as 70% of the hot water needed with the use of the sun’s energy. This will allow you to save more as a result of lower energy bills. The technology works to convert sunlight into renewable energy to heat water using a solar thermal collector.

Making use of solar energy is a great way to increase the value of the home. Solar power technology is definitely an investment worth making and more property owners see the advantage of it. However, before choosing which solar energy systems and solutions to install in your home, make sure that you understand your needs first. You can research online to gather further information or to learn more about solar power and the technologies available. Rest assured that going solar is one of the best ways to increase the value of your home and the quality of your life, while being considerate of the planet. 

Do you have solar panels on your roof? Share with us in the comments below.

Till next time... yay for free solar power!
xox

About the Author
Mary Johnson is a freelance writer based in Rome. She writes quality written content for many online projects mainly on travel, technology and lifestyle. Mary is a second year journalism student at the university of La Sapienza. She wishes to work in the future for an online magazine as an editorial manager.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

How to Care for Your Fresh Flowers

Fresh flowers are such a fantastic treat and make for a simple yet effective hostess gift for a dinner party, birthday or Christmas gathering. Interior stylists, home stagers and decorators love using flowers in homes as decoration as they add a natural and organic element to any room design. And, let's be honest, who doesn't love receiving a big bunch of gorgeous blooms?!

However, when it comes to prolonging the shelf life of a gorgeous bouquet, many of us often struggle with taking care of our fresh flowers. So, we got in touch with expert florists Interflora Australia, to get a few tips on how to care for your fresh flowers and enjoy them for longer.
Flowers make people smile. Receive a bunch of gorgeous flowers from friends or family and you’ll be beaming for hours. If you’re lucky enough to have received a beautiful bouquet, here are some tips to help keep them fresh for longer.

Trim your stems
The first thing you’ll want to do after you’ve received a bunch of flowers is to trim the stems. This opens up the flower’s drinking vessels - enabling it to absorb more water - which helps it stay fresh for longer! Cut the stems diagonally, removing at least 2cm from the ends, before placing them in a vase with fresh, room temperature water. 

No leaves in the water
Make sure that there are no leaves beneath the water once the flowers are in the vase. When leaves sit beneath the water they begin to rot and dirty the water. Cut flowers require pristine water to help them last longer.

Flower-friendly locations
Some places are better than others when it comes to keeping your flowers fresh for longer. Flowers thrive in locations that are not too hot or too cold. Place your flowers in a cool spot away from direct sunlight and away from air conditioners, heaters, fans and any electrical devices that produce heat – this includes TVs. It’s also a good idea to keep your flowers away from fruit. Interestingly, ripening fruit releases a gas called ethylene, which can harm cut flowers!

Maintenance
Your flowers have been trimmed and placed in a clean vase with fresh water, and set in a flower-friendly location – what next? Flowers thrive with fresh water so be sure to change the water every couple of days (re-trimming the stems if necessary). Treat your flowers with a touch of flower food to help them last even longer.

There is nothing quite like a bunch of fresh flowers to brighten up and bring life to any interior! Follow these tips and you’ll be able to enjoy your beautiful fresh flowers for so much longer!
Images supplied by Interflora Australia

Do you like decorating with fresh flowers? Share with us in the comments below.

A huge thank you to Interflora Australia for taking time out during this busy festive season to share with us their insights into caring for fresh flowers. 

Till next time...give someone the gift of flowers this festive season!
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Monday, 19 December 2016

Free Christmas Printables for Last Minute Decorating!

Leading up to the last few days to Christmas, we've rounded up a few decorating and gift wrapping prints that you can download for free to add some last minute festive touches to your gifts, table and home. Have a look at these gorgeous printables and have fun decorating with them!

First up is some uber pretty wrapping paper from one of my favourite blogs Homeyohmy. Download the printable from here and check out the linked post for some gorgeous Christmas wrapping inspiration. This cute printable also looks great framed and up on the wall!

Next up is some gorgeous copper edged decorative cards from Bldg 25 to decorate your Christmas table with. Download the files from here, here, here and here. These are so pretty to use as table decorations, placemats or as menu cards!

