How to beat your family at board games EVERY TIME!

We all know how competitive we get when it comes to playing board games with our family. You could be having a lovely Christmas Day, lots of lovely new gifts, a nice wholesome dinner, a few glasses of bubbly, feet up on the sofa with the tin of chocolates next to you… it’s all going well until someone suggests a game of Monopoly. Board games are a fun tradition but let’s face it, we all want to win. Monopoly had to create a hotline in recent years, where experts were on hand with the official rule book, after it was revealed 51% of games end in a row.

But it’s not just a Christmas problem, you never know when someone might next suggest bringing the board games out of the loft… after a Sunday roast, when you can’t find anything to watch on tele, when the kids have gone to bed… Board game gate could happen anytime and unless you want to spend the rest of eternity being reminded by Uncle John about that time he stole all your money and left you bankrupt, you better get clued up.

We’ve created some fun graphics to show you the sneaky tricks that will help you win at the most popular board games, every time! Say goodbye to losing and get ready to watch the smirk disappear from Uncle John’s face…

How to win at… Monopoly

How to win at monopoly everytimeMonopoly is probably the most popular board game which is why we had to feature this in our games guide. It may seem like the game is dependent on the luck of the dice but there’s a few tricks you need to know if you like to win.

  • Buy early – when you first start playing the board is empty – there’s so many opportunities for purchase. Get your foot into the property market early and you can start making money off your friends and family.
  • Known the footfall – while sure your fate is in the hands of the dice, experts suggest there are certain positions on the board then are more frequently landed on by players. Orange is the most landed on spot on the board so if you can buy the orange properties. Brown properties are the least landed on so maybe give them a miss.
  • Create a ‘Monopoly’ – purchase properties of the same colour and create a monopoly. This will double your rest bringing you home more money.
  • Stop other people’s ‘monopolies’ – if you steal other people’s chances of getting a monopoly, not only do you stop their profit but you can use it as a bargaining tool later. Win-win!
  • Spend some time in jail – if you’re in a good place and you can smell the sweet scent of success, don’t be disappointed if you get some jail time. While behind bars you can’t land on any properties.

How to win at… Scrabble

how to win at scrabble everytime

Contrary to belief, scrabble isn’t about how smart you are. You don’t need a PHD to be successful at scrabble, you just need to know a few tricks.

  • Learn some two and three letter words – these can be the easiest to fit on the board, they are simple to remember and you can create some unexpected high cores. XI, XU, ZA… and yes they are real words.
  • Pluralise words – you don’t necessarily need to create big words yourself, let other people do the hard work and pluralise them when its your turn.
  • Aim to hit bonus squares – the extra points will help especially if you’re struggling.
  • Know your tiles – if you have a rough idea of how many of each letter there is in the game then you can guess what your opponents have left to play. You can use that to create your own strategy.
  • Layout your rack in a helpful order – put common word endings (e.g. ‘ed’ and ‘ing’) on the right hand side of the rack so you can put together more complex words easier.

How to win at…Cluedo

how to win at cluedo everytime

You don’t need to be a psychic or a mind-reader to win at Cluedo. You simply need to know a few tricks at will give you advantage point.

  • Don’t use the cards provided – use your own paper. This may seem strange but on the provided paper the information is in a set place. Your opponents may see the position where you scribble and this will give them a good idea of what you’re marking off. If you use your own paper you don’t give anything away.
  • Stay in the rooms – the longer you are in there the more guessing you can do.
  • Know the secret passageways – yes they exist.

How to win at… Battleship

how to win at battleships everytime

Keep your ships afloat with our handy guide to winning Battleships.

  • Experts say you are most likely to get a hit if you aim for the centre of the board.
  • Only shoot at odd or even numbers, it reduces the amount of turns you need to find a ship.
  • Learn what the masses do – experts say people either go for a touching or non-touching approach and there is a heatmap to suggest where people position their ships.

How to win at… Connect Four

how to win at connect four everytime

Everyone know’s the old trick to winning noughts and crosses now, but did you know there’s a similar method that will help you win Connect Four… every time?

  • Control the centre line – it gives you more directions to play in.
  • Block three’s. Don’t wait to stop people at the final hurdle, prevent them getting three in a row to make sure they don’t sneak a victory.
  • Create a multi-pronged attack. Place your counters in several different places so you have multiple opportunities to win. If you’re committed to winning, learn the 7 trap.

