Buy tickets for the South East House and Home Show

Are you thinking about redesigning, renovating or building? Do you want to learn from the experts and chat to the professionals? Are you simply looking for one or two key pieces to transform the look and feel of your home?
Then make sure you come along to the South East House and Home show in WIT Arena on September 30th and October 1st. Get expert advice from more than 100 leading South East suppliers and experts, meet and greet our special guests, join us at our style talks and sample the delights from our cookery demos, with The Happy Pear, Eunice Power and Paul Flynn.
See everything under one roof – and kids under 14 are FREE!

Decluttering The Kitchen

If you're considering a new kitchen, it's hard to know what sort of storage you need for your belongings. Like any of us, you probably have more stuff in your kitchen than you actually need: those plates from Meadow's & Byrne that were on sale 5 years ago that you never really used, or those wine glasses that are so fragile they're not practical, or those cook books you only opened once? Toss them.

After you've decided on the colour scheme of your kitchen: the doors, the counter tops, the backsplash... it's time to de-clutter your existing kitchen!

We like the KonMari method of decluttering (yes, there's actually a method!) where you rid your kitchen of all unnecessary items over a number of days. Categorise the items in your kitchen, and sort out one category per day until you get through it all.

You will need a certain level of ruthlessness. Hold up each item and ask yourself 2 things:

  1. Do I regularly use this?

  2. Does it hold real sentimental value?

We don't suggest you throw out your 'only for special occasions' linen tablecloth that your grandmother gave you as a wedding present, but that patterned polyester cloth you bought in Dunnes in 1999 can probably go.

Here's how the experts in Evoke German Kitchens suggest you categorise the items in your kitchen.

  1. Plates, bowls and dishes

  2. Mugs, cups, glasses and stemware

  3. Cutlery and kitchen utensils

  4. Pots and pans

  5. Clean out the cupboards (the 4 year old tub of cornstarch, the never opened box of jasmine tea etc.)

  6. Empty the fridge

  7. Go through your freezer

  8. Electricals (old sandwich toaster, the unused blender, the leaking kettle)

  9. Kitchen towels, napkins and other table linens

  10. Placemats and table accessories

  11. Tupperware and food-storage containers

  12. Paper cups and napkins, and plastic cutlery.

  13. Miscellaneous items in the bottom drawer (toothpicks, blu-tack, wine corks, and those keys that once belonged to an old bike lock)

  14. Plastic shopping bags (you don't need 23 of them!)

  15. Old and empty cleaning products sprays and sponge

  16. Cookbooks

A few minutes a day for 16 days and you'll have a clutter free kitchen ready to remodel! 

The Happy Pear to attend South East House and Home Show

The best of everything house, home, lifestyle and garden will be showcased at the inaugural South East House and Home Show on September 30th and October 1st in the state of the art facility of WIT Arena in Carriganore, Waterford.

Expert exhibitors, including Electric Ireland, Colourtrend, Evoke German Kitchens, AIB, Morris's DIY, Sienna Furniture, Sky Ireland, and many more national and regional companies will all showcase across the weekend. Visitors will also be treated to cookery demos from Foodie entrepreneurs, ‘The Happy Pear’ twins Steven and David Flynn, as well as local chefs Paul Flynn and Eunice Power and many more at the inaugural South East House and Home Show, hosted by WLR Events.

The show will be packed with ideas, advice and products as well as exclusive show offers, new product launches and items you won’t find on the high street.

WLR Event Manager Roisin Ferris says; ‘The South East, along with the rest of the country, is experiencing a trend in homeowners investing in their homes and putting time and money into sprucing up their property. We felt it was time for the South East to showcase the products and services available in the region and we are delighted to offer our exhibitors a platform to meet directly with homeowners and homebuilders.’

The Show takes place in WIT Arena, Carriganore, Waterford on Saturday, September 30th and Sunday, October 1st. Tickets are €10 for one day or €16 for two days, available now. 

For further information about the show, click here, and for day and weekend tickets to the event, click here, or call WLR Events on 051-846112.

Photography: Seanie Cahill Photography 085 1199161

Six steps to renovating on a budget

Unfortunately, we can’t all afford to build our dream home. Don’t worry though, a little can go a long way when it comes to renovating your house, even on a small budget, and our friends at AIB are here to guide you through saving money on your next home renovation in six simple steps.

