UK News Outlets suggest Shed Ownership Extend the Life of Male Owners

I’ve always seen garden sheds as a man’s birth right—a place where a man can plan and execute whatever DIY projects are required at his leisure; a place where the Sunday news paper’s puzzle section can be done in relative quiet and solitude. Though, for the past few years, sheds have been the thing around which a growing number of men’s health initiatives have begun to crystalize. The idea is that men don’t talk face-to-face, men talk shoulder-to-shoulder. So in an effort to get men to open up about their health problems, instead of ignoring that annoying cough, or persistent pain until it’s too late, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and the UK have all started programs under the aegis of the shed to get men together to talk about their woes.

The first shed group began as individual communal sheds dotted around Australia. Provided by communities or individuals with spare shed space, the idea was to supply sheds to men who otherwise didn’t have access to a shed. It wasn’t until after the grass-roots movement united into the Australian Men’s Shed Association that directors of the AMSA recognized the movement’s potential for raising awareness in support of health issues affecting men. It turns out that besides providing a productive space for men to come and tinker, they were helping solve the issue of social isolation in retirement age men—a contributing factor in substance abuse, depression, anxiety, etc.

The AMSA has also used the sheds as a platform for encouraging men to seek preventative health care, which has been shown to be dangerously underutilized by men. It’s suggested that even in nations with well-developed healthcare systems, almost half of all men will die prematurely (as opposed to almost a fourth of all women), and that half of these premature deaths are caused by illness that is otherwise preventable—indicating that men aren’t seeking access to healthcare until it’s too late.

Now New Zealand, Ireland and the UK all have their own budding men’s shed programs in place, and are currently involved in building partnerships and international exchange with each other. However more recently there was a bit of stir in the UK papers about shed ownership actually increasing life span in men thanks to shed related activities being inherently relaxing (and the health benefits springing therefrom). Though, the stories were all vaguely related to the AMSA’s efforts in Australia, the main thrust of the stories was about a paper published in the British Medical Journal outlining the findings of five case studies of men with sheds—findings that the BMJ later commented on in an editorial stating the study was based on shaky grounds. So will sheds increase you lifespan? Not likely, but they are certainly being used as a mascot to affect some positive change in men’s health—which is the real story here.

Investing in Your Home While Still Being Responsible For The Environment With Garden Rooms

Going green can be as easy or as difficult as you make it. As homeowners, are top concern is to have a comfortable home, but do we really have to cut out nature? Probably not. For most homeowners, working with nature can lead to better outcomes than working against nature. You just have to get a little more creative than you might have otherwise. You see, it’s really all about putting in some thought to having garden rooms on your property.

Most homeowners are going to have just one garden room, but looking over the selection of garden rooms would definitely be a good idea to think about. It’s hard to really feel like you’re doing the right thing all of the time but trust us — going down this road is smart from a lot of different directions.

Garden rooms are a relaxing addition to your home that you really don’t have to worry about as long as they are well implemented. As you might imagine this is definitely not a weekend project that you can just DIY your way through. you will have to get a professional to install what you want and to make sure that it all fits together.

Still, if you’re thinking about merging your love of nature with having a more functional space, garden rooms really are for you. You just need to make sure that you really sit down first to figure out your budget. It’s tempting to think that you will be able to control your spending mid-project, but there are so many different options. You don’t want to go over budget and have financial problems that could have been avoided. That just wouldn’t be as interesting, right?

Right! It’s better to have a nice budget when you’re getting your garden room. However, you’ll find that you can implement a lot of functionality without spending a lot of money. This might mean that you get a little more creative and drop a few things off your playlist, but that’s not a problem — it’s all about getting the space implemented properly.

Prospective buyers of your home will love having a nice, open, and airy space to explore — and it’s much more likely that your home will be purchased for the list price and then some if you really have packed a lot of value. Of course, you might not want to take it to that level just yet — but it’s there if you want it!

