One of the most indispensable accessories for the summer is the parasol! Hurrah that summer is finally here with it’s blue skies and sunshine full of much-needed vitamin D! Yet sunburns or heatstrokes are likely to put a damper on your summer holidays. It provides the perfect solution to protecting yourself and your loved ones in the heat. You’ll be able to spend ample time basking in the sunshine’s warm glow, whilst avoiding all the uncomfortable side effects. Here are our top tips to help you select and enjoy your parasol to the fullest this summer.

Tip 1: Selecting the right parasol

Selecting the right parasol for the job
Selecting the right parasol for the job

To choose your parasol, several criteria come into play. First up is its intended location: is it for the garden, a patio or balcony, or the beach? Next, how many people will it shelter? A small beach umbrella for one child is poles apart from a cantilever parasol capable of protecting a table of 12 people! You also need to tailor your choice to the region where you live: How many months in the year can you use it? Will it be exposed to summer storms? Finally, what is your budget?

Once you’ve answered all these questions, simply opt for the version that best suits your needs, with a little help from our handy advice guide. It will help you spot the difference between upright, tilting, or cantilever parasols. Our blog also explains the benefits of round parasols compared to rectangular parasols or the different types of canopy fabrics available, such as cotton, acrylic, or polyester.

You’ll be sure to find the perfect model to go with your garden furniture set or swing.

Tip 2: The wind is not our friend!

Wind can cause damage to parasols
Wind can cause damage to parasols

Wind poses two serious dangers to your parasol: tearing the canopy and the risk of it collapsing or blowing away. An open parasol must be able to withstand winds of 25 km/h. The very best can survive gusts of more than 50 km/h.

In fact, the wind resistance of your parasol will depend on the model you choose. A light parasol will be more sensitive to wind than a larger, heavier and more robust model. Wooden poles are more fragile and require regular maintenance, but they are heavier and are more stable in the ground. The type of canopy fabric used also plays a key role. Acrylic canopies are more expensive, but more resistant, especially when it comes to keeping their colour in the sun.

If you live in a very windy region, we recommend choosing a parasol with a textilene (synthetic mesh) canopy, which is very light and extremely resistant. Although not widely available, they are gaining in popularity. Large parasols also have a wind cap or valance to add extra stability against wind. The wind cap is a smaller piece of fabric partially stitched into the top of the parasol. When the wind blows, this cap lifts and lets air pass through to reduce the pressure put on the frame.

The wind cap is but stretched over a rigid frame, like a mini parasol over your parasol. It also ensures better air circulation and greater resistance to sudden gusts of wind.

Tip 3: Choose the right spokes

The stability of a parasol depends on its spokes
The stability of a parasol depends on its spokes

The stability of a parasol in windy conditions will also depend on its spokes. Located under the canopy, the spokes keep the canopy in place despite the amount of pressure exerted by the wind. As cheaper models have less robust spokes, they are easily lifted up and moved around by even the slightest gust of wind, a bit like hand-held umbrellas.  Flexible spokes will provide better wind control. The best models use fibreglass spokes to ensure optimal flexibility of the whole structure.

Tip 4: Parasol safety on the beach

Parasol safety on the beach
Parasol safety on the beach

When a beach umbrella suddenly takes flight, it’s hard not to laugh. But it can cause serious damage! If the metal foot hits an unsuspecting beachgoer, it can be extremely dangerous. That’s why you must take extra care when anchoring your parasol at the beach. Here are a few helpful tips to follow:

  • Don’t use it if the beach is too windy
  • Bury it as deep as possible in the sand (or pebbles)
  • Pack the sand around the entire foot
  • Weigh it down by hanging small bags of sand to the spokes under the parasol
  • Face the outside of the parasol into the wind

There are also models with sand anchors, explicitly designed for the beach. For optimal stability, opt for a beach parasol with a built-in screw foot and crank-shaped pole that bores directly into the ground.

