Shower time

Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus and Orbit shower heads | H is for Home

We’ve had our current electric shower unit for some time now – it must be nearly 15 years, come to think of it. We’re probably due an upgrade, but our list of items that need some money spending on them is pretty long at the moment – exterior walls need pointing, the roof needs repair, the boiler is playing up etc… and that’s not to mention the camper van fund which has stalled a bit this year. The actual shower unit still works, so we’re not at the urgent stage, but the water flow certainly isn’t anything to write home about.

Our old shower head | H is for Home Our old shower head | H is for Home

Perhaps we could improve that for the time being, we decided. And then the lovely people at Ecocamel came to the rescue, sending us two new shower heads to try out – the Jetstorm Plus and Orbit models.

Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus shower head, turned off | H is for Home Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus shower head, turned on | H is for Home

They’re both ideal for electric showers and incorporate the Ecocamel ‘Aircore Technology’ which injects air directly into the water stream, so you get a powerful shower whilst actually using less hot water as an additional benefit. The Jetstorm Plus head has three adjustable spray settings allowing you to achieve the ideal shower flow for you – the Orbit has clusters of nodules for a powerful and even spray.

Ecocamel Orbit shower head turned off | H is for Home Ecocamel Orbit shower head turned on | H is for Home

They both look good and have wipe clean rubber nodules to prevent the build up of lime scale if you live in a hard water area.

Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus shower head, turned off | H is for Home Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus shower head, turned on | H is for Home Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus shower head, turned on | H is for Home

We’ve been trying them out this week and we’re delighted with the results.We’ve really noticed a difference when showering.

Ecocamel Jetstorm Plus shower head | H is for Home Ecocamel Orbit shower head | H is for Home

Perhaps your shower flow is poor, or your shower head is old and tatty, or you’re interested in the eco-friendly energy and water savings they offer. Whatever the reason, they’re very easy to replace – universal fittings mean that you simply screw off your old shower head and screw the new one on – two minutes, and you’re done!

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4 Things to look for when purchasing high-quality furniture

4 Things to look for when purchasing high-quality furniture

Not all furniture available on the market will match up to the expectations you have for your home’s interior. Therefore, it’s essential to ascertain if the pieces you intend to acquire have the desired quality and features required.  After all, in addition to providing function, furniture does an exceptional job of reflecting your personality. Here are 4 things to look for when purchasing new furniture.

Walnut extending dining table

  1. Quality of materials

The quality of materials used is an essential consideration – whether it be wood, metal, plastic – or a combination. Wood options can be made of solid timber, composites or veneers. Solid timber is generally the most expensive. Veneers are often a cheaper alternative as the core or carcass is made from less expensive woods. Composite refers to wood mixed with several other materials including plastics, resin and wood pulp. Composite furniture is often the material used for cheaper, mass-produced products and often don’t fare well in the durability or longevity departments. Good-quality wooden furniture looks great and ages well, it offers a range of colours, grains and texture – and can add real warmth to a space.

Metal furniture and fittings have been very much in vogue over recent years providing shimmer and sheen to interior décor – copper, brass and steel being the most widely used. As with wood there are noticeable variations in quality of metal products. This goes for main structural elements of a piece, but also the incorporated fixtures such as screws and brackets. Look for good weight and a nice surface patina.

Plastics are often much maligned but offer great flexibility in colour and form. Modern plastics can provide real quality of finish that should overcome any doubts – and good design will utilise the material to its greatest potential.

Sideboard drawers

  1. Quality of workmanship and finish

Before purchasing furniture, you should assess the workmanship and quality of finish. Pay attention to the drawers, cabinets and so on – a good indicator of quality. The drawer should pull out completely and smoothly, latch properly and shut evenly. Joints should be fitted, stable and secure – and preferably not just simply glued into place. Joints should be neat and flush – as should borders between different materials when used in combination. Also, check furniture edges and corners for a smooth, well finished appearance. When doors are opened, check they remain fixed in that position until you shut them again. In addition to checking the drawers and cabinets, you should also ensure that the handles and knobs feel secure and built to last – they shouldn’t feel loose or jiggle around – and you should feel confident that they’ll stay that way despite heavy use. If you’re purchasing a chair, sofa or bed in particular, you must ensure that the legs are secure and joined properly to the frame; legs roughly nailed on might not be the best sign! You should also make sure that the legs or feet are made of materials that won’t damage your floor surface.