Wood Flooring Species and Grades

The first stage of deciding on wood flooring is choosing solid or engineered wood. After deciding between the two types, comes the stage of deciding on the wood species. The most obvious choices are either Oak or Walnut. Both are extremely strong, available in stock at all times of the year and offer fantastic value for money. Furthermore, responsible sellers will source these species from sustainable forests so your decision to fit wood flooring does not have to endanger any habitats. If you choose to fit more exotic wood species, you are recommended to check the origin of the wood to ensure it was sources ethically.

So, which wood species is most suitable for your home?

The decision is normally down to décor as both vary slightly in their grain display. Furthermore because the differences are only cosmetic and durability of both I equal, homeowners will often choose on to the other based on a suitable deal at the time from their local wood flooring company.

Wood Flooring Grades:

Finally, wood floors either from solid or engineered woods are distinguished in price by the grade of the wood (as we said, typically Oak or Walnut).  In general, when harvesting the wood, the closer the wood is to the center of the tree, the higher the grade is. The higher the grade is, the more refine the wood will turn out. Of course, for higher perfection you would be expected to pay more. There are four common grades of wood flooring:

Prime Grade – Prime grade wood flooring are cut from the middle of the tree which means that the floorboard will have the least amount of colour variations between the boards and knots are very few between. They are the most expensive.

Select Grade – Select grade wood flooring are cut from the second ring from within the core of the tree which means that the floorboards will show some colour variations between the boards and some knots can be expected.

Natural Grade – Natural grade will feature sapwood and black knots of up to 30cm in size. Compared to the previous two grades, price difference between the three will become more substantial.

Rustic Grade – Also referred to as ‘country grade’, rustic is by far the grade with the most texture, as you cannot mistaken the floor for wood.  Floorboards will feature sapwood and black knots of 35cm. There might be unlimited colour variation between the floorboards. Rustic is the most affordable option.

So, which wood species is most suitable for your home?

The decision to prefer one grade to the other is down to your taste in décor and budget constrains. The grade of the wood will not change the durability of the floor it is merely a visual aspect.

Plymouth Has Some Nice Houses – Check It Out Today!

Cruising around looking for nice houses can be a real challenge. Where do you start? How do you really figure out how much you have to spend? Is it going to be enough?

This isn’t the first time that we’ve honestly heard these questions, and it can be really difficult to actually stop and figure out your first move when you have so many questions swirling around your head. SO let’s break down what you really need to think about.

The first thing that you want to pay attention to is that there’s really nothing like setting your own budget. Yes, it’s possibly to get plenty of house without going over your budget. Plymouth has some nice houses but you’re going to have to check them out to really make sure that you’re able to afford the property in question.

It’s not just enough to make an estimate. You want to make sure that you’re really looking at the prices of everything that you have your eye on. You also want to look at the money going out of your budget every month. Are you really going to have enough room to handle emergencies as they happen? If the answer is no, then you definitely need to make sure that you’re focusing on the bigger picture and giving yourself some ample room for savings. That is honestly the best choice that you can make for yourself.

The more planning that you can do the better, even though we know that you’re probably ready to just move into a new home. As tempting as that is, you really want to avoid rushing into anything major. That’s just going to end up keeping you from getting what you want to accomplish actually done — in this case getting a house that you’re actually going to love.

Where do you go from here? Well, now that you have a good estimate of your budget for purchasing a house (by looking at mortgage calculators and other long term planners) — you also want to step back and look at what you want in a house. As mentioned before, Plymouth really does have some nice houses, but it’s all about what you’re looking for. Bedroom counts are probably going to be very important — you want to make sure that you have a bedroom for everyone rather than just hoping everyone will fit! Trust us, that doesn’t work out too well! No matter what you do, we wish you the best of luck finding your perfect Plymouth property!

Save Money and Mend Faulty Roller Blinds

After a while, roller blinds can become hard to use, navigate and may even begin to look old and tatty. But before rushing out to the stores to purchase a new set of window treatments, it is worth finding out whether or not they can be easily fixed. This is usually the case with roller blinds, as they are used regularly and can experience problems with the inner mechanisms that are too small and fiddly to stand the test of time.

