Friday, 22 December 2017

Heating Up Your Winter Garden Party

There aren’t many people out there who don’t enjoy a garden party during the summer months.
The long evenings and warm weather lend themselves perfectly to outdoor gatherings. And, 
few parties are better than those spent outside. There’s something lovely about inviting nature 
into the fun. It keeps everyone grounded, and adds a breath of fresh air to proceedings.

Yet, when the winter months come, the majority of us move everything inside. Instead of hosting 
long and luxurious parties in the great outdoors, we hide in our houses like our lives depend on it.
Parties we do host are usually subdued dinner affairs, rather than the raucous outside fun of 
those summer months. But, it doesn’t need to be this way.

In reality, there’s no reason you can’t keep your gatherings outside now winter is underway. 
Admittedly, there are a few more things to consider, including how to stop your guests getting 
frostbite. But, where there’s a will, there’s a way. Here are a few ideas to ensure your winter 
garden party is hot, hot, hot.

Build a fire pit

There’s no getting around the fact that the weather is the main thing standing in your way. If it’s 
cold, the party could get a little frosty. After all, no one likes to be freezing, and a good host 
wouldn’t want their guests to suffer.

You’ll be glad to hear that there’s no reason for you all to suffer. All it takes is the installation of a 
fire pit when you’re getting your garden ready for winter. On the next decent day, head out and 
get to work. This may sound complex, but it’s surprisingly easy. And, it means that you can all 
huddle around the fire and get cosy. This is what winter garden party dreams are made of. All 
you need to do is work out the size you want, dig out the area, and then build a wall. And, hey 
presto, you’ll be ready to warm your guests in no time. Okay, so there may be a bit more to it 
than that, but you would be amazed how simple this is. In no time, you’ll be ready to make your 
guests toasty. Better hope some of them know how to light the thing.

Warming drinks

Of course, you don’t want to leave all the heating capabilities to the fire pit. If there are a lot of you,
there’s no way you’ll all be able to huddle around it at once. And, you don’t want the people on 
the periphery to be left out in the cold. So, it’s worth turning your attention to the drinks you serve.
In the summer months, ice is the name of the game. For obvious reasons, you don’t want that 
now. That said, ice-free cocktails could still be a good idea. Make them strong enough, and 
they’re sure to warm things up in no time!

If you want to take the heat up a notch, you could have a bit of fun with hot drinks instead. 
These would be the ideal addition to any winter party and will do a much better job at keeping 
everyone warm. You could serve baileys laced hot chocolate, or heated wines and ciders. You 
could even boil them on that fire to ensure the wintery smells get up everyone’s noses. Then, 
you can all cup those mugs and drink up their warm goodness. Soon, that awkward foot-stamping
will turn into a garden party you’re all sure to remember for a long time to come. And, you won’t 
just have the alcohol to thank for it!

Weatherproof furniture

Once you’re all a little warmer and feeling ready to step away from the fire, you’ll want some 
furniture to sit on. For obvious reasons, though, winter garden furniture can be tricky. Most of us 
hide our tables and chairs in the shed as soon as the weather changes. But, you don’t exactly 
want to lug them out each time you’re hosting. Plus, what if it starts to rain when everyone’s 
there? You can’t call the party off at the first splash you feel. Not unless you want the night to 
be a complete washout.

Instead, then, it’s time to think about ways you can weatherproof your furniture. The most 
obvious choice here would be to invest in some kind of waterproof shelter. This way, the garden 
furniture you already have would probably suffice. And, you wouldn’t have to worry about it 
getting damaged. This choice also has the benefit of ensuring the show can go on if the rain 
makes an appearance.

Or, you could think outside the box. Companies like Bridgman have developed waterproof 
cushions which could solve all your problems. Shop now if this sounds like something which 
appeals to you. Pair these with same plastic garden furniture options, and you’ll be away. Even 
better, the cushions will take the uncomfortable edge off.