How to win at… Chess

how to win at chess in only four moves

Did you know you can win at chess in only four steps? Sure, if you’re playing a chess champion they might be familiar with the move and block you from the off. If, however, you are playing with a novice, try your luck and impress them with a quick win.

We hope you liked our latest fun piece and we hope our tips bring you success. May the odds be ever in your favour.

Stay Safe: Learn the hazards around your home

hazards-around-the-home

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The home is a dangerous place, with all types of hazards conspiring to ruin your day. We’ve put together a trusty guide of all the worst hazards so you can take steps to protect yourself and your family. Let’s have a look at the biggest things we need to watch out for.

Upturned plugs – arguably the worst pain in the world. If you’re lucky you will be wearing socks but more often than not disaster will strike when you have bare feet.

Dangerously low wifi signal – Is there any greater heartache than seeing GPRS on your phone or two bars on your computer?

Hitting snooze is a very dangerous game. While you really appreciate those few beautiful extra minutes it often means you’re more tired when you wake and you don’t have time for that beloved coffee.

Cold water when you’re mid shower is the worst, especially in winter. Do you brave the cold to finish your shower or get out covered in soapsuds?

Low phone battery is devastating and it always seems to happen when you need your phones the most.

Spilt red wine – on the sofa, on the white shirt, on the cream carpet. Tastes so good, stains so easily.

Spider in the bath. This hazard always seems to happen the most when you’re home alone. It’s like they can smell the fear.

Lego underfoot – ouch. Which is more painful – standing on lego or standing on a plug? Let us know your thoughts.

No toilet roll – you never seem to notice until it’s too late, and everyone becomes a prankster when you’re stuck on the loo. Always put toilet roll on the shopping list.

Bin juice spillage – it doesn’t matter that you bought the ‘extra strong’ bin liners, at some point everyone will fall victim to bin juice spillage.

Missing remote control – the remote always disappears down the arm of the sofa yet it always make sense to search every corner of the living room first and interrogate every family member who might have been the last to use it.

Low on teabags – when you desperately need a cuppa and you either run out of teabags or milk.

Coloured socks in the white wash. Everyone’s experienced this but to this day no one knows how the coloured sock got there.

Weekend alarm clock – When you forget to turn off the alarm and get woke up to the ever familiar sound at 6am on a Saturday. At least you get to go back to sleep safe in the knowledge it’s a false alarm.

Cold bathroom floor – when you wake in the middle of night and leave the warm cosy bed to visit the ice cold floor of the bathroom.

Toilet seat left up – It takes a lot of effort to lift the toilet seat up so who can blame the boys for not putting the seat down after. Just make sure you check before you sit down.

Charger won’t reach the sofa – when you have low phone battery, facebook notifications to check and a charger that won’t reach from the socket to the sofa, why is life so cruel?!

Shampoo in your eyes is one of the most painful hazards we encounter every day but unfortunately it’s the risk we have to take.

Low on toothpaste – Toothpaste doesn’t last forever but the fight isn’t over until the tube has been bent into the craziest shapes.

Toe stubbing hazard – you’ve lived in your house for several years but no matter how familiar you are with your home, at some point you will still stub your toe on your bed post.

Hungry and grumpy pets – they’ve already been fed their dinner but they act like they haven’t eaten in a week.

Gravel in shoe. How did the stones even get in there though?

Carpet burns – another pain that happens out of the blue.

No clean underwear – you’re forever doing laundry but for some reason you can never find clean underwear.

Mismatched socks. Where do all the socks go, it’s virtually impossible to find a pair.

Cat on stairs – When you’ve got a cat you can never walk down the stairs without looking again.

Risk of moths – When it’s a lovely day, it’s nice to have the windows open and let in that glorious cool breeze. Until evening time, when you turn on the big light and find moths flying around the lampshade.

Forgotten alarm code – Life comes with too many passwords and passcodes but not all scream loud enough for the world to hear when you can’t remember the code.

So these hazards are a bit of fun although you can’t deny the struggle some of them cause. Take care at home and if you are looking to make some home improvements, check out our range of internal bi-fold doors.

