Property Maintenance Essentials

With the nights drawing in and a noticeable growing chill in the air there’s no denying that winter will soon be on its merry way. Winter can bring its own particular set of challenges for your property, from frozen pipes to leaky roofs, however here are a few handy hints and tips to help prepare your property for the months ahead and ensure you and your home stay warm and toasty this winter.

Bleed your radiators

Bleeding your radiators every now and again is essential to ensuring they keep working efficiently; if you notice your radiators appear to be a little colder at the top than at the bottom then they more than likely have trapped air inside. This can act to prevent heat from circulating properly inside your radiators. If you’ve never had to tackle bleeding your radiators before then try following this handy step by step guide from Uswitch.


Get your boiler checked

Providers such as British Gas recommend you get your boiler serviced regularly, at least once a year, to make sure it is running safely and efficiently. Most people choose to get their boiler checked in winter when it is used the most, after all you don’t want to run the risk of a broken down boiler when the temperature really starts to bite. If your boiler is an old model you could also consider having it replaced, as this could ultimately save you money. According to the Energy Saving Trust replacing an old gas boiler with a new more energy-efficient model could save you up to £305 a year, which is definitely not to be scoffed at.



Autumn is an essential time to clear out your gutters. With all the fallen leaves around there’s a greater chance of blockages forming in your gutters and drains, and if allowed to build up they will start to overflow. You may also want to check your drains for any obvious signs of damage, such as cracks.


Check your roof

You might want to consider hiring a roofing company to check the slate or tiles on your roof before the wild winter weather makes its appearance. Missing or loose tiles can cause a number of problems for your home, especially with the wet winter weather on the way. For example this can allow rain water to penetrate the loft space in your home leading to further problems such as damp.


Your garden

With winter on its way it’s also time to treat your garden to a bit of TLC. When it comes to preparing your garden for the colder weather it’s pretty much a matter of covering up and clearing away. As the temperature begins to drop, frost can become a real problem for the less hardy plant varieties in your garden. Tender plants can ideally be potted and brought inside before the cold weather hits.

Autumn is also a good time to start cutting back any perennials in your garden to remove any signs of decay and promote healthy growth. Regularly collecting leaves from your lawn and composting these can leave it looking tidier, and removing any that build up on your patio areas is also a good idea, as these can be particularly slippery underfoot during wet weather.

It can also be a good idea to trim any trees located in close vicinity to your home, as these are often key culprits when it comes to a build-up of debris and foliage in your gutters. This handy guide from the Royal Horticultural Society has some great advice for reducing the size of trees safely; however you might want to consider hiring in some professionals such as your local tree surgeon.

winter g

Sheds and outbuildings  

Replacing the roof on your shed or outbuildings with a more durable alternative, such as corrugated roofing sheets, can also be a good idea at this time of year. Such materials are great long-lasting alternatives, and are readily available from suppliers such as Bushbury Cladding. Furthermore with high winds often battering the British Isles in the winter months now is also a good time to check the fencing in your garden and repair any damage. If your fence is looking particularly unstable and past its best, you might want to consider replacing it entirely. If you fancy having a go yourself then Wickes have a great selection of fence panels and posts to choose from. Treating fencing and wooden sheds with a waterproofing treatment can also go a long way to help preserve them and prolong their life.

You might also want to spare a thought for the wildlife in your garden at this time of year. For example smaller bird species can be particularly susceptible to the colder weather, especially when food becomes scarcer, so why not provide a helping hand and put out some birds seed or a few fat balls. These are readily available for a number of retailers such as B&Q.


By following these essential property maintenance tips you can help ensure your home stays protected this autumn and winter, whatever the British winter may throw at it.

Revamp Your Conservatory

A conservatory is a great addition to any home and can really add some extra value to your property. If you’re thinking of giving your conservatory a bit of a revamp here are a few design ideas to get you inspired.

When it comes to the interior of your conservatory the design options are almost endless and the key to finding the perfect style for you depends on what you want to use the room for. Conservatories are great multifunctional rooms and can make either the perfect relaxing hideaway, or even an extra living room. Indeed whilst conservatories were once almost a forgotten room in people’s homes, conservatory design has been almost revolutionised of late, and there’s no reason why your conservatory cannot become the most interesting room in your home.


