Utopia Blog

#RelaxMonday: Quick fix relaxation methods!
Posted by admin on April 27, 2015 at 7:30 am . Filed under: Uncategorized

Relaxing your body and mind simultaneously is something that a lot of people find difficult, these simple methods will help you attain inner peace to relax and rejuvenate your whole self at any time during a busy day to keep stress at bay when it hits.

Give yourself a hand massage.
Having a hand massage is proven to instantly relax a pounding heart and aid calm feelings. Hands tend to carry a lot of tension, particularly if you work in a job where you’re using them all day long, typing on a keyboard for example. Apply some moisturising cream and start by massaging the base of the muscle underneath the thumb. It has been proven that doing this can relieve stress in the shoulders, neck and scalp.

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Drip cold water on to your wrists.
If you’re feeling like stress is getting on top of you, putting some cold water on your wrists cools down your major arteries which can cool down the whole body and calm the nerves. There are also major arteries behind the earlobes, so applying cold water there has the same effect.

Do something repetitive.
Try doing something like knitting, colouring, washing the dishes or even brushing your hair; repetitive actions like these can promote feelings of relaxation.

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Focus on your breathing.
We recently gave you some relaxing breathing techniques, but if you’re feeling stressed when you’re out and about or in the office, focus on taking slow, deep breaths as these will lower your blood pressure.

Practise progressive relaxation.
Feeling a bit anxious? Simply squeeze the muscles really tightly for a few seconds and then slowly release, do this one part of your body at a time starting at your feet and working your way upwards to achieve a state of calm. This is also a great thing to do when you’re struggling to sleep.

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Have some ‘alone’ time.
Going somewhere on your own for as little as five minutes will help you to collect your thoughts and clear your mind. Evenings are the best time to do this, although taking five minutes from your lunch break to sit and do nothing will prevent stress through the day.

Bear these tips in mind to use whenever you feel stress creeping up on you!

 

FASHION FORWARD FURNISHINGS FOR THE MODERN BEDROOM
Posted by admin on April 22, 2015 at 7:30 am . Filed under: Bedrooms,Bi-fold,Clever storage,Contemporary,Designer bedooms,Sliders,Sliding doors,Storage,Ultraglide

Creating a comfortable and modern bedroom is as simple as having streamlined furnishings, calm colours and imaginative accessories. But putting all of these things together to make your room the perfect contemporary retreat can seem a bit daunting. Here are our top tips for putting together your perfect fashion-forward bedroom.

Keep it modern
Unfussy doesn’t necessarily mean your room should be empty. Consider focussing on one key detail piece in the room and keeping the rest pretty neutral. Minimalism doesn’t mean monotonous; the best way to keep your room looking modern is to highlight progressive furniture pieces by surrounding them with neutrals.

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Have plenty of storage
Keeping the fuss minimalistic is easy if you have plenty of clever storage solutions to keep the clutter hidden away behind contemporary doors. Maximise the minimal by investing in multipurpose pieces such as dressing tables which double up as an area to get ready and provide plenty of storage drawers.

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Consider finishes and colourings
Keeping the walls fairly neutral is a given in any modern-styled bedroom, but it is definitely worth considering the finishes on your furniture, too. Having darker coloured furniture will really make a statement.

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Keep it streamlined
When you’re accessorising, keep to the modernised look with bold patterns and bright colours. Choose materials like transparent acrylic plastics, modern metals and colourfully lacquered accessories that are in-keeping with your modern furniture.

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Is your bedroom style classic or contemporary?

 

 

#RelaxMonday: Creative pursuits to keep stress at bay
Posted by admin on April 20, 2015 at 7:30 am . Filed under: Uncategorized

After a great weekend, Mondays always seem to drag on for longer than any other day of the week. This is why on a Monday evening, often we resign ourselves to lounging on the sofa and not doing a lot.

But what if we told you that by being a little bit creative, you could feel more relaxed and refreshed?

You may think we’re wrong, but by actually doing something on Monday evenings to keep your mind active, you’ll be sure to wake up on Tuesday morning feeling rejuvenated. So, what sort of things should you do?

Listen to some music.
A tune that uplifts your mood is a great place to start if you’re feeling low on energy or in a bad mood. Simply singing along to your favourite feel-good tune is a great way to boost the feel good factor. When you’re winding down in the evening, try listening to some classical music. Calming classical music can aid a good night’s sleep.

