Archive for the ‘Uncategorised’ Category

Delicious Dishes To Cook In Autumn

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

The months of summer to December brings cooler weather and a greater urge for casseroles, pies, crumbles and comfort food. The Autumn months also bring some fantastic ingredients into season such as root veg, tree fruits and berries which are super satisfying and bursting with seasonal flavours. We think everyone should try some of these recipes from around the web this Autumn.

Mary Berry - Roasted Sausage and potato supper

The one and only Mary Berry has a one pot wonder which is sure to become a family favourite, check out Mary’s roasted sausage and potato supper.

Spiced plum, apple and red wine crumble

Autumn brings some of the best dessert ingredients, we love this spiced plum, apple and red wine crumble recipe by Emily over at A Mummy Too.


Add some spice to your dinner table with this Thai Mussamum Curry, a deliciously rich curry suffused with coriander, lemongrass and galangal by Cottage Delight.

Ham In Coca Cola

Heart warming and easy, Ham in Coca-Cola from Claire over at Cheshire Mum.

Roasted Vegetable Tagine Recipe

Make sure you don’t get stuck in an autumn food rut, try this Roasted Vegetable Tagine by Helen at Treasure Ever Moment Blog.

Warm salad of roasted squash, prosciutto & pecorino Read more at

Salads aren’t just for summer, enjoy this warm salad of roasted squash, prosciutto & pecorino with rocket and balsamic dressing by Jamie Oliver.

Butternut squash and chilli recipe

Last but not least, it wouldn’t be an autumn round up without a soup recipe. We love this butternut squash soup with chilli & crème fraîche as seen on BBC Good Food.

What are your essential autumn recipes? Will you be giving any of these a whirl in your own kitchen? Come and share your thoughts and suggestions with us over on Facebook and Twitter.

Top 5 Online Interior Design Planning Tools

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

If you’re looking to redecorate at home the Internet will become your new best friend. From creating mood boards to researching for inspiration, we show you exactly how to get the most from the web.

You no longer need to hire a professional interior designer or architect to create your dream room design, you can do it yourself. If you have a passion for home interiors and design these online tools are just what you need to bring together your dream room or home.

It’s great fun putting together a room and using these online interior design tools you can design any room in your home very, very quickly. Here are our top five online design tools:

1. Pinterest
Put simply Pinterest is a virtual pin board where you can save all your ideas in one place and discover new ones. Creating mood boards is no longer the secret art of the creative few, it is mainstream with over 3 million pins a day being added from the UK! Pinterest is free to get started, simply sign up and have a look around, follow the boards and pinners you like. (Warning – you may lose hours of time inexplicably!)

Apollo Blinds Pinterest

The next step is to create your own boards adding pins from websites as well as re-pinning content from others boards. Once you’ve got to grips with the technical elements of Pinterest, you can focus on what you actually want to do with your room. Create a fresh board and get pinning – pin images of fabric swatches, the vintage lamp you’re desperately hoping to find at an auction, the painting you’ve found on an artists website. If you like it, put a pin on it!

Be sure you follow us on Pinterest too @apolloblindsuk we’ve created a number of boards already, these boards are meant to inspire and to be shared—you might even spy a few pins from Apollo Blinds along the way!

2. Houzz 
Houzz is a leading online platform for home renovation and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals (like us) across the country. Houzz is a go-to website and app when you need inspiration as it has the largest database of interior design ideas as well as being beautifully designed and fun to use. Design different rooms to your liking, browse Houzz’s Ideabooks for creative ideas, and more. If you need some home design inspiration, the possibilities are endless with Houzz.

houzz online tool review

3. Design Space 
Design Space is our very own free online visualisation tool that can unleash the creativity of would-be interior designers, whilst taking the uncertainty out of what type of blinds would look best in a room’s new colour scheme. We’ve all been there. When the promising idea of a freshly updated interior looks nothing like the finished reality. And by the time we realise, it’s usually way too late. Apollo Blinds’ Design Space offers a ‘try before you buy’ service, that allows you to:

– decide which window blinds and colour combinations work before making a purchase

– view venetian blinds, roller blinds, vertical blinds and pleated blinds in a range of colours and patterns

– visualise within a choice of room settings – from kitchens and modern bathrooms to traditional dining

Design Space

4. Floorplanner 
Floorplanner is a web-based floor planning application to help you design the layout of any room in your home. Floorplanner runs in Flash and uses a simple drag-and-drop approach to customise virtually anything you can imagine, making it fairly easy to replicate any room (to scale, even) and try out different layouts. Using Floorplanner is one of the easiest and best-looking ways to create and share interactive floorplans online. With just a few clicks you can also furnish your plans with their large library of objects. There is a free and a paid account option, but we think a free Floorplanner account is more than enough for most aspiring home interior designers.

