Sit Back (Untwist) and Relax

For our second wedding anniversary — the cotton anniversary — my mother-in-law offered to buy me and The Beard a hammock. With thoughts of backyard lazing in our heads, we said yes. Naturally, our hammock’s arrival corresponded to weeks and weeks of rainy, blah weather that does not make one want to retreat to the outdoors with a mojito in one hand and a good book in the other, next to the pond (make sure its nice and clean with pond filter media from Bradshaws Direct.)

hammock

Wikipedia tells me that hammocks were created by native inhabitants of tropical regions for sleeping — presumably because they’re easy to rig up and less toasty than a proper bed — but also notes that the invention of the hammock has been attributed to the Athenian statesman Alcibiades, a student of the Greek philosopher Socrates. Sailors adopted hammocks as the go-to shipboard bed because they maximize the available space, and adventurers followed suit because hammocks are quite portable. Eventually, the hammock became a sort of emblem for a certain type of weekend summertime relaxation that is the purview of individuals with a spot of land to their names.

Hammocks, of course, come in all manner of sizes, shapes, and configurations. My mother-in-law opted to purchase for us one that does not have spreader bars on either end (American style), and instead bought a Brazilian style hammock, which requires the operator lie diagonally across it to keep it open. I’m looking forward to trying it out if the weather ever changes.

In the meantime, I’m shopping for outdoor pillows that won’t get all nasty moldy if they do accidentally get caught in one of the downpours that have so far defined the summer of 2009. Check out some of my faves by clicking on the pics!

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Get your New Home Insured in Time for the Flooding Season

Protecting your new home is crucial during the colder months of the year, but this year, prolonged rainfall demands that protection starts early. It’s not only important to obtain flood insurance, it’s also important to prevent damage from floods so the repairs are lessened.
Welsh Floods, 2012
MoneySupermarket flood insurance provides a number of useful tips for guarding against the potential for floods. And, if the recent floods in Wales have taught us anything, it’s that people can never be too careful when the British weather is concerned!

Effective Cover
Flood insurance plans should include both contents insurance and buildings insurance for homeowners, as this will protect the fixtures, fittings, and furnishings within the home and garden, including any outbuildings such as a shed or garage, and the structure of the home. Tenants only need to take out contents insurance as the safety of the building is the duty of the landlord.

Plan
It doesn’t matter whether your new home is in a flood-prone area or not. Flooding in recent times has been random throughout the country. Always prepare for the worst. This includes packing a survival kit with bottled water and energy bars, and having a torch and candles to hand.

Utilities
Whenever a flood strikes, it’s important to turn off the gas, electricity, and water immediately. Make sure access to these switches is clear at all times, as electricity and water don’t mix.

Sandbags
Many of the recent floods in Wales have shown that sandbags can’t always stop floodwaters, but they do stall it for a while. There will be much more damage to a home if sandbags are forgotten when the flood waters arrive.

The Roof
If there are any gaps in the roof, then it can compound matters if a flood commences. Water within the roof cavity can completely ruin things. It can also invalidate any claim on your insurance if the roof is deemed to not be in good order.

There’s Nothing Harder Than Saying Goodbye

It’s time for me to make a difficult announcement. To indulge in a spot of cliché, I’m not sure how to say it, so I’ll just come right out with it.

I’m resigning from Manolo for the Brides and Manolo for the Home.

During my time writing for Manolo for the Brides and Manolo for the Home, I’ve grown personally and professionally. When The Manolo took a chance and hired me to be a member of his team, I was a small-time journalist and freelance writer who’d started a blog mainly to complain about a boyfriend who was unwilling to get married. Now I’m a published author who’s married and a mom, and my accomplishments at Manolo for the Brides and Manolo for the Home have been the door openers to numerous interesting and lucrative opportunities.

I have loved every minute of writing for The Manolo. These blogs have been my introduction to entire worlds of design, fashion, etiquette, and more, not to mention my introduction to hundreds of awesome and amazing people. Reading your comments, receiving your emails, and answering your questions has been the very best part of bring a wedding planning blogger and then a home and lifestyle blogger.

But taking August off was eye opening for me. Between blogging, caring for a toddler, piles of contract work, the maintenance of a home, and trying to build a brand from the ground up, I was pulled in too many directions to be able to give my full attention to any one thing for any length of time, and I suddenly realized every part of my life had been suffering as a result.

When that’s happening, something has to give.

After weeks and weeks of thought, I finally made the decision to resign as Editor-in-Chief of Manolo for the Brides and Manolo for the Home. As you might imagine, it wasn’t an easy decision. I’ve been writing here since October 5, 2005, so these blogs have been a huge part of not just my life, but also who I am. The choice I’ve made is a bittersweet one – I’m going to miss writing here terribly, but it’s undeniable that it’s time to lighten my load before I drown in responsibilities.

Where will I go from here? Currently, I’m working on building my editorial services business, Christa Terry’s Editorialicious. But feel free to ‘like’ me! I’m still in the process of adding and editing all the copy on the web site and it’s not finalized (read: proofread) yet – plus everything on the Facebook and Twitter pages – but if you know anyone who’s looking for newsletter copy, SEO copy, editing, PR, or other content development services, send them my way. Other than that, I’m focusing on my family and giving myself some time to evaluate what I want to do next.

