web analytics

Simple Ways of Reducing Your Carbon Footprint at Home

With so many appliances, equipment and pieces of technology being used in our daily lives, it’s no secret that we’re all significantly contributing to climate change through the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere. Whilst you may not be able to save the world single-handedly, there are plenty of simple ways you can reduce your carbon footprint at home, and save yourself some money in the process!


Here are some of them…

Insulate your house. A significant amount of heat energy is lost through the walls and, in particular, the roof of your house. Installing both cavity wall insulation and loft insulation can help cut around £300 off your energy bills each year, as well as reducing your energy output. Some energy providers even offer free insulation when you sign up with them. Money Saving Expert has some good advice on this.

Replace your appliances. If your appliances and white goods are getting on a bit then there’s a good chance they’re not as energy efficient as they should be. Updating your appliances such as washing machine, dishwasher, etc, is a great way of reducing your carbon footprint, even though the initial outlay may be a little higher. There are some good offers and promotions around, however, such as the HiSpek Eco Campaign which saves you money when you trade in your old appliances.

Switch off electronics at the wall. It’s a tip that’s as old as time itself, but one that is still important to bear in mind. If you leave your electronics plugged in and switched on at the wall then they’re still using electricity. If possible, switch them off and unplug them to ensure they won’t be costing you any money. Just putting the TV on standby will still be wasting energy and costing you money.

Fill up your appliances. Before you use the dishwasher, washing machine or tumble dryer, make sure they’re as full as possible. Doing one big wash is a lot more energy efficient than doing lots of little washes and will save you a bit of time too.

Hang your clothes out to dry. You can try skipping the tumble dryer altogether by hanging your clothes out to dry naturally. Obviously this is harder to do if the weather isn’t great but is worth it if possible.

Turn the heating down. You could try leaving the heating off as much as possible and wrapping up warm, but if you do have the heating on, just turning it down by 1°C can save you up to £60 a year. Having the heating constantly on at a low heat is also more energy efficient than having it on for short blasts.

Stock up your fridge and freezer. Having your fridge and freezer fully stocked will save you energy as they have to work harder to stay cold if they’re empty.

Cook a few meals at a time. If you have the time, try cooking a few meals at once (much easier if they just use the oven) to save time energy over the course of several days. Similarly, you could cook a large meal that can be popped in the fridge or freezer and will serve you for a few days. There are some great recipe ideas here.


Read More

The best mattress for sex…

Yup, you read that right!

Can you believe that somewhere out there, some lucky buggers got to do months of research into the best type of mattress to have sex on, and they were allowed to say it was an actual real life job? I mean, some people get all the luck.

At the Love Master (liking the name) instead of focussing on getting a good sleep, they’ve put all their energy into creating a different kind of mattress, after all, a healthy sex life is just as important as sleep so why the hell not! What did their research discover you might ask. Well, read on…..

Most traction?
A good sex mattress needs to provide traction. A sinking-in effect, which allows for more efficiency of movement.
After plenty of action, our 5 mattress types revealed that memory foam was a winner for traction, however memory foam falls short in other areas and therefore love master provides traction primarily through it’s knitted cover and supported by the latex top cover which came second in the best for traction results.

The mattress should deliver a bouncing effect when compresses, as opposed to being solid and motion absorbing. Bouncing helps you get into a rhythm and increase enjoyment. The love master is designed with a base layer of 1000 pocket springs

A mattress needs to be energy absorbing, heavy and silent so that anyone in the next room is unaware. Memory foam is the most discrete, however it falls short in other areas. Love masters discretion comes from it’s energy absorbing latex top layer which came second in our results.

Is the mattress easy to move around on, after our vigorous testing, latex ended up on top so we designed the Love master with a 2cm top layer of Latex.

A durable mattress is one that can withstand repeated passionate use over several years without breaking, sagging or losing comfort and support. After years of passionate research and testing latex showed by far the most stamina. Lovemaster’s combination of 2cm latex top layer and the knitted cover will assure durability in the love master mattress.