Enjoy your parasol this summer!
Enjoy your parasol this summer!

Did you enjoy reading our parasol tips for the summer? After all the effort you’ve put in, it’s time to relax on your  DIY pallet chair, safely sheltered from the sun and flick through our article on your garden to do list for the rest of the summer 🙂

Share your finished results with us on instagram using the hashtags #mymanomanoway and #manomanouk!

To celebrate the Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan, we thought we would help you out with some money saving tactics for an outdoor wedding. We know how expensive weddings can be, but with our ideas for outdoor DIY wedding venues you can still have a beautiful wedding whilst keeping a lid on your budget! Fortunately, many of these DIY ideas can also be transferred to other outdoor events too! You’ll be so proud of hosting a DIY outdoor event that you’ll be made of honour

DIY Wedding Flowers

Flowers can take up a lot of a wedding’s budget, our first tip is that if you are going to buy them them from a florist then try not to mention that it’s for a wedding straight away. That way, you can see what their prices are like before the wedding mark-up fee, and they are likely to stick to their original price rather than charging you more just because it’s a bigger occasion.

However, to really save some money, we recommend growing your own roses in your garden first (if you have the time!). You can grow them from your own cuttings by selecting roses with long, strong and healthy stems. Make the cuttings 25cm long, leaving one leaf at the top but removing the rest. Our top tip is to stick the cutting into a potato before planting it in the soil – this will make sure that the plant receives enough moisture to prevent it from drying out.

To prepare your rose bouquets by hand, first place them all in a tall bucket filled with cool water and floral preservative. Then, gently take the outer layer of bruised petals off each head and skim the thorns with a sharp floral knife (note: make sure that you don’t cut them off as they act as a water reservoir!). Next, cut the bottom of each stem at an angle and immediately place them back into the cold water until they fully ‘open up’ again. Once the roses have fully opened, begin to arrange them by placing one stem between your forefinger and thumb and then adding each stem on top of the previous one until you have created a bouquet (this is fiddly, but worth it!). Remember to keep checking the top of the bouquet to ensure that that it is round and balanced. Finally, wrap the bouquet in stretchy floral tape (available at craft stores) leaving a 2 inch gap at the bottom so that you can place the flowers back into the water until you’re ready to use them!

Another tip is to add Gypsophila (also known as baby’s-breath, shown below) around the bouquet to give it a finishing touch! The flowers can be found very cheaply and also look great as hair pieces, center pieces on the table, and as decorations.

thehandymano mano mano diy outdoor wedding party decoration rose bouquet 2


Don’t go bacon my heart – Food and Drink Ideas

Catering for a large number of people is never cheap, so have you ever considered doing a large barbecue instead? It can take some planning, but can leave your guests full with good food for a much smaller price!

When planning your menu, it is important to consider the person who will actually be running the grill – we recommend asking a trusted friend or neighbour, or asking your family to take turns on it (depending on the size of your wedding). Once you have organised this, then you can buy meat in bulk such as pork, chicken, ribs, hot dogs, burgers and seafood…)and focus on creating some delicious sides! Consider serving your salads in mason jars, and corn on the cob on a stick, keeping in mind that it can’t be too messy to eat! Some other great side dishes are fruit, coleslaw, potato salad and grilled vegetables. For dessert, it’s worth noting that wedding cake goes with everything (yes, even barbecues 😉 ), however, you can always serve bite size summer desserts such as ice cream, cheesecake or grilled peaches instead to really keep within the rustic barbecue theme.

