Choose Category A, B or C rated windows and doors that comply with the Energy Saving Trust, to help save money on heating and fuel bills, improve building energy efficiency, help prevent energy and heat loss and reduce carbon footprint. Or choose wood-framed windows rather than UPVC or metal. They are easier to repair, more insulating, last a lifetime and are less polluting than the cheaper UPVC (unplasticised poly vinyl chloride), from which many domestic window frames are made, which emits toxic compounds.
Choose recycled or upcycled items to use as plant pots, garden decorations or even garden furniture. The following sites have some great ideas if you are looking for inspiration about how to make garden furniture from used pallets, a child’s swing from a used tyre or plant pots from old wellies:
Invest in solar panels and insulate your loft and cavity walls– using natural or recycled materials where possible. The cost of this will soon be recuperated in reduced energy bills.
Swap your showerhead for a low-flow version. Standard showerheads use 4-6 gallons per minute but water-efficient low flow showerheads use only 1.5 -2 gallons per minute. In one year, a family of four can save up to 18,200 gallons of water. Or you can simply attach a shower flow regulator, like the one below from Amazon, for less than £6, to any existing shower hose. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flow-Regulator-Shower-Hose-Option/ and use a water resistant shower curtain made of cloth rather than vinyl, or install a glass door, as plastic curtains are not recyclable and end up in landfills.
On average, having a bath uses three times more water than having a shower, so where possible choose a shower instead of a bath but if you do have a bath then be more efficient by scooping up the water to use in your garden once you are finished.
Swap your toilet for a modern high-efficiency version, which use less than 2 gallons per flush or even better use a dual flush system with a button for large flushes, using approximately 1.6 gallons and a button for small flushes, using only 0.9 gallons.
Buy an eco-kettle. Most kettles use a ridiculous amount of electricity and most people boil enough water to make six cups of tea when they only need one. Eco-kettles are more energy-efficient and will save you money on your energy bills.
Make sure your electrical appliances are energy efficient – you can research this using energystar.gov Try to limit your use of dishwashers and dryers by using a clothes maid and hand washing dishes.
Choose paint low in volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are harmful chemicals found in many paints and stains.
For other ideas and inspiration, check out these 5 websites:
If you’ve come home unexpectedly to find a letterbox on your wall that you didn’t put there, the please be aware. Fraudsters are glusing fake letter boxes to houses to steal bank details.
Several residents in Chorlton have reported that new letterboxes have been mysteriously appearing against their doorways and porches, in some cases the number of the resident’s house has been roughly painted on to the letterbox with the residents having no idea how they got there.
Scam letterbox glued to wall
Police are now investigating the situation as to whether the boxes are being deliberately placed to get a hold of resident’s banks statements and personal information, allowing access to the resident’s bank accounts and steal all the money within and more.
Concerned residents have been issuing warnings on social media sites such as Facebook to other members of the public to make sure they don’t fall into the same trap. One resident in particular opened up the letterbox to find a bank statement from TSB bank confirming an agreement of a £1000 overdraft even though she has never been with the bank in her life.
Another resident who immediately reported it to the police posted on a social media site: ‘Look out for post boxes like this suddenly appearing on your porch, probably with your house number on as well, also with a mess on the wall (Picture included) indicating where it was glued on and ripped off. The postman was fooled by the fake letterboxes where he put the letters in it including two from TSB bank with confirmation of £600 being taken out and an £1000 overdraft agreement’.
GMP have finally spoken and said ‘We are currently investigating incidents that have been reported to us of post boxes potentially being used to intercept bank notes and mail. We encourage people to stay vigilant and be on the lookout for any suspicious activity around your neighbourhood and if so to report to the police on 101 where you believe that any further incidents believing letters may have been intercepted or tampered with.
What makes famous houses and estates worthy of their prestige? It’s simple: they’ve mastered the art of curb appeal by capturing our attention at first glance. Painstakingly designed, maintained, and restored, home enthusiasts can find inspiration for their own improvement projects in these much-loved marvels.
Anne Hathaway Cottage – Stratford-Upon-Avon
It’s easy to see why this 600-year-old cottage, located in the hamlet of Shottery, attracts thousands foreign and domestic visitors each year. The childhood home of Shakespeare’s wife has influenced so many people that replicas have been built in Australia, Canada, and the United States. Strolling through the beautifully-maintained herbaceous borders and taking in the scent of flowers and greens creates inspiration for visitors interested in improving their gardens or finally putting in a rustic-chic fence and stone walkway.
