5 ways to keep pests away as the summer heat rolls in

5 ways to keep pests away as the summer heat rolls in

Whilst spring has (supposedly) sprung, summer will be here before you know it. However, with the arrival of the summer season comes all of the dreaded summer pests. Even though a professional pest inspection is undoubtedly a good idea to give yourself the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is already pest free, it’s a good idea to take steps to get ahead of a problem before you have one. Here are five ways to keep pests from becoming a problem this summer.

Dead cockroach on its back

  1. Check usual points of entry

Before the summer heat comes sweltering in, perform a thorough inspection of your home to see if there are any potential points of entry pests can use. Specifically, check screens, windows, doors and your foundation for signs of weakening or holes. Take care of them yourself, or have a professional do the job for you.

Group of ants

  1. Store food correctly

One of the reasons ants and roaches might make themselves at home with you is because you roll out the welcome mat. Put food in sealed containers, including cereal, snacks, sugar and the like that you might commonly leave out on your counters. This might feel like a bit of a hassle, but you’ll thank yourself when you don’t see a line of ants, buzzing house flies or skittering roaches in the middle of the night.

Bedbugs magnified under a microscope

  1. Change and check the bedding

To keep bed bugs and mites at bay ensure that you wash sheets & pillowcases on a regular basis. And don’t forget about your mattress. Fit washable protectors and also vacuum the mattress from time to time. If you plan on going away on holiday in the coming months, consider doing a bit of research into hotels or motels you plan on staying at – check if any reports of bed bugs have been flagged up in reviews. Even if they don’t, you should still visually inspect the beds and floors of your room before settling in if you have concerns. And keep your luggage elevated – you don’t want an unwanted holiday souvenir for your journey home! Despite taking precautions, infestation might still occur, so an effective bed bug treatment can sometimes still be necessary to counter persistent problems.

Fly paper with flies stuck to it

  1. Keep your kitchen clean

Besides properly sealing and storing food, it’s also best that you clean your kitchen as thoroughly as possible. Do a deep clean now that spring cleaning time is here, and get into the habit of sweeping or vacuuming, mopping and wiping down worktops regularly. Also, empty rubbish and recycling bins regularly – giving them a clean and disinfect inside and out each time.

Mouse with nuts in narrow gap between walls

  1. Keep your garden in good order

Do you have a compost heap in your garden? Although you can add your food waste to it, it’s wise not to include items such as meat, fish, oil and dairy products. These types of food encourage vermin – particularly rats. Rats are notorious for their breeding habits and, before you know it, you’ll have an extended family of rodents residing in your garden… or even worse, your house!

Need help keeping pests away throughout the year? Contact Terminix for professional help and to schedule an inspection this spring season.


The ideal room for football viewing

The ideal room for football viewing

With the World Cup rapidly approaching (it starts in June!), we’ve already written about how to create a perfect atmosphere outside. We pointed to some outdoor furnishings and accessories that can essentially allow you to put together a viewing area in your garden, where you can really enjoy the matches in style. In case there’s bad weather however, or you just don’t want to risk that kind of thing, it’s not a bad idea to design a perfect football viewing room in the house as well.

Working on an indoor room is a little bit less about buying new furnishings, assuming you already have some kind of TV room or den. Rather, it’s about putting together an ideal atmosphere for a month’s worth of football. So let’s get started, shall we?

International football scarvescredit

Load up on scarves

As you may well know, a lot of football fanatics express their team allegiance via their scarves. These don’t have to actually be worn, and often aren’t. Rather, they’re held aloft like signs, or used to decorate rooms. Loading up on several of them is a nice way to adorn a TV room for the World Cup season. The official FIFA World Cup scarves are actually surprisingly affordable (about $17 each), which means they’re pretty easy decorations to stock up on and hang around the borders of the room. It might be tacky during other times of the year, but for the World Cup this summer it’ll add a fun, football atmosphere to the room.

Playing football video game

Bring In FIFA

This is less of a design tip, but it’s still a necessity if you or anyone you might be watching matches with enjoys gaming at all. EA Sports’ FIFA franchise has established itself as the king of football gaming, and is all the more enjoyable to play during the World Cup. You may just want to be sure you have an up-to-date console stashed in the TV room so you can play a few rounds of FIFA in between big matches, or to unwind after a day of football viewing.

Football key on a computer keyboard

Devote a screen to in-play markets

If you and your friends aren’t at all interested in betting on the football matches, this might not be necessary. If you are, however, in-play betting can make things a lot more fun. Regarding Champions League activity (which is extremely active in online markets), it’s been said that people can wager on first, last or next goal scorer, as well as other in-match developments. Having a screen devoted to showing the betting options here (just an iPad or laptop open to a suitable platform) can add excitement for you and the friends you watch with. Just remember to be responsible about your activity.