1. Planning
Correct planning at the initial stages can potentially save you a lot of money down the line and can help you make provisions for all those unforeseen and unexpected expenses. To help you nail down your budget, it’s important you get reliable quotes from the professionals you will be using throughout the process of your house renovation. These could include a plumber, builder, electrician and tiler. Experience suggests it’s always best to allow for a buffer of about 10% to 20% in your budget because, more often than not, projects come in over budget for whatever reason.

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2. Prioritise
Once you have your budget firmly in place, look for areas where you could potentially cut back. Consider your ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ for the home renovation and start looking at luxuries you could do without. Your builder may also be able to help you identify ways in which you could re-use some of the current elements of your home to save money.

3. Take the DIY approach
If you feel you’ve got the DIY skills to take care of some of the non-structural work yourself, you could save a lot of money on your house renovation. Take care of tasks like landscaping and painting and you’ll have more funds left for other aspects of the project. If you’re using a builder for bigger tasks, consult them on how you can schedule your lighter tasks around theirs to make sure the workflow goes as smoothly as possible.

4. Shop around
By simply shopping around, you may be pleasantly surprised by how much you can save on labour, materials and supplies. Practice your assertiveness and put your negotiation skills to the test when dealing with tradesmen to get better bargains. While it may take some time, it will pay off in the end without a doubt. 

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5. Savings in the long-run
Remember, although you’re trying to reduce how much your home renovation costs right now, consider areas that are worth investing in for savings in the long-term. Such areas might include additions that are energy efficient such as insulation and double glazed windows. Even though they’ll add more to your initial bill, your electricity and heating bills will be lower in future.

6. Be creative
Even if you can’t afford that major redesign or extension just yet, get creative and use more affordable updates such as lighting and paints and upcycling existing furniture. In areas like the bathroom and sitting room, a little can go a long way. Chat to the showroom staff at your local DIY store and discover how a lick of paint to renew and revitalise a room.

If you’re thinking of making a change in your home, why not let AIB help you take the stress out of the financing side of things? Chat to them at the South East House and Home show in the WIT Arena on Sept 30th and Oct 1st, and check out their home improvement personal loan options or get a quote for a home improvement loan today.

Lending criteria, terms and conditions apply. Credit facilities are subject to repayment capacity and financial status and are not available to persons under 18 years of age. Security may be required. Allied Irish Banks, p.l.c. is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

Love lemons: 8 ways to clean your kitchen with lemons

There's no doubt that we need the likes of Detol, Milton and Cif in the house to kill harmful bacteria and wipe away germs, but when it comes to cleaning the kitchen, where possible, we like to keep the amount of chemicals we use to a minimum. The experts at Evoke German Kitchens have all the tricks of the trade: Lemons are naturally acidic which makes them a great de-greaser and means they can cut through tough stains. They also act as a gentle replacement for bleach which can brighten white cloths and surfaces. So when life gives you lemons, use them to clean your kitchen!

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1. SCOUR THE SINK.

Surprisingly enough, the place where you wash many of your pots, pans and plates is often the dirtiest part of the kitchen. Grab some lemon juice and sugar and mix together until it's got the consistency of toothpaste.  Rub it on to your sink and leave for a few minutes before wiping away with warm water and a brillo-pad. The lemon and sugar mix is suitable to use on brass, copper and stainless steel sinks and fixtures.

2. LIFT AWAY LIMESCALE.

Because lime is often added to our tap water to soften it and kill micro-organisms, limescale often forms around our sinks, fixtures, and taps, as well as inside our kettles, washing machines and dishwashers. To remove visible limescale, sponge on some lemon juice and let it soak. Let the juice's natural acidity get to work for a few minutes and scrub away. Likewise, you can boil your kettle with some lemon rind in it to remove tough limescale from the element. 

3. CLEAN THE DISHWASHER.

Dishwashers are wonderful. If you have one, then long gone are the days of scrubbing your plates, cups, knives and forks after every meal, but if you fail to rinse themproperly before they go in for their hot scrub, the remnants of your dinner can end up stuck to the dishwasher walls. Thankfully, lemons cut through dried in food and a rub of some lemon juice and a damp cloth can remove almost anything from a chrome surface. Just be sure to wipe away any reside with a dry cloth afterwards.

 

4. AND THE OVEN.

This is one job that so many people hate! But really, it's not as bad as you might think once you get the right mix of ingredients to lift the dirt. Mix one part lemon juice and one part warm water and add enough baking soda to make a paste. Slather this on to the grease inside your oven, on the hob, or around the hood of your extractor and leave it to work its magic for 15 minutes. Scrub away with a brillo-pad and rinse with warm water.