For the drinks, you can use a either a planter or a wheelbarrow to keep them cool. Simply fill it up with lots of ice and place your glass bottles in to keep them cool! It an take them up to an hour to cool down so we recommend topping it up with water to encourage the ice to melt and submerge the bottles fully.

 thehandymano mano mano diy outdoor wedding party decoration barbecue

Remarqueeable DIY Garden Wedding Decorations

Even if your wedding is in the middle of Summer, make sure you have an ‘indoor’ area available for guests in case the British weather turns against you! A gazebo or a marquee can provide cool shade from the sun or shelter from any rain and keep you and your guests happy! As the structures are relatively simple, it gives you a lot of freedom with how to decorate it! Fairy lights can add a perfect touch as the sun begins to set, and you can use solar lamps around pathways to make sure that your guests don’t go stumbling anywhere. For the day time reception, you could also use Tulle, the most versatile fabric for weddings, to drape around entrances and make the gazebo romantic.


thehandymano mano mano diy outdoor wedding party decoration marquee

Wood you just look at that!

We are clearly unable to write an article without including our favourite pallets! Pallets are so easy to disassemble an assemble again that we can’t stop finding new uses for them. They’re also great because you can often find them for free (find out how here) which can help you save some extra money at your DIY wedding. So, what do we suggest you use the pallets for? Here’s a list of just a few ideas:

-Personalised signs for information or adorable purposes (see photo below)

-Build your own comfortable chairs like this one or stack them up and throw a blanket over them!

-Build your own easy bar! Find out how to here

-To make your own lanterns like this one

-To show your guests their seating plan (you can even leave the pallet unpainted for a more rustic feel if you want)


thehandymano mano mano diy outdoor wedding party decoration pallet


What do you call a melon that’s not allowed to get married? A cantelope…

Enjoy more articles below!


How to Make a Pallet Bed

How to Make a DIY Pallet Trolley

With amber warning issues, major disruptions to transport, and shortages of loafs of bread as people stock up – it’s time to prepare for the snow storm promised to head in from the East. It’s best to stock up on supplies while you can, before the worst of the weather sets in (which is expected to be from Wednesday to Friday). This way, you can leave the house as little as possible, and stay cosy inside with a cup of tea, under the wraps of a few blankets and watching the weather unfurl from the window. If you do need to go outside for any reason, we’ve put together a guide to getting around in the snow while staying safe.

Check weather warnings before leaving the house

It’s good to get into the habit of checking weather warnings just before you leave. These are updated frequently, and checking can help you plan the safest journey.

Surviving the Best from the East Getting Around in the Snow travel snowing amber warnings cold ice frost driving safely safe bicycle

Interpreting snow warnings

Snow levels can vary greatly over relatively small area. Just because you can’t see much snow, it doesn’t mean there will be equally little at your destination. Most sites (for example Met Office) will tell you how many centimetres of snow there will be over what distance. Take a little time to decipher this information to give you the clearest idea of what route you should take.

Check your sources

Make sure you’re getting the information from a credible, reliable source. Social media and things you hear from others are useful in their own ways (reports and photos can help build up a good idea of what’s happening locally) but it’s good to check credible weather reporting websites too. The same goes for weather apps and online city forecasts – these mostly use automated data, and therefore aren’t the most reliable of sources.

Don’t drive unless you need to

Ask yourself if you really need to leave the house, bearing in mind the possibility of having accident, or even becoming stranded.

Surviving the Best from the East Getting Around in the Snow travel snowing amber warnings cold ice frost driving safely safe walking

Leave lots of time and prepare your car

You don’t want to be rushing in the snow, it’s a recipe for disaster. Make sure you leave yourself plenty of time to get to where you’re going. Your car should be ready for a journey into the snow – with a full tank, and supplies such as food, water, warm clothing and/or a blanket, sand/cat litter, a first aid kit, a torch, a shovel, supplies to remove ice from the car and a phone. Although it seems hyperbolic, these could come in very useful, and it does no harm to be prepared. Check the fluid levels in your car, and be sure to be using a screen wash with an additive to prevent freezing.

Before you drive

Make sure you’ve removed the snow from your car before you leave – this will need to be a thorough job. Clear the ice from the entirety of your window screen, as well as clearing the side and rear windows, front and rear lights and mirrors. Don’t use hot water as the temperature change could be dangerous. Be sure to have your route planned out, sticking to major roads where possible. Check your tyres have enough grip (at least 3mm of tread) and any auto-wiper control you have is switched off (as they may have frozen to the windscreen).