Dress up your gifts this year with these timeless monochrome gift tag printables from Gather and Feast. Download them from here, here, here and here

These pretty place settings by Fantabulosity will definitely impress your guests. Download from here and check out the linked post to see how you can secure the name cards to your napkins. For a joyful touch to the table, print them on coloured paper and secure with contrasting ribbons.

Last but not the least, a beautiful and meaningful art print from Maison de Pax. Download the linked file from here and check out the original post for some beautiful decorating inspiration.

If you do choose to use any of the above mentioned prints, do post a photo on Instagram and tag us by using #lamaisonjolie, #raniengineer and the original author. You can follow us on Instagram here.

Till next time...have a Merry Christmas!
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Thursday, 15 December 2016

5 Tips For Planning Your Next Big Move!

Planing to build or buy? House hunting is always stressful and requires a lot pf preparation. From going on inspections to sorting out finance and packing up and timing the move, there are so many fundamentals to tick off on the Must Do list! Our guest contributor and seasoned mover, Rebecca asks and answers some pertinent questions before you can put in a deposit and hire the movers.
Bring on the boxes boys, it’s time to move!

If the day has come for you to pack and move on, it can be a highly stressful time filled with unknown challenges. There are so many things to remember, budget and plan for, that it can reduce even the most seasoned mover into a quivering mess.

One thing there seems to be no shortage of though, is real estate advice. The trouble is, if you are house-hunting, especially around unknown territory, it can be a tricky business knowing where to start, which advice to trust and what constitutes a ‘good buy’.

Take if from me, this is one area you don't want to get wrong as the odds are high and even the smallest mistakes can cost thousands and add years to your loan repayments. So where do you look? Who can you trust? What do you need? Where do you want to end up? All of these are relevant questions, so let's address them now.

Where - Locating a Location
Pinpointing an area you would like to move to and live, is much harder than just liking the location. I may love the lifestyle of South Yarra in Melbourne’s East but my budget sadly shakes it’s head and tells me ‘nope’. Luckily there are many up and coming areas that will be just as delightful to live in.

When building my new home I searched further afield than my usual stomping ground and realised Geelong, with its country town feel and seaside charm was perfect for me and still within commuting distance to Melbourne. I was lucky enough to find Luxury Home & Land Packages in Geelong from Enso Homes who made the whole process a pleasure. Whether you are looking to build new or buy an established home, try sites such as Realestate.com.au as, any agent worth his salt is going to have multiple homes listed online. These sites often have the ability to search using a map, making it easier to reach unfamiliar locations.

House Inspecting
Once you have decided whether you are building or buying an existing home, it’s time to do a bit of leg work and start inspecting display homes / houses. Go as a family and make it a fun day out. See how the kids interact with the house and the neighbourhood. It’s a wonderful feeling to move into a house and look out onto the streets and watch your kids playing with other children from neighbouring homes. It’s the way we want childhood to be.

Try to look past the beautiful staging and artwork to see the actual bones of the house. How many rooms does it have and are they big enough? How much storage space is there? If looking at an existing property, has it been freshly painted? Could the paint be covering repairs or cracks in the walls? Do your building and pest inspections - they seem like a nuisance but costly problems can hide beneath a prettily dressed façade.

Speak to your Lender
At some point early in the process you need to speak to your lender. Even if you haven’t put your old property on the market yet, it doesn’t hurt to get the ball rolling. Many people miss out on their dream home because they haven’t organised approved finance before setting out. They then fall in love with a house, and have to desperately scramble to get their ducks in a row.

Neighbourhood Watch
Once you have decided on where you want to live, start visiting auctions and watching the market results. This is the only reliable way that you can gauge interest in the area and what represents good value for money. If you are considering building, watching the market can give you an idea of what sort of budget would be realistic to avoid over-capitalising should you need to sell quickly. 

Timing your Move
If you are moving to a completely new area and have school aged children, try to coincide the move with school transitional periods such as from kinder to primary or primary to secondary school or during school holidays. Also take into account work holidays, which can be the perfect time to organise, pack and move without disruption to your work schedule. 