Ayers House – Adelaide, South Australia
This colonial Victorian home was crafted for Sir Henry Ayers, Premier of South Australia, who lived in the 40-room mansion from 1855-1897. Today it’s accessible to the public, and serves as a museum and a wedding venue. Ayers House stands out as a striking monument among the modern landscape of Adelaide, and it serves as a treasured piece of history for South Australians. As visitors walk the grey stone path up to the historic site, they are greeted by a lush and perfectly-manicured lawn. At sunset, lampposts and spotlights illuminate the mansion’s gorgeous bluestone bricks. This lavish estate provides endless ideas to onlookers who hope to recreate a sense of Victorian charm in their own homes.
Fallingwater – Pennsylvania, United States
Frank Lloyd Wright designed this architectural wonder as a weekend retreat for Pittsburgh businessman Edgar J. Kaufmann in 1935. Now a National Historic Landmark, Fallingwater, named for the waterfall into which it’s built, has attracted the attention of the public for nearly a century. Since Wright designed Fallingwater to mesh with its surroundings, nature enthusiasts quickly see the appeal of this sleepy Laurel Highlands haven. In fact, Fallingwater is incorporated so fluidly with the landscape that it provides completely different inspiration depending on the time of year in which it’s viewed.
La Maison de la Reine (The Queen’s House) – Versailles, France
Built as a refuge from court life for Marie Antoinette as a part of her larger “Hameau”, La Maison de la Reine is situated on the edge of a small pond in the Park of Versailles. This two-storey thatch-roofed house borrows from several rural European styles. As a result, it looks charmingly cobbled together. Upon walking up to La Maison, guests immerse themselves in the illusion of a quiet, bygone era that emboldens them to create a fantasy retreat of their own.
House NA – Tokyo, Japan
While these other homes might hold historical significance, House NA is intriguing for a different reason: it offers its tenants very little privacy. Designed by eccentric architect Sou Fujimoto in 2010, House NA isn’t for everyone, but it certainly makes a statement among the drab urban sprawl of Tokyo’s Kōenji District. Fujimoto created this 592 square-metre home with a young couple in mind. Because the walls are made of glass, the three-storey structure gives the illusion of being a single room. Though most of us enjoy more privacy than House NA grants, it’s still alluring in its stark simplicity. Unforgiving to clutter, it nonetheless speaks to those who are looking to downsize. After all, minimalism is in.
What’s your style?
Whether your taste is grand or quaint, ornate or simplistic, it’s easy to see why these homes have had such a lasting impact. From Australia to America, they have rightfully earned their high praise, and will continue to influence homeowners for years to come.
This article has been provided with thanks to Linda Firth, author of the LoveMyVouchers.co.uk Lifestyle blog, where you will find money saving advice and tips on home and garden products, and much more.
The race for control of Westeros is on with this brand new special Monopoly Game of Thrones game. With artwork from the hit TV series and beautifully crafted playing pieces and villages and keeps, it’s a game for any connoisseur of the seven kingdoms.
14. Game of Thrones Cluedo
There’s a mystery to solve in Westeros and beyond, in Game of Thrones Cluedo! Will you identify the assassin in Meereen or uncover the treacherous pot in the Red Keep? With 12 characters and beautifully detailed castle shaped holders, and special weapons, this is Cluedo like you’ve never played before.
15. Game of Thrones Risk
Game of Thrones meets Risk in this game of strategic conquest! War and chaos have descended upon the realms of Men. In Westeros, the death of Robert Baratheon has created a power vacuum with rival Houses competing for control of The Iron Throne. Meanwhile, in Essos, Daenerys Targaryen is building an army to contest the rule of the Ghiscari slavers, before returning to reclaim The Iron Throne. Control vital castles and ports to gain power for your house in this special easy to learn version of the strategy game, Risk.
16. A Game of Thrones the Board Game: 2nd Edition
King Robert Baratheon is dead, and the lands of Westeros brace for battle.