The Best Internal BiFold Doors

We sell a very large range of internal bifold doors with varying designs so we have something to suit everyone’s tastes. We have three different types of internal folding doors, the Roomfold Standard, the Roomfold Deluxe and the Roomfold Grande. We decided to create a list of the best internal bi-fold doors we offer.

Glazed Oak P10 RoomFold Clear Doors

These doors have full-length clear glass panels and are surrounded by oak. They are one of the most popular styles of bi-fold door, mostly due to the fact that the set can be decorated or stained to the colour and style that you prefer. This standard system is available in either 3 or 4 door sets, and are offered in a large range of styles so you should be able to find one for your room. They are also offered with no floor track, this means that the whole room can have a seamless floor, without a track in the middle. It also means that you don’t have to worry about installing a track.

Oak Mexicano RoomFold Grande

To go with our Mexicano internal door range, we also have the Mexicano internal bifold door. These doors have a cottage door style. You get the advantage of being able to shut a room completely off and with high-quality folding doors. If you have the Mexicano internal doors too, you can match your doors, showing how much attention to detail you put into the interior of your home. These doors don’t use a track along the floor either, but the upper track still provides you with a smooth folding door. The Mexicano range uses only the best unfinished solid core engineered oak doors.

White 4L Shaker RoomFold Deluxe Doors

These doors are created with high-quality white primed finished with clear toughened glass, helping the door achieve its contemporary look. Due to the clear glass throughout the door, it allows you to shut off the other side of the room while still being able to see through. These doors come in many different sizes and are available in 3, 4, 5 and 6 door systems so you have plenty of options to choose from.

Oak Aston RoomFold Grande – Clear

These doors have more of a traditional style, using glazed unfinished oak with clear toughened safety glass. These doors are very simplistic but still look stylish and they let the light flow through the room seamlessly. The Aston doors are available in 2, 3, 4, and 5 door systems and can also be adjusted in both height and width to fit the non-standard door openings. They comes without the floor track again, however, the head track still allows your door to run smoothly.

Contemporary White 4L RoomFold Deluxe Doors

If you’re looking for a more contemporary look for your rooms, these are definitely the bifold doors for you. These deluxe doors offer a patterned solid white primed door, with 4 frosted glass panels per leaf. It is great to be able to close off a room off and then be able to open it all up, that’s exactly what these doors do. They come with both a head track and a floor track, both help make sure that the door runs smoothly across the room. These particular RoomFold doors are available in 3, 4, 5, and 6 door systems so there’s bound to be one for your room.

York Oak RoomFold Deluxe Interior Doors

If you’re looking for some bifold doors that can also match your other interior doors, these might be the right bifold doors for you. The York Oak doors come with both a head and base track, this tends to be most common when the doors become longer. They are available in 3, 4, 5 and 6 door systems, and come in a large variety of leaf sizes, this allows you to choose the best sizes for your needs. If you still cannot find one to fit your door frame, these doors are adaptable and can be adjusted by the width and height a fair bit.

Lincoln Oak RoomFold Interior Doors

The Lincoln Oak doors are also offered as more of a traditional range of internal doors. They are made with unfinished glazed oak and clear hardened glass. They are available in 3 and 4 door sets, meaning they’re not our biggest door, however, the stylish door makes up for it. Also, if you’re looking for a door that you have without fitting a base track, this type of door might be right for you. The sets are also reversible, meaning you have the doors open whichever way you’d like. They start at 533mm for the door leaf size, and go all the way up to 686mm wide, this means you should be able to find one for your door frame.

Prefinished Glazed Oak RoomFold Deluxe 

This prefinished door set means that they are ready to install straight away, without any decorating. These doors are offered with a solid core, engineered oak and clear glass door panels. These are available in 3, 4, 5 and 6 door sets, giving you an amazing range of sizes to choose from. Again, if you don’t find the exact size you need, these doors can be trimmed a little to fit your door frame. Be sure to have a long look through all of the sizes beforehand, though.

Oslo Prefinished Oak RoomFold Interior Doors

The oslo doors are also provided with prefinished engineered oak with strong clear glass. This means that once they arrive, they can be fitted straight away, without having to decorate anything. The doors have narrow horizontal lines through the glass, this still lets the light flow through the room. These RoomFold doors are from the Standard range, so they are available in 3 and 4 sets, but still come in a variety of sizes. These doors don’t need a floor track either, so they allow you to still have a seamless room. This set is also reversible, so you can decide which way you want your doors to open.

