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The day the clocks go back is somewhat monumental. It’s the day we lose an hour of daylight, but gain an extra hour in bed 😉. If you are or know of the kind to go into immediate hibernation as soon as the sun sets, spread the word – the day isn’t over! This post will ensure that the clock change means you can still make the most of your day, light or dark.

Meeting the night wildlife

Although our instincts may be to go back inside when it gets dark, many animals just outside our doorstep do the exact opposite. By using any pet food or leftovers that you might have and leaving them outside, you could attract the local neighbours of badgers, foxes, hedgehogs, bats or even deer if you’re lucky! It’s can be pretty breathtaking to watch nature in all its glory.

Star and planet gazing

Not only can you see so much already from your back garden on a clear night, but you’ll be able to also see the whole sky so much clearer with simply a pair of binoculars or a birdwatching telescope should you have them handy. It’s a wonderful activity to do with the kids as you can teach them about space and the different moon phases.You can show them the full moon on the 23rd of November, whether they think it’s made out of cheese or not. 😉

Light a bonfire

This is a really sociable way of getting your friends and family outside during the colder months. Getting some wood together and a box of matches (and even some wooden scraps from an old DIY) is the perfect recipe for an evening of toasted marshmallows and great conversation, you’ll want seconds.

Visit a viewpoint

This may only apply to those of you who live near or in a city, but it’s a beauty. A great thing to do as the sun sets or as soon as it gets dark is to go to your favourite highpoint and take in a view of the city. The street lights and tiny houses will make it seem so small, and you get perspective on how huge everything really is!

Make some DIY lights

A great way to celebrate the darker months is to decorate your space with your own DIY creations. You can even use leftover firewood or things around the house, to light up your indoor or outdoor space. If you’re in need of a little inspiration, this blog post has 20 great ideas for light ideas you can make yourself. We also have a tutorial on how to make your own upcycled glass bottle light and a plastic concrete pendant light. De-light-ful!

Plant some shade-friendly greenery

There’s no denying that as the clocks go back, not only is it a sign of the coming cold but it also means that your plants don’t get as much light per day. So, here’s a heads up on some fern-tastic plants which grow in these conditions.

A plant that will give your garden a spot of colour and are perfect for this time of year are autumn crocuses. If you’re looking for greenery which loves the extreme shade look no further with Autumn ferns. They don’t need too much care when integrated into your garden, and Japanese maples are trees which are ideal to plant in Autumn, are relatively easy and will give you flowers in early to mid spring.

Camp with your kids

A guaranteed way of bringing the kids outside when the clocks turn back is by using your back garden as a camping ground. What better way to bring them on an adventure – on your own home turf! Activities such as teaching them how to set up a tent, playing around with hand shadows from a torch  or listening out for owls will give them an experience of being that little bit closer to nature!

We hope you enjoyed this post are now looking forward to the clocks changing! Enjoy spending time doing lots of fun activities with family and friends, and quite literally, have the time of your life!

 

Essential Gardening Jobs for November

Eight Winter Jobs to Get Your Garden Ready for the New Growing Year

 

Kids often mimic what you do and want to learn how to become a mini-you! So, if you’re a frequent DIY-er like us, your child is sure to have seen you around the house with a few tools in your hands here and there. This blog post is here to help them understand what you’re doing and to let them feel involved… as well as guaranteeing yourself your own little helper for your projects! We’re not kid-ding. 😉

 

Safety first

Start off by introducing your toolkit and explaining what each tool is and what their functions are. Make sure they are aware of what’s sharp, what’s powerful, and how to properly hold each one. DIY can be dangerous, so it’s vital that they know which tools are which and that they must be used with care!

 

Painting

All kids love to paint. Whether you do a lick of paint to cover up a mark or completely repaint your living room, they’ll want to get involved! Giving them tips and tricks is really useful, like how to keep a streamlined up and down motion, and doing corners when there’s less paint on your brush or paint roller. Show them how you would paint on your surface of choice with your explanation and let them repeat after you. They’ll pay lots of attention in the hope of doing it exactly like you!

 

Sanding

The one point to be made about sanding is that it’s crucial when working with wood and is  easy to demonstrate. Sandpaper is really cheap and easy to use, let them play around and experiment with it. If you’re ever concerned about the risk of splinters, any form of protective glove could give you some peace of mind as well as keep looking like a professional. 😉

 

Hammer and nail

Using a heavy hammer to hammer sharp nails into in a block of wood could sound like a dangerous prospect, but with the right guidelines and materials you have nothing to worry about! Galvanised felt nails are ideal to use with a beginner as they’re short with wide heads. Additionally, instead of wood, rigid foam insulation is a great alternative, as it is much softer so the nails can go in more easily, so your kid is much more likely to – quite literally – nail it in one go!