In A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, three to six players take on the roles of the great Houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, as they vie for control of the Iron Throne through the use of diplomacy and warfare. Based on the best-selling A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels by George R. R. Martin, A Game of Thrones is an epic board game in which it will take more than military might to win. Will you take power through force, use honeyed words to coerce your way onto the throne, or rally the townsfolk to your side? Through strategic planning, masterful diplomacy, and clever card play, spread your influence over Westeros!
17. Game of Thrones Iron Throne Room Construction Set
This construction room from McFarlane Toys allows fans of Game of Thrones to rebuild their favourite scenes. The iron throne room includes the legendary iron throne, faux marble floors, candelabras, a raised platform with steps and a mounted, ornate symbol of the seven-pointed star. It also contains his grace, Joffrey Baratheon and a member of his Kingsguard. The room is highly detailed and in total has 314 pieces. Ages 14+
18. Playing Cards
Liven up Poker night with these Game of Thrones Playing Cards.
19. Game of Thrones Family Tree 100 piece puzzle
20. Game of Thrones: A Pop-up Guide to Westeros (Hardcover.)
Featuring stunning pop-up recreations of several key locations from the series, including the formidable castle of Winterfell, the lavish capital city King’s Landing, and the Wall’s stark majesty, as well as numerous mini-pops that bring to life iconic elements of the show, such as direwolves, White Walkers, giants, and dragons. All the pops are accompanied by insightful text that relays the rich history of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond, forming a dynamic reference guide to the world of Game of Thrones. This book takes readers into the world of the series like never before.
21. Game of Thrones Premium Notebook – Targaryen
This high quality Game of Thrones Targaryen Notebook is bound in faux-leather with the Targaryen sigil and motto debossed onto the front. Secured with a grey elastic belly-band complete with enamel Targaryen sigil charm, the cream pages are lined. The inside covers are lined with maps of Westeros and surrounding kingdoms, and there is a grey ribbon page-marker, and an elasticated pen holder. This makes a sleek and stylish gift for Game of Thrones fans and collectors alike. Hardback A5 notebook. Measures 21cm x 14.5cm x 2cm. Approximately 250 lined pages.
22. George R. R. Martin’s a Game of Thrones Leather-Cloth Boxed Set (Song of Ice and Fire Series): A Game of Thrones, a Clash of Kings, a Storm of Swords, a Feast for Crows, and a Dance with Dragons
23. Game of Thrones Colouring Book
Experience George R.R Martin’s epic series like never before with this one-of-a-kind colouring book featuring 45 exclusive illustrations. In a world where weddings are red, fire is green, and debts are paid in gold, countless images leap off the page (or the screen) thanks to the eye-popping intricacy of the vivid settings and details. Now, for the first time, fans of this blockbuster saga can fill in the blanks and marvel as this meticulously imagined universe comes to life, one sword, sigil, and castle at a time. With dozens of stunning original black-and-white illustrations from world-renowned illustrators Yvonne Gilbert, John Howe, Tomislav Tomic, Adam Stower, and Levi Pinfold, this unique collector’s item expands the reach of an international phenomenon with flying colours. The perfect gift and the ultimate collectors item for all Game of Thrones fans both young and old. This paperback book has 96 pages and measures: 25.5 x 25.5 x 1cm.
24. Dragon Bookmark Glow in the Dark Bookmark
25. Game of Thrones ‘You win or You Die’ set of 4 coasters.
26. Targaryen Game of Thrones Baking Mould.
Silicone baking dish, heat and cold resistant, -Size approx. 21 cm.
27. Winter is coming doormat – 60x40cm – Game of Thrones
28. Fandom Candle ~ Winter Is Coming ~ for those who love Game of Thrones ~ 4oz Soy Candle £6.00
29. Game of Thrones inspired Dinner is Coming wooden chopping cutting cheese board.
Inspired by the popular Game of Thrones books and TV series this chopping board is made from renewable Hevea wood and measures 30cm x 20cm x 1.5cm.
30. Game of Thrones Lannister drinking glass
31. Game of Thrones Pillow
– Dimensions: 48 x 36 x 10 cm
– Front side: Velboa soft plush (100% polyester)
– Printed on both sides
32. Game of thrones Keyring Pendant
33. Game of Thrones Replica Catspaw Blade
A blade of Valyrian steel that Catelyn Stark recovered from the assassin sent to finish her son Bran. It was taken to King’s Landing by Lady Stark and shown to Petyr Baelish, who identified it as belonging to Tyrion Lannister. This officially licensed collectible is made from the highest quality materials and has been crafted with special attention to reproduce the authentic details found on the props. This item is not a toy, please keep out of the reach of children. Overall Length: 19.5″ Blade Length: 10″ Blade Material: High carbon damascus steel Handle: Faux “dragon bone” grip with 24k gold plated metal parts. Plaque: Silkscreened wood with Game of Thrones® motif.