Sonos PLAY:1 speakercredit

Beef up your sound system

We’re operating under the assumption that the fundamentals of the TV room are already in place, but it definitely can’t hurt to beef up the sound system (and the TV itself if necessary, but there isn’t much more to say on that). In particular, surround sound is a great addition for the World Cup, as it can at least somewhat simulate the feeling of being in the crowd with rabid supporters on all sides. Sonos seems to be the biggest name in home speakers these days, and their surround sound set-ups are known for being simple and flexible, which makes this a quick way to upgrade the room. However, if you’re a stickler for sound quality you may want to compare a few options.

These are just a few tips, but they can give your TV room a real boost for a summer of football. And a few of them may even have a lasting impact on the quality of the room. Will you be watching any of the World Cup this summer?


How to keep your towels in pristine condition

How to keep your towels in pristine condition

A dirty and threadbare towel hanging loosely from your bathroom’s rail can make the entire room look drab. Towels are among those home essentials that undergo daily use and need to be washed frequently. This makes it hard to keep them looking fluffy and fresh however, if you try the following methods, we can guarantee you that your towels will retain their freshness for longer.

Silver coloured washing machine with towel

The right time to wash

The right time to wash towels is after three to four days of use. This keeps them in good condition and removes all damaging grime from them. Normally, people use them and wait an entire week before they wash them. Try to rotate between two or more towels. Have one on the go and keep the others washed and when you use another then wash the first one.

Washing machine cycle display

Cold water washing

Normally, people tend to use hot or warm water for laundry and this goes for their towels as well. Washing towels in heated water shortens their life and makes them saggy and rough. This is why we recommend using cold water to wash them. Cold water prevents shrinkage at the seams and helps retain the colours in the material for longer. This method also works when washing bamboo towel sets. Cold water washing is recommended for removing certain stains such as wine, coffee, chocolate and blood.

Bottles of Gain fabric conditioner

Avoid the fabric softener

People use fabric softeners to keep their laundry soft, however they don’t realise that the harmful chemicals in them can actually reduce the life of textiles. In order to retain your towels’ ultra-plush feel, keep them away from these unnatural products as they damage the fibres and make them less supple over time. Instead, throw a tennis ball into the dryer along with the load. This will agitate and fluff them up and help them dry more quickly.

Drying a towel on a washing line

Drying matters

Most towels are made from cotton that dries quickly. So prolonged drying can actually reduce their life. It’s best if you dry towels separately from other items to extend their life further. Also, don’t forget to forgo the tumble dryer sheets as they can seriously reduce towel absorbency over time. Line drying instead of tumble drying can also help increase their lifespan.

Laundry detergent powder

Detergent quantity

Don’t guesstimate with the detergent quantity. Know the precise amount of detergent your towels need as these contain chemicals that can harm the fabrics if used to excess. Read the specification set out by the manufacturer and measure out the amount of detergent needed. Remember, a medium load roughly translates to about two to three kilos of laundry. It fills three-quarters of a household washing machine.

Bottles of bleach illustration

Use a bleach alternative

Bleach can keep your towels white and bright, but those chemicals can also damage the material. In order to get that bright white lustre back to your towels try using the baking soda and vinegar approach. Simply add half a cup of baking soda with your preferred detergent and wash the towels in the washing machine. While rinsing, add half a cup of distilled white vinegar and you’ll be good to go.


Winter Wisdom – 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter

Winter Wisdom - 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter

Winter is a wonderful time of year for those of us not so keen on extreme heat and having bugs everywhere. In fact, many good things happen in winter. It’s the perfect season for hot food, woolly socks and crackling fires. The key to a good winter is to make sure your home is ready for it. For suggestions on how to get your house in good order for the cold months, read this list of 8 warming ways to prepare your household for winter.

Bathroom shower

Household maintenance

Your house maintenance should be taken care of before winter gets its icy grip on your house, because when things suddenly or catastrophically go wrong it can take much longer to fix. It’s essential that your house is completely watertight – and pipes, drains and gutters are clear and free flowing. The endless torrential rain that often falls in winter and early spring can set back work on neglected pipes or other work that needs excavation…and bad weather can also prevent work being done on roofs or outdoor electrical appliances like water heaters. Imagine not having hot showers for a week in winter. No thank you!

Many companies clear blocked drains in Melbourne, for instance, and getting that done prior to winter’s arrival is a good idea, as some nights can get downright frosty. The last thing you need in the middle of a freezing night is a burst drainpipe.

Slippered feet up with a hot drink in front of an open fire

Light a fire

First and foremost, if your house has a real fire, then it’s time to break out the firewood! Make sure coal stores or log piles are well stocked during late summer and autumn. Organise deliveries early or get some wood chopped in readiness! Fires are a great, economical way to warm a house, and they can provide hours of entertainment. They give a room a real sense of drama and atmosphere. The additional burst of heat will also cut out any need for appliances such fan heaters.

