It’s that time of year when everyone has the gardening bug. For some people that means cutting the grass once a month, but for those of us avid gardene…
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Automobile enthusiasts around the world can now rejoice. With advancements in technology and design to the body of the car, gadgets have also found the…
Smart jewellery was bound to happen. Since the Apple Watch and its competitors started showing up, jewellery companies knew they had to jump on the ban…
Sun protection is essential as the summer rolls out. While a good summer sun is seductive in calling you to the beach, it is critical that you cover yo…
It’s that time of year when everyone has the gardening bug. For some people that means cutting the grass once a month, but for those of us avid gardeners it can get a lot more obsessive. And at some point in every obsessive gardener’s life, they start greenhouse growing. The power of protecting your plants from the weather and controlling the temperature means you can get a much higher yield from a greenhouse crop, which is why it is so inviting. But it’s also quite easy to get it wrong. If you don’t pay enough attention to your greenhouse conditions, you can end up killing all your plants before you harvest.
We’ve come up with a few tips to help you make the most of your greenhouse –
Get The Temperature Right
This is one of the greenhouse grower’s biggest challenges. In the UK, temperatures are capable of changing rapidly and unexpectedly which can leave gardeners with a host of dead crops. The best way to combat this is constant vigilance – keeping an eye on the weather reports and preparing for the worst. But that’s not always possible and you should have a backup plan in place too.
Here are some ways you can protect your greenhouse crops –
- Automatic ventilation – opens when the greenhouse temperature hits a certain point and shuts again when it has cooled down. Surprisingly inexpensive, with cheap versions available at below £50.
- Greenhouse shading – this can range from simply painting your greenhouse panels to automatic shades that shut in the sunlight.
- Insulate with bubble wrap – the beauty of insulating your greenhouse with bubble wrap is that it still lets in some of the light from the sun.
- Greenhouse heating system – a more reliable, but more expensive option is to buy an automatic heater.
- Horticultural fleece – on really cold nights, using a fleece to wrap your vulnerable plants could make all the difference.
Use Plastic Sheeting Instead Of Windows
Traditionally, greenhouses were made with glass. However, polycarbonate actually makes for a much more suitable material for the greenhouse windows. Firstly, it’s much more durable than glass and resistant to breakages, and it is less affected by sunlight, snow and rain so it lasts much longer. The other really useful advantage is that it doesn’t let as much UV light through. UV light damages plant’s DNA, proteins, lipids and membranes which means they can be killed off by too much exposure to sunlight.
Polycarbonate windows are also really easy to cut to shape which makes them perfect for making more inventive greenhouse structures. Check out Cut My Plastic for affordable greenhouse windows.
Don’t Underestimate The Power Of Soil
Your success as a gardener will rest or fall on the quality of your soil. Healthy, nutrient-rich soil, will make a huge difference to your yield. Before you plant anything in your greenhouse make sure you have properly prepared your soil, mixed it with high-quality compost and given it time to breathe.
Keep The Plants Watered
Unlike your outdoor crops, your greenhouse plants aren’t getting any rainwater, so you need to be vigilant in keeping them watered. It’s too complicated to work out exactly how much water each plant needs and exactly when they need watering, so instead, just keep to a regular watering routine. Start with an overestimate of how much water they need (say, every morning and night) and then test to see if you can back off a bit. Feel the top of the plant’s soil and if it is dry then it needs more water.
If you are looking for a more high-tech solution, UKh2o suggest investing in an automatic irrigation system – where you fill the reservoir and programme the timer to water as much as is needed.
Maintain An Insect Patrol
Unwanted insects are a greenhouse gardener’s biggest enemy. Slugs, snails and aphids can all find their way into a greenhouse that isn’t properly maintained. You should leave enough space between plants so that you don’t give the critters anywhere to hide (this also gives your plants more space to grow). Also, at the end of the season, take all of the plants out of the greenhouse and give it a thorough clean – this will avoid any insect eggs hatching and also allow the building to air out for the following season.
You don’t have to get rid of all the creatures in the greenhouse, after all it is a suitable habitat for them. So make sure you do the research and find out what you’re looking for before you go evacuating tenants.
Automobile enthusiasts around the world can now rejoice. With advancements in technology and design to the body of the car, gadgets have also found their place. Since technology is advancing faster than we can blink, it is best to make complete use of all our available resources. Automotive technology is making our rides safer, faster, more economical, and fun! The best part is that you do not need to buy a brand-new car and then get it outfitted with the latest gadgets. You can upgrade your old car to look like new by installing a few of these gadgets.
Let us take you through some cool new gadgets that you could use in your car to make your ride a safer and more enjoyable one.
