The Rise of Fortnite

How it began

The rise of Fortnite has taken the gaming world by storm and it doesnt show any signs of calming down any time soon.  Epic Games’ mass-multiplayer shooter has more than 40 million players online and continues to grow at a rapid pace.

In July 2017, it was released as a paid Early Access game. It was solely a PvE (Player versus Environment) experience.  Players completed levels by collecting materials and creating sophisticated bases in which to fight against hordes of zombies.

Reviews were mainly positive.  However, Epic had been watching the success of another Early Access game called PlayerUnknown’sBattleground (PUBG) and decided to follow suit.

The following September, ‘Battle Royale’ a free to play version of the original game, was released.  And by January 2018, the rise of Fortnite was clear to see.  The world had gone Fortnite crazy with Epic revealing Fortnite had 45 million players worldwide.

Battle Royale

Battle Royale mode entails 100 people parachuting onto an island with only the clothes on their back and a pickaxe.  Players can play solo or as a part of a team of up to four players.

As they search for weapons and hunt rival players, the game slowly restricts the game area by way of a “Storm Eye.”  Players must remain inside the storm eye in order to survive.   As the battle continues, the storm eye gradually shrinks and players are forced to  get closer and closer with less and less places to hide until there is a ‘last man standing’ winner.

The game offers a different experience everytime it is played.  Different opponents of differing abilities are faced each time and loot is randomly dropped all over the map.   Also, downed players drop any loot they’ve collected for other players to pick up.  Due to this, no two visits to the same location will offer the same weapons, health packs or shields.  This keeps the game interesting and fresh.

After being killed, players can either spectate their opponents or join another game and start all over again against a whole new set of opponents

Platforms

At the minute Fortnite is available on PC,  PS4, XBox One and Apple Mac.  Some IOS owners can already play it on their mobiles if they are signed up to the official Fortnite site and have received an invite. Once tests have been completed, Epic will be releasing the full mode and this will be available to Android users too.   Currently, only users signed up to the site who are using iOS 11 on iPhone 6S/SE, iPad Mini 4, iPad Air 2, iPad 2017, iPad Pro devices or later are getting invites.  There are some small differences on the mobile version:  its not as visually impressive and the controls are touchscreen.  Also a lot of audio cues have been made visual so that users can play in public without the need for headphones.  On the whole though, the mobile version is much the same as the full version.

Cross-play

XBox One and PS4 owners can’t play the game together still, but users on these consoles can play with friends playing on  PC and mobile devices. There is also cross-progression. So, if you’re logged into your Fortnite account on your mobile and you later log into your console to play, everything you did on your mobile earlier that day is carried over.

Should Parents be concerned

There has been numerous discussions in the media about whether or not parents should be concerned with the rise in popularity of Fortnite.  There is a fear that it is highly addictive and desensitizes the user to violence.  However, although the game does obviously involve violence and classic shooting game elements,  unlike games such as Call of Duty, it doesn’t show any blood or gore and has cartoon style graphics.

The Future

Celebrities such as Drake and Travis Scott are massive Fortnite fans.  They often tweet to inform their fans when they are streaming live, increasing interest in the game with their followers.  Fortnite has also been discussed on popular television programmes, such as ‘Good Morning America’ and the UK’s ‘This Morning’.  This kind of exposure is only going to help the popularity of the game.

As Fortnite is free to play, gamers can try it with no risk or financial outlay, which is obviously going to help improve its popularity.  Epic are able to offer this because they are an established developer who make their money by selling their game engine, ‘Unreal’, to other companies.  They also sell in-game items, such as cheap battle passes and skins, which creates even more interest in the game.

Epic have an entire team of people dedicated to expanding Fortnite and its in-game items.  Various new locations were added to the world when the game was updated in January 2018.  These changes included a motel, a big city and many unique habitats each with different environments.  Just this month a new mode has arrived called ’20 vs 20 vs 20 vs 20 vs 20′, which allows a more clan style of attack.  Constant improvements and changes keep Fortnite current and allow gamers to look forward to new experiences and stop boredom setting in.

This constant updating also allows the game to evolve with current popular culture and even somewhat impact on it.  Football stars and rugby players are using moves from the game to celebrate scoring creating interest with young fans.

With all this considered, the future of Fortnite is looking bright and the rise of fortnite is set to continue.

The rise of Fortnite: 10 Cool gifts for Fortnite Fans:

  1. Fortnite Hanging Sign:
    The Rise of Fortnite
  2. Personalised Fortnite Hanging Sign:
    The Rise of Fortnite
  3. FORTNITE nightlight mood light battery powered – green light for XBOX players

  4. Fortnite Wall Art:
    The Rise of Fortnite
  5. Fortnight Stand:
  6. Fortnite Bomb Desk Lamp:
  7. Fortnite Night light:
  8. Gaming Fortnite Controller Sticker Decal Decoration Fan Art:
  9. Fortnite: The Legendary Guide to becoming a Pro in Fortnite Battle Royale :
  10. Fortnite Swim Bag:

Why is there a Dragon on the Welsh Flag?

Why is there a Dragon on the Welsh Flag?

The Red Dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) stands proudly with one foot raised on a green and white background. But why is there a dragon on the Welsh Flag?  What does a mythical creature, like a dragon, have to do with Wales?

