6 ways to get to sleep more quickly

What’s the secret of a good night’s sleep?

Getting off to the land of nod promptly – as opposed to tossing and turning for half an hour or more – is key.

So here are 5 tips for arriving in dreamland soon after your head hits the pillow – 6 if you include buying a blackout roller blind from us here at My DIY Blinds, to stop the moonlight or street lighting thwarting your efforts, because even a slight chink of light can make a difference.

Our selection of Blackout blinds

You’ll be pleased to know that counting sheep doesn’t feature, but some of our suggestions are slightly left of field, so bear with us and give ’em a go.

• Alarm clock at night as well as in the morning

Yep, we know that sounds whacky, but experts say one tip is to have a regular bed-time, so instead of having ‘five more minutes’ on Facebook or ‘one more flip through the TV channels’ taking you through to 1am, set your alarm for a designated bed-time and stick to it.

• Warm up your tootsies

Cold feet are going to keep you awake, but we’re assuming you don’t want to go down the woolly socks or hot water bottle route. No, thought not, so instead tuck the sheet in at the bottom of the bed or have a blanket covering just your feet.

 

• Walk

Seriously, we’re not packing you off to the expensive gym for a full workout every day (ugh, what a thought) but a short time of daily exercise will work wonders for your health as well as preparing your body for sleep. Just one 15 to 20-minute brisk walk in the evening will make a huge difference. You can spare the time and the energy. Yes, really – you can.

 

• Read

A book at bedtime. The BBC has been running a programme with that title for decades, so there must be some merits to it. The first series started on Friday, January 21, 1949, with The Three Hostages by John Buchan, so if you haven’t read that yet, it seems like a good place to start.

Even with a thriller, you will soon find your eyes starting to droop, so if you can have your reading light on a timer you can just nod off safe in the knowledge that it won’t be left on all night.

• Listen to some music or a radio programme, again with a timer

You won’t want to have AC/DC on full volume or a frenetic, fast-moving comedy show in your lughole, but something soothing will help. Even the low, rhythmic voices of a much-loved character in a gentle sitcom on BBC iPlayer can help – as long as you put the volume down very low so you can only just hear it.

If your partner doesn’t want to listen, just pop an earphone in one ear and listen like that. It’ll drop out when you drop off, and even before the programme ends you’ll be well away.

And finally … Wayne Rooney used to leave a vacuum cleaner on to help him get to sleep. He said so in one of his autobiographies, My Story So Far.

We mention this at the end of our piece because it’s not something we’re seriously recommending, but it does illustrate the lengths some people will go to in order to generate some white noise to aid their slumber.

If you have any alternative suggestions join the conversation!

Mix the rough with the smooth for some great interior design effects

Be bold when you mix the rough with the smooth, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the simultaneously chic and gritty results.

There once was a time when texture in our homes came in two varieties – industrial and super-smooth.

Industrial was all about raw brick and rough galvanised steel, while smooth centred on luxurious velvets and the sleekest of chromes. And never the twain shall meet, as they say… until now.

 

This season, we’re mixing it up when it comes to texture – and that includes your Made To Measure blind.

It all started with the trend for reclaimed and recycled materials, reformed into chic new objects of desire – and Timothy Oulton is the name to conjure with in this context, of course.

But now we’re putting together fabrics and finishes that once would never have gone cheek by jowl. Carved concrete coffee tables stand on fine-grained wooden floors; distressed wood kisses up to marble fireplaces.

Naturally, there’s a trick to getting it right. Creating a mash-up of perfect textures isn’t merely a case of jamming together any old thing – but it’s a lot of fun getting the ideal mix and match to work by trial and error.

Start, as ever, with a keynote piece – furniture or even an accessory. For instance, the Craven sofa from Barker and Stonehouse with its plump cushions and deep-buttoned arms has a look that’s classic with a contemporary twist and makes an excellent focal point for a room.

There’s no doubt the Craven is a smoothy and definitely luxe – but by teaming it with distressed wall woodwork, and the rustic Bowery coffee table (also Barker and Stonehouse) it morphs into something truly fresh and different.

