Article Categories

The Ultimate Guide to Acclimatizing Wood Flooring
On the Benefits that Alfalfa and Cotton Seeds Bring
The Bathroom
The Benefits of Installing a New Bathroom
The Home
Add Some Fire to Your Life
The Kitchen
Protecting Your Kitchen Worktop

Steps to Selecting a Quick House Sale Firm

  in  The Home
When selecting a quick house sale company, you must ensure that you make an informed decision. Here are some quick tips to help you choose a quick house sale company:
  • Do an independent valuation - Get three estate agent to give you independent valuations of your property after which you can compare with what the quick house sale company is offering.
  • Take your time - While it is true that you may need to sell off your property quickly, do not rush to make a decision. Rather, take your time to understand the terms and be sure that you are not risking anything.
  • Get everything in writing - You should desist from accepting verbal assurances so that you have something to fall back on in the event that things go wrong.
  • Shop around - You will do well to shop around for different quick house sale companies carefully comparing their terms and what they offer before picking on one that you will work with.
  • Negotiate - There is no harm in negotiating the price of the terms of sale to your advantage.
  • Get an independent solicitor - Although quick house sale companies offer solicitor services, it is important to consider engaging an independent solicitor to guide you through the legal jargon and ensure that you do not miss anything.
While at it, ensure that you read the agreement carefully so that you understand what you are required to sign and the implications on the sale.
  • Look up for the company's credentials - It is important to establish if the company is the actual buyer or they will pass your details to a third party buyer. Find out if the company is a member of the National Association of Property Buyers (NAPB) as you will have the right of redress in case anything goes wrong.
  • Be honest - Be sure to give accurate information without leaving important things that might result in hold-ups further down or even cause a reduction in the price.
  • Avoid long tie-ins - Refrain from signing agreements that tie you to the quick house sale company for a long time. Generally, your contract should not last longer than 12 weeks hence you will do even better to use a company that does not have tie-ins at all.
  • Look at the survey - In the event that the company that you are using decides to reduce the offer price, you need to find out why and look at the survey findings.
  • Refrain from committing too early in the process - Although you may have a pressing need to you need finances to settle, refrain from signing the dotted line until all the legal checks and surveys are done and you have received the final offer in writing.
It is important to take time to understand the terms of engagement before signing the contract. Most importantly, ensure that you have your interests covered to that you have a channel for redress in case of a dispute.

Top Tips For Clearing Blocked Drains

  in  The Home
There are few things that are as unpleasant as the experience of blocked drains. Whether it is the nuisance of slowly emptying sinks, unpleasant smells or worse, drains backing up and returning their contents to the kitchen or bathroom, blocked drains are horrible. So what can be done to try and avoid blocked drains and the unpleasantness it brings?

Watch for the signs

While preventing the drains in your home or business from becoming blocked is always the best option, recognising the signs of a problem before it escalates can be crucial. If you think there is a blocked drain, it is always best to get in touch with an expert who will have equipment including CCTV systems to check drains, find the problem and sort it.Common signs include water draining slowly from a sink or bath as well as toilets filling up too quickly as waste doesn't flow away through the pipe. If any water-based appliance is used and water appears elsewhere at the same time, then drains may be blocked. The smells of blocked drains are unmissable and extremely unpleasant, where rotting debris isn't moving down the system and causes smells. Sounds can also indicate a problem. Listen for gurgling noises at drains and plug holes as this is caused by air gets trapped in pipes by a blockage.

Preventing blocked drains in the bathroom

In the bathroom, one of the top causes of blocked drains is hair so preventing this from reaching the plughole is a good move. Clean the plug area regularly and even consider a cover to help catch debris before it enters the drains.Items falling into the toilet and even down the sink is another common cause (mobile phones being a top culprit!) so keep these items away from potential risk. If they aren't close to the sink or toilet, there's no chance they can fall into them.