The red dragon has been associated with Wales for centuries and the Welsh flag is claimed to be one of the oldest national flags still in use.  However, the appearance of the dragon has been adapted and changed over the years and there are several different versions in existence.  The current version of the dragon on the Welsh flag was officially adopted in 1959.   It is based on an old royal badge used by British kings and queens since Tudor times.  But the real answer to why there is a dragon on the Welsh flag lies in Welsh mythology and history.

red dragon

red dragon

The ‘Draco’ Symbol:

One theory is that in the early fifth century, the Welsh kings of Aberffraw used the dragon to symbolise their power and strength after the Romans withdrew from Britain. The ‘draco’ (dragon) head, which was brought to Britain by the Romans, was used as an emblem as their standard in battle.  The emblem  remained strong within Welsh culture after the invasion due to the Romano-Britons that remained.

 roman draco dragon
roman draco dragon

The Myth of Merlin:

However, there is another tale linking back to the fifth century that suggests another reason as to why there is a dragon on the Welsh flag.  Vortigern, a fifth century war lord and king of the Britons at the time of the Saxon arrival, wanted to build a fort near Beddgelert.  He came across many problems though and sought the help of Merlin, a powerful wizard.  Merlin told him to dig down and create better foundations.  On doing so, he found a red and a white dragon.

The two dragons rose up and began to fight, with the red dragon being victorius.  Merlin explained to Vortigern that the white dragon represented the Saxons and the red dragon represented the Welsh.  He told Vortigern that this was proof that one day the Welsh would push the Saxons out of Britain and from this point on, the red dragon became a symbol for Wales.

 fighting red and white dragon
fighting red and white dragon

The Red Dragon of Cadwaladr:

The story of the warring red and white dragons, linked to the myth of Merlin, was also used during the ‘War of the Roses’ by various contenders as part of their claim to the throne.

As part of this story, Merlin predicted that the Saxons would be beat by the Celts if Cadwaladr (a future King of Gwynedd – AD 655 to 682) sacrifices his personal power for the sake of his people.  By renouncing the throne, Merlin said it would eventually lead to the restoration of British control of the island in the future.  Cadwaladr, according to Geoffrey of Monmouth, heard this prophesy and did exactly that – renouncing the throne so that Merlin’s prediction could come true in the future.

The Tudors:

And although Owain Glyndwr raised the dragon standard in 1400 as a symbol of revolt against the English Crown, the dragon was brought to England by Edward IV who used the tale of the dragon of Cadwaladr to claim the throne.  He asserted that he would be restoring the authentic ancient lineage of Cadwaladr, thus fulfilling Merlin’s prophecy of the victory of the red dragon.

When this didn’t happen, the Tudors then claimed their descent from Cadwaladr to legitimise their authority over Britain, starting with Owen Tudor who carried a red dragon badge.  Then when Henry Tudor landed in Wales in 1485, he adopted the red dragon flag and claimed to be returning in fulfilment of the prophesies of Merlin as recorded by Geoffrey of Monmouth.  After Henry VII’s victory at the Battle of Bosworth, he was greeted at the gates of Worcester with a poem asserting:

Cadwallader’s blood lineally descending,
Long hath be told of such a prince coming.
Wherefore friends, if that I shall not lie,
This same is the fulfiller of the prophesy.

(Dobin, Howard, Merlin’s Disciples: Prophecy, Poetry, and Power in Renaissance England, Stanford University Press, 1990, p.51.)

The Welsh dragon was thereafter referred to as the “Red Dragon of Cadwallader” and used as Henry’s personal emblem. The House of Tudor continued to use this emblem as a nod to their Welsh dynasty and during Henry VIII’s reign the red dragon on a green and white background became a favourite emblem on Royal Navy ships.

tudor emblem
Tudor emblem

The current Welsh Flag:

So the reason we have a red dragon on the Welsh flag links back to fifth century history and mythology and remains to this day a symbol of pride and strength.  It still sits on top of the Tudor colours of green and white and today the flag can be seen flying from the Senedd in Cardiff and from the Wales Office in Whitehall, London each day.

The dragon on the Welsh flag is contunuously used by those in the arts, sport and business to show a sense of patriotism or recognition of Wales. For example, during the 1999 Rugby World Cup, which was hosted in Wales, the opening ceremony used the motif of the dragon several times.  This patriotism has continued in both rugby and football international games with fans carrying huge Welsh Dragon flags to fly during the match.

Welsh fans
Welsh fans

 

 

 

 

 

 

In music, the flag is commonly flown by Welsh stars and was memorably worn on a dress by the Welsh singer Shirley Bassey.  The singer Cerys Matthews also often adorned her clothes with pictures of the Welsh dragon.  Other musicians to have used the flag, include Nicky Wire of Manic Street Preachers, who will often drape the Welsh flag over amps when playing live and classical singer Katherine Jenkins, who has taken the flag on stage during live performances all over the world.

The popularity of the dragon and the Welsh flag seems to be increasing with Welsh nationals refusing to let their relatively small country size and fairly unknown native tongue go unnoticed… and rightly so.

 

A range of beautiful Welsh Dragon gifts can be found here:

https://www.housenameplate.co.uk/modern-acrylic-round-house-sign-with-welsh-dragon-emblem.html

https://www.housenameplate.co.uk/personalised-black-dublin-postbox-with-welsh-dragon-design.html

https://www.housenameplate.co.uk/welsh-slate-hanging-sign-croeso-with-welsh-dragon-motif.html

10 ways to transform your spare room

10 ways to transform your spare room

How to transform your spare room.

