- There's not long left to enter our #British #landmarks #competition - entries must be received by Saturday! http://t.co/FCa9yJu8cg #prize 17 hours ago
- If your home has draughts, take a look at this video of our windows resisting on the forces of an industrial fan: http://t.co/Sman4ErPwz 1 day ago
- Bakers celebrating @WorldBakingDay, have you seen our #Kitchen Cheat Sheet? http://t.co/FpiRViFot7 Perfect for calculating #conversions 2 days ago
- If you're planning to be out in the #garden today, how about some tips to build an #eco garden? http://t.co/ntACD8suuK #DoYourBit 2 days ago
- Today is @WorldBakingDay! Are you a traditional #MaryBerry or a modern #LorrainePascale when it comes to baking your favourite sweet treats? 2 days ago
Posts by Matt K.
A month of cold weather, spring preparations and romance – February has certainly given us plenty to think about. Turning our gaze to the design world once again, here are ten blog posts from the past month which caught our eye for all the right reasons:Read more »
When it comes to renovating or redecorating your home, inspiration can be hard to come by. The Internet is a great resource with plenty of help and guidance – but only if you know where to look. That’s why we like to make note of any particularly outstanding blogs and this month we’ve found a real treat.
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The conservatory is one of the most pleasant and maintenance free rooms in the home. However, occasionally the roof collects a bit of debris and it needs a quick wipe down to make the most of the sunlight and beautiful views.
Here we take a look at the simplest and most effective method of cleaning the roof of your prized conservatory.
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With Christmas just around the corner, homes across the world are being kitted out with festive decorations to celebrate the holiday season. Aside from the customary illuminated tree and glittery ceiling decorations, there are plenty of other ways you can display your Christmas spirit – with window dressings providing plenty of opportunity for decoration.
Most of us like to share a bit of goodwill and show we are taking part in the celebrations. One of the best things about this time of year is being able to take a quick peek into people’s windows as you pass by their houses – but what will your own windows display this season?
Clean your Windows
Obviously the place to start is by making sure your windows are nice and clean. With sash windows or folding and twisting designs it can be extremely straightforward to clean windows both inside and out, even if you are not on the ground floor. Those with older, more traditional options will need to take a more involved approach to window cleaning.
Inside or Out
The next thing to decide is whether you are going to decorate inside the windows, outside the windows or both. This doesn’t just mean whether you are physically putting decorations on the outside of your window, but whether or not you intend to have any text or images facing outwards. Remember, that text will need to be put on backwards to be readable to passers-by.
If you do decide to put decorations outside, a good idea is to use things that are designed for that particular job by nature itself, i.e. garlands or wreaths made of holly or similar. Of course, you can always cheat a little and use plastic imitation versions which have the advantage of being reusable each year.
Big panes of glass are a perfect canvas when it comes to letting your artistic side roam free so use spray cans to create glitter or snow images for everyone to see. There are plenty of designs to choose from and something as simple as a frosted motif of Father Christmas himself can look beautiful – especially if sprayed in a delicate, frosted white colour.
Drape icicle lights round the edge of window frames for a stunning effect and place a small illuminated Christmas tree in the window for added impact. This can be either an artificial tree sat on the window sill inside or a real plant in a window box on the outside.
If you intend to place lights or other electrical equipment outside your windows, make sure that they are specifically made for outdoor use to prevent any unfortunate accidents.
For a classic look, placing a single candle in each window sill gives an idyllic touch to the appearance of your home. Artificial candles are just as effective as real ones and eliminate the risk and hassle that real candles carry.
For those looking for something quick and easy to put up, there are plenty of alternatives. Window hangings which attach with minimal fuss are a great idea as are stick on window transfers which resemble stained glass. These options can add festive designs to your windows with little fuss and are far easier to remove once the holiday season comes to an end.
Inside the house, most of the same ideas apply. You can add a greater range of hanging ornaments such as glass baubles and traditional homemade decorations to your windows and furnishings, enhancing the festive style even further.
Even blinds can benefit from an injection of Christmas spirit with illuminated decorations standing out boldly.
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Feng Shui is an art that many of us have not yet got to grips with. However, when it comes to getting simple tips that can help us sell our home, such as removing clutter and applying a minimalist approach, it’s clear that this is a potentially untapped resource of great ideas that more people should consider.
This intriguing post sees the writer, Abbey Koplovitz, look at the difference that installing the right kind of hardware and lighting can have on the overall decor of a room. This definitely falls into the minimum effort, maximum effect category, something we can all appreciate.
Anyone who is looking to brighten up their home furnishings without blowing the family Christmas budget could potentially pick up some extremely handy tips from this latest blog post. Among the most unorthodox suggestions are making use of charity shops for furnishings and brushing up on your keyboard skills to make the most of online auctions!