The kitchen
Grease and fat from cooking is a top problem in kitchens, both at home and in catering businesses. Therefore, ensuring this is removed before washing pans and dishes can help stop this problem before it gets started. While these substances may be liquid when they go down, they cool and congeal, causing a blockage. If you have to wash fat down the drain, mix it with detergent first to stop it solidifying.Small scraps of food can also cause blockages so ensure you clear plates into the rubbish bin before doing the washing up. A few scraps may not seem much of a problem but they can accumulate and cause a blockage.


Problems with the drains sometimes comes from outside the house, not inside. In autumn, for example, debris from trees and shrubs can fall into drains, rot and cause a blockage. Use drain covers to ensure nothing can fall into the drains.Guttering and drain pipes are designed to carry water from the roof to the drains but can also take debris along for the ride. Therefore, regularly clearing these out is an important preventative step, especially during autumn and winter when there is more debris and usually more water flowing through the system.

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The Benefits of Fire Doors, Beyond The Obvious!

  in  The Home
I think we can all agree that Firedoors are lifesavers. They are designed to prevent the spreading of fires throughout a building to allow an easy and safe exit.

Firedoors themselves are solid timber frames that contain an intumescent seal that is designed to expand at temperatures over 200 degrees, which ultimately seal the gaps between the doors.

This in itself is a huge reason to select a Fire Door if you happen to be door shopping! However, there are also many other reasons as to why Fire doors are desirable, not only from a practical standpoint, but also from an aesthetic standpoint also.

Fire doors have the primary function of protection for you in your home, place of work or where ever you may be. But the question arises, as to why buy them in the first place? Well, oak is one of the finest timbers to use for internal doors. It visually looks more appealing, which gives it a prime finish and look.

Oak doors can add a sense of style and luxury to your interior decor, as they almost compliment all flooring types perfectly, adding to the feel to your home. Here are a few more reasons on why to buy Oak Fire Doors:-
  • Tough & Robust - Oak material is generally tougher and stronger than others - which make them ideal fire doors. These doors are made to a high standard, where the emphasis is on longevity.
  • Long Lasting - Oak generally last longer than other materials and is also more resistant to wear and tear because of its robust nature. It will look just as good over the span of many years as from the day it was first installed.
  • Better Insulating properties - Because of the robust nature of oak finishes, they generally keep a room better insulated, reducing the air that cold air that can come into a room.
  • Noise Reduction - again, due to fire doors being stronger and tougher in nature, they generally keep noise levels down from the outside. Now don't worry, you will still hear the doorbell! The oak can shield any unwanted noise that may arise.
So as can be seen, there are some excellent practical benefits of Internal Fire Doors. For any further information on Firedoors or any other particular style of doors, visit our website

Guide to Refrigerated Wine Cabinets

  in  The Home
Refrigerated wine cabinets are a viable alternative to wine racks they allow you to store your wine collection in a cooled space. They provide the ideal conditions as a short- or long-term solution. You can serve wine at the right temperature. Many variants also offer a great way to showcase your collection. These cabinets are a terrific addition to any kitchen or wine room. An under-counter wine cabinet or fridge chills your wine collection appropriately. It provides the necessary (adjustable) cooling in a compact structure that is ideal for bars, kitchens and other spaces. Under-counter cabinets are available in two configurations: the single and 2/3 temperature sections. Choice of configuration depends on wine storage requirements. The same applies to positioning the preferred spot should allow easy access. The appliances are suitably designed allowing them to fit snugly in the compact spaces without compromising holding capacity. The colour or style of under-counter wine cabinet should complement the décor of the room it occupies.

Create the ideal conditions
As a constantly developing drink, wine requires a favourable environment to thrive. It reacts either positively or negatively depending on its surroundings. For wine to mature properly, you should invest in a good cabinet. If the conditions are too warm, wine ages faster and too cold, deposits may start forming. To ensure that the cork remains moist, store bottles on one side this helps block air from entering. Sparkling wines and screw cap bottles should always be stored upright. The volume of your collection influences the ideal carrying capacity of a refrigerated wine cabinet. The bigger the collection, the larger the cabinet required. Additionally, consider the type of wine bottles in your collection. The majority of units have the capacity to store Bordeaux-size bottles.