I had a good think about this and thought not only about what I would do with my spare room but what I think others might do. I had a look around at some ace designs (mostly on pinterest) and now I’m planning how to change my space.

It won’t necessarily be your spare bedroom though. Perhaps you’ve decided to have your house extended, or perhaps you’ve converted your loft and are wondering what to put in it. Whatever your circumstances, here are some of my favourite ideas for transforming that extra space.

Guest room

Ok, so number one is the plain old guest room. This isn’t something that will give you much use though, except when someone comes over to stay. Personally, I’d stick an airbed on the floor, give them some pillows and a blanket, sorted. I’m kidding, If I had the room I’d have a guest room as well as something else.

10 ways to transform your spare room
Guest Room Hanging Sign

Kids play room

If you’ve got kids, this would be the perfect place to send them if you want 5 minutes peace and quiet. Sure enough they’ll find something to argue about though eh? You could put a lovely little bookshelf full of their favourite stories, a toy box (self-explanatory), a ball pit perhaps? (Supervise at all times), a mat they can run their cars on, and maybe a wooden kitchen. For the older kids, a mini pool table, a TV and games console. Paint it white and accessorise is what I say, that way as they change their minds about what they like. You won’t have to go the whole shebang with paint brushes or wall paper.

10 ways to transform your spare room
Play Room Hanging Sign

Model railway

I send mine into the loft, out of the way. But if you’ve got the room, why not create your very own layout. You can add trains, planes, cars and cranes. Little trees around little buildings. Or even just a bit of track laid out nicely simply to run the trains on. Perfect for adults and children of all ages. (But mainly the adults).

10 ways to transform your spare room
Model Railway Room Hanging Sign

Craft space

Fancy yourself a bit of a crafty genius. You could organise your bits and bobs and have your very own workshop. Add a workstation with storage underneath and lots of jars for your pens, pencils and scissors. Sounds perfect doesn’t it?

10 ways to transform your spare room
Craft Space Hanging Sign

Home office

Now, if you want to be really boring (I joke), then set yourself up in your spare room. There are a lot of people out there who work from home, bloggers, designers, copywriters etc. So having somewhere you can work without being disturbed is a must. And of course it will take away the temptation to stick the TV on.

10 ways to transform your spare room
Home Office Hanging Sign

Library

This is what my idea of heaven would look like. Books, books, books in a cosy little nook. Shelves on every wall filled with crime novels, fantasy, thrillers and even my childhood favourites. A cosy little chaise longue equipped with cushions and blankets. Not forgetting the mini fridge and tea making facilities. I’d be quite happy in there for the rest of my life, well at least until I’ve read all the books, or until I need to use the loo. But you get what I’m saying.

10 ways to transform your spare room
Library Hanging Sign

Home gym

It can be expensive with all those monthly direct debits right? So why not fork out in the first place and get your home gym set up. Once it’s in, it’s in, no more monthly costs, but twice the benefit. You won’t have to travel and think how fun it would be to get the whole family involved. Maybe not.

Fill it with yoga mats, kettle bells, a trampette and maybe even a tread mill. Go the whole hog. After all, you want it to be yours right? If you’re feeling really adventurous, mini fridge filled with protein shakes and healthy snacks? Go on, you know you want to.

10 ways to transform your spare room
Gym Hanging Sign

Walk in Wardrobe

Oh yes. What more of an excuse do we need to buy more shoes? Ikea is amazing for this sort of thing. Storage, not shoes. But I reckon you guessed that. You can use the extra space in your bedroom for other stuff then can’t you? A nice chair in the corner where you can stack all your clothes. We’ve all got one, we wash, dry and iron and they end up on that chair. Every time.

10 ways to transform your spare room
Wardrobe Hanging Sign

Home Theatre

A living room is OK to watch your favourite movies I suppose. But a home cinema would be epic. Am I right? Star Wars marathon? Oh yes! Harry Potter marathon? No problem. Comfy chairs, dark curtains, popcorn and drink holders. Think of the costs you’d save long term too, especially if you’re a regular cinema goer.

10 ways to transform your spare room
Theatre Hanging Sign

Wine bar

Ladies, I’m talking to you. I mean come on. Dream come true? Personally I’d have a tea bar, because, well, my life revolves around tea. You could make it into any sort of bar though. Cocktails, real ale, wine, tea. Your options are endless.

10 ways to transform your spare room
Wine This Way Hanging Sign

 

The main thing is, you do what you feel is right. Perhaps a good old fashioned guest room is what you want. No fuss, and it would be useful. But if you feel like pushing the boat out, why not. Life’s too short.

 

 

See our full range of hanging signs by heading over to our Website.

How to stop burglars – top tips from ex burglars

How to stop burglars - top tips from ex burglars Burglar

How to stop burglars – top tips from ex burglars

How secure is your home? Go on, have a think about it….
I bet you’re thinking, actually, my house could be a bit more secure. I’ve got all those kids bikes in the garage, a load of tech in the living room. Oh and then there’s leaving the keys in the front door, and I don’t close all the windows if I’m out.

STOP RIGHT THERE

Does that sound familiar? Maybe, but there are some things you can do yourself to keep your home protected from thieves. But first, lets hear from burglars themselves.