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Do some puzzles.
Brain games like Sudoku and crosswords take up a lot of concentration, which in turn can relax your body by taking your mind of anything that may be worrying you.

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Get outside.
Whether it’s to get some fresh air, exercise, or to meet up with a friend, anything that can get you out of the house for a little while will leave you feeling rejuvenated. This will relieve the stresses of the day and leave you feeling a bit more positive and ready to face the rest of the week.

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Do something physical.
Research has shown that anxiety decreases in people after doing a bit of dancing, so when you’re listening to your feel-good tunes, have a bit of a boogie too. If dancing isn’t your forte, doing any sort of physical activity releases endorphins in your body which are proven to make you feel happier.

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Write in a diary.
Relaying your thoughts into a diary entry is bound to leave you feeling like a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. Putting your emotions on paper can make you feel more in control of them and allow you to relax.

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Do some cooking.
Cooking is a great way to keep your mind focussed on one thing; baking a cake or cooking a meal for a loved one is not only satisfying, but you’ll also enjoy eating your delights once all the cooking is done.

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What do you do to keep your Monday blues at bay?

 

DID YOU KNOW YOU COULD BE SLEEPING WRONG?
Posted by admin on April 16, 2015 at 7:30 am . Filed under: Bed time,Bedrooms,Sleep,Sleeping,Sweet dreams

Are you sleeping wrong?

You eat properly, exercise every day and have a comfy bedroom but you’re still not getting enough shut eye – what’s the deal?

Studies have found that simply the way you sleep might be the main reason you don’t seem to be waking up feeling refreshed, so here are some things you should know about in order to get a thorough night’s sleep.

You have the wrong pillow
Do you have a super soft pillow? This could be an issue! Ideally, your pillow should raise your head and neck a few inches off the bed meaning that when you lie down your spine is completely straight. Sleeping consistently in a curved position will ultimately leave your spine in a lot of pain. Your pillow should not just be used for your head, either. If you sleep on your back, it is advisable to put another pillow under your knees, once again to keep the spine aligned.

You have the wrong kind of mattress
The kind of mattress you have varies depending on your size and weight. Your mattress should be soft enough to sink in to (slightly) but shouldn’t drop more than a few inches, as this can cause serious lower back pain. If your mattress is too hard, this can cause a spine curvature, so be sure to try out some different mattresses before making your choice.

You sleep in the wrong position
If you sleep on your stomach: This doesn’t only make it difficult for you to breathe but to have your head to the side you inherently have to twist your spine which could cause pain in the long term.
If you sleep in the foetal position: sleeping on your side yet again compromises your ability to breathe which restricts your ability to sleep thoroughly.
It has been said that the position for the best night’s sleep is your back, as it enables you to align your head, neck and spine which puts no extra pressure on your back.

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You don’t have a set bed time
The key to a thorough night sleep is routine. If you have a consistent bed time, your body knows when it’s time to sleep and wake up, meaning that you’ll have a good deep sleep.

You let yourself sleep in at the weekend
It makes perfect sense to let yourself catch up and sleep in at the weekend, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Research has said that too little sleep can eventually cause a type of brain damage and sleeping in cannot rectify that.

You often go to sleep with a full stomach
Research has shown that eating less than three hours before you go to sleep can cause heartburn in the night which ultimately disrupts your sleep. If you need a snack, avoid fatty and acidic foods as they are more likely to trigger the heartburn. Drinking alcohol before bed can also cause this problem.

Your bedroom temperature is too hot or too cold
The optimum temperature for a good night’s sleep is between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit any temperatures higher or lower than this can disrupt your sleep.

You let too much light in
You may close your curtains and switch off the light, but lights even as small as your phone screen lighting up part way through the night can disrupt your sleep – even if you don’t wake up the light goes through your eyelids and stimulates your brain. Watching TV or looking at other screens before bed can also stimulate the brain too much for a thorough night of rest.

It’s definitely worth taking these things into consideration when doing your bedroom re-vamp.

 

IDEAS FOR YOUR SMALL BEDROOM

We all dream of having a large, bright space for our master bedroom but unfortunately the majority of us are not blessed with a space big enough. Just because your room isn’t big, does not mean it cannot be a spacious, relaxing space. Here’s how you can make the most of your small master bedroom.