Champagne or Burgundy bottles are much wider and take more space, thus limiting the number of bottles you can store.

Storage temperature requirements
The storage temperature requirements of red and white wines vary considerably. The ideal storage temperatures for reds hover between 12 and 16 degrees Celsius whereas white wines should be stored at 10 to 12 degrees Celsius. Top-of-the-range wine cabinet models allow you to set independent temperatures within the unit. This makes it possible to dedicate the bottom shelf to the champagne bottles while the claret occupies the top shelf. With cheaper models, you will have to compromise since they provide a single temperature control setting. In this case, you should increase or lower the temperature before drinking. Another critical aspect in wine storage is humidity control. If the incabinet conditions are too dry, the corks will lose their moisture allowing air to enter. Excessively damp conditions lead to the formation of mould. High-end wine cabinets maintain the ideal humidity in addition to keeping unit well ventilated. Some advanced units come with charcoal filters to prevent contamination. Fan cooled refrigeration helps maintain idyllic conditions by ensuring that whenever the door is open, the cabinet recovers its interior temperature. It eliminates any in-cabinet odours in the process while ensuring that the wine remains untainted.

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Hard Water Can Give Your Home and Health a Hard Time

  in  The Home
Hard water - water which contains a high mineral content, with high levels of calcium and magnesium carbonate - can produce negative effects - to your pipes, electrical appliances, clothes and even your health. This article will look at the various consequences of hard water, and ways in which it can be softened.

Pipes & Heating
Hard water's effects on your home's pipes is insidious because the symptoms can take a while to show - and by that time, quite a lot of work may be necessary to ensure your home's plumbing is back in full working order. So what can go wrong? Calcium deposits can reduce water pressure (through clogging) as well as coat heating elements in the water heater - making heating less effective. By the time these symptoms appears, they can be expensive to remedy.

Electrical Appliances
The limescale build-up on heating elements rears its ugly head again when it comes to appliances like washing machines that rely on heat to wash. Limescale makes such heating less effective when its deposits build up on the heating elements. The limescale can also coat hoses and seals, causing them to rot.

Hard water can embed mineral deposits into the fibres of your clothes, literally hardening the clothes - in turn causing secondary problems such as itchiness and can exacerbate skin conditions such as eczema.

While hard water can have some negligible health benefits via its calcium and magnesium constituents, it can cause a number of skin problems - from irrtation to wrinkles, lines, rosacea, acne, enlarged pores and skin inflammation.

How can we soften our hard water?
You'll need to install a water softening machine into your home's plumbing. This device will help eliminate the calcium and magnesium deposits by "trading" them with sodium - a process known as ion exchange. The machine will use descaling salt as the source of sodium

The Benefits of Installing a New Bathroom

  in  The Bathroom
Most people can tolerate their old, traditional bathrooms - they're familiar to the point that everything can be found in the dark. The old bathroom kind of becomes yet another room you no longer pay attention to. However, the moment you realise not just how good a newly designed bathroom can look, but how much money it can save you, a change of bathroom becomes a compelling project for many home owners.


More Economical
With expert guidance - from the likes of a company such as Twyford who specialise in bathrooms designs - you will see your water bills reduced when you replace your old bathroom with a new economical one - less wasteful toilet flushes (via dual flush), and smart water saving taps and mixers that are also less wasteful of water. Finally, water saving baths have a lower volume capacity, but still offer the luxurious bathing experience. Even replacing small bathrooms can really make a difference to your water bills.

A rimless toilet means nowhere for germs to hide, and a toilet that's easy to clean. New bathrooms use modern bathroom products that are far easier to keep clean than older bathrooms - making it easy to retain their new look for many years after installation.


Better Looking
Let's face it - a big reason we want a new bathroom is because they look so good. You look forward to using it, and dare I say - even cleaning it.

Adds Value to Your Home
Like any home improvement project, it should be seen as an investment, not simply a cost. Typically, a new bathroom will add value to your home in excess of the money you've paid for your bathroom. It also makes your home easier to sell.



Before undertaking the project of installing a new bathroom design, you must consider a number of things, including utilisation of space, ventilation and heating, water economy and electrics.

