Different Things to Consider When You Purchase a Freestanding Bath

In the 18th century, nobility started to invest in free standing roll top bathtubs. Since then, they have had an image of being luxurious and exclusive. However, today, they have become far more affordable and they have changed to be more targeted to the modern lifestyle. For instance, those who want a minimalist feel in their bathroom will find these baths are absolutely perfect for them.

Things to Think about

Most people tend to purchase a reproduction roll top bath. They often do this because they have an older property and want to create a look that matches the period features of this property. It is about restoring the home to the glory it once held. They tend to choose between either British or French designs.

British baths tend to be single-ended models, which means the taps are on one side. They tend to be very long, although shorter versions do also exist. What sets these baths apart is their grandiose rolls, which can be as much as 7”. The French models tended to be double-ended, meaning the tap is in the middle. Additionally, on a French model, you tend to find far more ornate feet. However, even the British models do have nice feet, with the lion paw being the most popular. The French baths were also much shorter, mainly because the people in France, as a nation, were shorter too. If you would like to see the difference between these two types of baths, you could consider visiting Wentworth Woodhouse, which is a privately owned stately home that is open to the public, where a good collection is on display.

Originally, these baths were cast iron and they were then vitreous enamelled at a temperature over 800 degrees. This can still be done now, although most people no longer choose cast iron tubs, unless they purchase restored models. However, even when purchasing reproduction models, you have to think about specific things, including:

  • How large is the bath and will that fit in your bathroom?
  • How does it stand and does that match with the overall feel of your room?
  • What is the symmetry of your bathtub?
  • How ornate are the legs?
  • How wide is the bath tub?

Purchasing a freestanding bathtub will really help you create the bathroom of your dreams. Because they are no longer made from cast iron, but rather from acrylic, they can be placed in any room as well. In the past, they were only suitable for ground floor bathrooms, as the cast iron models are so heavy that they would otherwise fall through the floor.

Get more information on disabled and easy access bathrooms now, only at Bathe Safely.

How to Plan Your Garden Design and Actually Get it Right

Planning for a perfect garden is the essential part of actually getting the outdoor space of your dreams. It simply is about more than picking a few pretty flowers and a nice tree and hoping for the best. You need to make sure that your garden does what it is designed to do, whether that is simply to stand there and look pretty, or to actually allow you to harvest foods. Let’s take a look at some of the essential things to know.

When to Start Planning

It is best to start planning in winter, particularly if you also intend to plant food. However, winter is always the best time, because you will see your garden as barren as it will ever get. Hence, this is the time to get a piece of paper out and start making designs about what you want to create. Also make some lists about what you would like to grow and how you should grow that. Some plants need certain types of soil, certain amounts of light, temperatures, water and so on. Hence, you have to get to know your plant before you actually start working with it.

Planting Space

The most important thing is where your planting space is. You have to make sure that you always put the right plants in the place they will do best in. You need to take the environmental conditions into consideration as these are very important. Some of the variables you will need to take into consideration include leaf cover (how much shade is created by overhanging plants and buildings), light, atmospheric conditions like temperature and humidity and drainage. You need to know how much sunlight your plants need as a bare minimum and whether or not you are able to deliver this.

Your Own Personal Taste

It is likely that you have some favourite plants that you would absolutely love to see in your garden. If that plant or flowers isn’t native to you area, you will need to make a few allowances. One great idea is to put such a plant in a planter that you can easily move about. For instance, if you want to grow an olive tree in an area that has harsh winters, you will need to be able to take the olive tree inside during winter at the very least. Certain plants that aren’t native to your local area will do ok, but only if you know how to look after them properly.

Get more tips on planning your garden now at Garden Furniture Centre. 

Organising Team Building Activities

Unless you’ve always been self-employed then you’ve more than likely been involved in some kind of team building activity during your life. Whether that activity took place at a day event, weekend retreat or longer get-away will have depended on the budget and event however, the objectives are usually the same. The overall aim of any team building event is to encourage employees to get to know each other with the thought that this will enable them to better work together. Although these events are common and highly enjoyable for all involved, do they actually work?