Here are some common complications which can occur with the workings of roller blinds and suggestions for how to combat the problems:


It may be that the general appearance of your blinds is unsatisfactory. They can appear wrinkled, tatty and uneven after a while and many home owners would tackle this problem by purchasing a brand new blind. However, the cause of such a problem does not lie with the age of the fabric, rather the brackets on which it is attached to. If the brackets are screwed into the wall too close together then the blind will look uneven and untidy. To fix this, simply remove the blind, measure the width of the blind and compare that with the distance between the brackets and, if different, re-position them to the desired scale and return the blind to the window.

Up and Down

If the blind is refusing to stay either down then this is, more than likely, due to the mechanisms inside the roller being dirty. By removing the blind from the brackets, taking the cap off the end of the roller and spraying compressed air from a can into the inside, these types of mechanisms can be easily cleaned. Penetrating oil can be placed inside before re-attaching the cap to lubricate the parts and allow for ease of movement.

Roller blinds also can struggle to go both up and down. This common problem will, more than likely, be due to the pawl pin needing to be reset. Remove the blind from the window, roll the blind half way down by hand and locate the flat pin at the end of the roller. Use a pair of pliers to turn the pin clockwise before releasing. The pin is there to allow the pawl to attach to the ratchet inside the roller. Simply pull on the fabric to increase or decrease the tension before returning your blinds back to their original position.

The Speed

The speed at which a window blind rolls up or down can be extremely frustrating but can be fixed relatively easily.  If slow when rolling up, simply pull the blind half way down before removing it from the brackets and the window pane. Then roll back up by hand before re-attaching it. This process may need to be repeated until the desired speed is restored.

However, if the blind is moving too quickly when rolling up, then remove the blind from the brackets, roll the fabric down by hand a few inches before returning it to the wall. Again, this process may need repeating before the desired speed is restored.

Use Blinds To Brighten Up Your Living Room

Curtains and drapes are a wonderful addition to any room, and will certainly go some way towards brightening up any room as there are many colours and designs that can be purchased to fit your own particular style and personality. This rule also applies to blinds. Using blinds will also brighten up your living room in ways that curtains and drapes cannot.

With so many different types of window coverings available now you can choose different styles, colours, and shades to use in the living room. The vertical blind is a great choice as it lets in a lot of outside light. They can be pulled open in the daytime as much as you want, and you’ll still have some privacy along with having a brighter room. Vertical blinds in bright colours such as lemon and lime are popular and will effectively brighten up the room, making sure it looks fresh.

Horizontal blinds are also perfect to help brighten up the living room. They can be raised up to let in more sunlight, or turned to just let in enough of light and still be kept private. Mini-blinds are beautiful on small windows and can easily be adjusted to allow that sunshine to light up the living room. These can also be purchased in many light colours to accentuate the natural sunlight. Do not use dark colours on any of the blinds because they may make the room appear darker.

Most blinds are available in different materials such as fabric, faux wood, wood, woven material and even metal. Woven fabrics are unique because they add a tropical feel to the room and can still be opened enough to let in that sunshine. Fabric and wood are still very attractive in an elegant way, but it is still best to use the ones that are very pale in colour. A fabric blind may look more luxurious than the PVC verticals but they both add a flow to the windows as well as brightness.

Cellular blinds are also a great choice if you’re looking to brighten up your living room, because even when they’re closed, they’ll still let in enough light to brighten up the room. Since they can trap the air and keep in the heat of the summer, they can help insulate and save on energy costs. Venetian styles are still in vogue when it comes to the living room windows. They can also be used practically to brighten up the room.

When choosing the right blind to brighten up your living room, keep in mind to use a light colour, and to get the ones that can be opened enough to let in the natural sunlight.

Modernize Your Home With Roman Blinds

If you are looking for inexpensive ways to give your home a more modern look, try replacing out dated curtains or other window treatments with roman blinds. Roman blinds are sleek and modern in look, but not that expensive. Changing out the window treatments is more economical than buying all new furniture or re carpeting would be. Take a good look at the room or rooms you would like to redecorate to look more modern. Make a list of the features in each room that are worn out or damaged. Add features that look dated or out of style to that list. Now prioritize the list putting the things that need replacing most at the top and so on. Now you have a plan of action for redecorating your space.