Sally Nex’s guide to revolutionising how you grow/eat food offers ideas and tips that are so simple that they may just get you started on the path to self-sufficiency. It’s the simplicity of the ideas that resonate so effectively.
Everything from flooring, lighting and worktops is covered in this piece on how you can achieve a contemporary look in the most important room within any house. Minimalism is encouraged as your key barometer for all aspects of design.
Sometimes the most meaningful gifts are not the most expensive items on the market, but the ones which are created rather than purchased. This innovative post gives us 10 homemade gift ideas that won’t cost anything besides the materials it takes to create them.
From bookshelves to filing cabinets, sometimes it can be difficult to organise things as efficiently as we would like in a modern home filled with possessions. This post looks at simple solutions to organisation problems and serves as an informative and engaging read.Read more »
The arrival of shorter days and longer hours of darkness is always accompanied by colder weather and this means we use our gardens less and less as the winter draws closer.
It is easy to neglect our outside spaces through this period of the year, but with a little preparation and planning you can protect your garden and make it easier to begin enjoying it all over again in a few short months.
Tidying and Maintenance
Tidying garden borders is the obvious place to start. By digging up and composting plants that have fulfilled their use, you can replant beds with plants that will be ready to burst into colour in the spring.
Lawn maintenance is something that most of us see as a necessary evil, but one final push in the latter part of the year will see it through the winter. Remove thatch and moss build-up as well as any problem weeds that have made themselves at home. Aerating compacted soil can help drainage and a protective layer of sand over damaged areas will prepare for seeding in spring.
Your garden tools can last for years if used correctly and cleaning them is a big part of the job. Varnishing wooden handles and getting rid of rust patches with wire wool is pretty much all that’s needed.
Daffodils, tulips and other bulbs for the spring should be planted by the end of November as they grow best if left in the ground over winter. If you plant them in pots it makes it easy to move them around when the time comes.
Plan for next year by ordering your seed catalogues to give you an idea of new annuals and perennials. Buying vegetable seeds at this time of year can also save you money.
Cleaning and clearing
Clean your greenhouse thoroughly (and that means both inside and out). This helps to stop pests making themselves at home over the winter and giving you a nasty surprise when the warmer weather finally comes around again. Use garden disinfectant and ventilate thoroughly afterwards.
If you have a garden pond, decomposing autumn leaves can be a problem. Try and clean it regularly or simply use a mesh net to cover the surface and then use the collected fallen leaves for compost.
Garden furniture needs to be made safe for the winter. If you have wooden benches, tables or chairs, a protective treatment such as linseed oil can be a great idea. For any pieces of metal furniture, removing any signs of rust is crucial.Read more »
With gas and electricity bills set to rise and Big Energy Saving Week (October 22nd – 27th) reminding us all of the need to reduce our carbon footprint, we thought this would be a great time to share some of the most innovative new energy saving devices on the market today. These products are at the cutting-edge of green technology, so let’s take a look at what the future of energy saving holds.
This smart yet surprisingly stylish door handle is designed to replace the existing handle on your door, whilst also reducing your energy use and improving the safety of your home. The device connects to your existing power network and presents you with the option to completely shut down your electricity and gas when you leave your home, making it simple to ensure that no energy is wasted when the house is empty.
Nest has developed an intelligent thermostat for use around the home that is both easy to install and accomplished in saving energy. Its intelligence comes from the fact that it can learn your routine and automatically adapt its settings based on your heating preference. Users simply alter the thermostat to their needs as normal, and Nest will automatically build a schedule that it will follow unless overridden. Its “Leaf” feature also points you towards the most energy efficient temperatures for your home, and its “AutoAway” setting will make sure that your heating is off when you leave your house.
Solar technology has been around for some time now, but SkyShades takes it to the next level by replacing traditional large glass solar panels with a thin, flexible and lightweight film. SkyShades combines a carpet-like material with photovoltaic technology, allowing it to lie flat on a roof. What’s more, this product has been designed to adapt to UK weather, meaning that it converts both direct sunlight and more common daylight into solar power that can light your home or feed back into the national grid.
Leaving a charged phone plugged in can become a major waste of electricity, especially if you develop a habit of charging multiple devices. Belkin’s Conserve Valet is an innovative new energy saving product that allows you to charge four different devices simultaneously, before cutting the power when the charging is complete. This helps to vastly cut down on the amount of energy wasted through idle devices and even standby power. The gadget can also monitor the power levels of your phones, PDAs and tablets, ensuring that they are always fully charged in the most economical and environmentally friendly way possible.
This product is still in development, but when ready for use it will turn any household window into a power generating machine. New Energy Technologies is working on a spray-on coating for transparent windows, consisting of “organic solar cells” that are invisible to the naked eye, but are capable of converting both natural and artificial light into electricity, with the potential for shaving hundreds of pounds off energy bills and vastly reducing our carbon footprint.Read more »