Welcome to 'Just another home improvement blog' - here you will find daily posts on all things home improvement whether it be tips, news, product reviews or any other random stuff we see fit to blog about :D.

Feel free to browse our post archive and don't forget to e-mail me your renovation/home pictures as every week I post the hottest ones!

February 21, 2012

Galaxy Granite Worktops

I love granite worktops, they look fantastic and whilst they cost a fair bit in the short term, in the long term they more than pay their weight in gold. Overall, granite worktops are a fantastic addition to any home.


December 30, 2009

Real Home Improvement has moved

Real Home Improvement has moved to Wordpress, you can us here:


Real Home Improvement

Also, you can now find my Technology Blog on Wordpress:

Technology Blogged 

I have added new interactive internal pages and plug ins for you to play with, enjoy!.

December 10, 2009

Christmas: Should I buy a real tree or an artificial one?

Okay let me cut to the chase. Christmas trees are a necessity during the festive season, they resemble 100 years of tradition and speak for children across the world (not literally though as trees can't speak!).

And so without any shadow of a doubt you should not be a humbug and not have a tree for Christmas, the big question here though is should you buy a real one or an artificial one?

Well I use an artificial one and have used the same one for 3 years running. And so obviously artificial ones have a significant life span advantage over organic ones and also cost far less over that period of time. Having an artificial tree also means that it will never look dead or brown and you will never need to get your Vacuum Cleaner out on your trees behalf - which is a real home improvement top tip :).

Artificial trees are also much safer than organic ones as they are fire resistant (unless yours is over 4 years old) and not spiky! My friend had a horrible incident where her dog got a tree thistle stuck in her eye! Definately not what you want at Christmas time.

Artificial trees are also better for the environment in that for every year your artificial tree is kept the number of organic trees cut down reduces (for example I have had mine 3 years, therefore 3 less trees have needed cutting down) and so if you join the 'artificial club' you are actively promoting forest sustainability whether you know it or not.

I can't completely belittle the organic tree though - for one thing you can never beat the smell of a fresh organic tree which completely sets the mood for christmas. Not only that but new breeds of tree are now available which have the same strength as artificial ones which is perfect for those heavy lights and decorations.

Also an organic tree kind of resembles a cosy Christmas Home and so if you feel you just are not ready to lose that feeling then the organic tree is for you.

When I was younger I always remember the organic tree as artificial ones were much rarer. People whom have real trees are also more likely to have more guests round as it shows a high level of Christmas spirit.

And so if you like the feeling of helping forests and not having to trail to your garden centre for a tree every year then the artificial tree is for you - it is safer and more practical.

But if you like the idea of having a new tree every year and witnessing first hand the Christmas smells it brings then the organic tree is for you - it shows a higher level of Christmas Spirit.

December 09, 2009

Design ideas: Wallpaper

Ughh. Gone are the days of old patterned wallpaper that is remeniscent of my Grandma's old home. Dark colours are also out and bright vibrant colours are in, actually I tend to see more painted walls nowadays (especially in my friends houses) than wallpapered ones - which is fine, except for the fact that wallpaper when chose correctly can make your room look bigger than it actually is and make a bold statement of your own personality.

Paint nowadays seems to be cheaper than wallpaper, and so for people renovating their own home or house buyers who want to 'refurb' a house to sell it on are choosing it over wallpaper everytime. 

I have wallpaper in my home and I love it - for a start It keeps my room warmer and is designed to be asthetically pleasing. My home is quite modern and so I have gone for this wallpaper which you can see below;

It goes well with my wooden flooring and desk from Ikea! :D (yes its a flat-pack job but who cares?). I use this wallpaper in my small bedroom turned office where I am writing this! You like? Yeah, its an aquired taste but I warmed to its modern feel - Its only on one side anyway and the other 3 sides are painted white (and yes I know this post is about wallpaper design ;) ).

Just another home improvement blogs and my advice is to pick a wallpaper that you feel comfortable with and is eye-catching at the same time. The last thing you want is a wallpaper which looks outdated after one year and then you having to replace it (which costs money and also isn't really promoting sustainable foresting).