Moving to a new home can be one of the most exciting times of your life. New memories will be created, new friendships formed and a fresh perspective on life gained. Take your time to not only relish the experience but to do your research, gather all the information and make an informed decision that will benefit you and your family for years to come.

What are some of your tips when it comes to house hunting and planning the big move? Share with us in the comments below.

Till next time...research, plan, schedule!
xox
Rani

About the Author
Rebecca Harris is a writer living in Melbourne with expertise in creating witty, insightful and engaging content. Her articles have been published widely and she is a prolific contributor on social media platforms.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Murphy & Daughters Travel Candles: The Perfect Companion On Your Next Adventure!

I have no clue who invented the concept of travel candles, however, the idea is brilliant and that person is a genius! What a novel idea to take your favourite scented candle with you wherever you go since it comes encased in its very own tin caddy with a safe screw-on cap. The perfect travel companion on your next adventure or impromptu weekend getaway!

Recently, I had the opportunity to try out a couple of travel candles - cloudstreet and midnight, named after popular book titles. The candles came in pretty coloured containers of aqua and lime green and on opening the tins, the wafting fragrance was powerful and absolutely delicious!

Cloudstreet has complex and strong tones of orange blossom, lemon, mandarin, jasmine, green tea, honeysuckle, bergamot, pear and musk. When you smell this candle you can understand why less is not more, more is more! To a layman like me, this candle smells fresh and delicious like sunshine in a tin and evokes images of running free through an orangerie.

Midnight on the other hand has more delicate notes of bergamot, blackcurrant, pink grapefruit, green tea, lily of the valley, rose and jasmine. The delicate scents in an intricate balance creates a unique aroma. I can't quite tell if it smells completely floral or fruity...but the combination of these fragrances smell very exotic and transcendent!

These hand poured travel candles are made with a pure vegetable soy wax and use a cotton wick making them an eco-friendly option. Every burn session is as aromatic and sensational as the last. And the little sketches of the clouds and the dark moon on the caps add a pretty whimsical touch. After all, it's all in the details!

For an RRP of $19.00 AUD (100g) with a 15-20 hour burn time, these extremely handy size travel tin candles are worth taking on your next impromptu weekend away or getting them as a gift for the traveller in the family. Or burn these gorgeous candles in your home or office to simply treat yourself!

There are five delightful fragrances to choose from - Cloudstreet, Tender Night, Secret Garden, Midnight and Wild Things. Available from Murphy & Daughters.
Till next time...which scent will you choose?
xox
Rani
This post was in partnership with Murphy and Daughters but as always all words, thoughts, opinions and emotions are mine. I only ever endorse products that I think are genuinely amazing and I love and would personally use. Thank you so much for supporting the brands that support this blog.

Monday, 12 December 2016

Aesthetics meets Functionality at Nyde!

Any interior designer will tell you that a sofa is the biggest piece of furniture in your living space, the anchor that ties it all together and it has the ultimate power to make or break the overall design! The right sofa can amazingly transform a blah living room into a warm, inviting cosy space. However, sofa shopping is never easy and then when you find something you like, the delivery period can usually stretch from 4 - 8 weeks to over a few months playing havoc with your design plans!

But, what if I told you, that you could find your dream sofa in a matter of minutes and if you change your mind after delivery, you can have it removed for free! And best of all... the delivery period of actually receiving the sofa - a mere 3 days!!! Unbelievable right?!

When I was introduced to British brand Nyde with their stylish pared back sofa designs in premium quality leather and fabric, I was in love! My instant thoughts were 'Wow! Aesthetics meets functionality!'

Despite the fact Nyde was launched in June of this year, their beautiful designs have already been featured in the pages of Vogue, Tatler and the Huffington Post. Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with the entrepreneurial forces behind Nyde, the dynamic duo Lara & Aaron.

Can you share with us your creative journey to where you are now?

Lara
: I’ve always loved interiors. Actually, as a youngster I said I wanted to be an interior designer when I grew up. Aaron and I have run a successful marketing agency, Freely, for the past 7 years. When the opportunity arose to be able to apply everything we’d learned about getting eyes on a brand – something we’ve done for many large corporations over the years – we jumped at it. And interiors felt like a natural fit for me – it’s something I’m really passionate about.