Woollen blanket and patterned pottery mug

Scatter some blankets

Winter is a great time for snuggling up with some blankets. The best thing about blankets is that they not only keep you warm, but they can be dotted around your house and over the backs of sofas as decoration, then easily grabbed if you feel the chill. Distributing blankets around rooms in your home will mean you’re never far from a warm, cosy blanket in the dead of winter.

Bowl of meat stew

Roast away!

Arguably one of the best things about winter is the food that you begin to crave. When it’s 4ºC and raining outside, nothing satisfies hunger like a good roast dinner. Warming food like roasts, stews and hearty soups are perfect for not only warming you and dinner guests, but also make the whole house smell amazing.

Pair of thick, pale-coloured curtains

Heavy curtains

One thing that many people forget when winter-proofing their houses is how much heat is lost through the windows, even when the curtains or blinds are closed. If your house is freezing cold at night and you have large windows, consider buying thicker or lined curtains or blinds for them. This will keep more of the heat in and save you money through lowering electricity and gas bills.

Over the knee winter socks

Dress for the occasion

What will keep you warm in winter, no matter where you go? Woollens and waterproofs are the obvious choice for the cold season, but even within the protected environment of your own home there are things you can wear to keep the chill at bay. Thick socks on your feet will keep cold, tiled floors from freezing your toes off – and a quilted robe can mean the perfect combination of comfort and warmth.

Blue fleece electric blanketcredit

Warm the bed

Your bed will likely be too cold at night before you hop in, and even with pyjamas on this can cool you down before your body heat manages to warm up the bed and duvet. An electric blanket is the perfect addition to a winter bedding ensemble, and all you need to do is switch it on an hour or so before you hop into bed to ensure a nice, toasty night’s sleep.

Radiator thermostat

Radiate heat

Finally, there are ways of keeping heat in the less used rooms, like your bedroom.

While most of the evening might be spent in the common areas of your house, your bedroom will be where you retire to and unless you have put something in place to heat that room, it will likely be freezing cold. A radiator heater can be a great option for this, as it uses very little electricity and stays warm for long periods of time. Turn in on when you get home from work and your room will be toasty by the time you get to bed that night. Or perhaps fit timer switches that can activate heating systems precisely in specific areas.

With these tips in mind, the cold of winter doesn’t stand a chance at infiltrating your abode – so get out there and start winter-proofing your house today.







Between a vintage bed frame and a sleepy place: the Bruno Mattress

Blue-painted bedroomcredit

Every great picture starts with a great frame – and so should your mattress. Regardless of whose bedroom it is that we’re seeking to rejuvenate, we’ve always thought that the bed itself is the most important place to start (and why shouldn’t it be? If you’re anything like us, it’s where you’ll likely spend most of your time).

Below, we’ve compiled photos of our top 3 wish list bed frames that we want to use in future projects (are there any that we really shouldn’t have left out? Leave a comment below – we’d be interested to hear your opinions!):

Vintage rattan bed frame, side table and chair

Vintage rattan bed

Victorian iron bed

Victorian iron bed

Hand made four poster bed

Hand made four poster bed

For all that we love vintage bed frames, we’re strong believers in spending money on buying a good quality mattress to go with it. Sleep is important – and we’re quite sure that we seldom get enough of it. Life’s too short to suffer with back pain from a bad mattress, and that’s why a good mattress is one thing on which we just won’t compromise. A new mattress that we’ve found which just doesn’t compromise is the Bruno Mattress.

Bruno Mattress on a metal frame

In a world where everything seems to be evolving and we’re given more and more options, it’s refreshing to introduce a company which has sought to make life a little simpler. We’ve recently stumbled upon the Bruno Mattress, brought to you by a small Berlin-based start-up company founded by Felix Baer and Andreas Bauer. The mattress has recently been launched in the UK following great success in Germany and France, and we can’t wait to get our hands on it!

But why has the Bruno Mattress been received with such success?

Ultimate Comfort: After trialling and testing various materials and compositions with sleep experts, the founders at Bruno Sleep believe they’ve engineered the perfect mattress for all types of sleepers – regardless of body shape or sleeping position. That’s why Bruno comes in just one model comprised of a precision cut 7-zone support base, a 3cm 100% natural and organically farmed latex top layer and soft quilted cover top which can be easily removed for washing.

Couple laying on a Bruno mattress reading a magazine

Quality Materials: Bruno Interior takes pride in sourcing sustainable materials that are of the highest quality. Each mattress is assembled by hand by a family-owned and operated fabric manufacturer in Saxony, Germany.