Places I personally would never have wallpaper are the bathroom and kitchen as paper is a master at soaking up both moisture and dirt which will result in a tarnished and dirty looking wall. You can get wallpaper for bathrooms and kitchens now which is waterproof on the exposed side but don't bother, it is both old fashioned and in my opinion too costly.

Places definately to have some wallpaper are the bedroom (for example where your bed head board is) and the living area as wallpaper can make homes feel more inviting! Which I am sure with Christmas coming up is very important for family and guests.

Home Improvement superstores such as Homebase or B&Q (UK readers know what I am talking about) are good at offering a large variety of wallpaper to suit each individual room in your house. I however bought mine from a small sole trader about 2 miles from where I live as the designs there are remarkeable (Just like some people shop at the butchers instead of Tesco's meat counter I shop at sole traders for home improvement supplies :D *thumbs up*).

So there we are :) oh and if you recently wallpapered your home or any rooms then send in your pics! And don't forget to comment on this or any other post of interest :). Every week I post up to 10 'Hot Pic's' from people around the world so give me an e-mail.

December 08, 2009

Top tips for a perfect and cosy Christmas home

I love Christmas, it's the excuse I need to inject some bejeweled colours and sparkle back into the home. I always try to decorate my home from top to bottom and do so by re-using last years decorations and the new stuff I bought months ago (yes I plan ahead). To me christmas is all about real home improvement.

Just some simple and stylish touches (like using bows) can set the scene and guarantee your home is the only place you and your guests will want to be this holiday. Nothing major is needed to apply christmas spirit in your home - just a few tassles here and there will do the trick.

Oh Christmas tree, Ohhh Christmas Tree! Shalalalala. Your Christmas tree is your centre stage. The Christmas Tree to people across the UK (and the world) is the heart of the festive season. 

And so without any shadow of a doubt you should have one < and if you do not, well, then you are a humbug! I have an artificial tree as it is much more sustainable then a real one (and real ones cost too much). If you do opt for a real tree then get one which is full and a vibrant green with thick branches as to hold up baubles effectively. 

This year I have decorated my tree in silver and blue tinsel with silver and blue baubles. My lights are white and have various settings. You should decorate your tree how you like however, and if you have children I am sure that you will not have a choice in how it looks :D. Just make sure it looks nice and won't fall over easily! ouch.

As for around your home, my first tip is to use candles to soften the lighting around your home. Candles (especially scented ones) are a fantastic accessory to any home and not just at Christmas. Try opting for festive candles which are red in colour and have a scent of cherry or strawberry. They are also green as they need no electricity and can last for months! You don't need to spend a bomb on candles (it is easy to do so trust me, some places sell a candle for like £20!!). I have a few candles going on right now mainly in my living room, and my partner loves having them in the bathroom (stress relief is a wonderful thing).

My second tip is to keep your presents under your Christmas tree (providing you have no children who will rip them open). The reason you should do this is because in every film ever made to do with christmas all the presents are always under the tree. And so it is natural to assume that at christmas presents under a tree are quite symbolic < My mum always used to have presents under the tree too - sure I looked at them and I also shook them, but to be honest I grew out of it :).

Also if you have a fireplace (mine is currently just a hole as it is being replaced) then decorate it properly! Go all out with holly branches and stockings for those little presents that might get lost, and heck you could even chuck on a christmas card or too :). 

So what do you have planned for this christmas? Have you already put up your tree? Has everybody done their Christmas shopping yet? No? I have! :D. I only have one more thing to buy and am doing that tomorrow. 

Send in your comments on how you make your home cosy for Christmas and I will gladly post about all of them tomorrow and during the week. You can do so by either commenting on this or any other post or mailing me direct with a picture at jakkbloggs at gmail dot com.


December 07, 2009

Fixing my broken lock: Real home improvement?

Could you consider this real home improvement? I mean, It's not as if today I underwent a kitchen refurbishment project or living room re-decorating session. To be honest the task of replacing my own bathrom lock should have been a very simple task - I had my very own purpose purchased Phillips screws and all the tools I could conjur up (and yes that includes a Phillips Screwdriver) :).

My bathroom door is an artficial wood effect fire door job and is purely there due to the fact my house is a new build - which has to comply with building project safety regulations - basically it is a door to cover their own backs in case of a fire - mind you, I'm sure I wouldn't be complaining if a fire was going on and I was trapped behind it!