I’ll be thinking about all of you and wishing you the best for your weddings and your lives, and don’t hesitate to drop me a line at christa d terry at gmail if you ever just want to chat. Seriously, I’d love to hear from you because I’m going to miss you all terribly.

All the best,
Christa aka Never the Bride

P.S. – You can always see what yours truly is up to or just stalk my private life on my blog.

christa terry

Chandeliers: How Low CAN You Go?

Can those of us with shorty ceilings still hang chandeliers?

Despite loving high ceilings, some of us are forced by circumstance or budget or whatever to reside in dwellings with low ceilings, and when those low ceilings are especially low, that can limit lighting design options. Now as I enjoy my summer vacay and finally spend some real time working on my own home, which has felt terribly neglected these past months, I’m finding that my lighting choices feel quite limited by my own low ceilings. Recessed lighting? I can’t say I dig it. Our current lighting is comprised mainly of those flush with the ceiling lights shaped like boobies, complete with nipple, and they’re not my favorites. Which is why I’ve been wondering, and thought I’d ask you, how low do you think you can go with hanging lighting in a space with low ceilings? Are chandeliers paired with low ceilings just ridiculous? What about when they’re over a table or piece of furniture that guarantees no one will bang their heads? Leave your thoughts below so I can use your help to decide what I really think about big dramatic lighting in wee unassuming spaces!

Holiday Cottages

A Thatched Cottage in the Cotswolds

If you’re travelling in the UK anytime soon, you should consider doing what many of the English do when vacationing in their own country and rent a holiday cottage. Nothing better captures the essence of rural Englishness than spending a relaxing week a small hideaway in the Lake District, or a traditional thatched cottage in the Cotswolds. A week spent rambling through the countryside, sipping ale in a cozy village pub, and generally living the country life, such are the things of which memories are made.

Of course, if you’re one of our English readers, and you’ve managed to acquire a holiday cottage, which can only be used for a few weeks a year, then you might consider letting your holiday cottage via a listing agency such such as RentMyCottage.com which will help you match you with paying visitors.

Naturally, you’ll need to do some work to make sure that your holiday home is suitable for visitors. Not only must everything be in fine working order, but need to make sure that the furniture accords with your visitors’ notion of what is appropriate to the setting. Starkly minimalist or Danish modern furniture won’t help your guests capture that true English spirit that so many desire.

At the same time, modern travellers are a demanding lot, so even though your furniture may be suitably rustic, you’ll probably need the most up-to-date appliances in a kitchen well stocked for the self-catering culinary tourists who are so common today.

Decorating With Everyday Objects

I thought we could chat a little today about decorating with ordinary objects, and I don’t mean time consuming DIYs that may very well fail like this or this or buying “everyday objects” like so that will cost you oodles. (Because if there is one thing I don’t want to do, it’s cost you oodles.)

Fresh flowers, yes. A lot of doodads, no.

Now one thing that struck me during my recent trip to Europe was how few little tchotchkes people there seem to have compared to people in the U.S. Their surfaces are positively nude when viewed through an American eyeball! And a lot of the ‘decorative’ items that were hanging about were also useful objects or photographs or small pieces of art that didn’t really get in the way. Which is really what I have in mind when I ask someone a question like: Have you ever found yourself with a table that was absolutely useless because it was covered with *stuff*?

I have. And at first I’m kind of proud, like look at all my stuff, but then I get kind of sick of not being able to put even a coffee cup down without upsetting a Costa Rican ceramic flute or some other thing that’s nice to own but doesn’t do anyone much good.

What I really like, therefore, is being able to combine my decorative with my practical and semi-practical. Decorating with everyday objects can take many forms. What comes to mind are the cast iron pan and vintage colander hanging on the kitchen wall, the retro globe lamp and faux Eames rocker in the living room, the Russian samovar filled with lilies, the pictures on the walls (which aren’t practical but don’t take up space, either), the vintage mushroom mixing bowl on my nightstand, and a bunch of other pretty things with purpose. Because really, who says that decorating has to require purely decorative objects like a kinetic sculpture that takes up a full quarter of the living room or some other large and impractical thing?

It can, of course, if that’s your bag or you have the space or you don’t have children or animals hell bent on destroying everything you own. But it doesn’t HAVE to be. And it kind of goes back to not costing you oodles of money, since if you’re dedicated to decorating with everyday objects, you’ll likely find that you already have plenty of everyday objects ready to go: cute kitchen stuff that can be hung up, vases for fresh flowers, lamps that can be upcycled, and so on.

How do YOU decorate with everyday objects?

P.S. – You may notice that I’m not around as much in the coming days. Well, lovelies, it’s summertime! Time to play! Yours truly hasn’t had a proper holiday in ages. BUT I’ll still be around on our Facebook page, so head over, ‘like’ us, and enjoy all the fun extras!

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This Is Another One of Those Times Where You Need to Tell Me What Is Happening Here

Love the green chairs. I do. It’s at the bench coffee table thing and the curtains that you start to lose me. My brain keeps saying “Needs more white! Needs more white!” But am I wrong? How about you brilliant people chime in and tell me just what all is happening here…

BRIGHT LIGHT! BRIGHT LIGHT!

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