Archive for General News

Dog Owners Rejoice. Say Hello To The Barkbath

While we are still waiting for our new website to be completed, our blogging schedule has curtailed mainly because we cannot add any new products to show to you. While I was trawling our usual websites to find an interesting item to blog to you about, I came across this and thought I had to share it with you all.

Bissell, the company that make carpet cleaners and steam cleaners have come up with, quite frankly such a brilliant idea, I am surprised it has not been thought of before.

It is called The Barkbath

It is a portable gadget that falls somewhere between a shower and a carpet shampooer and is used to clean your dog, I kid you not! Take a look at the video below.

 

Anyone who has had to tackle a reluctant pooch into a bathtub or tried to stop a wet and soapy hound from shaking himself all over the bathroom can attest to the probable joy this invention will bring, We have a Bernese Mountain Dog and when he gets wet, we all get wet.

Despite being around for years and being very well established, Bissell have crowdfunded the development of the Barkbath, presumably to see if enough interest was out there, It is their first crowdfunded project, and has already made more than double its $50k (about £40,000) goal.

Unfortunately at the moment it is only available to to Indiegogo backers in the US and has about a month left to run and is expected to go into production around June this year. Doubtless it will quickly find it’s way onto our shores soon afterward and I for one will definitely be buying a Barkbath.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Whether you hail from the the Emerald Isle or have a touch of the Irish in your family ancestry, We at Homecare Essentials, Join you in raising a glass and proclaiming.

“Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhuit!”

“Happy St. Patrick’s Day!”

 

 

Who was St. Patrick?

With the aid of the History Channel, allow me to cut through the “Blarney” surrounding the myth of the man.

St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is one of Christianity’s most widely known figures. But for all of his prevalence in culture, namely the holiday held on the day of his death that bears his name, his life remains somewhat of a mystery. Many of the stories traditionally associated with St. Patrick, including the famous account of his banishing all the snakes from Ireland, are false, the products of hundreds of years of exaggerated storytelling.

It is known that St. Patrick was born in Britain to wealthy parents near the end of the fourth century. He is believed to have died on March 17, around 460 A.D. Although his father was a Christian deacon, it has been suggested that he probably took on the role because of tax incentives and there is no evidence that Patrick came from a particularly religious family. At the age of 16, Patrick was taken prisoner by a group of Irish raiders who were attacking his family’s estate. They transported him to Ireland where he spent six years in captivity. (There is some dispute over where this captivity took place. Although many believe he was taken to live in Mount Slemish in County Antrim, it is more likely that he was held in County Mayo near Killala.) During this time, he worked as a shepherd, outdoors and away from people. Lonely and afraid, he turned to his religion for solace, becoming a devout Christian. (It is also believed that Patrick first began to dream of converting the Irish people to Christianity during his captivity.)

After more than six years as a prisoner, Patrick escaped. According to his writing, a voice—which he believed to be God’s—spoke to him in a dream, telling him it was time to leave Ireland.

To do so, Patrick walked nearly 200 miles from County Mayo, where it is believed he was held, to the Irish coast. After escaping to Britain, Patrick reported that he experienced a second revelation—an angel in a dream tells him to return to Ireland as a missionary. Soon after, Patrick began religious training, a course of study that lasted more than 15 years. After his ordination as a priest, he was sent to Ireland with a dual mission: to minister to Christians already living in Ireland and to begin to convert the Irish. (Interestingly, this mission contradicts the widely held notion that Patrick introduced Christianity to Ireland.)

Familiar with the Irish language and culture, Patrick chose to incorporate traditional ritual into his lessons of Christianity instead of attempting to eradicate native Irish beliefs. For instance, he used bonfires to celebrate Easter since the Irish were used to honoring their gods with fire. He also superimposed a sun, a powerful Irish symbol, onto the Christian cross to create what is now called a Celtic cross, so that veneration of the symbol would seem more natural to the Irish. Although there were a small number of Christians on the island when Patrick arrived, most Irish practiced a nature-based pagan religion. The Irish culture centered around a rich tradition of oral legend and myth. When this is considered, it is no surprise that the story of Patrick’s life became exaggerated over the centuries—spinning exciting tales to remember history has always been a part of the Irish way of life.

Above Courtesy of History.com

Amazon In The News Again. What Price For Cheap Products?