Walnut 4L RoomFold Grande – Clear Prefinished

This walnut set offers a contemporary styling which is becoming rather popular, especially in modern homes. This set is made from toughened clear glass with a warmer colour wood. Explaining why its name is Walnut. The colour is known to make you feel warmer, as the colour is warmer whereas the glass still allows the light to pass through the rooms. As the door, doesn’t need a floor track, they can be put on any materials and if the door is a little too big. The doors can be trimmed a little if done properly.

There are our top 10 internal bifold doors. We wanted to make sure there were lots of different styles of doors, as well as colours. So, everyone could find a door for them.

Star Wars Family Crests

When it comes to Star Wars, it’s ALL about the family and the big family reveals: Darth Vader to Luke: “No, I am your father”, Leia is Luke’s sister [shock: spoiler!]. Kylo Ren is Han Solo’s son and Vader’s grandson (Ben Solo) etc etc.

Whilst we know some of the backstory of our characters, there is potentially a lot left to be revealed in the new movies.

Will we see an appearance from Boba Fett, or one of his kids? Is Jar Jar Binks a secret Sith Lord (or even, dare we say it Supreme Leader Snoke). Who are Rey’s parents?

Fett: Boba Fett and his father Jango are technically related to every single clone trooper ever created. Arguably the biggest family in the galaxy. Proud of their Mandalorian roots, where family means a lot, but a collected bounty means more. “MORTUS VIVERE: DEAD OR ALIVE”

fett-family-crest

Solo: Reluctantly dragged into the conflict between the Rebel Alliance and the Empire, Han makes an unlikely family man and father. He and Chewbacca are like brothers, hence his subtle inclusion on the crest. The heartbreaking scene on the bridge at the end of Force Awakens that divided the family is represented in the crest with the motto “PRIMO SOLO IGNIS: HAN SHOT FIRST”.

solo-family-crest

Skywalker: the most famous family in the galaxy; Luke, Leia, Vader. Tattooine. A mix of good and evil giving balance to the force “LUX ET TENEBRAE: LIGHT AND DARKNESS”. Could Rey be revealed to be a Skywalker in the future too?

skywalker-family-crest

Binks: A social outcast, with no known family. Adopted by Qui Gon Jinn and an unwitting hero in The Phantom Menace. Whilst lighthearted at first viewing, there are some darker undertones for the fan theorists. “SEQUI, STULTI: FOLLOW, FOOLS”

binks-family-crest

Life With Pets Summed Up In Hilarious Charts

We’re all a bit weird when it comes to our pets – it’s fine to admit it.

Despite the fact you probably spend most of your time cleaning up after it, you still love it – and why wouldn’t you? They’ve got so many lovable traits, as we explore below…

 

“You alright? Did you miss me? Have you been a good boy?”

How you talk to your pet

 

“I might be a rottweiler, but I really need to show that chihuahua who’s boss.”

How big dogs think they are

 

Tasty, but definitely not fun.

Will you regret buying fish?

 

You’ve just been warned. Why do those fish look so tempting now you’re in the pet shop?

How fun pets are when you're choosing them

 

We hate to say we told you so.

How fun pets are when you get home

 

I didn’t like the new sofa anyway.

When your pets do something wrong

 

Just…why?

owning an African land snail

 

90% of the time those eyes are filled with nothing but hate.

How your cat looks at you

 

“I did play with it when I first got it, but then it bit me.”

Should I get a pet hamster?

 

We hope we haven’t offended any of you animal lovers out there. Please don’t take these images the wrong way! They’re just a bit of fun – unlike your African land snail…

Be sure to check out our range of internal bi-fold doors that will make your home much more beautiful for your family – including your pets.

The State of the Tradesman Industry

There is a shortage of skilled workers in Britain; from plumbers and builders to engineers. Construction and technical companies have blamed the recession for a lack of apprentices and have called on the government and schools to promote trades. Despite this, demand for workers in this area has never been higher. So, how’s the state of tradesman industry looking overall?

Tradesman industry infographic

Back in 2013, only 7,280 apprentices completed their training across all trades whilst the training body estimates that 35,000 are needed just to meet demand.