One of the first areas to modernize should be the window treatments. Because they get constant use with opening and closing, and get sun damage, they are probably due to be replaced if they are 5 years old or older. While the window treatments are down and the walls and windows are exposed, it is a good time to give them both a good cleaning. After you have cleaned the walls and windows, repair any dents or holes in the walls and touch up window trim. Now you are ready for your new modern look on the walls and windows. Paint is cheap and easy to apply with brush or roller. Choose a pleasant color for your walls that will go with furniture and flooring that are already there. Some colors to consider are the soft light greys, light moss green, tan or beige. They will all go with a modern decor.

With the walls cleaned and sporting a new coat of paint, take a good look at your flooring. If it is ceramic or wood, you can bring it up to date with a good cleaning and maybe a coat of sealer. If you have carpeting that is in good shape but soiled and stained, consider hiring a carpet cleaning service to give it a good cleaning. Many times they can make the carpet look like new again and give you a few more years use. If the carpet is beyond reclaiming replace it with one of the new wood or bamboo floors or laminate flooring. They are all easy on the budget, easy to clean and durable. These hard surface floors all look good with modern decor.

Now your room is the perfect stage for a modern decor. Start with new Roman Blinds for a tailored, contemporary look. You can get Roman Blinds in many fabrics and wood slats. Roman blinds have a modern look to them and lift up out of the way when you pull them open. You do not need stacking room on the sides of the windows so you gain wall space to make the room look bigger and less cluttered. The new roman blinds have very durable hardware and hanging systems. Many home owners can install them with the instructions included. You don’t need many tools, just a measuring tape, level, drill and screw driver. Purchase the Roman Shades in a color that is neutral and coordinating with the wall color for the most modern look.

How To Divide A Room Using Curtains

Many homeowners are curious about ways to make their home appear larger by making designated spaces on a budget. While it may be impossible to install a wall in a large room in order to create two ‘zones’, it is more than possible to hang a curtain. What the curtain can do for a room is make a clear distinction between two areas and what purposes they serve. The steps it takes to actually hang curtains and create two ‘rooms’ is actually very straightforward and can be done without a lot of money. Understanding what kinds of curtains can be used and other details will help ensure the entire project is a breeze from start to finish.

Purchasing Quality Curtains

When an individual begins to shop for a new curtain to use in a room, it is vital to consider the thickness and the material used. This can make an enormous difference in the amount of lighting that is let in and the feel of the room. Taking some time to consider the different curtain material that is available will help ensure the finished look is fabulous. Certain materials may also have complications in terms of unravelling or wrinkling too soon. Visiting several retailers will ensure that a fantastic product is chosen.

Taking Accurate Measurements

Before going ahead with a purchase, it is recommended to take measurements of the room. Measuring the distance between the two walls where the curtain will hang is very important. This measurement will ensure that the curtain fits between the walls properly. The next space that needs to be measured is the height of the ceiling. Knowing how tall the ceilings are will make it easy for an individual to find a curtain that is the proper height. It may be necessary to get the curtains custom made or to sew them at home to get the exact height needed.

Hanging the Curtain Rod Properly

After the curtain and other materials are brought home, an individual will need to be patient while they hang everything. Failing to secure the curtain rod properly may result in it falling down unexpectedly and causing a possible injury. Being careful to follow the instruction on the curtain rod will ensure any brackets are secure and everything goes together smoothly. After the rod is installed properly, the curtain can be slid onto the pole and tested a few times. Opening and closing the curtain a couple of times will ensure everything works smoothly.

Being patient while considering hanging a curtain to separate a room is so essential in a proper installation. Rather than spend a lot of money on a room divider made of wood or bamboo, a high-quality curtain can be installed and do the job for significantly less money. Understanding how the rod will hang and the different type of curtain materials that are available can help significantly in a smooth installation. Taking the time to check out the different options and installation process of a curtain can help divide a room and look fantastic.