And so off I went upstairs from my garage and set my toolbox down on the floor and gazed down at the lock. 
That was when it hit me that the screws were simply not visible from the outside, s***. And so I then spent 10 minutes working out exactly how to bl**dy replace the lock, I could see the manufacturers name imprinted and also the type of lock which read 'GRIDLOCK - Rotalatch'.

So I did a search on the internet and found the manufacturers instructions on some sort of DIY website and set to work. Here is a picture of the lock in question:

I unscrewed the lock at the side and then detached the 'Rotalach' and then fed the new 'Rotalatch' in. To be honest I could tell you what was wrong with the lock except that I have no idea - it just didn't seem to have any defects that I could see of! (Or i'm just blind and incompetent).

And thats my story for the day!. . . Rubbish isn't it :(. Nothing exciting has happened today and all the e-mails I have recieved from loyal readers aren't suitable for posts :/. . . I could just copy and paste some 'article' from the internet but wheres the fun in that? I'd rather bore you to death with this than become a paid blogger shmuck (no offense, you do what you have to do to get by :) ).

And so what was supposed to be a simple task unfortunately ended up to be a tiresome one. Ahhh, cup of tea anybody?

December 06, 2009

Hot Pics: This weeks top e-mailed home improvement images

David (New York)

This picture was sent in by David from New York! His flat has a very modern feel to it and I love the contrast between white and slate grey going on. Those side chairs keep the place clean and minimalistic whilst the sofa brings in a sort of warmth. 

This set up seems perfect for a flat especially in a highly popuated city such as New York. I can't help but feel David needs a bigger television on his wall though ! :P (he is in the process of buying one) :D.

Liz (London)

This image is from Liz who lives in London. I love the conservatory and the contrast of wood, stone and glass - which seems to be a top pick amongst mills turned into flat blocks nowadays (which I love). 

It seems to be a very modern house however I am assured that the inside has a more traditional feel to it! Thank you Liz :D

Jessica (Sydney, Australia)

My last pick of this weeks Hot Pics is from Jessica from Sydney, Australia! I chose this because I love the marble and granit going on and the tiled floor adds to that 'cool' feel which you most definately need in Australias heat. It also features an anti pest scent which has been burned into all cuboards as to deter any dangerous spiders (yuck I hate them) from getting in. Thank you Jessica :D

And so that is it, If your picture didn't make it tough luck - haha, just kidding. You'll have your day :D all your images are kept and so if for example one week I do not like any images then I could choose yours :D.

Do you like these Hot Pics? If not why? Feel free to comment and leave me your opinions !

December 05, 2009

Living room ideas: What sort of personality are you?

The contempory or 'modern' living space features neutral colours and softened lines

The Cottage design is colourful and has a confortable feel to it. Perfect for the country :D

If you want a mixture of both Cottage and Modern then go for eclectic - perfect for a couple who can't agree!

Traditional - this type of living space features furnishing which is consistent and has stood the test of time.

And so these are the main categories. Me? My living room is modern but with a traditional twist. 

My coffee table is early nineteenth century whilst my sofa is a corner variety in a black/brown leather. For real home improvement go for whatever you fancy! Home improvement is all about what improves your own self being and creates a happy feeling within yourself.

There are many different reasons you may want to renovate your living space and feel free to leave me your ideas in comments! And don't forget to e-mail your latest pictures of home projects :) (I will put them up as a post!). I am currently trying to gain a few more followers on this blog and so if you have a Google e-mail account don't forget to click follow on my sidebar :D.

Put a bit of work into your garden and reap the benefits in summer!

 Begin With the Trees

Your trees are your best landscaping asset. Deciduous trees let winter sun into your house when you need it most, and shield you from the sweltering rays of summer. If your house is blessed with shade, you’re already a leafy 10 degrees cooler than properties exposed to full sun. Mature trees provide the best air conditioning possible — clean, free, and majestic! Evergreens planted on the north side of your home will help stave off the winter chill. There are other important health benefits to trees, too: all types of trees will clean the air around you. It’s no surprise that many homeowners are paying big bucks for big trees. But if you start planting now, before you know it (with patience and minimal care). you too can enjoy the many benefits that trees freely offer.