Dash cams are no longer the traditional heavy and bulky ones. The newer sleek ones from Garmin and PAPAGO can be discreetly attached to the windshield or rear bumper. With HD recording, night vision, DVR supports up to 64gb SD card slots, and several recording modes, you can also get collision and lane departure warnings to make your ride a safe one. Voice control features can be enabled to start or stop recording and to take a still photo. In the unfortunate circumstances of an accident or collision, your dash cam footage can also be used for proof and will be helpful in providing an accurate timeline of events, notes Callum from www.hgvtrainingsussex.co.uk.
Heads up Displays
It is extremely dangerous to keep looking at your phone while driving. Navigation apps are usually on mobile phones and run on data connectivity. Just glancing at your phone for a few seconds can result in serious accidents, mishaps, and injuries. Newer cars are now pre-installed with heads-up displays that can project directions directly in your line of vision. In case you have an older car that does not come installed with the heads-up display, you can opt for the Hudway Cast Heads Up Display. This useful gadget streams directly from your mobile, and it can also be paired wirelessly through Airplay and Miracast.
While this might seem like an insignificant gadget, it is a very useful one. The Automatic Pro Car Adapter gets plugged directly into the diagnostic port of your car. It then proceeds to sync all your vehicle diagnostic and driving data with your handheld, tablet, or smartphone. This little gizmo can tell you when you need to change the oil in your car, where your car is parked in a jammed car lot, and what the little yellow, white, red, and green lights on your dashboard mean. The new Automatic Pro Car Adapter even reaches out to call emergency services for instant help in case of a collision or crash.
Car Safety Hammer
The high carbon steel Car Safety Hammer is just that – a hammer for your safety. In the event of a life-threatening car crash or a mishap, this hammer allows you to break the windows of your car with minimal effort and escape with your life and your loved ones intact. It has a double-sided tip head with a razor blade to cut through jammed seat belts. The steel tips help shatter the car windows with ease and allow you to escape immediately. Lightweight, the car hammer should be stored in a handy location like the glove box or the center console and should be within easy reach of young adults and grown children too.
Wireless docks for smartphones
Automobile manufacturers have started realizing the importance of mobile phones while driving. Smartphone wireless chargers, in standard or customized models, are now available for purchase. These super-fast chargers can charge your phone from 0 to 60% in 30 minutes. The Ventev Car Charger comes with a dual arm spring load for easy one-handed docking. It also comes equipped with universal adapters and a rotating vent clip to adjust your phone as you want.
Smart jumper cables
Jumper cables are crucial to jump start your car when there is another car around. In the event of a battery failure, the jumper cables help bring the life back to your vehicle. If, however, you are in a remote location without any cars around you, jumper cables are of no use. The self-starter jumper cables from Bestek are ideal for such situations. You can jump-start a 4Liter engine up to 20 times with these fully charged cables. It also comes with a dual charger port and dual USB port to simultaneously charge two devices.
Smart jewellery was bound to happen. Since the Apple Watch and its competitors started showing up, jewellery companies knew they had to jump on the bandwagon and start ‘smartening up’ their products.
Startups around the world are competing with the big players by creating rings, bracelets, necklaces and other products with ‘smart’ uses. Ranging from fitness trackers to dictaphones, smart jewellery is taking the fashion world by storm, says Katie from Orla James jewellers. Some products on the markets can seem like gimmicks. But then, something comes along that make you think – I could actually use one of those.
Here are our favourite pieces of smart jewellery –
When you are looking for smart jewellery, you’re looking for something different. Everyone has a phone to make calls and a laptop or tablet to browse the internet, so smart jewellery has to offer something else. The Oura Ring tracks your sleep, understands your day-to-day routine and measures your physiology to provide you with more restorative sleep.
Kate Spade Bangle Tracker
The best thing about the Kate Spade Bangle Tracker is the way it looks. Fitness trackers are so useful for people who want to measure and improve their fitness routines, but they are all about substance over style. Not the Kate Spade tracker, no one would even know that you are wearing a fitness tracker.
The Motiv is the perfect health-tracker for the style-conscious consumer. It’s as useful as a Fitbit, but looks as stylish as any titanium ring. Monitor your sleep, heart rate and exercise using the Motiv, by connecting it – via the app – to your smartphone or device. Then get all sorts of super useful data to help you improve your routine.
Caeden Sona Connected Bracelet
There are so many fitness-tracking bracelets on the market, it’s hard to know what sets them apart. Most of them will monitor your heart-rate, sleep and exercise, so you can choose based on their aesthetics. But the Caeden Sona Connected Bracelet has Russian-designed space age tech that gives you a more in-depth heart-rate reading, so if that is important information for you – this is your perfect product.