Daenerys Targaryen is given three petrified dragon eggs as a gift for her wedding to Khal Drogo. Dark Horse has skillfully replicated all three dragon eggs into a deluxe set of triple bookends! Each dragon egg stands 7” tall on its decorative base, and placed together they are just over 13” wide. Use them as bookends, or proudly display them in all of their statuesque glory!
Contains 3 Eggs
Height in inch: 7
Height in cm: 17.8
35. Longclaw-Inspired Sword of Jon Snow.
Silky smooth, lightweight and solid; this sword feels great in your hand! Inspired by Jon Snow’s Longclaw sword from Game of Thrones. Made from solid hardwoods. Measures 41″ long overall (not quite full-scale). Features the signature triple fuller carved into both sides of the blade and the wolf-head pommel. Finished with a generous coat of our homemade natural beeswax/oil finish for a lovely soft feel!
36. HODOR Door Wedge Door Stop- Game of Thrones Tribute Door Wedge
This European Beechwood HODOR door stop will resonate with any Game Of Thrones fans out there. 15cm long.
37. Game of Thrones Wood Engraved iPhone Case – iPhone 6 with House Stark, Targaryen, Baratheon, Lannister, Greyjoy or Arryn.
Let the world know where your House loyalty lies, with a wooden engraved Game of Thrones iPhone 6/6s case from Everything Etched. Made from real wood, and featuring a rosewood finish, these laser engraved cases are the perfect accessory for any GoT fan. With your choice of one of the six house sigil designs, you can raise your house banner, whenever you raise your phone
38. Map – Westeros & Essos Game of Thrones Poster.
This Game of Thrones giant poster features a size of 140 x 100 cm and is an eye-catcher on every wall.
39. Antique Map Game of Thrones Poster.
Size: 91.5 x 61 cm
40. Game of thrones inspired wall art sign rustic wood.
One of a kind and ready to hang on the wall.
41. Framed Personalised Game Of Thrones Inspired Moon Of My Life My Sun And Stars Print.
Framed digital print, in a watercolour style design. Can be personalised with optional names.
42. Game of Thrones Inspired Dragon Heels.
All shoes are made to order and the design can be changed/altered to meet your needs.
43. Handmade Game of Thrones inspired Charm Bracelet from the hit series.
Made with Tibetan Silver Charms on a silver plated 20cm in length with lobster clasp and added beads. Comes giftboxed.
44. Game Of Thrones Backpack
45. Game of Thrones ‘Stark Winter Direwolf’ Men’s t-shirt
46. Game of Thrones Varsity Jacket
47. Game of Thrones Wallet
48. Game of Thrones Shoulder Bag
49. Game of thrones costume, wildling costume, ygritte costume, made to order.
The coat is fully lined and has a hood. It has a belt that ties around the waist. The coat is brown with brown fur that has had a snow effect applied to it. The belt is brown leather with a silver buckle that has also had the snow effect applied.
50. Men’s Stainless Steel Leather Bracelet
Game Of Thrones Wolf Bracelet.
Length 20.5 cm, wide 0.8 cm
Weight: 25 g
What is a Standard Letterbox Size?
With many different types of letterboxes available, more and more of us are choosing styles that are more aesthetically pleasing than the traditional slot in our front door. Many modern doors on the market don’t have a slot as standard so buying a free standing or wall mounted letterbox is less hassle than trying to insert one in our front door. Freestanding and wall/gate mounted options are also preferable for people who have pets and don’t want to come home to chewed up mail or simply don’t want to open their door to a pile of envelopes. However, there is more to consider than just how pretty our letterbox is. Mail companies have the responsibility to keep our mail safe and secure until it reaches our letterbox; it is then up to our letterbox to keep it safe until we pick it up. In order to protect our mail, one of the things we must consider when buying an external letterbox is the size. So what is a standard letterbox size?