Driving in the snow

To drive as safely as possible, use low revs and go up to a higher gear as soon as you can. Make your change controls as slowly and progressively as possible, as abrupt changes can cause your tyres to loose grip. In an automatic, you’ll want to be on low-ratio mode, usually shown by an ‘L’ symbol, or a snowflake. Make sure the car in front is at a safe stopping distance, which in icy conditions, should be around 20 seconds (you can measure this by watching it pass an object, then counting the seconds until you also pass this object). Keep your window screen clear at all times and put on your headlights whenever necessary.

What to do if your car skids

If your car begins to skid, take your foot off the accelerator, and don’t hit the brakes (this will only prolong the skid). When skidding, if the car begins to spin, steer in the direction of the spin to straighten up.

If your car becomes stuck

Stay calm and don’t panic. Resist spinning your tires, as it will only dig the car in deeper, as well as potentially damaging your tires. With your car in the lowest gear, try to back up slowly, stop, and then shift the car forward. Hopefully, this back and forth movement will help it gain some grip. If this fails, repeat the back and forth movement while also turning the wheel. If your car still won’t budge, try and dig out some of the snow from around the wheels. Use something like sand, cat litter, gravel or even cardboard, put this under your back wheels to help grip.

We hoped this helped, and that you spend your snow days enjoyably (and hopefully not stranded anywhere). The weather is expected to be, in some areas, the coldest spell since 1991. Make sure you wrap up warm and stay safe while getting around in the snow!

10 Ways to K…

Top 5 Tips f…

We’ve heard stories of people braving the shops at 4am to get the best deals, of fist fights on department store floors, of parents sacrificing their children for that last 4 slice toaster… These people are not us. All the best and brightest companies (*cough*ManoMano*cough*) have made their deals digital to allow us to shop to our hearts content from the comfort (and safety) of our own homes. Just follow these five steps to make the most of your Friday, and if you still feel stressed, check out our Black Friday Therapy videos (just scroll down!)

1. Do your research

Many companies will start putting deals up earlier than Black Friday, so you can have a look around and size up the competition. Have a list of items you want to buy (think long-term, and Christmas presents) so you’re not frantic when it gets to Friday.

Top 5 Tips on Surviving Black Friday the handy mano thehandymano manomano mano shopping list writing

2. Stay away from the shops!

Firstly we’d like to take a second to think of those poor souls, trapped inside the walls of a retail shop this Friday. They must have seen and heard things that they’ll carry with them until the day they die. We’ve all seen the videos of Black Friday, and we sure don’t want to throw ourselves into that crazy mix. It’s all around a better idea for everyone to set yourself up with a laptop and shop from the comfort of your home.
Top 5 Tips on Surviving Black Friday the handy mano thehandymano manomano mano deals hectic chaos

4. Set a budget

It can be easy to be sucked into appealing looking deals on Black Friday. You’ve followed step 1 so you know what you want, how much it’s selling for, and now all you need to do is set yourself a budget to stick to. You don’t want any Saturday regrets!

Top 5 Tips on Surviving Black Friday the handy mano thehandymano manomano mano budget setting

3. Settle in

Shopping can be tiring work… you want to make sure you’re as comfy as possible and set up for the day. We’re thinking: those sweatpants with the thick lining you’ve worn so much they’ve got holes, a huge packet of crisps you’ll tell yourself you won’t get through but you know you will, a big blanket, maybe some music for ambience, and of course a warm cup of tea.

Top 5 Tips on Surviving Black Friday the handy mano thehandymano manomano mano yawn tired bed cosy laptop

5. Bring on Cyber Monday!

Worried you won’t find what you need in time? Thought Black Friday was… as the name suggests… just a Friday? Wrong! Retailers are eager to give you cyber Monday too, for those who just can’t get enough.