What real burglars say (Express Newspapers, 2018)

In an article published on the express website, a number of ex burglars told of what would deter them from a potential target.

Little yappy dogs are scarier

One individual said that they were deterred by smaller dogs that barked a lot, rather than bigger dogs. So, little ankle biters are the best choice if you live in a neighbourhood that is prone to burglary. Jack Russel, Shih Tzu, or perhaps a Terrier. They have big personalities and are not scared of confronting anything.

Lights and TV’s don’t work

Leaving your TV on at 2am, at an obnoxiously loud volume with random lights on around the house will not always deter a burglar. This is what one individual said. So, you’re best off just leaving everything off. I mean, at night, you should be sleeping, right?

Lock away your valuables

When entering your home, there’s nothing better than seeing all your valuables scattered everywhere. Do yourself a favour and lock them away. Expensive jewellery, money boxes etc. Lock them all away.

Tech and other expensive things

Don’t leave your tablets, laptops, mobile phones etc. in view of the windows. Keep them out of the way. These items are all very attractive to burglars because they can make a quick sale out of them. Keep them in cupboards or drawers out of the way.

Signs to look out for

Police in Yorkshire have released a number of images of tell-tale signs your home may have been targeted by burglars (Express Newspapers, 2018). The Police are urging anyone who has seen any of these signs on any home to get in touch with them on 101.

This blog post aims to give you an idea about what to look out for, and how you can make sure your house is safe, sound and secure.

Look out for these signs. If you see any of these on your home, you have been targeted.

burglar-symbols
burglar-symbols

So what can you do to keep your home safe?

Facebook Check ins

How to keep your home secure. Social Media is the easiest way to show people that you’re having the best time ever away on holiday. But it may not be the best idea to do it while you’re away. Save all your photos for when you get home. It’s very easy for Facebook posts to be visible to potential burglars. Make sure your privacy settings are sorted. That way if you really need to share a photo only the people you want to see them, will.

Know your neighbours

Make friends with your neighbours. It’s very easy for us to be introverted when it comes to neighbours. They can be very helpful allies. You can tell them when you’re going away, and who should be at your house. They can report to you any unusual activity that may be happening while you’re away.

Cameras

They don’t have to be expensive. There are such things as dummy cameras that you can put up as a deterrent. Though if you’re going to spend money on dummy ones, you might as well buy ones that record. If you have a lot of expensive items, it would be worth having them inside and out. As well as in garages and sheds.

Motion detection lights

Another potential deterrent. Lights that come on when something moves around can be good. Though the neighbour’s cat will be prone to setting them off. Light equals visibility, the perfect addition to a safe and secure home.

Locks

Of course locking your front door is a must. But what about your windows? Yes, lock all your windows at night and if you are out. In the summer it can get a bit hot I know. But most homes have windows that can be left “on the latch” so that you get a gentle breeze through the gap. A slightly open window can be very attractive to a burglar.

Outbuildings and roofs

Keep all your roofs secure and sealed. Conservatories with plastic roofs aren’t the best and are very easy to get through. Keep all of your sheds and garages locked and secure. Fix any broken windows or patchy woodwork.

 

Most of what I have mentioned is common sense. Don’t give burglars an excuse to get into your property keep all your valuables locked away. And a camera mightn’t be a bad idea.

See our full range of House signs and gift-ware by clicking here
Featured Image Credit : Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_luckybusiness’>luckybusiness / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

21 questions to ask when buying a house

21 questions to ask yourself when looking for a house to buy

21 questions to ask when buying a house.

Buying a house is a massive step in a persons life, and it’s a huge investment. It’s only natural that you would want to spend as much time researching and finding out what to look out for when you do start viewing properties. That’s where we come in, here are 21 questions to ask when looking for a house to buy.

21 questions to ask when buying a house: Starting inside 

1. Are there any signs of mould?

Mould can cause so many problems structurally but also for your health. Look for signs of water marks on the walls, bubbling wallpaper or paint and water marks in the ceiling. Mould is a problem which is hard to treat, don’t chance it.

2. Does the toilet flush?

21 questions to ask yourself when looking for a house to buy.
Loo

Sounds like a ridiculous things to think about, but actually, one of the things you’re going to be using quite a lot is the loo. If it’s got a good flush, you shouldn’t have any problems with blocked drains. Though sometimes blocked drains just happen and it can’t be helped.

3. Is the boiler in good condition? Service certificates?

It might be worth bringing someone with you who is knowledgeable in the art of plumbing. A boiler may not look good, but if it’s works like a dream, you might be best to stick with it. A good indication of a decent boiler is record of servicing. We keep ours in a filing cabinet. Every single one past and present.

4. Does the heating work? Thermostat etc

21 questions to ask yourself when looking for a house to buy
Heater

It’s worth checking the heating while you’re there, check every individual radiator and of course check the thermostat works. Minor things but they can be costly to replace.

5. Are there any signs of pests?

Open up dishwashers and washing machines. And of course check the loft and any outbuildings for signs of rodents, wasp’s nests, and other critters that may be lurking around. It might be worth researching what to look for. With vermin, your biggest tell-tale sign would be droppings.

6. Is there enough storage space?

Storage
Storage

For me, storage is a must. Walk in wardrobes? Excellent, utility room? Great stuff. It all depends on your individual needs, so check it all out.