Get the lighting right

And, of course, let’s not forget that the darkness of winter evenings is another issue. In the 
summer, the sun doesn’t even think about setting until around ten in the evening. In the winter, 
it’s out of sight by about half three. Though dating in the dark is a fun and quaint idea, darkness 
may not bring quite the same atmosphere to your party. Instead, think about fun ways to light the 
space. You could go all out with full-on spotlights, but these may not be best for the atmosphere. 
Instead, why not focus on using candlelight? This is sure to look beautiful and is something a 
little bit different. If you’re worried about health and safety with all those flames, you could 
always achieve the same effect using fairy lights. If you’re all planning to drink a fair bit, this 
may be a much better option. Plus, you can have a lot more fun here. By draping lights around 
your trees, or spiralling them on your porch railings, you can create a winter wonderland to die 

Friday, 15 December 2017

Top Tips For Utilizing The Space In Your Home

If you have just joined the property ladder, or are wanting to upgrade in size but are unable to,
due to financial or location implications, it can feel like your house shrinks over the years and your
lifestyle has completely outgrown your space. Just like how a goldfish will grow as big as it’s tank
allows, we tend to acquire enough things to fill, and quite often overfill, a space over time. Here are
some ways you can help utilize the space in your home to help it serve you better before you're able
to move up the property ladder and upgrade.

Extension Or Conversion
The simplest solution, don’t have enough space? Build some more. Do you have a garage you use
for nothing other than boxes of Christmas decorations and stuff you should have thrown out years ago?
Or maybe a loft which is just collecting dust and forgotten photo albums? It may be time to consider
getting the loft conversion specialists in and making use of a very good space. Whether you’re in
need of a spare room, or office if you work from home, a conversion may be the solution to all your
troubles. If you have children, turning the garage into a playroom, or multimedia space if you
have teenagers obsessed with their Xbox, will mean you are not under each other’s feet in the evenings
and everyone has their own space to relax. It is also much less costly and time-consuming than moving t
o a larger property, not to mention it will mean that if you do decide to move later on, your property will
be worth considerably more than what you paid for it.


You will be surprised how much a difference lighting can make to the perceived size of a room. Dim
lighting will notoriously make any space feel smaller and more enclosed. Having a lighting fixture with
directional light bulbs that you can direct into the dull areas of the room will help to open the room up
a bit more, helping it to feel larger. Having single-bulb lights that hang low can actually emphasise the
areas that don’t get a lot of light, making the room feel dingier, so try to steer clear of these. Instead,
why not opt for ceiling mounted LED spotlights, which will fit flush with your ceiling and can be fitted
anywhere, so you can have an even spread of light across the whole room. These also have a plus
side of not being dust collectors like some of the more ornate lamp shades.


Having a space for everything and leaving your sides less cluttered will help to make any room feel
bigger. Researching into smart storage options that don’t take up a lot of room but fit a lot inside is
best when you are trying to increase a small space. Make clever use of items that take up floor space
already. Instead of a simple coffee table, consider a chest or blanket box. Not only does it provide ample
storage, but it also acts as an attractive centrepiece for a room. Vacuum storage bags are also another
great, versatile product. Using these to stow away any spare bedding or out of season clothing is a
fantastic way to free up some much-needed room.

Hopefully, this has given you a few ideas to help make your home feel that little bit bigger, and help to
curb the move craving for a while longer.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Don't Try These DIY Repairs At Home!

People my age often like to think of ourselves as the can-do generation. Why bother calling in an
expert when you can do it yourself. TV stopped working? No problem, let’s just look for a guide on
Youtube to troubleshoot issues and then attempt a possible repair. Hole in the windscreen of the car?
Psht, we can fix that with this neat little kit freshly bought on Amazon Prime! Issue with an infestation?
Actually, that’s usually where people draw the line, and it’s a good starting example of a time when
you should definitely call in the experts. In this case, it’s all about making sure that you do get rid of
the bugs once and for all.
That’s difficult to guarantee particularly with something as resistant as say bed bugs. If one bug is
left on just one piece of furniture, you can bet that the whole crew will be back in just a few months.
That’s why you want an expert who can deal with the problem efficiently and ensure that no nasty
bugs are left alive. So, what are some of the other home issues where it is best to call in an expert?
Oh No, Here Come The Waterworks

Literally, you might wake up one day and find that when you try to turn the tap, no water arrives.
Odd, you stumble off to find the root of the issue when you notice your forehead feels wet. Looking
up you see water dripping down from the ceiling. Drip, drip, drip and if you happen to live in a family
comedy film this is where the ceiling gives way completely, and you get soaked.