Floor planner online design review

5. Autodesk Homestyler
Homestyler is a web application that’s completely online, accessed through your web browser, there’s nothing to download onto your PC. There are mobile and tablet apps that are also free to download. Autodesk Homestyler is an easy to use free drag and drop room planner tool that allows you to easily create floor plans, plus add decorating ideas too. There is also a library of other designs for you to go through and get inspiration from. Autodesk Homestyler is a popular free tool to inspire, allowing your to trial, experiment and visualize different design options.


What tools do you use to collate and create your dream rooms? Share your design creations with us on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter.

Cosy Home Inspiration To Welcome Autumn

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015

September is here and there’s definitely a nip in the air. Like it or not, summer is officially over, which means it’s the ideal time to create a warm and welcoming ambience at home as the nights draw in. Style expert at Apollo Blinds, Mike Stephen, has selected Apollo Blinds’ favourite products to update home interiors for Autumn/Winter 2015.

Cosy up with faux fur
There’s nothing as cosy as an imitation fur coat in winter and now the same effect can be created in the home with faux fur blinds. These sumptuous blinds will keep homes snug by retaining heat and create a sensuous boudoir, perfect when mixed with metallic animal print wallpaper and deep purple tones. Prices start at £158 for a 600mm x 600mm made-to-measure Roman blind from Apollo Blinds.

Apollo Faux Fur Roman blind - resized

Go for gold
Autumn offers the perfect colour palette to create beautiful statement windows, so why not draw inspiration from the stunning golden foliage as the seasons turn. These Elegance Twilight blinds have alternative stripes of sheer and solid fabric, which can be positioned to totally cover the windows, or to allow light to filter into the room, creating a striking and atmospheric lighting effect. Available in gorgeous Autumnal shades of deep chocolate, rustic reds and golds, prices start at £105 for a 600mm x 600mm made-to-measure Twilight Elegance Roller blind from Apollo Blinds.

Golden interior trend

Walk on the wild side
Wildlife is a trend that returns year on year and can be easily updated with an Autumnal twist. These seasonal stag designs are proving very popular as we head towards Christmas and with Apollo’s digital printing service, which allows customers to print any design or image onto a blind, we can turn any animal, from cute creatures to creepy critters into a fantastic statement window blind. Prices start at £65 for a 610mm x 610mm made-to-measure Roller blind from Apollo Blinds.

Wildlife inspired interior trend

Warm up for winter
There are many ways to insulate your home but none quite as stylish as Duette® energy-saving blinds from Apollo. Helping to save up to 25% on heating bills and available in a range of Autumnal shades such as deep plum and berry red, Duette® blinds are an elegant and efficient home improvement for the colder seasons. Prices start at £100 for a 400mm x 600mm made-to-measure standard free hanging Duette® from Apollo Blinds.

Enjoy this post? Stay connected with us on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Winners Announced

Monday, September 7th, 2015


We know you’re all desperate to get dusting so here are the winners of our five fantastic ostrich feather dusters.

Congratulations to Brenda Heads, Keith Scrivener, Renee Armstrong, Saran Benjamin and Jennifer Hull.

28-inch-feather-dusterYour dusters are winging their way to you as we speak.

Please join us on Facebook and Twitter for future opportunities to win.

Bloggers Love Design Space

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Design Space

We think our new, online interior design planning tool is top notch. It takes the stress out of deciding how to decorate your room and helps you choose which of our fantastic made-to-measure blinds will look best at your windows; but don’t just take our word for it.   Here is what four top interiors bloggers thought of Design Space.

Happy Home Bird

Happy Homebird

Interiors expert Sam Fernley is a happy home-loving mother of one, who blogs about all things British.  She loved the fact you can experiment with Design Space without committing to a colour scheme.  She said:”There is no denying that I love colour in my home so this is a great tool for pushing interior design boundaries and creating the room you really desire.”

Read the Happy Homebird blog post here


Love Chic Living

Jen Stanbrook is an influential interiors blogger with more than one or two awards under her belt, so we were delighted with her review of Design Space. Jen enjoyed mixing and matching blinds and was impressed with our elegance Twilight blinds, stating: ‘I love the way they add obscurity and privacy but let the light through too.’

Read the Love Chic Living blog post here


A Beautiful Space

Talented writer and lover of beautiful things, Becky Goddard, has created her own unique space where she enjoys blogging about parenting and living well on less.  She thought Design Space was a handy tool that is easy to master. She said: “It is simple to use and just so useful!”