7. Are the rooms big enough?

Have you got girls that need to share a room? Have you got a lot of stuff? It’s worth gauging the size of the rooms in the house to make sure they fit everything you need. Bunk beds or single beds? Double or king? Chest of drawers? Visualise the space if you can.

8. Does the floor plan suit you?

This is a big one for me. I like a front room, a dining room, a kitchen and a conservatory with hall space and a stair case. And the same upstairs. I like to have plenty of room. Again, it’s up to you what you need, but bear this in mind as you look around.

9. Are there enough power points?

Sockets
Sockets

2 or 3 plug sockets in each bedroom? Excellent. One on the landing, and 3 in every other room. 4 or 5 in the kitchen for all your necessary appliances. Result. You can never have too many plug sockets. Especially with all the new tech that keeps cropping up.

21 questions to ask when buying a house: Now for structure

10. Are there any loose roof tiles? Could you afford to fix them if there is?

Roof Tiles
Roof Tiles

Not a cheap job if it does need doing, and a dangerous one too. If you’ve got a nice car on the drive, a gust of wind and your windscreen could be gone. Keep an eye out for loose tiles.

11. Does the drainage system work properly? Uncover the manholes

Have a look under the manholes on the drive. Ask someone to run the water in the house and flush the loo to see if everything is running smoothly. Plumbing can be expensive.

12. Is there an extraction fan? Does it work properly?

Nothing worse than foggy windows and condensation when you’re cooking your spring greens. An extraction fan should be in place. If there isn’t one, you might want to think again. But if you can afford to get one fitted, perhaps that’s just a minor setback.

13. Is the flue in a safe place?

There are laws surrounding the flue extraction, they must be high up. It’s worth doing some research into this. Best to be safe than sorry.

14. Is the water pressure good?

21 questions to ask when looking for a house to buy
Water Pressure

Good water pressure means you’ll have a decent shower. Lack of water pressure can be a right pain in the backside, especially when personal hygiene is concerned.

15. Is the loft in good condition? Could it be converted if you wanted to convert it?

Are all the beams intact, is there room for loft boards. Loft conversions can be a good investment for the future, especially if you plan on selling later on down the line or if you just need a bit of extra space.

16. Could you extend the house if you needed to?

Another good investment for the future. But equally good if you need a little bit more space. Of course you’ll have to get planning permission and look into it a bit further. Perhaps you could do this before hand.

17. How old are the windows and frames? Will they need replacing?

Window
Window

Do they look a bit dated, double glazing a bit worse for wear. They can be expensive to replace, but as long as they are in half decent condition, I’m sure they could wait a year or so.

18. Is there any condensation on the windows? Is it well insulated?

Condensation indicates good insulation but too much can cause a damp house. Ventilation is key. Windows that can be left on the latch to encourage air flow is a must.

21 questions to ask when buying a house: Lastly the exterior

19. Which way does the house face?

Sounds stupid, but you want a house that faces the sun. That way your winters won’t be as dark and cold and your summers will be glorious.

20. Is the garden a manageable size? Could you maintain it?

Garden
Garden

If you’re a single occupant, a large garden might not be right for you, but then again if you have a dog or two a large garden would be majorly beneficial. It’s all about what you can cope with. Can you cope with the lawn trimming, the weeding and sorting out the flower beds throughout the summer and into spring?

21. Is the garden secure? Important if you have a dog.

21 questions to ask when looking for a house to buy - Daschund
Daschund

Definitely important. You don’t want to be chasing your dogs down the road every other day because they’ve escaped. Ensuring fences are well built and secure is a must. No holes and make sure the hinges on the gate are up to scratch.

 

 

See our full range of products at www.housenameplate.co.uk

How to clean your drive

How to clean your drive - Oil by JackMoreh from freerangestock.com

How to clean your drive

How to clean your drive. Now the easy answer to this is, get a pressure washer and pressure wash the heck out of that drive. Because well, it’s quick, easy and fuss free. But the real world does exist, and not everyone can afford a swanky piece of machinery like this.

Don’t worry, there are other options out there. They will take longer to execute but that, is just the way the world works. Work hard and you will see results. Sometimes the easy way out isn’t necessarily the best. I mean, that stuff off the drive has to go somewhere right? Chances are it’ll end up on the lawn, on the road or all over your car. You’ll end up in a never ending cycle of washing the car washing the drive, washing the car, washing the drive. You’ll get really tired and give up.

That is not an option here. WE WILL succeed!

So, here are the House Nameplate company’s top tips on how to clean your drive without any fancy machinery.

#1 Oil

How to clean your drive. My go-to cleaner for any type of oil, whether that’s engine oil or some sort of oil used in the kitchen, is baking soda. Baking soda is amazing for loads of stuff, but for oil, it’s like magic.

You will need to put enough on the oil stain to cover it, and then you’ll need to leave it for 15 to 30 minutes so it absorbs it completely. In an ideal world it will not be raining when you do this, so pick a decent day. Then simply wash it off with some hot water.

It’s not just baking soda that will work though. Any sort of laundry detergent, washing up liquid, or soap.  They are all great for oil stains. But I will stand by baking soda for the rest of my days. So, use baking soda.

#2 Moss

How to clean your drive. Moss can be a tough one. It really clings to the road, especially up against edging and what not, where it’s a bit darker.