Of course, if you’re living in the real world it won’t happen like that, but it could still create serious
issues and cause problems like dampness to develop. That’s why if you do notice a leaking pipe
and need plumbing repairs, hiring a pro is essential. For the briefest of moments, you might consider
handling this issue yourself, but you should fight that urge. Typically, it’s only going to make matters

Whatever You Do, Don’t Look Down

Better yet, just don’t go up there in the first place. A problem with the roof should never be considered
a DIY repair. It’s just far too dangerous. Odds are you don’t have the right safety equipment and tying
a rope around the chimney to tether yourself just isn’t going to cut it at all. Experts will come with full
harnesses to complete a roof repair on your home so don’t try to go up there on a rickety ladder.

Ever Seen Home Alone?

You know where the robbers get electrocuted? Well, that’s exactly what could happen if you attempt
to complete wiring repairs on your property. It doesn’t matter if you remember to turn the power off,
it can still be dangerous and may even start a fire if you are particularly unlucky. Leave it to the
experts with the rubber gloves on, and you can relax, resisting the temptation to see what happens
if you do flick a switch while they are working.

As you can see then, some home repairs just need to be left to the pros. DIY has no place here.

5 Ways To Make Moving Day Fun

With a new year comes plenty of changes. You might have some specific goals that you want to
achieve in the new year or have some big plans like moving home. If you know that you have
something like the latter going to happen next year, then it is important to make the move as
stress-free as possible. I mean, it isn’t going to be completely free from stress, as moving house
is one of the biggest things you can do in your life. But there are plenty of things that you can do to
enjoy the process more, as well as even making the day you move fun. So start planning now and
it will all go much more smoothly.

Be Positive
Your attitude on the day, as with other things to do with the move has such a big impact on how things
go. So where you can, look for the positive in things. Think of the new things that you can do in your
new home and the new places you can explore in the neighbourhood. When you stay upbeat, you’ll
find your attitude contagious and moving day will be much brighter.
Arrange Movers
To make moving day as happy and as positive as it can be, then sometimes getting professionals in
domestic removals in can be just what you need. They can do the heavy lifting, quite literally, and
ease the burden in that way. So plan for it now, and then you can budget for it now. When you can
just oversee it all, it will make the day much more enjoyable and more stress-free.
Don’t Forget Food
With everything being boxed up and put away, you often forget that you won’t have anything like food
at the other end. Hunger and stress don’t go well together. So pack yourself and those with you, the
food that you will need. Even if it is just snacks, it will keep your energy levels up. Think about bottles
of water and perhaps even a few tea bags for when you get to your destination.

Pack a Day Bag
Along the same lines as packing food for the day you move, a few other things can be a good idea too.
Things like loo roll, bin liners, a torch, phone charger, and even batteries or bulbs can be a good idea
to have handy. You don’t want to have to rummage through boxes to find the loo roll when you get to
your new house!

Make a Playlist
I don’t know many things that aren’t better when they are set to music. So set yourself a playlist and
you’ll be able to enjoy the day that bit more than before. A small speaker can be a good idea to have
with you too, then everyone can enjoy a lighter mood as they unpack the boxes.

Do you have any plans to move home next year? Hopefully, starting to think about moving day now
can help you to prepare.

Friday, 8 December 2017

Identifying Your Next Home Improvement and DIY Projects

“What a lovely house you have,” says everyone who comes through your door. But you’ve lived here quite a while now, and you’re starting to get a bit bored of it all. Everybody else may be running around desperately trying to get ready for Christmas, but you’re looking further ahead, planning the next step to take in having the home of your dreams and getting the most out of all your hard work.

