What’s your carbon footprint?

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Searching property sites by EPC

How far away are we from being encouraged to buy houses that only have a high rating on their Energy Performance Certificate?

The Government has already started on this with: Guidance for landlords of domestic private rented property on how to comply with the 2018 ‘Minimum Level of Energy Efficiency’ standard (EPC band E). Reference

Can we search property websites by EPC yet? I’ve not found any method for doing this yet, but please if you do find a way let me know!

Energy costs will continue rising so it’s probably going to be more important to consider how much energy your new house will cost you to run.

 

 

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Growing Calendar: What To Grow In Your Greenhouse Each Month

Growing Calendar: What To Grow In Your Greenhouse Each Month. A fabulous guide to let you know what you could be sowing each month in your greenhouse!
As I write this I see I should be sowing cauliflowers!

Image result for alitex logo

If one of your New Years Resolutions for 2022 is to try your hand at growing your own veg, now is a good time to start planning your patch. Nelly Hall, Brand Director at British greenhouse manufacturer, Alitex, gives her recommendations on what to grow in the greenhouse each month to help you plan for a thriving kitchen-garden, full of fresh and seasonal goodies:

JANUARY

Towards the end of the month, you can think about sowing hardy salads and oriental greens such as mustard greens, pak choi or winter varieties of lettuce.

If you have early sowings of sweet peas or onions, now is a good time to pinch them out and plant them into larger pots.

Make sure any compost used for sowing or potting is brought into the greenhouse to warm up several days before it is used to prevent seeds and young plants being chilled.

FEBRUARY

You can sow a bit more this month to get a headstart before spring – early carrots, salad leaves and spinach are ideal for early spring picking.

February is also the time to encourage potatoes to sprout before planting – a process known as chitting.

MARCH

Early spring can bring wide temperature fluctuations that can be a problem – a bright sunny day at the end of the month can result in the greenhouse overheating. Aim to keep the air temperature between 7 and 18°C; this will involve heating the greenhouse at night and also ventilating and damping down during sunny days. Keeping the door and vents open more frequently as the month progresses helps to keep humidity levels down and prevent disease.

Large-seeded, large-leaved vegetables such as cucumbers and courgettes can be planted into their own individual pots and placed in a propagator. In about a month from sowing, the pots can be moved into the main body of the greenhouse for an early July harvest.

Sow a tray thickly with peas for a quick crop of shoots. Keep the tray well-watered and turn it daily to prevent the shoots from turning towards the light. Sow broad beans in cardboard tubes to make planting out easy. Water regularly, and again, turn them so that they grow straight.

APRIL

April is a busy time in the veg garden, as lots of seeds can be sown this month. Now that the days are longer and warmer, you can start sowing crops such as carrots or peas outside. More tender crops like aubergines and courgettes, still need to be sown under glass.

Sow leek seeds into a deep pot to germinate. Leeks are hardy, but slow growing, so plant them now to harvest in the winter.

Sow runner beans into deep modules and keep them warm and moist. Water every 2-3 days.

MAY

By late May most risk of frost has passed, so  many seeds can now be sown directly outdoors, but there’s still plenty to plant in the greenhouse.

If you’re new to growing vegetables, beetroot is a good, easy-to-grow option; the seeds don’t need much encouragement to germinate and they require little maintenance once established. Dwarf French beans are also easy to grow and produce a good harvest, but they need warmth to germinate and cannot survive frost. They should be ready to transplant from the greenhouse to the raised bed in 4-6 weeks.

Nothing is better than a buttery corn on the cob in summer. May is the last time to sow sweetcorn, to give them plenty of time to grow and ripen.

Kale will grow well in colder weather, but seeds will need to be started off in the greenhouse in May to be harvested throughout winter.

JUNE

Peas are one of mice’s favourite snacks, so growing seeds in the greenhouse will offer protection until they shoot. Peas don’t root deeply, so will grow well in newspaper pots or in yoghurt pots with drainage holes added.

JULY

Winter lettuces such as ‘May King’, ‘Veneziana’ and ‘Winter Density’ will only actually crop during the winter months if they are kept in the greenhouse. Sow fresh seeds into an old ice cream tub, but separate them later in the month so that the plants have more space to develop.

AUGUST

For a colourful autumn crop, sow some Swiss chard seeds now. Our favourite varieties are ‘Bright Lights’, “Magenta Sunset’ and ‘Rhubarb Chard’.

SEPTEMBER

Tatsoi is an Asian vegetable that’s similar to cabbage, but more delicately flavoured and easier to grow – what’s not to love?! Sowing at this time of year – with the shorter, cooler days beginning – you dramatically reduce the risk of the plants ‘bolting’, which makes the leaves bitter and unpalatable.

OCTOBER

Herbs such as basil, dill, chives and parsley can be sown now and grown throughout the winter. Under a cloche, you can grow spring onions that’ll be ready to start harvesting in the spring.