My go to remedy for this is simply, soapy water and a rough yard brush. Soak the drive in the soapy water and brush the heck out of the drive. The harder the bristles, the better. They will get right into the grooves, Madonna style and clear that moss away good and proper. It would be worth investing in some treatment to stop it coming back too.

How to clean your drive - MossChanceAgrella
Moss by Chance Agrella freerangestock.com

#3 Weeds

How to clean your drive. These things come up everywhere, don’t they? There is no stopping them, it’s like they have superpowers. Any crack in the road and they’re there! No way.

The best thing to do is get rid of them via the root. This isn’t always possible. Go around picking them out with your hands and then get some tough weed killer and spray it on. Try and get a weed killer that isn’t harmful to animals. We don’t want any poorly kitty cats do we?

How to clean your drive - Slate Plant Marker Weeds
Slate Plant Marker Weeds

#4 Snow and Ice

How to clean your drive. I have to include this one, because of the trouble we’ve had over the past few days! If you’ve been a victim of snow and ice then you need to do the following. Shovel all the snow off the drive using, well, a shovel. And in an ideal world you’ll have some grit salt. The grit will melt the ice underneath the snow.

How to clean your drive - IcyRoad
IcyRoad by DwightTracey from freerangestock.com

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you put water on a frozen drive.
Doing that will give you an ice rink, which will last forever.
They’ll literally be able to film the sequel to Frozen on it…

#5 Ants

How to clean your drive. I know what you’re thinking.

Why has she included ants in this post.”

Well guys, ants are a pest, and I wholeheartedly believe that they should be included in this post. That’s why!

“Yeah, but it’s winter.”

Ants don’t care about seasons, they aren’t nice people. So, best way to clear ants from your drive, or anywhere outside, is poor boiling water into the nest. They will run away in their thousands. Eeeeh I’m getting all tingly just thinking about them, horrible things!

 So, cleaning your drive, I reckon you are more prepared than ever to take on this arduous task. You’ll have to let us know how you get on!

 

House numbers for the emergency services

House numbers for the emergency services - EmergencySign

House numbers for the emergency services

House numbers for the emergency services. I’ve written a lot about the importance of a house name or number for the purposes of kerb appeal. But house numbers are especially important for another reason. Locating you in an emergency.

So, there may come a time (and I hope that that time never arrives) when you need the emergency services, whether that’s the fire service, ambulance or police, they need to know where you are so they can get to you quickly and assist you.

When you call 999, firstly they will ask you which service you require and they will proceed to put you through to the one you need.

They will ask you for your house number or name and your postcode and they will direct the nearest available unit to you as quickly as they can.

But what use is it if they can’t locate you because of something as simple as your house number being invisible?

So, there are a few things to consider when making your house number/nameplate visible.

Firstly, the size of it.

There is no point in having a tiny little number/name that you can only see when you walk up to the front door. You need to have a number/name that is clearly visible from the road. If you have a drive leading up to your front door then it’s going to be even more difficult to see if it’s not big enough. It should be big, bold and prominent. Nobody can complain that they can’t see you then can they?

Next, consider lighting

LED
LED

How about an LED house sign/number? These will be illuminated for all to see. Even Santa wont miss you with one of these. If an LED sign isn’t quite what you want, how about installing a security light or perhaps a porch light. These will help boost your kerb appeal, whilst also making you more visible to those who need to find you.

What about location?

5NewRoad
5NewRoad

I’m not talking about GPS here. I’m talking about where exactly you should be hanging your number or sign. There’s no point having it in the back garden. No one will see it. The best place to hang your house sign is somewhere level with the eye near the front door, ideally. If you live on a lane, or you have a long drive, it would be ideal to have a numbered letter box, or a place to hang a sign at the end of the drive. If it’s large enough, mount it, on two wooden posts that have been secured into the ground with no risk of falling over.

Colour

Another way to make your house number or name stand out is to make use of bold colours. Contrasting colours would work even better. It’s all about making yourself visible. Acrylic is an excellent material for this sort of sign as the vinyl used comes in all sorts of colours.

So, don’t put yourself at risk of being missed. Make sure;

  • You replace faded numbers
  • You trim overgrown shrubs, trees and bushes that may obstruct visibility.
  • Your number/name is visible from the road.
  • It is eye level somewhere near your front door.
  • You have some sort of lighting.
  • If you live on a lane, make sure your number or name is marked clearly on a letterbox, post or wall.

In a medical emergency, every second counts. It can literally be a life or death situation.

So, it’s not just the emergency services that will benefit from a visible house name or number. Say you’ve moved house, and you’ve got visitors coming from here, there and everywhere. Chances are, a handful of them will get lost, even with today’s GPS capabilities. I know I’ve been taken around in circles by mine.

Technology, it’s great when it works.

Builders, electric meter readers, the gas board, and the pizza guy will all need to get to you. I mean, come on, pizza is a major part of my life. If I was deprived because of my house number, I’d be devastated. And no one likes cold pizza.

Anyway. I can’t stress the importance of being visible to the emergency services who work tirelessly to save lives every day. I could joke about it until the cows come home but seriously, help make their job easier by getting your front of house sorted.

