Thursday, 29 September 2022

Autumn home improvement projects

Autumn home improvement projects

Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year – the air is no longer that horrible muggy warmth of summer, meaning you can actually get a good night’s sleep without having to open all the windows and keep the fan on all night. The perfect balance of seasons. Not to mention how beautiful autumn is, how could you not like it? The changing colours, the pumpkin-spiced everything and the warmer clothes, it’s simply fantastic.

This year, Autumn is also synonymous with home improvement projects. Why? You might ask. Why not? That’s the right question to ask. I recently noticed some small bits around my house that needed some TLC, so I thought of checking if there was anything else I should do to prepare my house for the colder months. After some browsing, I put together a list of the essential home improvement projects for autumn. So, if you’re looking for something to keep you busy, give some of these a go!

Give radiators some attention.

With the temperatures dropping, the thought of using your radiators will be at the forefront of your mind but have you had a look at your radiators since last year? Are they working as they should? Are they looking their best? After all, your radiators are part of your house and, as they are completely visible, they should look as good as possible.

From bleeding radiators to re-painting radiators, there are key things (and aesthetic things!) that can be done to make radiators work and look as they should. Hammerite is a great metal paint that can be used to paint radiators. You can purchase this paint at Kent Blaxill or various other decorating centres and/or websites. For radiators in awkward places, I’d recommend spray metal paint – it will do wonders in tight and difficult to reach spaces.

As She Might Be Loved explains, “Whilst large spray paint cans and paint sprayer are ideal for larger surfaces, such as fences, smaller spray cans are suitable for harder to reach surfaces and small surfaces, such as chairs and bed frames.”

Paint front door.

Let’s face it – the front door is the first thing your family and friends (and the mailman!) see when they visit your home. Do you want them to feel welcome? Do you want them to have a good impression of your home? You can even ask these questions to yourself. Do YOU want to feel welcome when you see your home’s entrance? If your home’s entrance is looking a bit outdated or dull, maybe it’s time for a new lick of paint.

Forbes mentions that a newly painted front door will also stand out from your neighbours’ doors. Plus, highlight that autumn is the perfect time to paint it. “A freshly painted front door helps your home stand out from the block, and it can be finished in less than an afternoon. Fall is usually the perfect time for this activity; just pick that afternoon wisely.”

Seal windows and doors.

Breezy, cold draughts are something you don’t want to experience at home when the weather starts cooling down. So, walk around your house and double-check any windows and doors for unwanted gaps. If you found any holes that might be letting cold air in and warm air out, it’s time to seal them.

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Ways of using garden stones in your garden

Ways of using garden stones in your garden

Looking for ways to spruce up your garden with elements that will look stunning all year round? Maybe you’ve been specifically searching for ways to use rocks in your garden. Whether you are simply looking for ideas or know (almost) exactly what you want, I might be able to help.

For me, my garden (and the overall outdoor space!) has always been my favourite part of the house. If I could spend all my time outside, I would. Unfortunately, the weather prohibits it. However, no matter if I can be outdoors or not, I still enjoy being able to look at a beautiful outdoor space which I spent so much time and energy perfecting.

Garden stones are a fantastic way of decorating an outdoor space and a big part of my outdoors. Stones look good throughout all seasons, come in all sizes, colours and types, plus, require little to no maintenance. As this article on Gardening Etc mentions, “Whether you choose pebbles, gravel or something a little larger, they'll bring texture and visual interest to all manner of features.”

Stones are truly fantastic. To give you some inspiration, I decided to choose some of the top ways of using garden stones in your garden. So, whether you want to change up the look of your outdoors or simply add a new feature – why not use decorative stones?

Where to buy garden stones?

First and foremost, let’s go through where to purchase good quality stones. There are a hundred and one websites and physical stores where you can buy stones, also called aggregates. However, it’s important to choose a reliable business that will offer you a good quality product.

For instance, Mainland Aggregates are a local UK family-run business where I have purchased a variety of decorative aggregates, including pebbles and slate chippings. But don’t just take a positive review from me, Mainland Aggregates has 4.8 Feefo rating, with over 1000 reviews.