When the fun is over and everyone returns to the office it is interesting to observe how many people revert to their usual behaviour. Even if certain people enjoyed getting to know each other whilst climbing trees and shooting paintballs at each other, has this brief period of fun really created any premise for them cooperating and interacting more effectively in the office?

Frequently, managers will organise a team building event with no clear goal in mind and when this happens, the event is unfortunately not going to have the desired effect. This results in a waste of everyone’s time with no real benefit. To avoid this happening within your organisation, ensure that you always have a real purpose behind any activity planning you are responsible for. It is best if you first work out which issues need to be addressed. For example, does your team have trouble communicating with each other? If so then you can organise events that require strong communication skills such as question games or problem solving. Genuinely understanding the challenges faced and then tailoring a team building activity around those needs will better resolve the issue then simply aiming for a popular albeit generic event.

It will also herald greater results if you first evaluate which members of the team need to develop a stronger relationship. If there are conflicts between certain members of the team which are causing deeper issues then a targeted team building activity is a great way to resolve such things. Outside of the office environment employees are much more likely to respond positively to each other and in turn this behaviour will continue into the work day. However, to ensure that you truly reach the goals of the day, make sure everyone is fully invested in the event and that all involved understand why they are there. If your employees think they are just getting a fun day out of the office then they are likely to treat the event as so. Explain to them that there are work-place issues that need resolving and that is what you are there to do!

Goose Down or Duck Down – Getting Informed On Both Options

Often, when you have made the decision to choose natural bedding the next time you are browsing the stores for a new duvet, you may find that the choice is somewhat more overwhelming than you had originally thought. To many people, the options seem practically endless, with various different styles and brands available on the market, each with its own pros and cons, yet still telling you that it is the best possible choice. Whatever you do, don’t let yourself get scared away, as you might find that buying your own natural duvets is one of the best things you have ever done for your bed, and your all-important night’s sleep.

Where did It Start?

Quite a long time ago by today’s standard, a bunch of clever entrepreneurs found that using a naturally occurring insulator that could be taken from waterfowl such as geese and ducks, allowed them to keep warm and cosy throughout the winter seasons and cold nights. After sanitizing and cleaning the feathers and down appropriately, we can use them as a form of insulation for the filling of our bedding, as well as various types of apparel, and because feathers and down are typically a by-product of meat consumption, they are found most often in Asia and Europe.

What Is Down?

Many people find themselves thinking of feathers when someone mentions down, but they are not actually the same thing. Down is the fluffy, light coating that clusters beneath the feathers of a duck or goose, helping to protect them from the elements. Often, you will find most of the down on waterfowl on their bellies, as this is the part most regularly exposed to water. Down is the three-dimensional cluster of soft fluffiness that is constructed of thousands of tiny fibres and no quill. If you were to compare the amount of down you can obtain from waterfowl to their feathers, you would only find around four or five ounces of down for every pound of feathers. One of nature’s most efficient insulators, down is warm, yet surprisingly light weight, and you would need fourteen wool blankets all stacked on top of each other before you could equal the temperature control of a single down comforter. Down has the fantastic ability to breathe too, so it lifts away the perspiration on your body while you sleep, ensuring that you don’t experience the clammy discomfort that some synthetic duvets might offer.

Duck VS Goose

Just about all birds have some feathers and down upon their body, but virtually all of the down and feathers harvested for duvets are from ducks and geese. Geese, as larger birds, typically have larger clusters of down, and as a rule of thumb, the larger the bird teamed with the climate in which they live equals the amount of cluster and the fill power of the down. High quality down can be obtained from geese and ducks, yet duck feathers and down are generally less expensive, partially because the worldwide supply of duck far exceeds that of geese.