Occasional table in front of a fire

  1.  Size and proportion

The furniture you buy will need to depend on the size of the room in which it is to be located. If you’re buying a sofa for a small box room, an oversized 4-seater example would look out of place and swamp the space. Conversely, an expansive, open-plan living space calls for large sofas, tables and chairs. Otherwise pieces get lost in the space and rooms feel sparse and ‘echoey’. Consider marking out the outline of various furniture options using chalk or masking tape – this really can help you visualise the finished room.

It’s not just the size of the rooms that you need to take into consideration. Always measure furniture before you buy to make sure that it can fit through the front door, around corners, up stairways and through internal doors. It can become a very expensive and time-consuming task having to remove doors and windows to get furniture indoors. Some have to resort to hoisting over-large pieces of furniture up through upstairs windows to get them where they were intended to go.

Corner of a cream leather sofa

  1. What’s already in your home?

Consider the furniture that you already own – will your new piece compliment or clash with it? Some very successful decorating schemes are quite eclectic when it comes to age and style, but this requires care and skill. You can’t just throw objects into a space and hope for the best! And then there’s the age and fabric of the building to consider. Will it suit a traditional, vintage industrial, country or contemporary style?

Read interior magazines or browse websites such as Pinterest for inspiration. Check out the results other people have achieved who live in buildings similar to yours – or have incorporated furniture pieces that you love too.

Hopefully these pointers will help with your choices. For a wide range of attractive, high-quality furniture, danetti.com is the perfect site to visit.

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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.

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Valentine’s Day around the world: the United Kingdom

Bokeh hearts

The 14th of February is widely known as the international day of lovers. The history surrounding the day is rich and fascinating. For example, the name Valentine was derived from a Roman priest executed because he refused to give up the Christian faith. Before this event, the British originally celebrated the day as a Roman festival known as Lupercalia, held to honour the gods, Pan and Juno. Since then, the custom surrounding February 14 continues to evolve.

In the Middle Ages, people in Britain believed this day to be the day where birds chose their mates in respect to their patron, Saint Valentine. Based on this belief, many English writers started to romanticise Valentine’s Day in their work. The poem below is the first verse of one of the very first poems written to celebrate love in relation to Valentine’s day in Britain.

A garden saw I, full of blossomy boughs

Upon a river, in a green mead,

There as sweetness evermore enough is,

With flowers white, blue, yellow, and red,

And cold well-streams, nothing dead,

That swimming full of small fishes light,

With fins red and scales silver bright.

Geoffrey Chaucer, 1382

In the 17th century, it was believed that the first person one meets in the morning will be his or her Valentine. Because of this, people were starting to go to their sweetheart’s house in a blindfold for fear of seeing the wrong person. 1477 was the earliest recording in the UK of sending romantic cards to a loved one. However, the custom only really began catching on in the mid-18th century.

While many people celebrate it, Valentine’s Day isn’t a public holiday in the UK. People are expected to go to work or school and carry on with their normal daily activities. In truth, many may spend the day preoccupied thinking of other things instead of working. After all, it’s a day dedicated to love. A 2017 survey says that the majority of British people, both men and women, believe that the purpose of Valentine’s Day is to show someone how much you care.

February 14th is a busy night in the UK, and preparations must be made in advance if you would like to celebrate it with your significant other. But how does a British person celebrate Valentine’s Day? Let’s see the things they do on the international lovers’ day.

Valentine's Day rose petal heart, card and candles

Romantic cards

Following their tradition from the Middle Ages, sending romantic cards is still a pretty common occurrence. Approximately 25 million cards are sent out on Valentine’s Day in the UK. While this number may seem enormous, the fact is it’s declining. In fact, 48% of British men prefer to convey their love messages through technology and only 8% of them send a letter or card. Social media and phone calls are the most used platforms, followed by texts and emails.