 

5. FRESHEN THE WASTE DISPOSAL UNIT.

Throwing away your vegetable peels, fruit cores and left over organic waste can cause your waste disposal sink to stink! After you've juiced a lemon and used it for one of the other tricks we've mentioned here, toss the rind in the disposal shoot, grind it up and let its aroma get to work.

6. DEODOURISE THE HOUSE.

Fill a small saucepan with water and add some lemon slices or lemon rind. Throw in a teaspoon of cloves and some rosemary if you can get your hands on it (you might have some growing in your garden) and let it all come to the boil. It instantly kills the smells of garlic, onions, fish and it can even help rid the smell of stale smoke!

7. WASH THE WINDOWS.

Let's face it, windows are magnets for hand prints, paw prints and God knows what else lands on them to make them look so filthy. A mixture of 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, with 100mls of white vinegar in 1 one litre of warm water will not just wash away any greasy marks, but will leave them streak free and ready to shine too.

8. TREAT YOUR WOODEN CHOPPING BOARDS.

Wooden kitchen-wares look gorgeous. We have a particular love for solid olive wood in Evoke, but chopping onions, garlic and even fresh herbs on them can leave odours in the wood fibres. After you've chopped your veg and wiped away the cut-offs, rub down the wood with a slice of lemon; it will lift away fresh stains and deodourise it as it cleans. Make sure you wipe any excess juice from the wood before you store it away.

For more kitchen tips, tricks, recipes and design and remodelling ideas, follow Evoke German Kitchens on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

Decorating an enviable entryway

It's the first space that greets you as you arrive in from work; from doing the shopping; from collecting the kids; from a tough slog at the gym, so your hall or entryway should be a space that welcomes you home and instantly invites you in. 

However, putting together the perfect combination of decorative and functional pieces can often be overwhelming, even for a small space. 

So to help you kick-off your redesign, we've put together a recipe for an enviable entryway. 

1. A TABLE

It seems like an obvious addition, but an end table or console table is a functional-must in any hallway. You'll need somewhere to pop your post down as you walk in; some where to leave your keys; and of course, somewhere to display your decorative additions (we'll get to these later!).
Your table can be as statement or as minimal as you like, and in fact, it doesn't even need to be a table - a wall hung shelf, an oversized radiator cover or a bench will work great too. 

2. A MIRROR

Because most halls and entryways are small spaces, including a mirror in your design reflects light and creates an illusion of space. The size, shape and design of your mirror completely comes down to personal choice. 
It also allows you to check that your outfit is on point before you leave the house!

3. A LIGHT SOURCE

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Whether that means making the most of the space's natural light by removing shielding blinds or curtains from the window, or adding a great lamp or ceiling pendant to illuminate the hallway, adding light is a must - and even better if you can bounce that light off your newly added mirror! Again, most halls and entryways are small, so adding light will also add a sense of space. 

4. STORAGE

The amount of storage you need will depend on your lifestyle and habits, and whether or not you have alternative storage - perhaps you have an adjacent cloakroom or a cupboard under the stairs - but every entryway needs storage in some capacity. Consider drawers in your console table to store your post, keys, address book etc, and don't overlook a large rattan basket for dumping your shoes into as you kick them off coming in the door. A freestanding or wall mounted hat or coat stand can also be a stylish and functional addition to the space.

5. TEXTURE

Texture can be interpreted in a myriad of ways. It can be added with a rug on the floor, a throw over a stool, cushions on a chair, even a tapestry on a wall. You can also inject some texture by using natural materials in your furniture and storage. The key in any entryway is to find the balance between function and aesthetic. 

6. GREENERY

Fresh florals and greenery can add so much life to any room - whether it's a single succulent, a leafy pot plant or full bouquet of roses, adding greenery is a must in your entryway. For low maintenance greens, try cacti and succulents or waxed botanical leaves, or cheat altogether and buy some great quality faux-flowers. 

7. AND FINALLY... YOUR PERSONALITY

This is where you put your stamp on your entryway! Adding personality can be as simple as adding a framed family picture to your wall or end table, or you can add more subtle hints of your personality through a curated choice of books and magazines, a diffuser with your signature scent or a piece of DIY wall art.

Good luck with your redecorating, and make sure to tag us in any pictures you post inspired by our formula for an enviable entryway. We're @SEhouseandhome on Twitter and Instagram. Links below!