Birds And Bees

Butterflies and ladybugs too. You want to attract all sorts of good creatures to your garden for pest control. Birds love thick shrubbery, shallow birdbaths, native plantings, and fruit, nut and seed-bearing plants. They also love to have a little trickle of water. A small pump will help create the best effect: the slightest stream of water flowing into a shallow plate or rock depression.

Provide butterflies with sheltered sunny spots filled with brightly coloured blooms, and a flat warm rock for butterfly sunbathing. Bees love nectar-producing flowers, ladybugs love Queen Anne’s Lace, and all of these treasures thrive in a chemical free environment.

These are the creatures that will help establish a healthy, happy garden – and protect your plants from the nasty pests.

Go Native

Nurseries offering indigenous plants are springing up everywhere now, making it easier for you to find native plants. There are all kinds of reasons for showcasing hardy native plantings in your garden; they are generally pest and disease free, resistant to drought, and attractive to beneficial wildlife which could be seen as a step toards home improvement.

Queen Anne’s Lace, tansy, all sorts of daisies and lilies – the roll call of our native plants is impressively long and beautiful.

Roll Out The Barrel

We’re talking rain barrels here — ideally several for maximum water collection. The volume of water captured after an even seemingly brief rainfall will surprise you. Your plants will be happier with warm untreated water instead of the freezing cold chlorinated water that comes out of your garden hoses — and you’ll save on your water bill too.

Black gold

Start composting now and by next year you will have the most amazingly rich black stuff to sprinkle onto your lawn and flowerbeds. Many communities offer plastic compost barrels, but it is more efficient (and aesthetically pleasing) to build a wooden three-solid-sided unit with a slatted moveable front piece.

Just remember not to put in any animal by-products — most kitchen and garden waste (not weeds) is acceptable. Keep your compost pile slightly moist (positioning it in a shaded spot helps) and poke a stick in it once in a while. That’s it.

Acceptable pest and weed control

Synthetic garden chemicals do your garden no favours – upsetting the balance of healthy soil, earthworms, good insects, birds and other creatures. Declare a no-chemical season in your garden. Kill weeds with vinegar, or a dose of boiling water. Use soapy sprays to control aphids, and diatomaceous earth to stop slugs.

Put up a bat box; a bat will eat thousands of mosquitoes, and don’t deserve their Halloween-y reputation. Garden-friendly insects such as ladybugs and praying mantis will patrol for a range of problem insects. Physical trapping is also good (i.e. dishes of beer for slugs etc.) Don’t hesitate to use the good old methods of hosing off and squashing too!

December 04, 2009

Beautiful Mirrors for real home improvement

Whether you are trying to add light or dimension to a room or you are just looking to change things up a bit, it doesn't mean that you have to totally remodel your room. One of the best ways to put a new spin on a space and stay on budget is by using decorative mirrors. When used correctly, mirrors have the ability to completely change the look of a room, any room. Read on for to discover the many interior design uses of mirrors.

Create something really special by using a small mirror to highlight an object of interest in the room. Take for instance, a gorgeous vase or work of art, it will greatly benefit from the reflection provided by the mirror. The mirror can also be positioned to show the design on the hidden side of the piece, that way none of the surfaces are neglected.

If you have a table or other flat surface that has over the years, acquired unfortunate scratches, cover the surface with a mirror to hide the blemishes. By doing this, you not only save the damaged furniture; you also save time not having to work on refinishing the piece. A reflective table is a great addition to any living room set.

Use small mirrors to keep the look of your house ever changing. Use one to bring attention to a certain section of the room, and then move it elsewhere the following week. Clusters of small mirrors can also be really beautiful. By experimenting, you'll find the best use of reflection to make your home appear brighter and more spacious.

Use large mirrors to add to the apparent size of a room. When placed on either side of a fireplace, ceiling-to-floor reflections can make a room appear much larger. It also adds depth and dimension that the room might not have had before. You can also then position your furniture, plants, and other objects so that they are reflected in interesting ways. Keep playing with them until you find the position that you like.

Place groups of small mirrors between windows for extra light reflection. If you have a turn on your staircase, consider placing a floor mirror there, you'll be amazed at the interesting angles created by the reflections.