House signs to improve your Kerb appeal

House signs to improve your Kerb appeal - SignsCollage

House signs to improve your Kerb appeal

When you think about selling your home, you probably focus on getting the inside ready for viewings. The usual cleaning of windows, and giving the floors a proper going over. You might decide to re-tile the bathroom or re-paint some of the walls that are looking a bit tired. But will you remember to sort out the front of your house? And I’m not talking about the hall, or whatever. I’m talking about from the gate, all the way up to the front door.

Have a read of our previous blog post about increasing kerb appeal to see some of the things you can do to get your house looking brilliant.

This blog post however, is about house signs in particular, and what individual materials can do to improve your Kerb appeal.

#1 Polished brass will pass upon more people than rough gold

Brass.

Here at the House Nameplate Company, we produce the most beautiful of Brass house signs. Using traditionally cast brass plates to create masterpieces that will last for years to come. Give your home a sense of tradition, class and delicacy by adding a brass nameplate or number. Improving your kerb appeal has never been easier.

Brass is a marvelous material and has been used for thousands of years. Ancient Romans used brass for armour, and decorative pieces such as brooches and jewelry.

Believe it or not, Swansea was once the center of the worlds copper industry. Little Old Wales eh. Brass was made using calamine sourced from Somerset and cast in foundries all over the country.

Because of its low melting point brass is very easy to work with, so there’s no surprise that it has been used for so many different items including House Signs and Nameplates over thousands of years.

 

#2 Told a joke about aluminium. No reaction.

Aluminium is another material we use here at the House Nameplate Company to create beautiful signs and numbers. This metal is light, easy to work with, very strong, corrosion resistant and very recyclable. We have two types of aluminium house sign; polished and painted, both are examples of beautifully crafted pieces designed to catch the eye. Improving your kerb appeal with an aluminium house sign is a must. They are truly stunning.

Aluminium does date back to ancient times, but wasn’t made up like we know it today, a substance called alum was used which is an aluminium based salt. This salt substance was used in Europe from the 16th century onward. It was used in industries such as leather as a tanning agent, paper for sizing and in medicine.

Interestingly, aluminium as we know it wasn’t discovered until the 19th century, and what’s more interesting is that it was considered a precious metal. Today that notion has been thrown right out the window, because aluminium exists in everything these days.

The Wright brothers flew the first successful airplane using a completely new engine made up of aluminium parts. These parts were specially developed for this aircraft. History was made.

 

#3 I am a blank slate, therefore I can create anything I want.

The slate House signs we create here at The House Nameplate Company are among my favourite pieces. Because its a natural material, every piece is completely different. Adorned with natural waves and patterns that exist with no human interference. The options to personalise are almost endless with our slate range, because it is so easy to work with. But don’t be fooled by this, these gorgeous house signs are delicate, and only the best craftsmen and women can create such masterpieces.

Did you know that here in Wales, slate had been mined for over 1800 years. The beautiful material has been used in places such as Caernarfon Segontium and Conwy Castle.

The slate industry boomed with the industrial revolution because it was in high demand for usage as roof tiles on buildings. At one point Wales produced four-fifths of all British slate with Caernarfonshire producing the most.

Slate is a totally natural product made from shale-like rock created from clay or volcanic ash.

#4 The block of Granite which was an obstacle for the weak, became a stepping stone for the strong

Granite has long been used for things such as memorials and monuments. Today they are more commonly used in the home as work tops, tiles and of course House Signs. Our Granite house signs are stunning, with the naturally flecked detail shining through on the sophisticated black colour. You can’t get this sort of beautiful, classy look anywhere else. Add a granite house sign to your home to add charm, sophistication and natural sparkle. It will definitely make your home stand out above the rest.

Granite is a very interesting material. It is an igneous rock meaning it has been formed from lava or magma.

It is also a very desirable material because it is solid, strong and weather resistant. Once polished it gives a brilliant shine.

Granite has been used for thousands of years in buildings, pavements, monuments and of course as I mentioned earlier in home-ware and other decorative pieces. But here at HNP we create house signs and our Granite range is absolutely stunning.

#5 The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying stones

Our Portland stone range is a little bit different, but far from inferior to the rest of our range of House Signs. Portland stone is mined in, yes you guessed it, Portland, down south.

We use a technique called V-carving on our Portland Stone house signs, a process similar to engraving only it uses a “v” shaped tool to create the lettering. We then either use infill paint to make the lettering stand out, or depending on the customer leave it looking natural. Portland stone will do wonders for your kerb appeal, this unique material will make your home the best looking on your street.

Portland stone has been used since the Roman times, and between the 1700’s and the 1930’s a number of important buildings were constructed using the stone. St Paul’s cathedral, The Palace of Westminster and structures such as London Bridge have all been constructed using Portland Stone. And would you believe that it has been used as far as New York City? The United Nations Headquarters building makes use of this amazing material.

So what do you think? Can you see yourself with one of these beautiful house signs? Improving your kerb appeal has never been easier. Click here to get your brand new, beautiful house sign now.

 

Make your house the best looking on your street

Door Variety

Make your house the best looking on your street.

Make your house the best looking on your street. Here are my top tips to do exactly that.