The secret is in the palette of muted tones – greys, pale blues and natural woods work wonderfully together to create a cohesive whole out of extremely different elements. When you’re ready to start planning we have some beautiful palettes to choose from at My DIY Blinds. Take a look at our classic range of Roller Blinds available.

Take a look, too, at the fabulous teaming of sleek botanical-print cushions with hard-edged wood and a gleaming copper light-shade; this collaboration works because of the complementary green and brown tones – you could work similar magic in a different colourway using the Laura Oakes floral cushion from Debenhams as your starting point.

The smooth Stanton grey bookcase from Next could be another textural talking point in any room, stacked up with touchy-feeling objet trouves, such as bleached driftwood and shells, colourful dog-eared books for dipping in and out of for a quick read, and shiny accessories such as the amusingly kitschy pineapple trinket jar (also from Next).

It wouldn’t be textural without rugs and throws, of course, and I’m charmed by Tesco Direct’s grey tartan rug – the Highland look is definitely on-trend at the moment. As an extreme alternative, who could resist Cuckooland.com’s indoor outdoor pond stripe rug in green and blue?

Try a rough-spun wool throw on the arm of a velvet chair; group gleaming glass vases or jars on a reclaimed-wood side table where they reflect the light and turn a forgotten corner into an eyecatcher.

And don’t be afraid to be bold – mix up the luxe and the rough for a change and bring a little more texture into your life.

 

Literally Lyrics – What Would Pop Stars Own According to Their Lyrics?

The biggest pop stars can often become iconic figures, adored by millions around the world with sold out shows wherever they go, but what about the words behind their music? Lyrics can often go mostly undetected by casual listeners, the type that will be able to sing along to the catchy chorus as it plays out on the radio, or hum the melody as they trudge their way to work, but couldn’t name you the B side off of the last single as the real fans would.

Well, what if someone looked closely at these lyrics and not just that, what if they took every lyric as a solid fact? That is just what we have done.

The rules of something counting on our list were pretty simple:

  • Any item that sounds like it is theirs, is being used by them or has been given to them
  • Avoid obvious metaphors
  • Can be from any track by the artist, doesn’t have to just be from an album or a single

As a company based in the interior design area we wanted to see what kind of items artists brag about owning. We imagined big houses, gold plated kitchen tables, diamond encrusted blinds, that kind of thing. Though we often found the lyrics mentioning about all the cars they owned, the huge sums of money they were making and their sold out shows, we also found some much more obscure and surreal items to add in. For an example, one of Drake’s lyrics talks about him having ‘a black box where suggestions go’. Maybe Drake really does have a black box for suggestions? If anyone has been to his house, do let us know. We have a couple to that you can pop in for sure.

Of course this is all tongue-in-cheek but it did throw up some interesting information. For instance the most popular car that kept cropping up in lyrics across the artists was the Maybach, and that Justin Bieber really does seem to come from out of space. Perhaps the latter isn’t totally surprising!

Next time a song comes on the radio why not listen extra carefully to the lyrics and see what weird and wonderful things would come out of that song if you did your own ‘Literally Lyrics ‘ version.

Your Made To Measure Blinds are just that- Made to Measure

Without wishing to be labelled as experts in the obvious, did you know that our made to measure blinds come ready to fit, with all fixings – and that they are the perfect size for where you’re going to hang them?

We ask this because some customers have been surprised at the level of service we provide.

They are used to compromising choice in a bid to save money, and then discovering that in making savings they either end up practically making the blind themselves or regretting the choice when the finished product, once in place, looks sub-standard.

We manage to combine excellent value for money with superb standards – and you only need to look at our customer reviews to see how pleased people are that they choose Made To Measure Blinds.

On the highly regarded TrustPilot consumer review site, Anthony Pryce, a confirmed and validated buyer, says: ‘Great product, delivery and instructions. Perfect size and colour – as ordered – and easy to fit.

‘Blinds were up and working in quick time.’

And here’s the crucial, telling phrase that is music to our ears – and yours, too, hopefully. Mr Pryce concludes his review by saying: ‘Never again will I attempt to cut an oversized blind when I can have made to measure at a great price. Top notch.’

