After the recent hassle with the eco hat I thought I’d share some good stuff we’ve experienced lately, as this blog is becoming nothing short of a collection of moans and problems, which isn’t the intention, honest…
First things first, earlier this year we bought a new lawnmower. We’ve not needed one for years as the last place we lived was shared with a company who had their own lawnmower to keep the gardens in order. The lawn here is pretty small, and it’s all turfed as part of George Wimpey’s compensation and apologies for our issues with the house. We decided to go with a manual mower, because of the eco credentials, but mostly because it’ll save money on electricity and gives a small free bit of regular exorcise.
We shopped around, did a bit of research and went for the Al-Ko 28 Soft Touch mower, which is now an “old model”, but was a good price and came highly rated. I have to say we’re delighted. It’s quiet, easy to use, quick, and we can mow any time without bothering the neighbours. I’d highly recommend this to anyone with a smallish lawn looking at a budget manual mower.
Our age old kettle also gave up the ghost recently, and we wanted to replace it with some form of eco-kettle. After considering one of the various “one cup” rapid heating systems it quickly became clear these didn’t actually boil water, were very noisy, and not ideal for making one cup of tea, and pretty much useless if you’re making a round of teas for visitors. As such the remaining choices were pretty limited.
We ended up going for the Kenwood Energy Sense kettle from John Lewis. It was on offer too, always nice to grab a bargain. It’s been great so far, very rapid boil and the very simple fact you measure out the water as you go must save a lot of wasted kettle time and energy. Sure, not every cup is of the same capacity, but it’s not rocket science to figure out how much extra or less different mugs require.
We’ve also been very slow at fitting blinds, curtains, or anything at all for that matter in our windows, so we’ve been working on sorting that out recently. We’ve used a local company called Daves Blinds for our downstairs room, deciding on a colour of “metallic mink” for our metal venitian blinds. They were just installed today and we’re really pleased with the results. The quote we had from them was much lower than other local companies, and they fitted out at least some of the show homes here so the workmanship should have been of a decent quality, and it was.
That said, I also took the plunge and ordered some other venitian blinds online from 247blinds.co.uk (who as far as I can tell ALWAYS have a “special offer” running) and they arrived in good time, and were of pretty much the same design and fitment as the ones installed by Daves Blinds, and cost considerably less still. Unfortunately they came up a tiny bit narrow, but a quick call to their freephone number and they’re sending out another blind, no questions asked. Seems like very good service, and as mentioned before they cost a lot less than any local company, and fitting them isn’t exactly rocket science either. Still plenty of naked glazing to go, but we’re getting there.
Back to the kettle, and after a fairly short passage of time, and considering these homes have an inline water softener, it very quickly became pretty messy with limescale deposits. This is bad because it decreases efficiency, shortens life, and looks ‘orrible, especially in a clear kettle! We bought some Dri-Pak “Clean and Natural” citric acid from John Lewis in Milton Keynes (we’ve bought their bicarbonate of soda from their previously, which is also magic stuff) and boiled up less than a third of the packet in half a kettle full of water. AMAZING, simply incredible results, and as the name suggests it’s “all natural”, so scores points on the eco front too. Oh, and you can also have fun with the kids using natural cleaning products, who’d have thought it?!
More good experiences, in a roundabout way, with Amco Flooring who installed Coir flooring in our downstairs hallway, which looks and feels fantastic. Unfortunately it was cut a little short and quickly started to come up at the edges. I called and informed them right away, and next day I had a fitter around to check out the floor. No questions asked, replacement ordered, and we just had a message to say the new floor has arrived. Not looking forward to them having to remove and replace it mind you, but their service has been very good, it is frustrating it was cut a little short to begin with though.
I’ve also discovered, since becoming a home owner who now has free reign to drill, screw, and cut into walls and generally get my hands dirty with DIY that having a Screw Fix nearby is a genuine asset. Between them, Maplins, IKEA, Habitat, and the regular “high street” DIY stores such as Wickes and B&Q we seem pretty spoilt for choice around here which means you can really shop around for the best prices and wide range of ideas and inspiration. Fantastic.
Sometimes it feels like a painfully slow process, but having to work to a tight budget as we are does make you think long and hard about each purchasing decision, and you really appreciate each new arrival, even trivial things like a couple of blinds going up feels really significant and special. How sad is that?!