Four red roses against a black background

Flowers

You can say that red roses are the symbol of Valentine’s Day. In 2016, the total amount Brits spent on flowers for February 14th reached almost £262 million! It’s undeniably one of the busiest days for florists as many people love to convey their feelings through gifts and treats. Flowers are a language of their own, and they can communicate a message as effectively as spoken words. Choosing the right flowers and colours is just like choosing the right words to say. Red roses mean true, everlasting love, which is why they’re so popular for couples and people in love. Be careful not to send your loved one yellow roses for Valentine’s, as they’re the traditional symbol of friendship! You can easily pick out a more appropriate bunch of roses delivered in London.

Purple foil-covered chocolate kisses

Chocolates

For 14% of Brits, heart-shaped sweets are an essential part of their Valentine’s Day survival kit. The link between chocolate and romance in the UK seems to stem from the Victorians’ practice of using chocolate as a tool of seduction. According to several etiquette books published at that time, giving a box of chocolate to a young woman is not only a declaration of the man’s love but also his good taste in selecting fine products. The act of chocolate-giving was considered so serious so that the etiquette books advised women not to accept the gift “from gentlemen to whom they are neither related nor engaged.

Restaurant table with wine bottle and glasses

Table for two

In 2015, at least two-thirds of couples in the UK planned to have a romantic dinner together to celebrate Valentine’s. As many people will be dining out, restaurant reservations need to be made in advance. Cooking for your partner is also becoming more and more popular as it can be seen as an equally romantic gesture. A survey of 7,000 people revealed that 22% of women feel that February 14th is the perfect time for a marriage proposal while only 14% men feel the same.

Pair of pigeons with the Eiffel Tower in the background

Weekend away

If there’s something that embodies what a modern woman wants on Valentine’s Day, it is going away on a holiday. As many as 27% British women prefer travelling with their significant other compared to gifts such as jewellery, spa treatments, or even a car.

Nowadays, Valentine’s Day isn’t only celebrated by those who are involved in a romantic relationship. Single people across England celebrate it, too, especially the women. At least 68% of women will be going out with their friends on February 14th, though roughly the same percentage of men prefer to be alone. However, both genders feel no pressure on this day as 83% of them say they wouldn’t use dating services to find a potential partner with whom just to spend Valentine’s.

Different countries have different customs. In the UK, you can expect to see shops and window displays filled with every shade of pink and red along with heart-shaped balloons and decorations on the days leading up to 14th February. What about you? How do you celebrate Valentine’s?

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How to organise a self-storage unit

How to organise a self-storage unit

Self-storage units can be an absolute godsend when trying to keep a cluttered house under control. Unfortunately, attempting to store a large number of items in a plain concrete room tends to lead to more clutter than you started with at home. How do you manage to keep things organised and be able to find anything in storage?

Having all the right storage supplies as well as a bit of a plan for your unit is the way to go. You can get your self-storage unit in ship shape with just a few tips.

Different sized seld-storage units

Right sized space

Before you can start planning on organising your unit, you really need to be sure you get one that’s large enough for your belongings. Trying to jam too much stuff into a tiny space makes organising almost impossible. Before renting space, make a list of what you want to keep in it and make some realistic estimates. Perhaps even gather everything up in one spot first and measure how many square feet it all needs.

Stack of banana boxes

Proper containers

Don’t resort to the hasty (and cheap) solution of jamming things into big garbage bags. They are very difficult to manage in terms of organisation because they don’t have a rigid shape. You can’t pile or stack bags, and they’re notorious for tearing at the wrong moment. The best option is plastic totes with lids, but even sturdy cardboard boxes are better than bags. Not only are boxes easier to label than bags, they are a lot more secure for your belongings. Moisture, dust, insects or even rodents can get into your stuff if it’s not well protected.

Labelled files on shelves in storage

Label and list

This is probably the biggest key to keeping your self-storage unit organised. Label everything in clear, large letters. Never assume that you will always remember what’s in certain boxes. Add more detail whenever you can as well. Labelling a box “Kitchen Stuff” is minimally helpful, so tape on a label or sheet of paper that has a quick bullet list of what’s actually in the box.

