Archive for General News

One less stain to worry about.

Well, summer has well and truly arrived if the recent thermometer readings are anything to go by and the kids have broken up for their summer holidays.

Peoples thoughts turn toward that well earned rest by the beach for a few days, cocktails and suntans, palm trees and sea breezes and factor 50 sun cream because after all we are not a nation known for its sunshine and mean temperatures and if you are anything like me, puts a freshly cooked lobster to shame in skin colour after a couple of hours in the sun.

While the bottle of sunscreen is great for protecting your skin whilst out in the sun and even stays on your skin when you go to the pool so you don’t leave that rainbow coloured slick in your wake as you swim, it unfortunately is not so good for your clothes if you don’t get it all off before putting on your best Hawaiian cocktail shirt and hitting the Taverna or the hotel bar for a glass of vino or a pint.

Once that sun oil impregnates the fibers of your favorite top or shorts, it will leave an ugly yellowish stain (unless your shirt is an ugly yellowish shirt, in which case you’re good to go.) that is all but impossible to remove with normal detergents and stain removers.

Well fear not, those wizards over at HG have developed the answer to the prayers of all holiday tops everywhere.

HG Suntan Lotion Stain Remover is THE effective pre-treatment for removing such stains and is suitable for white and coloured fabrics.

When you get sun tan lotion stains on your clothes and can’t shift them, no matter how often you wash it, most people give up and just bin the article of clothing and go an buy another to replace it, well now you don’t need to.

Moisten the stains with warm water and then spray a liberal amount of liquid onto the stains from a distance of maximum 5 cm.
Leave the product to absorb at least 1 hour without drying out.
During the absorbing time, put the fabric in a clean plastic bucket and avoid contact with other materials/surfaces.

Put the treated fabric in the washing machine and wash it as usual with the recommended amount of main detergent at max 60°C.
Always comply with the care label.

After washing do not tumble-dry the treated garment, but hang it on the washing line.

Repeat the treatment if necessary.

One of the great sadness’s of finishing a holiday is when you get back home and unpack the case, now you don’t have to throw away that lotion stained top you were wearing that night in the Taverna when the waiter slipped on that cucumber slice you knocked on the floor from your Mojito glass and dumped the tray of Strawberry Daiquiri into the lap of the loudmouth that had been rude and annoying all night to the waiting staff, because memories like that are too precious to forget.

it’s hanging in the wardrobe. Thanks HG.

Little Blue Pellets Banned!

Back in December last year, DEFRA – Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, announced a blanket ban on all pest control products that contain the chemical Metaldehyde.

Metaldehyde is the principle chemical in Slug and Snail killer products especially the little blue pellet products. Anyone who grows leaf vegetables like lettuce and cabbage knows the horrors that the slimy little gastropods can wreak on your prized veg and the little blue pellets were the go to product to rid the garden of the messy little mucus producers.

While they were great for ridding you of the slugs and snails, they did not harm the plants. Trouble is they did harm other wildlife in the garden, Birds were drawn to the pellets probably due to their similarities to popular bird food suet pellets in size and shape, they also proved to be attractive to dogs.

The ban on the sale of these products came into force on the 1st of July with the blanket ban on outdoor use coming into force in Spring 2020.

With Metaldehyde pellets now legally unavailable to buy from reputable retailers and garden centers, you may now be wondering how to get rid of slugs and snails from your lettuces and so forth. After all, the big attraction of the pellets is they are very much a use and forget product and did not require much in the way of monitoring or re application.

There is an alternative little blue pellet that does not contain Metaldehyde and is also much less a problem for pets and birds

Doff Super Slug Killer does not contain Metaldehyde, instead its principle ingredient is Hydrated Ferric Phosphate. It works in exactly the same way as the other pellet product just without the nasty chemical side effects.

As more information is uncovered over the lasting impact these types of products have had on the environment, you will find more and more of these types of pest control items will become more and more restricted and will force companies into developing products that make less of an impact on both the environment and wildlife we all depend on.

How To – Cooker Hood Filters

Welcome to another of our “How To” series. This time around we are tackling an often overlooked part of your kitchen health and hygiene, your Cooker Hood Filter.

Cooker Hood Filters have one job and that is to collect grease, so if it is doing its job properly, it is going to look and feel, well, greasy! Over time the filters will become clogged with grease and when that happens your filter will loose its effectiveness and in really bad cases stop working all together.

It is important therefore to periodically clean or replace the filters in the range hood.

Cleaning the Hood is the first step, no point in replacing the filter if you are putting it back into a dirty hood. There are a couple of dedicated products you can use to make that job quick and easy.