 

Sawing

Explaining the danger of a sharp saw is crucial. It is important to teach the child the best way to grip the handle of the saw so that they are as far away from the sharp edges as possible. Using a foam core is much more child friendly, and by fixing it to a workbench it won’t move around, and your child can focus more on how to saw in straight lines.

 

Screw into drywall

A drill is a very powerful tool! Using something less intense such as a powered screwdriver will lessen the impact and is easier to learn to coordinate. Wood you believe that screwing into drywall is much easier to drill into and you can always give your kid a wooden surface once you feel they are confident enough, and it can act as a reward!

 

We hope that you’ve learnt that teaching the basics of DIY doesn’t need to be complicated at all! It’s a great feeling to be able to pass on a life skill to your loved ones, not only giving them a sense of accomplishment but you feel good too! Happy DIY-ing! 😄

 

 

DIY Kids Play Furniture – Miniature Work Bench

7 Fun Child Friendly Garden Activities By Ciar Byrne

 

Ever get frustrated that your plants can’t stay with you for more than a couple of weeks from a disease you never saw coming? This post is here to save you from the worry of them targeting your precious plants again with these handy tips.

 

In order to choose your plant protection products wisely, you first need to identify what exactly is wrong with your plants. Below are the most common issues:

  • Insects – They bite or drill holes in the leaves, stem and fruit, and can cause serious damage or even death to your plant. They usually hide out on the underside of leaves, making it relatively easy to find them. To get rid of or ward off insects, you will need an insecticide.
  • Moulds – These attach themselves to your plants and feed on them. The first warning that you have mould is when you see any staining and discolouration on leaves and stems. To treat, you need a fungicide.
  • Excess nutrient or nutrient deficiencies – You will normally notice these only when the leaves change colour, as they tend to turn paler or yellow. To solve this problem, you will require fertiliser or a deficiency corrector.
  • Excess or lack of irrigation/ exposure to sunlight – If you haven’t found any bugs or noticed spots or stains, and the leaves are a good colour, then it may be that you need to water more or less, or provide more or less sunlight.

The critical thing is to identify the issue. Applying insecticide won’t help if your plant has mould, or vice versa.

 

The essential plant protection first aid kit

Let’s suppose you have ruled out any issues with watering, that the plant receives enough sunlight, and that you fertilise it regularly. In this case all you need is an insecticide and a fungicide, as well as a few targeted products that we will discuss later on.

It’s good to know that most of these products play a preventative as well as curative role. After all, prevention is always, always better than cure. As an example, in summer some regions are prone to torrential rains. This provides the ideal conditions for the appearance of moulds, as these thrive in heat and humidity.

After it rains, it’s a good idea to apply fungicide to your plants, as a preventative measure. This stops the mould or fungus spores from finding a suitable environment to settle in.

The same goes for insecticides. Have you ever noticed that the instructions tell you to reapply the treatment after a few days? That’s because many insecticides target the adult insects, but do not work on the eggs that may have been deposited on your plants. These will hatch after a few days, giving rise to a new generation of bugs that will continue to cause problems.

Earlier on we mentioned that apart from fungicide and insecticide, there are some targeted products that can also be essential to your first aid kit:

  • A molluscicide, or in other words, a product against snails and slugs. A must-have in any plant first aid kit if you have a vegetable patch or garden. Slugs and snails don’t tend to appear on terraces or balconies unless they hitch a ride on one of your plants.
  • If you have geraniums, we recommend keeping a specific insecticide handy that targets the larvae of the butterfly that this plant attracts. This is a very specific pest (also known as geranium drill) which targets this plant only, meaning you should be prepared if you want to keep your geraniums healthy and eye-catching.
  • An iron chlorosis corrector to combat a lack of iron in hortensias, camellias, gardenias and hibiscus, amongst other plants. The leaves begin to turn yellow, shrivel and then fall off.
  • Calcium-rich fertiliser for your tomatoes, especially if you’ve already suffered from apical-blossom end rot, as per the photo above.

How to apply plant protection products

Most of these products come in powder form for dilution, or directly in liquid form. To apply, you’ll need a sprayer as this allows you to spread the product uniformly over the leaves and stem.