It can sometimes be tempting to play it safe and keep things plain and simple with the interior of a conservatory, however conservatories don’t have to be drab, so don’t be afraid to go bold with your colour choices. Why not try experimenting with warm colours such as a burnt orange or terracotta to really bring your conservatory to life.




Conservatory furniture is not always the most inspiring, and most retailers seemingly offer limited choice such as an abundance of wicker when it comes to bespoke conservatory furniture. However, you shouldn’t let this prevent you from being a little creative with your furnishing choices. Depending on what you intend to use your conservatory for you could consider other furnishing options; for example why not aim to mimic a cosy living room feel with a comfortable high quality sofa. Wooden furnishing such as an oak or pine coffee table can also be a great option for conservatories, and suppliers such as Western Carpets and Pine Ltd currently have a great selection on offer.

I’m a firm believer that you can never have too many cushions, and these are another perfect way to create an inviting and cosy atmosphere in your conservatory. Furthermore you can get your hands on some great designs that can really brighten up your furnishings from places like Matalan, without spending a fortune.


Go Green

Whilst you will likely already be able to get a great view of the lovely plant life in your garden from your conservatory, why not consider bringing a bit of greenery inside? A few plants and flowers can instantly give your conservatory a fresh and cheery feel. Why not consider introducing an exotic plant variety such as one of these orchids from Homebase to add a welcome splash of colour.


If you’re considering revamping your conservatory then it can be a good idea to make some changes to the exterior too, so you can achieve a great new look for your conservatory both inside and out. Whilst glass roofs are a common feature in many conservatories, these can be tricky to keep clean and maintain, and are not always the most aesthetically pleasing or cost effective. Hence why not consider replacing your existing roof with a solid roof featuring slate or tiles, available from providers such as Sentinel Solid Roof. A key advantage of solid roofs is that they can help your conservatory blend in more with its surroundings. On a more serious note, they can also better insulate your conservatory and help regulate its climate.


The renovation of the outside of your conservatory doesn’t have to stop with the roof, for example hanging baskets can be a great touch to brighten up its appearance. This handy guide from the Royal Horticultural Society has some great advice for creating hanging baskets to get you started.

For more design ideas and tips for renovating your conservatory have a look at these useful articles from housetohome and rightmove.

Building Better Urban Gardens

Whether you live in the city, suburbia or the countryside, it’s nice to have some outdoor space to call your own. However, many people living in urban environments do not make the most of the outdoor space available to them. Even if you live in a flat with a small balcony or a townhouse with a sliver of a garden, you can still make this space somewhere pleasant to be.

Urban Garden

It doesn’t matter where you live; your garden can be ornamental, filled with decorative plants, or pragmatic, with space for growing food. You could even combine the two and enjoy a garden that not only looks beautiful, but provides you with seasonal consumables.

Window Boxes

Just because you live in a high-rise in the centre of a town or city, it doesn’t mean that you cannot grow your own plants. Even people with absolutely no outdoor space to call their own can enjoy the pleasures of beautiful blooming flowers by tending to a window box. Creating your own tiny garden perched upon or hanging from an outdoor window sill will allow you to enjoy the pleasure of caring for a garden and adds a stunning splash of colour to an otherwise dull urban environment.

You should be able to pick up basic plastic window boxes very cheaply from the local garden centre or DIY store. Alternatively, if you want a more attractive design, look online; companies such as Crocus have a nice selection of window boxes and planters for people with limited space.

City Window Boxes

The humble window box has a great deal of potential for the urban horticulturist, particularly as they can be used for practical purposes too; you can do a lot more than grow attractive flowering plants. How about using a window box to grow some herbs to be freshly picked for the kitchen, or perhaps some vegetables. This handy guide from BBC Gardening will give you some pointers about how to grow food if you’ve only got a window sill to work with.

Create a Water Feature

Some trickling water can add a touch of tranquillity to a garden, making it a wonderfully peaceful refuge. Even in a bustling city, the gentle sound of flowing water has a calming effect, making a small water feature a wonderful addition to the urban garden.

Water Feature

It may seem that not every outdoor space will have the necessary room to accommodate a water feature, for example, it’s not possible to have a pond on a flat’s balcony. However, if you are creative, then it’s possible to include a unique water feature that makes effective use of limited space.