Another confirmed buyer, Mike Aspery, left this review, which praised our pre-sales service and website. Mr Aspery said: ‘Superb blinds. Very easy website made ordering simple, no complications. Prompt and efficient service, quick delivery, excellent quality and they look wonderful. I have already recommended you to a friend.’

And it’s not just people on mainland U.K. who leave comments. This is from Ric Gale on the Channel Islands. ‘The service was reliable and quick. This is the third time I have used Made To Measure Blinds and I have recommended family and friends because the product, quality and value for money is so reliable.

‘Also, the shipment to the Channel Islands is quick – and an email secures the VAT back. Just great.’

If you’d like to check our independently verified reviews – and there are plenty of them on Trustpilot

Keep it light for a New York state of mind – with a blind to help

Interior designers this season are taking some of their inspiration from gorgeous homes across the Atlantic.

Brooklyn, once an industrial area, is now home to New York’s most fashionable people, who have converted warehouse buildings into airy apartments and homes.

It has inspired an interior design trend all of its own, where rich leathers combine with reclaimed woods, striking patterns and ethnic fabrics.

It’s a look that’s cool yet welcoming – and fortunately, you don’t need to have a loft to create it!

Whatever the size of your room, you can take a few steps that will get you bang up to date on the latest trend.

Texture and colour play an important part, so choose accessories in brilliant colours with bold geometric designs such as cushions and ethnic rugs, laid over stripped floorboards or even a more industrial finish such as polished concrete – very trendy!Furniture pieces in soft leather – the more distressed and worn the better – look fantastic here and add a feel of comfort that’s really important. The look is industrial, but it should always be somewhere you can relax.

Cabinets and coffee tables in reclaimed wood fit in well here, and once again fit in with a very popular interior design movement.

It’s also important in this look to think about how the room is lit. Make the most of natural light by avoiding curtains and opting for light blinds, to continue the pared-back theme.

Wooden blinds fit particularly well into this theme, because they are contemporary and stylish. They’re also a gift to the homeowner because they’re a lot easier to keep dust-free than heavy curtains.

Venetian slatted blinds are perfect for the ‘warehouse’ look, because they are stylish and modern. Usefully, the slats can be tilted and part-opened to create a sense of privacy in your room – important when you need to chill out in peace.

At night, your blinds will give your room an intimate feel without ever looking cluttered. That’s when lamps come into their own, creating pools of light in key spaces – this year, also look for copper accessories such as pendant light shades that can differentiate areas such as dining space.

The rest comes down to nice individual touches – lovely cushions on your leather sofa, a woollen throw in warm colours, or maybe objects you have found, such as driftwood and pebbles, prettily displayed on a shelving unit.

Keep this look fairly sparse – choose your accessories carefully and display them well with plenty of space around them.

You may not be able to head over the Atlantic for inspiration yourself, but you can certainly get the feel – and get your home into a New York state of mind!

Choose your wooden blinds with us!

Why Ewan McGregor would like Made To Measure Blinds

We’re big fans of the Ewan McGregor BT Vision ad airing on TV at the moment.

The production team have set up a spectacular motor-bike scene and they’re eager to make the most of the A-list movie star they have on set.

Action shots are filmed and excitement mounts as they prepare to shoot the perfect, climactic scene featuring the A-list actor.
Ewan McGregor, however, is mystified.

He surveys the scene. He sees the ‘Big TV, Tiny Prices’ display board that has dropped into place, turns and notices footballers

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Robin van Persie chomping on a sandwich as they wait to shoot their parts, and says: ‘You don’t need all this. There’s your ad’ – and he points to the board.

Cue our applause. We love that sentiment. We love keeping things simple. So we know Ewan would love us, because we have a straightforward message for you, backed by a simple five-point plan when you’ve decided you’d like to order some blinds from us.

Here’s our straightforward message
Beautiful Made To Measure Blinds at the best prices. That’s it. Sorry we can’t make it any more complicated.