Make it easier to see what's on the top shelf of your cabinet by using mirrors on the ceiling of the cabinets. See if what you are looking for is there before you grab the step-ladder. The same rule applies to basement windows. By placing two mirrors facing each other at 45 degree angles from the window, you create a periscope effect. This gives you a clear view of your well-kept lawn and garden.

For entertaining, use reflective place mats. When used in combination with sparkling glassware, this will make your dinner parties shine like never before. Try out all your glassware and silverware to find the best combination. Keep a few small mirrors too for decorating the table, and you'll have everybody's eyes twinkling.
Decorative mirrors are an easy and inexpensive way to create a whole new look for your home.

Hot Bike storage Sheds

Do you have a bike? Be it a motorbike or bicycle I'll bet you are adamant about the safety of it - and how it will always be fine. But in todays society this is very unlikely and as such you should invest in some decent security storage.

Asgard is a UK based online store specializing in metal garden storage. Products sold include Bike Storage sheds, Metal Garden Storage, Gas Bottle Storage, Mobility Scooter Storage, Centurion Metal Garden sheds, Caravan Storage Site, Bike sheds and even more! Asgards even take payment by credit cards - Visa, Maestro, Master Card and others as well as Paypal. All items are shipped free and come with a 10 year guarantee - so you know their products are quality!

The website is very good and as I said the customer service team is brilliant :)

Thanks for reading!

December 03, 2009

Home Improvement Project: Remodeling your kitchen

Remodeling a kitchen is one of the best investments a homeowner can make. For most homeowners it is the most important room in the house. It is used for cooking, eating, and gathering, and is typically a focal point in the home. Consequently, though a great investment, a kitchen-remodeling project can be very disruptive to the family. And the length of the disruption can take as long as two or three weeks.

The Planning Stage

Planning is absolutely essential in remodeling a kitchen. The homeowner should first identify the main objectives of their future kitchen. They should next research the latest products on the market including: cabinets, countertops, appliances, and flooring. If the kitchen is more than 5 years old, there are a lot of new products to choose from. For example, Silestone is quickly surpassing Granite and Corian, as the premier countertop surface as it is extremely hard, elegant in appearance, and comes in many colors. For cabinets, the trend appears to be towards lighter colors as they help the appearance of lightening and enlarging a room. In regards to appliances, the Stainless Steel look appears to be in. And for flooring, vinyl or wood is the trend. Tile looks nice, however, it can be unforgiving in a room where things tend to get dropped. In addition, if there is no radiant heating planned for the floor, tile has the tendency to feel cold on the feet.

Sketch out some plans

After the main objectives of the future kitchen have been identified and the homeowner has an idea on the products for it, they should next sketch some plans. I would suggest developing two or three sketches, keeping in mind three important points. First, professional kitchen designers like to think of a triangle when starting a new design. The three points of the triangle include the Sink, Refrigerator, and Stove. Make sure your sketches consider this as it will ensure a good functional kitchen. Second, consider adequate walking areas and space for an eating area, such as a table or center island, with applicable space included for chairs. I would suggest that the walking areas be wide enough for two people to walk through at the same time. The sketches should also include dimensions, as these will be needed when meeting with the Kitchen Designer. Finally, consider where the existing outlets and power for the stove are, and assess if additional outlets will be needed or old outlets relocated.

Visiting the Kitchen Design Center

Once sketches have been created, bring them to a Kitchen Design Center or Home Improvement store. A certified Kitchen Designer will then take the sketches and goals and incorporate them into a formal set of plans. Once the Kitchen Designer has formally generated the plans, typically someone from the Kitchen center will visit your home and take very precise measurements so that the plans can be finalized. In fact, make sure that they do visit your home; otherwise unexpected costs and delays could occur when the wrong size cabinets arrive on your doorstep.

When the cabinets do arrive at your doorstep, ensure that they match the list of materials generated by the Kitchen Designer. Again, this will help ensure that no delays or unexpected costs arise during the actual remodeling process.