The Royal Academy of Engineering suggests Britain will need more than one million new engineers and technicians by 2020. This mean will mean doubling the current annual figure of engineering graduates and apprentices. There is a shortage in all sectors from transport to high-value manufacturing.

The construction industry is growing extremely quickly compared to the rest of the economy:

  • There is an increased demand of 18% for private housing and 8% for private commercial sector builds
  • Those benefiting most from this are workers such as site managers, engineers, architects and surveyors – with earnings increasing twice as quickly as the national average
  • Plumbers in the nation’s capital can now earn up to £100,000 a year

So, despite an increase in demand and in pay, why is it that so few apprentices and graduates are coming through in the traditional trade industries?

A recent survey of students aged 14 to 18 years of age (80% male, 20% female to maintain statistical integrity) found that 94% of students were not interested in pursuing a career in the trades.

 

Why don’t kids find trades ‘cool’? 

  • 53% said working in trades doesn’t interest them
  • 25% said they were not ‘mechanically inclined’
  • 24% said they are not good at fixing things
  • 21% said they are not educated enough about the industries
  • 15% didn’t think that trades were ‘cool’
  • 10% said the trades weren’t high-tech enough

In addition to this, 54% of young people believed that working in computers led to a better future, 37% believed working in an office gains you more respect and 25% believed that trade jobs were ‘old-fashioned’. That means fitting internal bi-fold doors wouldn’t be too popular at the moment – can you believe it?!

 

Is it easy to find a reliable tradesman these days?

  • 85% of people think that it’s not easy to find a trusted tradesman
  • 11% of people think it’s not difficult at all, with 5% unsure of the difficulty

 

How people are finding tradesmen

  • 81% of tradesmen are personally recommended by a friend or neighbour
  • 79% of people want to know the cost of the work up-front
  • 67% check that a tradesman belongs to a trade association
  • 63% do an online search for reviews
  • 61% check the company or tradesman’s website
  • 59% ensure the tradesman promises a receipt
  • 39% visit a former client’s project/home to check out work for themselves (if external)
  • Only 1% of people would not do any checks

 

Why do people hire tradesmen?

  • 60% of people say that a job is too difficult to complete themselves
  • 53% are seeking a professional finish
  • 28% do not have time to complete a job

 

Of the tradesmen hired by homeowners in the UK

  • 85% listened carefully to what they required
  • 84% showed up at the agreed time
  • 51% used polite language
  • 39% were older and more experienced
  • 38% took their shoes off at the door
  • 14% used impressive, modern tools
  • 13% used business cards
  • 12% wore branded overalls
  • 4% were younger with more recent training

 

Tips for finding more work as a trader

Unfortunately, there is always going to be a relative degree of prejudice when it comes to looking for a skilled tradesman; an older worker may appear more trusted due to their experience. Therefore, especially if you’re younger, it’s essential to do the following things to turn leads into work:

  • be attentive; show a genuine interest in their plans
  • be punctual; show up on time or, preferably, 5 minutes early to every appointment
  • be polite; refrain from swearing
  • be courteous; take your shoes off at the door
  • be organised; write customers a quote quickly – and make it accurate!
  • be pro-active; if you’ve done a good job, ask customers if they can leave you a review online
  • be technological; have a simple but effective website

Whilst it’s impossible to ‘be older’, acting maturely and dressing smartly can help you to appear more experienced.

Things that aren’t as important and could save your business money are:

  • impressive, modern tools: are they really necessary?
  • Branded overalls: they’re only going to get dirty, and there isn’t a heavy importance placed on them by homeowners

Business cards, however, are always essential – even if it’s not a deciding factor in earning you your current job. Remember – the biggest number of leads are generated through word-of-mouth – if they can give your card to someone else that needs work, you’ve expanded your reach simply by doing a good job.