An interesting article has surfaced on the BBC news website today regarding the online retail giant we all know and loathe love, Amazon!

The article itself is a forerunner to a TV program showing tonight on BBC1 called Inside Amazon – An Inside Out Special at 7.30pm

Amazon, it appears, are being naughty when it comes to their deliveries, in the article, found Hereit says that the delivery drivers are effectively forced to work for less than minimum wage and longer hours than is legal for a driver allowed by law. 

The drivers are expected to pay rental charges on the provided vans and are provided the basic third party only insurance with an excess that you would expect to have with an Aston Martin DBS and deliver a set number of parcels in a day. A BBC reporter went undercover as an Amazon Logistics Driver, these are the people who deliver your orders when you buy with Prime and guarantee next day delivery or Sunday deliveries, and over the course of a 2 week stint uncovered some alarming and frankly disturbing things.

He had drivers telling him that to maintain the delivery schedule they have no time for toilet breaks and had to poop in bags or pee in a bottle. A supervisor told him to not worry about wearing a seatbelt as the Police won’t stop a delivery driver and other drivers admit to breaking the speed limits to make the delivery schedules as the times allowed do not allow for traffic jams or even red lights.

As if that is not bad enough, to be an amazon driver, they require you to be officially classed as self employed which is their way of circumvent the minimum wage laws and employment right laws that entitle you to things like Holiday Pay and Statutory Sick Pay. It becomes a little clearer how they manage to keep their prices so low.

We use Amazon as a sales platform and in a few cases, compete with them directly on goods for sale, it is a matter of pride that we remain independent and we do not use Amazon to deliver our goods, we use Both Royal Mail and UK Mail whom we know do not exploit their drivers in the same way Amazon does.

At Last! Now You Can Recycle With Confidence.

Are you unsure as to what can be recycled when faced with the ever growing plethora of bags and bottles and general household waste that you get through every week?

Have you ever had your recycling refused because you had the wrong things in the bin?

Well worry no more.

It has taken a while but now recyclers, local authorities and waste management companies have sat down to hammer out a definitive list of what can and cannot be accepted for recycling at the kerbside.

The Recycling Guidelines, developed by WRAP with industry, hope  to make it easier and less confusing for households to recycle more effectively across the country.

WRAP’s 2016 Recycling Tracker Survey found that two thirds of UK households (66%) said they we unsure how to correctly dispose of one or more items and almost half (49%) admitted to disposing of one or more items in the general rubbish bin when they are collected for recycling locally.

The guidelines have been designed to help reduce confusion amongst householders across the country and help ensure that all items that can be recycled are being collected for recycling.

The guidelines cover paper, card, cartons, metal, plastic and glass packaging, and food waste and for each material outline:
What can be included in a collection and what cannot;
How the materials should be presented for recycling (i.e. rinsing, lids on/off); and concise reasons why certain items cannot be accepted or should be presented in a particular way.

A large proportion of the items we sell have recyclable cartons or containers and when faced with an ever increasing demand Eco friendliness in our cleaning products, this proportion is only going to get larger and with the guidelines now freely and publically available for all to read and use, it is nice to know that you can recycle our items with confidence.

The full list of guidelines and other pertinent information can be found on WRAP’s (The Waste and Resources Action Programme) own website HERE

How To – Prepare your Home For Winter

The Summer sun has faded and the year grows old and darker days are drawing near.

That is a line from a favourite song of mine and it is surprisingly apt. It is mid October and the nights are drawing in and getting decidedly chillier.

Before winter takes hold in its frosty fingers, here are a couple of things you might want to do to get your home prepared for the colder season.

Check the Guttering.

bocked-guttering

Making sure all those Autumn leaves and old birds nests are cleared out and there is no foliage or moss that could potentially block the down pipe. If the water can’t escape properly, it could overflow into the roof space or down the exterior walls and cause damage.

Sweep the chimney.

chimney-sweep

This ensures that the smoke and gasses from the coal fire escape properly into the atmosphere and not into your living room with potentially lethal consequences. Also this will ensure there is virtually no risk of a flue or chimney fire. (For detailed information on cleaning the chimney, check out a previous blog here.)

Have the Boiler Checked. This is something you want to do now rather than later, it is no fun trying to do without heating in 0°C weather and it will also ensure you are not having any issues with carbon monoxide leakage. Having heat and hot water when the thermometer bottoms out will also ensure your pipes won’t freeze, which brings me to.