And here’s our five-point plan

1) We help you choose the blind for your needs
Most people who order their blinds from us take a simple first step. They either call us on 0118 9454534 to discuss their ideas and ask us for ours, or they browse our Frequently Asked Questions page

2) Plenty of choice
Once you’ve narrowed it down to the type of blind, we then have an extensive range from which to choose. So whatever your colour scheme and whatever your pattern design preference there is something to precisely match your taste. You can even ask us to send a free sample.

3) Step-by-step guides on how to measure
This is the crucial stage of the process. We know how important it is to have your Made To Measure Blinds arrive in the exact state in which you need to fit them – with no messy trimming needed and therefore no potential for ruining the job. So we make measuring easy by providing guides for every situation you might find around the home.

4) How to fit
No guesswork involved and no trial and error, because we provide installation guides.
These are printed, easy-to-follow instructions included with each blind you order.
In addition to that, we provide written and video guides on our website, so you can easily watch how we recommend you do the job using the cleanest, most straightforward method of putting up your blinds.
We even have videos on such tricky topics as drilling through tiles and dealing with lintels.

5) Quality check
Every blind we deliver is quality checked to meet our exacting standards. We are so confident in the product that we supply, that we offer a 60-month guarantee on all our blinds.

 

PLUS!
Our special care guide
We know how important it is for your blinds to look their best for a long period of time, so you can care for your Made To Measure Blinds by following the simple cleaning instructions we provide – see the menu

Seaside style that’s shore to please!

Do you love storing up memories of special summer holidays – and do you strive to hang on to the enjoyment of long, sunny days by memorising the sights, smells and sounds of June, July and August?

One way of keeping those memories alive is by bringing certain elements into our homes. By bringing a touch of the seashore indoors we can keep those sunny days alive with reminders of fresh salty air and a sea washed colour palette of blues and pebble hues.

We’ve been checking out marine theme accessories to help us feel beside the seaside in our own living rooms.

Wood is a big consideration of course – think of all the lovely driftwood that washes up on the beach. Reclaimed wooden furniture is popular this year, and you can also give your room a stylishly distressed look with the help of clever colouring.

Sand your floors to a pale finish or paint them with pale colours – sand again afterwards and seal with floor varnish to get that worn look.

White Venetian blinds give a gorgeously Mediterranean tone to any room, and you can also slant them slightly to provide privacy and to give your room subtle lighting during the day.
Look out for blanket boxes and chests, which make great alternative coffee tables while providing extra storage.

You can get colour inspiration for your walls from beach pebbles, too – beige’s, greys and creams – and echo them with a shelf of seaside finds such as shells and stones.And you can also go crafty with things you find along the shore. A simple mirror can be turned into a work of art by creating a frame of driftwood, or of polished glass pebbles from a spot of beach combing.

As it’s the seaside, there has to be a bit of blue, too – so go for striped cushions, rugs in strong geometric patterns to make those pale floors look even more lovely, and add a sky-blue throw to your sofa for snugly comfort.

You could also cluster glass bottles and vases together on a shelf as a reminder of glass fishing floats, or frame some of your favourite pictures of your summer holidays for the wall.

So who cares if autumn is just around the corner? Because this look is packed with pale woodwork, light blinds and bleached finishes, your room will seem full of light, and darker days will seem brighter – and you can go on being a beach baby for the rest of the year.

 

View our collection of white Venetian blinds here on our website!

What have the Romans ever done for us?

What’s the difference between a Roman blind and a Roman blind?

That’s not a trick question. The way the Romans used to hang their eponymous blinds when compared to the way we use them differs in one significant factor.

We hang them vertically while the Romans, in some circumstances, hung them horizontally.

Here’s the reason. Let’s go back a couple of thousand years or more and take our place for some entertainment at the Colosseum.

Hot out there, in the open air and under the searing heat. But some clever chap with an entrepreneurial spirit has had the idea of helping the punters stay a little more comfortable by creating an awning-like structure to pull out – horizontally – from the stands.

The resulting shade is very welcome, but the design needs refining, so that when not needed the blinds can be rolled in and stored.

 

The design soon incorporates long poles and pull-cords so that they can be adjusted as required.

