Image: John Talbot
Winter is well and truly on its way. Temperatures have dropped and you might be starting to feel the chill. The appearance of Christmas decorations in the shops is another telltale sign that snow and ice are on the horizon. Before winter really starts to bite, it’s a good idea to think about any improvements you could make to your home to help you keep the cold at bay. A few simple changes could enable you to stay snug this chilly season. If you don’t know where to start when it comes to winter-proofing your property, take a look at the following top tips.
Choose the right fuel
If you don’t have access to mains gas and you use oil, electricity or solid fuel to heat your home, now could be a good time to change tactics. By switching to an LPG boiler, you may be able to increase comfort levels in your home and lower your energy bills – a double whammy! Don’t be put off by the thought that swapping to a new fuel source will take lots of time and effort. Companies like Calor can make the transition easy.
LPG boilers are highly efficient, meaning they will help to keep temperatures up in your property without you busting your heating budget in the process. They are also low-maintenance, which could make your life that little bit easier.
Make sure you’re in control
Regardless of the type of boiler you’re using, it’s important to have the right heating controls. This will help you to ensure that the temperature of each part of your home is perfect throughout the winter months. Also, bear in mind that installing a room thermostat, thermostatic radiator valves and a programmer for your heating system could save you up to £150 a year.
It’s surprising how much heat you can lose as a result of gaps around your doors, windows and floors. Chimneys, letter boxes and pipes are also areas to watch. To discover where any little holes or gaps are around your home, go from room to room on a windy day and check where any air is coming in from outside.
There are plenty of draught-proofing products on offer now and you don’t have to be a DIY fiend to take advantage of them. For example, it takes a matter of moments to seal your skirting boards with silicone. You can buy these products from most home improvement shops and they are easy to use. Just make sure you read the instructions carefully first. Draft excluders can be used around doors and even in your chimney. For your windows, you might like to use foam sealants or metallic or plastic brush strips.
Draft proofing your home needn’t cost you much money and it’ll make the winter months much more comfortable. Also, it could help you to cut your heating bills.
Consider loft and wall insulation
If your budget will stretch to it, you might want to invest in loft insulation too. It’s recommended that you have at least 270mm of insulation in this part of your house, so it’s worth checking to see if you need a top up.
Cavity wall insulation could also help to make your home feel cosier. If your property was built after 1920, its external walls are probably made of two layers with a gap between them. This provides the perfect space for added wall insulation.
Getting your home ready for winter might seem like a hassle. However, by making just a few simple changes, you could help your household stay toasty and warm throughout the colder months, and you might be able to bring your energy costs down too.
Image: Jaime McCaffrey
Since the arrival of the smartphone, the number of people playing games has risen sharply over the last few years, as everyone fills their spare moments with different online games. But would you agree with a survey that suggests that women are beginning to dominate in terms of how much gaming they do?
The Internet Advertising Bureau carried out a survey into UK online habits this year and reported that 52% of British gamers are now female, a rise of 3% since 2011. However if, like me, you’re a fan of online bingo at sites like Winner or Bingo Blitz and gaming apps like Bubble Shooter and Pac Man Friends, are you really a gamer? After all, we’re not sitting in a darkened room playing Grand Theft Auto 5 or Assassin’s Creed VI for hours at a time, in which case the term ‘gamer’ might be more applicable.
The truth is hard to discern as surveys aren’t always objective. But there’s no doubt that more of us are playing online and on our mobiles than we used to. You see evidence of it everywhere – go onto anyone’s Facebook page and you’ll see what they’ve been playing. Look around while you’re watching the kids’ swimming lesson – and almost every mum will have their phone in hand, and they’re not all texting and talking.
As soon as you join a site like bingo.winner.com, you can see why so many people are playing these kinds of games. You can login at any time and find a game on the schedule just about to begin; it only costs a few pence to play (unless you choose one of the freebie games on the schedule) and you get value entertainment from this game that is really all about chance. You can’t make any decisions to improve your chances of winning – all you do is pick the cards you’re going to play and see what happens. And while you’re watching the game, you can choose to chat to other players if you feel like it. All through just a couple of taps on your phone. It’s an ideal way to fill a few minutes.