What has been the inspiration behind Nyde and your designs?

Lara: We love super pared back, clean design. You can see it translate across everything Nyde – the brand, our products, the website. We wanted our range to encapsulate uncomplicated luxury. Just really well-crafted furniture that fits seamlessly in the right home.





How would you define your style and how has it evolved over the years?

Aaron: Nyde is still a baby! We only launched in June of this year so we’re very much in our infancy. Our products will always centre around no-fuss and exceptional craftsmanship, but I’m excited to see how our style develops over the years. If Lara has anything to do with it, clean lines and minimalism will always be at the heart of it, though...

Lara: Too right!

Do you have a favourite sofa or chaise design?

Lara: For me it’d have to be the Elise. She’s the perfect blend of effortless style and practicality – I love that you can make the most of a relatively small space.

Aaron: The Bodil – it’s just awesome.












What is a typical workday like for you? 

Lara: Lots of emails! It’s really a balance of overseeing existing orders and making sure our customers are happy, as well as liaising with suppliers and exploring new products.

Can you describe the design process?

Aaron: Our range is built to fit seamlessly into the home, so we’re very particular when exploring suppliers and new products. We like that it works all year around and can be complimented with the right accessories for the change in season.

We set the bar quite high – uncompromising quality, as well as sustainable production, isn’t always the easiest to find. 

What are you working on at the moment?

Lara: At the moment we’re getting ready for the launch of our new product range – so very exciting times indeed! We’re now expanding and offering some really gorgeous bedroom, living room, and dining room furniture. Wait till you see some of our extending glass dining tables – they’ve totally got the ‘wow’ factor!

What according to you is the next big thing in furniture design?

Lara: I think we’ll see a real focus in functionality. Many people, especially younger people, are expecting more from their furniture – more modularity and flexibility in it’s design. They’re often moving home more regularly and living a more dynamic lifestyle, and their furniture should reflect that and be adaptable.

What advice can you give those seeking a career in furniture design?

Aaron: If you’re just starting out, I’d say just go explore. Hunt the web, get yourself to furniture shows, and get an understanding of what you like and what you don’t like. Then you’re in good stead to develop a foundation of what’s ‘you’ – a unique combination of all the elements you enjoy.

What 3 words describe your brand?

Lara: Aspirational, accessible, authentic.

Can you share 3 things people don’t know about Nyde?

Aaron: We deliver our sofas crazy fast – in just 3 days. Nobody wants to wait 16 weeks anymore, and we feel like sofa delivery times are stuck in the ice age. Plus, it’s always free to anywhere in the UK.

We’re big on the environment. Ensuring we’re offsetting our carbon footprint is really important to us, so we’re not only FSC Certified (meaning for every tree used, we plant another in its place), but we also plant an additional 100 trees for every sofa we sell.

All of our sofas come with a 14 day trial. We think trying a sofa in your own home has got to be better than looking at it in a showroom. You can see how it works in your space, with your walls and curtains. And if it doesn’t, we’ll come and get it for free.


Which is your favourite room in your home and why?

Lara: My bedroom. It gets the best of the late afternoon sunlight.

Aaron: The kitchen. Not just because I love to eat, although that is a very important factor(!), but because ours is an awesome social space – completely open with a breakfast bar. It’s become the central hub of the home.



Where do you see Nyde in five years time?



Lara
Lots of gorgeous new products and possibly a lovely showroom could be on the cards… Watch this space!


What's your favourite inspirational quote?

Aaron: “If we wait until we are ready, we’ll be waiting for the rest of our lives.” – Lemony Snicket

(All images supplied by Nyde)



From a bold sofa to a laid back leather chair, furniture choice is at the very heart of interior design. Lara and Aaron have resourcefully simplified this process with their beautiful utilitarian designs and quick and easy delivery system, which makes Nyde such a popular choice. We can only see bigger and better things for Nyde in the coming years!

Till next time...shop your dream sofa here!