For example, as nice as they are, who says you need a pond to have a water feature? You can create small fountains and use a decorative water butt or bucket to serve as a pool. All you need is a pump to circulate the water; the rest is up to your imagination. Pond pumps such as those available online from Norbreck Aquatics will do the trick. Small, low powered or solar powered pumps are all that’s need to create a trickle of water that will add a unique and tranquil touch to the urban garden.

Water Feature

Check out some of the ideas for water features on Pinterest; you’ll find plenty of inspiration there. Remember that you don’t need an enormous amount of space to experience the relaxing joy of a babbling water feature in your garden.

Plant Containers

The ideal solution for people with rooftop gardens, or just a concrete patio area, plant containers are extremely versatile and available in so many different designs and sizes. However, there’s no requirement to purchase a plant container when you can simply recycle something like an old tub, metal bucket or ceramic sink to use as a planter! The beauty of plant containers is that you can salvage all sorts of items to grow your plants, so you can get creative and come up with a unique idea of your own.

Plant Container

There’s great advice from City Planter, a very useful resource for the urban gardener, in this article on how to plant in containers. Follow these steps, and you should have no problem growing a whole host of different plants, despite the limit space of the typical city garden.

Urban Space Garden

If you’re stuck for time or inspiration, then remember; you can always call in the professionals, such as Sunny Gardens, a provider of landscaping in Surrey and London, who can help you achieve the perfect vision for your garden. With just a little inspiration and some creative thinking, you can transform any urban space with a splash of greenery. Don’t think that living in a city restricts you from enjoying the pleasures of gardening.

Your Guide To Job Relocation

Just landed your dream job, but the one downfall is that it’s a good 500 miles away and requires you to up sticks and relocate? Don’t worry!

Sure, relocating for a job, whether solo or with a family, can be an extremely stressful experience. It requires a lot of consideration, careful planning and organisation before you set a date for the big move, but it can also be an extremely rewarding and self-evaluative challenge.


Moving any distance can be one of the most stressful changes in life, and even if you’re excited about making your new start, the move will still be complicated – especially with a job focused move. A positive to relocating however, is that you have in fact been recognised as a valuable asset to your new company and employers will be willing to help you in your transition, making it as stress-free as possible.

There are so many things to take into consideration before you commit to moving, and the process of finding a new home, getting to grips with a new job and making new friends may seem like the biggest challenge of all.

Here’s a quick guide to what you’ll need to do in order to make it a successful move and hopefully the best option for both employment and quality of lifestyle.

Make a plan

Much of moving related stress comes from managing all of the logistics involved with packing up and moving home. Estate agents aren’t your only option if you need to sell your house fast, and although the concept of leaving your current home, and finding a new one in a short space of time can be extremely stressful, if you remain organised and keep daily to-do lists for both your current and future locations – you should be able to keep on top of everything.

Use the professionals

Many companies are available to help you, and are professionals in relocation services to help you with the transition. Many sure you research the help on offer, and use it! Companies such as Sterling can offer you support and advice throughout your move – and even offer house hunting help, transportation of your cars and help to find a school for your spouse and family.

If your employer doesn’t offer relocation assistance, ask for it!

If you learn that assistance isn’t typically given from your new employer, don’t be afraid to request some help (especially if you are relocating long distance!) Start by researching the cost of removal vans, temporary housing, storage etc so that you can present your employer with a detailed estimate of how much the relocation is going to cost you. Even if they can’t reimburse you, they may be able to help you in other ways through advice and help from business relationships etc.

Be aware of the cost of living

There can be dramatic differences in the cost of living throughout the world. Often, these differences will be compensated for in your salary, but it is still so important to check before you commit to a move that may leave you financially unstable.

Explore the new area

If you have the time to visit your new city before you move, make sure you fully explore your new area and decide whether or not it will suit you long term. If you don’t get a chance to visit the city before you move, talk to people who live or have lived there and keep up-to-date with local news and goings-on in your new town. A great tip if you are not sure whether or not you will be happy in your new city is to rent a home for the first few months. By not committing to a house, you have the ability to move around and find the best location to suit you and your family.

