Price Points: Double hammocks

Selection of double hammocks | H is for Home

These three stripy, double hammocks look almost identical, however, there’s around a £60 difference in price between the cheapest and most expensive.

We have two mature trees in our garden; an ornamental cherry and a silver birch. They’re about 10 foot apart – a nice distance to sling a hammock between. It’s a shady, private part of the garden – a perfect place to have a summer afternoon snooze!

  1. VonHaus double hammock: £9.99, DOMU
  2. Easy Eagle Hammocks anti-rollover canvas hammock + bag: £27.99, Amazon
  3. Brazilian-style hammock, tropical, double: £69.59, Houzz

shop double hammocks

Brazilian-style hammock, tropical, double
Brazilian-style hammock, tropical, double
£69.59
Easy Eagle Hammocks anti-rollover canvas hammock + bag
Easy Eagle Hammocks anti-rollover canvas hammock + bag
£27.99
VonHaus double hammock
VonHaus double hammock
£9.99
Brazilian-style hammock, tropical, double
Brazilian-style hammock, tropical, double
£69.59
Easy Eagle Hammocks anti-rollover canvas hammock + bag
Easy Eagle Hammocks anti-rollover canvas hammock + bag
£27.99
VonHaus double hammock
VonHaus double hammock
£9.99
Brazilian-style hammock, tropical, double
Brazilian-style hammock, tropical, double
£69.59
Easy Eagle Hammocks anti-rollover canvas hammock + bag
Easy Eagle Hammocks anti-rollover canvas hammock + bag
£27.99
VonHaus double hammock
VonHaus double hammock
£9.99

Simple solutions for reducing your summer home energy use

Simple solutions for reducing your summer home energy use

The heat of summer is fast approaching, and many people are already preparing for long days in the garden, family trips to the beach, and shopping for new seasonal clothes. Most people look forward to the warmer months of the year – due largely to the increased daylight and more opportunities for outdoor activity.

Summer doesn’t come without its drawbacks, though. Especially if you’re a home-owner, summer can be frustratingly hot, requiring you to use more energy to stay cool. The result: more expensive energy and utility costs. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to be the reality permanently.

Many home-owners aren’t aware of simple solutions they can take to minimise energy usage around the home during the hottest months of the year. To help our readers out, we’re going to look at a few simple changes anybody can make to reduce how much energy is used – and wasted – during the summer.

Grey buttoned sofa in front of white curtains

Install reflective curtains

One of the biggest ways homes absorb heat during the summer is through the windows. Whether it be due to dark curtains or no curtains at all, heat and light enter, get absorbed, and ultimately increase the ambient temperature. This results in your air conditioning having to run that much more to compensate.

Through the use of made to measure curtains, you can ensure that your windows are properly framed without excessive overhang or exposed areas where light can enter. By purchasing made to measure curtains that are either directly reflective or made with a white lining, you’ll reflect that excess heat back and away from the home.

Some estimates suggest that utilising white plastic-backed curtains can reduce home heat intake during the summer by as much as one-third. That’s a lot of heat that your home can be guarded against with the right curtain selection.

Nest Thermostatcredit

Purchase a smart thermostat

We all love to have control over our heating and cooling preferences, but what if you’re currently wasting tons of energy during the summer because of those preferences? Nobody wants to wake up or come home from work to a hot house, so if you have an air conditioning system installed, it can be tempting to leave it running.

Fortunately, technology has given us affordable options in this regard. There are many unique programmable and/or smart thermostats on the market to help home-owners manage cooling (and heating) schedules in the home during all hours of the day.

Smart thermostats can be used to access the thermostat from anywhere using a mobile device. Some even can detect when you’re nearing the house and will automatically kick on in advance of your arrival. Programmable thermostats are a much more budget-friendly option (many are available for as little as £25) that accomplish most of what a smart thermostat does but doesn’t allow for remote interaction.

Black metal oscillating fan on a vintage sideboard

Increase in-home ventilation

Especially during the summer, the air in our homes can become stagnant and humid, making even relatively mild temperatures feel miserable. Without a great ventilation system – as well as auxiliary ventilation options – the home can feel like a nightmare both day and night.

One easy and cheap way to improve ventilation in the home during the summer is to add a variety of fans to the home. Whether they be traditional box fans, ceiling fans or desk fans is entirely up to you, but most options are easy to set up and inexpensive for a seasonal solution.

The reason more ventilation is a great idea for saving energy is that proper ventilation via fans can allow you to raise the thermostat by 2ºC without any reduction in comfort.

Smoking screw-in light bulb

Remove unnecessary heat sources

There are many sources of heat around the home that can add to energy costs during the summer months. While not every source of heat can be eliminated, you can improve the situation and minimise how much heat is being generated from inside the home.

Traditional light bulbs, for instance, give off quite a bit of heat. By investing in LED variants, you’ll use a fraction of the energy and emit virtually no heat whatsoever. Many people love to cook during the summer months, but energy-savvy home-owners know that using the stove (instead of the oven) is a better choice, as it emits far less heat when preparing meals.

Even the heat from your water heater can add up over time. Many people turn down the thermostats on water heaters to reduce overall energy consumption, but a secondary effect is that it will also emit less ambient heat into the air.