Utilisation of Space
A new bathroom gives you the chance to start from scratch. If your current bathroom has a bath that rarely gets used (and is merely a place to stand for a shower), maybe you could forgo a bath, and just install a shower cubicle instead - creating more space in the bathroom. The same goes for cabinets - empty cabinets mean you need LESS cabinets in the new design. And remember, space doesn't have to be filled - it can be nice to have some empty space so move around easily in your bathroom, and space saving bathrooms help you achieve that. Also, consider space saving toilets to create that extra bit of space.

Ventilation and Heating
Ventilation is a big one - get that wrong, and you could find mould growing in your bathroom before long. It's important to ensure effective ventilation is part of the new bathroom's design. Heating is a big consideration in winter. Towel radiators are a good addition to a newly designed bathroom.

Water Economy
We touched on this earlier as a benefit, but remember to emphasise this in the design stage. Work out how much water the household uses and the areas it could save the most in - and see if the new design can really help reduce water consumption for your home.

Ensure you use a professional installer for your new bathroom who understands the latest IEE Wiring Regulations. The bathroom is an especially important consideration for safe electrics, with ample water splashed around the room.

More inspiration and ideas for your new bathroom can be found here:-

My Garden Has My Full Attention

  in  Gardening
It's the 1st of June, and despite the rather chilly weather in the UK, it's actually the start of the meteorological summer today. I like to tend to my garden at this time of year - it's in full bloom and the lush colours of my plants and bushes really help keep me there - either with a trowel in my hand, or perhaps later on....a book, or even a glass of wine - relaxing in my chair.

I love watching the colours of my garden subtly change as the sun slowly sets and twilight turns imperceptibly into darkness. On the warmer nights, I like to remain outside after sunset - relying on the LED garden lights I purchased at (in my dotage, I've actually become accustomed to buying things online - it gives me even more time to potter around in the garden rather than in shopping aisles!). The lights on my decking come in handy when I'm moving from indoors to outdoors and vice versa. However, sometimes I might even keep the lights off to enjoy the night's sky if it's cloudless.

Even when I'm indoors, I'm often thinking about the next day's gardening jobs. I check the weather reports to anticipate the best times to be doing the biggest tasks.

It's not just the creativity I love about tending a garden, but the exercise too. I actually have a manual lawnmower - it's powered by nothing more than my own muscle power. It's so much more satisfying when the grass is cut.

Overall, I see my property as garden first, house second - well, during spring and summer at least! Come the autumn, and I feel a sense of loss as I bed the garden down for the winter. Then again, the winter gives me ample time to make plans for the following spring...!

A Look at Task Lighting, Background Lighting and Ambient Lighting

  in  The Home
There's more to lighting than merely illuminating a room. Lighting should serve a specific purpose - perhaps to add to ambience to a room, or just add some background level light, or a task-orientated light - perhaps a spotlight on a desk for reading. This article looks at these three reasons to add lighting to a room.

Task Lighting
Task lighting is arguably the most straight-forward. You set up your lighting based in a specific task - for example, reading from a desk, watching television, or working with a laptop. This type of lighting is practical, and should be setup so that the task that's being lit can be carried out optimally. It doesn't mean aesthetic considerations shouldn't be made (it's not an "either or" situation here between aesthetics and practicalities) - but the top priority is to light the task at hand in the best way possible.

Background Lighting
Background lighting is the type of lighting you're probably most familiar with - this light fills the entire room, and is typically fulfilled by a ceiling light. It's important to get the right intensity/wattage of bulb for this type of lighting. If a room is too bright or too dim, it can cause headaches / tiredness. Even better, get a dimmer switch so you can control the brightness to your exact liking.

Ambient Lighting
This is by far the most creative aspect to lighting a room. Here the goal is to achieve a mood, not necessarily fulfil a practical need for light. Ambient lighting demands creativity - try different coloured lights, different intensities, different directions of light with carefully placed lamps. This kind of lighting can really transform a room, turning it from something utilitarian and "cold" to a much warmer and colourful place. Moreover, you can create a different mood for each room - one perhaps for relaxation, or one for inspiration. By creating a mood to alter your own mood, we're moving into the realms of feng shui - the art of harmonizing the mood of the surroundings with the mood of the inhabitants (and vice versa).