These shades and their use inspired others to think about other applications and it wasn’t long before they started appearing in homes, offering protection against the dust being kicked up by all those passing centurions and other pedestrians.

These blinds, though, were naturally hung vertically, to suit their location in windows.

Style and form may have evolved in the intervening years, but we still look upon a Roman blind as a stylish alternative to traditional window coverings with its classic, drapery effect.

They are equally suited to a living room environment as well as providing a contemporary look and feel for any bedroom, kitchen or children’s nursery.

Our made to measure roman blinds are available in a variety of stylish patterns and designs and come in a wide selection of smart shades and colours, designed to complement any colour scheme or décor.

Take a look at our extensive range of made to measure Roman Blinds here!  We can supply free samples so you can find the perfect fabric from the comfort of your own home – Request your free sample now!

15 Deeply Inspiring Workspaces

Albert Einstein once famously said “If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk a sign?”. While the argument of whether a messy desk has an impact on your productivity still rages on, we felt intrigued to explore the work spaces of iconic and influential individuals spanning literature, art and science.

For example, Roald Dahl sought refuge within his ‘writing hut’ at the bottom of his garden, acting as a sanctuary where he could work without being interrupted. Ultimately, it was the birth place of some of the most inspiring children’s books. Nikola Tesla on the other hand happily basked in the blue light of electricity within his laboratory, observing the arching and jumping of his high voltage experiments.

We scoured the internet for the 15 most inspirational work spaces, compiling them into the below handy info graphic:

inspiring workplaces infographic

How to create a relaxing atmosphere in your beautiful bathroom

There’s nothing more relaxing than a good soak in the bath or a long, hot shower – but only if your bathroom is a gorgeous and tranquil space that you can enjoy.

The bathroom is one of the hardest-working rooms in the house, and it’s easy for it to get a bit sad and cluttered. So when giving it a face lift, your first step should be to have a good clear-out (especially if you have a small space).

Tidy up
Invest in a good cabinet to hide all your bathroom products, and make an asset of clean towels by folding them neatly on a shelf or using a towel ladder like this one from Next.
If your bathroom is suffering from tired corners, smarten it up instantly by re-grouting tiles, renewing silicon sealant round the bath and polishing your taps.
New vinyl or a good waterproof laminate can also give a quick facelift to the floor; tiling is a bigger job and more expensive, but very long-lasting – Tile Mountain’s Skyros wall and floor tiles have an extremely cool and pretty retro vibe.

Treat your feet

A good rug softens the room as well as providing comfort underfoot, but make sure it can stand up to all that water and steam – we’re very pleased with the Cool Stripes rugs from Modern Rugs, which would brighten up any bathroom and can be easily changed to freshen things up from time to time.

 

Colour guide

If your bathroom is small, dark colours may make it feel closed in. Choosing a light colour for the walls can also help bring a feeling of space and light, and mirrors – a natural for the bathroom, of course – can also help the room feel bigger.

The blinds factor

Natural light is at a premium with bathrooms – venetian blinds can be an ideal solution in a bathroom as they can be tilted to let in precious daylight while providing extra privacy for frosted glass. But Roman blinds look great, too. Choose wisely, using our advice (see below).

Read our blog – How to choose a blind for the bathroom

Time for a suite makeover?

Changing your bathroom suite can be pricey and is a big job, but there are some fabulous fittings around at the moment – take a look at the Round Fixed Head Cascade Shower from Just taps plus; it’s slimline for a small space but provides a great water flow.

Accessorise

If you’ve less to spend, accessories make a big difference in the bathroom, and should be chosen with care.
You can go beach combing to come up with some natural bits and pieces to give your room a nautical but nice theme, or shop around for natural finishes such as Sainsbury’s natural lotus clothes hamper.

 

Storage

We also like Barker and Stone house’s wooden chest with shutters – very cool and also useful in providing extra storage – and their display box, which looks like a row of huts, would fit in really well.

The final touch
After that, it’s easy – some nice candles, deliciously-scented bath oil and a good lock on the bathroom door. Ah… relax!