Olivia Lazenby is a renowned author of all things sleeping related. When getting the latest information on Duvets, Olivia visits duvettalk.co.uk.

The Essential Nature of Condition Monitoring

Condition monitoring essentially records and analyses machinery within various set parameters, such as temperature and vibration. It is a key function for any business that uses machinery and that relies on it for performance of tasks that keep the plant going. Without condition monitoring there is a danger that machinery may wear down without this being noticed and this can make it both dangerous and loss making for a business.

Condition monitoring is the most key for rotating machinery, as well as other types of machines that have many moving parts, such as motors, internal combustion engines, electric motors and pumps. Because it is a form of non-destructive testing it doesn’t interfere with the machine itself and there is usually no need to take machinery apart to any significant degree. There are several principle types of condition monitoring, including lubricant analysis, vibration monitoring, infrared thermography, and the monitoring of ultrasound emissions.

Something called the Criticality Index is usually used to determine how often the machine needs to be subject to condition monitoring. This is essentially based on how important the machine is to the business. So, for example, critical machinery will be that which is key to the plant or process and without which nothing can function. This type of machine will often be heavily monitored, historical data compared to new figures and readings taken of factors such as casing vibration, temperatures, loads and pressures, in order to determine what if anything has changed since the last time the machine was monitored. At the other end of the scale, general purpose machines are those that are not particularly crucial should they break down or slow – these can usually simply be monitored with handheld devices.

So, why is condition monitoring such an essential part of ensuring that the plant and process works well? First of all, it can prevent expensive repairs being necessary by immediately identifying faults that can be fixed before they become much worse and damage the machinery. It is also a great way to keep an eye on maintenance schedules and to ensure that maintenance is being provided as and when required. Condition monitoring will allow plant downtime to be timed with required maintenance so that very little output for the business is lost. Finally, condition monitoring helps to ensure that machinery in a business is safe to use and that health and safety requirements are being met, which is an important part of running any business responsibly.

A guide to the henna hair dying process

The majority of Brits who dye their own hair have it done with chemicals, either at the salon or out of a box. However, natural henna hair dyes are increasing in popularity, particularly since a popular high street beauty store began selling their own version of henna hair dye.

Henna is a natural alternative to chemical hair dyes and it is well-known for leaving hair in even better condition after it is dyed. Henna is also completely permanent, making it a great option for those who are keen to be a redhead in the long run. True henna dye is red in colour, however there are other options available. Bear in mind that if you want henna hair dye in a non-red tone, it will not be 100% natural because something will have been added to it.

Those who have used henna hair dye state that it is easy and straightforward enough to use. If you were to purchase blocks of henna from the high street, you would melt the block by placing it in a bowl full of hot water until it breaks down into a mud like paste. It can take some time for the henna to break down and you will need to do a fair amount of mixing to get it to the right consistency.
Be prepared for a lot of mess, henna is messy and does look a little like mud and smells like earth. Never handle henna without using gloves because it is a very strong natural dye which can be difficult to remove once it has made a stain. It is advised that you stand in a bath or shower when applying henna because bits will drip down. If you stand on the floor, there is a high chance that permanent stains will be made.

Henna can also stain the skin that it comes into contact with, so it’s vital that you never forget the gloves! It is also recommended that you line your hair line with petroleum jelly to create a barrier between your skin and your henna dye. Apply this to your ears, neck and forehead so you don’t end up with stained skin.

Henna does take a lot longer to set than traditional hair dye. As it takes up to six hours to set, it is important that you set aside plenty of time for your dying session. Your hair will need to be wrapped up in plastic to keep the dye warm.

You can find natural henna hair dyes at World’s End.

How to get started as a gardener

So, you’ve decided that you want to become green fingered, spend more time outside and make the most of your outdoor space. Gardening is a great hobby which is incredibly rewarding as you get to see your hard work grow, day by day. Whether you want a colourful garden filled with flowers, or a vegetable patch to inject some healthy, home-grown food into your diet, gardening is well worth starting.