Make friends as soon as possible

Especially if you are moving on your own, try to make new friends in your area as quickly as possible to avoid feeling lonely and out of your depth. Ask work friends out for a drink after work or join online services to find people in your new area with similar hobbies and interests to yourself. The faster you build a support network, the happier you will feel and become more settled in your new home.

Moving for a new job can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. Stay organised and ask for help, after all, it may be the best decision you ever make, and if it isn’t – home will always be just where you left it!

City Living to Rural Bliss – Is the Grass Greener?

The country lifestyle isn’t for everyone, and if you find yourself questioning a big move from city living to rural pastures – be sure you are aware of every possible outcome before you up your life and move from the concrete jungle to nature’s paradise.


Sure, with country living comes a peaceful and scenic lifestyle, but you may end up finding the lack of everything-on-your-doorstep easy city living difficult to live without. Whatever your reasons, here are a few key things to consider before making your decision.

Commuting and public transport

If your job is in the city and you are planning to keep it after you move, be sure you have properly planned how long it will take you to get to work, if it is feasible and the actual distance from work to your new home. What will the costs be, in terms of time and money? If you decide to commute, the location of your new property will be based upon your job. Be sure to research public transport routes and make sure there is regular city access to suit all members of the family. Check out traveline to plan your public transport route.


What will you do for income if you do not decide to commute to your current job? There are plenty of options to enjoy rural living and continue a normal 9-5 lifestyle. You could get a part or full-time job that you can work from home, or take this opportunity to finally start your own online business you have been dreaming of for as long as you can remember. If you are into art, crafts and you have a hobby your friends are always telling you to get online and sell your creations – try sites like Etsy and ebay for stress-free and easy online selling!

Nearby education

If you have children and feel a little worried if now is really the best time to up sticks and move from the lifestyle you and your family is used to, consider important factors including local schools and opportunities. Be confident that your move will not affect your child’s education and be sure to research local schools or day care facilities to suit your day-to-day commitments. Find local schools in your area with GOV.UK.

Moving home from home

Moving house is possibly one of the most stressful times anyone will experience during their life, however, if you create a moving checklist that you stick to and remain organised – you can reduce the stress levels, slightly!

When moving your whole life to a new home, chances are you will have to do some serious organising and throwing out of unwanted items to reduce taking belongings to your new property that you no longer require. When moving house, it is always a fantastic idea to get a removal service to help you. By leaving it to the professionals, your move is in safe hands and it allows you to get on with the other 150+ things you need to organise before the moving date. If looking for removals in North London, there are plenty of professional removal companies that offer both packing and removal services to de-stress your move!

Local medical and emergency services

When living in a city, there are plenty of accessible medical and emergency services in close proximity, so if contemplating moving away from the city – be sure to research how much distance there is between your new home and the nearest hospital, doctors etc. If you have a medical condition that requires regular care, you must consider things like how far is the doctors and is it easy to get to? Register your family with the doctors as soon as possible. The NHS offers an easy-to-use online service finder!

There are lots of questions to ask and things to consider before making such a dramatic life change, however, if you do enough research and make sure you are 100% before your final choice – you will come to the conclusion whether rural life is for you or if you are a big city lover at heart.

Must-have Features for Luxury Living

Everyone dreams about having a luxurious home, and those that say they haven’t, well it’s time to start now! Channel 4’s Grand Designs has got it right, as they are constantly transforming property dreams into a reality, and if you’re a home enthusiast who hasn’t watched it, you really should!

Your home should be something that represents your personality in the best possible way; there are plenty of luxurious features that you could add to your home, from a hot tub to an ornate fountain feature.


So let’s take a look at some amazing interior design ideas that are available…

The Swimming Pool


The home swimming pool is the ultimate statement of luxury, and it looks beautiful whether it is an interior or exterior feature – in Britain, it’s probably going to be better to have an indoor pool! Alba Pools have created some stunning award winning pools (pictured above); wouldn’t it be a dream come true to have that in your home? What’s more is that, swimming pools are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can be as artistic as you like…if you have the budget.

Statement Flooring


Every designer home needs a show-stopping floor, so ensure that you feature statement flooring in each room of your house! Every room should provide you with a different environment; one for relaxation, one for thinking, one for exercise etc etc, so on and so forth! Just make sure that you give your home the WOW factor.