Misfit Swarovski Shine
Not as subtle as most smart jewellery, but what else would expect from Swarovski. If you’re looking to stand out from the crowd with your wearable tech, then you can’t go far wrong with the Misfit Swarovski Shine. It does everything you would expect from a fitness-tracker but now comes as a solar-powered version. Useful for those of us that always forget to charge.
Tory Burch x Fitbit
There’s a reason Fitbit has a reputation as one of the best fitness trackers out there. But even they have realised that some people want to exercise in style. That’s why they’ve teamed up with Tory Burch to create a more stylish version of the Fitbit.
By this point you might be thinking – is there any smart jewellery that isn’t made for the fitness or wellbeing markets? It’s a valid question and Senstone is the answer. They’ve brought back the dictaphone – the voice-recording device – and this time it’s fashionable. Simply click the button and record your notes.
Ringly Aries Smart Ring
Back to the fitness trackers – The Ringly Aries Smart Ring is yet another way of tracking your activity to improve your wellbeing. This time in the shape of a ring, this product is much more fashion conscious than your average tracker, with each ring coming with a semi-precious gemstone.
Ringly Aries Bracelet
If the Ringly Aries Smart Ring isn’t your thing, why not try there equally cool fitness-tracking bracelet? Has much the same features as the smart ring but fits round your wrist. Another expensive option, but wouldn’t look out of place with any expensive outfit.
Bellabeat LEAF Urban
The Bellabeat LEAF Urban tracks your movement, meditation and sleep to provide a holistic fitness tracking device. It hangs beautifully around the neck and is as subtle as any smart jewellery out there.
Apple Watch Series 2
No list of smart jewellery would be complete without the mention of the Apple Watch. It’s the big player on the market and will always be seen as the pioneer of wearable tech. It has hundreds of amazing functions and pairs up beautifully with your other Apple devices. For functionality, it blows almost all of its competitors out of the water, but you do pay a premium for that.
Michael Kors Access
If anyone can knock Apple off their wearable tech perch, it’s Google’s Wear OS . That’s why they’ve teamed up with the Michael Kors brand to produce this amazing smart watch. Many of the same features as the Apple Watch but made to connect with Android devices. Take your pick.
Sun protection is essential as the summer rolls out. While a good summer sun is seductive in calling you to the beach, it is critical that you cover your skin and take care of your skin health. Most people love getting a gorgeous golden hued tan that will boast of the time spent outdoors. While this is a fantastic way to get a tan, burning yourself up at the beach and outdoors is not always a great option.
Excessive exposure to the sun can cause more harm than good. It is necessary to use a robust photoprotector like sunscreen with SPF (Sun Protecting Factor). The sun emits harmful UVA and UVB rays that may cause skin aging, wrinkles, fine lines, age spots, skin rashes, skin burn, skin cancers, eye damage, and in some cases, blindness. Some medical conditions can also get worse with sun exposure. With the increase in risk factors, most global health organizations are increasing awareness about sun protection.
Let us look at some general tips that can help you maintain good skin health while protecting you from sun damage.
Most over the counter SPF sun blocks and creams tend to wash out with a little water or sweat. Broad spectrum water-resistant SPF with 15 or more is ideal for all skin types and helps in protecting the skin from sun damage. You should apply sunscreen a minimum of 15 minutes before stepping out in the sun. Ideally, use sunscreen after your shower and before you wear your clothes. This will help the skin absorb the sunscreen and create a protective layer.
Many people like to apply tanning lotions before stepping out to get an even tan. Before you use a tanning lotion, gel, or spray, spread a thin layer of sunscreen on your skin and then the tanning lotion. Most outdoor tanning creams need the sun to activate them but don’t protect against sunburns. While using SPF, apply a thick layer to the ears, lips, neck, and nape. These areas get neglected and can burn very quickly.
Use your clothes for protection:
Most people tend to go sleeveless or backless in the summer. This can work detrimentally on your skin. Clothes form a physical barrier between your skin and the harmful rays of the sun. During summer, it is ideal to wear breathable cotton clothes that sit loosely on the surface rather than tight ones in silk, rayon, and chiffon. Tight clothes during the summer can cause excessive sweating which in turn can cause irritation and dehydration. Wear t-shirts and pants that are loose and comfortable.
Apart from loose clothes, you could also use accessories to protect yourself. Lightweight cotton scarves, head stoles, and thin breathable cotton jackets can be used to add to the glam factor with a full sense of dressing. Invest in a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, neck, chest, and nape from the sun. Hats and umbrellas are chic and can become great fashion accessories. The same is the case with UV protection sunglasses. The eyes can get very sensitive to the sun and should be protected at all times.