#1 Keep the garden Tidy

Make your house the best looking on your street - The Secret Garden
The Secret Garden Slate Plant Marker

Make your house the best looking on your street. This is so important, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve nearly broken my neck trapesing over loose brambles when I’ve got my long shorts on. My ankles always seem to suffer. But not just that, get rid of the weeds, the little blighters are an eye sore. Plant some nice beds, perhaps some lavender? That smells beautiful too. Jet wash the path to get rid of the moss, a hard bristled yard brush will come in handy here. Mow the lawn, nothing better than a nice lawn. Then there’s your bushes, everyone loves a well-trimmed bush.

#2 Paint the front door

To be honest, most people have PVC doors these days. So painting them may not be an option. But you could give it a good wipe down with some soapy water. Those of you who do have doors that can be painted, why not push the boat out and go bold. Most people have white, black, or grey. Be adventurous, go PINK, or bright yellow, hey throw caution to the wind, multi-coloured all the way.

Rainbow door
Rainbow door

#3 Update your house sign/ Number

Make your house the best looking on your street. There are loads of options here. And we can help! HNP can create pretty much anything you want. Give us a shout if you have a particular design in mind. We’ve got brass, aluminium, slate, acrylic, granite, stainless steel and loads more. We’ve got numbers, plaques, and the ability to make absolutely stunningly beautiful house signs to meet your spec. Go on, give us a shout.

#4 Clean all the windows

Yep, every last one. But be careful if you’re thinking of climbing up a ladder. That might be best left to professionals. Have you ever stood looking out of a clean window? Inside and out? You start noticing things that you never saw before. Your reflection for one. Flipping heck, that’s a scary thought eh? I’m joking. The last time I cleaned my windows properly, it was a beautiful, sunny, winter day, it was clear and I could see for miles. From my top window I could see Blackpool tower! I’m on the Dee Estuary. Let that sink in.

Clean window
Clean window

#5 Some lights

Make your house the best looking on your street. Add a security light maybe? Or even a nice looking vintage lamp. You know the ones I mean. The ones that remind you of The Muppets Christmas Carol. You can pick them up for pence these days if you look in the right place. All you’ll need to fix them is a screwdriver, chances are they’ll come with all the screws.

Porch Light
Porch Light

#6 Clean the car

Don’t be so ridiculous, I hear you think. Nope. Really. Get the car cleaned. Or, if you want to be really fancy, buy a Ferrari and leave it on the drive for people to look at in awe as they go past. You would definitely be the best looking house with one of those on your drive. But in all seriousness, having a clean car can do wonders for your kerb appeal.

#7 Paint your fence

Make your house the best looking on your street. Another face-palm moment. But seriously, a tidy fence, goes alongside your tidy garden. It is just as aesthetically pleasing. Make sure you warn people that the paint is wet though. Don’t want any accidents (no matter how amusing it would likely be). I quite like the idea of a white fence, but most of us Brits go for reds, greens and dark blues. Do whatever you feel. Be really crazy and paint each panel a different colour. Each post even. Do what you feel.

What do you reckon then? Will you do any of those this week?

How to change your house name

How to change your house name - Royal Mail by JamieRogers

How to change your house name

How to change your house name - Speech-Bubble
Speech-Bubble

Did you know….

How to change your house name. Before 1965 house numbers weren’t really a thing. In 1965 a law was passed which made it a requirement for every home built post 1965 to have a house number and a street name. This was in an attempt to make life easier for the postmen. Can you imagine having to sort through piles and piles of letters, every single one with a different name and no street? Ouch. Perhaps that wasn’t a bad bit of legislation then.

 

How to change your house name

So, what do you do if you fancy having a name for your house? Is there anything special you need to do? Who do you need to tell? And what happens if someone already has that house name in your area?

This blog post has all the info you need on naming and/or changing the name of your house.

So, first of all let’s cover the simple stuff.  

How to change your house name. If your house already has a number, on a street, you can name it without telling anyone. But you must make sure your house number is displayed clearly alongside your house name. This is so the postman, emergency services etc. can see exactly where you are, without an issue.

You must also include your house number in all correspondence. So, for example, you need to write a letter to the council because your wheelie bin has a hole in it, and you need a new one. This is the address you would include on your letter if you have a house name and a number.

Sunflower Tower

[42 Example Street]

[Example Town]

[Exampleshire]

[EX21 9LE]

 

If your house has an existing name, that you are unhappy with. Something like “Robertson Cottage” because that was the name of the previous owner. Then you must apply to change it. In the first instance you would notify your local council. This must be in writing. The letter must include the following:

  • The full name of the owner of the house
  • The current name and address
  • The name you want for your house

Once the council had received your request, providing everything is hunky-dory and there are no other properties with the same name within close proximity to the one you want. The Council will notify the Royal Mail and the Emergency services. But it wouldn’t hurt to double check with them, sometimes things can get lost right?

The council will always keep you updated about your new house name. If there is a problem, they will notify you and may ask you to choose another name. If everything is OK they will usually notify you to acknowledge the change.

Some councils will charge you for this service, between £30 and £50 but others wont charge.

Don’t forget, it will be up to you to notify personal contacts i.e. utility companies, banks and insurance companies. The council will not notify these people for you.

Here’s a Cheeky Checklist so you know who to contact…

Council
Emergency services
Gas board
Electric board
Water board
Internet Provider
Bank/Building Society
DVLA
Car insurance provider
Home insurance provider
Place of work
Doctor
Passport Office
Online accounts

So, you’ve named or renamed your house, now you’re going to need a house sign. Check out our huge range at

www.housenameplate.co.uk