I’d recommend looking for local businesses and always checking business reviews to see what others are saying about their products and service.

Ways to use garden stones.

Garden paths.

An easy way to integrate aggregates into an outdoor space is to create a garden path and/or footpath. As Rice Cakes and Raisins comments, “aggregates are the most popular (or at least the most common) way of defining garden paths and footpaths.” This mostly includes gravel paths, which can be used with a variety of types of gravel, including decorative gravel and self-binding gravel, depending on the look you want to go for.

Patio pebble mosaics.

Looking for a relaxing outdoor project? Pebble mosaics are a lovely way to enhance the look of any patio. This is a project that is not for those looking for a quick and easy spruce up. Pebble mosaics take time and effort. However, the final result will be worth it! The best thing about pebble mosaics is that you can create any design you want, so let your creativity run wild!

To get an idea of how to create a pebble mosaic, follow this easy-to-follow guide on This Old House. They explain everything you need to know from start to finish, from the tools and products needed to step-by-step instructions on how to create a beautiful pebble mosaic.

Water features.

Have you always wanted to have a beautiful and peaceful water feature in your outdoor space? Do it. Water features are eye-catching features that will make any garden space look that bit more special. You might think that a water feature will be an expensive addition to your garden. Think again. Discover affordable water fountain ideas at Country Living. They have put together a list of 17 DIY water features that can be done without breaking the bank!

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Fixings 101: screws, bolts, nails and nuts

Fixings 101: screws, bolts, nails and nuts

Even though fixings aren’t the most elegant of things, they are extremely important to our day-to-day. Fixings are everywhere, being an integral part of the foundation of most structures and/or furniture. Desks, chairs, doors, cars, buildings… you name it. No matter the type of structure, it will most likely have screws, nails, bolts and nuts. 

To give these little details some big attention, I’ve decided to dedicate an article talking about the ins and outs of fixings and fasteners. The best part about this article is that I’m not alone! Today, I’ve decided to speak to the experts and get some professional insight into these small details that make up 99% (not an accurate figure, just me saying it) of our life.

Who are the experts?

I spoke to Speedy Fixings, UK-based supplier to civil engineering, construction and similar industries. Speedy Fixings have been providing consumers and companies with products since 1999. Plus, besides their “on the shelf” products, they also manufacture bespoke products to order, including custom-made shims and bespoke post supports.

Types of fixings.


Even though it is unknown exactly when nails were first invented, it is safe to assume that nails are the first type of fastener ever used. The first nails were forged using hammers and made out of copper and iron. As Tidy Away Today comments “Nails are one of the most used types of fasteners and have been used for centuries. Archaeological evidence shows that these fixings were used in Ancient Egypt around 3,400 B.C and since then, little has changed about their design.”

Nails are no longer made one by one using a hammer. Today, thousands of nails are made per minute by machines. These fasteners are now more readily available than have ever been and continue to be a popular fastener choice for many projects.


Screws are similar in size, shape and function to nails. However, unlike nails, screws have ridges along the body to grip screw holes or create their own threaded hole. There are various types of screws, from common screws, including plasterboard screws and wood screws, to specialised screws, such as coach screws and double-ended screws. Each type of screw is suitable for specific materials. As this article on The Spruce mentions, “Screws can be used in a variety of materials, like concrete, brick, or metal, though they are most commonly seen in wood, drywall, and machinery.”


Bolts have a threaded body similar to a screw. However, these have a smooth end unlike screws, which have a body that becomes narrower from the tip to the head. Lucha Libre explains “bolts are non-tapered fasteners that require nuts and washers to be secured to a surface.” There are a variety of bolts available, from coach bolts and concrete bolts to more unique bolts, such as U bolts. If you need help choosing the right bolt for your project, I’d recommend speaking to a professional.


Nuts are most commonly hexagonal shaped fasteners made of metal and are used alongside bolts to fasten objects and/or surfaces together. Different types of nuts are used for a variety of applications, from nyloc nuts that feature a nylon insert, preventing components from loosening, to securely nuts that prevent materials and objects from being tampered with.

