Get your garden ready to party

Outdoor spaces really do come into their own during the good weather and despite the British weather being at its temperamental best this year, 67% of us will use our garden for entertaining guests during the summer months. If your garden is shouting out for some TLC before your summer guests arrive, read our top five tips to get your garden ready to party.

Make sure your garden is ready for summer Continue reading

Home & Self Improvement Tips – LifeHacks

We all love efficiency and saving money so anything we can do to help save someone time, money, and in some cases the environment by recycling, then we are more than happy to help. Below we have listed a few tips to quickly improve your lifestyle without having to buy expensive alternatives. These Tips are usually commonly known as LifeHacks on the internet and we have selected our first few favorites we came across as well as a few of our own. Some of the sources of these Tips are from the wonderful community at Reddit and the well known YouTube channel HouseHold Hacker.

Removing a screw with a damaged head

Place a rubber Band over the head of the screw, then get your screwdriver in over the top, press hard and start unscrewing, and it should just come right out.

Diffuse a scent into a room with ease

Spray a small amount of perfume or essential oil onto a cold light bulb in your room. Soon after turn it on, the heat from the light will the diffuse the scent into the room.

Make your own DIY Phone or Tablet Stylus

Cut a small Square out of an empty crispy packet, give it a quick wipe off and roll it into a cone shape. Tape it to the end of a pen or even your finger and hey presto, an instant free stylus, plus the cost of crisps of course, but they are an acceptable expense.

Natural Paint Remover

Got some oil based paint on your hands while painting around the house? No problem, easily remove it with a few drops of olive oil, rub the olive oil into your skin and rinse with soap and water, the paint should come right off. This also works using mayonnaise.

Take More On Your Picnic

Instead of filling your cooler with ice, simply freeze the bottles of water you take for drinking and use that to keep your food cold. By the time you reach your picnic spot your drinks will be thawed and your food still cold.

Unclogging a shower head naturally

Got a clogged shower head, simply fill a large bowl with vinegar, remove the shower head and give it a good dunk for about 15 minutes. After its vinegar bath, re-attach the shower head and it should be unclogged.

Cleaning windows with lemon juice or vinegar

Got some lemon juice in the fridge from a recent pancake day or some vinegar from a recent trip to the chippy? Why not use it to clean you windows? The citric acid in lemon juice will help to break down any grime and keep your windows shiny. With vinegar the Acetic acid does the same as the lemon juice and gives it a really good sparkle.

Breaking an envelopes seal without damaging it

Take the envelope and place it in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Afterwards, open the envelope with ease. When its defrosted, re-seal with ease.

Finding Bad Eggs

Place the egg in a bowl of water, bad eggs float, good eggs sink. Simple!

Freshen up a stinky dish sponge

Take the dank and smelly sponge, add a small bit of water, add a small bit of washing up liquid and put it in the microwave for a few minutes, afterwords your sponge should be dry and smell really nice.

Automatic Toilet Cleaner

Cleaning the toilet can be a drag, why not ease the pain by dropping in a few antacid’s and watch them fizz the dirt away. Give it a flush and hey presto, one clean toilet. You can usually find antacids in your local chemist and they are used to settle your stomach, solve heartburn, ease acid indigestion. They are frequently at the back of many peoples home closet of pills and potions.

A quick DIY cookbook holder

Need something to hold your cookbook in the kitchen? Try a clothes hanger used for holding trousers, the clips make it perfect for clipping a lightweight book to and hanging from a kitchen cabinet.

Freshen A Room With Coffee

Why buy expensive air freshener, if you like the smell of roasted coffee beans, take a small bowl and fill it with some coffee beans, place a Tea-light in the centre and light. Then gradually let the fragrance fill the room, Until you have drank all your coffee that is.

Four top tips to prepare your garden for the summer

~ by Irene Jones

Attire

Correct clothing is one of the most important aspects of preparing to spend some time in the garden. Remember that if we have a good summer, temperatures should climb so you will want to be adequately protected while not sweating. Finding the correct balance between gardening safely and not getting too hot during the summer can be tough but we plan to make this a little easier for you. Lets start at the bottom and work our way up. On the feet we recommend not getting bogged down by wearing full sized wellies which may limit your movement. Instead of full sized wellies, try these excellent and supportive short ankle wellies. I always find that jeans work best for me as they are durable and strong enough to keep scratches from your legs, however, in the summer these might not be appropriate so go for something a little lighter. With regards to the upper body, a thin long sleeved t-shirt works well. Remember to grab some lightweight gardening gloves and a nice summer hat to complete your attire.

Storage

Efficiency while gardening is a must and there is nothing more important than storage. If your shed looks like the image below then you might struggle. Try to work tidily and put things away once you have finished with them and you could end up with a much better shed. The cleaner your shed is, the easier it is to work efficiently. In an ideal world it would be nice to achieve the second image below.

Poor shed storage

Good shed storage

Plan

Preparation is the key. Plan which flowers you would like to plant and where, once this is decided then go and buy the seeds in advance of starting the work. I always find that a drawing helps, I’m not great at drawing by any means but it can help to get your ideas on-to paper and it can be useful to come back to once complete. Ensure all your tools are in working order, if not then make sure you go out and buy the correct tools early – there is nothing more frustrating than starting a project and then realising that you don’t have the correct tools to finish; causing a trip to the shops. Take a look at your calendar, see if you have anything booked and prepare your first gardening day around your plans. I once completely forgot that I had a wedding to attend and realised after I had got changed into my gardening gear and had the lawnmower out ready to start – call it old age!

Bio

Irene JonesIrene Jones is an avid gardener in her spare time, during the day she reviews and critiques garden & outdoor equipment for a British manufacturer of industrial supplies.

She has 40 years experience in landscape gardens and has enjoyed being employed to look after some huge landscape projects for many public gardens in the UK. Nowadays she enjoys walking in gardens with her grandchildren more than working on them but the passion still has deep roots. If you would like to get in touch with Irene, you can find her on Google+.