A Brighter Home, a Brighter Mind: How Natural Light Keeps Us Happy and Well – Guest Post

Dan here. Today, we have a special treat: a guest post from Eliza Cochrane of Carlen Glass, located in lovely Dublin, Ireland. She has a post on the benefits of natural light. If you’re a regular on With the Barretts, you know that lots of natural light in living spaces is important to us. We appreciate Eliza sharing and hope you enjoy her post.

room with natural light

I recall a few weeks ago, a brief spell of troubled sleeping. I would go to bed early every night and, after about four hours, would “waken” into a light semi-conscious drift. I’m not sure what caused the spell — though it probably had something to do with the increasing temperature of the summer nights — but there was one morning in particular that struck me as peculiar. On what was perhaps the hottest night of the year, I decided to sleep with the windows open and curtains drawn, to let a draught in should it come. I woke naturally — again, after a few hours of what should have been groggy sleep, only this time to the in-pouring of brilliant sunshine.

And not only did I feel fine, I felt great.

Experience Backed by Research

The experience was so strange to me that I decided to do a little research on natural light and the human body for an explanation: I quickly found out more about the natural sleep-wake cycle, and the regulatory hormones of this cycle. Continue reading “A Brighter Home, a Brighter Mind: How Natural Light Keeps Us Happy and Well – Guest Post”

A Stroll Around Faro With the Barretts

Faro – Our First Stop in Portugal

Debra and I decided that it was past time that we took a trip to Portugal. So, in March 2018, we did just that. We spent the first week of the trip in the lovely, small Algarve-region town of Faro.

View from the Cathedral in Old Town Faro
View from the Cathedral in Old Town Faro

The Algarve region is enormously popular in the summer months, notably with British tourists anxious to trade cold drizzle for drenching sunshine. Like I mentioned, we were there in March – well before the throngs hit the beaches. Which suits us just fine. We’re not really beach people (although many of our closest friends are) and we like the weather when we travel to be what some consider cool. Eighteen to 20 Celsius (64-68 Fahrenheit) is ideal.

It was a touch cooler than that most of the time we were in Faro – and we had steadily pounding rain all of one day – but we didn’t mind. Besides, we had the place practically to ourselves – from a tourist standpoint. Which is better than fine with us, particularly as the Portuguese people are almost universally pleasant and accommodating. (I even managed to think of the pickpocket who lifted my wallet in Lisbon as a nice fellow – remember? If you missed that post, you can find it here.)

So we spent much of the week strolling and exploring. This post is dedicated to some of the shots we took doing that – things you probably won’t see in the Algarve promotional material for tourists.

So, come along, won’t you? Continue reading “A Stroll Around Faro With the Barretts”

Dining on the (NEW!) Deck – A Hildring House Outdoor Adventure from Debra

outdoor sofa
Photo by Amber Shumake Creative

Welcome to my looooong overdue post about the deck. I’m not gonna lie, I thought this deck was overkill …. a lot of $$$ …. would it really add that much to the value of the house …. etc etc.

Luckily, it was Mr WTB’s turn to win and so onward we went with the OTT plan. (Dan here. Notice how when it’s my plan, it’s over the top? Just wait until the post about the new 35 square foot bath in Debra’s Domain!)

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we?

exterior pergola before

This is the listing photo— that pergola was quite wobbly, there was a large ‘step down’ from the house to the patio. Continue reading “Dining on the (NEW!) Deck – A Hildring House Outdoor Adventure from Debra”

Real School Gardens – Adventure in Education

Real School Gardens – Adventure in Education

Sometimes, you come across an organization that makes your heart happy with hope. Real School Gardens is one of those.

Here at With the Barretts, we’ve always believed that education is the greatest adventure. Nothing enriches life more than learning. While it’s important for learning to continue throughout your lifetime, a quality education for every child is the promise upon which all of our futures rests. Real School Gardens serves that promise in a big way.

Plan for Outdoor Classrooms and Learning Center
Plan for Outdoor Classrooms and Learning Center
A New Learning Paradigm

Well, it’s not really new. Anyone who knows kids is aware that the way they learn best is through experience. But public educational systems have lost sight of that simple truth in their race to perform on standardized tests. Real School Gardens provides a path to let kids learn by doing. Outside. With hands on and brains engaged. Continue reading “Real School Gardens – Adventure in Education”

The Heartwarming Tale of the Kindly Portuguese Pickpocket

This heartwarming tale is set in Lisbon, Portugal.

Portugal is a beautiful country. The countryside, the architecture, the warmth and friendliness of the people.

We recently spent two weeks in Portugal. It’s a place we’d like to go back to and spend more time exploring. It was a wonderful trip.

All except for that pickpocket in Lisbon on Tram 28. But that wasn’t so bad, either, as you’ll see.

Tram in Lisbon Continue reading “The Heartwarming Tale of the Kindly Portuguese Pickpocket”

The Littlest Bathroom Renovation – Hildring House – part 2

Renovation of the Littlest Bathroom in Hildring House

Hi! Dan here, kibitzing at the beginning of Debra’s post. As you know, (go here for the first inspiration post)  the bath in Debra’s Domain was sorely in need of a re-do. Hence, we continue with the Hildring House littlest bathroom renovation. This is actually the second inspiration post. I may be chiming in (who am I kidding? Of course I’ll be chiming in!) in italics.

Just because it’s tiny doesn’t lessen the work load. For me, every decision feels even MORE important because there is no room for mistakes in 35 square feet!

Decor Pad

I’ve spent some time (okay, LOTS of time) [days and days] looking at vanities. The easy (well, easier) part: size. Unless we moved walls, nothing bigger than 33 inches is going to fit. While I love the look of a console or pedestal sink in small spaces, I actually use this bathroom daily. Continue reading “The Littlest Bathroom Renovation – Hildring House – part 2”