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Why I love knurled handles

Why I love knurled handles

It wasn’t until recently that I started seeing knurled handles everywhere – kitchen cabinets, doors, drawers… you name it. I quickly fell in love with these beautifully detailed handles and have been dreaming about adding these all over the house. I mean… can you blame me? These stunning handles are much more than standard handles, they are elegant, unique and sleek handles that perfectly balance aesthetics and function.

Maybe you’ve never seen these handles. Maybe you don’t feel so strongly about them as I do. That’s fine. Everyone is allowed to like different things, but right now, knurled handles are taking over my thoughts. So, I felt like talking about them. The question now is… why do I like these so much?

Just have a look for yourself. After quickly browsing Ironmongery Experts, I found a variety of UK brands that make stunning knurled handles. From matte black knurled lever handles by Frelan Hardware to satin brass knurled knobs by Carlisle Brass – the choices are endless!

1.   Modern design

Knurled handles are a great choice for any contemporary property looking for modern and elegant handles. Plus, you can use these anywhere in your home, from your kitchen and living room to your bedroom and office. No matter the space, these will fit right in.

2.   Unique look

These handles feature a diamond-patterned texture with vertical and horizontal or crossing lines on the surface of the door handle. Not only does this give the handle a one-of-a-kind look but also, due to its design, it offers extra grip and, thus prevents hand slippage.

3.   Add texture

Did you know that texture is one of the most important elements of interior design? As this article on Luxury Lifestyle Magazine states, “texture can elevate a space and add a sense of depth, weight and tone to a room”. Texture can be added everywhere and anywhere in a space, from walls to floors and even on doors, such as textured door handles. Knurled handles are great at adding small texture details in your home.

Even though knurled handles are my favourite, door handles, in general, are fantastic and don’t have to be a boring addition to a room. As Dungarees and Donuts says “Door handles come in a variety of styles, finishes and designs, so there will always be something to suit your interiors. So, stop looking at door handles as simply functional methods of opening and closing your kitchen cabinets.”

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What is a pergola sliding roof?


What is a pergola sliding roof?

When it comes to outdoor shading structures, there are countless options to choose from. Whether you are looking for a parasol umbrella, a pergola or something more unique, you are bound to find a shade to suit you. I recently started looking into these structures a little more, hoping to find something for the last few remaining sunny days and that would also carry me through to the autumn (and winter for that case!). That’s when I discovered a pergola with sliding roof.

Tell me more about pergolas with sliding roofs

A pergola sliding roof, also known as a retractable roof pergola, is a structure with a roof that “can tilt to provide shade when desired or let in those rare beams of sun” as  Emma Plus Three describes it. This means that you can relax outside no matter the weather, enjoying that fresh air all year round. Traditional pergolas can be said to provide “quick shade fixes”, ideal “if you like the look and feel of being undercover” as Ideal Home puts it, but they do not offer the same protection that a retractable roof can. In particular, pergola sliding roofs by Designer Shade Solutions Ireland provide year-round comfort and protection like no other pergola I’ve seen before!

What is special about Designer Shade Solutions?

Now you may be thinking... what makes Designer Shade Solution’s pergolas so special? Well, other than the obvious protection from the elements, these structures have other benefits too! Let’s Fix It enlightened me in a recent blog post that these pergolas can be customised “with side glass screens, heating and lighting to create the ultimate outdoor retreat”. So, if like me, you were looking for a structure to take you into autumn and winter, why not add some heating to your pergola system and begin relaxing, even in the snow! Let’s Fix It also goes on to add that “further customisation or bespoke design is available upon request”, so if you have a specific idea in mind, I’d recommend getting in touch.

Entertain with your retractable roof

Clearly, a retractable roof pergola is an excellent solution to year-round shading. They offer advantages that a traditional pergola could only dream of and truly create an element of bliss in your outdoor space. Pergolas with sliding roofs also make an excellent entertainment space; whether you want to host a BBQ, alfresco dinner or just some relaxing drinks, this structure gives you the perfect reason to start organising!

So, will you be installing a pergola sliding roof outside your property? I know I will as soon as summer is here

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