No Stairs!


When you live the life of luxury, who wants to walk up stairs? Nobody! Instead install a luxury lift feature. UK retailer Axess2 provide bespoke lift design services so your lift feature can be as glamorous as you like! Obviously, this is a fabulous feature for the contemporary home and a grand way to make all of your neighbours green with envy.

Unique Lighting


Make your home entirely unique with bespoke lighting from expert designers Collier Webb, who have produced lighting for some of the top hotels! Using bespoke lighting will help to give your property a signature look. Of course, if you’re not sure what type of lighting would be the best for your home, take a look at this helpful guide.

The Home Cinema

All of the biggest celebrities have a home cinema, and why not? Why should you have to leave your home to have that amazing cinematic experience? With leather seats and a huge screen, you can watch your favourite flicks without the sticky floor!


There are plenty of unique ideas out there; you could install an aquarium or even have yourself carved in stone; whatever you’re dream home looks like in your mind, you can guarantee that there will be a craftsman that can take care of it for you. So make your interior and exterior design shine and have the ultimate luxurious home!

3 Home Maintenance Tips for Spring in Sheffield

The end of winter is nigh; yes, that’s right spring is just on the horizon. The flowers are beginning to bloom and we’ve even seen a little bit of sunshine. It seems that we can finally put that wet, windy winter behind us, but unfortunately better weather means that all of the dirt, damage and minor cracks on your home will now be highlighted – this is why spring is the perfect time for cleaning and home maintenance. Sheffield is a beautiful part of England, so in order to keep your property looking as good as it should here are 3 home maintenance tips that will ensure that your home looks glorious.

1.       Roofing & Gutter Maintenance

Check your gutters for leaks, if the drainage is loose this can lead to water leaks that can get into your home and cause all kinds of trouble. Ensure that all your downspouts are free of debris and are pointed away from your home. If you’re looking for gutter repair in Sheffield, Dalton Roofing are an expert firm who can repair gutters and other roofing issues at competitive prices. Winter has a habit of damaging roofs, so make sure that you get it checked out to prevent leakage or further damage.

2.       Drain Maintenance

Blocked drains are very common occurrences; especially after the winter months. Blocked drains can be caused by an array of different things, such as fatty build ups and even tree roots; they should be dealt with straight away as this can become dangerous. If you are suffering from blocked drains in Nottingham, drainage experts Inspect-a-Drain ltd can help, as they provide many high quality services right across this part of England. Drain issues can be incredibly unpleasant and even hazardous, so now is the time to ensure that your drains are in excellent condition and are free from blockage.

3.       Garden Maintenance

Winter is especially harsh on the exterior parts of your home and this includes the garden. The recent winds may have damaged your trees and plants, causing them to become unsightly or even dangerous. Nobody mows their lawn in the winter, so by spring time it often looks unruly and almost like a jungle. If you are in need of garden services in Sheffield to help you to get your garden safe and ready for spring, then Green Barrow Garden Services are a highly recommended company who can make your home look incredible again.

Taking care of the maintenance of your roofs, drains and garden will ensure that your home looks in tip top condition this spring. Sheffield is truly a lovely place to live and in fact the happiest place to live in the UK, so it is important to ensure that your home looks the part. Take the above tips into consideration and get your home ready for spring 2014.

Can You Afford To Live in London?

London is an extremely popular place to live. It is considered by many to be the cultural capital of the world, with so much to see and do. If you are considering living in London then you have to ask yourself the question; can you afford to live there?

Although London has a reputation for its prices, recreational expenses might not be as costly as you think. According to Numbeo, the price of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant in London is just £10.00 and the average price of draught beer is £3.50. These prices are perhaps slightly more than round the northern part of England, but they won’t exactly break the bank.

However, it’s not nights out that are the biggest cost. One of the main obstacles that people wanting to live in London have is the price of houses. On the BBC News Website there is a calculator to see where in the country you can afford to live, and you can also compare the prices for renting or buying a property. It is also important to consider that, although houses may be pricier, the money you earn as part of your job will be more down south, and there are many opportunities for employment. According to an article in The Guardian, 3,350 new posts have been created in the city of London alone.