A letterbox should be large enough for the mail we regularly receive, but as a minimum, an A4 envelope should be able to lie flat inside, so that our mail doesn’t protrude, making it easily accessible to passers-by. A standard size letterbox has the following minimum dimensions:
• 230mm wide
• 330mm deep
• 160mm high
With identity theft on the rise, it is vitally important to protect our personal details, so a lock is a must and the slot should be the full width of the letterbox but not large enough for someone to fit their hand through.
If going away for a few days, then it is a good idea to have someone we can trust to empty your mailbox each day so that it doesn’t get too full.
The position of our letterbox is also important. The postman needs to have easy access to deliver our mail, so a letterbox should be clearly in view and positioned on the boundary of our property with the number or name clearly displayed. Also, remember that a letterbox should be positioned in a spot that is clear of obstacles like trees, shrubs and rocks.
Rear Retrieval Letterboxes:
Designed to fit to the inside of a gate, post or main door where you only require the postman to have access to the front post slot of the box and yourself access to the rear door.
Come in many different styles and add curb appeal to a property. There is a choice of American style mailboxes or beautifully ornate versions at www.housenameplate.co.uk/letterboxes.html
Or if you are feeling particularly creative, you could create one of your own. (Just ensure you follow the safety advice above).
Instructions on how to make your own letterbox out of wood can be found here:
Take a look at the following slideshow, showcasing 11 inventive DIY Letterboxes if your want your letterbox to be the talk of the town:
Man Cave Ideas:
For years men have liked to disappear into their garages, sheds and workshops to express their masculinity and use power tools to fix and or break stuff away from the predominantly female interior design of the family home. Over recent years these spaces have evolved even further and are taking on a new role. Most modern man caves are devoted to a man’s hobby rather than work, such as sports, music, video games, drinking beer, etc.
In fact, the popularity of man caves have risen so much so that a lot of new house builders are starting to incorporate them into their house designs and there is plenty of research to support the fact that a man cave is a very important part of the family home. After a long day at work, we all crave the creature comforts of home: a place to unwind and switch off. Psychologists say that a man cave is a sanctuary for a working man to de-stress and relax and be a better person to live with.
Here we have a list of 10 man cave ideas to help you design your very own space:
1. Man Cave Rules – What happens in the man cave stays in the man cave:
You can make your own Rules and have them proudly displayed for all visitors of the man cave to follow, or you can buy a ready-made list of rules, such as this large slate hanging sign from House Nameplate Company, with rules such as ‘No Bitching’ and ‘Beer is the only authorised beverage’:
6. A dartboard, poker table and/or a pool table to keep you and your mates entertained with mini tournaments and leagues to create some healthy competition. You need not spend a fortune either, if you are quite handy there are plenty of YouTube videos with instructions on how to make your own:
It’s not really surprising that windows and doors are the key feature for home improvement in 2017, as they make such an impact on the exterior of our home and create a statement to passers-by.
White is taking more of a backseat in 2017, as sophisticated hues, such as sage green, heritage grey and country cream become increasing popular with homeowners wishing to achieve a more bespoke style for their windows and doors.
Also blending the outside with the inside is set to be one of the hottest trends of 2017. Bi-folding doors are becoming increasingly popular as they look great, bring natural light into your home and completely open up to allow your garden to become a part of your interior space.
Gardens too are set to change in 2017, with a renewed interest in natural materials. Rather than clean, modern lines, a more old-fashioned, rustic look is becoming increasingly popular. Materials such as railway ties, ridged slate, wood and stone are key to create an up to date look. With the popularity of bi-fold doors blending inside and outside areas, transforming garden spaces into another ‘room’ of the house is more important than ever. Think porch swings, outdoor day beds, pizza stoves, firepits and atmospheric lighting to make your garden parties the talk of the neighbourhood.
Outdated homes can be brought up to date by transforming the walls. Mismatched, uneven walls or an out of date brick wall can be rendered, which involves a combination of sand, cement and masonry paint to give a smooth finish to any exterior wall. Walls can also be cladded, using the latest trend materials, such as timber and stone to add a rustic feel to your property.
More and more people are seeing that the initial cost of installing solar panels is worth it in the long run, as solar power can cut down a household’s electricity bill by up to 60 percent. Recently, solar shingles have been developed and can be polished similar to existing roofing creating a more aesthetic look.
We are looking at eco friendly signs and increased opportunities for unique and highly personalised signs