Bruno Matttress label

Peace of Mind: The Bruno Mattress is only available to buy online and is delivered to your door in a box! Bruno Interior uses a direct to customer business model – cutting unnecessary costs involved in traditional mattress selling (i.e. packaging, delivery lorries and middle men) – and are able to pass these savings of 30-40% direct to customers, which is reflected in the mattresses’ fair price. We’re so confident in our mattresses, we offer our buyers a 101 night trial period.

Getting a Bruno Mattress out of its box

Despite what you’ve been told (and what you have experienced as a buyer), don’t believe that you have to spend a huge sum of money on a mattress to get high quality. Just because a mattress is a necessity, that doesn’t mean you have to spend thousands of pounds. With Bruno, quality and comfort come at a fair price.

Bruno Mattress logo


Our Smart Home

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Panasonic Smart Home starter kit

There was an interesting little something amongst the bills and junk mail this week. We took possession of this Panasonic Smart Home starter kit on Saturday. It’s a home monitoring and security system that lets you keep an eye on your home (and pets!) whilst you’re out.

Boxed Panasonic Smart Home box

The starter kit comprises a smart hub, indoor camera, two door/window sensors and a smart plug which allows you to switch on lights, radio etc from a remote location.  There are other components you can buy to extend the system including motion sensor, outdoor camera, siren and, soon to hit the market, a water leak sensor – something we’ll be investing in considering our history!

un-boxed Panasonic Smart Home box

Before attempting to set the system up, we watched the 5-minute video tutorial which made the process look very simple.

un-boxed Panasonic Smart Home hub un-boxed Panasonic Smart Home hub

Sure enough, five minutes was about right for me to download the app to my iPhone and link it to the house wi-fi network.

un-boxed Panasonic Smart Home hub

Within another five minutes, the hub and the camera were set up and ‘talking’ to each other.

un-boxed Panasonic Smart Home camera

In the case of the door sensors, all that was needed was to insert the batteries, attach the double-sided sticky tape, line up & attach the two parts of the sensor – one on the door and one on the door frame, press a button… and that was it – another five minutes per door!

un-boxed Panasonic Smart Home door alarm

We positioned the camera so that we could see into the sitting room, the kitchen and up the stairs to the rest of the house. For such a small, unobtrusive unit it gives a surprisingly wide-angled view and high-definition live video footage. It even allows you to take still images (see my example below) which you can save to your smart phone/tablet and share via text message or email.

un-boxed Panasonic Smart Home camera still

Our dog Fudge normally sleeps on that leather sofa to the right when were out (well, that’s where we usually find him on our return anyway). Evidence suggests that he gets up to naughtiness too – like jumping up at the cooker & work surfaces to the left. Soon we’ll have photographic evidence and he’ll be put forward for a doggy criminal trial!


Design ideas for a stylish home office

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Courtney Adamo's home officecredit

Working from home is living the dream for many people. You can crawl out of bed, put the coffee machine on, and be at your desk in less than five minutes. It really is perfect for anyone who would rather not suffer the daily commute or office politics. It’s also great if you like to work flexible hours because you can pop out to the supermarket or walk the dog whenever you feel like it.

The only disadvantage of working from home, apart from the fact that home and work boundaries can sometimes become rather blurred, is that you do need to have a space set aside where you can work in peace. If you’re lucky enough to live in a spacious dwelling, all is good, but if space is at a premium in your abode, you’re going to have to get a little bit creative. So what are your home office options?

Minimalist under-stairs officecredit

Workspace nooks

When you can’t afford to lose a room, your only option is to create a workspace in a corner of an existing room. This isn’t ideal as there’ll be a lot of distractions if you have other family members at home when you’re trying to work, but it’s better than working on the kitchen table.

Workspace nooks can be slotted in anywhere, but if you have some extra space under the stairs, this is the ideal place to fit a desk and chair. Build shelves and add a small desk lamp so you have a cosy little corner where you can work in peace. Alternatively, install a desk in the corner of a room and build a partition using bookshelves to screen it from view.

Attic office with Velux windowscredit

Attic offices

Attics make great home office spaces as long as they’re well insulated and you install windows for ventilation and light. Velux windows are perfectly designed for sloping roofs, but if installed at height, they can be difficult to open. One solution is to fit an electric window opener from Teal Products – that way you can continue working instead of looking for a chair to stand on to open the window.

Spare room being used as a home officecredit

Turn the spare room into an office space

Spare rooms make useful offices as long as you swap the traditional bed for a futon or sofa bed. You’ll also need to vacate the room if you have guests come to stay.

Garden officecredit

Build an office in the garden

If you’re the type of person who wants complete peace and quiet, building an office in the garden is the ideal solution. Wooden sheds can easily be converted into home offices with the right insulation and heating. If it isn’t too far from the main house it should be easy to install a telephone line. You might not need planning permission if the structure isn’t very large, but do check before you build.

Working from home is good for the environment and your sanity, but you’ll need to be disciplined as it is very easy to waste time watching TV or tackling household chores instead of working!