Read the Beautiful Space blog post here

Me and my shadow

Me and My Shadow

Multi-award winning and family-focused lifestyle blog, Me and My Shadow, is run by Liz Burton. We loved her in-depth review of Design Space, which featured lots of experiment with colour and was extremely well received by her followers.

Read the Me and My Shadow blog post here

Try Design Space now.

Win One of Five Ostrich Feather Dusters

Monday, August 10th, 2015

If you want to keep your blinds looking clean and bright then you need the right tools for the job.

It has been proven that an ostrich feather duster is far superior to other (cheaper) types of duster.

Not only do they have magnetic properties, meaning they resist static electricity, the tiny barbules on the ostrich feathers act as fingers to collect dust, which makes them much more effective. Rather than pushing the dust away and flipping it into the air, an ostrich-down duster will attract dust and hold onto it until you shake it free to vacuum later.  The feathers can also be washed in warm soapy water, rinsed and air dried.

When used for domestic cleaning, an ostrich feather duster will last for years, which makes them exceptional value.

Ostrich-down dusters are perfect for cleaning all types of blinds, especially wooden ones, and due to their anti-static qualities, they work a treat on fancy light fittings and electronics too.

Sounds good?  Well luckily we have five superb ostrich feather dusters to give away.

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How to clean your window blinds

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

white pleated

A lovely set of made-to-measure blinds can really make a room, but it’s important to take good care of them in order to keep them looking their best.

We’ve put together our top tips on how to make sure your blinds stay just like new.

1)    Know your blinds

First and foremost it’s important to learn as much as you can about your blinds (Apollo Blinds provides an aftercare document with every purchase that has tips on how to care for your blinds). Always check with the manufacturer before embarking on a cleaning spree as, for example, some blinds are washable, where others can’t withstand any water.

2)    Little and often

As with everything, regular housekeeping is a must to ensure your blinds stay looking smart.  A little cleaning (done often) will limit the need for a major face-lift, which can be awkward and time consuming.

    Armed for cleaning

There are some tools that you may not have thought of, which are perfectly suited for sprucing up your blinds:

Baby wipes – Super soft and non-abrasive, baby wipes are not just for little ones, they work wonders with cords or tapes on Venetian blinds too.

Ostrich feather dusters – the tiny barbules on the ostrich feathers act as fingers to collect dust without leaving static electricity behind, perfect for wooden blinds.

Micro fibre cloths – lint free and gentle, it is claimed that micro fibre cloths are up to four times more effective than normal cloths.

4)    You must dust (really you must)

 Yes, there are a million other things you could be doing, but giving your blinds the weekly once-over will stop dust building up and limit the potential for stains and dirty marks, which are trickier to remove.

5)    Deep cleaning

Vacuum your blinds every couple of months using the upholstery attachment of your cleaner. About twice a year you will need to give them a more thorough going over. Gently rub them from end to end with a micro fibre cloth.

6)    Avoid chemical nasties

Warm water and a mild detergent should be sufficient for most types of window blind as harsh chemicals can damage delicate material.  Be careful not to drench your blinds as this can cause discolouration and distort wooden blinds. A mixture of 25% white vinegar and 75% water can help to remove heavier dirt and stains.

So that’s it, you’re on your way to a bright and gleaming set of window blinds.  


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Ten Ways to Keep Your Home Safe Whilst You’re On Holiday

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

It’s the time of year where we jet off to far-away places and escape the worries of day-to-day life. The safety of your house should be the last thing on your mind as you relax by the pool, so made-to-measure blinds specialist Apollo Blinds has put together its top tips on how you can keep your home safe whilst you’re on holiday.

Holiday snap1) Don’t Broadcast

Be honest. Would you trust everyone on your social media feed with your most valuable possessions?

We all want to share our holiday snaps but if you want to protect your home when you’re abroad then keep the social media posts of you on the beach to a minimum.

Once you have published something on social media, it is in the public domain, meaning you no longer have control over who sees it. Try to resist checking into the airport or hotel with Facebook or flooding your news feed with excited status updates about when you are leaving the country. If you must share then keep it vague and don’t give away details of your travel dates, where you are going or how long you will be away.

And whilst you’re being careful in the virtual world, it’s also an idea to watch where and who you talk to about your trip in the real world. You never know who is listening so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Green venetian2) Install Window Blinds

According to the Metropolitan Police, windows are one of the most common entry and exit routes for burglars, as well as being a showcase for your valuables. Fitting window blinds is a cheap and easy way to add an extra layer of defence to your home, especially if they are made of a noisy material like aluminium that could help to raise an alarm. Venetian blinds, made up of numerous wooden slats held together with cords or tapes, are also easy to become tangled in when trying to get through a window. Just the sight of a noisy venetian blind can be enough to put off an opportunistic burglar.