Lovemaster are giving away mattresses this month to get some feedback on their latest technology. If you think you and your partner would make good testers then get in touch www.thelovemaster.co.uk

Read More

Dining Room Upgrade: Mixing Features And Materials For A Contemporary Look

How we use our dining rooms has evolved over the years. Formal dining has made way for casual and contemporary entertaining and eating with friends and family in a more relaxed way. Changes in attitude and lifestyles has meant that many of us are looking to give the dining area a modern makeover. That means creating and a dining room that is right on­trend with just the right mix of features and materials.

Contemporary kitchen ­diner
Look to create a contemporary kitchen­diner that has plenty of character and offers a really relaxed feel. If you want to create a real talking point amongst your guests and have some furniture that will stand the test of time, consider a set of 4 leg ant chairs by Arne Jacobsen. Check out the reproductions on the Swivel UK site.

Combine these distinctive chairs with a marble ­topped dining table and you will be well on the way to creating a look that will be right on ­trend and encourage a laid­ back casual dining atmosphere in an instant.

Regency red
If you want your dining room to stand out from the crowd then a mixture of regency red leather upholstery and a bold floral wallpaper for the walls will certainly do the job. A designer mirror on the wall that is large and commanding enough to make a difference, combined with a starburst chandelier inspired by the ones that were at the New York Metropolitan Opera House, will all help to make dining feel classic yet ultra­modern at the same time.

Homage to modernity
Create a distinctive space where you can definitely say that modernity is the look that you were going for. This can be achieved with a combination of a Mod chandelier, some crisp white walls, a classic white plastic circular dining table and some contrasting Eero Saarinen Tulip white plastic chairs with red upholstery for visual contrast.

If you are working with a kitchen diner layout rather than a separate dining room, some sheer curtains to create an entrance, will work well.

Easy on the eye
If you want a dining room that is very easy on the eye and also has a distinctly contemporary feel despite having its design roots set in the past, here is one way to achieve that look. Go for an oval breakfast style table with an eggshell finish that encourages informality, with a quirky 1950’s style brass chandelier above. Have some low units against the wall that match the dining table and to complete the look with a neutral palette, some Charles Eames fibreglass chairs.

Dramatic contemporary
Floor ­to ­ceiling drapes will add not just warmth but a sense of drama to your dining room.
Using curtains and material to close off a space will help to create a classy looking dining room with a 1960’s inspired chandelier as the show piece item that grabs your attention. Bronzed glass and a contemporary painting of your choice will complete the look of modern luxury.

Whatever suits your lifestyle, you are certain to be able to find the right features and materials to create a dining area that is unique to you.

Josh Burke has a knack for functional and stunningly designed spaces. With years of experience revitalizing bedrooms, basements, and bathrooms, he loves blogging about inspirations and design tips for modern homeowners’ needs.


Read More

Parental Pressures {GP}

Children are expensive. Food, toys, clothing and more expensive bills soon tot up, and before you know it the £20 you had at the end of last month has gone halfway through this one.

For a parent who may only be working part-time or not at all, the temptation to grab some quick cash from a payday loan company can sometimes be too much to bear, especially through the internet – where you don’t even need to reveal your problems to others face-to-face.
But complacency, or forgetfulness, or new unwelcome costs, or pure avoidance of the truth, can soon push payment further backwards.
A simple loan of a few hundred pounds becomes a thousand, a thousand becomes several thousands, and the net becomes inescapable.
A new report by The Children’s Society and Stepchange Debt Charity stated that almost 1.4 million families in the UK with children have ‘problem debt’, with 2.5 million children living in families behind with their bills.
A quick internet search will reveal horror stories of mums and dads forced into desperate measures, begging for help as realisation dawns that the amount cannot be paid. And there are varying accounts of the level of sympathy of the lenders.
Had the borrowers sought that help before taking the loan the solution may be much clearer.
That’s where the Money Advice Service can help, with its comprehensive list of alternative solutions to the possible perils of utilising a payday lender.
It can help point you towards other options and advice, financial help, or a less destructive loan for your wallet and self-esteem.

An infographic brought to you by Money Advice Service

Read More

Popular Financial Resolutions for the New Year ~ gp

Now that the New Year has arrived, it could be a good time to think about whether you want to work towards any resolutions. This is the time where many people consider everything from losing weight to giving up smoking, but could you pick something with a financial angle instead? For some reason, many of us tend to avoid the topic as we don’t want to face up to reality – whether it is how much debt we are in, or how much we end up spending on new clothes each month. Either way, it could be the ideal time for you to get a grip on your finances, whatever your end goal is.