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On the Benefits that Alfalfa and Cotton Seeds Bring

  in  Gardening
You may not be aware of this, but the humble alfalfa plant is a cornerstone of agriculture. How so? It's used as a feed for beef cattle, horses, sheep, and goats. The alfalfa plant has a high protein content and so is a great addition to any farm animal's diet - greatly aiding in agricultural efficiency. Alfalfa is also a great fibre source too for rabbits and poultry. Having said that, alfalfa sprouts CAN be eaten by humans - normally in salads and sandwiches.

Alfalfa is normally harvested three or four times a year, but can be harvested up to twelve times a year in warmer, drier climates.

Alfalfa has other benefits too - it's considered an "insectary" - that is, it's a place where insects colonise, which in turn aids other types of crops, like cotton. These insects help protect the secondary crop (such as cotton seeds) and thus the benefit of growing alfalfa is realised.

Pollinators such as honey bees are required to pollinate alfalfa, and they are often trucked in to ensure alfalfa can be pollinated in huge quantities they're harvested at.

Cotton Seeds
Cotton seeds are another excellent source of food for livestock. The cotton seeds have to be crushed in the mill after removing lint from the cotton plant. The remaining seeds provide a high-protein source for animal livestock, which - like the aforementioned alfalfa, help increase agricultural efficiency.

There are other uses cotton seeds can be used for:-
  • cotton seed oil which can be used for cooking and salad dressings
  • cotton seed can be used as a dry organic fertilizer
  • cosmetic products
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How to Affordably Say Goodbye to Inferior Interior

  in  The Home
Everyone wants to update their home, but not everyone can afford to make it as luxurious and fancy as they would like it to be. This is a sad realisation that people have to accept, especially given the growing cost of living in regards to mortgages,utilities, vehicles, gas, and etc.

Thankfully, there are some very easy ways that you can go about changing out your interior design without having to take out a second mortgage on your home.

To take advantage of these, you must be willing to think outside of the norm. Not in the sense of being super creative, but rather you need to find unique ways to obtain style ideas. This may seem like a no-brainer, but many look at other ideas merely for fun and not with an analytic mind-set.

How You Can Transform a Room on a Budget

First things first, you want to scavenge the Internet to find as many interior design pictures as you can. This will help you with figuring out which particular themes you like and which themes suit the size of your room. It will also give you an idea on what furniture works well with certain wall colours, decorations, and etc.

You can buy second hand home furniture if you want to get the most luxurious pieces you can afford. Buying used furniture is not always a bad thing. After all, the fancier the furniture the better taken care of it will be. So if you can afford a nice furniture chain store piece brand new, you should be able to afford a used luxurious furniture piece.

Buying home furniture is the first actual step that should be taken, unless you plan to invest in new flooring. Once the furniture is purchased, you can then think about how you can change the rest of the room to fit a certain theme. This is where referencing the images you found will come in handy.

Gathering Design Ideas

There are many ways you can go about gathering luxurious interior design ideas. You can look on Pinterest, Google images, and even watch checkout HGTV Dream Homes. Watching shows based on interior decorating and renovating can help too as you get a full view of the rooms. The only issue is that you will spend the better part of half an hour or an hour examining one design scheme.

When you look at these pictures, you may be discouraged. The homes are huge and architecturally magnificent. Your home isn't a multi-million dollar home like many of these. But not to worry, you just want to get a feel for the theme and setting that the room has when it's designed at this calibre. You can then try to work your own fluent theme with luxurious touches as you see fit.

The Accents Matter

From the colour of your walls to the look and power of your lighting fixtures, every small detail counts. They will make or break how the design of the room flows. If you want to make sure that the entire room is stunning when you are done decorating, definitely put some focus on the accent furniture, lighting, and decorations that you buy. Also keep in mind the general theme you are shooting for so nothing seems out of place.