Motorised blinds3) Add A Motor

Mostly security is just common sense but there are gadgets available that can help to make your house looked lived in, giving the impression that somebody is home even when it is empty.  If you really want to ramp up the security, then add a motor to your blinds. Apollo Blind’s Somfy® automation systems allow motors to be controlled via a timer or light sensor meaning they can open and close dependent upon the time of day.

For more information about Apollo’s made-to-measure blinds and shutters visit or call 01924 413 048.





Burglar Alarm

4) Fit A Good Burglar Alarm

Protecting your home is all about making life harder for criminals; if they spy a potential obstacle it could be enough to make them move on to the next (easier) target.  A good burglar alarm is an investment in the safety of your home and family, even if it may seem like a lot of money initially.

There are different types of alarm to choose from including, bells only, speech diallers, wireless and non-wireless, so do your research before you commit to paying any money. Always buy from a reputable and use an installer that is affiliated to an inspectorate, such as National Security Inspectorate (NSI) or Security System and Alarms Inspection Board (SSAIB).  For more information on comparing burglar alarms see the Which? website.

5) And Use It

It’s surprising how many people have burglar alarms but don’t use them.  Did you know that some household insurers won’t pay out if you have a burglar alarm fitted that’s not been set?  They see this as failing to take reasonable steps to protect your property, so make sure you’re covered and set the alarm before you jet off!

6) Check, Check And Check Again

Sometimes it pays to be paranoid.  It sounds so simple but open or unlocked windows and doors are an invitation to burglars. Check and double check that you have shut all of your doors and windows before you leave the house.  If you are leaving in the middle of the night, do it the night before when you are less likely to miss something.   Studies have also shown that burglars are more likely to break into your house if the front gate is open, so don’t forget this vital detail.

7) You’ve Got Mail

There’s no better way to signify that a house is empty than a growing pile of unopened post behind the front door.  Cancel any regular deliveries and don’t order anything to come whilst you are away. Ask a friend or relative to call in and pick up your mail or use the Royal Mail’s Keepsafe service, which can hold on to letters and parcels for up to 66 days and deliver them when you return.

8) Neighbourhood Watch

Having somebody to watch your house whilst you are away can really help to protect your home. Ask a friend or neighbour to keep an eye on things or hire a professional house sitter.  Use a reputable company such as Homesitters, which guarantees its service because it directly employs and vets its 1,000 plus sitters.  If this is too costly, then try a matchmaking service like  It takes a little more leg work because the onus is on you to vet a potential sitter, however, many of them work for free in return for a break away.

9) Vary Your Routine

It may sound neurotic to think that somebody is watching you but it pays to try and vary the times you leave the house so that it’s less obvious when you’re not following your normal routine. Get up early and walk the dog rather than doing it when you come home. Perhaps drive some days and walk others or take an alternative route to work so that you leave at a different time.

10) Give Your Valuables A Holiday

Leaving everything on show is an open invitation to an opportunistic robber.  Hide your high-worth items around the house or better still ask somebody you trust to look after them whilst you are away.  We’re not talking bulky goods like televisions but smaller portable items that you can’t live without, such as jewellery or tablets. Finally, hide your car keys rather than hanging them on a hook behind the door.


Which? comparison site –

Metropolitan Police –

Royal Mail –

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2) Apollo Blinds




10 Little Things I Do for Houseguests from The Kitchn

Monday, July 6th, 2015

We saw this post on The Kitchn and liked it so much we had to share it with you.

Depending on where you live and your proximity to a popular summer travel destination (the Grand Canyon? Disney World? New York City?) you may find yourself deep in houseguest season. I don’t live in a particularly touristy city, but I host houseguests frequently, and I think it’s part of the fun of having a house with room to share. In fact, in just a few weeks my husband’s brother and sister-in-law will be piling in with their three kids for a sleepover.

If you’re expecting a guest (or two, or five!), here are a few little ways I prep for them. All are small, and most help me as much as they help my guests!

In the Kitchen

First, let’s talk food, because what’s more important than feeding your guests?

1. Give your guests a meal game plan.

Houseguests come in all different flavors: there are the weekend family reunions, with every meal eaten together; there are the friends just using your place as a crash pad for a city visit; there are visits with little kids, and hence meal times are preset in granite; there are visits where your in-laws prefer to take you out to swanky restaurants every night. (Those are nice.)