 

 

Sources

http://hoa.org.uk/campaigns/publications-2/the-homeowner-survey-2015/
http://www.statista.com/statistics/428918/uk-homeowner-difficulties-finding-good-tradesman/
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2015/feb/10/uk-plumbers-builders-engineers-skill-crisis-economy
https://www.electriciancourses4u.co.uk/blog/tradesmen-pay-increasing-4x-faster-inflation/
http://www.internationaltimber.com/news/timber-industry/what-2015-holds-for-the-uk-construction-sector
http://www.statista.com/statistics/417282/home-improvement-reasons-for-hiring-trademan-european-households/
http://www.reliableplant.com/Read/15760/poll-skilled-trades-rank-low-in-teens%27-career-options

 

10 Hilarious Tradesman Pranks to Pull on the Job

Tradesman Banter cards

Jokes on the job are standard procedure for tradesmen during a hard day’s graft. We’ve rounded up some of the funniest safe-for-work pranks there are, so whether you’re an experienced tradesman looking for a practical joke to play, or if you’re an apprentice looking for tricks to avoid, we’ve got you covered below.

 

pranks-01       pranks-02

#1 – The Cement Strongman: If you have a Facebook account, you’ll surely have seen a video of this happening to a poor apprentice at some point in time. “Are you strong enough to lift a bag of cement above your head?” is a challenge in itself, and it’s a surefire way to get you covered in powdered cement if you don’t have your wits about you.

#2 – The Fake Shopping List: Always be wary that you’re being asked to purchase something from this shopping list. You’ll rarely be handed the whole list of things to get, usually just one – so that it doesn’t look too obvious.

 

pranks-03       pranks-04

#3 – The Dave Game: Always ensure that you either have your phone on you, or that you have a secure passcode that your colleagues don’t know – preferably both. The Dave game is lethal – particularly if you actually know someone called Dave…and who doesn’t?

#4 – The Bookie: Nipping to the bookie to place a bet on a tip can be commonplace for tradesmen that are regularly on-the-go. Watch out for old classics such as “Hoof Hearted” – if you don’t get it now, you will after reading it aloud a few times.

 

pranks-05       pranks-06

#5 – The Food Order: If you’re going to get lunch from the supermarket, always think twice about what your colleagues have asked you to fetch for them. A leg of salmon, really?

#6 – Mustard Donuts: Oooh, this is a good one. Buy plain donuts and then get a bottle of sauce that has a pointed tip; mustard works well for this usually. Poke the pointed tip and fill the donuts with a ‘delicious’ surprise. Tell everyone they’re custard!

 

pranks-07       pranks-08

#7 – The Dirty Van: There are tonnes of great one liners that you can write on a dirty van. Many are well-known, but are still amusing nonetheless.

#8 – The Blockade: Never trust a portaloo. That motto goes far beyond the site you’re working on, too.

 

pranks-09       pranks-10

#9 – The Rock Shock: Do you use a radio which has the volume on a dial? If so, crank it up to full volume whilst the radio is off. Bonus points if you’ve tuned it into a rock station. The next person to turn the radio on will get a loud shock!

#10 – The ‘Fancy a Brew’?: This is all about playing the long game. If you’re making the brews, make someone a normal cuppa at first, but over time add more and more cold water to each one. The confusion is more than worth it as they start to suspect something is going on.

Be sure to check out the great range of interior bi-fold doors and exterior bi-fold doors that Climadoor has to offer.

How to Make a Den [Infographic]

How to make a den infographic

How to build a den – An infographic by the team at Climadoor

Embed How to build a den on Your Site: Copy and Paste the Code Below

A-Frame Tent Den

Materials You Will Need (Frame):

4 – 1” X 2” X 48” Whitewood Molding

1 – ¾ x 48” Poplar Dowel

Drill with a ¾” Spade Bit

How To:

  1. At the top of each of the four moldings, with your pencil, mark 6 inches down each one.
  2. Drill a hole at each mark… make sure they’re all in the same place by placing two moldings on top of each other.
  3. Push the dowel through the holes on the two moldings. Repeat this step for each side.

The frame is around the size of a double bed duvet cover, so if you have a flat one laying around you can save yourself time by throwing that over the frame. If you want to make a cover, it’s as quick and easy as making the frame and can be done with or without a sewing machine.

Materials you will need (Cover):

  • Fabric large enough to cover the frame. Approx 46” x 88.5”
  • Coordinating thread
  • Elastic strips
  • Scissors

How To

You can hem the fabric if you have a sewing machine, do this by using a straight stitch with a half inch hem.