Stay indoors more:
The sun is at its most powerful between 10 am to 4 pm. If possible avoid going out into the sun during these times. The sun’s rays are excessively intense and can breach almost all protective barriers. People using outdoor tanning lotions should avoid being in the sun for too long since the damage to the skin could be higher with prolonged exposure to the sun. Outdoor tanning lotions, gels, and creams do not protect the skin from sunburn and skin conditions. While purchasing an outdoor tanning lotion ensure you invest in one that suits your skin type and doesn’t expose you to too much sun.
Keep your body hydrated:
Summers are a great time to drink healthy juices, coconut water, lime water, and refreshing drinks. Drinking lots of liquids help keep the body well hydrated. Summers and heat can dehydrate the body very quickly and can cause dizziness, excessive sweating, and even nausea. Keeping the body hydrated helps in maintaining ideal internal body temperature. Healthy liquids, watery fruits like watermelon and sweet melon also help in flushing out toxins from your body that can cause further health complications.
The summer is a fantastic time to head to the beach, go to the park, and have some fun. While enjoying yourself, ensure that you take care of your body and keep it safe from the sun.
Poison ivy grows all over North America, and too many of us have no idea how to treat the painfully itchy rash it causes. This green, 3-petal leaf looks harmless enough and grows almost everywhere in the continent (except Hawaii and Alaska); most rashes occur after an unintentional brush with a plant in the backyard.
So, you have the telltale tingling in your arm, and it soon turns to a blotchy red rash. The oil in the poison ivy causes the skin reaction, and it can get spread to others from your rash. What do you do? The first step is to wash your skin with warm and soapy water to try and remove the oil. Then, use a barrier cream from the drugstore, like IvyBlock, to prevent spreading. The rash will naturally fade in 1-3 weeks, but in the meantime, take cooling oatmeal baths to soothe the skin. Address the itchiness with over the counter calamine cream or aloe vera gel. Worst comes to worst, try an antihistamine that treats allergies.
Poison ivy affects most of us outdoorsy-folk at one point or another. It’s important to know what to do when it happens to you. An interesting note is that Poison Ivy doesn’t affect horses, for when you’re hacking through the country. While you’re here, be sure to check out these horses for sale.
If you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that gets a decent amount of snow, then you likely spend at least a few days a year on a sled. Not only is it fun for adults to toboggan, but it’s a great way to get your kids out of the house and away from their screens. However, there are a few safety precautions to take to make your sledding experience a fun one.
First, assess the hill. Notice any patches of ice, any large bumps that could project you into the air. Look at the surrounding area for trees, ponds and lakes, and other people or animals.
Second, assess your toboggan. If it has steering capacities, are they in working order? If it’s inflatable, is it leaking air? Are there any broken pieces that could snap off mid-ride and hurt you?
Third, check in with yourself. Are you wearing enough layers and warm enough outerwear to protect you from hypothermia and frostbite? This is especially important for the kiddos!
Tobogganing can be an awesome and exciting outdoor activity in the winter. Staying safe while sledding is the first step to having a great time.
There’s nothing like spending a warm Saturday night watching the sunset from your own backyard. Sip on some sangria, hear the crickets begin to stir and enjoy the company you’re with. We absolutely love the pictures of the backyard patios you’ve sent in, so we decided to create the quintessential list of backyard-patio must-haves!
- Comfortable seating. This can be a couple gorgeous lounge chairs or a full section of couches and chairs. Just make sure they’re weather-proof and designed to be outside! We love all the bright colors of cushions coming out this summer.
- Lanterns and lighting. When the sun goes down, you still want some light, so you can see your guests. Hanging patio lanterns have the best summertime charm and create a cozy atmosphere. You could also use tiki torch lights or string lights!
- We love backyard fire pits for roasting corn, marshmallows, and for keeping us warm! But they’re not legal in every city, so check with your local laws.
- Carpets and Walkways. For the seating area, throwing a gorgeous outdoor carpet underneath makes the whole scene way trendier. If your patio is at the back of the yard, why not create a stepping stone path? Obviously, no one’s going to get lost trying to find the patio, but it adds character!
- Not all of us are lucky enough to live somewhere with tropical plants in the backyard. Make the most of your outdoor space by adding plants, potted or planted. If you have space for a garden that can be nice. But around your seating area, consider having some potted trees and large plants to enhance the outdoor vibe.
- You don’t necessarily have to have plates and cutlery on your patio table, but when you serve your guests a gorgeous nightcap under the stars, why not have coordinating glasses? Pick out colors in your cushions and in the natural fauna of your yard and incorporate those in the colors of the dishware you serve on.