Check the insulation on your pipes, and while you are at it, check the insulation in the loft too. With over 25% of your heat is lost through the roof, having good loft insulation is a must if you want to keep warm this winter and save some pennies on the energy bills as well. Checking the pipe insulation for holes or general deterioration will ensure your pipes don’t freeze up if it gets really cold.

If you have a wood burning stove, give it a really good clean to ensure there is no creosote build up and the exhaust pipe is clear of tar, give the front glass a really good clean too as this will aid in the distribution of the heat more efficiently. (For help with cleaning the stove glass, read our previous blog here.)

Check your insurance coverage. Check out your home insurance policy to make sure you have adequate cover for winter related damages. The last thing you want or need is to have something unfortunate happen only to find you are not covered for it. Home repairs are costly, especially if it structural so don’t skimp on the cover.

 

Hopefully, these few hints and tips will go some way to helping you stay warm and toasty and give you peace of mind this winter.

Top Of The Shop – September

It’s that time again, where we take a look at our Top 10 best sellers from the previous month. With Autumn firmly entrenched and Winter’s frosty fingers just over the horizon, it’s all change with 6 new entries. Let’s take a look see.

*Cue Led Zeppelin – A Whole Lotta Love*

New in at N°10HG Rapid Stainless Steel Cleaner.

Also new at N°9 – Kilrock Damp Clear 1kg (500g x 2 Refill Sachets).

Up 2 at N°8 – Pure-Spa Whirlpool Spa Bath Sanitiser Tablets.

A surprise new entry at N°7 – Cholula Original Hot Sauce 150ml.

Up 2 places to N°6 – Aristowax Non-Silicone Wood Silk Furniture Polish 250ml.

Our biggest climber, up 3 to N°5 – No More Spiders Spider Repellent Spray.

Another new entry at N°4 – Rentokil Insectrol Insect Killer Spray 250ml.

New at N°3 – HG Mould Spray.

mould-spray_380

Up 1 place to N°2 – HG Window Cleaner.

HG_Window_Cleaner

A  brand new N°1 – HG Sticker Remover.

sticker-remover_380

That is it for another month. Interestingly, looking back to September last year, the top 2 are exactly the same just reversed, maybe it is a seasonal thing for September. We will have to wait and see.

Until next month, Bye Bye.

 

Are You Bonkers To Have Tried Conkers?

When I was little, the only thing we did with Horse Chestnuts or Conkers was tie a string through them and then proceed to bash them to bits against your best mates Conker in the school playground hopefully without taking a painful whack on the knuckles in the process.

conkerswing

Funny thing was, my nan always had a ready supply of conkers, I always thought it was because she knew I needed them (I was going to smash Jez Swinglers ‘Niner’ this year!). I did not realise till I was grown up, the reason why she always had a steady supply of conkers on hand, it turns out that she was an arachnophobe and had been using the conkers to scare away the spiders from the house.

spider

Now, being an arachnophobe myself, this time of year is sheer misery, early autumn is when they all seem to migrate to my house and I spend the next few weeks jumping at every imagined corner of the eye movement, jumping out of bed at 3am and stripping the duvet off the bed because something itched on my leg, carefully checking shoes before putting them on because god forbid anything moved while my foot was in it. Spiders are the bane of my existence and you are never more than 6ft away from the nearest one apparently so if there is anything that can keep them away from me, so much the better.

Being a nearly rational person, I decided to do some investigation into whether my old nan was right or simply mixing her pills. After an exhaustive search involving banks of supercomputers, NASA, Google and my mate Geoff who knows everything about everything, I found that while there is no scientific proof or explanation why Conkers repel spiders, an awful lot of people swear that they do.

Just take a look at Ebay at this time of year, there are lots of listings for conkers, why would you pay for them?, they literally grow on trees! mind you, if the closest you can get to a tree is seeing one on television or the kids have already had all the conkers from your local area, then the sellers may be your only option.

Now personally, I prefer the old fashioned way of dealing with those eight legged interlopers but as I am told that a rolled up newspaper or the vacuum cleaner is not sporting, I am forced to rely on other methods to rid myself of spiders. Fortunately, there are many companies that help us arachnophobes out and produce chemical repellents and other more high tech methods involving ultrasound and electromagnetism.