  1. Cut four 5” elastic strips.
  2. Fold them over and sew to each corner of the tent cover
  3. Cover the frame, and loop the elastic around the legs to secure the cover.

The tent should now be ready to use! You change the fabric to match your toddlers ever growing and changing tastes.

 

 

Cardboard Castle

Materials You Will Need:

Glue

Colored or patterned tape

Coloring pens, pencils and markers

Large cardboard boxes

Glitter, stickers, decorations

How To:

The scope to be creative with this is massive. You can add as many or as few boxes as you like, decorate them how ever you want, and tape them together in whatever order suits you best.

You could have a large box as the center, with a few smaller boxes tape to the side as ‘rooms’. Or two large boxes connected with a rectangular box as a tunnel… the only limit is your imagination!

Some advice though…

  1. Cut exterior bi-fold doors and windows out of the sides of the boxes before you tape the boxes together.
  2. Decorate the boxes once they are taped up
  3. Try gluing or stapling some fabric to the ‘windows’ for an extra special touch
  4. You could have an arched door for the front of the box, cut at the top, and down the middle, leaving the ‘doors’ attached at the sides so they open and can be closed for play-time privacy.
  5. With the flaps of the boxes that usually would form the base of the box, cut slats out to make them look like turrets.

 

Super Easy Dens

The Classic Pillow Fort

You Will Need:

Pillows

Cushions

Blankets

Poles

Pegs

Use a central pole (An old mop or broom pole works well), held in place with tins, bricks or heavy books. Place the sheets over the pole, pegging multiple sheets together if you want to make a bigger den. Use additional heavy items to hold down the sheet in the corners.

 

Using Chairs:

Try using the backs of chairs as walls and placing sheets or blankets over for the roof.

The sofa is one of the most valuable den building tools you can have at your disposal.

Use the cushions as walls. They’re great for walls because of their square, brick-ey shape and sturdiness!

Get the sofa itself in on the action by using the back of the sofa as a wall. Place a sheet over the side of the sofa and use poles to prop up the other side. Kinda like an awning on a caravan.

 

Den Tips

  • Make A Treasure Chest

Things to take into a den are just as important as the den itself. After all – it’s what on the inside that counts!

Take an empty shoe box and cover it with some ‘funky’ wrapping paper by gluing it on. Decorate the box with your little one. Get them to write ‘Treasure Chest’ on top or side as they wish and decorate it with glitter and stickers.

Fill the box with snacks, sweeties, games, glow sticks, music players and toys.

  • Make a Den Sign

Name the den – It could be a fort, a castle, a nest, a lair, a cave or a den! Maybe you could incorporate something that your child loves into the name such as “The Ice Cream Castle” or “The Glitter Palace”.

On a nice piece of card, write the name down and decorate with stickers. Try finding some stickers related to the name of the den or of something that your little one enjoys. You can pick some cheap but wonderful stickers online, from eBay and Amazon. Not only will having and building a den entertain your kiddies for hours, but making a sign is another great way to get creative.

 

 

Color Schemes & Themes

  • Princess Themed for Pretty Princesses:

Pale/Baby Pink + Silver/Gold + Hot Pink + Glitter

Try making glittery signs using glue, glitters and card.

You could make a cardboard door sign in the shape of a crown or make a pink, glittering flag to make it into a ‘real’ castle.

Add fluffy, soft cushions and cushions like velvet and silk for a Den fit for Royalty – and don’t forget to stock the Den up with Fairytale books.

Try making strawberry cupcakes to take in as a fruity, pink treat.

  • Jungle Theme for Little Monkeys

Grassey Green + Brown + jungle colours (think tigers, parrots and more).

Try decorating homemade door signs with animal prints like polka dots for a leopard, stripes for a tiger or snake print.

Add fluffy blankets like a lions mane, or even add some astro-turf to the floor of the Den to make it look like jungle grass. You can easily get brightly colored feathers from high street arts and crafts shops – you can easily string some up and pretend they are birds of paradise.

Take in lots of educational wildlife books and some animal crackers that you can pick up from any supermarket.

  • Space Theme for Aspiring Astronauts

Blue + Navy + Silver

There are all sorts of things you could do with tin foil – maybe try sticking some to the walls of you den to make them shiny and sci-fi!

Try making some cardboard or paper mache models of the planets, they can be hung up inside the den and little ones can learn about the solar system.