Outdoor patios provide an easy and accessible way to spend time outdoors, while inside your comfort zone. Whether you host a dinner party on yours, or simply do your yoga practice on it each morning, having a well-designed patio space is crucial. We want to see if you use any of these ideas on your patio! Send us a picture of your backyard patio and it may get featured in an upcoming blog post.
If you’re about to take your first camping trip in the wilderness, it can be a little daunting. There will be no electricity, no plumbing, no instant entertainment on a TV. You will be spending a lot of time with your camping buddies or by yourself. We’ve compiled some tips to aid your experience:
- It’s better to over-pack than under-pack. For your first-time camping, it can be hard to tell if your regular pyjamas will be warm enough, if your toilet paper will stay dry in the bag, etc. Just this once, bring extra of everything. You want this to be a good experience and despite the hot afternoon’s, night-time is freezing! Not being prepared will put a damper on things.
- Catch your bearings. The first day you spend on the campsite, explore every nook and cranny and memorize where the important stuff is. If there’s communal showers or toilets, you’ll want to be able to get there in the middle of the night. You also don’t want to get lost. Catch your bearings; understand where your site is in relation to the rest of the camp.
- Learn about the risks. Most beginner-campsites are relatively safe; no bears, no treacherous weather, not too far from a big city. But if you’re tagging along with some more experienced campers, then learn about the area you’ll be in first. There are tonnes of ways to keep yourself and your stuff safe from wildlife when camping. Learn about the warning signs of natural disasters. Prepare yourself for the area’s risks. Also, pack appropriate medication and equipment incase you do get in trouble. Treatments like dihydrocodiene are good for pain relief, perfect if you manage to twist your ankle when hiking, and carrying a set of camping knives will not only help around the site, but will also be handy should you come face-to-face with a dangerous member of the wild!
- Pack some camping-appropriate entertainment. That could be books, journals, board games, card decks, a pre-made scavenger hunt list, a camera, etc. Not having cell phone reception doesn’t mean you’ll be bored. And don’t be scared to spend time in nature silently. Embrace all the feelings you feel and remember that nature doesn’t judge anyone.
Camping is one of the best ways to spend time with loved ones and spend time with yourself. There are no distractions of daily life; it’s just you and the planet. Although it can be nerve-wracking the first time, try and embrace your camping experience and treat it as a lesson. It’s not going to be perfect and you won’t be professional from the start, but you can and will enjoy yourself. You just have to let go, inhale the fresh air, and smile. Oli from The Fab Lab agreed “camping is a great way for a cheap time away, the kids especially will enjoy it and it doesn’t require as much preparation as a holiday.”
Firepits have become a backyard staple for many American homeowners. They add atmosphere and aroma to your yard, making it feel like you’re camping in the wilderness and not in Cincinnati. However, many cities across North America have made firepits illegal in backyards due to the safety and environmental risks. Safety should always come before design aesthetic.
In places that are prone to wildfires, like Southern California, lighting a firepit in the backyard can trigger a larger fire and cause serious damage. That’s why many cities will enforce a “burn ban” during certain times of theyear. One solution to this issue is to make sure your firepit is at least 10-30 feet from any house or structure. You can also create a natural gas firepit that burns on propane which is safer for the environment than burning wood.
Firepits can be extremely dangerous for small children to be around. There should always be an adult with children near a firepit, and someone needs to make sure the kids aren’t wearing loose clothing. Even after the firepit is put out, don’t let kids be alone with it. There can still be some lit embers in the pit that can burn you, or even reignite. The same goes for pets, keep them a safe distance from the firepit.
You should never use flammable liquids to light fires. Gasoline and lighter fluid are not intended for backyard campfires or any campfires for that matter. The fluid is so flammable that even the fumes they create in the air can catch fire. If someone lights a match or smokes a cigarette in the vicinity of these fumes they can go up in flames. Some people dangerously use gasoline to light their fire because it looks like an explosion which they find entertaining.
If you do choose to burn real wood as opposed to a natural gas fireplace, avoid using soft woods. Pine and cedar are a soft type of wood that when lit, they can spray and throw sparks in unpredictable directions. Use hard woods like maple and oak. Also, check the direction of the wind before you start the fire. Arrange seating so it’s facing the direction the wind is blowingtowards, this way sparks and smoke aren’t blown into your faces.
Firepits can be a great addition to any backyard looking for some campsite ambiance. However, there are multiple safety concerns that come along with building one. Make sure you learn about all the risks and dangers to avoid damage and injury.