The same goes for many of the other games you can play on your phone, but it’s unlikely that a player of a mobile game like Candy Crush or someone who enjoys playing those drawing challenge apps would think of themselves as being a gamer. Playing on your phone is definitely a current trend and there are few people left who don’t play the odd game now and then. And as the games become ever more sophisticated, the trend is likely to continue.
But, while I might like the odd game of Word Craft, or Word Off! or play a few games of bingo or slots on my phone while I’m waiting for the dinner to cook, I don’t think I’m ready to be classed as part of the UK’s gaming population just yet.
My goodness, these children grow too fast. It seems like barely a week goes by without one of them growing out of something. And the older they get, the more difficult it is to find clothes that fit their skinny waists and long legs that are appropriate for their age range.
Especially for my daughter who in age 9 clothes seems to have crossed the divide from child to tween in most clothing stores meaning a lot of the clothing is highly inappropriate for an 8 year old. Well, to be honest they’re highly inappropriate for anyone considered a tween in my opinion but that could be just me getting old. However, you can never go wrong with Clarks.
Makers of lovely shoes that last long enough for them to grow out of – something of a rarity in shoes manufacturers these days – and that aren’t all towering high heels for size 1 kids’ shoes.
I had to take the girl for a shoe fitting last week after she grew out of every single pair of shoes she owns and we came home with these beauties.
The Daisy Elf boot in black for £48. A beautiful pair of suede and leather boots that has a secret compartment in the bottom of each insole complete with itty bitty doll to carry around with you.
These compartments came into their own at the Camping and Caravan show at the NEC a few days later proving to be a very handy place to store my phone number should she get lost. A friend of mine puts her daughters tuck money in hers at school – secret compartments are always handy.
Clarks were, as ever, ace. Brilliant fitting, friendly service and a great selection of shoes and boots to choose from. And the girl is thrilled with her new secret spy shoes.
A good friend of mine is moving house, which is one of my favourite things. I love looking at houses for sale but really can’t be doing the hassle of removal men and having to pack up all your junk only to realise when you get it to the new house that it really is junk and then chuck it out.
That and trying to settle kids in a new house and deal with post and changes to all your important documents and stuff. Bah.
But having a friend who seems to have become an expert on selling a house fast in the Leasowe area – complete with all those baking-bread-in-the-oven and having-fresh-hanging-baskets-outside type tips they tell you on those moving house programs – I’ve had the brilliant pleasure of browsing properties to send to her.
Properties like these beauties. Seriously, could you live in a house like this?
The Purple House
Where not only is every single room in the house purple…
But they appear to have a dining room in the bedroom. Or a bed in the dining room…
And they have carpeted not just the bath tub, but their sink as well.
The House of Chintz
I’d only want to live here if they were going to leave all of their chintz though…
Higgeldy Piggeldy Stairs
Imagine climbing these drunk. Brilliant
And come on now, who wouldn’t want to go and view this house?
Although my friend and her husband seem to have done quite well in selling their house pretty fast – they used a company called Wirral Property Solutions – they are still on the hunt for their dream home. Apparently none of the ones I sent were suitable. Personally I think they are being way too fussy and the purple house of doom is just perfect for them. I’d totally go with them to check out the last one.
I told her this. She said lots of rude words. So it looks like the hunt is still on.
What happens when I want to listen to some music on Spotify:
Open Spotify app on ipad
Find band/playlist I want to listen to.
What happens when a 5 year old wants to listen to something on Spotify
Open Spotify app on the ipad
Turn volume up to highest level
Search for Minekraft
Realise it’s spelt wrong and search for Minecraft
Select the first song, listen for 5 seconds
Select the next song, listen for 5 seconds
Select the next song, listen for 5 seconds.
Go back the first song, listen for 30 seconds before starting the song again
Listen for another 30 seconds and then start again
Get bored of that song and go to the second song on the list
Get yelled at by very unreasonable mother who for some reason is fed up of listening to the first 30 seconds of a song about mother chuffing Minecraft.
Go upstairs for a good cry and a sulk, singing said Minecraft song quietly to ones self.