If you need a push in the right direction to get started, have a read of these popular financial resolutions to see whether any of them might apply to you…

Pay off debts
There are many people who have taken out multiple lines of credit but now want to take control of their finances – are you one of them? When the temptation of credit cards is there, it can be hard to stop yourself spending; this often leaves you with large monthly payments that only grow when interest is applied. There are a number of possible solutions for paying off debts; one is to make larger monthly payments so the debt is paid off more quickly, or you could think about debt consolidation. Providers like Zopa offer a loan that could be helpful for debt consolidation; the idea is that you could achieve a lower interest rate, as well as only needing to pay one creditor as opposed to all of the ones you pay currently – you can read more about this online.

Save money
Then again it might be the case that you are more interested in saving up money instead. There are many reasons why people choose this as a resolution, but some of the more common ones include wanting to buy a house, getting a new car, doing home renovations, or even just saving up for a rainy day. There is no ‘one way’ that people save; it is simply about putting by what you can afford to, and depositing it in a safe place. You can get more information about saving from the Money Advice Service, or by speaking to an impartial financial adviser.

Receive money
In some cases, it might even be possible that you are owed money from people or organisations. Sometimes the New Year is the time that people decide they are going to seek the funds that they have been due, whether for a couple of weeks or even years previously. When all added together, debts owed to you can come to a fair amount, which is why some people think that the effort put in is worth it. However this could also act as an opportunity for you to reconsider whether you would lend money to a friend or family member in the future if you are unsure about getting any cash back off them.

Whatever way you do it, focus on taking control of your finances this year.

Read More

Great Ways to Brighten Up Your Home in 2014 ~ gp

In January and February, many people get the urge to rip out their existing décor and start all over again. Perhaps it’s something to do with that post-Christmas feeling, where everything looks a bit faded, or perhaps it’s because nothing really compares to the glamour and glitter of the festive season.

Whatever the reason, you can guarantee that hundreds of thousands of homemakers will be heading to the shops to buy the newest edition of various glossy Interior Design magazines, seeking inspiration.

If you are one of the many who need some fresh ideas, then read on for some styling tips that can turn your home from shabby to chic in a few simple steps!

Have a Tidy Up
This tip costs approximately nothing but will make a huge difference. Set aside a morning where you know you won’t be disturbed, and blitz the house from top to bottom. Old ornaments, tired photo frames, odd bits and pieces you have collected over the years, they can all either go to their final resting place, or be placed in a box for safekeeping. Ah, space!

Move It!
Again, moving stuff around is completely free, which is a blessing after Christmas. Rearranging the sofas, the dining room furniture, or the children’s bedrooms instantly makes the room feel fresher and more appealing. Just don’t do your back in.

Add a Splash of Colour
This year, interior design trends feature lots of bright colours, set against a neutral backdrop. So why not jazz up your living room by adding in some vibrant cushions, throws or prints? You can always take them out again if you’re not convinced. Alternatively, if you’re feeling really brave, you could paint a feature wall!

Invest in Vintage
It’s time to drag the other half and the kiddies down to the antiques centre, because 2014 is the year of vintage and one-off items of furniture. Entice guests into the house with a 1930s rosewood dresser, or fascinate family and friends with a restored Victorian sideboard. You will be the ‘hostess with the mostest’!

That’s right, it seems that floral patterns were not content to remain confined to the catwalk and are now making their way into your house. Don’t worry; we don’t mean that you should change your lounge into a 1930s sitting room. Instead, choose big, bold patterns that will make your room look highly eclectic and sophisticated. Get wallpapering!

Glamour, Darling
It’s all about Hollywood glamour this year – we’re talking reds, golds, silver and black all over the house. So throw on a floor length gown, drape your bedroom in red velvet and even do something extraordinary like shop online to buy a hot tub and all its necessary parts to while away the winter evenings. You will feel chilled out in no time!

Hopefully, these ideas have given you some inspiration for how you can give your home a makeover this winter. In no time at all your house will feel all shiny and new, ready for whatever the year may bring!

Read More