I find it helpful and soothing to figure out what kind of meals a set of houseguests needs, and even to send an email ahead of time letting people know what to expect. It can be as simple as, “Hey, let’s plan on going out the first night you’re here, and I’ll handle dinner the other nights, plus some grab-and-go breakfasts. Lunches are on your own — we’ll give you lots of cafe recommendations for your days out!”

And of course, if you’re planning a big get-together with several families or groups, make a meal plan for who cooks when and let everyone sign up.

Just having a general set of expectations set in advance is helpful, and it helps me plan and shop.

Ask ahead about food allergies and preferences.

This is a fairly obvious to-do, but it’s worth mentioning! If you’re feeding several meals to guests, ask about allergies. And it’s also extra-hospitable, I think, to say something like, “Hey, we’ll have some breakfast things around — is there anything you really love to eat for breakfast?”

Delegate the coffee, depending on rising times.

Now let’s turn to the things that look and feel hospitable, but are really more for me than for the guests! If you have promised coffee to your guests (and I would argue that tea or coffee first thing in the morning is a non-negotiable aspect of hospitality) then set up your coffee and tea station in the kitchen and let your guests know how to get it going.

This allows for a variety of rising times and means that I (or, let’s be real here, my husband) won’t have to bolt out of bed first thing to make coffee for our virtuous early riser friend. Instead we say, “Here’s the French press and the kettle — you know how to use it!” Or, when we have a larger group, we haul out our monster drip coffee maker and set the timer for the earliest riser’s schedule.

Make a breakfast and some snacks ahead.

If I am handling breakfast, I always make something ahead — whether it’s just baked oatmeal, or some muffins (here are my favourites), or an egg casserole with sausage for those who want extra protein. Sometimes I pull out all the stops and make cinnamon rolls. Again, this keeps it simple in the morning. Sometimes I also make one special snack, like a dip and some crackers, to pull out during afternoon activities.

Set out breakfast bowls, spoons, and other accessories.

Last but not least, I always set out breakfast bowls, spoons, and mugs the night before, so if guests rise earlier than we do they don’t have to go digging through the cupboards.

In Other Parts of the Home

But the kitchen isn’t the only location of hospitality. Here are a few more things I do. None take a lot of time or money, but people always seem to appreciate them.

Your wifi password, prominently displayed.

The ultimate essential of modern hospitality? Internet access. We write our internet network name and password on old business cards of my husband’s and place them in the guest room. You could also tack one on the fridge for easy access.

Power strip under the bed.

Take a note from the thing hotels never seem to do, and give your guests easy access to power. Besides the total basics (clean sheets, a reading light by the bed), I find a power strip to be really helpful, especially in older homes like ours where the outlets are hard to find or not grounded. I always point out the power strip so people know there’s a spot to plug in all their devices.

Water by the bed.

I also place a carafe of water by the bed, with a glass or two. It’s a tiny touch, but one that always feels super grownup and classy — especially in the summertime when we’re always thirsty.

All the bathroom amenities.

If you have a spare bathroom for guests, as we do (our New York friends call this luxurious setup a Midwest hotel), then make sure it’s all prepped. Clean towels are a must, of course, but think what else people might need. I keep spare bottles of Trader Joe’s shampoo and conditioner in the shower, and face wipes and a hair dryer by the sink.

Flowers, anywhere you can.

The last little touch for guests — fresh flowers. They’re a luxury, but you don’t have to actually spend anything on them. I have a couple teeny bottles saved, and I like to put a sprig of herbs or flowers from the yard — any pretty weed will do — and set it by the guest room bed.

What else do you do for overnight houseguests? Is there anything that makes your life a little easier, especially when guests are staying for a few days or more?

Blog post shared from The Kitchn website.

(Image credits: Sophie Timothy; Kim Lucian; Brittany Purlee; Kim Lucian; Sabrina Friebis-Ruiz; Elissa Crowe)

#MyApolloView Winner Announced!

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

We’re truly excited to announce the winner of our 2015 #MyApolloView competition. Thanks to everyone who entered and who gave our judges an enjoyable and challenging job.

The judging panel have “oohed  and aahed” through over 400 entries. We’ve had stunning views from across the globe, far afield, close to home, land mark moments in life and captures of moments with friends and family – a big well done to you all.

Now, without further ado, come and see the winning entry by Lucy Pasifull @loobypas

#MyApolloView Winner

Lucy has won a fantastic prize worth more than £600 which includes a stay at Carden Park Hotel, Golf and Spa Resort near Chester and an Apollo Digi blind of their winning entry.

Congratulations Lucy!