If you only have a few plants at home, you can make do with a spray bottle, such as the ones for household cleaning. But we highly recommend getting yourself a pressure sprayer (available in 2, 5, 8 and 16 litres). These are really comfortable to use because by pumping the lever you can achieve enough pressure to spray the liquid without having to continuously pump. The nozzle is usually adjustable, allowing you to create small droplets that will be finely dispersed over the plants.

Larger pressure sprayers also come with a lance or wand, meaning you don’t have to bend down or come into direct contact with your plants. This is great not only in terms of comfort but also to keep you as far away as possible from the product being applied. Some products may cause respiratory problems, hence we recommend reading the manufacturer’s instructions carefully. We don’t want to scare you off, just warn you to take the necessary precautions and apply them 100% safely.

Let’s finish up with a couple of additional tips: try to apply your plant protection products at the start or end of the day, to avoid the direct sunlight over your plants. This will prove far more effective and convenient, particularly with organic products, as most of these are photosensitive, meaning they are less effective in sunlight.
When you’ve finished applying the treatment, release the sprayer’s internal pressure by opening the valve: this will lengthen its service life. 

Thanks for reading!

 

How to Prevent Plant Pests

Top 8 Weird Flowers

Bathroom Renovations – Mistakes to Avoid

Are you thinking about renovating your bathroom? If so, then you may want to try and avoid these mistakes which occur often with bathroom renovations. Such mistakes may appear mild at the beginning, but could cause a major disaster long term. Bathroom renovation mistakes can cost a fortune to correct, and also be very time consuming. Many people fail to realize that a bathroom is the only place in the house that is subjected to harsh environmental conditions. Bathrooms can become very humid, and experience a large range of temperatures. Warm temperatures and humid conditions create a breeding ground for mold, especially if the bathroom lacks ventilation. Bathrooms are in constant use, not only by you, but your guests too.
Spend your money wisely. Design your bathroom the correct way by avoiding these top 5 bathroom renovation mistakes:

1. Inefficient Bathroom Layouts

A bathroom should have enough space to ensure one is comfortable while using it. The items to be installed in the bathroom should not occupy the entire space. Sometimes there is not enough space left to comfortably access the shower. It is usually an uncomfortable experience to always squeeze yourself in the shower on daily basis. You should always be alert to avoid this bathroom renovation mistake by having a bathroom plan drawn to scale. It is usually a good idea to have your bathroom design drawn up by a professional designer. Many bathroom suppliers offer a free design service, which involves drawing a 3D Computer Aided Design (CAD) model of your bathroom design. They will probably come up with ingenious ways to maximize on space that you had not thought of. It will sure help you avoid a lot of sizing mistakes which happen during bathroom renovations.

2. Poor Quality Bathroom Products/Furniture

When it comes to bathroom furniture and fittings, you normally get what you pay for. Although a cheap tap may look nice and shiny, it could have a poor-quality chrome coating. Some metallic coatings may not be durable enough over a long period of time. Some may even be more sensitive to harsh cleaning products such as bleach. It is worth investing money in known brands when it comes to taps and metallic fittings such as handles. If you want the best, then consider using stainless steel where possible, as it is very resistant to corrosion. Another important bathroom item is the shower. Invest money in a decent shower with excellent seals. Simple showers are likely to stay cleaner for longer then ones with lots of grooves and edges.  Frameless showers are very low maintenance as they are constructed from less parts.

3. Inefficient Ventilation

This is a probably one of the most common mistakes which occurs during bathroom renovations, and it is a complex one too. When a bathroom has an improper ventilation, problems will start arising. Inefficient ventilation can be a breeding ground for mold. Also, lack of ventilation may cause more condensation to form, resulting in damp patches on walls. Any materials within your bathroom that naturally absorb moisture such as wood could also become affected over a long period of time. We always recommend using extractor fans that vent directly to the outside, rather than recirculating ones. Although extractor fans are essential, they can be noisy. There are many types of extractor fan which are activated in different ways such as light switch, pull cord, motion sensor or even humidity sensor. Personally, we prefer light switch activated extractor fans because they can be switched off immediately when leaving the bathroom, rather than a 15-minute time delay.

4. Choosing the Wrong Bathroom Tiles

This is another issue that is common among those who are renovating their bathrooms. Did you know that some wall tiles require sealing? If this is not carried out, then mold is likely to grow within the pores of your tile material. Always ask the manufacturer is your wall tiles require sealing before installation. Another thing to consider if the tiling grout. Tile grout is the most likely things in your bathroom to become moldy first. Therefore, it may be a good idea to have less tile grout by installing very large tiles. Also, you should consider of tile grout colors such as dark grey. Not only do other colors look different and fantastic, it will help to hide mold that will grow in years to come.