Cabinets: Out with the Old and In with the New

Once the cabinets arrive, the cabinet installers will remove the existing cabinets and countertops, unless the homeowners decide to do this themselves, and install the new cabinets. If new flooring is planned, I would suggest installing the flooring between removing the old cabinets and installing the new ones, as this will save time and money. In addition, particularly with Linoleum, you will get a better end product, as the Linoleum will be unable to lift-up over time, if the material goes under the cabinets. If new flooring does get installed prior to the cabinet and countertop installation, additional care will be needed to ensure the floors are not damage during this process.

Installing the Countertops

After the new cabinets have been installed, measuring and templating for the new countertops will be required if Silestone, Granite or Corian are to be used. This task should be planned in advance so that it can be performed the same day the cabinets are installed. This will help to reduce the disruption time. Once the templating has been completed, expect several days to a week for the countertops to actually be cut and installed. During this interval the Kitchen Design Center should install a temporary countertop and faucet so that your kitchen remains operational.

Though remodeling a kitchen can be a huge disruption to the homeowner, the finished product will quickly erase the brief inconvenience. Between its new and contemporary look and features, and the knowledge of making a sound investment, the homeowner will swiftly forget about the disruption as they fully enjoy their new kitchen.

Thanks for reading this home improvement blog!

Is Green Tax a con? And should you take down those energy saving lightbulbs?

For many people (including myself) I have over the last year made some vast improvements to my home in terms of making it more eco-friendly. Ways in which I did this were to turn off all stand by buttons, have a shower and not a bath, buy house plants and get new insulation within my walls and attic.

I was actually beginning to think I had changed the world. Until yesterday. I read an article in the newspaper about an interview with a Global Warming expert who basically is widely regarded as the best there is. Basically it was about how global warming has always happened - over millions and millions of years the worlds climate has shifted and all of this has 100% nothing to do with any Co2 emissions.

What!? Yep, you read this right - all the Co2 we humans produce is doing nothing to our climate - infact, he also said that global warming will happen and all we can do is prepare and stop wasting our time trying to help because nothing we do will help.

And so it begs the question why on earth are we getting taxed on how green our home is and why are people that suck up to the government by buying insulation directly through their third party businesses getting browny points. Well, I guess thats because the government issues them. Ching Ching < $ _ $ > << Thats Gordon Brown.

I have now completely replaced all my energy saving bulbs with normal ones - just for the fact that I may be spending 30p a month more but atleast I shall be able to see what I am doing, instead of knocking my Peace Lilly over (again, oops). What are all you loyal readers thinking? Its not to do with home improvement? Okay, sure. But figure this - now you won't have to bend over whenever Mr Gordon tells us to replace all bulbs and any other pointless green tactic he devises. I have left a link at the bottom of the page for you - read it. See the comments section? Yeah? Great, notice how everybody is so hacked off? Thats how I feel and thats how you should all feel. Oh well thats enough of a rant for me. Peace.


December 02, 2009

Color trends for 2010 take inspiration from a variety of social and economic influences. In addition, living space personalization continues to act as a driver for color change, with accent walls or niche areas appropriate for small doses of high impact, bold color, while using more subtle hues on broad wall areas.

Debbie Zimmer, paint and color expert with the Paint Quality Institute, states, "More and more homeowners are taking on the task of simple home projects to save money and improve their current space. Conversely, others are sprucing up in preparation for placing their home on the market."

Regardless of the purpose, a fresh coat of paint remains one of the most economical ways to accomplish all three. No matter what paint color is used, homeowners continue to strive for comfortable, tranquil home environments.

December 01, 2009

A touch of colour anybody?

An affordable new way to decorate windows and glass doors with the beauty of stained glass has been introduced by Wallpaper For Windows™! The Deco Tint™ collection features a decorator’s palette of 12 stained glass colors that can be arranged and combined to give a new look to existing windows and glass doors.

The picture above shows an example of just one of the options people could choose from. Each panel colour is available either as see through or 'privacy' which would be suitable for bedrooms and bathrooms.

The prices range from £14.95 - £99.95 which although could be pricey for some is vastly cheaper and more cost reductive than actual stained glass.

The panels can be used on glass doors, shower enclosures, cabinet doors or even glass tables for that extra spark. Each panel offers key UV protection from direct sunlight and offers everybody the opportunity to be a little bit creative. Another great feature is how easy Deco Tints are to measure, trim to size and apply; which requires only water and the included squeegee. The tint films are adhesive-free, so they can be removed and reapplied if needed.