Decorate in light, bright colours
Light colours like a bright white instantly make a space look bigger. Why? Because they create the illusion of more light and air getting into the room, making it seem much bigger. Dark colours enclose a small space and make it seem dingy – not good when you have limited space.

Sliding doors
Admittedly wardrobes take up a lot of space, but every bedroom needs one. Fit a wardrobe with sliding doors, as this way when you open your wardrobe, the doors won’t take up any more bedroom space. At Utopia there are plenty of sizes of wardrobe to suit your needs.

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Opt for light coloured finishes on your furniture
You can choose from a range of different finishes for your Utopia furniture, from ‘White Linear’ to ‘Durham Oak’. In a small space it is best to keep to a light wood finish to keep the room looking as spacious and airy as possible.

Keep accessories to a minimum
Having very few extras in your bedroom will keep your room from looking cluttered. Keeping the wall and floor space as clear as possible will create the illusion of a bigger room.

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Clever storage is an investment
One way to keep the clutter to a minimum is to keep it stored away with our clever storage solutions. We have a range of pull-outs that can be fitted into your wardrobe with trouser rails, belt rails and baskets to keep your wardrobes neat and tidy.

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A small bedroom does not mean you have to compromise on style. It has never been easier to make the most of the space you have and make your bedroom worth boasting about.

 

Home Improvements
Posted by Linda Parker on April 14, 2015 at 5:08 pm . Filed under: Uncategorized

Did you visit the Ideal Home exhibition? Were you inspired to make some changes to your bathroom? If you need more inspiration, Linda Parker has some further suggestions ….

The Ideal Home show has recently finished its 2015 stint at Olympia, and if you were one of its thousands of visitors, it’s likely that you came away from the show with quite a few good ideas – and not just for bathrooms and bedrooms!

One of the products we’ve investigated is the Kube filtered system from Kinetico. See it here www.kinetico.co.uk … hard water is an issue for many homes, and this system comes in at a rather affordable £249. It’s a non-electrical system, which supplies crystal clear drinking water straight from the tap. At the end of the day that’s a more convenient way of getting limescale-free water than fiddling around with jug filters or a fridge-freezer that will need to be plumbed in.

Kinetico Kube

The show is a great place to visit if you’re looking for new flooring or tiles; we also loved the new ranges on show from Quick-Step www.quickstep.co.uk. It’s great to know that high-quality laminate, such as the Impressive Ultra range from Quick-Step can be used in the bathroom, thanks to the water repellent Hydroseal waterproof coating. It’s the perfect way of getting wood-look flooring into the bathroom, take a look at the Sandblasted Oak Natural, Natural Pine, Scraped Oak and Natural Varnished Oak designs. Of course, it’s highly suitable for use with underfloor heating. Shown here, Classic Oak Beige, around £19.99 per sq m, Quick-Step.

02 Quick-Step Impressive Ultra Classic Oak Beige

For high-tech bathroom aficionados … The iBD bidets from Izycare www.izycare.co.uk caught my attention, I’ve always been curious about these products (having had the experience of a demonstration of the Geberit Aquaclean Plus in Paris a couple of years ago http://www.geberit-aquaclean.co.uk/en_uk/produkte/geberit_aquaclean_8000plus/geberit_aquaclean_8000plus.html). By all accounts the WC-bidet combination is slowly but surely becoming a more acceptable idea to us Brits.

One other bathroom-related product that would be on my wish-list, if I had the finances and a spare bathroom to put it in, would definitely be a steam-shower cabin. These are the sort of items that are regularly seen at home and design exhibitions, but of course we rarely get the chance to try before buying! At the moment my view on these ultra-luxurious products is that I’m happy to look forward to a steam-shower as a treat every so often when staying away from home in a hotel …if I had one installed at home I think I would spend far too much time relaxing and steaming!

Symmetry fitted furniture in Cocoa Gloss and Durham Oak, new from Utopia

Back to planning the perfect bathroom from top to bottom. I usually start with the lighting … it’s vital to get that right, and any positioning of new lights, switches and systems needs to be done at the beginning of the building work. If you’re looking for new lights, make sure you choose IP44 or above rated design, which is suitable for bathroom use. The Bathroom Lighting Centre www.bathroom-lighting-centre.co.uk has a glorious selection, from wall mounted chandeliers to recessed down-lighters that are suited to Zone 1 use. In a nutshell, the bathroom is split into three zones, 0, 1 and 2 and individual bathroom light fittings are labelled according to their Ingress Protection rating, relating to water resistance. A professional bathroom designer will be able to point you in the right direction. Or, the easy way to do things is to choose a bathroom cabinet, such as those from Utopia’s range, which has integral lighting.