Sowing cauliflowers now will also give you a springtime crop.

NOVEMBER

November is a great time to plant – and harvest! – some Microgreens. Microgreens are essentially small versions of the mature plant, that are cut as soon as they develop their first pair of leaves that look like that of the adult plant.

They are nutritious and intensely flavoured and can be harvested with scissors, just as you would with cress, in as little as a week. Re-sow regularly to keep supplies topped up all throughout the winter months. Some varieties to try are beetroot, broad beans, coriander, peas, radishes, rocket, spinach and Swiss chard.

DECEMBER

If your greenhouse is heated, you can sow heat-loving crops like tomatoes, peppers and chillies. If not, use this month to ensure the greenhouse is clean and tidy, and plan for the year ahead.

Tom Hall, owner and managing director of Alitex, says: “Growing your own produce has huge benefits for both our physical and mental health, and undoubtedly, homegrown veg is always tastier! A greenhouse enables gardeners to extend the seasons and produce good crops of a wide range of vegetables”.

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Logitech G Saitek Farm Sim Controller

Amazing present idea!
Thanks to Jeremy Clarkson perhaps? If you’ve not watched the show Jeremy has done about farming, then you should. It’s excellent (Say all the farming friends I have!)

Logitech G Saitek Farm Sim Controller

  • 900 degrees rotation steering wheel
  • Integrated dual analogue sticks
  • Side panel loader control stick, compatible with most major simulation software and games, including: Farming simulator 17, farming simulator 15, Euro truck simulator 2, American truck simulator, train simulator, elite dangerous
  • Set and forget cruise control speed dial and 37 programmable buttons
  • Durable clamp. The system requirements are Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 7,MAC OSX 10.10 and 1-USB 2.0 Port
  • USB Speed is Full Speed

But what next? A dedicated room in your house for playing farming games? Why not!

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Reasons to use EasyStorage

There are many reasons why you might need storage in your life! One of the main ones is when you’re moving house – declutter your house to get it ready for selling, but keep all your stuff boxed up and safely out of the way until you move into your new house.

Why does decluttering help? Removing your personal stuff, books, sports gear, childrens toys, allows your house to be more attractive to people viewing. It’ll show them there’s room for their stuff.

If your hobby fills the spare room, then emptying the spare room of your equipment and putting it in storage allows that room to be seen as a bedroom.

View your house with strangers eyes, and it might feel  a bit full. So empty some stuff out and make it feel larger and roomier. People want to buy spacious roomy houses so that they feel they’re getting more space. Clearing clutter gives the illusion of there being more space so it’s a really useful thing to do before you get the estate agent to come and take photos.

There’s loads of other reasons to use storage for a short time too. If you’re decorating a room then sometimes it’s easier to have it empty. Very few of us have a big enough house to move furniture around to leave one room empty, so renting storage is a really sensible thing to do. It’ll enable you to do DIY jobs such as underfloor insulation too – very important in these days of rising fuel prices. Lots of jobs are just a million times easier when you have an empty room.

 



EasyStorage



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Clothes Spinner

English Electric Gravity Drain Spin Dryer 28009WP 5.2kg

Save money on your laundry drying bills, or keep your house drier. If you hang clothes to dry you know how important it is to give them an extra spin in the washing machine to extract a bit more water. This machine does a much better job.

Take your washing from the washing machine, and put them in this spinner. Close the lid and switch on. Make sure you have a container to collect the water that comes out. Switch on and watch the water spin out. Clothes take much less drying time.

Environmental Gold Star from me!
Ideal for those damp days over winter when you can’t hang clothes out on the line and need to hang them in the house. This will keep your house drier!

 

  •  5.2kg Capacity. Dimensions Height 62cm, Width 35cm, Depth 42cm
  • This Electric spin dryer brings efficiency, safety and economy to your washing. They are easy to move and small enough to operate in a restricted space. The 28009WP spin dryer remove excess moisture from your washing load in a speedy and efficient manner, leaving it with less residual water.
  • Easy lockable Lid with full safety interlock and safety break on the drum before when you unlock the drum lid .
  • 1 Years Manufacturers Parts and Labour Guarantee supplied on the 28009WP giving you peace of mind.
  • Includes drainage bowl that fits perfectly under the water spout which is easily stored away when not in use inside the machine.
  • Stabilising rubber suction feet
  • 2 Metre(200cm) UK power cable.
  • only 30 watts energy per cycle – This is the crucial bit. Uses a tiny amount of energy to extract tons of water from your washing before you either hang it up to dry or tumble dry it. You will be amazed how much water this machine can extract from your washing.

 

Where to hang your clothes? Why not try a Minky?

 

Amazon links in this article will earn me a few pence if you buy immediately through the link.