If you would like to find out more go to www.wallpaperforwindows.com for a full list of products and the latest prices.

November 30, 2009

Have a safe Christmas

Please ensure you and your family stay safe this Christmas by checking your Smoke Alarms / Smoke Detectors are working properly.

If you have elderly neighbours, then show a little seasonal goodwill and check theirs are working too. They may not be able to reach and test them themselves. Be careful when reaching for alarms and use a proper stepladder etc to reach the alarms safely - the last thing you'll want this Christmas is a broken leg!

For full information on smoke alarm siting and maintenance, please visit this link:


Do not use a staple gun to attach your christmas lights

Well Durh! Sounds obvious enough doesn't it, but judging by the number of old staples around our fascias someone didn't heed the warnings about using those pesky staple guns to fix exterior Christmas lights to their house.

Staple guns are well known for piercing plastic covering and shorting the exposed wires within. We don't want any fires do we? We don't want hours spent looking for the point of the short to fix it either, nor do we want anybody getting electrocuted.

Why not use white or brown masking tape cut into 2x2 CM squares? If the tape is properly attached the lights will stay up all December!

Just a quick tip from us ahead of the weekend :).

November 29, 2009

Metal Garden Sheds from Asgards

I have decided that in order to fully call myself a 'green person' I must move my sustainability projects in to my garden. The first thing I realized when I stepped through my back door was my broken down wooden shed. Ahhh I thought as I walked up to it 'this has to go' - and over the next 2 hours I dismantled the spider-ridden behemoth and took it to my local skip.

I was utterly exhausted after this, and so decided to just head on home and take a look on the internet for some sheds. This is when I found a fantastic surprise - Metal Sheds.

Metal is far better for the environment than the use of wood as it lasts a good 5 years longer and increases the overall safety of you garden possessions. It also reduces the demand on the timber industry and so actively promotes sustainability.

As this home improvement blog is all about helping you make the right choice during a project I just feel the need to share with you the very affordable prices from Asgards. 

All products come with a 10 year guarantee and each and every one of them will be delivered to your door. I have just bought my Metal Garden Shed and so can finally call myself green!

5 ways to create a more sustainable home

There are so many adverts on television right now offering advice on how to cut down on your carbon footprint and 'save the planet' - political views aside I understand the need for eco-friendly housing and also the demands from consumers to businesses internationally to make everything more sustainable.

I was not the first person to jump on the band waggon - I was and am infact a huge sceptic of how us 'Humans' can stop global warming. I have however started doing certain things around my home which keeps the partner happy (she is a little bit of an activist).

Here are 5 ways that I have made my home more sustainable:

1. Buy house plants. Plants are natures way of cleaning the air and producing oxygen.

2. Get a high-performance shower head. This will use 60% less water and most are designed to produce the same feeling of water pressure.

3. Turn your washing machine down. Turning your Washing Machine heat down to 30.c will cut down your monthly cost and the amount of electricity used.

4. Shower more instead of bath. Bathing uses 79% more hot water than showering.

5. Reduce your thermostat by 10 degrees. Even for just the 8 hours your family is out at work or school, will save you another 10% on your energy bill.

So there we go. A small yet precise list for you blogaholics to ponder on :) Oh, and don't forget - I would be delighted for you to leave a comment on ways in which you have undergone home improvement and a home sustainability project.

Just doing my bit for the Polar Bears :)

November 28, 2009

Glass is the new black !

An article in the newspaper today suggested that within the next 10 years nearly all new buildings or 'sky-scrapers' are going to be made from glass! They even gave a brief 'artists' image of what London and New York may look like when this craze finally takes hold.

I must say that skyscrapers made out of glass sound fantastic, and you only have to take one small look at 'The Gherkin' in London to see why!

I have also seen an uprise in the number of old mills being turned into blocks of flats lately and they are beautiful. Home Improvement ? Sure. City and town improvement? Most definately.

I mean I love older more architecturally ripe designs but lately I have been seeing just how glass is going to shape our future. Lets just hope a window doesn't smash :O.

What are your views? Feel free to comment :)