4. Choosing the Wrong Bathroom Flooring

Bathroom floors get wet on a daily basis, which is why selecting a suitable floor is important. Most people underestimate the importance of bathroom flooring. If you are choosing tiles, then make sure they have a rough surface. Installing smooth tiles on the floor can be dangerous when wet. Non-slip flooring will help you prevent unnecessary injuries, especially when getting out of the bath or shower. Some people think they can use normal laminate wood flooring. However, they soon find out that water can penetrate the wood structure of this flooring, causing it to swell and break apart. If you are after a laminate wood look, then we recommend using Luxury Vinyl Tiles (LVT). They are similar to laminate flooring as they are tongue and groove. But the difference is the material, as they are 100% plastic and therefore waterproof, making it ideal for bathroom renovations!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Warton Woodworks
Enjoy this article about mistakes during bathroom renovations? Warton Woodworks is a Loft Conversion and Home Renovation Company based in Essex, UK. They have extensive experience in the fields of carpentry, loft conversions and home renovation. More articles like this can be found on their Home DIY Blog, which is part of the Warton Woodworks website. Articles are based on their real world projects and experience.

Did you know that indoor house plants have many health benefits, as well as having the ability to brighten up a room? They increase oxygen levels throughout the day, remove pollutants, and apparently can even increase memory retention by 20%, making them perfect for studying or working at your desk! If you’re lost about where to get started, check out our top 10 indoor house plants below for inspiration. Let us know if we missed your favourite one out – we’d love to hear about it!

Top 5 Indoor House Plants

5 – Peace Lily

Indoor House Plants the handy mano mano peace lily

Despite their beauty, these plants are very easy to take care of which is why they are popular office and home plants. All they ask for is medium to low light, and not to be over watered. Check the top of the soil weekly and water when dry. Remember that they are more tolerant of under watering than over watering so don’t make a watering schedule for them.

🌿This plant is the top of NASA’s list for cleaning the air! It removes removes formaldehyde, benzene and trichloroethylene (ie bad things) whilst looking beautiful, too! 🌿

4 – Aloe Vera

Indoor House Plants the handy mano mano aloe vera

Of course, we had to include Aloe vera! This plant carries endless health benefits and doesn’t demand too much form you, either. Make sure that you plant it in a wide container with a potting mixture similar to one which you would use for succulents. The most common cause of death for these plants is a lack of drainage, so water every 3 weeks and avoid keeping the soil soggy constantly. Place it in bright but indirect light, such as behind a curtain in an office.

🌿Squeeze the jelly-like substance out of the leaves and use it to treat sunburn, burns, bruises, acne, psoriasis and many other things, but make sure to never take it internally!🌿

3 – Chinese Evergreen

Indoor House Plants the handy mano mano chinese evergreen

Known to be a very durable houseplant, the Chinese Evergreen plant is both simple to look after and lovely to look at! Make sure you keep it away from any drafts (if anything, it prefers humid conditions) and water it moderately, allowing it to dry out between each time. You’ll notice that the leaves can gather a lot of dust, use a soft damp rag to wipe this away and leave it to air dry.

🌿They are well known for filtering out air pollutants  and getting rid of more and more toxins as time and exposure continues🌿

2 – Spider Plant

Indoor House Plants the handy mano mano spider plant

 

This lovely houseplant is perfect for newbies! You can hang them in baskets, put them on shelves, or leave them on tables to show off their long leaves. Water it once a week, and keep the soil slightly moist during hot months. Fortunately, this plant only needs moderate light to survive, and this doesn’t even need to be natural light, so you can brighten up and dark workspace with them.

🌿These plants are non-toxic so are safe for pets and children to accidentally eat! They also absorb carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and xylene whilst producing oxygen, so it’s a win win!🌿

1 – Rubber Tree

Indoor House Plants the handy mano mano rubber tree

This lovely leafy houseplant needs time to dry out between watering, so make sure to keep it mildly hydrated with a spritz of water on the leaves every now and again. Place it in indirect light to keep it extra happy!

🌿Rubber trees are best known for their large leaves which absorb airborne chemicals and break them down, whilst converting carbon dioxide into breathable oxygen for you! 🌿

Do you think you’ll be investing in one of these indoor house plants? Or do you already have one?

If you need more plant inspiration, try out these other articles:

Top 8 Weird Flowers

Top Nine Low Maintenance Flowers