Doff, who are a leading pest control manufacturer have produced The Ultrasonic Spider Repeller. A wonderful contraption that plugs into your mains and emits ultrasonic and electromagnetic waves that spiders cannot tolerate, it also works on rats and mice too.

If you are looking for a more low tech answer, then Doff have also produced Spider Glue Traps. Works like fly paper but you can put it on the floor, the spider crawls inside the trap thinking it is a dark little corner where it can lay in wait and gets stuck to the glue covered sides of the trap, also works on ants and other crawling pests.

If you prefer the idea of just stopping them from entering the home, then No More Spiders will be the answer, just spray the repellent on the door and window frames and the spiders are repulsed and can’t get in. A word to the wise, make sure there are no spiders in the house BEFORE you spray, otherwise they can’t leave and you will be stuck inside with them.

If like me, you just want to get them gone and really don’t care for the casualty rate, then Doff Spider and Crawling Insect Killer is your weapon of choice. Spray the surfaces where you have seen them and wait. Not long before you will be sweeping away dead spiders and other creepy crawlies like woodlice and ants.

Our full range of Spider Repellents can be found here and as always you can click the green links above to go to the product pages directly.

As I said earlier, there is no scientific proof that conkers work as a spider repellent yet people say they do, who is right? Until the end of October, we are going to give you a bag of 10 conkers with every spider repellent product you purchase from our range so you can see for yourself if conkers actually work and I owe my old nan an apology.

Don’t Be A Damp Squib This Winter.

Late September, the days are noticeably cooler and the nights are pulling in rapidly and many of you (myself included) have probably reached for the central heating already to check all is well before the weather turns more inclement and to avoid any costly emergency call outs at -5°C.

While you are “testing” the central heating, it is also a good time to closely inspect the walls for signs of damp and to check the exterior damp course is clear of soil and visible. The most destructive type of damp happens when the damp course on the house has been covered allowing moisture to permeate from the outside and effectively rot the brickwork from the inside out. During the warmer periods when the heating is off, the action that draws the moisture into the brickwork is reduced, but come winter and the heating is on full blast, the temperature and humidity disparity can make the brickwork act like a sponge and suck up large amounts of water.

Weathering can also contribute to damp problems, rain on the exterior brickwork driven by wind can also force its way inside the brick and that can happen at any point on the walls surface not just at ground level. If you find that this is happening then you will need to waterproof the brickwork.

Damp proofing can be costly, the average cost to damp proof is around £2500 and that may or may not include labour charges and it is also very messy and may require you to vacate your home while the work is being carried out as the interior plaster may need to be removed to allow access to the interior brickwork.

Fortunately there are less expensive options if you feel up to tackling the job yourself.

The Wykamol Group produce quality damp treatments used by professionals and DIY enthusiasts alike. For well over 70 years the Wykamol name has been synonymous as the market leader in the field of property renovation and repair. CLICK HERE to visit their website where you can find extensive information to help you combat damp.

If you just want to give your exterior walls a basic water repellency that allows the surfaces to “breathe” We recommend Wykamol Enviroseal Water Repellent. Based on a solvent free silicone/ siloxane emulsion for use above ground on porous brickwork, cement renderings, asbestos, cement/mineral boards, unglazed tiles, cast concrete, roughcast, stonework (including calcareous materials, i.e. those containing limestone), wood, canvas and leather. Surfaces treated with Enviroseal remain permeable to vapour so that moisture within the structure does not remain trapped.

For a more complete seal against moisture, we recommend Wykamol Dry Seal Waterproofing Cream. Dryseal has been formulated to penetrate as deeply as possible into porous masonry substrates and this provides optimal protection against the absorption of water and pollutants as well as frost/salt damage. To show how effective Dryseal is at preventing moisture from penetrating brickwork, here is a video showing it in action.

 

If it appears that the damp is being caused by moisture breaching the damp course or you find that your damp course has failed over the years then you will need to renew it eventually but in the short term then you can not better Wykamol’s Ultracure Damp Proof Kit. Containing everything you need to provide a safe new chemical damp proof course. Requires no specialist equipment and quick DPC injection.
Non-hazardous active ingredients migrate through the bed joints to form an effective damp proof course. The video below shows how it works.

To view and purchase our range of Wykamol products CLICK HERE.