If London is in your price range and you are considering a move to the big smoke, then it is worth speaking to a London based mortgage broker such as Search Mortgage Solutions to get some practical advice. After carefully examining facts, you can make a decision on whether you can afford to live in London. Before making a big move, you may want to research possible areas to live in; there are many hotels for you to stay in, and to get a feel for an area it is worth staying there over a week. This research might seem unnecessary to some, but if it helps you make the right decision then it will undoubtedly be worth it.

Repairing Your Property After The Winter

Every year the winter throws up a tirade of adverse weather that damages properties all over the country, and costs millions of pounds in damage. Once the winter has taken its toll, and finally made room for the spring, then it is time to start repairing the damage that has been inflicted by this most harsh season. There are three distinct weathers that the winter brings with it that are especially damaging to properties, and that often leaves them in need of immediate repair.


floodingHere in Britain we are used to getting rain all year round, but no other season brings such sustained and heavy rain as winter; and large areas of Britain are prone to flooding. When a house has been flooded it is a delicate process to properly assess the damage and attempt to repair it. First thing to do is to get the water out of the property and let it dry out; if the water is deep then it is wise to rent a heavy duty pump from an expert such as Once the house has dried you will need to get a professional like who specialise in repairing the damage that a flood can cause.



The damage that wind can cause to roofing should never be under-estimated, and every year millions of pounds of damage are done to property by high winds. Despite our roofs being incredibly sturdily designed and constructed, it is inevitable that under extreme pressure they will suffer. When things such as slate tiles are damaged it is essential to act quickly and get in touch with a quality slate supplier like to get replacement tiles. Quickly replacing these will lessen any risk of water ingress and keep your home properly protected.

The Cold

storm damageExtreme temperatures can have a disastrous affect on your home and can cause serious damage; in many cases it can even affect the structural rigidity of a home. If your home already has cracks and crevices in the brickwork, then the extreme temperatures are sure to find them and exacerbate the problem. Once water is in these cracks it expands during freezing and forces the rock even further apart. This can leave your house with serious drafts and at risk of water damage. There are products on the market, such as Ronseal filler, but it really is best to seek out a local contractor and asking them to undertake any work that needs doing. If you are unsure which contractors to trust in your area then sites such as can help you to find the best local contractors.

When the winter really shows its teeth it can leave you unsure on the best path to getting your home fully repaired. Fear not though, as the help is out there, and the damage that seems insurmountable is just part of the job for those skilled tradesmen that help to keep Britain’s homes in tip-top condition.

Landlords Preparing For Tenants

Are you a new landlord with a newly acquired property? Renting a new property can seem like an overwhelming task. There are a wide range of things you have to complete before a tenant can move in, and it is very easy to forget certain aspects of what you have to do. In this article we will go through some important areas that you will need to look into, because being a landlord is an important business endeavour.


Of course, before any tenants move you will have to make sure that the property is clean, so it is worthwhile investing in cleaning accessories and giving the house a spring clean. But more importantly, you will have to make sure that you call in tradesmen, such as electricians, to ensure that there is no faulty wiring because it can be extremely costly and dangerous. In addition to this it is important to get your boiler serviced, so there aren’t any problems further down the line. The reasons for making this decision are outlined perfectly in a statement by Exeter based Range Experts:  ‘Full blown boiler problems can develop from minor faults, servicing your boiler can catch these problems, thereby saving you money in the long term.’


You will have to make a decision on whether you want to enlist the help of a property management company or do it yourself. There is an old article in The Telegraph which looks into whether estate agents are worth the money; if you live far away from the property you are renting then it is worthwhile getting an agent. However, if you are opting to do it by yourself then it is a good idea to get references from previous landlords and employment details. Once you receive these make sure you follow them up; there is no point requesting references without getting them confirmed.

The importance of choosing the right tenant can be seen when cleaning company Spick and Span explains, on their site, that the most common reason for requiring their services is end of tenancy cleaning. Although this could perhaps comes across as cynical, it shows that many landlords have to call in a cleaning company as the house is left in such as bad way.

Providing you approach being a landlord proactively and get on top of home improvements and cleaning before anyone views your property, you will find that tenants will actively seek you out and extra income will be easy to come by.