The first is by Oven Mate and is a trigger spray that is especially useful if you have a mesh variety range hood. The Oven Mesh Cooker Hood Filter Cleaner clears out the sticky residues that collect in the metal filters of your cooker hood extractor. This will help remove food odours and improve the performance of your cooker hood.

The second is for all other types of hood and is quite at home keeping the rest of the range and hob area clean too. Unifit Professional Cooker Hood Cleaner and Degreaser, removes dirt and grease and is suitable for cooker hoods, filters, hobs, splashbacks and ovens.

Most Cooker Hood Extractors will use one of two types of filter. They will either have a Foam type filter or a Paper type filter. It is not practical to even attempt to try and clean these, there are designed as used and dispose.

The filter is the most overlooked item in the cleaning of the kitchen, it is tucked away, often above head height and is normally out of sight as well.

If you have a mesh type extractor the whole filter unit can be cleaned simply and easily. Firstly remove the filter assembly from the hood (you will need to refer to the manufacturers instructions for your model). We would recommend using the Oven Mate Mesh Cooker Hood Filter Cleaner

Spray Oven Mate Mesh Cooker Hood Filter Cleaner evenly over both sides of the metal mesh and leave for approximately 15 minutes to allow grease and dirt to be broken down.

If the filters are very dirty, they may need to be left longer for Oven Mate Mesh Cooker Hood Filter Cleaner to penetrate.

Rinse under a hot tap to wash out residue and dry thoroughly before replacing filters in extractor fan.

For the non mesh type hoods and extractors, The filter assembly is normally fixed and just the filter can be removed. Just a general cleaning is all that will be needed before replacing the filter itself, Unifit Professional Cooker Hood Cleaner And Degreaser will work very nicely here, it is just a simple spray and wipe, just make sure all the surfaces are cool before beginning.

There is a third type of filter that is not so common and that is Carbon Cassette. These are sealed units of activated carbon that trap the grease particles over time. These units while uncommon, are the easiest to replace as the whole unit is contained and easy to handle. These by their nature cannot be cleaned so once it starts to loose its effectiveness, just replace it.

While the filters will stop working over time and need replacing, you can almost extend their life with a little preventative measure of simply just cleaning the fan and hood after every use.

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 early November 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.

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.

Summer Sunday’s, Don’t forget the marinade.

It’s only a few days before the Kids are home for the summer holidays, the weather is getting more like the summers we all remember when we were their age. Now is the time to bring out the old BBQ that has been winter vacationing in the shed.

bbq

For me, nothing says a lazy summer Sunday than the smell of the neighbour’s BBQ, steak, and burgers, wafting over the fence. So why not see if that old BBQ is up to the job and have an outdoor cook up this weekend, No? the old smoker a rusty, spider infested, cobweb covered mess?

Why not get a new one. We have an extensive range of BBQ’s and accessories for sale. 

And when all is said and done and you have eaten your fill of Steak and Burgers, give the BBQ a proper clean down when it is cold by using these specially made Landmann BBQ brushes and Landmann Barbecue Cleaning Wipes.

So why not set your summer off with a bang, grab yourself a BBQ, get those steaks sizzling, cold beer in hand and imagine yourself as James Martin.

You deserve it!

Sleeping Alone? Think Again!

It is the stuff of nightmares and disturbed horror film makers, that when you turn out the light and get comfortable in bed, you are about to be assaulted by hundreds of tiny little vampiric parasites and microscopic invaders that would not look out of place in a Ridley Scott film.

Bed bugs and dust mites.

Bed bugs are often confused for dust mites and the allergic reaction caused by dust mite poop is regularly mistaken for the reaction caused by bed bug bites.

Dust mites are microscopic spiders, barely visible to the naked eye. They have translucent bodies, eight legs and are less than half a millimetre long, whereas bed bugs are nocturnal parasitic bugs with six legs, have flat bodies and are a brown-reddish colour. Thankfully they can’t jump or fly, but crawl across surfaces.

Although they are tiny and very hard to see, bed bugs are visible to the naked eye however you are more likely to notice the little brown stain left behind by their waste or a small red dot from where you crushed one in your sleep than a live bug itself.

Dust mites are found in all areas of the home, but particularly in areas of the home that are used frequently like bedrooms and kitchens. Dust mites live on dead skins cells shed from humans and their pets – they love damp areas, so thrive in pillows and bedding, which absorb moisture from the skin while you sleep.

90% of household dust is dead skin cells so you can imagine the dust mite will be dining out constantly.