When it comes to damp in the home, prevention can be easier to deal with than cure and certainly less costly in the long run, so take the time now before the really cold and damp weather set in and maybe prevent any nasty surprises later.

 

*all videos have been used with permission. © retained to their respective owners.*

Top Of The Shop – August

Welcome to our monthly countdown of the top 10 best sellers from the previous month. Well summer is officially over and today Sept 1st is the official first day of Autumn. Did the summer end with a bang or a whimper? let’s find out.

Cue *Led Zeppelin – A whole Lotta Love*

Our first new entry at N°10Pure Spa Whirlpool Bath Sanitiser Tablets.

Also new in at N°9Aristowax Wood Silk Lavender Wax Polish.

Another new entry at N°8No More Spiders Spider Repellent Spray.

New in at N°7Laundry Master Metallised Ironing Board Cover XS.

Also a new entry at N°6Windolene Original Cream.

A non mover at N°5Pure Spa Hot Tub Surface Cleaner.

Down 2 places to N°4Original Bar Keepers Friend Bundle Pack.

Also down 2 to N°3HG Hagesan Window Cleaner.

HG_Window_Cleaner

Another new entry at N°2 – Astonish Pro Multi Use Cleaning Paste.

Astonish_cleaning_paste_380

Our new N°1 – Supafix Felt Guard Protector Pads Pack of 27

Felt_Guard_Set_27_Piece

A new champ reigns supreme. What will Autumn hold? will it be all change again?. Find out next time.

Amazon Dash – Seriously??

I am a technophile, I love new technology and I am not happy unless I have the latest this or most up to date that. My mobile phone has access to the sum of all human knowledge and more computing power than NASA had when it put men on the moon, I get all excited when I see new ideas that will revolutionise the way we do things and move us just a little closer to that Sci-fi dream of warp drive and teleporters.

Today I saw that Amazon have launched a thing called DASH, Wow I thought, a new idea, a revolutionary new thing that’s going to change the world. Errrrrr no!

Dash is Amazon’s latest attempt to completely subvert the online marketplace and encourage you to shop only with Amazon.

How it works is simple enough, you buy a little wireless doodad that’s about the size of your car key fob, that is for a particular brand of something you use everyday and when you run out, you push the button on the fob and the doodad will automatically order that item through your Amazon account to have that item delivered within 24 hours to your door.

The following is taken from Amazon’s webpage describing how the product works.

Dash Button is set up and managed through the Amazon App on your Android or iOS smartphone, and works in any location with a Wi-Fi connection. Once setup is complete, a notification (if enabled) is sent to your smartphone every time an order is placed.

What if I dont have the Amazon App, I don’t shop on my phone for everyday essentials, I go down the shop for everyday essentials.

If I have this situation

andrex-dash1

I’m not going to push a button and wait 24 hours for more Toilet Roll to be delivered, plus how would I get off the loo seat to answer the door?! plus a single brand button means only that brand, there is no alternative, no price comparison or bargain hunting, that brand at supermarket prices.

Well more than supermarket prices as it costs £4.99 to buy the button in the first place. You apparently get that value discounted off the order on the first time you use it but there is still the issue of what happens when the battery runs out, can you change it? or will you need another one for another £4.99?

What about inquisitive little fingers? Amazon say they have that covered.

Dash Button will not place a new order until your prior order is delivered—regardless of how many times Dash Button is pressed. In addition, you will receive an order notification (if enabled) for every order placed, allowing you to cancel an order before it is dispatched.

But what if I need to order more than one? I have to wait for the first to be delivered before I can order more? what if i want multiples?

So lets say I use this to order my everyday essentials, that means I have to wait 24 hours to have it delivered, that is not going to cut it if we run out of coffee. The buttons are brand specific so you can only use that brand and you have to have a separate button for each brand you need, that’s a lot of buttons all vying for the same Wi-Fi bandwidth in an already Wi-Fi busy household.

As I said at the beginning, I love technology but this is a step too far, i’m all for making life easier but this just does not have any logic or sense to it. If I know I am going to run out of something essential then I just stop at my local supermarket on my way home from work, where I can compare brands and get the best deal. One final thought. What does this say about Amazon’s environmental consideration when they are allowing a vehicle to be sent out to deliver a loo roll.

 

*The opinions in this blog are of the individual writing it and are not reflective of Homecare Essentials*