The first step to take is to decide exactly what you want to grow. Do you want to grow your own herbs? Your own vegetables? Maybe you want colourful flowers? Do you want plants which grow all year around, or just during specific seasons?

The next step is to pick a place for your garden. Bear in mind that the majority of flowers and vegetables require at least six hours a day of sunshine. Keep a close eye on your garden for a couple of days to work out which spots get the sun and which spots are in the shade. You may not realise how much sun some areas of the garden get. Before planting your seeds, be sure to check the label because all plants have different requirements when it comes to light. If your garden gets light in easy to access areas, prioritise these areas. Remember that you will be needing to water your plants on a regular basis, so if the plants are in a difficult to access location, you may find yourself missing out on watering the plants.

The third step in getting a garden stated is to clear out the ground that you plan to plant your seeds in. Create compost by stacking a five sheet layer of newspapers, spread compost across it and wait for about 4 months for it all to decompose.

Once you have your compost ready, it is time to enrich the soil so it is ready for your plants. Dig up some soil and add a layer of 2-3 inches of compost. If there’s any decaying leaves or grass clippings handy, throw them on too. By leaving this on the soil, all of the organic goodness will work its way deep into the soil, making a great place for your seedlings to begin life. Bear in mind that digging can ruin your soil, so only dig when the soil is moist. Otherwise, you can completely ruin the structure of the soil.

For more information, please visit www.pitchcare.com

How to ensure that you aren’t missing customers on your ecommerce site

There is a lot to consider when setting up your own ecommerce business. The first consideration to make is what to sell, followed by getting your branding and website sorted, before marketing your website and ensuring that you deliver great service to your customers. Whilst you’re busy getting your head around the various components of your new business, it can be all too easy to neglect the seemingly little things.

However, when it comes to ecommerce, there is no such thing as “the little things”. Every aspect of your website is important. Each and every feature has the ability to grab a customer’s attention or deter them from your website completely. Everyone browses the web differently and you can never quite predict how an individual user will behave online. That said, there are many trends and much research has been carried out, allowing ecommerce owners the ability to identify trouble areas on their website.

First and foremost, where is the contact information on your website? Is it easy to access? Can it be viewed on every page? Many people will not purchase from an ecommerce website when there isn’t a phone number clearly visible. If a customer has never heard of your business before and they cannot find any way to contact the site owner, what makes you think that they would trust you with their card details? Having a phone number, email address and business address clearly displayed will give a customer reassurance that you are a reputable, credible company which can be trusted.

Next, do you allow customers to search on your website? Your search facility should be effective and easy to use. Whilst some customers enjoy browsing through categories, other customers will come to your website looking for something specific. Your search functionality should work perfectly and it is also recommended that you display what other customers purchased when they bought that product.

Finally, one of the fundamentals of all successful websites, ecommerce or not is a clear call to action. A call to action literally tells a customer what step to take next. Never assume that customers can find their own way to the checkout, instead, you should tell them that they are to take that action next. The call to action should be clear and unmistakable, customers should not be expected to put effort into finding their way around your website.

For more information, please visit www.ecommera.com

UK’s Most Prestigious Architecture Award Won by Astley Castle

This year’s Riba Stirling Prize, recognised as the most important architecture award in the UK, was won by a beautiful, ruined building in Warwickshire.

The Grade II listed building was built in the 12th century and had originally served as as a home to three Queens of England. Over subsequent centuries of occupation, the castle was extended and altered before undergoing an extensive, £2.5million restoration project after a devastating fire in 1978.

Previous to winning the award, the building had been converted into a luxury holiday residence, under the commission of the Landmark Trust charity. This organisation works to restore and revive buildings with care and sensitivity. The castle was one of six shortlisted buildings up for winning the prestigious award.