With summer fast approaching, you want to be ready to deal with the heat. However, you shouldn’t have to spend tons of money on cooling costs to maintain a comfortable climate. With these tips, you can drastically reduce the cost of cooling your home with relatively little work or investment – and these investments will continue to produce results year after year!

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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.

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Price Points: Bucket barbecues

Bucket barbecues | H is for Home

What glorious weather we’ve been having – day after day of brilliant sunshine! It’s a bank holiday weekend, there’s only one thing for it BARBECUE!

If, like us, you only have a small garden or patio, bucket barbecues are a much more practical option than one of those super-duper barbecue grills. Much as we’d love one kitted out with quadruple gas burners, rotisserie, warming cupboard and instant ignition – we’d have no room for table and chairs… or us!

The Hema bucket barbecue (#1) is so affordable, we could buy two and have one each. One for Justin’s steak / burger / rack of ribs and the other for my vegetable skewers and veggie sausages. I’m not best keen on them being cooked side-by-side.

My favourite is the Fortnum & Mason eau de nil number. It’s not dissimilar to the budget Hema example and is almost 3 times the price. By way of justification, I really like the detailing of this one and the fact that you can lift the grill off by the handle – vital when my kebabs need rescuing quickly from certain cremation! Oh, and call me shallow… but I do love the classic F&M logo too.

What’s your favourite barbecue food?

  1. Bucket barbecue: £15, Hema
  2. Gentleman’s Hardware barbecue bucket – black: £26.91, Amazon
  3. BBQ bucket in Eau de Nil: £40, Fortnum & Mason

Price Points: Fruit salad homewares

Fruit salad homewares | H is for Home

This run of sunny weather has seen us spending hours & hours in the garden each day. Pottering amongst the plants, al fresco lunching, reclining in deck chairs with cold drinks… oh, and doing some work of course.

It’s obviously had a big influence on this week’s Price Points post – bright, optimistic and fun.

Check out this cute selection of fruit salad homewares – each one under £30!

  1. Banana night light: £10.90, Amazon
  2. Sunnylife watermelon doormat: £29, Paperchase
  3. Outdoor garden pouffe – kiwi design by Fallen Fruits: £19.99, Selections

Price Points: Orange maxi summer dresses

Trio of orange maxi summer dresses | H is for Home

It’s August, the kids are off school, the Olympics are in full swing (Go Team GB!), the central heating hasn’t been on in months… I’ve realised in the past few weeks that there are gaps in my summer wardrobe. I have lots of summer shorts, T-shirts and walking gear but nothing slightly dressy.

I was thinking that I’m in need of a few maxi summer dresses – white, patterned, floral… but I’d really wanted to find one in orange – one of my favourite (and most summery) colours.

Surprisingly, when I went searching, I couldn’t find that many orange maxi summer dresses online and only a few midi ones. Of the ones I did uncover, one stood out head & shoulders above the others. There was a little hint there! 🙂

Number 1, the strapless example with a frilled bottom, is my favourite. The colour is perfect, a bright tangerine orange that looks great against tanned skin. I love its simplicity and blousy layering. I’d team it with chunky jewellery and a pair of strappy silver sandals.

  1. Strapless belted maxi dress: £29.00, JD Williams
  2. Frill maxi came dress: £40, Topshop
  3. Halterneck maxi dress: £49.99, H&M

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Get your home ready for summer

Summer still life

Springtime is usually seen as the season to give your home an overhaul, but for us, this part of the year is merely the precursor to the most inspirational season of all – summer. Whereas spring is the time to get things tidy and to give your home a thorough cleaning, summer presents the opportunity to create an entirely new design on the clear canvas of a newly spring-cleaned home.

Paint cards, piantbrush and paint roller

Sometimes, all it takes is a new coat of paint on walls, doors and ceilings to completely refresh the look of your home, and we love any opportunity that allows us to go wild with different colours and shades. The summer palette is all about light, breezy hues which relate to the colours we’re currently seeing during the sunnier days of the year. Create a continuous stream of light which carries through the windows and into your living room, bedroom; and, in fact, any other room in your home by painting walls in a sunshine yellow. If you prefer the textures and patterns wallpapers can provide, opt for lighter shades with intricate patterns rather than papers with huge block designs. The more delicate the design, the more summery the feel.

Light-filled bedroom

It’s long been known that natural sunlight is a fantastic mood enhancer, and so you should ensure you make the most of summer’s lighter, brighter days by ensuring your bedroom captures as much natural light as possible. Swap heavy curtains that served their purpose during the winter for lighter, translucent drapes to maximise the amount of sunlight that enters the room. Treat yourself to brand spanking new furniture and take a look at the Bedstar range of wooden beds in white which will bring a fresh summery look to your bedroom. White furniture will really brighten up the room, so look out for wardrobes and drawers in a glossy white finish to complete your bedroom in a contemporary, seasonal style.

Bottles of herbs with tomatoes

Adorning your home with blooming house plants is a fantastic way of having a constant reminder that summer’s here, even on the not-so sunny days. Select colours and species that make your heart sing, and of course, ones that match your carefully considered colour scheme. Decorate your kitchen windowsill with herb pots to add fragrance to the room and extra flavour to your cooking. Plants are extremely versatile in that they can perk up any room in the home, and you should feel free to mix and match the types of plants you place around your home. Pet owners should be aware that some plants are toxic to animals, so do research which ones are safe to be around your little critters.

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