Bed bugs, like their name suggests, are mainly found in the bedroom, they survive in small crevices around your bed, including bedding, headboards, wooden bed frames, mattresses and carpets. Mostly active at night, bed bugs are attracted to the carbon dioxide and warmth you produce, biting your exposed skin to feed on your blood. Bed bug infestations can spread very quickly with females producing hundreds of eggs.

There is some good news however, bed bugs and dust mites do not transmit diseases that can affect humans but both do cause skin reactions.

The simple rule is bed bugs bite, dust mites don’t.

Bed bug bites tend to occur on areas which are exposed while you sleep such as ankles, wrists and neck. Bites tend to be red and normally occur in clusters or lines. They can be itchy and painful and often resemble mosquito bites, not everyone is sensitive to bed bug bites and a bite can take anywhere from a couple of minutes to 14 days before the bite is noticeable which is why they often get mistaken for other insect bites.

Dust mites, although they do not bite, will cause an allergic reaction in most people because of the waste and secretions they leave behind, including,

  • eczema and skin rashes
  • asthma
  • sneezing and runny nose
  • itchy, red or watery eyes

Bed bugs and dust mites are fortunately quite easy to get rid of and control.

Dust mites can be stopped with liberal use of inhibitor sprays such as:

Ecozone Dust Mite Stopper Spray 500ml

Problem Solved Dust Mite Inhibitor Spray 500ml

Inspired Dust Mite Stopper Inhibitor Spray 500ml

All of the above work by making the food they require inedible and they starve to death very quickly.

Bed bugs can be controlled in a similar way by using

Zero In Bed Bug Killer Spray 300ml

Another option for a more severe infestation is to use a fogger

Strikeback Insect Killing Fogger Twin Pack

Insecto Midi Smoke Bomb

These will require you to be outside the room when used but will offer a much larger kill zone than a hand held spray.

All the products above offer lasting protection from infestation reoccurring, also using mattress and bedding protectors will help as well.

As the time for the annual spring cleaning draws closer, by making sure you take the time to thoroughly clean and air your bedding and mattress and to deep clean around your bed, you can ensure that you are only sharing your bed with invited guests.

Who Sent Me This??

So, you have had a parcel delivered, but, something is amiss. The invoice or paperwork with the order is from someone you do not recognize and maybe the item received is not quite right. The chances are you have just had the experience of being dropshipped.

Let me explain what I mean by dropshipped.

A dropshipper is a person who buys an item from an online retailer like Amazon or eBay for a 3rd party and has the seller they are purchasing from, deliver the item direct to the 3rd party.

“Whats wrong with that? I have stuff delivered to my wife at work all the time.” You ask.

Absolutely nothing, while that is still dropshipping, that is a perfectly acceptable method.

The type of dropshipping that is not acceptable is this type.

Andrew buys an item from Bobs Shop on eBay.

Bobs Shop then purchases the same item from Davids Store on Amazon for less than he has sold it for on eBay. Bobs Shop then gives the delivery details of his customer, Andrew to Davids Store who send the item Bobs Shop purchased directly to Andrew.

” Hang on, isn’t that the same though?”

Not exactly, let me explain further.

 

Amazon have a couple of rules regarding dropshipping that are being ignored by Bobs Shop who bought the item from Davids Store using his own Amazon account.

The rules are:

  • Be the seller of record of your products
  • Identify yourself as the seller of your products on all packing slips and other information included or provided in connection with them.

Meaning all Andrew will see is Davids Store details on the paperwork for the order he received not Bobs Shop. The big rule that must not be broken is:

  • Purchasing products from another online retailer and having that retailer ship directly to customers.

Meaning, if it is purchased from you, you are expected to handle all aspects of the transaction. Amazon seem to turn a blind eye to this one.

Dropshipping is “Marmite” to Amazon sellers, some let it go and some refuse to have anything to do with it. The problem is the myriad of accounts set up on amazon as buyers purely to service a dropshipping business, a lot of whom take advantage of shortfalls in Amazons systems to make unlawful claims.

Amazon seem turn a blind eye to it simply because they get paid either way.

 

The morale of the story is simply this;

Shop around, don’t just take the first price you see, the same item can vary in price between sellers and platforms.

Know who you are dealing with, check a sellers business information, if they are not based in the same country as you, move on to one who is. You are not going to get much help if any, if you have a problem with an item and the seller you bought it from is based outside your country.

Check they have a valid email address and phone number. Both Amazon and eBay have the ability for you to contact the seller of your item as well but is more limited than picking up the phone and talking to someone.

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.