If you search far and wide on the internet, you can buy vacuum packed food as novelty gifts, it’s based on what astronauts would have eaten – try snacking on some space food in the den.

How to Save Money Growing Vegetables at Home

If you’re looking to improve your financial situation or looking to become a little more frugal and have some spare time around the house, a great way thing to consider is growing fruit and veg in the garden. This isn’t going to make you a millionaire any time soon, but it will help you to keep a few extra pounds in your wallet every week, keeping you occupied and entertained whilst you maintain them and they’ll taste absolutely delicious when they’ve grown; you can’t beat freshly picked vegetables.

How to grow vegetables at home infographic

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Potatoes, although not counting as one of your five-a-day, are an incredibly useful vegetable to grow at home. They are low maintenance and you can expect a pretty good return on your money too, with an expected ROI of at least 300% standard barring any disasters. In order to protect against bugs and insects, a great tip is to grow mint alongside your potatoes.

Similarly to potatoes, onions also benefit from being grown alongside mint – keeping annoying onion fly at bay. Taking only a few weeks longer to grow than potatoes, onions typically provide a similar return on your investment and just need time, space and a clean area to grow nicely.

People often forget just how great it is to be sat indoors, looking out through your bi-folding patio doors and seeing a world of fruit and vegetables outside. It’s a massively underrated part of growing your own food at home!

Peas are a little tricky, but still a great thing to grow at home. The financial returns aren’t exceptional, mainly because they take up a lot of room in the garden and don’t provide huge yields, but they are absolutely delicious when fresh from their pods. If you make use of successional sowings, you’ll be able to harvest peas every week throughout spring.

Tomatoes are one of the most profitable things you can grow at home. Despite being cheap to plant and maintain, they typically produce large yields time and time again. Tomatoes are also reasonably costly in supermarkets.

Salad leaves are incredibly easy to grow at home, they take less than a month to grow and continue to grow time and time again all-year-round! In the summer months, plant outside and they’ll grow rapidly.

Beetroot and cucumber are two other items of food that you can grow easily at home in around three months or less. Each item only requires a small piece to count as one of your five-a-day, so you can get plenty of healthy goodness out of each plant!

How to Fireproof Your Home

Fireproof your home infographic

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Renovating and decorating your home is one thing, but protecting it is a whole different ball game.

Fires are something that a lot of people think would only happen to other people and don’t prepare for the worst until it’s already too late. Wait! We’re not looking to scare you; just make you aware of some of the great steps you can take to prevent a fire breaking out or spreading through your internal bi-fold doors and throughout your house.

Firstly:

Install smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms are present in most houses, but making sure they’re checked and working every two months is something most people fail to do. It’s essential that you check these – they’re a life saver, literally.

When choosing your flooring, be sure to use wooden flooring or fire-resistant carpets as opposed to wool and synethic carpets, as fire will spread much more quickly with the latter.

If you have any rugs, they should be treated with a high quality fireproof chemical.

Candles make a lovely decoration in any room, lifting the atmosphere and ambiance dramatically. However, you should always be careful with a naked flame burning in any room.

If you are leaving a room – even for a brief period of time – you should always extinguish a candle, especially if you have pets or small children. A great idea is to swap candles for infused bamboo.

Speaking of pets, make sure you never leave them alone in a room unattended if young or untrained; they could play with electrical goods, damage them, or even urinate on them. Ew.

Ensure that you always tidy up your clutter: old papers, clothes and toys can easily be accumulated in a home. If a fire was to break out, these cluttered piles would be a disaster.

Remember to turn off all electrical appliances at the wall when they’re not in use. As well as massively decreasing the likelihood of a fire breaking out, this will also save you a small fortune on your energy bills!

If, when using an electrical appliance, you notice that the cord or cabling is no longer in good condition then you should look to replace it right away. Also be wary of putting too many plugs into one place; you don’t want to overload a circuit.

If you are a smoker, be wary when sitting – or especially lying down – as you can drop it or accidentally press it against your furniture, which can start a blaze. Ensure cigarettes are always stubbed out completely in an ash tray, and splash with a bit of water to ensure that no embers remain.

Remember to have a fire extinguisher handy – preferably both upstairs and downstairs in your home – in an easy-to-access place.