Does simply reading this have your heart racing and your forehead beginning to glisten? Why not calm yourself down with ManoMano’s Black Friday Therapy…

Wondering how to get rid of bed bugs completely? Despite the name ‘bed’ bugs, these little suckers can get EVERYWHERE. Once they’ve infested your home, they can be a huge pain to get rid of – but it can be done, we promise! You’ll have to attack them from all angles, but with a steamer in one hand and an aerosol spray in the other, you’ll be able to free yourself of bed bugs at long last.

Step 1:


Get out anything you don’t need, and remember that everything remaining will need to be treated. Take linens and clothes and bag these up. Be sure you’re not transporting the bed bugs through your house, spreading the infestation. Wrap everything tightly and take it straight to the washer, running it on a high heat in order to exterminate the bugs.

how to get rid of bed bugs exterminate infestation do it yourself diy the handymano handy mano mano pest control bag up clothes

Personal items like stuffed toys can be put into air tight bags with velour strips. Remember to remove any wall fixings to allow you to access the space behind and around these.

Step 2:


Find the right products for each area of the house and spray, spray, spray. Leave no nook untouched, no mattress unturned. Bed bug kits are often the most economical way of purchasing all the things you’ll need, and be prepared to try various different methods. One will often not be enough – you’ll need to attack the bed bugs from all angles.
how to get rid of bed bugs exterminate infestation do it yourself diy the handymano handy mano mano pest control mattress open unzip lift

Bed bug traps are great for the feet of beds and sofas. This will stop them in their tracks, leaving them unable to infect the fabric. When going around the room, don’t forget lamps, table tops, the edges of carpets, the wall to the skirting board, and door and window frames. A bed bug steamer is a great product to use. Take your time with this, as it must be directly in contact with the bed bug to work. This is a great option if you can’t or don’t want to use pesticides.

Step 3:

Second attack

Go back in with a strong insecticide once your first round of bed bug spray is totally dry. A straw applicator will allow you to reach into the nooks and crannies – being sure to hit bed frames, picture frames, walls  and cracks.

how to get rid of bed bugs exterminate infestation do it yourself diy the handymano handy mano mano pest control spray skirting board

Upholstered furniture should be sprayed, with extra attention to the seams. Spraying skirting boards and the space underneath will help prevent the infestation spreading. When treating the mattress, remember to be treating it in its entirety: box springs, mattress, the frame, folds, corners, screw holds and even the internal areas of the box springs. It’s an idea to encase each part in a bed bug proof encasement cover, to prevent re-infestation.

how to get rid of bed bugs exterminate infestation do it yourself diy the handymano handy mano mano pest control bed bug joke

Step 4:

Bed bug powder

Bed bug powder can be applied to skirting boards, between mattresses and box springs, headboards, wall fixtures, under furniture, behind light switches and behind drawers. The great thing about powder is it will last for a much longer time than an aerosol spray.

As well as the powder, you may want to keep a live bed bug spray with you. That way you can whip it out and spray down any live bugs that dare to cross your path.

Step 5:

Prevent re-infestation

Washing your linens and clothes before they return to the room is a must, but it’s also highly advisable to keep washing them regularly on a high heat. For things that can’t be washed, there are special bags that you can contain them in for a while until the bugs die, or you can opt for heaters.

 how to get rid of bed bugs exterminate infestation do it yourself diy the handymano handy mano mano pest control cycle of a bedbug

And now to repeat!! Never underestimate the sneakiness of bed bugs. You’ll need to repeat the above steps every week to ten days, until there’s no evidence of the bugs, and no fresh blood. This can take a minimum of 7-8 weeks.


We hope this helps you kick out those unwanted guests. Having a problem with spiders too? Luckily, we have a guide for how to oust those too. Sick of reading about pests and want to get out of the house? Build yourself a simple hammock and take a well earned relax