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Christmas trees

When I was a child, each year the Christmas tree would be bought down from the loft with the box filled with tinsel and decorations. There’d be a ‘Christmas log’ one of us had made in school, which I think was plaster of Paris pored on a bit of a branch and some holly stuck on. It might have had a robin on at some point, but was just a memory from our childhood. There were really lovely very delicate baubels made of glass and some plastic ones. There were some paper ones we’d made too. The lights worked most years after a bit of twisting of bulbs and replacing the one that broke. The tree looked lovely.
One year we had foil wrapped chocolate decorations and hung them on the tree. In the morning they had all gone. Eaten by our dog. Apart from a few right at the top which he’d not been able to get.

That ritual of Christmas, being made from memories, was a wonderful part of Christmas in our house.

You can buy a Christmas tree ready decorated from Amazon or you can buy a plain tree and  as many decorations as you like, but include some family history on your Christmas tree!

But where’s the fun in that? To be fair, Amazon also sell many undecorated trees too.

Links to Amazon are affiliate links and may result in me earning a few pence if you buy something through the link within a short timeframe.

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Overcrowded kitchen worktops

How many gadgets do you have in your kitchen? For many people the toaster and kettle live out all the time. And so they should if you’re using them regularly.

One Pot have a new gadget that allows you to do many different things. This One Pot Air Fryer offers you lots of options.

It’s an 11 in 1 multicook gadget!

Now you have every cooking method available at your fingertips. The pressure cooker lid offers 6 wet cooking functions: use it to quickly pressure cook, sauté, steam, slow cook, sous vide and warm. The Air Fryer lid offers 5 crisp cooking functions: use it to quickly air fry, roast, bake, broil and dehydrate.

Smart Programs include:
With pressure cooker lid: pressure cook, sauté, steam, slow cook, sous vide, keep warm

With air fryer lid: air fry, roast, bake, broil and dehydrate.

This article contains affiliate links.

I’ve just been watching this video where he cooks a variety of recipes in it, starting with a delicious roast chicken.

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Wallpaper Essentials

Want to do some wallpapering?

You’ll need a few things

    1. A wallpaper table -You’ll need one of these for putting wallpaper on to paste it! They fold up and hide away in the loft! Make sure you wash any excess paste off it before putting it away
    2. Wallpapering tool set – Set includes a Paste Brush, a Smoothing Brush, Seam Roller, Scissors, a Stripping Knife and a Plumb Bob & Line.
    3. Paste – essential! Solvite All-Purpose Wallpaper Adhesive, wallpaper glue for wallcovering and wallpaper hanging projects, hangs up to 10 Rolls (1x185g Sachet)
    4. Wallpaper!
      Millions to pick from!

A particularly nice paper –

Crown M1552 Mariko Mint/Plum Wallpaper

 

 

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Banning plastic forks!

Ditch plastic forks, use normal cutleryAn off topic eco-rant from me for a moment, if you don’t mind.
A recent news article suggested that we should ban plastic forks. The article went on to promote the use of bamboo forks instead. So instead of plastic forks washing up on our beaches, we’ll have bamboo forks. Whilst they might be slightly better for the environment than plastic, it’s still waste polluting our land and seas.

A much better alternative would be to carry a fork yourself, and use that instead when you want to eat out and not use your fingers. If it’s in a nice washable bag you can take it home and clean it properly. This would have tons less impact on the environment than using a different type of disposable fork.

The Four Rs are: reduce, reuse, repair, recycle.

So it’s always better to reduce the need for plastic forks. Are people so busy rushing about they can’t sit down and use a real fork? I don’t think using a real fork would have much impact, you’d just want to make sure you can carry it home to wash it without much trouble.

Being able to reuse a fork many times is much better for the environment than using a disposable fork.

Luckily I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Someone’s already got a set of cutlery in a lovely little neat bag. (Amazon link, I will earn a tiny tiny tiny amount of money if you click through and buy today)

It’s about the size of a pencil case, so will fit in most bags very easily. If you’re not likely to want all of the things in it then leave them at home to reduce weight.  This set includes: Knife, Fork, Spoon, Chopsticks, Cleaning Brush, Straws, and the container to carry them in.

If you’ve already for a pretty washbag you could use that and just carry a few spoons and forks from the cutlery drawer at home.

There are sets out there that use bamboo and wheat straw cutlery, but this seems completely silly to me. We’re happy to use metal spoons at home and wash them, so why not consider this as a very simple eco-move you can make yourself to ensure you never use a plastic fork again.

If you’re off out for the day with your family then pack enough forks and spoons for everyone, and then in the same way as we say at the supermarket “No, I’ve bought my own bag thank you”, we’ll be able to say “No thank you, I don’t need a plastic fork, I’ve bought my own.”

It’s such a simple thing to do. Please consider adding a fork bag into your everyday bag.

There’s a huge range of travel cutlery at Amazon UK for you to look at.

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