Protectahome were commissioned at the first stage of the restoration work to undertake structural repairs and carry out the initial stabilisation of the remaining walls. Experienced in works on listed and historical buildings, we installed more than 160 consolidation and stitching Cintec anchors, including two 12metre anchors.

Protectahome, a building services company operating throughout Wales, West England and London, has recently relocated its Head Office to Newport, South Wales.

For seven years beforehand, the company was based in Magor, Monmouthshire and traded from various premises in the village square.

The former owner had established the company from the kitchen of his Magor home before moving operations to a small cottage in the area. As the organisation continued to grow, the cottage was redeveloped into Salisbury House, the most recent business premises before the move.

Protectahome now operates from the first floor of Usk House in Langstone Business Park. This area comprises of 23 acres of business space and is ideally located off Junction 24 of the M4 motorway. The new office and facilities were tailored to meet the needs of the consistently developing company.

Managing Director of Protectahome, Gary Briscoe, said: ‘We had outgrown our Magor location so this move was a key component in Protectahome’s development.

In order to continue improving the service we deliver to our customers, we have taken on larger office space and a new meeting room.

‘These new premises also allow us to expand and provide a new, exciting, positive environment for our colleagues.

Working from 11 offices across the UK, Protectahome employs over 30 staff. The company provides a wide range of building services which include building preservation, pest control and structural repairs.

The castle won the Stirling Prize with a notable 27% share of the votes.

To find out more about Protectahome’s work with Astley Castle, visit: http://www.protectahome.co.uk/structural-repairs/structural-repairs-case-studies/astley-castle-case-study/

Understanding Damp And Top Tips To Recognise You Have Damp

Damp makes an affected building look hideous.  However, the problem is far bigger than just cosmetic.  It can cause the masonry and plaster to disintegrate, decay timber inside the structure and even affect the health of the people inside the building.  A lot of people do not know how to treat damp appropriately and the steps they do take will actually cause more harm.  In fact, mistreating damp can lead to problems worse than simple degradation of a building from hundreds of years of exposure to elements.

Most people turn to electrical moisture meters, but these are expensive and we rely on them far too heavily anyway.  Furthermore, since they almost always recommend retrospective damp proof barriers inside the walls, they actually damage the properties even more, as well as bringing about even more costs.  Other modern solutions include sealing old walls, but this is not a good idea either since it stops the wall from being able to breathe.

Top Tips for Diagnosing Damp

  • Rainwater and roof fittings – when it is raining outside, go and brave the elements and check whether your ceiling dampness is caused by condensation or leakage on your roof.  Also, check your loft in daylight to see whether there are any holes in your ceiling.  It may be hard to spot a defective rainwater fitting, but you should notice wall stains and plant growth.
  • Check for condensation.  Look whether there are any droplets or water beads where there shouldn’t be any, like on walls and internal finishes.  This has no relation to wet weather, but more to the ventilation in your house.
  • Penetrating damp is very serious.  You will generally see patches on your walls and ceiling, particularly after a heavy rain fall and generally on walls that are either west or south facing.  If you find penetrating damp, it is likely that you also have cracks in your walls somewhere, usually due to unsuitable cement.
  • Rising damp is equally dangerous.  It can go as much as 2 meters above the level of your floor and often leaves a line, best compared to a tidemark.  You will also see salt on these lines.  Interestingly, it is rare for mould to appear as well.
  • Check your plumbing.  If you find your water bills are suddenly very high, or that you have to refill your tank regularly, you may have a leak.  Leaks in your plumbing would be a main cause of dampness

Damp is a very serious problem, but it is also very avoidable even without having to turn to expensive modern gadgets.  If you suspect your property has dampness in it, it is often more important to find out where it is coming from than fixing it.  Naturally, you do have to remove the damp so that it doesn’t spread, but unless you find the cause, more would just appear again and again.  More often than not, the cause of dampness is really obvious, such as showering with the door open.


Mary Portillo works in real estate. Often her clients find their houses have damp, and she directs them to http://www.damp-solutions.com/.