To be really on top of things, go one step further and put together a master list of the contents that you can keep at home. Knowing what’s in your unit without having to go back and paw through boxes can (and will) save a lot of time.

Shelves with numbered boxes

Shelves

If you’ve taken our earlier suggestion and stored your stuff in boxes or totes, it can be really tempting to just stack one on top the other. That can work if you are storing things you don’t access much. In situations where you do need to get at things periodically, having to move 4 or 5 boxes around because what you need is invariably at the bottom can be irritating and difficult. Having your boxes organised on shelves means you can pull out the one you need without having to shuffle everything else around.

So, taking these ideas into account, you should be able to put your storage unit to better use and have your important belongings right to hand when you need them.

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5 Tips for adding an extension on to your home

5 Tips for adding an extension on to your home

As a home-owner, you often consider ways in which to improve your house. A growing family might mean that your house is no longer able to accommodate you all comfortably. Improvements to consider include adding an extension or embarking on some renovation/remodelling jobs. People’s homes are usually their largest single financial outlay in life, so you want to get things right. Major updating work can mean a big investment of money and time. However, if the additions to your house are done properly, it will not only improve your quality of life, but also add value to your house. These simple tips will help you achieve those goals.

Circular saw and ear defenders

  1. Determine what type of addition are you planning

Some forward thinking is the first and most important step. You should establish what improvements will have the greatest benefit – and if it’s possible to do it both in terms of budget and building regulations. Jot down thoughts, draw rough sketches or create mood boards. Most house additions aim to improve flow or add extra internal rooms, conservatories, terraces or verandas. Once you’ve determined the kind of additions that would be of most benefit, you can start contacting the professionals – architects, planners, builders and other tradesmen.

Building professional

  1. Consult the professionals

Always consult the professionals – they have years of training and experience upon which to draw. Architects or engineers will give you expert insight on your planned extension. They can also give safety suggestions and will advise you at an early stage as to whether your plans are attainable or not. You can’t just set about work just because it seems like a good idea on the surface… it might cause catastrophic problems to the structure of your home making it unsafe or unsellable in the future. Architects can give you designs that will compliment the rest of the house enhancing its value. They’ll also probably throw ideas into the mix that you hadn’t even considered. Engineers can make sure that your plans are safe. It’s essential to consult the professionals to assure the quality and safety of your additions.

Installing a new roof with a crane

  1. Work out your budget

After all your consultation and planning, options available ultimately come down to the budget. It’s better to determine your budget first and how high are you willing to go. The larger your extension is, the more expensive it tends to be. When you’re coming up with the budget, you should consider the other expenses such as the consultation fees to the engineers and architects, the contractor team and the materials. Remember to include a contingency fund for those unforeseen complications or problems. Researching suppliers at the start of the process might actually contribute to formulating a realistic budget.

Building materials

  1. Cost your materials

Once you have your budget sorted, it’s crucial to start sourcing and purchasing materials wisely. Ordering early could avoid the increasing costs of materials over time or paying premium prices for urgently required products or parts. If you’ve already made a deal with the construction supply company regarding prices, hopefully they wont increase the price for additional orders of the same products. And getting materials ordered and delivered early in the process is important so as not delay the start of building work. It will also prepare you for any unexpected shortages on the materials.

Large pile of building debris

  1. Hire a dumpster for the debris

After you’ve finished your extension or remodel, the only task left is to remove the inevitable debris created during the process. The best way to deal with this is to hire a dumpster / skip to take it all away. A disposal company can take care of those unwanted wood off cuts and piles of broken wall. They’ll have all the relevant licences for legal disposal. There’s nothing worse than doing the bulk of a job, then not clearing the area properly – or doing it painfully slowly. Weeks pass by, the work is finished, yet your house still looks like a building site. Remove the rubbish quickly and efficiently – then all that’s left to do is enjoy your new look home.

If you want to search for the best deals, you can visit http://eagledumpsterrental.com for further information.

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