You go through the house and notice every little thing that is wrong. The sheen has gone on the sink; there are chips in the wallpaper and doorframes, things are starting to get a bit cluttered, you need more space. Here are some tips for planning your next home improvement project for the upcoming year.


Home improvement doesn’t have to mean a complete makeover of the house. As with a lot of things in life, it’s best to start out with the simple changes that you need to make throughout the house before you get onto the big projects that will more than likely take over your whole summer.

The little fixes could mean anything from replacing door handles to changing the taps or more. These sorts of quick repairs can be completed over a weekend either by you or a professional. It is remarkable how such a small change can improve your outlook on your home.


You sit in your living room every day and as time has gone on maybe you’ve started to realise that you’re not all that keen on the choice of wallpaper or colour scheme. Changing the decoration in your home will give any room you choose a newfound life and atmosphere.

But it’s not just the living room you can spruce up with a bit of colour. Go around your home and check out any other areas that might need attention. It is a good idea to concentrate on the rooms you spend the most time in, such as your bedroom or living room so that you can reap the full benefits of your DIY endeavours.


If you want to add not just value, but also space to your home, you’re going to need to consider a few cosmetic uplifts throughout the house. This can be anything from your bathroom getting a makeover, to being more ambitious to just a fresh coat of paint.

Adding rooms or new areas to your home will not only raise the value of your home but will also give you more options in how you spend your time when at home. Traditionally, people tend to install conservatories to their homes to provide them with another room to relax in, particularly during the summer and can also double as a place to entertain guests, should the living room be otherwise occupied.

Like a poem, a house is never really ‘finished’, and styles and fashions are always changing. By keeping vigilant when it comes to taking care of your home, you will be able to identify any potential issues long before they become legitimate problems, which will save you a whole load of stress, so what are you waiting for?

Monday, 4 December 2017

Four Cheap Home Improvements You Can Complete Before the Winter

If you already feel the cold in your home, and can’t wait to get back after a day’s work, it is time to think about cost-effective home improvements that will make your house look and feel warmer this year. From updating your soft furnishings to adding extra layers of insulation, there are many ways you can feel better every night you get home.
  1. Get Your Boiler Serviced

“Boiler” by LittleDaan is licensed under CC BY 2.0
There is no worse time for your boiler to break than in the middle of the winter. Get in touch with your gas service provider or independent contractor to give your boiler a check over. Make sure that your heating and hot water is produced in the most efficient ways. Your gas repair contractor can tell you if the pressure in the boiler is right, and check your radiators for air trapped in them, which could reduce the heat output of your central heating. A service will cost a few hundred pounds, and is much cheaper than getting a boiler repaired in the winter.
  1. Install a Thermostat

To ensure that the temperature is always right in your house, you might want to invest in a thermostat. This will not break the bank, and give you the benefit of setting a timer on your boiler or maintain a certain temperature in your home at all times. If you cannot install a thermostat, you could at least find a solution to program your heating, so you don’t heat your house when there is nobody home, and get the most out of your boiler when you just want to chill and relax.
  1. Get Your Wall and Loft Insulation

You could improve your heating performance by improving your insulation. You can get the wall and loft insulation done in just a few hours for a few hundred pounds, and it will help you save money on heating bills. Make sure that you use a trusted contractor that is recommended by your local council. You can only get your wall insulation if your home has cavity walls, otherwise, you might want to add extra insulation panels inside or outside to prevent heat loss.
  1. Prevent Condensation and Improve Double Glazing

It is important that you check your windows and doors before the winter. If the windows are steamed up, and you already have double glazing, check what has caused the issue. Add an extra layer of insulation by getting S:CRAFT cheapest plantation shutters or thermal curtains.  If you don’t have an extractor fan in your bathroom and kitchen, install one. It will help you prevent condensation and improve the air quality of your home. Try to dry your clothes outside if possible, or use a dehumidifier to get rid of extra moisture in the air.

Getting your home ready for the winter should not cost a fortune. Always look for problematic areas, including drafty windows and doors, and get your central heating serviced, so you can relax at home on cold nights.