Friday, 9 December 2016

Relive Your Wanderlust Memories With Mapiful


|wanderlust|
(n.) A strong desire or urge to wander or travel or explore the world  

And what better way to document your adventures, memories and travels but by capturing it in a personalised map! This way you can relive those special memories every time you glance at it.

I recently ordered my map of Melbourne from Swedish company Mapiful and put it up in our master bedroom. You can see that post here. Whenever I look at the map, I'm reminded of our journey to Australia, the anticipation and trepidation of living in a new place, fun university days, the close friends we've made, the home we've created and the birth of our beautiful baby girl. It is truly a special place for us.

And as much as I love staying at home, my New Year's resolution is to travel more...both near and far. And decorate more, but that goes without saying. I am well and truly bitten by the travel bug!

I would like to add to my map of Melbourne, a few more places that are special and meaningful. The map of Wales, a beautiful place where I was fortunate to live for quite a few years and made the most amazing friends that are close to my heart till date. A map of Venice, the city that my husband and I explored together. Perhaps even a map of New York or San Francisco, where we hope to travel to one day! And definitely a map of Jaipur, where my mother and I had the most wonderful holiday!

If you have a blank wall in your home and are unsure of what artwork to put up there, a fail safe method of creating a show-stopping feature is to hang up a map. Make it more interesting by grouping a series of maps or create a special corner with a map of a place that is personal and meaningful.

These maps add a beautiful Scandinavian touch with their minimalist design and strong black and white graphics that complement any décor and for a truly personal touch you can also add a tag line to the maps! Short, sweet and meaningful.

This is a fantastic gift to give newly weds especially if they've celebrated a destination wedding, or for your parents anniversary or a housewarming gift! It also makes for a very thoughtful 'bon voyage' present! Not to mention the perfect Christmas gift for the traveller or decorator in the family!

Talking of Christmas gifts, in the spirit of the holiday season, Mapiful are giving all La Maison Jolie followers a 15% discount and free shipping with the use of code: 'MAISON16'. You don't have to be in Australia to order your very own Mapiful. You can be in any of the 195 countries in the world and Mapiful will deliver your unique map to you free of charge! So get designing and get your own Mapiful this Christmas!
[source]

If you decide to get your own map, then don't forget to share your photo on Instagram with the hashtag #mapiful and #lamaisonjolie! We'd love to see your special map and how you chose to decorate with it!

Till next time...relive your wanderlust memories with Mapiful!

xox
Rani

This post was in collaboration with Mapiful. I only ever endorse products that I think are genuinely amazing and I love and would personally use. All words and opinions are my own.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

House Envy: Sylvia Wink's Nostalgic Vintage Christmas Décor!

Browsing through one of my favourite online magazines, VT Wonen, I came across the most beautiful Scandinavian home belonging to Sylvia Wink, owner of Old Basics, decorated with nostalgic vintage brocante finds.

Old Basics specialises in flea market, Norwegian antique furniture and vintage home décor accessories. They house a collection of hard to find iron pharmacists cabinets, counters, tables, benches and all kinds of gorgeous knick knacks that make you giddy with delight!

Sylvia's industrial home dating back to 1917 forms the perfect backdrop for showcasing her uber gorgeous decorating style. Her home features most of her bespoke vintage finds that you can also buy from her online store. A mix of metals, black, white and neutrals, natural wooden accents, lots of fur and soft textural layers punctuated with pops of greenery, make this home warm, inviting and sumptuous.

Below is a curated collection of swoon worthy photos of her home decorated for Christmas.
[All images sourced from here]

Filled to the brim with interesting and bespoke finds, Sylvia's home is the very opposite of the minimalistic pared back Scandinavian style. However, it all works beautifully! There's something interesting in every nook. Every element completes and complements the other creating a cohesive vintage industrial design style. 

Yes, I have a serious, very serious case of house envy!! Do you have house envy too? Tell us in the comments below! 

Till next time... get decorating for Christmas!

P.S. If you are still on the hunt for last minute Christmas gifts, check out our Holiday Gift Guide to Christmas 2016 showcasing a number of original and quirky gift ideas in a range of prices to suit every giver and delight every receiver!
xox
Rani