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As far as the middle of the bathroom – i.e. the fittings and furniture is concerned, professional designers will nearly always say, that if the space is available, don’t hesitate to choose furniture for your bathroom. Even a small bathroom will have the space to accommodate a vanity cabinet – if you have the space for a basin, you have the space for a cabinet beneath it. Even a single drawer unit will help, and an uncluttered surface, combined with a beautifully lit mirror/cabinet combination will help streamline the look. Owners of larger bathrooms can revel in the choice of modular, floor-standing and wall-hung cabinetry, meaning that there will be room for every conceivable beauty product, as well as cleaning items, towels and linens. A linen bin is a great addition too, if space allows.

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Bathroom flooring must never be an afterthought. If you’re working with a bathroom designer, they will embrace the whole scheme and suggest flooring that will complement the fittings, furniture and wall tiles. Of course, it’s also the time to make the decision to include underfloor heating. UFH does help even out the temperature, and in a fully-tiled room, helps avoid condensation. Electric mat systems, also known as ‘dry’ systems, can be installed beneath any sort of hard, smooth flooring, including laminates and vinyls as well as tiles. We loved the new wood-style laminate flooring from Quick-Step, as mentioned previously, but if you want to stick with ceramic or porcelain tiles, why not try Utopia’s patterned designs, such as the Bohemian design in Beiges and Blues, or the wood-look designs in Weathered Elm and Honeyed Elm designs. An intricate pattern, such as Bohemian, is a great choice for large rooms with lots of plain surfaces – a change of pace and an injection of pattern lifts the whole scheme. See the choices available here http://www.utopiagroup.com/bathroom-tiles/bathroom-floor-tiles.php

06 Utopia Bohemian Beiges

Bohemian Beige

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Bohemian Blues

08 Utopia Honeyed Elm Floor Tile

Honeyed Elm

09 Utopia Parquet Weathered Elm Floor Tiles

Parquet Weathered Elm

 

#RelaxMonday – what are the best foods to eat when you want to relax?
Posted by admin on April 13, 2015 at 7:30 am . Filed under: Uncategorized

Monday: the day of the week that leaves you feeling frazzled. After an extremely busy day at work, it can sometimes feel impossible to wind down and relax properly.

What you probably didn’t know is that relaxing your body and mind can be as simple as eating the right sorts of food. So, what should you be eating to keep your stress levels low?

Chocolate
After a long, stressful day, we often crave something sweet. It is proven that dark chocolate releases the stress hormone cortisol, even a small piece can help to calm your nerves. Another great quality of dark chocolate is that it can stabilise the metabolism, so there’s no need to worry about eating it in moderation.

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Eat something crunchy
If you’re feeling stressed out, there is nothing more relieving than to chew on something really crunchy and difficult to get your teeth through. In fact, a study has shown that the majority of adults crave crunchy snacks more than usual when they’re stressed. Although we associate crunchy snacks with unhealthy sweets and crisps, an easy substitute is to crunch on nuts or celery sticks instead.

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Replace your usual hot drink with green tea
Many herbal teas are filled with L-Theanine which is a chemical that can help relieve anger. So if copius amounts of emails are driving you insane, why not have a cup of green tea and you’ll be sure to feel much calmer.http://www.howtolivehealthy.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/green-tea.jpg

Eat some mango
A tropical holiday is the ultimate relaxation – the next best thing is to eat some tropical flavours to bring the tropics to you wherever you may be. Not only is mango delicious, it is also a great source of the compound linalool which helps lower the stress levels.

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Add more honey in to your diet
Honey has lots of natural compounds which reduce inflammation in the brain, this means that eating honey will lower any feelings of anxiety and depression.  Honey is also a natural skin moisturiser and antibiotic which will also help keep stress at bay.

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Chew on some gum
Chewing is proven to reduce anxiety and lower levels of cortisol in the body, so if you’re feeling particularly stressed out, chew on some gum in between meals and you’ll feel a little calmer.  Chewing on gum can also increase your concentration which will take your mind off the things that are stressing you out.

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Add some of these ingredients into your every day diet, to make your Monday a relaxing one.